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Speaker Bios 2021


KEYNOTE DAY 1 | WENDY LOEWEN

ACHIEVE CENTRE 
Wendy is the Managing Director of ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership and co-author of The Culture Question. She is a thoughtful and empowering leader who believes in the importance of listening to the needs and aspirations of people, and then facilitating the next step in their development. Wendy is vice president of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Manitoba. She is a former teacher and director of a health and social services program. Wendy has a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Management, and Bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Education. She believes that learning is a dynamic and lifelong endeavor, and with commitment and guidance, the process should be enjoyable and motivating. Wendy is an engaging presenter who delivers material in a way that maximizes the learning potential for all participants.


KEYNOTE DAY 2 | PEDRO BARATA

Future Skills Centre
Known for his strategic leadership, an active voice on social policy, and a commitment to community building, Pedro Barata’s career and extensive volunteer work in the non-profit sector spans two decades. 
As the Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre, Barata works with the key project partners to realize the Centre’s mandate and objectives: to build a network of key partners and stakeholders, lead and invest in cutting-edge research, test and evaluate innovative projects, and ensure that knowledge is shared and acted on.


AKOSUA ALAGARATNAM

First Work
Akosua is the Executive Director of First Work. Prior to joining the organization, Akosua worked as a senior public affairs professional, primarily focused on policy affecting marginalized communities and youth. 


ANDREW BASSINGTHWAIGHTE

Brock University
Andrew Bassingthwaighte (MA, CCDP) is a Talent Performance Consultant at Brock University working with students from a variety of disciplines and has worked in the UK and Canada for over 20 years.



ASHLEY BOHA 

Regina Work Prep 
Ashley Boha is the Executive Director at Regina Work Prep, a leading employment service provider and workforce development organization in Saskatchewan that has been around for over 45 years. 


BETH HURST

Kootenay Employment Services
Beth was born and raised in the UK where she worked extensively in recruitment and service industries before entering the corporate world. Roles in both risk and project management further developed her passion for helping others to become the best version of themselves and inevitably her career led to corporate education and training. 



CARRIE  EVERETT

Bridges for Women Society
Carrie Everett has been with Bridges for Women since 2010 and has extensive experience in mentorship, volunteerism, facilitation, and leadership. She holds a degree in women’s studies and is currently completing a Master of Counselling.


CASSIE TAYLOR 

Life Strategies
Cassie Taylor, has over 10 years of experience supporting a vast array of diversity-focused projects from conceptualization, data gathering/analysis, and creation of tools, resources, and presentations/workshops. From local to international, Cassie’s work seeks to improve career development services through fostering culturally-informed practices rooted in empathy, understanding, collaboration, and data.


CATHERINE POOLE

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

Catherine Poole is the Executive Director of the Workforce Development Programs and Accountability Branch in the Workforce Development and Skills Training Division of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.  The Branch leads the design and implementation of programs funded under the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) aimed at supporting vulnerable and underrepresented groups to gain skills and attach to the labour market.  The Branch is also responsible for performance measurement, data collection, reporting, evaluation and systems for all WDA programs. 

Catherine is passionate about diversity and inclusion, working in such portfolios as employment equity, harassment prevention, women’s equality, human rights, immigration, and multiculturalism.  She holds a Master’s degree in Social/Cultural Anthropology from the University of Toronto, with a specialization in First Nations studies.  Catherine enjoys learning about other cultures, speaks English, French and some German, loves to travel and read, and is grateful to live, work and play in beautiful British Columbia on the Saanich peninsula, the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples.  She is committed to Reconciliation personally and professionally, and is honoured to work with Indigenous peoples on this journey.


DARCIE DAVIDSON

ETHOS Career Mgmt. Group Ltd.
Darcie is our new WorkBC GM with a penchant for learning and growing. She leads a diverse team of career practitioners who are embracing a new and enduring reality of online, virtual and in-person services. 


DAVID CORY

The Emotional Intelligence Training Company Inc.
David Cory, B.Ed., M.A., is a coach and a trainer and the founder of The Emotional Intelligence Training Company Inc., starting in 1998 it was one of the first companies to offer emotional intelligence training.


DEBORAH  BROMLEY 

ETHOS Career Mgmt. Group Ltd.
Deborah has extensive experience in the fields of adult education, performance management and project management. Working in the industry for over 30 years, Deborah has provided innovative and relevant learning solutions to small business, corporate clients, and government agencies in a variety of industries. Applying her expertise in training needs analysis, learning evaluation, and project management, Deborah’s learning solutions, tools and processes have measurably enhanced learners’ performance. She has also facilitated lively and informative training and conference sessions across Canada and the U.S. 


DR. CATHERINE  HAJNAL

Life Fundamentals
Dr. Catherine Hajnal facilitates an understanding of trauma, loss, and grief as well as their transformative potential. She is committed to creating learning environments that foster a deeper understanding of the human conditions.



