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Speaker Bios 2018

 Nancy Ali
Nancy Ali is the Marketing Lead for Diversity & Inclusion at the BC Public Service Agency. The BC Public Service is the largest employer in the province with over 26,000 employees and more than 200 distinct fields of occupation.
Christina Baird

Christina Baird is passionate about inclusive employment. In 2013, she joined Community Living BC where she is currently the provincial employment mentor. Christina brings to this work a commitment and understanding gained through firsthand experience. She is herself an inclusive employer at her small business and says her motivation to become involved in employment is understanding the people CLBC serves want the same things we all do and employment positively impacts all aspects of person's quality of life. Hiring a person with diverse abilities also has positive impact on a business’s bottom line. She is privileged to have influence on both sides of the equation in the movement of inclusive employment.” Christina lives in Kersley BC, loves gardening and being a new grandmother.

Deborah Bromley

Deborah Bromley is the President/CEO of ETHOS. She has worked in the employment and training industry for over 28 years; for government, non-profit and for-profit organizations in program development and delivery. Deborah was a member of the BC-Canada Job Grants Advisory Group and participated on the roundtable for the Government of Canada’s “Expert Panel on Youth Employment.” She is a public speaker and entrepreneur with over 24 years’ experience developing and delivering selfemployment. Deborah was a regular guest speaker with the Business Works Self-Employment Program.

Chris Brown

Chris Brown is the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Employment & Labour Market Services Division.

Christine Buchanan

Christine Buchanan, Director of Employment Services & Training with Open Door Group(ODG): Christine Buchanan has over 15 years’ experience in the field of Employment Counselling & Vocational Rehabilitation with Open Door Group. Christine has developed and provided training on working with persons with disabilities for 10 years.
Tamara Cameron

Tamara is a Learning Specialist with a special interest in the design, and development of instructional technology. Tamara’s experience ranges from creating targeted training, to conceptualizing blended learning programs, to designing more comprehensive learning environments. She is well-versed in conceptualizing and determining direction, vision and strategy. Tamara currently works as the Director of Learning Innovations and Technology at ETHOS.

Jenna Christianson-Barker

Currently a Faculty Member of the Disability and Community Studies Department at Douglas College, and with a range of professional experience, Jenna has had the privilege of holding the titles of consultant, hiring manager, service provider and now educator. These varied perspectives have resulted in a unique understanding of the value of diversity and a true passion for workplace inclusion. Previously with the Pacific Autism Family Network as their Director of Strategic Partnerships and Adult Programming, she led the development and implementation of innovative employment programming and overseen several Federal Initiatives, including Ready, Willing & Able and the EmploymentWorks Canada program. Jenna has an MBA from Loyola New Orleans and a degree in Political Science from Pepperdine University.

Diana Delgado

Diana Delgado is currently a General Manager with Back in Motion since December 2016 where she works collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team of professionals to support the operation of the WorkBC centers in the Tri-Cities, Whistler and Squamish.

Her career in employment services started in 2008 at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. one of the major immigrant service organizations in Canada, where she had the opportunity to lead federally and provincially funded programs in BC and Toronto. In 2015, she joined the firm Training Innovations to manage the Port Moody ESC, and lately she became VP of Employment Services.

Diana’s passion is working with immigrants, older workers, women, youth and marginalized individuals to achieve their full potential. She has a strong background in business and people management gained from experience in both private and non-profit sectors.

Shelley Gerber

Shelley Gerber joined CLBC in 2010 and has been the Provincial Employment Coordinator for the last five years; she guides CLBC’s employment work and supports the cross-stakeholder Core Planning Team to advance the objectives of the Community Action Employment Plan. Shelley builds collaboration amongst CLBC, employment services, families, individuals, employers and education representatives. She has direct experience providing supported employment service in Ontario. Shelley lives on a rural property on Vancouver Island where she enjoys hiking, camping and varied creative activities.
Debbie Holmes

Educator-turned-author Debbie Holmes has dedicated her life to helping others. She has spent the last twenty years teaching academics and life skills to youth and adults in the Surrey School District. Debbie’s heart for serving others extends also to her peers in helping professions. She is part of a Train-The-Trainer Series team which assists Helper-educators to develop essential skills to prevent and reduce burnout.
Holly Hume

