Presenter Information

2020 mainstage speakers
Michael Apollo RP
Founder & Conference Chair
Michael Apollo RP is President and Founder of Mindful Gateway and A Mindful Society. His work in organizations, academia, and building award winning technologies has introduced millions of people worldwide to the research and practice of mindfulness.
Michele Milan MA
Conference Director
Michele Milan has spent 20 years in leadership development designing and delivering leadership and governance programs for governments, corporations and organizations around the world.
Rick Hanson Ph.D.
Best-selling Author & Psychologist
Rick Hanson Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 28 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture.
2020 presenters
Jose Montemayor Alba
Multidisciplinary Artist
"Jose is a multidisciplinary artist, XR developer and psychonaut whose work are transcending traditional media. Jose’s multidisciplinary work explores areas ranging from photography, film, 3D animation, virtual cinematography, public speaking, art installations, projection mapping, live visuals for music (VJ), and developing transformative experiences in virtual and mixed reality technologies. "
Tita Angangco
Co-founder Centre for Mindfulness Studies
Tita is the co-founder and a Board Director of The Centre for Mindfulness Studies. She worked with the Ontario Public sector for many years as a senior manager in several ministries. As an active social housing volunteer, she led the development of two housing projects in the GTA. She was also Chair of the Homes First Society from 1996 to 2001. She has received extensive training in mindfulness.
Kunal Gupta
CEO, Polar
Kunal Gupta is the CEO of Polar, a global technology business which he founded 12 years ago. Polar's customers are media companies around the world with offices in Toronto, New York, London and Sydney. He sits on the board of CAMH and is the founder of Mindtech, a new initiative that sits at the intersection of mental health and wellness, technology and entrepreneurship.
Joanne Edmundson Kistruck, OCT, M.Ed, PhD candidate
PhD Candidate, York University, Faculty of Education
Joanne Edmundson Kistruck is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at York University. An Ontario-certified teacher since 1996, Joanne’s work in mindfulness education builds upon her passion for helping young people and her love of all things creative. She has approximately 25 years of personal experience with meditation and mindfulness, both in the Shambhala tradition and in formal MBSR training.
Joanna Sparrow, BKin, ND, CYT-200
Naturopathic Doctor and Yoga Teacher
Joanna Sparrow graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2004 and is a licenced naturopathic doctor in Ontario. She completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification in 2015, and has additional certification in both Restorative Yoga and Kids Yoga. MakerMindsTM combines Joanna’s passion for mental health promotion and her life-long calling as an amateur crafter.
William Hale, MD
Psychiatrist at The Responsive Centers for Psychology and Learning
William Hale, MD practices psychodynamic psychiatry in Kansas City. He has had a personal practice of insight meditation for over 30 years. He developed a method of psychotherapy based on mindful investigation of emotion. He has taught MBSR for over 20 years. For the last three years he has worked alongside community leaders in Ottawa, Kansas to cultivate a mindful city.
Begum Vergee
VP Academic & Community Engagement, Adler Graduate Professional School,
Begum is an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation, and utilizes a trauma and systems-informed approach to coaching which integrates Mindfulness as a way of embodying leadership. Mindfulness Everyday SMART Education, Mindfulness Training for Emotional Resilience (MTER), Certified Facilitator, Mindfulness without Borders.
Ana Serrano
Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre
Ana Serrano is the Chief Digital Officer of the CFC and Founder of CFC Media Lab. She is also an adjunct professor at OCAD U, and frequently speaks at digital media and film festivals around the world about the creation and business of digital entertainment. She is the Co-Chair of the Democracy Project and sits on the Board of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Heidi Bornstein, R.P.
Founder, Executive Director and MBSR / SMART Facilitator- Mindfulness Everyday, Mindfulness Toronto, Discover Mindfulness
Heidi Bornstein, founder of Mindfulness Everyday, is the co-creator of The Mindful Edge® – Stress Reduction and Life Strategies for Teens program in high schools & Director for SMART (Stress Management & Resiliency Techniques) for Educators & Helping Professionals. She is on the steering committee for Mindfulness Toronto and Discover Mindfulness, supporting yoga & meditation in Toronto since 2002.
