Meet Our Board and Staff

Our Board

Dr. Ruth Warick - President

Dr. Ruth Warick is a founding member of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association of which she is a former president. She is also a past president of the CHHA Vancouver Branch, the Wavefront Centre for Accessible Communications and the BC Family Hearing Resources Society. She was first elected president for the CHHA-BC in 2019. She is also president of the International Federation of Hard of Hearing Persons and first vice-chair of the International Disability Alliance.

Born hard of hearing, Ruth was employed for over 25 years at The University of British Columbia as an Accessibility Advisor. She is passionate about accessibility, awareness, education, and inclusion for persons with hearing loss.

Gael Hannan - Vice President

Gael Hannan is a renowned speaker, writer, and hearing health advocate. She writes a weekly article for, a regular column for Canadian Audiologist, and is the author of the critically-acclaimed book, “The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss”. Over the past 25 years, Gael has created award-winning programs and presentations and she has served on the board of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, both nationally and provincially. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband Doug, aka the Hearing Husband.

Nicole Leung - Board Member at Large

Nicole Leung a hard of hearing registered nurse as well as an advocate for better hearing accessibility. As a radio-broadcaster, she braves the microphone to chat all things related to disabilities on the All Access Pass show at the UBC 101.9 FM radio station.  As a mentor, she cultivates and exchanges ideas for better healthcare with students of various healthcare fields at the UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program.  And as a workshop coordinator, Nicole seeks to empower hard of hearing youth and young adults through the CHHA BC Youth Peer Support Program. Nicole resides in Vancouver.

Elwood Major - Treasurer

Elwood Major is semi-retired after a successful 40-year career in the Real Estate Industry. Born with no hearing in one ear and partial hearing in the other, he grew up in north eastern British Columbia without the benefit of hearing aids and support. In the 90’s, he found a dedicated hard of hearing group which provided information and peer support. Today he is part of the movement to further increase the knowledge and benefits of CHHA BC.

Elwood is a graduate of the College of New Caledonia, President of the Abbotsford Hard of Hearing Branch, a Past President of the Rotarian’s, and previously involved with the Chamber of Commerce.

Jessica Niemela - Board Secretary

Jessica Niemela is a pediatric audiologist in Vernon, British Columbia. She previously worked in Surrey as a registered nurse in the emergency department. She is the recipient of Speech-Language & Audiology Canada’s 2020 National Clinical Certification Exam Award-Audiology.  She has served on the panel on currently affected populations for the Lancet Commission on Hearing Loss. She is the CHHA-BC YPSP event coordinator for the Okanagan region. She is also a CHHA-National Online Mentor, where she provides a volunteer 1:1 mentorship for those all over Canada struggling with hearing loss. Jessica has bilateral moderate-severe sensorineural hearing loss and wears hearing aids.

Naghmeh Samenirad - Member-At-Large

I am a hard of hearing teacher with sensorineural hearing loss. I teach French in French Immersion school in Vancouver for eight years. I have a strong educational background with a Master of Education (MEd) focused on Early Childhood Education as well as a degree in Teaching program from UBC. I am a volunteer at CHHA Vancouver branch for six years. I am looking forward in volunteering at CHHA-BC as a Member-At-Large as I want to continue contributing my support and knowledge to the CHHA-BC. It is my passion to make a difference in the hard of hearing community, advocate for better accessibility and services for people with hearing loss and connect with others who have hearing loss.


Operations Manager

Henry Kutarna

Social Media Coordinator

Narada Thomas

Administrative Support

Vivian Zhang

Communications Coordinator

Karen Stierhoff

Information & Finance Coordinator

Ravi Kataria

Program Coordinator

Shehana Mirza


Peer Youth Support Program Coordinator

Bowen Tang

Bowen is a BIPOC hard of hearing young adult residing in British Columbia. He has a bilateral profound hearing loss and is a bimodal user with a cochlear implant and a hearing aid. Professionally Bowen is a Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In terms of community involvement, Bowen wears various hats, such as:

Co-Founder & Director of CHHA-BC Youth Peer Support Program
President, International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People
Core Team Member, World Hearing Forum – World Health Organization

Bowen is passionate about educating and empowering DHH youth in pursuing their goals and promoting accessibility and inclusion for hard of hearing people at different levels of society.