top of page

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.

2019-07-24 Victoria Barr206HighDB.jpg

Victoria Barr
MHSc PhD (Planning)




Principal | Co-Owner

Dr. Victoria Barr brings 30 years of expertise and passion as a planner and community well-being practitioner, specializing in the connections between equity and community planning. She holds a master's degree in public health and a PhD in planning and brings out the best of both fields in her practice.  

Victoria is an Adjunct Professor at both the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria and the Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources at the University of Manitoba. She has taught courses in healthy communities, equity in planning, applied research, program evaluation and local governance for 11 years at five different Canadian universities. Victoria has also been a consultant, specializing in building healthy and equitable communities, for more than 20 years. In that role, Victoria has prepared many resources for local government staff, and she has worked with both urban and rural communities across Canada, supporting them to use research to address key social planning questions. Victoria has presented this work at several conferences, including those of the Planning Institute of BC, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the World Health Organization's International Healthy Cities initiative. 

Victoria has held management roles in two provincial-level non-profit organizations (Public Health Association of BC and BC Healthy Communities Society). She lives and works on the homelands of the Lekwungen peoples, now known as the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations (Victoria, BC). 

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

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

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


Holly Hughes-036.jpg

Community Health and Food Systems Specialist


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.

Alex Pysklywec

Wix Picture Gallery (9).jpg

Social and Environmental Planner

Alex is a trained Geographer (MA) and Community Planner (MPL). He has more than 8 years of research experience specific to planning and social policy and 3 years of planning experience, including working for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation as a Land Use Planner. Alex has worked in the domains of health, social, and environmental policy analysis and development, as well as land and natural resources management, regional planning, and planning with Indigenous peoples. Using a critical, intersectional, and equity-centred lens, Alex is adept at collecting and analysing qualitative and qualitative data. He is skilled at using different tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to present data to help guide needs assessments and priority setting for social and environmental policies and programs. He approaches all this work from an environmental justice and social equity perspective, and he strives to ensure that the projects he is involved in contribute to making people’s lives and communities more just and equitable places.  

Alex was born and raised in Calgary, Treaty 7 territory, but now divides his time between Ottawa-Gatineau, on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe Algonquin, and Calgary. 

bottom of page