Natalia Fister, B.Eng, B.Ed
SMART Facilitator / Associate Mindfulness Facilitator / Hatha Yoga Teacher Mindfulness Everyday
Natalia Fister is a retired high school teacher, with extensive yoga training. She is the creator of grade 11/IDC3O “Mindful Yoga and the Art of Happiness” course and a grade 12/IDC4U “Mindful Yoga and the Philosophy of Wellness” courses, and the Mindful Yoga Teacher Training (MYTT), a one-year dual certification program in Mindful Yoga and SMART for Educators and Helping Professionals.
Barry Boyce
Founding Editor, Mindful magazine and mindful.org
Barry Boyce is founding editor of Mindful, a print and digital magazine focusing on applying mindfulness to everyday life and a mindfulness practitioner and teacher for more than 40 years. He is editor of The Mindfulness Revolution; coauthor of The Rules of Victory, a commentary on Sun Tzu’s Art of War; and development editor for U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan’s book A Mindful Nation.
Elvis Grahovic, LL.B, LL.M
Lawyer, Accredited Mediator and Lecturer
Elvis is a lawyer, accredited mediator, and lecturer at the master’s degree in Dispute Prevention and Resolution at the University of Sherbrooke on improving professional ethics through mindfulness and wrote a book on the same topic. He is a qualified MBSR trainer and has sat numerous retreats over the past decade. He regularly offers mindfulness training in organizations on professional ethics.
Sue Hutton MSW, RSW
Social Worker, Mindfulness Everyday, CAMH
Sue Hutton has practiced Mindfulness meditation since 1985. She created accessible mindfulness practices for autism and parents of autistic children with a CAMH research team “Autism-Informed Mindfulness” recordings for autistic adults and their parents. Sue teaches Mindful Parents, and delivers Smart Education programs for teachers of autistic kids with Mindfulness Everyday.
Sara Escott
Facilitator and Educational Coordinator, Mindfulness Everyday & co-artistic Director In Forma Theatre
Sara is a theatre director, educator and facilitator. She directs community-based theatre projects and teaches mindfulness programs in school and community settings. Sara is the creator of "Imagine If" a drama and mindfulness program for kids. She is a qualified MBSR instructor, and a certified SMART Education instructor.
Ekta Hattangady, RSW
Social Worker, Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher, At-risk for Young Onset Dementia
Ekta is a Registered Social Worker and yoga teacher. She has 14 years of experience in the non-profit sector across India, USA and Canada. Ekta was a teen carer to her mother who had Young Onset Alzheimer’s in her 40s. Ekta lives at-risk for the same condition. From a suicide attempt at 18, Ekta has gone on to find hope through practicing Vipassana meditation daily for the last two years.
Alex Shendelman
Program Manager, Traumatic Loss Survivor Support Program, Distress Centres, Greater Toronto
Since 2005, Alex has worked with a community of suicide and homicide loss survivors exploring stories of fractured lives, rebuilt purpose and a repaired sense of meaning and trust.
Cleo Haber, BSW, MSW, RSW
Registered social worker
Cleo Haber is a registered social worker. She has been practicing for over 15 years specializing in mental health. She has certification in Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy (EFMT) and has conducted clinical research. She is the retreat manager at the annual EFMT meditation retreat and has been meditating for over 10 years. She presents at conferences nationally and internationally.
Victoria Jakobson, MSW
Social Worker, Mt. Sinai Family Health Team
Victoria holds a Master of Social Work with a specialization in gerontology. Victoria has worked with older adults and caregivers providing support in community, long term care and end of life. She co-created a bereavement support group with a Toronto hospice agency for caregivers incorporating many mindfulness practices. Victoria currently works for the Mt. Sinai Family Health Team.
