2015 Conference

Keynote Speaker

Robin Grille


Robin Grille is a father, psychologist in private practice and a parenting educator. His articles on parenting and child development have been widely published and translated in Australia and around the world. Robin’s first book: ‘Parenting for a Peaceful World’ has received international acclaim and led to speaking engagements around Australia, USA, UK and New Zealand. His second book, ‘Heart to Heart Parenting’, was first published in Australia and is now available in an updated USA edition. Robin’s work is animated by his belief that humanity’s future is largely dependent on the way we collectively relate to our children.

Born in Uruguay, South America, into a multicultural family, Robin is fluent in Spanish and English, and haltingly conversant in French and Romanian. He feels a strong affinity for a broad span of cultures, across the universal human family. 

Robin’s experiential, skills-based and informational parenting courses have helped many people to embrace parenting as a transformative, personal growth journey. Drawing from 25 years’ clinical experience and from leading-edge neuropsychological research, Robin’s seminars and courses focus on healthy emotional development for children as well as parents; while building supportive, co-operative parenting communities.   

To find out more about Robin Grille’s work, his books, articles and seminars visit:  www.hearttoheartparenting.org  and www.our-emotional-health.com 

Conference Speakers

Gary Anaka


Gary Anaka is the top Brain-based Learning facilitator in BC today.  He is a Learning Assistance specialist with over 32 quality years of classroom teaching experience.  He has presented professional development workshops to thousands of teachers, care givers, parents and children all over BC and across Canada since 1997.  His energetic and lively sessions model meaningful and practical support for helping children to reach their potential.  Gary’s sessions are always filled with humour to grow the brain and optimism to support teachers, care givers and parents to help children to become life long learners.  He is a motivational speaker and teacher whose engaging sessions have been called, both professionally and personally, life changing.  Gary is the author of two books:  Your Magical Brain How It Learns Best, a resource book for teachers and parents, and Brain Wellness The Secrets For Longevity.  The scope of his work can be viewed atwww.braincoach.ca.

Sophia Baker-French, MSc, RD


Sophia Baker-French is a Provincial Food Policy Dietitian at HealthLink BC and is excited to interact with you on the Guidelines for Food and Beverages Sales in BC Schools and other school food and nutrition topics. Sophia is passionate about sustainable food systems and public health nutrition. Among other adventures, she has supported public policy development and implementation in B.C., pursued a Master's degree in nutrition, studied food security in Bolivia and worked with hundreds of UBC students to advance food system sustainability.

Jennifer Gibson


Jennifer Gibson, MA, Coordinator of Community Education Services with Island Sexual Health is a professional sexual health educator whose knowledge, sense of humour, enthusiasm, and comfort level give her the unique ability to make sexual health education accessible and easy to relate to. Most often referred to as “The Sex Lady” by youth participants, Jennifer believes effective education combines factual information with humour and pop culture. Jennifer is passionate about creating space for every person to become comfortable with and knowledgeable about sexual health. These principles form the foundation for all of her workshops.

Kelly Graham


Kelly Graham is the Physical Literacy Coordinator for the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE). She has worked for PISE since it opened in September 2008. Kelly organizes 41 Physical Literacy classes across Victoria in schools, ECE settings, community centers, recreation centers, and First Nation communities. Her 23 Physical Literacy Leaders work with approximately 700 kids per week. Kelly also has a background of working with people with disabilities. She worked as a Programmer for BC Wheelchair Sports Association and participated in everything from Easter Seals Camps to the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. Kelly was also the Coordinator for the Wheelchair Race Series in Western Canada. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Sport & Fitness Leadership. She is also an NCCP FMS Learning Facilitator, RJT Learning Facilitator, High Five Learning Facilitator, and an Action Schools BC Regional Trainer.

Monique Gray-Smith


Monique Gray Smith is a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish descent and is the proud Mom of eleven year old twins.  She is an award winning author, international speaker and sought after consultant. Her career has focused on strengthening the understanding of historical trauma on Indigenous Children and families and fostering paradigm shifts that focus on the strength and resiliency of the First Peoples in Canada. She is well known for her warmth, spirit of generosity and focus on resilience. Monique has been sober and involved in her healing journey for over 23 years.  

Sydney Massey


I love teaching. I’m fascinated with food, cooking, how people eat and how this relates to health. And I love growing food. How fortunate I am to have found this position at the BC Dairy Association, at the crossroads of nutrition, education and agriculture. I have been working here for over 30 years, first as a nutrition educator, and now as the Director of Nutrition Education. My Masters degree in Public Health prepared me well for this job.

I’m proud of the many great projects I’ve been part of, from developing the Calcium Calculator, to the FoodTrack series of nutrition resources, to pioneering the important role dietitians can play in supporting and promoting the use of local food, and most recently, to promoting eating together through the Better Together initiative.

I grew up in New York City, and while I still love it and visit my large, boisterous family often, I am happy to live in Vancouver where I can enjoy city life, grow some of my own food and tangle with a jungle of a backyard, where my husband and I satisfy our curiosity for how things grow.

Adrienne Ngai, MSc, RD


Adrienne Ngai is one of the Provincial Food Policy Dietitians at HealthLink BC. She loves to teach and has a strong interest in public health. Her other passions include food, cooking, and trying new recipes. This led her to complete a BSc degree in food science and nutrition from the University of British Columbia. She has worked as a food product developer, creating delicious and healthy foods for retail sale. Later, she decided to go back to school to complete a MSc degree in Human Nutrition combined with a dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian. She has taught undergraduate students cooking and baking skills and theory while completing her Master’s degree at McGill University.

Leah Robertson


Leah Robertson is the Provincial Manager of MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!), which is a free, fun healthy lifestyle program that empowers children and their families to become fitter and healthier through group sessions that promote healthy eating and physical activity. Part of the Childhood Healthy Weights Intervention Initiative, MEND was launched in BC in 2013. Leah is passionate about pediatrics and community-based intervention programs designed to help families achieve their health-related goals. In addition to having a personal in interest in physical activity and nutrition, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and has completed Project/Program Management training through the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Richard Stanwick


Dr. Stanwick was appointed the position of Chief Medical Health Officer for Island Health in December 2001.  In this role Dr. Stanwick is responsible for communicable disease prevention and control in the community, and provides evidence-based opinions to physicians, Councils, Boards and the community on a wide variety of health issues including communicable diseases, environmental health issues and complex health related social issues. He is also responsible for monitoring and assessing the health status of the community, making recommendations for strategies to address health issues and implementing immediate actions when necessary to protect the health of the public.

Brenda Whittam-Neary


Brenda Whittam-Neary has worked as an in-class Tier One self-regulation interventionist throughout BC, AB, NB, SK and the NT. While in SK, she was seconded for five years by the BC Ministry of Education to design and implement a provincial self-regulation demonstration classroom to serve as a provincial resource for the implementation of self-regulation strategies within an RTI model. She is now a private self-regulation consultant, working in school districts throughout BC, SK and the NT.