Fall Education Conference 2020: Facilitators

Our Fall Education Conference on October 31, 2020, is our first ever online education conference, and features a great lineup of workshops, breakout groups and an exciting plenary, all built around a theme of increasing awareness and strengthening inclusion. Here are the talented facilitators who will be leading the sessions.

Mike Ames | Thom Armstrong | Delofante Atkins | Katy Bigsby | Ruby Carrico | Geoffrey Dabbs | Nick Dolbilov | Ghazal Ebrahimi | Grant Haddock | Dorothea Harris | Michelle Iversen | Robin Puga | Chris Whyte
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Mike Ames

Mike Ames, Investment Funds Advisor, Encasa Financial Inc., Worldsource Wealth Management Inc.

Mike has over 14 years of financial services experience. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Leadership, and an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Mike is also a Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ with a strong understanding of investment management, client services, cash flow management, and financial planning. Over the past 2 years Mike has worked closely with Encasa Financial Inc. investors, all within the housing sector. He is passionate in the development of investment plans for providers in the co-operative and non-profit housing sector.

Mike will facilitate the workshop Investment 101 at the 2020 Fall Education Conference

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Thom Armstrong

Thom Armstrong is the chief executive officer of the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC, COHO Management Services Society, and the Community Land Trust Foundation of BC, all headquartered in Vancouver. 

He has held leadership positions in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and British Columbia during more than 35 years of service in the co-operative housing movement.  Armstrong also chairs the board of Encasa Financial Inc., a registered Investment Fund Manager for the capital reserves of Canada’s community housing sector.

Thom will will facilitate the workshop Ask the Lawyers at the 2021 Spring Education Conference on April 24. 


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Delofante Atkins

As the Founder and Chief Consultant of the consulting firm ZaraYah, Delofante Atkins is a trusted Anti-Black Racism Educator and Diversity & Equity Consultant where she is involved in a number of initiatives in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors the that encourage the equity, sustainability, and prosperity of ALL persons.

A passionate historian with formal education in the social history and social justice spaces, Delofante has over 18 years of experience working to better understand and eradicate the systemic barriers and challenges for persons from underrepresented groups.

With professional experience in Human Resources, Organizational Development and Adult Learning Delofante is a Learning & Development thought leader where she has contributed to a number of global organizations in industries including: Human Resources Consulting, Foreign Exchange Trading, Commercial Real Estate and Asset Management.

Delofante is an active speaker, moderator and facilitator where she has led “Black on Bay Street” and “Leading for Excellence” discussions that centre around the importance of Diversity, Equity and Belonging in the workplace and within the community, and continues to guest lecture at post-secondary institutions in addition to delivering workshops to talent across Canada.

For organizations in the public and private sectors, Delofante has designed and facilitated programs that address:

• Racism and Anti-black Racism
• The historic origins of racial bias, prejudice, discrimination and microaggressions
• Allyship and Intervention strategies
• Inclusive Leadership Competencies
• Equity Awareness
• Cultural Sensitivity
• Mentorship (for youth, working professionals and people leaders)
• Community Engagement
• Restorative Community Healing Practices
• Professional Development

Utilizing this experience, Delofante currently serves as one of twelve Advisory Council members for the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism’s Partnership and Accountability Circle representing the interests and wellbeing of Black persons living and working in the city of Toronto. She also sat on the Corporate Advisory Board as an Educational Partner for the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals and has served as an Advisory Partner for the United Nations Global Compact Network Canada’s Gender Equality Leadership in the Canadian Private Sector Project.

Delofante is the recipient of the 2018 Top 22 Rising Stars Award from Human Resources Director Canada.

Delofante will be a plenary panelist in the 2020 Fall Education Conference and will facilitate the workshop Courageous Conversations.

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Katy Bigsby

Last spring, Katy graduated with her Master of Education in Leadership, specializing in Adult Education and Community Engagement from the University of Victoria.

Since August, she has been working with CHF BC as their Education Director. Katy’s work focuses on designing and implementing education program which increase engagement and meaningful learning. Katy lives in Victoria and loves biking with her family on the Galloping Goose, being in her garden, and doing Zumba!

Katy will moderate the plenary at the 2020 Fall Education Conference and will facilitate the workshop Strategies for Challenging Behaviour

Katy will also facilitate the workshop Strategies for Challenging Behaviour at the 2020 Housing Central Conference.

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Ruby Carrico

Born and raised in Vancouver, Ruby grew up in a housing co-op and has carried the principles of inclusion and community connection that she learned there into the rest of her life and work.

Ruby is currently working with Community Land Trust  (CLT) as their Community Engagement Manager, and recently completed a Masters of Community and Regional Planning, with a focus on Indigenous Community Planning.

Ruby will facilitate the workshop Building a Co-operative Community at the 2020 Fall Education Conference

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Geoffrey Dabbs

Geoffrey was licensed as a lawyer in British Columbia in 1990 and has been actively involved in the housing co-op sector the entire time.