DR. IMBENZI GEORGE


MYERT CORPS INC/ Trinity Western University Graduate School
Currently serving in the Diplomatic Corps , Assistant Professor and CEO of MYERT CORPS INC.



FARHEEN HASSANY


Farheen Hassany is passionate about diversity advocacy and has over 7 years of experience working and volunteering with vulnerable populations including women, children, and immigrants. She believes in the importance of intersectional activism that considers the many dimensions of individuals’ identities and experiences.


GEMMA POLLOCK

Neil Squire Society
Gemma Pollock is a Registered Occupational Therapist with the Neil Squire Society. She specializes in ergonomics and assistive technology assessments for people with barriers in the workplace.


GLENDA LAGASSE

Douglas College
Glenda teaches in the Access Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is passionate about helping people with disabilities realize their full potential whether through employment, volunteering, further studies, or entrepreneurship. 


JACKIE THIESSEN

Dawson Creek Catholic Social Services Society
Jackie is the Executive Director with DCCSSS. Jackie Specializes in Contract Procurement & Management, Community Outreach Strategies, and Client-Centred Employment Services. 


JANET  MORRIS-READE

ASPECT BC 
Janet Morris-Reade is the CEO of ASPECT BC (Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training).  At ASPECT BC, she works to provide leadership, education, advocacy, and public awareness in support of community-based workforce development service providers, working with government and stakeholders to ensure that the needs of those seeking a meaningful and sustainable livelihood are met. 


JESSICA BOLDUC

4Rs Youth Movement 
Aanii boozhoo! My name is Jessica, and I am Anishinaabe-French from the Batchewana First Nation. I am privileged to be the Executive Director of the 4Rs Youth Movement, working alongside leaders who are creating capacities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people to come together to cultivate understanding and action in support of a type of reconciliation that is relevant to young people.


JOANNA JAMES

ETHOS Career Mgmt. Group Ltd.
Joanna is the RiseUp! Program Manager, Coordinator of the Island Ops Program, and has a Degree in Social Work. She comes from a vast background in the non-profit sector working with children, adults and youth with disabilities in both therapeutic and educational settings. She also has experience as an advocate within indigenous organizations. Joanna, along with her team of professional, like-minded, highly educated women, all have a passion to support women with disabilities to thrive in the workforce. 


JOANNE CHUNG

Langara College
Joanne Chung (aka “CDP Whisperer”) is a learner-focused, outcome-oriented Career Practitioner/Educator with superb skills in career counselling and innovative strategies in adult learning. She is a strong believer in self-efficacy by empowering people to maximize their potentials. 



KERRY TAYLOR

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction 
Kerry is currently Acting Assistant Deputy Minister with the Employment and Labour Market Services Division responsible for the WorkBC Program at the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. She has been an Executive Director with the division since May 2018.


LONDA MORRIS

Kootenay Employment Services
Londa Morris is the Finance & Operations Manager and oversees four offices in the Central and East Kootenays that deliver a range of employment programming. With a background in counselling, psychology and research, Londa brings a unique skillset to KES. 


LORI FORGERON

Workforce Development Consulting Services North Ltd. 
 Lori is the CEO of WDCS North Ltd. and serves on the ASPECT BC Board. 


LORI GODIN

The Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation (CCMI)
 Lori Godin is a Registered Nurse with 38+ years of experience in both acute care and the community. She is a Master Trainer at CCMI and coordinates the activities of the Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation and is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.


LYNDA TESSIER

Employment Services Centre Prescott-Russell (CSEPR)
 Lynda is a career advisor at the employment services centre of Prescott-Russell located in Quebec.


MALORIE MOORE

Kootenay Career Development Society
Malorie is a Registered Social Worker and a Certified Career Development Professional in BC. She has over 10 years of experience working in the field of mental health, substance use and community development.


MANNY  JUDGE

Open Door Group 
Manny Judge is an Associate Program Director at Open Door Group based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

MATT  VISSERS

ETHOS Career Mgmt. Group Ltd.
Matt is a Business Coach and Small Business Specialist with 10+ years of experience providing excellent customer service and problem-solving approaches. Matt has been instrumental in helping our clients learn in an online environment.


MEGAN HAMLET

ETHOS Career Mgmt. Group Ltd.
Megan Hamlet joins the ETHOS panel as Manager of Learning and Development. She brings a passion for technology, online learning and creating engaging facilitation sessions that combine her education and lived experiences. 


NATE  TOEVS

Neil Squire Society
Nate is the Marketing Manger at Neil Squire, a non-profit organization that has been revolutionizing the lives of Canadians with disabilities since 1984 through accessible technology. Nate has a long standing background in Retail, Wholesale and Business to Business sales and marketing activities. 


