Natalie Drolet – Executive Director/Staff Lawyer
Natalie joined MWC as Executive Director – Staff Lawyer in November 2014. Her legal practice focuses on the areas of immigration law and employment law. Natalie has been active in the fields of migration and human rights since 2003 when she worked as a researcher in Thailand for Rights & Democracy. Before joining MWC, she served as the Staff Lawyer for a multilingual access to justice initiative with the South Ottawa Community Legal Services. Prior to this, Natalie worked in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where she managed projects to advance the rights of domestic workers with the Legal Support for Children and Women.
Natalie received her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University in 2009 and her Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University in 2005. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, vegetarian cooking and taking her dog Georgie to the beach.
Silvia Duran – Legal Support Coordinator
Silvia Duran grew up in a predominantly immigrant community after her parents arrived here as refugees from El Salvador. After graduating from Simon Fraser University in 2015 with a degree in history and political science, her fluency in Spanish and involvement with the community led her to pursue further experience within the social justice and immigration fields. Previous to joining the MWC, Silvia was a legal assistant at an immigration law firm specializing in refugee law and family sponsorships.
On her days off, Silvia will most likely be found in search of a new hiking trail, reading a good book or testing out traditional Salvadoran recipes.
Karen Joy Bation – Legal Advocate
Karen first visited Canada in the summer of 2011, and moved to Vancouver in July of 2016. Before moving to Canada, she worked with the Philippine government for more than 10 years as a Municipal Vice-Mayor and Municipal Councilor in Tampilisan Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines; and a Political Affairs Officer in the Philippine Congress. She mainly supported and advocated for the rights of women & children in the Philippines. During her term as Municipal Vice Mayor, she launched a program for children called “Anak Mo, Tsinelas Ko,” that gives shoes, school supplies, school uniforms, food, and “story telling” to grade school pupils and children with disabilities in the barangays of the Municipality.
Karen graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB); MBA; and Bachelor of Science in Biology from the Philippines. She has also completed legislative strategic management and leadership trainings in the Philippines, Canada and in the United States. Upon her arrival in Canada in 2016, she took the Paralegal Program at Vancouver Community College and graduated with honours in January of 2018. As a foreign law graduate, Karen is currently taking online law courses at Osgoode PD York University in preparation for the NCA examinations for the Federation of the Law Societies in Canada. Currently, she is the Charter President of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Mountainview District 5040, the first Filipino Rotary Club throughout Canada. In her spare time, she loves watching TV, listening to jazz and travelling.
Tess Van Weelden – Legal Advocate
Tess joined MWC as a Legal Advocate in August 2019. Prior to this, she worked with refugees and asylum-seekers for eight years in Egypt and other parts of Africa, focusing on refugee status determination and resettlement of vulnerable refugees to third countries such as Canada. Tess graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2009, during which time she volunteered with Downtown Legal Services law clinic. After law school and prior to moving to Egypt, she worked with the Alberta Government from 2009 until 2011, during which time she also volunteered with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre, focusing on residential tenancy law and employment law. Tess was born and raised in North Vancouver. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, spending time outdoors, and staying in with her husband and two cats.
Jeanne Robert – Legal Advocate
Jeanne Robert grew up in France and in Peru. She arrived in Canada in 2012. She graduated from the Quebec Bar School in 2016 and she has a Master’s Degree in International Law focused on Human Rights from the University of Montreal. Before moving to British Columbia, she practiced family law and immigration law in a law firm in Montreal. In 2018, her strong interest for social justice led her to join the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition in Victoria as a human rights advocate. In this position, she provided advocacy in human rights cases, primarily in regard to complaints made to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. She joined MWC as a legal advocate in 2019. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and volunteering in various cultural areas.