Thomas C. Esakin highlights a career path strengthened by an abiding interest in human well-being and its betterment, and supported by ongoing post-secondary educational studies. His professional life has had him journey through the interconnectedness of the political, NGO, sustainability, academic, religious/spiritual and therapeutic sectors.
Tom is Principal for Reflective Presence Ministry, which offers strategic management supports for not-for-profits by providing services to strengthen or renew NFPs by re-imagining their future potential, and helping re-design their organisational structures and practices to realise that new future.
As an interfaith spiritual director (also referred to as a spiritual companion or coach), Tom offers supports in spiritual direction, pastoral conversations, and in end of life companioning. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and serves on the Advisory Council of Pacific Jubilee. Tom brings a breadth of interfaith knowledge and practice to his interfaith spiritual companioning. He is at home in: Christian ecumenism, Buddhism – the Theravada tradition, Sufism - Universal Sufism, Agnosticism and Atheism. Tom holds a general, practiced, understanding of Judaism and its Kabbalistic tradition, as well as of Hinduism. Over 2017, Tom served as a Guest Host of the Death Matters Live show on Vancouver Co-op Radio, interviewing guests about religious considerations and death. In Autumn 2017, in partnership with SFU, he co-designed and co-organised Canada’s first (and over-subscribed) “End of Life Expo”. Over 2016-2018, Tom co-facilitated four “Dying Matters: Information & Conversations” workshops and 14 Death Cafes with Vancouver-area community partners including the Vancouver Public Library system. In 1990 he lived in Haiti to volunteer as a layman nurse with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity and, during that time, learned details about the Haitian voodoo tradition and its belief systems.
Tom’s professional background includes the leadership role of Executive Director and program designer for each of the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP), JUMP Math, and the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (the administrative arm of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve).
Tom professional background also includes being a former Program Director for the “DiverseFutures” (DF) and "Employment KEEP IT!" programs of the Nanaimo Youth Services Association (NYSA). These programs offered skills training and work experience to vulnerable youth or youth encountering barriers to employment in the mid-Vancouver Island region of British Columbia, Canada. In this role, Tom strategically oversaw the programs and NYSA’s program relationship with the Government of Canada, including; application design, financial oversight, program delivery, and reporting. As part of his program redesign efforts for NYSA, Tom initiated and established new strategic partnerships with the Petroglyph Development Group (PDG) of the Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN) and with the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS). His program redesign also incorporated social enterprise opportunities for both youth and NYSA. As part of his new marketing effort for DF, Tom initiated and directed NYSA’s development of YouTuber videos.
Tom is additionally experienced in university-level instruction, curriculum design, and public speaking, including with foreign trained professionals from over 40 countries and six continents. His program design skills have been honed and enhanced through his work as an Educator in Sustainability at SFU, Ryerson University, George Brown College, and Universidad del Caribe. An accomplished ‘Systems Thinker’, Tom was appointed by Ryerson as an early Academic Coordinator for the Certificate in Sustainability Management and recognised as a Subject Matter Expert in Sustainability. Tom has also taught both sustainability and “Dying & Death: Conversations and Reflections” courses at SFU for the Liberal Arts & 55+ program. In his earlier professional life, Tom worked as a senior policy adviser and political aide to parliamentarians in Canada’s Senate and House of Commons; and was contracted as a Campaign Manager for local, provincial and federal political aspirants.
Tom completed an MA in Sustainable Development (with thesis) from Staffordshire University, UK and has taken masters-level graduate studies in Political Studies through the University of Saskatchewan. His undergraduate degree, a BA with a major in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy, was completed through Simon Fraser University. From the Ryerson University Learning and Teaching Office, Tom completed the Instructional Skills 3-day workshop. Tom has also completed counselling and related trainings through Vancouver Island University (Counselling Skills Levels 1 and 2), the Vancouver School of Narrative Therapy (Certificate in Narrative Therapy Foundations), Douglas College (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), the Vancouver Island Crisis Society (ASIST - Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), and Jubilee Associates Ontario (Spiritual Direction/Companioning). He holds a certificate in end of life supports (Sacred Presence with the dying) through the Sacred Dying Foundation.
Professionally, Tom is published (in both the English and Spanish languages) in the sustainability and educational fields, and personally he is published as a poet.