Board of Directors


Janos Maté

Janos Maté (M.A.), one of the founders of Instruments Beyond Borders, is a former social worker and therapist and a long time peace, environmental, social justice and animal rights activist. 

He has been a Greenpeace campaigner since 1989, working on issues related to nuclear disarmament, ozone layer depletion and climate change. 

Over the years he has produced numerous benefit galas in Vancouver. These included telethons and events at the Plaza of Nations , the Orpheum and the Vogue theatres,  and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a variety of worthy causes. He was one of the founders and a Co-Director of the Chutzpah Festival. 

He is the recipient of awards from the Governor General of Canada, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United States Environment Protection Agency.

Patrick Ellis

Passionate about all things music, Patrick Ellis sees Instruments Beyond Borders as tremendous chance to share his love for music by giving less fortunate young people the chance to discover and develop their own musical passions.

Patrick is President of Blue Note Wine & Spirits Inc. (Vancouver BC), a Wine, Spirits and Premium Saké import and marketing company founded in 1996.

Educated at M.I.T. (Masters, 2015), Keio University (Tokyo) and University Victoria, Patrick also is a certified Senior Saké Specialist.

He is fluent in Japanese and in addition to his annual Japan trips, he travels extensively to a number of countries around the world.

Patrick presently serves on the Board of the Entrepreneur Organization (EO), and he is the proud father of 3 daughters who are all currently studying at UBC.

Praveen Varshney

Praveen Varshney is a long-time member and past President of the Vancouver chapter of The Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) and a founding director of the Vancouver chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE).  

Mr. Varshney is a past recipient of Business in Vancouver's 40 Under 40 Awards.  

He is also a director of the Varshney Family Charitable Foundation, a Partner, a Director of and on the advisory board of Room to Read - Canada.

Nicholas Urquhart

Nicholas Urquhart is the VPO’s assistant conductor and recipient of the VPO Wallace Leung Memorial Internship. He is a conductor, double bassist and music educator. He holds degrees in both Music and Music Education. He began his conductor training while studying double bass at the University of Victoria. There he mentored with Maestros Janos Sandor and Yariv Aloni, earning his Bachelor’s of Music with distinction. Nicholas continued his conducting studies once in Vancouver, studying with Kenneth Hsieh, Morihiro Okabe and Bujar Llapaj and Jin Zhang.

Nicholas is the Music Director of the West Vancouver Youth Strings and the Killarney Strings. He is a regular guest conductor with I Musici Sushi

Ensemble and is currently in his third year as the assistant conductor for the Canada Day Pops Orchestra.  He is also President of the West Coast Symphony.

Mr. Urquhart has worked with a number of ensembles including, the West Coast Symphony, Sunshine Coast Symphony, BCMEA Honour Orchestra, University of Victoria Chamber Orchestra (a group which he founded), A Little Night Music Orchestra, Kabok Chamber Strings, Elgar Strings, Lord Byng Symphony Orchestra, Plastic Acid Chamber Strings and Surrey Youth Orchestra. As well, Nicholas is a regular clinician with the Vancouver and Burnaby school boards and has worked as an adjudicator and clinician for the Kiwanis International Music Festival.

Rob Smith

Rob Smith has 18+ years experience as an investor and advisor to technology and growth companies. Most recently founder in Sociable Ventures,  and co-founder & Director of G-PAK Tech. Inc., a sustainable packaging company. As an independent singer/songwriter he has two CDs to his credit, four top 40 radio singles and was nominated for the best new solo artist (Mainstream Adult Contemporary) at the 2005 Canadian Radio & Music Awards. He has worked with some of the music industry’s top producers and song writers including Chin Injeti, Manuel Seal Jr, and Josh Ramsey. Rob is happily married with 3 children and deeply passionate about social change. He is one of the founding members of Instruments Beyond Borders (IBB). 

