Staff and Board

Bartender and Tech

Keith Williams (aka Keith Sonic)

Keith Williams has worked on and produced over a hundred shows at the VEC over the past 8 years. Keith is regularly seen in the tech booth or behind the bar. You can also find him painting at Art Battle, bombing at a comedy show, or hosting smut slam.

Community Safety & Facilities Management; Labour & Activist Liaison.

Howard Breen

When not pumping the ethical accelerator on VEC patron consent on freshly mopped floors, deciphering birthdate fraud on internet passports, practicing his security radio ventriloquist punchlines on our comic-bartender or coming up with the weirdest door entry query line of all time, Howard is demonstrating that one can still be a saucy, fun and extemporaneous hospitality host, embracing the temperance virtues of teetotalling to his youthful home brood and fellow VECers (who collectively have asked: “If you’re so sober, why ain’t you rich?”).

You can also find him busy brewing up barrelfuls of fiercely scorchin’ Extinction Rebellion actions to mobilize the 99% into petro-prohibition for the extinction and climate emergency.

Unlike the cemeteries of the climate apocalypse, he’s uber-happy that everyone is still dying to get into the Victoria Event Centre!

*Disclaimer: If you pick up a card at the entrance foyer it is a work of satire. Please address all complaints and legal threats to: Former prime minister Justin Trudeau, c/o Rebel Media.

Bar Manager

Rea Fenger

A local to Victoria, Rea is a mover and shaker. She’s a community organizer who works from the ground up and brings unbridled passion to her projects. She founded The Victoria Tool Library and is the current Board Co-Chair; she started The Koksilah Music Festival with friends and continues to be a Co-Director; she’s an active wrestler and Producer of The West Coast League of Legendary Wrestlers.

Rea holds a BA in Environmental Ethics and Anthropology from McGill University, an intensive Forestry certificate from the College of the Rockies and is trained in conflict-based resolution from the Sexual Assault Centre of McGill University.

Rea is excited to see the VEC thrive as an accessible downtown venue, hosting a variety of shows and helping to create a physical space for friends and community to gather and work towards bringing social justice into practice.

Rea plays on a rec basketball team and is affectionately called ‘Coach’ not based on skill but on her morale boosting during games; she’s forever working on that elusive three-pointer.

Project Coordinator

Eric Nordal

Eric has spent more time than he can remember both in bars, and behind bars. He is passionate about hospitality and became a cocktologist while learning the skills of mixology in Banff, Winnipeg, Whistler, and Edmonton before moving out to Victoria. His favourite drink to order is the VEC’s Old Smokey cocktail, or when in season, a Rum Flip.

During the day he fights for workplace justice across the province by advocating for changes to the hospitality industry and supporting workers that are owed wages by their employers.

Eric wants the VEC to be the weirdest cabaret in the city, and at the same time a hub for community organizing to overthrow capitalism.

Venue Manager

Chris Fretwell

Miguel Espinosa

Board Member since 2017 and Bartender

Vincent Vanderheide

Vincent was raised from a very early age to appreciate the arts. Any money in the house, for extra curricular activities, was reserved for music or other artistic endeavours. This lead to various bands throughout high school and helped him put on various local concerts. All his summer earnings went towards piecing together a small music studio, guided by his father, whose similar passion has guided the audio direction at his church in abbotsford. After high school, he moved to Victoria to pursue and complete a bachelor’s of arts and diploma as a sommelier.

During this time he began to get involved in hospitality and developed a keen interest for bartending. He worked his way up to head bartender at Canoe brewpub and helped open four other restaurants and bars around victoria as a bar/floor manager and in various other capacities. Through it all, he never lost his love for music, working in various live music venues such as Sugar and Canoe up to his current posts. He is incredibly excited for all the opportunities that the Event Centre offers for both the arts scene as well as for organization and activism.

Board Secretary-Treasurer since February 2018

Emily Lavender

Emily’s mission is to create unique and fun social events. She helps run the VEC’s weekly Speakeasy and has organized 80s night, 90’s night, the Star Wars Party, Cat Party, Vegan Party, 2000’s dance party, Womxn’s Week @ the VEC, and Aerobics & Mimosas, and has plans to host a Festivus Seinfeld-themed event in December

Outside of the VEC, she has worked as a Campaign/Event Co-ordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for 9 years.

Assistant Venue Coordinator

Florence Fatale

Born and raised in Victoria, Florence Fatale has been behind the scenes of the Victoria Event Centre for years and was thrilled when they asked her to be apart of the family. You will see Florence behind the bar, behind the door, roaming around as Community Safety, promoting events, producing events, performing, hosting and more. Florence is passionate about bringing communities together through social events.

The Saltiest Siren of the West Coast started teasing and titillating audiences in 2013 and now calls the stage a second home. Florence Fatale is the host and co-producer of Smut Slam Victoria and co-founder of decentralized strip/dance club, Teasers and Pleasers. She is a jewel of many in the crown of Ruby Entertainments and is a proud feminist, art stripper and activist.

Artistic Coordinator

Emily Thiessen

Emily does illustration, screen printing, video editing, comics, and other creative troublemaking. She is excited to work a couple of days a week at this vibrant place and wants to make the VEC look more fabulous with art and design.

She also organizes in hope and panic with Climate Justice Victoria to try to keep the planet habitable for humans.

She comes from Malaysian-Chinese and Mennonite roots and grew up here on Lekwungen territories.

