Fall Education Conference 2021: Facilitators

Our Fall Education Conference 2021 will be a full week of online education in the evenings with a focus on mental well being.  Session topics will range from self-care to dealing with grief, to being a mindful parent, to how to increase resiliency. Here are the talented facilitators who will be leading the sessions.

Jennifer Aberman | Janet Bertrand | Donna Bonertz | Anita David | Dr. Honoré France | Dena Jackson | Dr. Gwendolyn Point | Dr. Carmen Rodriguez de France | Dr. Mark Sherman | Genevieve Thompson | Kelly Urquhart | Al Visram | Jessica Wolf | Alex Yang
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Jennifer Aberman

Jennifer has been living in Vancouver since 2016 and began working with the BC Crisis Center in 2017 teaching a variety of workshops such as ASIST (Applied suicide intervention skills training) and workshops on Mindfulness and stress management.

After discovering mindfulness in 2010, Jennifer has been passionate about how it can be a tool to support people navigate what life throws their way. Continuing to study neuroscience and the physiology of trauma, Jennifer also works with individuals to support them as they reconnect to their vitality in life. Practicing mindful living has been a tremendous support in Jennifer’s daily life and she is grateful she can support others find their own way to a more mindful life.

Jennifer will deliver the workshop, Tools for Managing Stress and Burnout at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Tuesday, October 19.


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Janet Bertrand

Janet Bertrand graduated from the school of Psychiatric Nursing in 1993.

Since then, she has worked in a variety of settings including acute psychiatry, residential mental health, community nursing supporting those with serious and persistent mental health conditions, and mental health emergency services. Her most recent role within the health authority was supporting individuals who did not fit into current Mental Health Services and were dealing with a variety of issues including significant mental health, substance use and homelessness.

In the last six years, she’s been working with BC Housing as their Health and Housing Nurse. She’s been supporting their directly managed sites, as well as different non-profit housing providers and spent the majority of time supporting homelessness services in a variety of communities.

Janet will deliver the workshop, Anxiety – What It Is, Ways to Cope, and How to Help Others at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Thursday, October 21.


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Donna Bonertz

Donna Bonertz is a social worker and vocational rehabilitation specialist with 30 years' experience in the mental health field

She currently works as the Employment & Rehabilitation Coordinator for the New View Society in Port Coquitlam and is a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Canada. Donna has a passion for helping others discover their personal power in self-determination and confidence.  She lives in Maple Ridge with her wife, cat and two dogs and enjoys riding motorcycles and camping.

Donna will deliver the workshop, Mental Health and the Effective Helper at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Tuesday, October 19.


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Anita David

Anita discovered her passion and purpose through her work in mental health advocacy, education and research.

She is a certified Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitator (Copeland Centre for Wellness and Recovery) which focuses on self-awareness and building a self-care plan to support wellness, illness, recovery and maintenance. She is also a certified Mental Health First Aid facilitator with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where she teaches participants about mental health, mental illness and how to be the first line of support in a crisis.

As a Community Based Research Associate and Patient Partner, Anita works on numerous research projects and committees with community organizations, universities, and health authorities in British Columbia. She is a member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Hallway Group, a lived experience committee who advises and supports the strategic initiatives of the organization to support the mental health of all Canadians. Although Anita is extremely busy, she makes time for self-care including cuddling with her cat named Caaaaaat, stretching her imagination by writing and improv theatre, and finding balance through yoga and meditation.

Anita will lead the  Guided Meditation on Wednesday, October 20 and deliver the workshop, Self-Aware for Self-Care at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Thursday, October 21.


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Dr. Honoré France

Dr. Honoré France is from the Ani-yun-wiwa First Nation and a Emeritus Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria (Counselling Psychology Program).

His recent publications are: Culture, Diversity and Counselling: A Canadian Perspective, 3rd Edition (2021); Creative Arts and the Indigenous Healing Circle Within an Indigenous Context (2020); and TCM in Canada: An Indigenous Perspective (2019). His interests are Creative Arts; Nature Therapy; Reconciliation; & Outdoor Adventure Therapy.

