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Conference Speakers


Eddie Aguiar, Sr. Human Resources Consultant, CAMH
Eddie is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) that has more than 15 years of human resources experience assisting mid to large organizations. Eddie brings a wealth of experience across a diverse range of industries including: healthcare, IT consulting, financial services, entertainment and distribution, as well as unionized and multi-site locations. For the past 3 years at CAMH, he has been working collaboratively with leaders to implement strategies and practices that grow, engage and build resilient employees and teams.
Evelyn  Akselrod, MBA, Director of Strategic Development, Community & Corporate Relations, 
The Career Foundation  

Evelyn has worked in the employment services sector for the past 18 years, focusing on workforce development strategies and partnerships. In her role with The Career Foundation, she works with stakeholders across sectors to create collaborative, scalable workforce development solutions with innovative strategies that help solve the talent crunch. Evelyn is interested in supporting the alignment of the employment services sector with the needs of industry partners, to develop a “win-win” solution for all.    

Olivia  Barreyre,CHRP, Human Resources Generalist, Canadian National Exhibition
Olivia has been with the CNE Association for three years. She constantly challenges the status quo, seeking new opportunities to innovate and align Human Resources as a strategic partner within the organization. Previously, Olivia held HR roles with Atlas Care and LM Staffing International. Prior to this, she worked in the hospitality and sports industries. Olivia has been a crisis-intervention volunteer for At^lohsa Native Family Healing Services Inc. in London, Ontario, and an employment interview skills volunteer coach at The Yonge Street Mission in Toronto. She holds a diploma in human resources management from Humber College; and a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Western University. Olivia is also an alumnus of the Intensive French Pastry program at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. She is a Certified Human Resources Professional and a Certified Gymnastics Instructor. Olivia believes in continuous learning and improvement.  

Sean Callaghan, Area General Manager, Sodexo
Sean is a leader actively promoting the benefits of hiring individuals who have a disability. Sean has been hiring people who have a disability for 10 years and currently, 1 in 4 of Sean’s employees have a disclosed disability. Sean has been directly responsible for the placement and hiring of approximately 20 additional clients to work within various Sodexo locations across the Greater Toronto Area. Mr. Callaghan is a very motivated and passionate individual always promoting the inclusion of people who have a disability in the workforce
Mark Chipman, Director, Data and Digital Delivery, Business and Financial Services, RBC 
Mark has worked in the technology sector for the past 25 years. He has also been a passionate and engaged Rotarian since 2006. He’s active in community service with the Rotary Club in Whitby. In 2020, Mark will be the District Governor, supporting 55 clubs and 2,000 dynamic Rotarians. He enjoys the humanitarian aspect of Rotary and has taken part in sweat-equity projects in Laos, Thailand and the Dominican Republic. Mark is actively involved with the youth wing of Rotary and runs fundraisers for the Rotary Foundation. 
Dennis Chippa, Order of Ontario,  Executive Director, The Gathering Place
Dennis is in his fourth year as head of North Bay’s community soup kitchen and food distribution centre that supports almost two dozen other agencies in the North Bay area. He dove into the social services field after a 20-year career in television journalism. Dennis spent 11 years at the AIDS Committee of North Bay. He later set up the North Bay Warming Centre, a volunteer-driven homeless shelter open during winter months for those who do not fit the shelter system.  
CJ Curran, Director, Programs and Services, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital​
CJ Curran is the Director, Programs and Services at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. As a member of the leadership team, she is currently responsible for leading a multi-million dollar systems wide transitions strategy that supports and integrates consistent transition best practices from adolescence to adulthood. CJ has demonstrated ability in building coalitions and uniting stakeholders through shared vison and intentional purpose. CJ is inspired by people and opportunities that embrace the spirit of inquiry and challenge the status quo.
Jodi Delage, Manager of Employment Services, Niagara Training & Employment Agency
Jodi has more than 25 years of experience in the development services sector in Niagara Region. She specializes in transitioning people who have a disability into the work force. She works with businesses to help them understand the business case for diversity and develop strategies supporting inclusion; and to dispel myths about hiring people who have a disability. Jodi is engaged with various community organizations throughout the region. She serves on the Chief of Police – Community Inclusion Council with the Niagara Regional Police Service; Niagara College’s Community Integration through Co-operative Education Advisory Committee; the Diversity Employment Network of Niagara; and the Niagara Tourism Network.   
Sarah Delicate, Director and Founding Partner,​ Bell Brown Molnar and Delicate Inc. 
