Fall 2019 Speaker Series

& a sample of previous speakers below

Chantal Plamondon & Jay Sinha,

Co-Founders of Life Without Plastic


Thursday, September 19, 2019,
New Start Time: 12 p.m. (NOON)

Topic: “Plastic Pollution Worldwide and Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint”

Chantal and Jay were way ahead of the international crie de coeur about polluting plastic. Long before the images of plastic riding on the world’s oceans were seen, the Wakefield duo were coming to terms with the toxic effects of plastic that seems to be part of our daily lives.Chantal has civil and commonlaw degrees from McGill and a masters in law with a specialization in business ethics from the University of Ottawa.Jay has an honours degree in biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario, civil and common law degrees from McGill and a graduate diploma in ecotoxicology from Concordia University.Besides advocating against plastic pollution, they have an online shop offering safe, high quality, ethically sourced alternatives to plastic products, and their website is an information resource on the issue.They have the academic credits in both law and science to advocate for Life Without Plastic and the passion to tell the story.

Caitlin Chisholm, C.G.C. & Special Guest: June Lindsey

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019
New Start Time: 12:00 p.m.

Topic: Medical Genetics: Where are we in 2019?

Caitlin Chisholm is a genetic counsellor with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Regional Genetics Program. She currently works with the Rapid Access Genomics Clinic, with the goal of diagnosing ultra-rare genetic conditions as early as possible. Her previous roles have included clinical genetic counselling specializing in prenatal and cardiac genetics, as well as implementing the integrated electronic medical record at CHEO.

Caitlin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and completed her Master’s degree in Genetic Counselling through California State University, Northridge. Ms. Chisholm will give us the lay-persons briefing of the history of genetics.Her presentation will include details on her work at CHEO and she will give us a peak into the future.

Special Guest: June Lindsey
is the British-Canadian physicist whose research was the building block for the discovery of DNA in the 1940’s

Dr. Elinor Sloan, Carleton University

Thursday, November 21st 2019,
New Start Time: 12 p.m. (NOON)

Topic: “Canada’s Military Role in a Changing World”

Military and strategic studies; US and Canadian Defence Policy; NATO and peacekeeping

Dr. Sloan is an educator, expert on the international military world, a member of the Carleton Board of Directors,author of five books on security and defence issues,guest on political talk shows and writer of many articles in both the news media and professional journals. She is also a wife, mother of two sons and a dog called Macgregor.

A graduate of RMC, she earned an MA at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, and an MA and PhD at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston. Her research interests include the defence policies and military capabilities of Canada, the USA, major NATO allies, Australia and China, NORAD, ballistic missile defence and the Arctic. She is a former defence analyst with the Department of National Defence, and a former officer in the Canadian Armed Forces

Sample of Previous Speakers

Diane Hodgins, CFO

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Topic: “ The Fogo Island Project—Social Entrepreneurship that works.”

Diane Hodgins is passionate about sharing the merits of the Fogo Island project, an alternate business model where social and economic value are achieved in tandem.

She heads the Shorefast Foundation, a registered charity that is instrumental in making this unique project in the Fogo Island outport a success. Her experience working as a Chartered Accountant with entrepreneurs in both the profit and non-profit fields brings a helpful perspective to the Foundation . She joins with investors and other partners to achieve Shorefast’s mission.

The centerpiece of the enterprise is the Fogo Island Inn, described as a magic and enchanting place in a stark and unforgiving wilderness. This vivid description puts the Inn on the bucket list of the rich and famous. Other local industries are fostered by the Foundation and feed into the experience of visitors to this enchanting place. The success of the Fogo Island project creates an innovative pattern for reinventing “home” as a vigorous and resilient place where there is work and community far from city life.

Michael Maidment, CEO, Ottawa Food Bank

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Topic: Feeding the Capital’s Hungry

Michael Maidment grew up in small town, Newfoundland where neighbour helping neighbour was the way things worked, outstanding training for his position as Chief Executive Director of the Ottawa Food Bank.

Running the food bank means fund raising, collecting, and distributing food to 114-member agencies and 38,400 people monthly. With hydro, gas, rental and food costs rising and salaries not, more people need to count on the agency to feed their families even more so as month’s end comes. University graduates burdened with large student loans also come for help.

Working for the Salvation Army for seven years which has been providing social services to Canadians for 130 years helped Michael prepare for running the food bank. He learned operations management, leadership and compassion, all essential to this important job in the city.

He has stories to tell us and new plans for programs and partnerships to build up the strength, independence and dignity for our neighbours in need.