His firm, Gehlen Dabbs – Lawyers, currently acts for a large number of housing co-operatives and related management and advisory organizations, advising on various issues, including rules and occupancy agreements and membership terminations and related litigation, as well as governance and financing.

Geoffrey will be one of the lawyers in the workshop Ask the Lawyers at the 2021 Spring Education Conference.

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Nick Dolbilov

Nick is an Asset Management Analyst for CHF BC whose role is to guide and advise boards through the planning and pre-construction process ahead of their major capital renewal projects.

His property management and residential construction experience of over eight years help him be a useful resource for co-op boards.

Nick thinks that there are many benefits (both tangible and intangible) for co-ops to be environmentally friendly, and he is studying Sustainable Energy Management and Construction at BCIT.

Nick will facilitate the workshop Gearing up for Construction at the 2020 Fall Education Conference

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Ghazal Ebrahimi

Ghazal Ebrahimi is a senior analyst with the buildings and urban solutions program at the Pembina Institute.

Ghazal has an interdisciplinary background in architecture, renewable energy technologies, resource management, and multi-criteria decision making. She holds a doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia in resource management and environmental studies, with focus on integrated project delivery and high-performance buildings. Ghazal also holds a master’s degree in renewable energy and architecture from the University of Nottingham, U.K. and a bachelor degree in architecture.

She has more than seven years of research and work experience in the field of sustainability, climate adaptation and energy efficiency in the building sector. Throughout her career, Ghazal has worked with leading actors from both private and public sectors in Canada, U.K., Japan, and Iran.

Her ongoing curiosity is to explore and catalyze the emergence of principles and practices that make a built environment that effectively responds to the needs of its users while reducing environmental impacts.

Ghazal will facilitate the workshop Getting to Zero at the 2020 Fall Education Conference

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Grant Haddock

Grant Haddock was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1992 and is the principle of Haddock & Company, Lawyers.

Grant’s core areas of practice are co-operative housing law, strata property law, residential and commercial tenancy, human rights, privacy and construction law. Grant has acted for numerous housing providers and construction companies, appearing for them at all levels of court and at various tribunals. Grant has been a course leader and frequent speaker at educational conferences sponsored by industry leaders.

Grant will be one of the lawyers in the workshop Ask the Lawyers at the 2021 Spring Education Conference

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Dorothea Harris

Dorothea Harris’ family is from Snuneymuxw First Nation (Nanaimo, BC) and she is a grateful visitor on the Lekwungen, W̱SÁNEĆ and Sc’ianew territories in Victoria, BC.

Dorothea is the Indigenous Initiatives Coordinator at the University of Victoria (UVic). She is also a PhD student in Leadership Studies at UVic and holds a Bachelor of Social Work, Indigenous Specialization. Dorothea spent twenty years working in the field of social work, in the areas of mental health, addiction, homelessness and Indigenous education, while raising her five children.

Dorothea will be a plenary panelist in the 2020 Fall Education Conference .

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Michelle Iversen

Michelle Iversen joined CHF BC in 2007 and is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the CHF BC group.

Michelle’s career has focused on human resources and governance for co-operatives.  She holds a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation and is a graduate student of co-operative management at Saint Mary’s University.  Michelle sits on the boards of WISHS housing co-op and the BC Co-operative Association.

Michelle will be a plenary panelist at the 2020 Fall Education Conference and will facilitate the workshop Leadership Renewal for Co-op Boards.

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Robin Puga

Robin Puga co-hosts an educational radio program on Vancouver Co-op Radio.

Each for All: The Co-operative Connection explores topics related to co-operative and social economy organizations. Robin has served on the boards of the British Columbia Co-operative Association, the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation and Vancouver Co-operative Radio. From 2002-2008, Robin was Technology Director of the British Columbia Institute for Co-operative Studies (BCICS). Today, Robin spends his weekdays as the Chief Technology Officer of Affinity Bridge, a values-led web and mobile application development company in Vancouver.

In 2009, Robin and two friends formed CanTrust Hosting Co-operative to provide Canadian-based managed web hosting solutions for non-profit and community organizations. This worker co-op currently employs four people and supports the online needs of over 200 community organizations and businesses.

Robin will be a plenary panelist in the 2020 Fall Education Conference and will facilitate the workshop Bridging Inequities: the Power of Co-ops.

Robin will also facilitate the workshop Building Co-operative Community at the 2020 Housing Central Conference.

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Chris Whyte

Chris Whyte has been a CHF BC education facilitator for over ten years.

He is a registered social worker with a specialty in elder care and mental health.

Chris also holds a Masters degree in Conflict Management and has worked with members, boards and committees to resolve disputes in the Lower Mainland.

Chris’s workshops focus on managing conflict and mental health in co-ops.

Chris will facilitate the workshop Conflict in Co-ops at the 2020 Fall Education Conference