Roster of Speakers
Improve your workplace wellness and bring your event to the next level. Our mission is to create healthy workplaces by turning research into practice. We connect qualified speakers to individuals and organizations looking to learn and engage healthy workplace practices. Through the WWi Speakers Bureau, you will have access to our diverse pool of qualified speakers ranging in subject expertise. Complete and submit the request form below by clicking ‘Request a Speaker’ and our team will connect with you.
MEd, RSW, CCRC, CVRP(F), CVE, RRP
Val, Founder and Past President of Agilec (formerly Northern Lights Canada), established in 1985, has been working in the field of vocational rehabilitation since 1978. Val worked in partnership with Employment Ontario managing Employment Resource and Assessment Centers and delivering return-to-work services to Canadians. Having had first-hand experience with injury, trauma and rehabilitation, her areas of expertise are rooted in Vocational Rehabilitation, Trauma as well as Recovery and Resilience.
Nina Hornjatkevyc is a Registered Psychologist and for over a decade has provided career and personal counselling support to individuals and organizations. Nina is also the Practice Lead at the Calgary Career Counselling and Synthesis Psychology firms. Her areas of expertise include career planning and development, assisting others with career and educational decisions, and workplace mental health with emphasis in stress and transition management.
April Dyrda is a Registered Provisional Psychologist who brings nearly a decade of experience to her role as a Workplace Consultant. She specializes in counselling and consulting on the topic of career transition, supporting individuals, organizations, and teams with navigating change in their work and workplaces. April’s primary speaking interests include topics related to leadership and team development, improving trust and communication in the workplace, and supporting remote work success.
Dr. Laura Hambley is the founder of Calgary Career Counselling and is a Registered Psychologist who has been providing career counselling to people of all ages since 2001. Laura believes a person’s career is one of the most important choices in their life, and that time and effort should be taken to help each person find a fulfilling career direction. Laura’s areas of expertise include workplace psychology, career plan and decision making, as well as best practices for working remotely.
Merv Gilbert has had over thirty years’ experience providing services to children, youth and adults in hospital, community and private practice settings. He has served in leadership roles at regional, provincial, and international levels. In addition to serving as a Director of Vancouver Psych Health and Safety, he is an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University and serves on the Steering Committee of the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Network.
Dr. Arla Day is a Full Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology and former Canada Research Chair at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada. She is the Director of the CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. The focus of her research, teaching, and consulting activities is on assessing and improving employee and organizational well-being and effectiveness. Arla chairs the Nova Scotia Psychological Healthy Workplace Program committee, overseeing the awards and workshops. She was Associate Editor of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. She has authored many articles and book chapters pertaining to healthy workplaces, occupational stress, employee well-being, and work-life balance.
Dr. Jamie Gruman is a Professor in the Lang School of Business at the University of Guelph. He is also the founding Chair of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association. One of Canada’s leading experts on workplace well-being, his work has been published in books such as The Palgrave Handbook of Workplace Well-being, Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology, The Handbook of Employee Engagement, and he is co-author of Advanced Introduction to Employee Engagement and Boost: The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands. A regular keynote speaker, he has spoken for Fortune 500, non-profit, and public organizations such as General Motors, The Children’s Wish Foundation, and every level of Canadian government. Learn more about him at https://www.jamiegruman.com/
MEd, B.Ed., B.A.
Melissa is the National Lead, Episodic Disabilities at Realize. She has worked across Canada for over 15 years as an educator, trainer, and facilitator. Melissa specializes in building the capacity of employers to support their employees with episodic disabilities, and increasing awareness of IDEAL Principles: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, Leading to belonging.
Karina M. Nielsen
Dr. Karina Nielsen is a Full Professor of Work Psychology and Director of the Institute of Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield, UK. Karina specializes in organizational interventions, i.e. how we can foster employee health and wellbeing through changing the way work is organized, designed and managed. Another area of expertise is sustainable return to work, how we can support workers with common mental disorders stay and thrive at work after long-term sickness absence. Key to Karina’s research is the IGLOo framework, which suggests that in order to develop healthy organizations it is necessary to build resources at the individual, group, leader and organizational levels.
M.Sc., MFA, Ph.D.
Kevin is the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health Psychology and a Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada. His focus is on the leaders’ role in promoting safety, well-being and mental health is the workplace and he identifies evidence-backed and practical strategies to improve workplace health and safety.
Ph.D. OT Reg.
