MEET the Team


We are a collection of people, ideas, and passions. 



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Biotech Innovator, Idea Generator, and Permaculture Designer

Paige Whitehead, FounDer and Ceo

Paige wants to change the world and have fun doing it. She started Nyoka and developed the Light Wand during her time as a Microbiology and Environmental Studies Student at the University of Victoria. With a background in research (WWF, Deep Bay Marine Research, Starzomski Labs), business (Core Glow), environmental restoration, permaculture design, and growing obsession with bioluminescence, she conceived of the Nyoka Light Wand and the ethos of Design for Rebirth. 

Some of her research interests include: bioluminescence theory and applications, indigenous microorganisms, global microbiome health, connectivity of the "microecosphere", and carbon sequestration. Catch up with some of her research/development/design on her website. When she's not working on Nyoka, Paige can be found taking over the Victoria Makerspace Biolab, teaching herself to code, piecing together some artwork for the Nyoka blog, and occasionally out dancing 'way too late' (according to her mother).
Get in touch with Paige at



Sustainability Boss, Problem Solver, Eco-Warrior

Brianna LePiane, BusIness Development Manager

Brianna helps creative visionaries solve social and environmental challenges by getting their ideas to the next level.  Her background in marketing management, business development in the sustainability field, and expertise in compostable materials makes her a great fit with the Nyoka team.   

Brianna's journey started once she completed a BA in Hispanic Studies at the University of Victoria and was called upon to translate for a cultural exchange program between First Nations youth here in British Columbia and a Mayan youth group from Guatemala.  The experience set her on course to connect more deeply with people and the planet – there must be a better way to work with people to have positive impacts on their lives and in our communities.  She later became the National Ambassador for Delta Hotels first their very first Corporate Social Responsibility campaign.  From there she honed her marketing skills to be able to support those visionaries who’s core values provide real, tangible solutions facing our world today. 

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STEAM Educator, FINANCIAL Whiz, Teacher of the Next Generation

Yamila Franco, CFO

Yamila started her journey when she left the Dominican Republic and visited Canada where she was inspired by the different lifestyle and possibilities in the field of Science. With an international scholarship she attended the University of Victoria, where she completed her Honours in Biology and has dedicated herself to supporting international students in their transition to Canada, supporting organizations who share her values of inclusivity, support and education, and empowering youth through STEM education. At UVic Yamila formed part of the Global Community Student Advisory Council, supporting the development of new policies for the University, and connecting with different community members. 

For the past three years she has been delivering inspiring, hands-on STEM curriculum to youth and is a strong advocate for women in STEM, especially young women in computer science. Her experiences eventually led her to working in financial literacy and communications, where she discovered a passion for connecting with individuals and sharing empowering information through technology - "My job is to raise more leaders in the community so we can all move forward, inspiring and supporting each other towards an innovative future in harmony with our Earth." #womeninstem #hashtagsasdata #yamilatime!


CO-OP STUDENT, design nerd, photoshop whiz

CASSIDY LUTEIJN, artist in residence

Cassidy just wants to make the world a more beautiful place. She is our newest member here at Nyoka as our Artist in Residence for the fall semester of 2018. She is on CO-OP from her fourth year studying Visual Arts at the University of Victoria specializing in painting and sculpture. She first developed an interest in graphic design and advertising while developing custom posters for clubs on campus as a side hustle to make some extra cash in order to fund her obsession of posh hipster beverages.

She has a passion for making contemporary art (that really weird, out-there stuff you see in art galleries) accessible to the public and has been known to love giving the occasional tour through a local gallery. You will probably run into her at some point on campus as she is a Community Leader in Residence running the Arts Collective Living Learning Community. She empowers the creativity of new students with the occasional Bob Ross Paint Night and providing a helping hand along the way when things get tough. When she needs a break from her dozens of side projects, she enjoys getting outdoors and connecting with nature. Check out her website to see some rad projects she’s been working on.