Keynote Speakers

Shimi Kang


An award-winning medical doctor, researcher, and expert on the neuroscience of innovation, leadership, and motivation, Dr. Shimi Kang provides science-based solutions for health, happiness, and achievement in the workplace, classroom, and at home. With almost 20 years of clinical experience and extensive research in the science that lies behind optimizing human intelligence, Kang provides practical tools to cultivate the key 21st century skills of resilience, connection, creativity, and more.

Kang is the former medical director of child and youth mental health for Vancouver and currently a clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia. She is also the founder of Dolphin KIDS: Future-ready Leaders, an organization that offers positive mindset and social-emotional life skills programs to students, teachers, and parents around the world.

As a thought leader, Kang’s work has been featured in major media outlets around the world, including BBC World News, NPR, Al Jazeera, South China Morning Post, CBC, and Washington Post. Her featured blogs have also appeared in The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, US News & Report, and TIME magazine.

Kang is also the author of two books — The Self-Motivated Kid and the critically acclaimed The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids, which was a #1 Canadian bestseller and won the 2015 US News International Book Award. Her upcoming book, The Tech Solution, will provide neuroscience-based strategies to optimize technology’s incredible benefits while minimizing its many drawbacks.

An entertaining and experienced speaker, Kang has presented at events ranging from the world’s largest conferences to customized workshops for small groups. She has shared the stage with cutting edge scientists, movie stars, CEOs, professional athletes, and global leaders. Her TEDx presentation on the power of adaptability has been viewed more than a million times.

Kang has been honored with five national awards in mental health and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Health. She is also the proud recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her years of outstanding community service.

Twitter: @drshimikang
Instagram: @drshimikang

Alyson Schafer


Alyson Schafer is an internationally acclaimed parenting expert, family counsellor, and bestselling author. Audiences can count on Alyson to inspire and transform lives. Armed with years of research, clinical and field experience, Alyson provides a fresh and positive understanding of family dynamics along with actionable solutions that will give parents the skills and confidence needed to face modern life challenges. The end goal is to raise resilient, caring, and capable kids.

Alyson has presented three TEDx Talks including the inaugural TEDxKids@Brussels in Belguim. She has also penned three bestselling parenting books: Breaking the Good Mom Myth; Honey, I Wrecked the Kids; and her latest, Ain’t Misbehavin’ which has been translated into Russian, Korean, Bulgarian, and Turkish.

As a go-to parenting expert in Canada, Alyson is a frequent contributor on most national media outlets and has also been featured in such notable publications as Cosmopolitan, Real Simple, Parent Magazine, Reader’s Digest, The Washington Post, and more. Alyson also shares her wisdom weekly as the resident expert columnist for Huffpost Parents Canada, and previously hosted TV’s The Parenting Show for eight seasons.

A professional member of the National Speakers Association, Alyson is often called on by big brands for her insights into family life, and she has worked with many notable companies, including the Bank of Montreal, Huggies, Kijiji, Kelloggs, Facebook, Labatts, and more.

Twitter: @alysonschafer

Conference Speakers

Jennifer Gibson


Jennifer Gibson MA, the Coordinator of Community Education Services with ISHS, 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 in making sexual health education relevant, accessible, and fun for all participants. She also believes that effective sexual health 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.

Lyndze Harvey


Lyndze Harvey is a Doctoral Candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. She returned to academics after more than a decade of spending time with children in traditional classrooms, daycares, recreation, and in outdoor education.

Her research and writing is focused on the philosophy of education, but she remains engaged in the everyday reality of education and parenting. Rather than avoiding or separating her work from the theories and practices in contemporary Canadian classroom and families, Lyndze seeks to provide an ‘interruption’ to well-established ways of thinking and doing teaching and parenting with careful questioning and relatable storytelling.

Lyndze has spoken to both academic and community-based audiences on the topic of ‘Letting Go’ and teacher and parent empowerment, which is based off of her thesis work, entitled Letting Go: A Departure from Liberal Moral Education, Embracing Teacher Transformation, & Evolving Pedagogies of Resistance (2015). Her current research interests involve critical and philosophical questions surrounding the self-regulation movement in schools and parenting, as well as democratic learning and teaching.

Her influences and inspirations are Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Jacques Rancière, and her partner and two young children.

Dr. Monica Pendergast


Dr. Monica Prendergast, is Professor of Drama/Theatre Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Victoria. Her research interests are varied and include drama-based curriculum and pedagogy, drama/theatre in community contexts, and arts-based qualitative research methods. Dr. Prendergast’s theatre and drama books include Applied Theatre and Applied Drama (both with Juliana Saxton), Teaching Spectatorship, Staging the Not-yet, and Drama, Theatre and Performance Education in Canada. Monica’s new book is Portrayals of Teachers and Teaching on Stage and on Film: Dramatic Depictions (with Diane Conrad). Her CV includes over 50 peer reviewed journal contributions, numerous chapters, book reviews and professional contributions. Monica also reviews theatre for CBC Radio Canada and writes a column on theatre for Focus Magazine.

Nooshafarin Saberi (Nooshi)


I was born in Kuwait in a Persian family. My first language is Arabic this is why l have been teaching Arabic at the continuing studies at UVIC for about 14 years. Since my childhood I was in love with the virtues and finding a practical way to live them in a world that is sometimes not friendly and challenging. How to live in peace with oneself and others! How to honour my virtues and live in discouraging situations! I was thirsty for the Virtues Project when I came across it in Luxembourg, where my husband and children lived for a long time. I did not know that it was a project. I only had the book “The Family Virtues Guide”. I seized the opportunity and made it a project with our children and a few children in the neighborhood. The Virtues Project changed our language and the way we communicate with ourselves and others. When we emigrated to Canada 17 years ago, I realized that it is a project and the founders live on Salt Springs Island. Since then I became an active facilitator. My dream was to bring it to the university, which I did about 5 years ago. I am so grateful to the founders Linda Kavelin Popov, her husband Dr. Dan Popov and her late brother John Kavelin. Whoever comes across the Virtues Project feels the healing effect of the virtues.