- Dr. Cindy Blackstock: Biography | Abstract
- Roxanne Sawatzky: Biography | Abstract
- Debbie Muir: Biography | Abstract
- Mark Tewksbury: Biography | Abstract
Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, has worked in the field of child and family services for over 25 years. An author of over 50 publications, her key interests include exploring and addressing the causes of disadvantage for Aboriginal children and families by promoting equitable and culturally-based interventions. Current professional interests include holding fellowships with the Ashoka Foundation and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.
Cindy grew up in rural and remote communities in Northern British Columbia. She became a social worker in a bureaucracy where she learned how little the system was addressing the real problems of child welfare and poverty. In 1999, she became the Executive Director of the Caring for First Nations Children Society in BC where she established a successful professional development and policy institute for First Nations child welfare in British Columbia. In 2003, she then assumed the role of Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (www.fncaringsociety.com) to lead a social movement where First Nations and non-Aboriginal peoples stand together to address long-standing inequities experienced by First Nations children.
She has a Master in Management from McGill and a PhD in social work from the University of Toronto. Her blend of community development experience, policy development and intellectual rigour have propelled her into a leadership role within the reconciliation movement – an effort to build upon the strengths of First Nations and non-Aboriginal children to reform First Nations children's services.
For decades, First Nations children and families have received less benefit from education, child welfare and health services than all other Canadians. First Nations and non-Aboriginal children are taking action creating the largest child-led reconciliation movement in Canada that puts culturally-based equity at the centre. Children know love and fairness in ways that many adults need to remember and they are standing together to ensure that all First Nations children can grow up safely in their families, be healthy, go to good schools – prepare for meaningful work – and be proud of who they are. Understanding the barriers faced by First Nations youth, the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population, is necessary for counsellors to provide the most appropriate guidance in career exploration and employment.
This presentation showcases how thousands of children all over Canada are making a difference. Their actions uplift First Nations and non-Aboriginal children alike and show adults that change can really happen if you care enough and work hard enough. Be inspired and then take action yourself.
Roxanne Sawatzky has successfully managed a three-year, $1.3 million research study for the Manitoba provincial and federal government with 2,400 individuals participating. She is now the President and Founder of Empowering Change, a leading organization empowering innovative service providers to enhance interactions with multi-barriered individuals. Empowering Change is changing employment and social service provider thinking and practice by increasing effective, short-term motivational service delivery methods internationally through Stages of Change and Motivational Interviewing. This innovative company has delivered training to diverse employment services providers and not-for-profit groups throughout Canada. Roxanne has done workshops and presentations nationally and internationally.
She is experienced in project management, program development, implementing processes, curriculum writing and best practices development. Roxanne is completing her master's degree and she also holds a certificate in addictions counselling and case management. While there are many good Motivational Interviewing trainers, membership in the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) is the only status accorded to training professionals. Roxanne went to Spain in June 2009 and, as a result of the training, she is now a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.
Roxanne's passion is working with marginalized individuals. She started her career at the age of 12 when she decided her brother needed to be “fixed”. She has since learned that she can't “fix” anyone, but she can definitely help people get “unstuck”!
Leaving the Comfort Zone
One of the most essential life skills a person can have is the ability to adapt to change. An adaptive individual is one who is able to refocus the mind in new directions and make choices based on his or her desired outcomes. However, adapting to change is difficult for most people due to the fact that humans are creatures of habit; having to change our patterns and behaviours is frustrating and annoying, and takes us out of our comfort zone. But developing the skills necessary to adapt to change can have powerful outcomes, including self-improvement, ongoing learning, and a higher level of personal and work achievement. Change has always been a necessary aspect of life and work, and our world is changing more rapidly than ever. It is likely that you and/or your client(s) will have to cope with a variety of changes in the near future. It is important then to be able to adapt to these changes or to change itself and, for counsellors in particular, to have the tools to assist our clients with their own adaptations. Success and fulfillment – emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being – depend on how well one adapts to change. As we deal with people, it is important for us to be aware of the pivotal place where clients can make the choice either to move on and discover the possibilities the change has presented or to choose fear and not change.
Debbie Muir is one of Canada’s greatest coaches, is an internationally recognized leader, and continues to be a person of influence within the Canadian sport system.
Over an eight-year period, Debbie’s athletes won seven out of a possible nine world championship titles in synchronized swimming. In its debut on the Olympic program in 1984, Debbie’s athletes won two Olympic silver medals, and in 1988, her swimmers reached the pinnacle of success, winning two Olympic gold medals. Debbie was named one of the top 10 all-time coaches in Canadian history, the only woman to receive this remarkable distinction.
Beyond connecting individuals and teams to their best, Debbie is committed to organizational excellence. Since its inception in 2002, she has been working behind the scenes with “Own the Podium”. She was in Beijing in 2008 and again at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games as a Canadian Olympic Committee Leader Coach, essentially being the coach of the coaches at the Olympic Games.
Debbie continues to use her influence within the Canadian sport system to support coaches and leaders in creating the best possible environment for world-class results to happen.
Coming from the world of Olympic sport, we understand how to perform under pressure, deal with change, and push beyond personal limits to reach phenomenal results. Our keynote is filled with anecdotes, activities and competitive games that will leave you with practical tools you can take back into the workplace. At Great Traits Inc., we create a common language for organizations and individuals around the fundamental skills of achievement, leadership and legacy. In the world of Olympic sport, the idea of being a champion is simply a part of the culture. Through this keynote address we hope to make it a part of your culture too. We believe that higher levels of performance happen when you combine learning and fun. After our dynamic, entertaining presentation you will leave being more aware of fundamental concepts that build the foundation for excellence to happen – for yourself and others.
Mark Tewksbury is the star athlete who burst out of the water at the Barcelona Olympics; an Olympic Champion with gold, silver and bronze medals in hand, inductions into three major Halls of Fame, and a cover appearance on Time magazine.
He grew into the leader who travelled the world with the International Olympic Committee, was on the executive of Toronto’s Olympic bid for 2008, and took a difficult and public stand against the IOC for athletes’ rights and ethics in sport.
Mark has been a champion for a number of important causes. He currently sits on the National Board of Special Olympics. For his leadership and active humanitarianism he was recognized by the University of Western Ontario and the University of Calgary with honorary doctorate of laws. A highly sought-after speaker, beyond the podium Mark has hosted television shows, authored three books and performed workshops around the world. He is a popular media commentator, was the Master of Ceremonies at the Dalai Lama’s Canadian appearances in 2007 and 2009, and in 2008 was invited by the Government of France to address human rights at the United Nations in New York City.
Mark was the chef de mission for the 2012 Canadian Olympic team competing in London.
Mark and Debbie are currently based in Calgary, AB, and co-founders of Great Traits Inc., a training and development company that supports world-class performance. Together, they deliver seminars and training programs based on their book, Great Traits of Champions: Fundamentals of Achievers, Leaders and Legacy Leavers.