Orange Shirt Society

Our Team

The Orange Shirt Society was founded by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad and other passionate individuals. We have Indigenous Staff and Board Members. Our Staff and volunteer Board Members govern the Society and are a group dedicated to supporting our mission.

We gratefully acknowledge that the Orange Shirt Society Office is located on the unceded traditional lands of the T’exelcemc, or Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN), a member of the Secwepemc Nation (Shuswap people) located in the central interior of British Columbia.

Phyllis Webstad

Founder/CEO + Board Member

As founder of Orange Shirt Day and ambassador for Orange Shirt Society, Phyllis Webstad facilitates dialogue around the Indian Residential School system and creates space for healing. Orange Shirt Day, recognized annually on September 30, is a day for people to reflect, educate themselves and commit to Truth and Reconciliation.

When Phyllis was just six-years-old, she was forced to attend St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, British Columbia. Her grandma gifted her an orange shirt to wear on her first day of school, but upon arrival, her shirt was forcibly removed. No matter how much Phyllis cried or protested, her special new shirt was never returned. That cruel action resulted in Phyllis feeling unimportant and as if she did not matter. The colour orange became a symbol of the effects of Indian Residential Schools and a physical symbol for ‘Every Child Matters’.

The Orange Shirt Society was created as a legacy to Phyllis’ Orange Shirt Day. The society works to further the message of Indian Residential School survivors. The non-profit organization is located in Williams Lake, British Columbia, and the board of directors consists of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members. Phyllis works full-time with the society.

Over Phyllis’s career she has acquired diplomas in both Business Administration from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and Accounting from Thompson Rivers University (TRU). She received the TRU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017 for her unprecedented impact on local, provincial, national and international communities through the sharing of her orange shirt story.

A published author, Phyllis has three books that share her story in her own words – Orange Shirt Story; Phyllis’ Orange Shirt; and Beyond the Orange Shirt Story. Due to Phyllis’ work, a simple orange shirt has become a conversation starter for all aspects of Indian Residential Schools across the country and beyond its borders.

Phyllis is Northern Secwépemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band), and she currently resides in Williams Lake, British Columbia with her husband.

Finding comfort in the outdoors, Phyllis can often be found in nature or going for walks outside as it allows her to feel grounded and connected to the land.


Our Staff

​Sarah Philbrick

Executive Assistant and Support to the founder/CEO
Hello, my name is Sarah Philbrick (Tillian William). I am Secwepem’c from the Williams Lake First Nation. I was born and raised in Williams Lake and am a 60’s scoop survivor; I moved away in the early 2000s to Vancouver to complete my schooling. I recently obtained my Bridge watch Rating certificate at BCIT, among other training certificates. I’ve worked with FNHA & VAFCS and gained much experience working with them. I’m happy to have accepted my role within OSS and to be working with Phyllis again. Every Child Matters movement, as it’s been called, has gained momentum throughout Canada, and is spreading worldwide. I’m proud to stand beside Phyllis and cheer her on as she continues to share her knowledge about Truth & Reconciliation with the world. I’ve traveled with Phyllis across Canada, raising awareness and witnessing her strength and courage to share her truth, and I will continue in the years to come.

Jeremy Boston

Orange Jersey Project Manager

More information to come.

Michael Hails

Orange Jersey Project Assistant Manager
Michael is the Administrative Coordinator for the Orange Jersey Project. Growing up playing hockey moved Michael all around British Columbia and even down to the USA for several years. Michael played at Lindenwood University, where he graduated with a Marketing degree. Over the past four years, Michael started his own goalie development company and has been acknowledged by Hockey Canada for his work with the future generation. Michael has a progressive approach to educating and teaching young athletes. That involves open communication with the athletes and parents.

Michael joins the team to continue the development of the Orange Jersey Project.

Sara Fulton

Executive Office Manager
I am a homegrown girl, born and raised in Williams Lake and the youngest of four children.

I have two amazing boys that are very active. Their love for hockey and mountain biking, among other things, keep me on my toes all year round.

In 2004 I obtained my Business Office Assistant with Bookkeeping Applications diploma from TRU, then the University College of the Cariboo.In 2016 I obtained my Organic Master Gardener diploma from Gaia College. I ran my own organic landscaping company for a few years, which I loved, but ended up with a back injury. I still love educating people on how to garden organically and positively impact Mother Nature.

