Authentic Engagement Consulting is a boutique community engagement consulting firm founded by Rachel Malek in early 2017, and based in Vancouver, B.C. We help organisations connect with individuals and groups affected by a client’s work and bring them together to share knowledge and build solutions. We provide planning, facilitation, and writing services in our practice areas of children & youth, housing & homelessness, addictions & harm reduction, gender & sexuality, and mental health & wellness.
Our practice is rooted in lived experience balanced with years of learning and working in the field. We work in areas that we have personal knowledge of and when we step outside of this we partner with others who have lived experience in that area. We help build collaborative and creative solutions to meet the needs of diverse stakeholders. We work in established systems and organisations to create space for other voices and ways of being in community. Our work is deeply connected to social justice communities at the local, national, and international level and is shaped by a personal dedication to equity and human rights.
Rachel Malek, Lead Engagement Catalyst
Rachel Malek is an experiential community engagement consultant working with young people and marginalized communities in the Lower Mainland and across the province. She holds a Certificate in Social Justice from Simon Fraser University (2012) and brings over eight years professional experience in this field. Her passion is bringing those on the margins into the center of community building and decision making. Her work is informed by personal experience falling through the cracks and navigating complex systems at a young age.
Adopted at birth and raised on Vancouver Island, Rachel was kicked out at 14 and moved around the province journeying through difficult spaces, struggling with poverty and experiencing homelessness, addiction, and exploitation. She found better footing in her late teens but struggled again with homelessness twice in the years which followed – getting lost in intersections between health services and the supports offered by various government ministries.
Rachel began walking the path of community engagement alongside this. She went into the thick of it after moving to Vancouver as a high school dropout at 17, spending the next eight years in a variety of front-line positions, coordinator roles, planning committees, and consulting contracts. She built on this with training in facilitation and community engagement through PeerNet BC and Art of Hosting.
Rachel has had her contributions recognized by the Representative for Children and Youth of BC’s Award of Excellence in Youth Leadership (2010), the 24 Hours News Top 24 under 24 (2012), the BC Child and Youth in Care Achievement Award (2016), and most recently, the Canadian Federation of University Women’s National Women’s History Month list of Influential Women (2017).
Lisa Bryson, Director of Chaos and Order
Lisa brings over twenty-five years of experience working with children, youth, and families as a social worker, youth worker, and special education assistant in schools, combined with knowledge of bookkeeping and administration. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Honours), with a focus on Social Psychology & Interpersonal Communication. Additionally, she has a wide range of professional training, including in facilitation, mediation and conflict resolution, best practices in working with children and youth with special needs, policy and legislative review, and cultural sensitivity.
While working with various government ministries, she has gained valuable skills advocating within the system in order amplify the voices of those on the margins. She follows principles of person-centred planning. Her philosophy is that in order to be effective, we must truly understand the specific needs of those we serve. This process involves listening to the barriers and issues faced by individuals, and reaching the right people, at the right time, in the right way.