PATRICIA RAWSON

Bridges for Women Society
Patricia Rawson has been with Bridges for Women for over 7 years. She has extensive experience in education and employment services and is committed to supporting women to have more opportunities and choices in their lives.


PATRICK JOBE

CanAssit, University of Victoria 
Joining the CanAssist team in July, 2021, Patrick brings a principled but fluid worldview to the role of Employment Strategy Manager. Passionate about supporting human potential, Patrick will be working closely with CanAssist leadership to lead the development of the Provincial Employment Strategy for Youth with Disabilities, for the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. This three-year project will be guided by a Provincial Network of key stakeholders. 


PETER BAILEY

Free Rein Associated
Peter Bailey has worked with Free Rein Associates in every capacity since 1993. Peter is a certified employment counselor, holding the BC Career Development Credential. He also has a business certificate from BCIT and the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma through VCC. It is Peter’s personal value that the Free Rein services help community members develop their careers to enhance their quality of life and therefore the quality of life in the whole community. 


PATTY WATT

ETHOS Career Management Group Ltd.
Patty Watt (she/her) works with ETHOS Career Management Group Ltd to provide employment services and supports to participants in the TechWORKS for Young Adults Program. Patty also works as the Team Lead in both the TechWORKS and QmunityWORKS Programs. Patty has been involved in employment services since 1990, working in both Saskatchewan and on Vancouver Island, and has been CCDP certified in BC since 2015. She enjoys being involved in her community and in building relationships to connect clients to employment opportunities and services.  


ROBERT BORGEN 

Life Strategies 
Dr. Roberta Borgen (Neault), CCC, CCDP, GCDFi, is President of Life Strategies Ltd., Project Director with the Canadian Career Development Foundation, and President of the Counsellor Educators Chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. An award-winning career management specialist with almost four decades of relevant experience in counselling, coaching, consulting, training, curriculum design, research, and writing, Roberta recently retired as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences for Yorkville University and served on Team Canada for the 2017 International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policy in Korea.


SAM BURNETT

The Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation (CCMI)Centre
Sam Burnett is dedicated to building constructive and collaborative opportunities for growth and development within teams and across organizations. He works with organizations to design skill and capacity building programs that improve their services and functioning.


SARA COLLINS

ETHOS Career Management Group Ltd.
Sara Collins (she/her) offers Career Supports at ETHOS Career Management Group Ltd, where she helps clients to build careers in the digital economy, focusing on high-demand skills training and work experience. Sara has been a part of the team at QmunityWORKS since the program began in 2019, working with LGBTQ2S+ folks & their allies, who face barriers to finding employment. The QmunityWORKS Program focuses on job readiness, career paths, and returning to school. Sara has also provided Career Support for Micro-credential programs being offered through Royal Roads University. A long-time resident of Vancouver Island, an avid reader, mother to three children, and an ally to the LGBTQ2S+ community, she is a passionate & sincere Employment Specialist.


SARAH HOLLOWAY

ETHOS Career Mgmt. Group Ltd.
Sarah Holloway (she/her) works as a Job Developer providing employment services and advice to participants in the TechWORKS for Young Adults Program offered by ETHOS Career Management Group Ltd. She enjoys meeting new people and building relationships with participants in the Program and with people in her community. 


SAREENA HOPKINS

Canadian Career Development Foundation
As Executive Director of the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF), Sareena works in Canada and internationally to strengthen the reach and impact of career development. With her team at CCDF, she moves from ideas to action in areas of public policy, research and development, capacity building and advocacy. 


SEANNA QURESSETTE

Douglas College
Seanna Quressette, M.Ed., CCDP: trauma therapist with 30+ years experience in Career Development. Seanna lives with PTSD and anxiety. Seanna has taught Career Practitioners for over twenty years and is currently faculty at Douglas College.


SHAUNA WOUTERS

Hecate Strait Employment Development Society 
Shauna Wouters is the Chief Administrative Officer at Hecate Strait Employment Development Society based in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.


SILVIU  COJOCARU

Millennial Hero Ltd.
Silviu Cojocaru, a UK based career coach specializing in helping fellow millennials find and transition into meaningful careers collaborated with Steve Miller to create Career Hero Academy, an online program designed specifically for employment agencies.


STEVE MILLER

Implicit Career Services
In 2019 Steve Miller, creator of The Implicit Career Search, partnered with Silviu Cojocaru to develop Career Hero, an online program that combines Miller's strategic planning process with Cojocaru's cutting edge job search strategies. 


TRINA MAHER

Bridging Concepts 
Trina Maher is President of Bridging Concepts, an Indigenous owned enterprise with the vision to see Indigenous peoples enjoy meaningful careers within Canadian organizations. Since 1999 Trina has become a nationally recognized specialist of Indigenous workplace inclusion.


VALERIE ROY

AXTRA
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. 


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