Engaging, fun, and passionate, Holly is a Career Development Practitioner who enjoys facilitating workshops and creatively assisting Boundary area residents meet their employment related goals.  Holly has worked with Community Futures Boundary for 10 years as an Employment Program of BC Case Manager, Workshop Facilitator, and Youth Program Coordinator. Holly completed her Social Work Diploma in Calgary where she worked with various social services agencies with individuals, families and youth at risk.
Judi Huta
Judi Huta’s rich and rewarding career in Human Services spans decades, giving her a broad range of experience working within Child Welfare, Education and Employment Programs. A life- long learner, she eagerly continues to assume diverse roles to provide her with current, first  hand knowledge and experience working directly with clients and  students within a group or 1-1 setting as well as building and leading teams. Her Leadership experiences include Program  Supervisor at York Regional Child and Family Services ( Child protection agency), Executive Director  of  the former Catalyst House ( group home for young women), Regional Executive Director, WCG’s Jobwave employment program and former Chairperson of the Board at Surrey Hospice Society. Now as an independant contractor Judi continues her passion of being a Catalyst for Positive Change by offering  hope, mentorship and support to her clients, colleagues and fellow leaders.

Kyla Kershaw

Kyla is a Certified Career Management Professional with an Organizational Development Specialization from Yorkville University, and a Canadian Board Certified Life Skills Coach. As the Program Development and Delivery Manager for WDCS North Ltd., Kyla manages Ministry funded programming for essential skills, employability, and life skills, as well as creating customized Private Sector Programs and Projects. Kyla provides workforce development services for organizations and employers, professional development training, and workshops to frontline service professionals to enhance recruitment, engagement, and process optimization. Kyla has designed and implemented curriculum to promote community capacity building and successful outcomes for individuals facing serious life stabilization issues, as well as multiple barriers to employment and community inclusion.

Patricia Leung

Patricia Leung,
Manager of Employment Services - Vancouver with Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS). Patricia Leung has over 10 years’ experience working with Vancouver’s most vulnerable populations as both an Employment Counsellor and Community Outreach worker. Currently responsible for Managing the WorkBC office at Quebec and East 3rd, she grounds her work in the guiding principles of her home organization where the mission is to work towards everyone thriving in strong, healthy, inclusive communities through leadership and collaboration.
Kate Longpre

Kate is the Community Integration Coordinator at the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria. Kate works strategically across sectors to ensure that resettled refugees entering the Greater Victoria area are successfully integrated into welcoming communities. Kate approached Google Translate in September 2016 with the idea for the We Speak Translate project. In April 2017 the project launched in Victoria, BC, the first location worldwide to initiate the project. Since the project launched Kate has trained over 2300 participants in the Google Translate app across Canada and beyond.
Alannah MacPhail

In June 2012 Alannah retired after 10 years as an Elementary School Principal for the School District of North Vancouver. As an educator, she was particularly interested and engaged in inquiry-based learning, learning through the arts, inclusive education, and building healthy and kind communities of learning. She taught and provided leadership throughout the education system in Special Ed/Gifted Ed., K to 10 classrooms, and Teacher Ed at SFU as a Faculty Associate and Program Coordinator.

In December 2013 Alannah earned her post-graduate diploma in art therapy (DVATI). She has a private art therapy practice and a growing career as a visual artist. Her residence and art studio are located in Colwood, B.C. For more information: www.artthatmatters.ca.

Sheila Mitchell

Sheila Mitchell is a Recruitment Marketing Specialist, a write, an editor and a career advisor. She has a background in television promotions, programming, and recruitment marketing for BC Public Service Roles. She received her Masters in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University in 2009 and been with the BC Public Service for 10 years.
Dr. Roberta Neault

An award-winning career development thought leader in Canada and internationally, Dr. Roberta Neault, CCC, CCDP, GCDFi, is President of Life Strategies Ltd., a BC-based career consulting firm with international reach, and a Project Director with the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF).  In her 4 decades within the career development sector, Roberta has supported countless job-seeking clients, career development practitioners (CDPs), counsellors, counsellors-in-training, employment service providers, and policy makers through her extensive speaking, writing, instruction, and consultation on career-related topics. Roberta embeds conflict management models and assessment tools into her work to facilitate shared understanding of diverse perspectives/approaches and building effective teams. Her strengths lie in her professionalism, infectious enthusiasm for empowering others, and "hands-on" experience working with diverse groups of people. She brings vivid anecdotes, practical examples, and a wealth of resources to her training, publications, and keynotes/presentations.