Nicolas McCarthy, Director

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Topic: “Echos of Beechwood”

Cemeteries are here to tell a story of the people buried within. Cemeteries are like a vast library of stories waiting to be told and shared. Walking through Beechwood Cemetery allows us to transport ourselves in time and discover the stories of our shared history and our shared culture.

Although, we’ve been around since 1873, Beechwood has been a constant in Ottawa, quietly holding watch over the ever changing city and country. Embracing the tradition of the shanchie (the Celtic storyteller), Nick welcomes guests and intertwines the tales of Beechwood Cemetery with the history of Canada, Bytown and Ottawa with the thousands of stories of the people buried there. 

Nick joined Beechwood as the Director of Marketing, Communications and Community Outreach in February 2017. He has a decade of strategic communications experience working in private, public and not-for-profit sectors.  Nick began his career in various federal government departments and agencies and then moved to the Not-For-Profit sector, where he published numerous articles on communications, health care and the use of social media as a tool for positive change.   

Ottawa Children’s Chamber Choir

Thursday, December 13,2018

Topic: Fostering the next generation
of choral musicians

Conducted by Ottawa Children’s Choir’s Artistic
Director Jamie Loback, OCC’s Chamber Choir will sing music from their repertoire, including songs of the season. Created in 1958 as the Ottawa Board of Education Central Choir, OCC was incorporated as a not-for-profit charitable organization in 1998.
The Choir is devoted to artistic excellence, community connection and, above all, the joy of singing, and enriches artistically the lives of our choristers,
families and the community, and fosters the next generation of choral musicians by offering a progressively rigorous instructional program for children ages 6 – 15 in five choirs.
Choristers study various styles, languages and levels of difficulty. OCC choirs perform regularly within the National Capital Region, at self-presented concerts, as guest performers, at community events, and in commemorative ceremonies. Chamber Choir tours and performs nationally and internationally, and
travelled to France in 2017 to participate in the ceremonies to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
OCC operates through tuition fees, donations and grants. Tax-deductible donations to support our programming are welcome, and can be made by cheque, cash or through the link on our website:

Senator Jim Munson

Thursday, January 10, 2019
Topic: “ Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism
Families in Crisis”

Senator Munson heard the Crie de Coeur from families with children on the autism spectrum early in his senatorial career and has become a vocal advocate for these youth. His leadership on this important issue led to the adoption of an Act respecting World Autism Day and the Senate Report, Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis. The Report is a template to articulate the need for a National Autism Spectrum Disorder strategy which has yet to be developed. He is also an advocate for the Special Olympics which gives many children the opportunity to excel.
Growing up in the United Church manses in Campbellton, N.B. and St. Lambert, P.Q, Senator Munson is best known for his 39 year journalism career, mostly as a bureau chief and foreign correspondent for CTV news. Some highlights of his reporting were the FLQ Crisis, the massacre of Tiananmen Square and the brutality of the Iran-Iraq war. In 2001 he joined Prime Minister Chretien’s office as a communications advisor, later became Director of Communications where he often spoke for the Prime Minister. Senator Jim Munson was called to the Senate in late 2003 to represent Ontario.

His Excellency Pétur Āsgeirsson Ambassador of Iceland to Canada

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Topic: “The Saga of Icelandic Canadians”

His Excellency Pétur Āsgeirsson has had an outstanding academic and diverse career to prepare for this role in Canada. Born in Iceland, he studied Law and Philosophy at the University of Iceland and then went abroad to complete his education at the University of Stirling studying economics with the Scots.
He has a long and distinguished tenure in the foreign ministry of Iceland and was Consul General in Nuuk, Greenland before his Canadian appointment.
Interest in IT for schools, libraries and government has been a feature of his career as well as working on the financial side of Icelandic culture, including art, ballet and opera.

His Excellency has already visited the “Western Icelanders” whose forefathers immigrated to what was to be Manitoba in the last part of the 19th century. Their descendants keep many traditions alive, including some now unknown in the home country. Recently, in reverse migration, a Canadian from nearby Ashton, ON, Eliza Reid, married to the President of Iceland, has become the First Lady of Iceland.

Dr. Peg Herbert

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Title: “Changing 15-20,000 lives isn’t for Wimps”

Dr. Peg Herbert founded Help Lesotho in 2004 after personally witnessing the staggering suffering and bravery of the people of that country. She brings professional expertise to educational programs that heal, build resilience, and enhance participants’ cognitive development. In short, she is an inspiring advocate for marginalized populations. Her Ph.D. is in education specializing in educational and developmental psychology. Dr. Herbert taught graduate courses at the University of Ottawa and has decades of experience with youth leadership programs and vulnerable populations. She has mentored hundreds of young people, both in Canada and Lesotho, to become community leaders. She holds numerous public service awards including the prestigious Meritorious Service Award for her outstanding service to Canada.

