Marianne Roden – Chair
Marianne has over 40 years’ experience as a Certified Dental Assistant working in both general practice dentistry and in Orthodontics as a treatment coordinator.

As a previous board member of the Central Island CDA Society, Marianne enjoys interacting with other dental professionals and being part of a professional team. She completed the Provincial Instructor Diploma (PID) in 2004 and a M.Ed degree from Simon Fraser University in 2017. Marianne has been teaching at Vancouver Island University since 2004. She is currently Instructor and Chair of the Dental Assistant Program at VIU,  Chair of the BC CDA Articulation Committee and a Board member of Nanaimo’s CODE clinic.

Marianne enjoys spending time with her 3 adult children, her 2 grandsons and her husband. She likes to be outside walking and taking in the beautiful ocean and wilderness that is easily accessible in Nanaimo.



Chanta Simister – At Large

Chanta Simister graduated as a Certified Dental Assistant from VIU in 2023. She received the CDA Alliance Award of Excellence which is given to the student with the highest overall academic and clinical performance in the program.


Chanta is passionate about the CDA profession. She was the student leader for her dental assisting program at VIU and attended CDA Alliance Steering Committee meetings while in school. She has continued as a junior committee member for 2023/2024.  As a new assistant, she loves the profession and would like to learn more about how to make it better. 

Harnet Berhe, At Large
Originally from Eritrea, Harnet has made Vancouver “home” for over 22 years.  She has been a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) since 2004, and has worked in three private dental practices in the downtown Vancouver area.  Harnet is passionate about her work and enjoys connecting with patients and colleagues.  She has had the pleasure of witnessing patients and families young and old develop life long good oral health practices.

Outside of her work, Harnet enjoys spending time in nature, chasing the sunshine in the summer, watching the waves come and go by the ocean, hiking, camping, and traveling throughout beautiful British Columbia. She is committed to spending quality time with her close friends and family members. She loves exploring indigenous spiritual practices from around the world. Here in Canada, Harnet has had many opportunities to partake in North American Indigenous Ceremonies and has grown a great respect for their earth-based teachings and culture. Harnet continues to learn and study holistic practices to develop a deeper understanding of our human nature, and how we can thrive at the spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical levels.  Harnet Speaks four languages fluently and is currently learning Spanish for fun.

Harnet became a member of the CDA Alliance to assists this team bring forward the  current issues and challenges the CDA profession is faced with and  to ensure that the profession is adamantly well-represented at all levels of need.  She is excited to assist this team of change makers in the co-creation of a strong foundation for CDAs and she believes that this in turn, will benefit all dental professionals  and the public at large.

Shelley Melissa – At Large
Shelley Melissa has been a CDA for almost 30 years, working in many aspects of dentistry.

Shelley has participated on many committees over the years due to her enthusiasm for the profession and feels grateful for the connections made with others in the field.

She completed her Provincial Instructors Diploma(PID) in 2006 and is currently a full time Instructor at VIU. In her spare time she enjoys hiking with dogs and husband or being in the kitchen trying a new recipe.

Kourtnee Thomas – At Large
Kourtnee Thomas graduated as a Certified Dental Assistant in 2010 with a certification of excellence and has been loving her experience in the industry ever since.

After five years of assisting in general practice Kourtney decided to try Treatment Coordinating which led to Office Coordinating. For the past 5 years, she has been employed by the Blue Ocean Dental Group as an Operations Manager with a focus on Clinical Operations and Practicum Placements.

After spending lengths of time struggling to find CDA’s, Kourtnee is determined to shine a light as to why. She hopes to help others experience the opportunities this industry has to offer.

Elder in Residence, Sheila Nyman


Sheila is a Syilx (Okanagan) Metis woman and a member of the Lower Similkameen Indian band. Her spirit name is “Stands Strong like a Rock BearWoman” and by the generosity of the Ancestors lives in the Interior of BC.

Sheila has worked extensively with women, addictions, mental health, HIV/Aids and well-being in and around Vancouver’s DTES from 1994 to 2007. From 2009 to 2014 she worked providing emotional and cultural support to former survivors of Indian Residential Schools and Truth and Reconciliation.

Sheila received a Fellowship from the University of Victoria and completed her Masters thesis in 2015; her thesis explored the link between ancient Indigenous Ceremony/Traditional Healing and Western models of therapy.

Sheila has been mentored and initiated into “Indigenous Healing and Ceremony” by Spiritual leader and Pipe Carrier, Aline LaFlamme, who is known as “Many Buffalo Running.” She has completed six “Spirit Quests” (vision quest, mountain fasts).

She has learned and earned the responsibility to hold a people’s Pipe. Conducting healing ceremonies such as Moon Lodge and Sweat Lodge keeps her connected with the traditions of the ancestors.

Her connection with Grandmother Moon has inspired her interest in learning and understanding the inter-connections of the energy of our great mother, the Earth.


Click here to hear Sheila’s story.


Shannon Wilson (CDA Lead)


Cherie Payne (Executive Director)