Seanna Quressette

Seanna Quressette, M.Ed., CCDP has worked in the Career Development sector since 1984. In 1999 Seanna began training Career Practitioners. Also in 1999, Seanna began training as a Trauma Therapist. Over the past twenty years Seanna has provide front line services to clients with multiple barriers to employment in a different settings including federal and provincial contracts. Seanna is the owner of Creating Intentional Change, Inc. Through her company Seanna has had a private career counselling practice since 2008 in which she works with clients experiencing all kinds of employment transitions including transitions from workplace trauma. Seanna also works half-time as the Coordinator of Continuing Education for the Faculty of Child Family and Community Studies at Douglas College.

Valérie Roy
Valérie Roy is the Executive Director of AXTRA, the Alliance des centres-conseils en emploi. Valérie works with AXTRA’s members and partners to develop best practices and to develop the body of knowledge in the employment and training sector. She also serves on a number of boards and committees in Quebec and Canada and on the international stage. Over the years, she has worked to promote the career development field and co-ordinated provincial and pan-Canadian projects aimed at improving the employability of underrepresented groups.
Bindi Sawchuk

Bindi Sawchuk is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, Workforce Innovation and Division Responsible for Skills and Training.

Susan Steele

Susan Steele is a lifelong learner who holds a Bachelor of General Studies and a Business Management Diploma from Open Leaning University, and an Applied Arts Diploma from Ryerson. She has had a 40-year career in management and organizational development, working in government, non-profit and small business. Susan’s business leadership experience began in 1994 when she started a consulting business in the East Kootenay region. In 1997 Susan and Barbara O’Neil created Steele O’Neil and Associates which, successfully delivered employment services for 15 years, and were the winners of the 2010 BCCDA Organizational Award. Returning to Vancouver Island Susan started a new company, Island Work Transitions, to serve the Port Alberni area and to deliver the EPBC program. Susan has served on a number of boards, has initiated community projects and was the recipient of the 2016 ASPECT Leadership Award.

Norma Strachan

Norma Strachan is currently the Acting Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET). Previously she was the founding Executive Director of ASPECT.
Rhonda Terbasket

Rhonda Terbasket is a member of the Okanagan Nation and has been in the employment field for 18 years associated with the Okanagan Training & Development Council. She is committed to helping indigenous youth, men and women find their passion in their career while building relationships with other service providers. Rhonda loves working with community members along with decision makers in creating awareness and programming that will support the working relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people promoting the benefits of individual readiness for change.

Jay Townsend

Jay Townsend,
PSI Facilitator with Community Living British Columbia (CLBC): Jay Townsend has been a Facilitator with CLBC in Vancouver since 2011, where he works with PSI eligible individuals and their support networks. Jay has been passionate about employment supports since 1999, when he began working as an Employment Specialist in Calgary Alberta. Jay is the father of a 10 year old boy, plays bass / sings in a heavy metal band, and lives in Vancouver.

Donna E. Wood 

Donna E. Wood
is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. She has a Master of Public Management from the University of Alberta and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Before embarking on a research career in 2003 she worked for over twenty-five years for the Alberta and Northwest Territories governments, providing policy advice and directing income support, social services, apprenticeship, training, and employment programs. She has published on federalism and social policy in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, focusing primarily on unemployment insurance, social assistance, and the public employment service and how these programs are managed across governments. Her first book Federalism in Action: The Devolution of Canada’s Public Employment Service 1995-2015 was published by the University of Toronto Press in May 2018.


Jennifer Zakaib 

Jennifer has been a career advisor with the YWCA Metro Vancouver for 11 years working with youth at risk, single mothers, survivor of violence and persons with disabilities. She has had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of populations and is very passionate in assisting each individual in reaching their goals such as obtaining post-secondary, having them attach to a work experience, volunteer or employment. Everyone’s journey and goals are individual; it is through the collaboration of organizations throughout the community that are able to make this possible. This is what Jennifer is most excited to share with other career practitioners and to provide information on how this is possible to do while working with individuals on a day to day basis.


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