Erin Relyea, MSW, RSW
Social Worker, Family Services Toronto
Erin is a Registered Social Worker specializing in gerontology. She has worked as a social worker and counsellor with Family Service Toronto’s Seniors and Caregivers Support Services team for the last two years. Erin has been a peer support counsellor and group facilitator with the Distress Centres of Greater Toronto’s Survivor Support Program for the past six years. Most recently, she created and piloted a new ecotherapy group that focused on mindfulness and grief based activities and discussions in Toronto’s High Park forest for survivors of suicide loss.
Dani Harris, OCT, B.Ed
Indigenous Studies and English Teacher, Rebel Breath and Breathing Room
Dani Harris is an Indigenous Studies and English teacher who has taught at-risk youth for nearly 20 years, bringing breath-based resilience practices to hundreds of educators and students in Toronto, the United States, and the UK. She co-founded Rebel Breath, a breath-based trauma-informed program dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to frontline resilience-building practices.
Danielle Rousseau PhD LMCH
Professor, Researcher, Therapist and Yoga Teacher
Danielle Rousseau is a professor, researcher, therapist, and yoga teacher. She considers herself to be a scholar activist and justice educator. Dr. Rousseau worked in the field of forensic mental health as a therapist in correctional facilities and in communities doing crisis response and victim advocacy. She is an advocate of integrative, holistic approaches that support embodied self-care.
Bill Gayner, MSW, RSW
Registered Social Worker, Sinai Health and Adjunct Lecturer, University of Toronto
Bill Gayner is a registered social worker and Adjunct Lecturer at the Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. He has meditated for more than thirty years and trained clinicians in mindfulness for fifteen. Bill’s research into mindfulness for HIV+ gay men led him to develop Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy. He presents at national and international conferences.
Rodelyn Wisco, MSW, RSW
Registered Social Worker, Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy, Sinai Health
Rodelyn Wisco is a registered social worker. She has trained and researched in Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy, and has presented nationally and internationally. She obtained a certificate with the University of Toronto Applied Mindfulness Meditation Program. Rodelyn has a private practice working with individuals, families and groups and has meditated for 25 years.
Dr. Sheri Turrell, C. Psych.
Clinical Psychologist, Psychoanalyst Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto Life in Balance Therapy
Dr. Sheri Turrell is a psychologist and ACBS Peer Reviewed ACT trainer. Passionate about her work with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with patients of all ages, she has conducted research on ACT as a group-based therapy. Dr. Turrell is coauthor of two ACT books: “ACT for Adolescents: A Transdiagnostic Guide for Clinicians,” and “The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Teen Anxiety."
Mary Bell, MSW, RSW
Social Worker, The Hospital for Sick Children
Mary Bell has been a social worker and also a mindfulness practitioner for many decades. She has worked with adolescents and their parents in clinical and private practice settings in Toronto and in Singapore. She is co-author with Dr. Sheri Turrell of two ACT books and is currently the lead of The ACT Alliance, an initiative to introduce and expand the use of ACT in clinical care at SickKids.
Kimberly Carrière, Phd candidate
PhD Candidate, Clinical Psychology, McGill University
Kimberly is a recent Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar. Her research explores the efficacy of mindfulness-based programs on individuals with overweight and obesity. By better understanding the underlining mechanisms of mindfulness that support successful eating regulation, it is her goal to develop successful weight management programs.
Dr. Toupey Luft
Registered Psychologist, Assistant Professor, University of Lethbridge
Dr. Luft is a practicing psychologist with 13 years of experience and uses contemplative practices in her work with clients and supervisees. She is interested in contemplative traditions due to experience in her family of origin with various creative expressive forms of meditation. She has been an educator of clinicians for many years.
Lindsay McDonald
FreshEye Thinking, IAF, CEF and Roots Collaborative Member
Lindsay has been working in the creativity field for over 30 years. As a composer, she has worked with dancers and actors co-sensing and co-creating productions using movement, music and text. Lindsay carries this practice - of bringing all of the senses to inform ’the moment’ - into her work as a facilitator and consultant in social change and innovation.