Board Member since 2015

Carol-Lynne Michaels

Carol-Lynne first arrived in Victoria in 2009 and stumbled into the VEC almost immediately as a venue manager for the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Since then she’s been a volunteer, board member, bartender, renter and promoter of the space at large.

She has a background in communication and marketing, events, film and theatre production.  She is currently a presentation and storytelling coach, and also works as a Project Producer at The Number Creative.

Carol-Lynne also co-produces and is the co-artistic director of Confabulation Victoria, BC’s arm of a nationwide storytelling series, and enjoys the privilege of working with people from all walks of life to share their true stories on stage.

She envisions the VEC as a robust arts and cultural space for the community and is thrilled that the space is becoming more accessible and inclusive—further establishing itself as an integral part of a healthy community.

Board Member since 2018

German Ocampo

German has been a bartender, night manager, and now a board member at the VEC. He has a degree in professional bartending. He has also studied social justice which has lead him to search for alternatives to the current capitalist/extractivist economic system.

He recognizes his role as a settler to serve in the decolonization underway every day across Turtle Island and strive to use his academic voice to problematize banal practices of settler belonging.

At the VEC, he wants to  promote the value of community and increase the capacity for people to come together to work on the things they see as important for co-creating a socially and environmentally just future.

He is also involved in Koksilah Music Festival, Clayoquot Salmon Festival, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Wild Salmon Caravan, Indigenous Food Sovereignty Working Group.

Board member since 2018

Morningstar Pinto

Morningstar moved to the island when she was five, and has spent many years, on and off the rock, dabbling in life while trying to make the world a better place. She currently works as a Director in the B.C. Public Service, is a mother of two almost grown children and two dogs, and is married to the best fella ever.

She spends her time singing with the Choir, gardening, hiking, cooking, exploring and traveling.

She sees the value and good in people, and is dedicated to creating inclusive, supportive relationships, and spaces for community – which has led her to us at the VEC.

From creating the first micro-loan project in Cape Breton, developing marketing content for a women’s transition house,  and starting a food gleaning and give back program – to her time as a jewelry designer, voice-over and t.v. actress, bartender, server and catering company owner, Morningstar’s interests and accomplishments are as varied as they come.

Board member since 2016

Andrew Kerr

 Andrew has lived in Victoria for 7 years, having moved here from Ottawa to complete an MA in Dispute Resolution at UVic. In this time, he has worked at a youth shelter, as a restorative justice facilitator, and a deli worker. He is currently a policy analyst in mental health and substance use with the provincial government.

He is a member of Together Victoria and was on the board last year – having worked on the campaign in a variety of roles. He is currently the vice-chair of the Victoria Family Court & Youth Justice Committee and has volunteered as a facilitator with Restorative Justice Victoria for over 5 years.

He also organizes local events – usually tied to a social cause – with the largest having been FernFest & Fernwood Bites.

He is excited for two main things at the VEC: finally making the VEC a truly accessible & inclusive space, and bringing more people into the VEC as members and sharing decision-making power by attracting new voices to board positions.

Board member since 2013

Luke Galimberti

Luke grew up on the wild Canadian prairies before making Victoria his home in 2001. A dedicated audiophile who plays the mandolin (very poorly) and the violin (somewhat less poorly) he grew up working in live music venues, from small clubs to outdoor festivals. His education includes business administration and a degree in professional communication, and by day he works for the provincial government specializing in the green economy and First Nations economic development.

When he’s not working or at the VEC, Luke can most often be found hiking with his dogs or attempting to master a new recipe in the kitchen.

Board Caretaker since 2018, previously a board member

Stephen Portman

Stephen has worked for many years in the anti-poverty movement as a legal advocate and community organiser. He is also involved in Together Against Poverty Society, Retail Action Network, BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Island Solidarity and the Victoria Labour Council. His community work led him toward the VEC as a place where people working on progressive change can come together to celebrate community, laugh, dance and create.

Stephen hopes to bring equity, inclusivity and accessibility grounded in class analysis to his work at the VEC. In an increasingly unequal city, it is important to hold space for voices that are left out of the mainstream capitalist discourse and to make a space to create art, educate community, and mobilize around social and environmental injustice.

Board Member since 2018

Pete Mynett

Pete brings multiple years of experience in event production to the VEC, with a focus on live sound and production management.  He is working on upgrading the VEC’s sound & lighting system.

Board Member

Andrea Hoerger

Board Member since 2016

Seamus Wolfe

Seamus  has a background in social movements – especially student, labour, and environmental movements – and wants the VEC to be a place to foster this kind of activity in our community.

He has a Masters Diploma in Program Evaluation, was previously the Project Manager for the University of Ottawa Grad House and Bar, has been a member of many boards.

Board Member since 2017

Emily Hoffpauir

Emily is very passionate about environmental and social justice issues and the arts and has been actively involved in working with a variety of social service and environmental non-profit organizations throughout North America for over a decade. Before moving to Vancouver Island, she spent two years as the secretary and a member of the fundraising and board recruitment committee on the board of directors at the Environmental Youth Alliance in Vancouver.

She holds a BA in Geography, a Certificate in Environmental Communication and Public Awareness, and a MA in Environmental Sustainability. Her day job is working as the Vancouver Island Campaign Organizer at Wilderness Committee, a grassroots non-profit environmental organization, where she has worked for over five years.