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Meet our Team

Our team at LevelUp Planning Collaborative Inc. brings more than 40 years’ experience in applied research, community planning and well-being service delivery to each project. Each member of our team has worked directly with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities using a healthy communities approach, with a strong emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. We have worked with a variety of types of communities across Canada - from large urban centres to small towns, rural areas, and Indigenous communities. At the same time, we have been part of policy development and evaluation at the local, provincial and national levels.

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Victoria Barr
MHSc PhD (Planning)




Principal | Co-Owner

Victoria brings 25 years of expertise and passion as a research planner, specializing in the connections between community planning, health and equity. Victoria has worked in a variety of settings, including health authorities, local governments, provincial government and the private sector. She has been a private consultant for 20 years. With a Masters degree in public health and a PhD in planning, Victoria is one of only a handful of people in Canada with formal education in both health promotion and community planning. 


Victoria is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health & Social Policy at the University of Victoria and has taught healthy communities principles and strategies at five Canadian universities. Prior to joining LevelUp, Victoria was manager of the provincial PlanH program, on behalf of BC Healthy Communities.

Victoria is grateful to live, learn and work on the lands of the Lekwungen peoples, specifically the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. 

Lavleen Sahota 



Community Health and Equity Specialist | Co-Owner

Lavleen has 11 years of experience advocating for underserved populations in her role as a community mental health nurse in Vancouver where she utilized an upstream approach to promote the health and well-being of her clients. Lavleen understands the importance of one’s environment in informing health outcomes, and is passionate about fostering strong, healthy, connected communities where everyone has the same opportunities and resources to thrive.


Lavleen has experience working on a wide range of healthy community projects in partnership with local governments, the Ministry of Health, and health authorities. She has extensive experience in project management, conducting research, community engagement, and evaluation.  


Lavleen resides on the traditional, shared, and occupied territories of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples including the scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nations and is grateful for their stewardship of the land since time immemorial.

Elle Wayara



Community Health and Equity Specialist | Co-Owner

Elle has 6 years of health care experience as a Queen's University nursing graduate, holistically supporting maternal and neonatal populations within a family-centered care framework. She also has public health and nursing research experience, conducting participant study visits for immunization clinical trials at BC Children's Hospital. She has recently began volunteering with Black Women Connect Vancouver as Volunteer Coordinator, a new collective aimed at providing community and support for black women within the Lower Mainland area. 


Elle recently finished her Master's in Public Health through the University of Victoria, focusing on social policy and worked to apply this knowledge to her 8-month part time practicum with BC Ministry of Health's Healthy Communities and Healthy Aging programs.


Elle is passionate about  evaluation, sustainability strategies, and equity-entrenched work; she is especially driven to work with vulnerable populations to enhance well-being at the community level and augment positive outcomes of social determinants of health.

Celeste Zimmer



Community Engagement Specialist | Co-Owner

Celeste is a passionate community-minded individual who believes that strong citizen engagement is a key factor to successful community building. She brings experience in the area of public engagement as an IAP2 certified professional and has been working in the field of community development for the past 13 years.


Celeste’s diverse background includes working to inspire youth through environmental education; liaising with local governments and First Nations groups as a Community Engagement Coordinator; supporting the establishment of the Central Saanich Community Association; and organizing events and social media campaigns.

With a passion for upstream approaches and a solution-oriented mindset, Celeste is committed to ensuring greater equity and authenticity in her work to support overall community health and wellbeing.

Celeste calls the unceded W̱SÁNEĆ  lands of the Tsartlip/WJOȽEȽP, Tseycum/WSIKEM and Tsawout/SȾÁUTW territories home and is grateful to reside in this beautiful part of the world.

Holly Hughes


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Community Health and Equity Specialist | Co-Owner


Holly has a wealth of experience working with local governments, community partners, and health leadership to improve health from grassroots engagement to systemic change, through policy, healthy built design, and strategic health action. She applies an equity-based, process-focused, community-driven, and evaluative approach to her work and strives to build awareness of the benefits of a "health in all policies" approach. 


Holly is an active and engaged citizen, public health professional, and passionate advocate for healthy community development and has worked in healthcare for over 15 years. She is a skilled public speaker and facilitator trained in effective public participation (IAP2), Indigenous Cultural Competency, and Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+). 

Holly is grateful to reside on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional meeting ground, gathering place, and travelling route of the Nêhiyawak (Cree), Anishinaabe (Saulteaux), Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Métis, Dene, and Nakota Sioux peoples.

Claudia de Haan-Hewett


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Business Manager

Building on her undergraduate degree in Economics and experience in recreation and sustainable tourism, Claudia has been emersed in the field of healthy community development since moving from the Netherlands to Victoria, BC in 2010.


Claudia has worked in both the not-for-profit and private sector for the past 15 years and she has supported events and projects with Local Governments, Health Authorities, and First Nations across BC. On a more local level, she has volunteered as a Board Director with the North Park Neighbourhood Association and Nature Trails Society and she's currently involved with active transportation initiatives in her neighbourhood. 


Claudia is a systems thinker, a problem solver by nature and she values a high level of integrity throughout her work. As the Business Manager at LevelUp, she’s a jack of all trades who uses her resourcefulness and humor to keep things on track. 


On her days off you can find Claudia exploring the outdoors with her family and she's thankful to be able to reside on the traditional unceded territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt, and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples

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