Sarah is in her twentieth year as a recognized expert in outcome-based performance management. She believes passionately that measuring, monitoring and communicating your performance story is critical for succeeding as a non-profit in an increasingly competitive arena. As a consultant, coach, trainer and speaker, she has worked with hundreds of non-profits to help them thrive in this new environment. Prior to founding BBMD in 2009, Sarah was an independent consultant for 10 years. She has also been an organizational development specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; and a change management consultant for Ontario Shared Services. Sarah holds a degree in social work from the University of Victoria and a degree in psychology from Western University.  
Rich Donovan, Chief Executive Officer, The Return on Disability Group
Rich is an author and globally recognized subject-matter expert on the convergence of disability and corporate profitability. He is sought out by businesses and governments for advice when they are acting on the disability market. Rich has spent more than 10 years focused on defining and unlocking the economic value of this market. He created the Barclays Return on Disability exchange-traded note (ETN) listed September 11, 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker RODI. As an author, Rich shares his vision for people who have a disability as a powerful global economic force in his book Unleash Different, published in September 2018. In 2016, he was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People with Disabilities in the world by UK-based Powerful Media and Shaw Trust. Rich helps corporate and government clients translate disability success factors into specific actions that create sustainable value.
Connie Ellis, Learning and Organizational Development Consultant, CAMH
Connie worked as a clinician for over 10 years in Mental Health Care before pursuing a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, wherein she studied the science of wellness in the workplace. Combining her clinical experience and knowledge, she remains passionate in her consulting role as a social advocate for mental health, psychological safety and the application of positive psychology principles in the workplace. She prioritizes evidence-based solutions to effectively develop and implement successful mental health strategies for her clients. As a lifelong learner, her greatest source of resilience comes from walking her dog and managing a busy pet sitting service.   
Ron Felsen, Principal, Toronto District School Board
Ron is a Centrally Assigned Principal in the Toronto District School Board with responsibility for School Operations. Previously, Ron was the Student Success Lead at TDSB. This portfolio included Experiential Learning, Pathways, and Guidance. He was also a secondary school principal in one of the city’s largest high schools which serves students with various exceptionalities including Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Learning Disabilities, Giftedness, and Mild Intellectual Disabilities. Ron is a strong advocate for the promotion all pathways, including the expansion of post-21 opportunities for students with low incidence exceptionalities. Creating strong partnerships is a key driver of Ron’s work.
John Fernandes, Employment Works! Coordinator, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 
John has worked at CAMH since 2000 when he started in the emergency department. Prior to his current role, John was a senior project analyst in the Enterprise Project Management Office. He has worked on many projects at CAMH, including the implementation of a Metabolic Health Monitor, an incident-reporting system and an electronic health record. Drawing from his own lived experience with mental health challenges, John is passionate about empowering people and identifying opportunities for individuals implementing change to benefit CAMH clients and clinicians.   
Mike Gifford, Founder and CEO, OpenConcept Consulting Inc. 
Mike Gifford is internationally recognized as an accessibility expert pioneering ways of thinking that make the root of open-source technology available to all. Mike founded OpenConcept in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open-source content management systems allowing people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike worked for several non-governmental organizations including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.  
Jenny Gilker, CWC, Employment Information Coordinator, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario 
Jenny worked in real estate administration for 36 years after emigrating to Canada from England at 19 for an extended vacation. She returned to school mid-life a year after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She completed part-time studies in constructive counselling at George Brown College while attending full-time day classes at the college in the Certified Career Work Counsellor program, graduating with honours. Following graduation, Jenny spent three years providing employment support for people living with mental health challenges. She has been with SCIO since 2006. In addition to being a Certified Career Work Counsellor and a constructivist counsellor, Jenny is a personality dimensions facilitator; and a life skills coach and trainer. She is closely involved with the MS Society’s Toronto chapter. Jenny has spoken at symposia on the special-needs component of the CWC program. 
Chris Guillemette, Director of Support Services, Communtiy Living North Bay
Chris Guillemette is the Director of Support Services with Community Living North Bay.  She has been with Community Living North Bay for 33 years and has assumed a number of roles within the organization during this period of time including overseeing children, youth and adult services. Chris has been with ODEN since its inception and has participated in a variety of capacities including the Board Vice Chair, Chair of Membership, and Secretary to name a few.
