BFA Board of Directors
James Baker- President/Founder
James Baker is the heart and soul behind Bikers For Autism Society. His passion for helping families who have been affected by Autism began in 2012 when a family member was diagnosed with a high-functioning form of the developmental disorder. What started as an opportunity to check ‘Cross-Canada Motorcycle Tour’ off the bucket list in 2012, turned into a ride driven towards raising awareness for Autism. From there, a greater cause quickly took shape and escalated into a community of Motorcycle enthusiasts and people from around the world learning to live with Autism.
James grew up in the sleepy, Pacific town of Ladysmith British Columbia. Growing up observing his father’s love for riding motorcycles, eventually sparked his evolving two-wheel passion for the road.
Combining a compassionate and driven attitude, James found himself at the forefront of the “Look Bad, Do Good” movement that embodies a passion for riding and motorcycle culture while giving back to the community and the people who support the cause.
James pushes the boundaries by honing his atypical approach to the image of this cause- Look Bad, Do Good. He’s combined forces with Harley Davidson, Lords Of Gastown Apparel and Sailor Jerry’s to host a plethora of rides, events and fundraisers all directed towards making a difference and raising awareness for the Autism community. From hosting all-day festivals and world autism awareness day fundraisers to running Tough Mudder to three long rides both east and south and there’s no sign of him slowing down on his road paved towards a positive change.
Craig Svalestuen- Vice President
Craig brings to the Bikers for Autism table 35 years of experience in the BC public school, most recently as the Principal of a large metro area high school. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from UBC bringing quite a unique blend of experience and education along with him. Appointed to the BFA Board of Directors in 2015, Craig is excited to help the organization grow and continue on the path so courageously begun by James and the original board members.
Craig's passion for motorcycling was rekindled a couple of years ago with the purchase of a big blue custom Harley. That, combined with a chance meeting with James Baker in 2014 and a keen understanding of the struggles faced by individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, was all it took to motivate him to volunteer. Bikers for Autism, while a small group at its core, has big ideas combined with a strong commitment to help make life a little bit better for these families and individuals.
Craig will tell anyone who will listen just how STOKED he is to be a part of Bikers for Autism!
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
-- Margaret Mead
Kaleah Ward - Secretary Director
I am honored to join the Bikers For Autism Board of Directors. Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of participating in numerous events with BFA, and now I am so excited to contribute in an even greater capacity.
Autism is a topic close to my heart. Working for the last 5 years with the Vancouver School Board as an Education Assistant, I have been affected daily by children on the spectrum. I have come to love and cherish my relationships with these children and their parents. I don’t consider this to be “work”, as I feel it is my blood to do this, and enjoy the challenges and successes each day presents. Part time I also have the pleasure of coaching a boys hockey team called the Orcas. The team represents CAN, The Canucks Autism Network, and is made up of over 20 boys aged 10 thru 20, all over the spectrum. Being involved with CAN is one of the highlights of my life to this date, and I encourage all families to get their child involved with them as well.
I welcome this next adventure, joining the amazing team at BFA! I hope that I can contribute my experience and knowledge in a way that honors the children and families we intend to support and encourage, as well as educate the community who can sometimes find Autism so mysterious! I hope to see you all at our events and fundraisers, and if you see me, please come and say hi!
Jeremy Omand- Director
Brings a myriad of experience and passion to the board. A single foster parent to a teenager with autism and once special education assistant, he understands the unique challenges and pleasures of life shared with an individual on the spectrum. Jeremy is a former equity trader turned business owner, now is a partner and operations manager of a parts distribution company in the oil & gas sector.
"I love giving back, helping others and feel an especially strong connection with the autism community. Bikers For Autism allows me the opportunity to provide direct support to families and individuals affected by autism while also giving me an outlet via my passion for motorcycles. I'm super happy to be onboard!"