Honoré will co-deliver the workshop, Wellness in a Time of Change and Transition: Nature Healing at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Wednesday, October 20.


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Dena Jackson

Dena Jackson is a comedian and wellness speaker.

Her writing is regularly featured on the CBC and her stand-up has been featured at the Just for Laughs 42 Festival and on Sirius XM Radio. Dena completed her 200-hour hatha yoga teacher training at Kashish Yoga School in Goa, India and she is also a certified Mindfulness Instructor. Dena enjoys using her comedic ability to share beneficial mental health practices that can be added to our daily routines and her talks are specifically designed to help anyone struggling with anxiety and post-pandemic stress.

Dena will deliver the opening plenary, From Mindless to Mindful, at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Monday, October 18.


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Dr. Gwendolyn Point

Dr. Point currently serves as the Knowledge Keeper for the BC Assembly of First Nation Chiefs.

She also served a term 2015-2018 as The Chancellor for the University of the Fraser Valley. She has a Doctor of Education from Simon Fraser University, a Masters in Education from the University of Portland, a Post Baccalaureate from SFU, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia.  She also has an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Victoria.

She served as Chatelaine for Government House and was an Honorary Patron in her role for numerous organizations with her husband who served as Lt. Governor for British Columbia. She currently is a Patron of the First Nation House at the University of Victoria.

Numerous awards include, Paul Harris Fellow, Order of Chilliwack, BC Aboriginal Tourism Award, Seattle Art Museum: “The Recognition for work in First Nation Language & Culture”, The University of the Fraser Valley: “The Betty Urqhart Community Service Award”, and Chilliwack School District set up 2 bursaries in her name.

Dr. Gwendolyn Point will deliver the territorial acknowledgement at the Fall Education Conference 2021 on Monday, October 18.


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Dr. Carmen Rodriguez de France

Carmen has been working in the field of education for 34 years. As a former schoolteacher, she understands the importance of developing and exploring approaches to teaching and learning as a tool to advance critical thinking.

Through her participation in a variety of community-based initiatives in schools, recreational centres, art galleries, and other spaces for learning, Carmen’s work with in-service and pre-service teachers focuses on creating awareness to better understand, appreciate, and learn from the histories and stories of the Indigenous people of Canada and other parts of the world.

Carmen’s research is always motivated by her own interest to be a life-long learner and promote diversity and social justice. Consequently, her work involves teaching students and other stakeholders within educational settings.

 Carmen will co-deliver the workshop, Wellness in a Time of Change and Transition: Nature Healing at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Wednesday, October 20.


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Dr. Mark Sherman

Mark is a family physician and clinical Instructor with UBC with a special interest in mental health and psychophysiological disorders.

He is the current Executive Director and a founder of the BC Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM), as well as Living This Moment. Mark has formal postgraduate training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis, Medical Acupuncture and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

Mark has been facilitating Mindfulness Based Stress Management workshops and courses to patients, physicians, health care professionals, educators, and community groups for over 15 years throughout BC and Canada, and is currently working on his first book on Mindfulness in Medicine. Mark believes that mindfulness and meditation offer powerful tools in healing our minds and bodies and are necessary human skills in fully living our potential.

Mark will deliver the workshop, Mindful Parenting on Wednesday, October 20 and the closing plenary, The Alchemy of Joy – Cultivating Meaning and Peace Amidst Challenge on Friday, October 22  at the 2021 Fall Education Conference.


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Genevieve Thompson

Genevieve Thompson (she/her) is half Chinese/half Scottish and calls the T’souke Nation on Coast Salish Territory home.