Cheryl Rogers

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Topic: Your Financial Advisor – What You Should Understand and Expect

Cheryl has been helping people invest through a variety of market conditions for over 25 years. Her areas of expertise are low-volatility investing, edu-cating and encouraging women to enter the field of investment management and the fascinating study of behavioural finance.
She was Vice President of an International Bay Street firm prior to moving to Ottawa in 1998. Her conservative no-nonsense approach has attracted the attention of businesses, associations and fami-lies who wish to leave the day-to-day investment decisions to a professional. She provides compre-hensive discretionary portfolio management and draws from personal experience with family-owned enterprises.
Cheryl was included in both the 2013 and 2014 “Women of Distinction” lists for Canada:http://www.distinctivewomenmagazine.com/distinctive-women/Canada/Ottawa-ON/2014/Cheryl-Rogers.php
On a personal note, she is married and manages her work / life balance with two teenagers, a dog and cat.

Dr. Bob Ryerson

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Title: “Satellite Images: A Window on our World”

Dr. Bob Ryerson, President of Kim Geomatics Corporation has served in a variety of senior positions in industry and government, including Director General of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing. He is a Certified Mapping Scientist, a Fellow of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), has served on the Board of the ASPRS, and is a Past-Chairman of the Canadian Remote Sensing Society. He has published or presented more than 180 papers and books world-wide including key-note speeches at major international conferences.
He has been interviewed on national radio and televi-sion and is well known for his presentations to com-munity groups and schools. He has won a number of awards, including the Gold Medal of the Canadian Remote Sensing Society and the Alan Gordon Memorial Award for “Outstanding Service over his career to Remote Sensing.” Examples of his work have been featured in Canada’s National Museum of Science and Technology. He and Dr. Stan Aronoff wrote the highly acclaimed book “Why ‘Where’ Matters


Judy Joannou

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Title: “Fashion Fiesta with High Tea”

 Judy Joannou is the go-to fashion designer for wom-en 40+. Her 30 year career began in New York City designing for a junior sportswear company. Disillusioned by the mass market garment industry in the US she and her husband established Judy Joannou Designs in 1992 and together have built a successful womenswear company. She creates two collections per year each consisting of mix and match separates that meet the demands of a busy woman’s lifestyle for work and travel. It is produced in Toronto, in sizes XS-XXL and sold exclusively through the designer.

Her showroom in Ashton attracts a loyal clientele who can count on finding unique, well-made clothing that is designed to flatter, confident knowing Judy will provide them with honest and expert fashion advise. This personal approach gives Judy valuable insight into her customers’ fashion needs and fit issues that she is mindful of in designing future collections. Her studio is open by appointment or drop in during Open House Weekends.
View the collection and learn about upcoming events at www.judyjoannoudesigns.ca

Fiona McKean

Thursday, May 10, 2018
Title : “The Opinicon Resort – A Recipe for Social Enterprise”

Fiona McKean is the owner and operator of The Opinicon, a historic resort in the Rideau Lakes, where she manages a staff of more than 100 and welcomes thousands of guests every year.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Fiona worked for the Government of Canada as a manager with Global Affairs Canada.

A mother of three, Fiona holds a Master’s degree in Human Security and Global Governance from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. Fiona is also a member of the Board of Directors at Ottawa Riverkeeper, an organization dedicated to protecting, promoting and improving the health of the Ottawa River and its tributaries.


Dr. Lindy Samson

Chief of Staff CHEO-OCTC

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Title: “Ensuring Kids Are Healthy so They Can Reach Their Full Potential: Why everyone must work together”

Dr. Lindy Samson is the Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Officer at CHEO-OCTC, as well as being a staff physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases.  In addition, she holds an academic appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine and is a Clinical investigator at the CHEO Research Institute. Her academic and research work is focused on pediatric HIV, the impact of social determinants on the health of children and youth and teaching/evaluating the Health Advocate and Leadership Roles across the continuum of learners.  She recently co-chaired an interdisciplinary initiative regarding the future health needs of children and youth in our region.  Dr. Samson was appointed Chief of Staff in April 2016 and is responsible for organizing the activities of the medical staff and for ensuring the quality of clinical care and patient safety.