Dr. Cheryl Fraser
Mindful Loving, Ph.D Clinical Psychologist, Sex Therapist, Buddhist teacher
Dr. Cheryl Fraser is a Psychologist, Sex Therapist, and Author of Buddha's Bedroom -The Mindful Loving Path to Sexual Passion & Lifelong Intimacy. A Fulbright scholar & Buddhist teacher, she studies what causes love relationships to succeed or fail. She writes for Mindful magazine. She has been studying and practicing in both the Tibetan Vajrayana and Theravada traditions for over 25 years.
Hannes Bend
Yoga Teacher and Founder of Breathing.AI
Hannes is a certified yoga instructor and has been teaching yoga, breathwork and meditation since 2014 in preschools to toddlers, in jail on Rikers Island, to his Meetup group of almost 400 members weekly and offices (Google NY, WeWork HQ). He has developed an award-winning (Stanford 2016) XR biofeedback projects with universities and founded the mindfulness technology company Breathing.AI in 2018.
Karen Bax, PhD, C. Psych.
Assistant Professor, Western University, Director, Western’s Mary J Wright Research and Education Centre at Merrymount
Karen is passionate about increasing the well-being and resilience of families both within the clinical and research context. Her applied prevention and early intervention research is related to the benefits of mindfulness, social-emotion skills and positive psychology for child, parent and family well-being. She continues to enjoy the journey of incorporating mindfulness into her own life.
Melissa Read, MA
PhD Student. Research Assistant: Western’s Mary J Wright Research and Education Centre at Merrymount
Melissa Read is a PhD student in the School & Applied Child Psychology program at Western University. As a prior teacher, her research focus is on programs that produce positive outcomes for all youth, including those who have experienced adversity. Under the supervision of Dr. Karen Bax, her dissertation focuses on evaluating a community-based, parent and child mindfulness program.
Emilia Pacholec, BA
MA student. Research Assistant: Western’s Mary J. Wright Research and Education Centre at Merrymount
Alyssa Mueller, BSc
MA Student, Western’s Mary J Wright Research and Education Centre at Merrymount
Sarah Wells, BA
C.T.S. Play Therapist and Child and Family Group Facilitator, Merrymount Children's Services
Sarah Wells is a child and parent group facilitator at Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre. She uses her training in Play Therapy and Mindfulness to help guide her work with families. Sarah is a trained in Circle of Security and is a certified Trauma and Loss Specialist through the TLC Institute. Sarah is an Adjunct Professor of Field Education.
Herman Lam, PhD
Taichi Teacher, Wild Crane Horizon
Dr. Herman C. Lam received his B.Sc. from University of Toronto and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from York University in Toronto. He has over 30 years of experience in Taichi practices and teaching. He holds a certificate in Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Meditation from the School of Continuing Studies at University of Toronto.
Samin Khan
Animo Ventures Inc. Founder, Artificial Intelligence Researcher at The Vector Institute
Samin is an internationally recognized artificial intelligence developer and mental health researcher. He was the 2018 world champion of Microsoft’s 'Olympics of Technology' - Imagine Cup - with over 40 000 competing teams worldwide. Samin is the founder of Animo, which quantifies and predicts psychological wellbeing to facilitate human flourishing through the predictive capacities of AI.
Tamara Russell PhD, DClin, MSc
Co-Director, Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, London
As a clinical psychologist, martial artist and neuroscientist, Tamara brings a unique, multiple perspective to her mindfulness innovation work. Tamara is the author of “Mindfulness in Motion” (Watkins, 2015), #whatismindfulness” (Watkins, 2017) as well as numerous academic articles exploring emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and mental health. She has a particular focus on Mindful Tech design..
