Keynote Speakers

Ann Douglas


Ann Douglas sparks conversations that matter about parenting. She is the weekend parenting columnist for CBC Radio and the creator of Canada’s bestselling series of pregnancy and parenting books, The Mother of All book series. In 2019, she will be releasing a brand new book—Happy Parents Happy Kids—and launching an online school for parents.

If you’ve already met Ann via one her books, you know what you can expect from one of her presentations: to be inspired, informed, and entertained. Not only will she shift your thinking about parenting: she’ll move you to action as well—and in a way that leaves you feeling confident and capable as opposed to anxious, guilty, or overwhelmed.

For over two decades, Canadians have turned to Ann Douglas for her reassuring, parent-proven, and never-bossy advice. This is your chance to tap into some of that wisdom.

Twitter: @anndouglas
Instagram: @annmdouglas (with an “m” in the middle)

Parenting Through the Storm Handout

Allison Rees


Allison Rees has been working as a family therapist and teaching LIFE Seminars courses since 1992. LIFE stands for Living In Families Effectively.   In Victoria, alone, over 30,000 parents and professionals have taken the LIFE Seminars.  Allison’s articles regularly appear in Parenting Today,  and of course in the Island Parent Magazine with her monthly Cut it Outs. She has co-authored two books, Sidestepping the Power Struggle and The Parent Child Connection.   Allison has been featured on various television programs and was the co-host of the Island Parent Radio Show for over ten years.  Her greatest learning of course, came for parenting her two, now adult children

Conference Speakers

Gary Anaka


Gary is the top Brain-Based Learning facilitator in British Columbia today. He has been a certified facilitator since 1997, receiving on-going training from the Jensen Learning Corporation, a world leader in teacher training in the new field of Applied Educational Neuroscience.

Gary is a dynamic public speaker, famous for his audience engagement, energetic and lively sessions. His presentations are always filled with humour and optimism to support everyone, from babies to seniors, to become life long learners, and to maintain a healthy brain throughout one’s life. His practical suggestions, whether about how the brain learns or how to stay healthy, can be applied immediately in any work or life situation.

He is a motivational speaker and teacher, from the classroom to the conference keynote level, whose sessions have been called, both professionally and personally, life changing.


Reg Flemming


Reg Fleming has worked as a family therapist and substance use clinician on Vancouver Island since 1993. He has worked for Island Health since 2003, and as a program lead and supervisor for Discovery Youth & Family Substance Use Services since 2011 in Victoria. Reg has a longstanding interest in trying to understand the complexities of substance use and its relationship with individuals, families and communities. He believes in the importance of having more direct conversations that can bring people together in discussions about how to move our relationship with substance use into the open and provide connections that can support us going forward.

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.

Jesse Miller


Jesse is a respected and highly sought after national speaker on the topics of social media awareness, social networking behaviour, and online content evaluation.

He has been presenting and consulting to schools, government organisations, and public safety agencies since 2007. His presentations have reached thousands of participants around the world where he has been featured as a conference keynote speaker, and within Canada, his sessions for students and educators addresses the topics of online communications, media literacy, and digital citizenship. Jesse is renowned for proactively examining the challenges of social media, addressing the realities behind the concerns surrounding youth and mobile communications, and prompts dialogue that reflects the issues seen within new media influences. His presentation provides participants with the tools needed to equip themselves for social media communications and focuses on themes of technology influence that impact the family home and learning environments as current trends in social media use expand in our connected culture.


Liz Parkinson


Liz Parkinson grew up in Victoria, BC raised in a household that was strong in the belief of hard work, strong women and entrepreneurship. Now a life long entrepreneur herself, she has owned many businesses from an online nutrition company, to a corporate event company, to her most recent project, a 20 acre vineyard in Cobblehill BC, which will be converted to a wedding venue in 2020.

Liz is a mother of three great kids and the author of best selling Ronnie Rhino children’s books. She continues to write, coordinate corporate events and is invited to speak on her parenting book at conference throughout North America. Liz’s goal in parenting is to raise children who don’t need thirty years of therapy to recover from their childhood. She hopes to teach through her own experiences that it is possible to maintain your sanity and raise

Nick Sandor


Nick Sandor (BSW, MA) is both the program developer and facilitator of Man Made. He was employed by Island Sexual Health Society in 2016, where he works doing program development and community education. Nick’s professional experience includes social work, youth support work, and both anti-violence and sexual health education. He is passionate about hearing the perspectives and experiences from diverse community members as an opportunity to encourage gender affirming practices through an anti-oppressive and strength-based lens. Nick’s goal is to help masculine identifying folks to strengthen their relationships with both other people and themselves.