Dr. Rebecca Gewurtz is an Occupational Therapist and Associate Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science and an Adjunct Scientist at the Institute for Work and Health. She specializes in work disability policy, income insecurity, and employment among people living with disabilities, with a focus on mental illness and other episodic disabilities. She has been examining the experiences of various stakeholders including people with disabilities, service providers, co-workers and employers as people with disabilities are hired and accommodated in diverse workplaces, as well as the impact and coordination of income security benefits. She has been involved in large partnership projects that include diverse community collaborators, such as employers, non-profit social service organizations and government agencies. She has experience with participatory action research and co-designing solutions to complex workplace problems.
Yana van der Meulen Rodgers is a Professor in the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, and in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, at Rutgers University. She also serves as Faculty Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers. Yana specializes in using quantitative methods and large data sets to conduct research on women’s health, labor market status, and well-being. Yana has worked regularly as a consultant for the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Asian Development Bank, and she was President of the International Association for Feminist Economics. She currently serves as an Associate Editor with the journals World Development and Feminist Economics. Yana earned her PhD in economics from Harvard University and her BA in economics from Cornell University
Dr. Fergal O’Hagan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Trent University. Prior to his academic career, O’Hagan worked held progressive positions in occupational rehabilitation practice and has developed, implemented, managed and evaluated occupational rehabilitation programs for workers with a range of disabling conditions. His research examines occupational rehabilitation and return to work issues using a biopsychosocial framework. O’Hagan’s research includes work with chronic pain, heart disease and mental health populations. O’Hagan has looked at factors enabling and impeding safe and sustainable return to work through the experiences of workers as well as stakeholders involved in occupational rehabilitation process. Current projects include a four-year SSHRC-funded project focused on improving communication and collaboration among stakeholders during return to work. He teaches courses in behaviour modification, program development, statistics and sport psychology.
Cameron is the Chief Executive Officer of the Work Wellness Institute. As the CEO Cameron takes the vision for the organization and makes it reality through building high performing organizational cultures and sound strategic planning. As a motivating leader who inspires action he combines people centric decisions with sound financial management to leverage business opportunities. Respected as an expert in leadership, change management, strategic planning and negotiations, Cameron is recognized as bringing high energy and enthusiasm to his role. Previously, Cameron spent 25 years in emergency health services working his way up the ranks from Paramedic to Superintendent, British Columbia Ambulance Service. After retiring he worked in various management and executive roles within healthcare and research organizations where he built a reputation for spearheading organizational change and incubating new business strategies. The hallmark of Cameron’s work is his firm belief that an organization’s greatest competitive advantage is its people and understanding how to maximize a person’s potential to create successful organizations. Amongst his academic accomplishments, Cameron holds a Masters of Arts Leadership degree from the University of Guelph, an Interdisciplinary Doctoral degree from Creighton University, Post Graduate Certificate in Organizational Behaviour from Harvard University and is a member of Alpha Iota Sigma Honour Society recognizing academic achievement in interdisciplinary scholarship.
Dr. Tyler Amell is an internationally recognized thought leader on the topic of workplace health and productivity. He is chief health and strategy officer at MediKeeper. He also serves on the executive board of directors of the Work Wellness Institute and the National Wellness Institute. In the past, he served on the executive board of directors of the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) and the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health. He is past chief revenue officer, chief health officer and advisor at a well-being technology company; past partner and vice president at a global HR consulting and technology company; CEO of an HR technology company and vice president of a large independent health care, occupational rehabilitation and return-to-work company.
