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Intercultural Women's Maker Society


About IWMS

The Intercultural Women’s Maker Society (IWMS) is an organization that aims to support women from diverse cultural backgrounds to improve their skills, expand social networks, and gain self-confidence and independence using maker-based entrepreneurial activities. We are proud to facilitate workshops and programs that support skill development, make connections between artisans and makers in the community, and foster a sense of what is possible for women with passion and creativity.


IWMS holds values of respect, openness, gratitude, professionalism, accessibility, collaboration, involvement, creative support, sense of belonging, and inclusion. At IWMS, we employ an inclusive definition of the terms ‘woman’ and ‘female ’ and we welcome trans and cis women as well as genderqueer, and non-binary people.


We acknowledge that we are blessed to live and operate in Canada, on these beautiful traditional lands and unceded territories of Indigenous Peoples.

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Meet The Team

Michael Yue

Michael Yue is Director of Partnership Development at Vancouver Community College (VCC). He has 20+ years of developing and managing educational projects to benefit community members in need of skill training, employment assistance, and career development. Some of these projects have gained national recognition as best practices. As a former immigrant himself, he has a passion to support newcomers in integrating into the Canadian society. He is a founding director of IWMS and continues to enjoy the collaboration with the IWMS board to advance the organization.

Karolina Barski

Karolina Barski has been a creator and maker for as long as she can remember. She is a full time mother and independent creative. Karolina has used her formal learning in Fine Arts and Imaginative Education to connect, teach and work with newcomer, refugee and vulnerable populations. Her passion for supporting women in their creative entrepreneurial pursuits was born out of teaching and developing Vancouver Community College's (VCC) "Make It!" Program. Karolina believes in the strength of women and the power their imaginations have in creating and building supportive and sustainable creative communities.

Kim Nelson

Kim Nelson was an English as a Second Language instructor for almost 24 years before joining Vancouver Community College as a program assistant. She loves meeting new people and helping them develop their talents. As the newest ember of the IWMS team, she's very much looking forward to supporting as many talented women as possible.

Alena Worster

Patricia Ruiz
Former Director

Patricia Ruiz is a registered clinical counsellor at the Psychological Health & Safety Clinic, and works as a mental health consultant at MyWorkplaceHealth. She has taught in numerous programs supporting immigrants and refugees to develop 

language, job search, employability, and communication skills. Patricia strongly believes that supporting individuals with professional and personal growth, and providing opportunities for learning and social connection positively contributes to the wellbeing of both individuals and our communities as a whole.

Nancy Nesbitt
Former Director

Nancy brings more than 20 years of coaching, managing, marketing, selling and training to her role as a coach, facilitator and serial entrepreneur. It has always been Nancy’s passion to help people define their paths and make connections. And, as a maker herself, Nancy is enjoying this opportunity to help other women creatives achieve their maker goals and expand and deepen their networks.

Nannette Plant
Former Director

Florence Kao
Operation Lead

Florence Kao is the program coordinator in charge of the entrepreneurship programs at DIVERSEcity. She is passionate about empowering immigrant women to become self-employed. The energy Florence brings to the entrepreneurship programs at DIVERSEcity is the reason they won a CANIE Award (BC Region) from the Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation in Spring 2020. Florence strives to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the guidance, mentorship, and business planning basics to succeed.  

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