Dr. Jacalyn Duffin

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Title: “Stanley’s Dream: the Canadian Medical Expedition to Easter Island”

Jacalyn Duffin, MD (Toronto 1974), FRCPC (1979), PhD (Sorbonne 1985), is a  hematologist and historian who occupied the Hannah Chair of the History of Medicine at Queen’s University from 1988 to 2017. A former President of both the American  Association for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Society for the History of  Medicine, she is the author of eight books and many articles, and holds several awards for teaching and research. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the  Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Her research focuses on the history of disease, technology, religion and health policy. She runs an activist website for the drug shortage problem and blogs about this issue at CMAJ. https://cmajblogs.com/category/drug-shortages/

Mark O’Neill

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Title: “The Centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge: The Importance of Commemoration”

 Mark O’Neill is President and CEO of the federal Crown Corporation that operates the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War  Museum, Canada’s largest and most visited museums. He has led the transition in the Canadian Museum of History that opened July 1, 2017.

A native of Toronto, Mr. O’Neill grew up in  Ottawa and attended Carleton University, where he studied political science and Canadian  studies.

He is a community volunteer and was presented with the Mayor’s City Builder Award in 2013 for his outstanding community service and public advocacy leading to the implementation of the 911 emergency phone number, advanced-care paramedic system and the adoption of  mandatory CPR training in local schools in Ottawa. In 2012, he received the Diamond Jubilee Medal for his commitment to the Friends of the Canadian War Museum.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School Choir

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Title:  Christmas Classics The St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School Choir has been performing to packed theatres for over 34 years.  The group changes and evolves from year-to-year, but the school’s commitment to choral music remains steadfast.  Under the direction of their choir director, Mr. Gilles Levac, students from St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary in Cornwall will perform some seasonal classics as well as a variety of new pieces for all to enjoy. The choir, composed of young men and women ages 14-18, perform annually at various events in Eastern Ontario and also delight audiences each year with their own Christmas Concert and a Spring musical theatre production.  This presentation promises to entertain, to inspire and to “wow” you.  “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!

Dr. Peg Herbert

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Title: “Changing 15-20,000 lives isn’t for Wimps”

Dr. Peg Herbert founded Help Lesotho in 2004 after personally witnessing the staggering suffering and bravery of the people of that country. She brings professional expertise to educational programs that heal, build resilience, and enhance participants’ cognitive development. In short, she is an inspiring advocate for marginalized populations. Her Ph.D. is in education specializing in educational and developmental psychology. Dr. Herbert taught graduate courses at the University of Ottawa and has decades of experience with youth leadership programs and vulnerable populations. She has mentored hundreds of young people, both in Canada and Lesotho, to become community leaders. She holds numerous public service awards including the prestigious Meritorious Service Award for her outstanding service to Canada.

A Selection of Previous Speakers

  • Dr. Angel Arnaout,
  • Breast Surgical Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital, Assistant Professor at the U of O. and an Associate Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.


  • BGen Frances Allen,
  • Director General-Cyberspace at the National Defence Headquarters

  • BGen Jennie Carignan,
  • Chief of Staff, Army Operations, DND

  • Senator Nancy Greene,
  • O.C., OBC

  • Lucy van Oldenbarneveld,
  • CBC Newscaster

  • Sam Poole,
  • Shepherd’s Fashions

  • Mayor Jim Watson


  • Craig Oliver,
  • Canadian Journalist


  • Giuliano Zaccardelli,
  • former RCMP Commissioner


  • Rosemary Thompson
  • Director of Communications and Public Affairs, National Arts Centre


  • Joel Haslam
  • CTV News


  • Don Newman,
  • Day-Newman Network Inc.


  • Alex Neve,
  • Secretary General of Amnesty International


  • Per Sjögren,
  • Ambassador of Sweden to Canada


  • Julie Nesrallah,
  • Canadian mezzo-soprano and CBC radio host


  • Sharon Johnston,
  • wife of Gov. Gen. David Johnston, Rehabilitation Science Therapist, author


  • Denise Chong,
  • Canadian economist and writer


  • Carol Ann Meehan,
  • 1310 News broadcaster


  • Vicky Heyman,
  • wife and partner of US Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman


  • Michelle Valberg,
  • globally recognized and celebrated photographer


  • Julie Jacobson,
  • wife of former American ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson


  • Charles Bordeleau,
  • Ottawa Police Chief


  • Frank O’Dea,
  • Canadian Entrepreneur – co-founded the Second Cup


  • Tony Greco,
  • Leading Fitness Specialist & Radio Personality