Seth Kaplan is a professor of Industrial/Organizational (IO) Psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. His research focuses on measuring and seeking to improve employee psychological well-being and the experience of work more broadly. Specific research topics of interest include: reducing job stress and job burnout, improving job satisfaction and engagement, understanding the meanings of work, and developing and validating workplace well-being interventions. Professor Kaplan has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and has presented over 100 papers at academic conferences. He has received funding for projects on workplace well-being from sources including the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Institute. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Business and Psychology and on serves on several other editorial boards. He is a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Jamie Burton is co- owner and VP of Dolphin Digital Technologies, currently seconded to CCRW as the Chief Business Development Officer. Dolphin is a communication technologies firm widely recognized for the use of technology to tackle social issues. Dolphin has led a fundamental transformation in the modes of work by developing a virtual work environment capable of wealth creation and social cohesion. Their transformative workplace facilitates innovation and the development of a unique approach to profitability; one which allows for social alignment and sustainable, collaborative solutions. Dolphin is the first business in Canada to develop and implement a barrier free hiring strategy for people with disabilities. Jamie Burton helped to design the virtual technical assessment solution (ViTAS) to identify and qualify skills in job candidates. Being able to facilitate unbiased skill assessment led to the recognition of untapped potential, talent mobility and analytic synthesis of career development. Recognizing the value of strategic hiring, Jamie determined to take the opportunity to drive change in business, and founded Dolphin Disabilities Mentoring Day in 2011, which has grown from one city location, to a National event including 20 cities in 5 provinces across Canada, and from four participating businesses to 159. Dolphin DMD has proven that mentoring establishes a shared learning experience which lends to the identification of essential & transferable skills and facilitates increased disability confidence. Jamie Burton has utilized her skills and connections as Dolphin’s Vice President, to establish a sound mentoring model which has now been shared as a responsible, sustainable and economic best practice. She has represented Canada on global stages, championing the business advantage of innovative hiring strategies and employment of people with disabilities, with a lens on technical innovation. Jamie has helped government and businesses develop employment strategy, policy, and best practices, and is currently a member of the Accessible Standards Canada, Technical Committee on Employment. Jamie has been awarded the BMO Celebrating Women- Innovation & Global Growth Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Lt. Gov. Community Volunteer Award, & Rogers Women of the Year-Entrepreneur.
Dr. Monzani is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at Ivey Business School (Western University). Previously, he was a lecturer in Leadership at the Graduate School of Management of Plymouth University (United Kingdom). Also, he is an associate researcher at both the Institute for Organizational Development and Quality of Work Life of the University of Valencia (Spain) and the and Center for Leadership and Behavior in Organizations at Goethe University (Frankfurt, Germany). Dr. Monzani completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at the Ivey Business School of Western Ontario University (Canada). He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology of Human Resources by the University of Valencia and is an Erasmus Mundus Master in Work, Organizational, and Personnel Psychology. His research interests lies within advanced concepts in organizational behavior, such as exemplary leadership, commitment to lead, and other topics bridging neuropsychology with Organizational behavior.
Dwayne Van Eerd
Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd is a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, where he has been a researcher since 1997. He has an MSc and BSc in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, an MSc in health research methodology from McMaster University, and a PhD in work and health from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Upon getting his MSc in kinesiology, Van Eerd got his start in occupational health and safety research in a clinical setting, studying musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the upper body in musicians, painters, writers and other artists. Now a scientist with the Institute for Work & Health, he focuses primarily on the prevention of MSDs, as well as on the implementation of programs and practices to prevent work injury and disability related to physical and mental health. His research projects include evaluations of participatory ergonomics interventions, evaluations of workplace MSD and mental health practices/programs and their implementation, and systematic reviews of the prevention literature. Van Eerd also practices and researches integrated knowledge transfer and exchange.
Matthew Gallina is the National Training Coordinator for the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) program at the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. He works diligently to assist urban off –reserve Indigenous people applying to CAP ASETS with successful skills training interventions and employment supports. Prior to this position, he spent 7 years teaching elementary school in La Loche, SK where the majority of his students were Indigenous. Matthew worked to integrate culture and traditional teachings into his lessons, and supervised students on overnight trapping school and fish camps. Matthew is also working to provide specific supports for ISET clients living with disabilities. He represented CAP at the Canadian Association for Supported Employment conference and at the Disability and Work in Canada conference. He is also representing CAP on the Harnessing Talent: Alliance for Recruiting and Retaining Canadians with Disabilities where he is working with academics and service providers to increase employment opportunities for Indigenous Peoples with disabilities. Recently, Matthew also co-wrote a proposal to ESDC-ODI (Office of Disability Issues) regarding the creation of a specialized report for the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Matthew is committed to helping CAP constituents reach their desired career outcomes.