I enjoy almost anything outdoors and find comfort and connection in nature. I love mountain biking, hiking, motorbiking, paddle boarding, fishing, walking my dog, and camping. The list goes on and on. I love big adventures, but it’s the little things in life that bring me joy, a friendly smile, the sunshine on the trees, the birds singing in the morning!

Elaine Kinequon

Executive Assistant and Board Support
Elaine Kinequon is a proud Day Star First Nation member in Saskatchewan, and after living in Vancouver for over 20 years, she decided to leave the big city and now resides in Williams Lake, BC. Elaine works as the Executive Assistant for the Orange Shirt Society and finds this work very rewarding as it creates awareness of the intergenerational impacts of residential schools.

Elaine has over twenty years of office and administrative experience, where she held several roles in Office Administration and Management. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the First Nations University of Canada and also attended the Indian Communications Arts Program, and also completed an Office Administration program.

She firmly believes in her cultural roots, has tremendous respect for all modalities of holistic healing, and participates as much as possible. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, walking, camping, and spending time with family and friends. Laughter is a big part of our culture, and when family and friends get together, you can ensure a lot of laughter.

Board of Directors

​Shannon Henderson

Shannon is a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights and a highly regarded member of the Squamish Nation. As a survivor of the Sixties Scoop, she has dedicated herself to promoting cultural preservation and driving forward progressive reconciliation initiatives for the betterment of generations to come. In her influential roles as President of The Orange Shirt Society, and the Co-Chairperson of the annual Squamish Nation Youth Pow Wow Committee, Shannon draws inspiration from her grandfather, Mr. Edward Gilbert Nahanee, who made significant contributions through his pioneering work with the Native Brotherhood of BC.

Mary Gerges

Board of Director -Secretary
Mary is a values-driven professional who has dedicated her career to the pursuit of work that supports social and economic inclusion of marginalized communities. She is a skilled strategic thinker, project manager and communicator with experience in public, private and non-profit sectors. Her Masters in Public Policy and wide range of professional experience equip her as an agent of systemic change in service of unlocking opportunities for communities and business. Her career highlights include strategic business planning work that led to the launch of Canada’s first Schedule 1 community investment bank, Vancity Community Investment Bank. Which became the first chartered bank to have all assets under management in impact sectors such as clean energy, affordable housing and Indigenous community development.

Mary was also pivotal in leading the development of a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, an Indigenous Talent and Recruitment Strategy, and Indigenous Communities Plan to support Vancity Credit Union in reflecting the diversity of its members, internally enhancing a culture of inclusion, following through on its commitment to reconciliation and delivering financial products and solutions that are relevant to diverse client needs.

Mary’s passion for working in the Diversity and Inclusion space stems from her experience working on multiple reconciliation files including the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and with Indigenous non-profits such as Reconciliation Canada and Indigenous Tourism BC. As a woman of African ancestry she is committed to decolonization and working in solidarity alongside all marginalized communities.

Mary is currently Executive Director, Reconciliation and Equity Strategies at BC Housing. She is also a recent YWCA Women of Distinction award nominee in the category of Reconciliation in Action (ally).

Joan Charleyboy


More information to come.

Chief Willie Sellars

Board of Director
Willie Sellars was born and raised in Williams Lake, BC and is a member of the Williams Lake First Nation (“WLFN” or “T’exelc”) of the Secwepemc Nation. Elected to WLFN Council at the age of 23 in 2008, Willie was one of the youngest elected Councillors in WLFN history. After serving 10 years on Council he was elected as the Chief of the Williams Lake First Nation in 2018 and is currently in his second term. In his previous work experience, Willie worked as a Wildland Firefighter for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations before returning to his community to assume the position of Special Project Coordinator in the WLFN Economic Development Department. During this time he was responsible for new business initiatives flowing from Impact Benefit Agreements, engagement with proponents in the traditional territory and community consultation for major WLFN projects.

Willie is also a published author of “Dipnetting with Dad,” which won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Chocolate Lily, Shining Willow, and Ontario Library Association awards. His second book, “Hockey with Dad,” released in the Fall of 2021. Willie enjoys his family time with his partner and four kids, playing hockey with the Williams Lake Stampeders, attending community events at WLFN, dipnetting, and playing fastball.