Our team

    Laura McAlear
    Position: Chair of the Board of Directors and Director of Campaign Operations

    Laura works in Odlum Brown Limited’s Research Department where she assists with the communications from their team of Equity Analysts. She is also a member of the Operations Team, which executes and implements projects and initiatives as directed by the firm’s Senior Leadership Team. 

    As Chair, Laura is actively involved in all aspects of the Ascenta Foundation. She was also the Director of Campaign Operations for the 2014, 2016 and 2019 medical campaigns to Peru and twice to Nicaragua. She is committed to working with people to achieve the Foundation’s goals and wholeheartedly believes in the power of collaboration.

    Kirsten Kennedy

    Position: Director and Chair of the Fundraising Committee

    Kirsten is a Managing Director of BMO Capital Markets, responsible for distribution of Fixed Income Products to Institutional Investors. Her client base consists of a variety of large sophisticated Investors, including hedge funds, provincial treasurers, life insurance, counselling firms and mutual funds. She also manages the fixed income and money market desks in Vancouver. Kirsten started her career in London, England where she was involved in Euro bonds sales to Switzerland returning to Vancouver in 1994 when she joined BMO Nesbitt Burns. She spearheaded and organized BMO’s “Women in Fixed Income” annual conference, which is in its 6th year and is attended by approximately 50 professional women. Kirsten is extremely active in raising money and awareness for a number of charities namely OLPH School, BC Cancer Society, and the MS Society all of which are dear to her heart. Kirsten is passionate about giving back to the community as a volunteer. She has facilitated a support group for women struggling with eating disorders from 1995 to 1998 and also volunteered at St Paul’s Hospital’s Anorexia and Associated Disorders clinic. Kirsten has also worked on the Crisis Line and as an intake worker for West Side Family Place.

    Kirsten has a BA from Queens University in psychology and sociology.

    Duncan Miller
    Position: Director, Chair of the Medical Campaigns Committee and member of the Fundraising Committee

    Duncan Miller is a family doctor who has been in practice in Vancouver since 1995. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia in 198, followed by a Medical Degree from UBC in 1991. He completed his training with a Rotating Internship at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2002. Prior to assuming his present practice, he worked as a locum tenens throughout south eastern British Columbia.

    Duncan has a keen interest in teaching, and has lectured at Mt. St. Joseph’s and St. Paul’s Hospitals, as well as Richmond General Hospital. He is also involved in teaching second-year family practice residents going through the UBC program. Duncan was a regular guest on the Shaw Cable television program “Urban Rush” where he discusses a variety of medical topics.

    Duncan was involved as physician representative for the St. Vincent’s Hospital Foundation for approximately five years, but withdrew his participation with the closure of that hospital. Duncan has a keen interest in fundraising for the B.C. Cancer Agency, in particular to contribute money to benefit breast and prostate cancer research. He has hosted a series of parties, under the name of “Rave Against the Disease”. The most recent event, at the Vancouver Art Gallery raised over $11,000.

    Rob Stenstrom
    Position: Director and member of the Medical Campaigns Committee

    Rob Stenstrom is an emergency physician at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, as well as the research director there, since 2004. He also works part time at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock BC. He completed his medical school at McMaster University and a PhD in epidemiology and biostatistics at McGill University in 1997. He completed emergency medicine residency training at the University of Ottawa in 2001. He is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, and an adjunct professor in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. He is also a scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHÉOS). His active areas of research are in sepsis and septic shock, and infectious diseases. He is also the medical director for UFC events in Vancouver, and has a strong interest in MMA and crossfit.

    Rob has a keen interest in global health and has been on medical missions in Peru, Nepal, Nicaragua, as well as an upcoming mission in Africa

    Hailey Hurst
    Position: Director and member of the Medical Campaigns Committee

    Hailey’s passion for health care began at an early age. She  graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2014 with a degree in Kinesiology.

    She became involved in the Ascenta Foundation through assisting at Fundraising events. Her first campaign to Peru as a general volunteer helped her to realize her dream of becoming a nurse. Hailey then accompanied Ascenta to Nicaragua in 2016 where she assisted in Triage as well as Optometry.

    Hailey is currently attending BCIT’s Bachelor of Science Nursing program and remains jubilant at the prospect of becoming a practicing Registered Nurse. She is thrilled at the opportunity to expand her involvement in the Foundation as well as to continue bringing health care to those in need through Ascenta’s efforts.

    Sarah Read
    Position: Director

    Sarah is a Registered Nurse working in Lions Gate Hospital Emergency Department. She contributes extensive international nursing experience. Over the past 10 years she has nursed in England, Australia and Canada. Having completed her training in England, in 2008 she has worked in high acuity medicine and more recently critical care. In 2017 Sarah completed a Speciality Certificate in Emergency Nursing though BCIT.

    Sarah has previously volunteered at First United homeless shelter in downtown Vancouver and as a First Aider for St John’s Ambulance service.

    She became involved with the foundation by participating in a fundraising event. Having trained in the NHS Sarah wholeheartedly believes in the ethos that healthcare should be free to all at the point of need, regardless of wealth or socioeconomic status, with this in mind she is excited to join the Ascenta Foundation in its mission.

    Elaine Reid


    Elaine graduated from UBC with a BSc in Chemistry. She enjoyed a few years working in student services at UBC before embarking on a 20-year career as a dental hygienist.

    As a hygienist, she actively promoted health and well-being within the realm of dentistry. On a personal front, she embraces an active lifestyle enjoying the world of distance running and Ironman triathlon competitions.

    Nearing the end of her dental hygiene career, she followed her passion into health and wellness promotion and now works with individuals and teams as a personal trainer and cycling coach.

    In joining the board, she hopes to contribute her enthusiasm and dental knowledge to the Foundation’s health and wellness promotion.

    Dr. Brandon Baker

    Position: Director

    Brandon is an optometrist at West 10th Eyes, practicing in Point Grey with Dr. Patricia Rupnow. He received his Doctorate of Optometry from the University of Waterloo. Brandon enjoys travelling with a purpose. His most recent venture involved teaching optometry and eyecare skills to students in Malawi, Africa. This incredible experience gave him deeper insight into third world eyecare missions and heightened his desire to get involved with the Ascenta Foundation.

    David Allard

    Position: Director

    Dave is a partner at the law firm of Lawson Lundell LLP, in Vancouver, B.C., practicing corporate and commercial law. He is a native of B.C. and has an LLB from UBC and a BCL from Oxford University.

    Dave was previously a board member of The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, The Canadian Craft Museum and The World Services Group.

    He has admired the work of the Ascenta Foundation for many years, and looks forward to making a contribution to its continued great works.