Sajel Bellon (Ed.D, CTSS) is an Occupational Stress and Trauma Specialist and Mental Health Professional. She is a professional speaker who specializes in the sciences of well-being, human connection, positive transformation and growth for individuals and organizations. Bellon has developed and delivered programs around the globe for a variety of postsecondary institutions and organizations, educating and inspiring others about the benefits of “Co-Creating Cultures that foster Psychological Safety and Connection”, “The Permission to be Human” and “Whole Systems Thinking for Extraordinary Change” to help organizations and families re-define their approach to mental health and its stigma. Sajel Bellon is an expert in cultivating the space and conditions to improve work-life experiences and relationships, using the sciences of Positive Psychology, Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Organizational Development and other modalities. She has created a series of programs, talks and workshops on Personal & Occupational Well-Being, Human Connection, Resiliency, and Rising from Trauma & Stress. Her hope is to assist the First Responder community by creating the necessary systemic change to better support their mental wellness, while also minimizing the incidence of occupational stress injuries and loss of life to suicide. As an adult educator and curriculum developer, Sajel Bellon created Canada’s first Positive Psychology Certificate and Positive Education Certificate programs for Wilfrid Laurier University, where she currently instructs. Internationally, she continues to design, facilitate and lecture at institutions, such as Central Queensland University, and Champlain College.
Tammy’s resumé includes over a decade of senior management, administration and communications experience in the non-profit and international development sectors. She originally joined the CWGHR Team in January 2013 and will serve as the Manager of Programs and Communications until her date of appointment on February 16, 2015. Prior to joining CWGHR, Tammy was the Officer-In-Charge/National Program Manager of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Trinidad & Tobago Branch Office. She has extensive experience in Gender & Development and Sexual & Reproductive Health, including HIV/AIDS, having worked previously with the Secretariat of the Caribbean Regional Network of Persons Living With HIV (CRN+) and serving as Chair of the Theme Group on Gender of the United Nations System in Trinidad & Tobago. She is a graduate of Wolfson College, Cambridge University, England and the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
Ellen is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University in the Ted Rogers School of Management. She teaches organizational behaviour, which includes topics like decision making, team effectiveness, leadership, and motivation. She is an organizational social psychologist who trained at the London School of Economics and completed her doctoral degree at the Ivey School of Business. In particular, she studies the efficacy of mindfulness training on performance under pressure, resilience, and errors. Ellen has taught and researched mindfulness with corporate executives, lawyers, MBA students, elementary school students, police recruits, and in health care settings.
Nicola Bird, Ph.D. is a new generation, visionary mental health specialist who pioneered a groundbreaking approach to personal transformation and brain retraining. After seeing the same patterns in herself and her clients, she created a powerful, fast moving, and effective system for healing and selfempowerment. During her nearly 30-years of practice, Nicola Bird helped people to breakthrough negative thoughts, liberate themselves from struggle, and triumph over obstacles. Her one-of-a-kind method gives people the tools to free themselves from limitations, fears, and past hurts and to empower their lives. Bird received her doctorate from the University of Toronto. She is the author of “The Boomerang Effect: How You Can Take Charge of Your Life.” Nicola Bird is also the Executive Director of Integrated Health Outreach Inc., a non-governmental organisation dedicated to improving the wellbeing and lives the most vulnerable and marginalised.
Erica Naccarato is a management consultant, coach, and former varsity athlete currently specializing in assisting her clients with building and leading high-performing teams. With a Master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology, Erica is motivated to understand what drives effectiveness and alignment in professional teams, and how to sustain these aspects through authentic, empathetic leadership. After playing volleyball at the competitive and varsity level for twelve years, and then moving on to becoming a high-level coach, Erica became fascinated with understanding human complexity and how it relates to team dynamic. Upon graduating with her Master’s degree, Erica has spent her entire career working with C-Suite level executives, helping them understand how their inherent personality traits, behaviours, and values inform team culture and inspire their team members to achieve organizational goals. Erica has worked with clients of all sizes, industries, and sectors, including mental health agencies, publicly-traded companies, and non-profit organizations. Outside of working hours, Erica spends her time volunteering with the Ontario Volleyball Association and various volleyball clubs. She is passionate about motivating youth female leadership, and is currently in her second year of leading Coachettes, a program she developed that empowers and inspires 15-18U female athletes to become coaches. In her free time, Erica can probably be found on a patio in Toronto somewhere with her girlfriends!
Jordan Friesen is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Mindset Mental Health Strategy. He is a former executive in Canada’s non-profit sector leading national initiatives focused on corporate mental health. Since leaving the non-profit world, Jordan uses his skills as a consultant to assist organizations who want to take progressive action to support the mental health of their workforce as a competitive advantage and business imperative for the future of work. In addition to consulting, Jordan has experience in training, education, mentorship, public speaking and research. He prides himself on being able to distill complex ideas into actionable insights for a wide range of audiences, from executives to students. He is a sought-after subject matter expert on workplace mental health. Jordan is a registered occupational therapist and holds a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Manitoba. He is also a CMHA Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor.