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Meet the senior leadership members of VIRCS that support the overall functions of the organization.


Executive Director

Karen Hira is a second-generation immigrant who is born and raised on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations. 


Karen has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a Masters in Public Administration, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in Public Administration at the University of Victoria. 


Karen first joined the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society seven years ago as a practicum student and was later hired on as a Case Manager. Karen has continued to support VIRCS over the past five years via funding acquisition to support its base services and also supported the Social Innovation Centre to secure funding for the trauma-informed daycare.... Learn more 

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Program Manager, Multicultural and Anti-Racism Programming

Jane Hurtig is the Program Manager for Multicultural and Anti-Racism Programming at the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) where she leads the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network Hub. Jane is the great granddaughter of Eastern European and British Settlers. She was born on Treaty No. 6 territory and moved to the unceded territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations when she was 16. Jane has worked in politics, volunteer management and program management throughout Canada, in the Middle East, North Africa and in the Caribbean.

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Settlement Director 

Asuka Hirai is an immigrant who was born and raised in Japan. Asuka has an Associate Art Degree from Camosun College and a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from the University of Victoria.


Almost 16 years ago, Asuka visited VIRCS as a client then joined the organization as a volunteer. After volunteering for the Settlement program, she decided to go back to University and become a Settlement Worker at VIRCS. After many years passed, Asuka finally re-joined VIRCS as a practicum student, then receptionist, and Settlement Case Manager. She is now the Director of Settlement at VIRCS...Learn More


Program Manager, BC SIS

Nasim Hamed speaks Farsi, Dari, and Azeri and came to Canada many years ago. She always knew that she would eventually work with newcomers (immigrants and refugees) in Canada, as she herself is well aware of the challenges and difficulties adjusting to a new culture in a new homeland without family's support or loved ones.

Nasim's educational background is in Social Work and immigration consulting
Her first official job in Canada from 2003 to 2007 was working at VIRCS as a Settlement Worker. 

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Program Manager, Pathways to Professions, Trades and Entrepreneurship & ESL

Program Manager, Pathways to Professions, Trades and Entrepreneurship & ESL


Jennifer Rawlinson lives and works on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations. 


She started working at VIRCS 8 years ago as the English as a Second Language Instructor and Coordinator.  For the last 2 years, Jennifer has been the Program Manager for our federally funded youth employment program, Pathways to Professions, Trades and Entrepreneurship.

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