Jake Hirsch-Allen, North America Workforce Development and Higher Ed System Lead, LinkedIn 
Jake works with North America’s governments; workforce development organizations; and colleges and universities, to leverage LinkedIn’s learning solutions and economic graph data for closing skills gaps. He is passionate about supporting newcomers and refugees; First Nations people; ex-convicts; and people who have a disability. Jake speaks regularly on the changing nature or future of work and learning. He is a director on the Canadian Club board; and is on the advisory boards of Hot Docs Cinema and Code for Canada. Jake founded Lighthouse Labs, Canada’s foremost software development bootcamp; and Hacking Health. He is a former intellectual property and international criminal lawyer who clerked at the Supreme Court of Israel. Previously, Jake also taught global health at McMaster University.  
Daryn Kilfoyle, Director of Community Programs, Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf 
Daryn is a strength based anti-oppressive social worker and not-for-profit leader in Milton Ontario. Currently, Daryn is the Director of Community Programs at the Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf.  His teams provide supports for people seeking greater independence in their lives, including meaningful employment, in the Deaf and Deaf plus community. Over his twenty year career Daryn has worked in front line rolls, management and, more recently, has led organizations, worked in government and driven quality improvements initiatives for health providers in the Mississauga-Halton area.   
Marianne Kozinets, Employment Counsellor, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario 
Marianne has over 15 years of counselling and assessment experience in the social services field. She has been with SCIO for five years. She helps individuals who have a disability with their pre-employment, job-search and job-retention needs. Previously, Marianne spent seven years in Chicago working as a case manager and a team coordinator with a psycho-social day treatment program in a community mental health setting. She aided clients with issues related to housing, employment, and mental health challenges and crises. She also ran a variety of support and socialization groups. Prior to this, Marianne was a welfare visitor for Toronto Employment and Social Services. She assisted people who receive Ontario Works benefits, assessing their immediate and essential financial, housing and employment needs.  
Lisa Livingston, Regional Employment Services Manager, March of Dimes Canada
Lisa is a Regional Employment Services Manager with March of Dimes Canada. As a Registered Rehabilitation Professional with the Vocational Rehabilitation Association, a Certified Vocational Professional with the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals and having previously worked as a Registered Kinesiologist Lisa has over 20 years of experience working with people with disabilities. She has specialized in vocational rehabilitation working with March of Dimes Canada for the past 15 years. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Honors Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo as well as a Certificate in Disability Management from Mohawk College.
Julie Malette, CEO, Helen Sanderson Associates Canada 
Making a positive difference in people’s lives is Julie’s passion. She oversees HSA Canada’s purpose of inspiring people, families, organizations and communities to listen deeply to each other through approaches that result in people exercising individual choice and control, and living their best lives. Earlier in her career, Julie worked for the Council on Quality and Leadership as a trainer and accreditation reviewer. She has worked in developmental services since 1990. Since the late 1990s, Julie has focused her career on people-centered planning, facilitation and organizational practices. She has worked in the United States; every Western province; and Ontario. Julie served a three-year term on the board of directors for the International Learning Community for Person-Centered Practices. 
Amanda Mastronardi, Project Manager, eVantage, Community Living Essex County 
Over the last 13 years, Amanda has held a variety of roles in the organization. Previous to taking on her current role, she has been a direct support professional; an administrative officer; and a human resources officer for Community Living Essex. Amanda is an alumnus of the University of Windsor. She holds an honours bachelor of science in nursing; and a bachelor of commerce, honours business administration degree. 
Elisabeth Meyer, Program Manager, Career Labs VR, Career Services Brockville
Elisabeth has over 15 years of experience in the employment and social services sector. She has been with the Career Labs VR employment and education centre in her current role since 2016. Elisabeth facilitates the development and implementation of virtual reality modules to aid in career exploration and decision making. Prior to this, she was the owner of a Bumble Bee Academy child care services franchise for six years. Previously, Elisabeth was the marketing communications officer for the employment and centre from 2004 to 2010. She holds a diploma in integrated marketing communications from St. Lawrence College.  
Catherine Money, Recruitment Manager, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Catherine oversees all full-cycle recruitment activities at CAMH. She also manages a unique program called Employment Works! This recruitment and retention initiative brings people who have lived experience with mental health and/or addiction challenges, into vacant CAMH positions. Employment Works! was created so that CAMH "walks the talk", demonstrating to other employers that people do recover from mental health issues and that most can return to work with dignity, and be productive. 
Shalini Nagrani, PMP, CSP, General Manager and Executive Director, OpenConcept Consulting Inc. 
