To promote health by providing individuals with substance and alcohol addiction issues with access to counselling, information, treatment, aftercare and/ or group support programs.

To address and prevent problems faced by youth by establishing, operating, raising funds for, and maintaining aftercare services for youth dealing with alcohol and substance abuse issues.

To develop best practices in aftercare services to individuals with a substance and alcohol addiction.

About Us

Sumit Ahuja, Founder


Sumit Ahuja is a practicing lawyer in British Columbia representing clients in the area of Family Law. 

He is a recovering alcoholic and addict. 

His addiction almost took his life in March of 2017. Sumit has learned that his addictions started long before he picked up a drink or substance. His learned behaviours as a child and what he witnessed taught him to not reach out for help or to discuss what was happening for him emotionally. 

Alcohol and substances became his numbing aids to further push down and away unresolved feelings and grief. Sumit has attended a residential treatment centre and attends aftercare. Sumit's goal is to assist anyone dealing with addictions, including the family members of an addicted person, to find help and understanding. 

Sumit attempted to fight his addictions alone out of fear of shame and guilt. Nothing worked until he became willing to accept the help available to him. He hopes to promote health and break through a culture of secrecy .

Barinder Bhullar, Chair


Barinder Bhullar is a public affairs strategic advisor with  over a decade of experience in public policy, strategic communications and politics. Barinder has served in senior roles with the Government of British Columbia, as a senior strategic advisor in the office of B.C. Premier, he worked to ensure specific policy development aligned with the broader objectives of government. In this role, Barinder led a team responsible for strategic planning and cross-government coordination.

Barinder has a deep background in stakeholder relations. As Senior Director of International Missions for the British Columbia Government, Barinder engaged with external parties both in Canada and abroad (Asia) to encourage business to business, and business to government relationships.

Barinder has demonstrated a natural capacity for community relations. Throughout his career, Barinder has taken a leading role as a conduit for Government into multiple – sometimes difficult to reach – communities.  Barinder is a trusted advisor with an intimate understanding of British Columbia's business, economic, political and cultural landscape.      

Katy Merrifield


Katy Merrifield is a public affairs strategic advisor and communications consultant with a decade of experience in communications, government relations and public policy, with a specialization on addiction recovery research and public awareness promotion. 

Katy has served a variety of roles with the Government of British Columbia, including the Director of Communications to the B.C. Premier, where she was responsible for ensuring all government announcements adhered to corporate strategic objectives.   Katy has a deep-rooted commitment and passion for addiction policy. In the Premier’s Office, she worked with the Minister of Health, public health and safety experts to help spearhead British Columbia’s response to the 2016 opioid crisis. BC has been heralded as a leading jurisdiction in North America for its efforts. She worked tirelessly to advocate for recovery-focused solutions, ensuring the government’s goal of opening 500 treatment beds was exceeded and met in a timely manner.    

As a former ballet dancer, Katy prioritizes health, fitness and wellness and works with addicts, alcoholics and those suffering from eating disorders to promote body positivity, mental wellness and recovery. She grew up in Surrey and now lives in Vancouver.

Sharad Khare


Over the last decade, legacy documentarian Sharad Kharé has been engaging with some of the world’s most interesting individuals in dialogue in regards to their digital legacy, personal legacy and living legacy. His training as a live dialogue moderator and interviewer has allowed him to capture people like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Jack & Suzy Welch, Chip Wilson and more on his lens. Sharad has been known to travel anywhere in the world that the story takes him, always in pursuit of new and exciting legacy projects to create. His signature interview style is to have a one-on-one dialogue that covers the person’s life journey from beginning to present, comfortably bringing out candid and interesting stories through conversation and unscripted interaction.

Sharad’s research in his masters degree had a deep look at how legacy affects people in their period of greatness, strife, despair, and victory. Sharad’s thesis focused on the relationship between personal legacy and digital legacy. The former involves the persona that one’s friends and family may know about them, while the latter refers to the persona created in the digital realm of social media and art. As Sharad began working in the world of journalism and media, he has maintained his interest in where the two aspects of legacy intersect - a living legacy.

Gary Pooni


In his role as president and senior planner, Gary drives the firm’s growth and manages major client projects. With over twenty years of planning-related experience, he has spearheaded projects throughout the Lower Mainland, the Sea to Sky corridor and throughout BC, Alberta and most recently Ontario. His expertise includes policy planning, public consultation and advanced negotiation and facilitation. After being appointed President in 2008, Gary was honoured as one of Business in Vancouver’s “Top Forty under 40” within a year. 

Passionate about supporting the community, Gary chairs the Urban Development Institute Membership Committee, is an annual instructor for the UDI School of Development, and serves on the board of Provincial Health Services Authority. He also serves as Director of the Indo- Canadian Friendship Society, which provides funding and resources for infrastructure and community development in Punjab, India. Gary holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design (Planning) from the University of Calgary and a B.A. in Geography from Simon Fraser University, and is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Manpreet Dhillon, Secretary


Manpreet is a Certified Personal and Business Coach, and a Human Resources Professional with a Masters in Organizational Management. She brings over 15 years of leadership and community development expertise to the table and her experience spans program development and strategy implementation, governance and organizational management, small & medium business consulting, and much more. 

A sought-after-consultant, coach and workshop facilitator, Manpreet has provided leadership, HR and diversity training and strategy for clients like the UN affiliate: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, City of Vancouver, University of British Columbia, Blenz Coffee, 7-Eleven, Terramera, as well as a host of tech and biotech companies, Canadian political parties, and non-profit organizations. 

Robin Gill, Treasurer


Robin Gill is a Senior Consultant at Deloitte in Vancouver and a Chartered Professional Accountant with over three years of experience in public practice. She has extensive experience managing and leading large teams and complex engagements, as well as providing advice and guidance to finance teams on all aspects of technical accounting and financial reporting. Robin’s expertise includes extensive documentation and testing of internal control processes, and providing suggestions for improvements to the control environment. She also has extensive experience preparing and reviewing financial statements. Robin’s ability to think critically and analyze large sets of data has allowed her to excel in her career.

Robin holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Diploma in Accounting, both from the University of British Columbia. Robin has always had a passion for being involved in the community, which in the past has included volunteering abroad with Habitat for Humanity, and volunteering with the Union Gospel Mission throughout university. She is excited to be part of the liveBIG team and to continue making an impact on the community.