Our Staff

Zeynya Shikur Alemayehu -  Research & Policy Lead

Zeynya is SMA's research and policy lead. Zeynya is a researcher and policy professional with an interest and experience in human rights, sustainability, and public policy issues. In her past roles, working with non-profits, think tanks, and governments, she has coordinated and contributed to several research and policy projects. At SMA, she oversees and collaborates to implement and disseminate the results of SMA's participatory research projects focusing on child care policy and the work-related impacts of COVID-19 on low-income lone mothers in BC, as well as other research conducted by SMA. She also provides research and analytical support to design and execute SMA’s broader policy advocacy initiatives and campaigns. 

Viveca Ellis - Executive Director 

Viveca serves the Single Mothers' Alliance in the role of executive director. Viveca is a founding member of the organization; in 2014, she banded together with other lone mothers impacted by poverty and lack of access to legal aid, housing, and child care, to mobilize grassroots leaders and advocate for public policy solutions to lone-parent family poverty in BC. In past roles, Viveca has worked for the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition as the founder and coordinator of the BCPRC's Community Action Network, then led the Coalition through the pandemic as Interim Community Organizer until her departure to create the first staff role at SMA in 2021. In 2017, Viveca was nominated to the Minister's Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction to design BC's first poverty reduction strategy and resulting legislation. Viveca also represented the BC CEDAW Group at the UN's review of Canada's compliance with the Convention to End Discrimination Against Women in Geneva in 2016. Viveca remains dedicated to mobilizing grassroots movements and campaigns toward human rights, gender equality, and ending poverty in BC. In her spare time, Viveca can be found mountain biking with her 12-year-old son and paddling her canoe on BC's remote lakes and rivers.

Nikki Koutsochilis - Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator 

Nikki Koutsochlis (she/her) is the knowledge mobilization coordinator for SMA. Nikki has a background in community organizing, activism, and communications. She has worked on issue-based, grassroots, and electoral campaigns and is passionate about using her skills to support underserved communities. Nikki is currently pursuing a Master's degree at Royal Roads University, where she plans to research land-based kinship and traditional Andean healing modalities. When she's not working, you might find her tending to her garden, hiking up a mountain, or going on an adventure with friends. 

Vibusha Madanayake - Northern & Rural BC Engagement Liaison

Vibusha Kalanee Madanayake (she/her) is the northern and rural BC engagement liaison for the Single Mothers’ Alliance BC. Vibusha’s previous experience involved managing projects on post-conflict development and gender-based violence in war-affected communities in Sri Lanka. Vibusha is a passionate advocate for gender equality and youth empowerment while pursuing her post-graduate education in Gender Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), BC, Canada. In her spare time, she is keen on spending time with her family, enjoying movies, and exploring diverse destinations and food cultures. 

Arveen Pannu - Projects & Administrative Lead 

Arveen (she/her) is the projects and administrative leading  for the Single Mothers’ Alliance BC. Arveen’s previous experience involved managing a UBC/PHC Gender and Sexual Health Equity research center. Arveen has a strong interest in deepening her understanding of organizational development and leading change within gender and economic justice. In her spare time, she is keen on spending time with her family and being outdoors.