She is privileged and honoured to live, play and work on this land as an uninvited visitor. Genevieve began providing workshops in her youth, as one of the founding members of Youth Against Racism. Genevieve is a trained public speaker and holds an Associate of Arts in Speech and Drama (Trinity College London) and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (University of Victoria). Genevieve works at the University of Victoria as a Student Advisor. Part of her current portfolio is facilitating workshops on student success, progression and wellbeing. In her free time, Genevieve enjoys cooking and spending time with her family exploring the Island.

Genevieve will deliver the workshop, Self-Care and Wellness at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Tuesday, October 19.


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Kelly Urquhart

Kelly draws from her many years of study and experience to make her classes inclusive, practical, and personalized.

She has trained under amazing teachers in North America and India and comes from a background in the dance industry.  Although classically trained in Ashtanga and Hatha yoga, Kelly’s classes can be both traditional and contemporary, incorporating modalities such as Pilates, Somatics, and Functional Range Conditioning.  Her classes emphasize breath awareness and mindfulness to round out the practice toward overall wellness.

Kelly is grateful to call Vancouver Island home. When not immersed in mom life or yoga, she spends time hiking, kayaking, or just watching the ocean.

Kelly will lead Chair Yoga at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Thursday, October 21.


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Al Visram

Al Visram is a Provisionally Registered Psychologist in Alberta, Canada with a passion for mental wellness.

He started his career in mental health in 2011, when he was trained in Crisis Intervention and started volunteering with the 24-hour distress phone line. Continuing his passion for mental health, he acquired further training in Critical Incident Stress Management and Group Intervention training followed by becoming an instructor for the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course offered through the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Recognizing the need within his own religious community, Al quickly took on the role of educating members of the Ismaili Muslim community. This quickly spread nationwide. In 2017, he was honored to receive an award through the Center for Addictions and Mental Health as one of Canada’s top 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health. Following his interests further, he went back to school full time in 2018 and is now a registered Provisional Psychologist who is working with the Canadian Mental Health Association helping those who have lost someone to suicide.

He also runs his own private practice, Fine Balance Wellness, in which he works with clients from all backgrounds and walks of life. He specializes in grief and loss support, anxiety, depression, and men’s health. He has additional training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Gottman’s Couples Therapy and Suicide Intervention and Prevention. In his down time, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family or watching old episodes of Star Trek.

Al will deliver the workshop, Recognizing Declining Well-being in the Self and How to Increase Personal Wellbeing at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Thursday, October 21.


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Jessica Wolf

Jessica is a family therapist, who works with individuals, couples and families, seeing difficulties as opportunities of growth and transformation.

Jessica brings the following qualifications and experiences to her work:

  • Clinical Counselor with 24 years of experience in the clinical field
  • Family therapist
  • Crisis Intervention University Instructor
  • Crisis Intervention Hotline Supervisor
  • Work with the Crisis Centre of BC as their Bereavement Coordinator
  • Support Group Facilitator with BC Bereavement Helpline
  • Author of Overcoming Suicide Bereavement: The Stories of Those Left Behind
  • TEDX Speaker
  • Suicide Prevention/Intervention and Postvention Educator

Jessica will deliver the workshop, Rethinking the Grieving Process at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Wednesday, October 20.


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Alex Yang

As a registered massage therapist, Alex is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and non-judgmental environment for patients to relax and heal.

His practice encompasses providing manual therapy with compassion and high regard for each patient’s relationship with their own body, gender, culture, or spirituality.

He believes that manual therapy is only one of many approaches in working with the body’s ability to restore itself naturally. Alex is passionate about empowering patients through education and collaboration to help them in their journey towards recovery.

​Alex completed his massage therapy education at the top of his class at the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a Minor in Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

​Alex has worked with patients from various backgrounds, such as athletes ranging from pre-teen to adult age groups, essential workers, pregnant patients, and persons living with HIV. These experiences have equipped him to be adaptable in different treatment contexts and to offer a tailored treatment plan for optimal well-being.

Alex will lead the Guided Stretching session at the 2021 Fall Education Conference on Tuesday, October 19.