Raquel Lhullier
Cognitive Behaviorial Psychologist
Raquel is a Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist working with young people & families. In Brazil she runs a private clinical practice and supports a multidisciplinary clinic consulting with physicians, educators, and paediatricians to promote psychological wellness. She leads the Family Systems Mindfulness initiative for the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence.
Tiffany Goulet, OCT-BA/BEd, RYT-500
Practicing yoga teacher
Tiffany is a practicing teacher and 500 hr RYT who focuses on children's yoga and mindfulness. She holds her 120 hr Self-Reg Foundations certificate through Dr. Shanker's MEHRIT Centre. She has practiced yoga for 4 years under Prasad Ragnekar and recently led a $30000 TLLP project to share/implement mindfulness in schools. She runs workshops and develops mindfulness resources for as Enlightened.
Mark Leonard
Director/Lead Practitioner, Mindfulness Connected
Before playing a key role in establishing the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Mark Leonard worked in fisheries and waste resources management. His experience led him to suspect there were systemic causes to increasing rates of stress related mental illness and patterns of unsustainable consumption. He has worked on evidence-based approaches and developed a new 'Social Mindfulness' program.
Dr. Judy Turner
Psychologist, Psychoanalyst in private practice. MBSR/MBCT facilitator, Mindfulness Meditation Toronto.
Judy Turner is a registered psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice and also a MBSR/MBCT facilitator. Her website, Mindfulness Meditation Toronto, provides information on the mindfulness teaching she provides for businesses and individuals -- both adults, and school age children. She has taught the 8-week MBSR core program three times a year for the past sixteen years in Toronto.
Janice Houlihan
Co-Founder, Inner Explorer
Janice Houlihan is a Co-Founder of Inner Explorer, a non-profit whose mission is to unlock academic success and foster well-being for millions of children through mindfulness. She is a lifelong MA resident and has a Master‘s Degree in Education from UMass, Boston, and an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology from Northeastern University, and is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction practitioner.
Anne Dunnett
Haiku Poet, Everyday Haiku
Anne’s haiku poetry has won honourable mentions and has been critiqued and reviewed by some of the best - and best known - haiku poets in Canada and the United States. Some of her haiku has been self-published and some has been featured in haiku anthologies, including Erotic Haiku. Her haiku poems have twice won honourable mention at Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival.
Tara Riddell, BSc, MD
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Tara Riddell is a fourth year chief psychiatry resident at McMaster University. Tara is passionate about wellness, particularly for healthcare providers and caregivers, which has led to her to serving as co-author of RESPITE (Resilience in the Era of Sustainable Physicians) and "Humanism and Resilience in Residency Training". Tara is a lead editor of Concordia (a wellness newsletter for residents), a facilitator of both peer-support and Balint-informed groups, and co-founder of a formalized wellness curriculum. She has presented at several conferences on these initiatives and her own experiences, which include struggles with perfectionism, anxiety, and burnout. Over the last 10 years, Tara has engaged in various mindfulness practices to optimize her and others' well-being including having recently completed a Mindful Self-Compassion course.
Satyam Choudhuri, BHSc
MD Candidate, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Satyam Choudhuri is a second year medical student at McMaster University and is a co-author for RESPITE: Resilience in the Era of Sustainable Physicians. He has been practicing mindfulness since the age of 14, and has participated in numerous mindfulness-based psychotherapies. He is open about his battles with anxiety & depression, and seeks to break down stigma among health-care providers.
Gaia Orion
Artist & Creativity Coach. Go Creative Corporate Coaching
Gaia is a registered corporate coach (WABC), a certified creativity coach (CCA) and a successful international artist who has exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Paris and Moscow as well as in Spain, Germany, Columbia, Hungary, Mexico, and Bali. She is passionate about individual and societal change and has 10 years of experience leading transformational art workshops.
Krista Kilian
Certified Nature and First Therapy Guide (ANFT)
Krista is a certified Nature and Forest Therapy guide or Forest Bathing guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and international bestselling author. By day she is an Outdoor Educator with the TDSB. Krista has presented at numerous conferences and events including training TRCA staff, provincial conferences for outdoor educators and more. The forest is her second home.
