Welcome to Heart and Solnes– a meeting place for conversations about newcomers, diversity, integration, and strengthening communities. I’m the convener of this space, Andrea Solnes.

25 years of experience in the BC settlement sector has seen me through many transitions – across communities in Metro Vancouver, and through the roles of EAL Instructor, Curriculum Developer, Project Coordinator, Manager, and Contractor. Day-to-day work in the sector is challenging, but I am grateful for the many opportunities I have to work with dedicated service providers, instructors, newcomers, barriered individuals, immigrant youth, and seniors. In these opportunities, I find my passion.

Since leaving ISSofBC 18 months ago, I have completed a Social Innovation Certificate at SFU. I am currently working independently, and with the rare privilege to explore new ways to work, learn and be. I am optimistic about supporting individuals and organizations in working from their strengths and creativity, and responding to changing communities through innovation, collaboration, and social entrepreneurship.

Heart and Solnes is a place where I can reflect both my understanding of the settlement sector, and my deepest desire to widen circles of compassion. I hope it is also a meeting place to exchange stories and ideas about the complexities and opportunities of our times, how we experience change, and how we can move forward in strong and inclusive learning spaces, workplaces and communities.