Shalini is an expert in project management and people development. She creates a team culture perpetuating motivation through constant pursuit of perfection. Before joining OpenConcept in 2018, Shalini was a career and executive business coach. Shalini previously held project-management roles at Capital One and Prolucid Technologies, a solar- and wind-energy technology firm. She was also with BlackBerry for over four years, leading development of staff training materials for the opening of the first BlackBerry repair store in Indonesia. Shalini is a Project Management Professional and a Certified Scrum Practitioner. She holds an honours bachelor degree in mathematics from the University of Waterloo, and an honours bachelor degree in business administration from Wilfred Laurier University. Shalini is passionate about social justice, which is the reason why she joined OpenConcept. She is studying part-time for a Masters degree in psychology. 
Sarah Nishimura, Human Resources Manager, Mac-Weld Machining
Over her eight-year career in human resources, Sarah has worked in both the retail and manufacturing industries, overseeing employee recruitment, selection, onboarding, training, associate relations and many other aspects of HR. She is very passionate about hiring people who have a disability, and works closely with JobPath in Sarnia, Ontario, to find people who are the right fit for Mac-Weld. Sarah holds a bachelor’s of business administration, human resources from Wilfred Laurier University. She also holds a Certified Human Resources Professional designation.  
Kate Ovington, Government Specialist, LinkedIn Learning
Kate works for LinkedIn Learning, partnering with government clients and on workforce development initiatives across Canada. This division of LinkedIn focuses on closing employment skills gaps through on-demand skills-based training content across a variety of topics
Derek Roy, Manager, Community Living Supports, Community Living Essex County
Derek has been overseeing Career Compass, the agency’s employment services, for the last three years. He has been with Community Living Essex County since 2010 in various roles. Previously, Derek was a project coordinator for four years. He was also an administrative officer for the organization; and a front-line direct support provider for four years. He aided clients through crisis situations; acted as a liaison to families of individuals being supported; and planned ways and activities for supported individuals to spend their days meaningfully. Derek holds a bachelor degree in psychology from the University of Windsor; and a diploma in television broadcasting from Fanshawe College. For the last six years Derek has volunteered in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Shavee program, helping raise money for childhood cancer research.  
Connie Russell, Program Manager, Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf 
Connie oversees the Supported Independent Living programs in Toronto and Milton. Connie has worked at BRCCED for the last 25 years in front line and leadership roles.  Over her career she has created and launched a number of successful programs for the Community, including the agency’s very popular Parent Relief Program. Connie is an active member of the Deaf Community.  She has served multiple terms on the Ontario Cultural Society of the Deaf Board of Directors and is currently on the Deaf Halton Association, which provides events for people in the Community. 
Deb Russell, Principal, Deb Russell Inc. Management Consulting​
Deb’s career focuses on bridging the gap between business and disability. She is devoted to analyzing barriers, and designing strategies and tools to increase disability employment rates. The business-value foundation of her philosophy and approach has influenced thousands. It has also impacted how the business and disability communities approach disability and inclusive, competitive employment. Deb provides a unique perspective in both groups. She drives change with thought leadership and practical strategy, using change- and project-management models. Her principles are the basic tenets of every successful disability inclusive workforce program. Deb is an international speaker and has testified before the United States House of Representatives.  
Melissa Struthers, Chief of Industry Guidelines, Imported and Manufactured Foods Division, Canadian Food Inspection Agency​
Melissa has been the CFIA’s Champion for Persons with Disabilities since 2017. Prior to this appointment, she advocated for and played an instrumental role in building a federal government-wide initiative to hire individuals with intellectual disabilities. As a result of her efforts, Melissa received the Volunteer of the Year award from LiveWorkPlay in May 2019; and the CFIA received LiveWorkPlay’s Employer of the Year award in 2018. Prior to helping create meaningful employment for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Melissa joined the National Capital Region (NCR) Down Syndrome Association board of directors in 2007. She was the board chair from 2010–2014. During her tenure, Melissa oversaw the merger of the NCR association and a grassroots Down Syndrome association in Gatineau, Quebec, that created a single, stronger, more stable organization for the entire community.  
Lino Teslin, Store Manager, Lowe’s Canada 
Lino has worked in retail management for three large Canadian organizations. Ƒor more than 30 years, he has experienced the benefits of hiring retail associates who have a disability. He believes retailers can choose to accommodate people who have a disability if they focus on and understand how to make inclusivity work within their businesses and communities. Lino also believes a diverse work force not only reinforces the values of the organization but also drives customer service, commitment to the community, awareness, support and an engaged work force as a whole.   