Jacqueline Chan, M.A
Chi Gong Instructor, The Hospital for Sick Children
Jacqueline Chan graduated in 2015 with a M.A. in Early Childhood Studies and a BA in Psychology. She grew up immersed in a Canadian accredited chi gong school and is a certified instructor. She began teaching chi gong at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in January of 2019. Since graduating, she did research at St. Michael’s Hospital and at SickKids in 2018.
Kirsten Smith, BHSc, MSc(OT), OT Reg. (Ont.)
Occupational Therapist and PhD Candidate
Kirsten Smith is an occupational therapist and PhD candidate in health and rehabilitation sciences at Western University. Her research interests include: professional education and practice, and the role of mindfulness in rehabilitation and higher education. She has been practicing mindfulness for over 11 years and is a certified children’s yoga instructor.
Shelley Urlando
International Trainer of Transformative Mindfulness Methods
Shelley Urlando is an instructor in the UofT AMM-MIND Program, International Trainer of Transformative Mindfulness Methods, Program Coordinator and senior facilitator at the Centre for Compassion & Wisdom. She co-founded Mindfulness Halton/Peel Professional Community and is a certified international facilitator of 16 Guidelines. She owns Mindful Life Resources and Consulting.
Anne Kinsella, PhD, MAdEd, BSc(OT), OT Reg. (Ont.)
Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University in London, Ontario
Elizabeth ‘Anne’ Kinsella is a Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. Anne’s research is in the areas of reflective practice, mindfulness, practical wisdom, embodiment, occupation and ethics in health and social care professions. Anne has been practicing various forms of mindfulness for over 25 years.
Rose Mina Munjee, RP, MBCT, MBSR, MSC, MBA, BMath, CYT, CST, AMM-Mind
Registered Psychotherapist, experienced mindfulness facilitator, and restorative/therapeutic yoga teacher
Rose Mina Munjee is a Registered Psychotherapist, experienced mindfulness facilitator, and restorative/therapeutic yoga teacher. She teaches at The Center for Mindfulness Studies, for MGC, ME and MWB. Rose facilitates evidence-based mindfulness interventions including MBSR, MBCT, and MSC. She also has a private practice and does clinical work for hospitals in spiritual care and psychotherapy.
Jill Cressy, MEd
Movement & Mindfulness Teacher, Facilitator, Mentor & Coach
Jill Cressy has extensive experience leading movement and mindfulness programs and collaborating with partners to support community engagement, mental health and wellness. She completed her Applied Mindfulness Meditation Certificate through the U of T School of Continuing Studies. Jill is also a Registered Health & Exercise Practitioner and Yoga Teacher with a BPHE & MEd.
Carolyn Ralph, BA
Connection Architect
Carolyn integrates her 20+ years of mindfulness practice and training with mental health research, using art and social work theory to create various publicly presented installations. She currently has a permanent installation at McMaster University and has curated previous installations at Hamilton’s Supercrawl Arts Festival, The Cotton Factory, and the Hamilton Art Bus tours.
Craig Mackie
Owner of Essential Change - Clinical Social Worker
Owner of Essential Change, faculty in the UofT AMM-Mind program, senior 16 Guidelines international trainer for Foundation for Developing Compassion, clinical social worker in private practice using Transformative Mindfulness Methods in psychotherapy and developed an internationally recognized 16 Guidelines For Life program for youth with addictions.
Roja Vivekanand, R.P.
Associate Registrar, and Practicum Manager Faculty of Psychology, Adler Graduate Professional School
Roja is a registered psychotherapist and utilizes mindfulness in therapy with her clients. Roja has presented at the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology (NASAP): Mindfulness & Cultural Diversities (2018); Mindfulness and its effect on Trauma Clients (2019). Certifications include Mindfulness Awareness Stabilization Training and Trauma-Informed Mindfulness through Mindfulness Everyday.
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