Noni Maté

Noni Maté is the former Director of 7th Floor Media, a new media development group for education and culture, at Simon Fraser University. Her team of designers, programmers and educational experts created web sites, interactive kiosks, installations, mobile sites and Apps. A former English and History teacher, Noni is interested in using technology as a tool for communication and learning.

Alejandro Rojas

Originally from Chile, Alejandro Rojas came to Canada in 1978. He was the President of the Federation of Students of Chile (FECH) from 1969-2002 anda Member of Parliament representing the City of Santiago at the end of the democratic-socialist Government of Dr. President Allende. 

He had to live underground and later leave the country as a refugee after living an entire year in the Embassy of Finland in Santiago. Between 1974 and 1979 he went to over 60 countries campaigning for human rights in Chile and Latin America. He came to Canada with his wife, Elena andolder son, Daniel in 1979, and conducted graduate Master’s, PhD and Post Doctoral Studies at York university in Political Sociology, Environmental Sociology and Ecological Anthropology. In 1985 he became Assistant Professor at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. 

Dr. Alejandro Rojas is currently a Professor at UBC with the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and the Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Integrated Studies on Land and Food Systems. He is the Principal Investigator of Think & Eat Green @ School: A Community-University Collaborative Project on Food Security and Institutional Adaptations to Climate Change in Vancouver Schools. He is currently a Co-Investigator in a Major International Collaborative Research Initiative on Institutional Adaptations to Climate Change. He was also the Principal Investigator in a project on Adaptive Environmental Conflict Resolution, and conducted research on sustainability, water conflicts, social movements and theory of the state, transcultural psychiatry and intercultural communications. 

Leanne Clarkson

Two of Leanne’s passions are music and making a difference in people’s lives so when she was approached to join the board of Instruments Beyond Borders, she was ecstatic.

One of the ways Leanne fulfills her need to make a difference is by working in the helping field. She is a Registered Professional Counsellor with a Master Practitioner Counselling Psychology designation through the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association. She’s also certified in Addictions Counselling, Master Life Coaching and Wellness Counselling. 

Leanne shares her time between her downtown private practice and her position at N8 Wellness where she provides individual counselling for men and women struggling with relationship issues, addiction, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

Leanne was born to sing and perform! Growing up with influences from Rock n’ Roll, Punk, Disco and Pop, to classical (and everything in between), music was a main staple in her home. Leanne’s favourite subjects in school were drama and music and she spent 12 years singing in various choirs as well as learning to play the guitar. Twelve years ago Leanne joined her first cover band and developed into a lead singer. She says she was hooked and since then has been in 5 bands, including her latest top 40 dance cover band, and she has performed over 100 shows. 

Elena Orrego

Elena is originally from Chile and has lived in Canada for most of her adult life.  She holds a Bachelor’s Specialist and Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Toronto in Canada.  Elena has studied and worked in herbal medicine for many years, and for 13 years she co-owned, directed, and administered a successful natural health center that prepared and distributed herbal medicine in Vancouver, Canada.  The centre also provided the service of practitioners in herbal medicine and other traditional health care practices.  Elena has participated in a major international collaborative research project on social adaptations to climate change, and for more than ten years she has facilitated workshops on inter-cultural communication and diversity. She was the Project Coordinator between 2006 and 2010 in a UBC-based CIDA Tier 1 International Collaborative Project Sustainably Managing Health Risks in Ecuador.  She was also the Project Manager of Think and Eat Green at School at the University of British Columbia from 2010 to 2016, a project dedicated to create sustainable and healthy food systems in Vancouver’s public schools.

Allan Doolittle

Allan Doolittle practices law at Gudmundseth Mickelson LLP in Vancouver. He litigates commercial and public law matters, including complex real estate disputes and class actions, and also has extensive experience involving incorporated societies. Prior to practicing law he attended Dalhousie Law School where he received numerous awards and scholarships following which he assisted several Justices as a law clerk at the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Before attending law school Allan was a graduate student at Simon Fraser University where he studied mythology and the poetry of Alexander Pope.