Nicole Tieze, Disabilities and Inclusion Manager, The Career Foundation
Nicole joined The Career Foundation in 2005 as an employment specialist. She has held several program and project management roles for the organization. Nicole became Disabilities and Inclusion Manager in 2018. With over 14 years of experience working in the public benefits sector, she specializes in program design, implementation and service delivery; and staff and contract management. Nicole thrives on improving social and economic mobility, integration and transition into the labour market for people who have a disability. She is known for pushing boundaries to create sustainable outside-of-the-box programming solutions. Prior to joining The Career Foundation, Nicole managed the Youth At Risk, and Diversity and Inclusion portfolios for Service Canada. She is an alumnus of the University of Toronto. Nicole also holds a diploma in human resources management from Fanshawe College. She is currently pursuing a Career Development Practitioner certificate George Brown College.
Jean-marc Valmont , Human Resources Manager, Canadian National Exhibition  
Jean-marc takes pride in being a natural relationship builder. He’s passionate about delivering exceptional client service and resolving issues by dealing openly and effectively with management and employees at all levels. Jean-marc began his human resources career in the public sector. He transitioned to the non-profit arena in 2017, joining the CNE team. Jean-marc is a key player in the CNE’s ongoing commitment to improving accessibility and inclusivity at all levels of the CNE; from its workforce to physical accessibility, administrative processes and customer service. The CNE established an accessibility plan in 2016. 

Jan van der Hoop, President and Co-founder, Fit First Technologies
Jan has over 24 years of business, management and human resources experience. He advises senior executives across North America on how to get their organizations running more smoothly by better aligning their talent with their operations. His clients include Atlantic Superstores, Admiral Insurance and Nestlé Waters. Prior to starting Fit First Technologies, Jan was president of The People Factor, a leadership development and coaching firm. He worked with clients including Nissan Canada, Procter & Gamble, State Farm and Sleep Country Canada. Jan also has extensive senior management experience in operations and human resources. He has worked for leading corporations including Hilton International Hotels, PepsiCo and Office Depot. Jan’s views on hiring have been featured in the National Post and the Globe and Mail; on CTV News; and in various small-business publications.

Bob Vansickle, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist, Ontario Disability Employment Network
Bob has spent his career helping people who have a disability enter the workforce. He has worked closely with business owners and chambers of commerce to provide accessibility training and consulting; and help companies successfully onboard candidates who have a disability. Prior to joining ODEN in 2019, Bob was Manager of Employment Services with Community Living Sarnia-Lambton for over 25 years. Bob is a founding member of ODEN, and a past board chair. His accomplishments in inclusivity have earned Bob international recognition and prestigious awards including the United Nations Innovative Practice 2017 Award; the Ontario Lieutenant-Governor’s Community Volunteer Award (2014); and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). Bob has spoken at numerous provincial and national conferences.  
Mark Wafer, Disability Rights Activist
Until recently Mark owned six highly successful Tim Hortons locations in Toronto. Over 25 years as a franchisee, Mark employed more than 200 workers who have a disability in all operational areas including senior management. At any given time approximately 17% of his workforce identified as having a disability.  Mark is an internationally recognized expert on the economics of inclusion. He advises governments around the world and helped create Canada’s national disability employment strategy. Mark has received many awards and recognition for his work, most notably from her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2014. Mark is also a former race car driver and 2008 Canadian historic sports car champion.   
Ricardo Wagner, Accessibility Lead, Microsoft Canada
Ricardo is the Accessibility Lead for Microsoft Canada, helping organizations to create modern, inclusive and accessible workplaces. He works with people and companies trying to make the world a better place. He believes technology elevates the education, employment, and living standards for billions of people around the world, especially people with disabilities. It’s his personal mission to play a role in that transformation. He is passionate about technology, corporate volunteering work, and travelling.
Amy Widdows, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist, Ontario Disability Employment Network 
Amy is a committed connector who is passionate about inclusive employment and using collaboration; relationship development; and capacity-building to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability. She is a strong support professional skilled in non-profit organization  management, inclusive employment, social enterprise, community development and disabilities. Amy has more than 20 years of experience in management roles for both not-for-profit developmental service organizations and private-sector professional employment services.  

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Ontario Disability Employment Network Email: sdafoe@odenetwork.com
ODEN, 20-850 King Street West, Oshawa ON, L1J 8N5 Canada
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