Keynote Speakers

Olympic Athlete - Marathon / 10,000m

Lanni Marchant

Lanni Marchant represented Canada in the 10,000m and marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics, becoming the first Canadian athlete to double up in these two grueling events. She won a bronze medal in the 10,000 at the Pan Am Games in Toronto the previous summer. Lanni is the middle child in a family of seven. Her mom was a figure skating coach, but in grade 10 Lanni traded in her skates for running shoes after finding joy and success racing with her high school cross-country team. The London, Ontario athlete earned a scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, winning multiple conference championships and several other titles on the track and as a member of the cross-country team. Lanni attended law school at the University of Ottawa and Michigan State University. It was during these years that Lanni discovered success in road running. In 2013, Lanni broke the Canadian marathon record and a year later, did the same in the women’s half- marathon. Lanni has overcome a series of illnesses and major surgeries that tested her mentally and physically from 2017 to 2020. Using her passions for running and the law, Lanni is a dedicated athlete advocate having testified in front of Canadian Parliament Heritage Committee on Women in Sport and successfully lobbied our government to increase funds aimed towards growing and supporting women's sport in Canada. Lanni is an active member on the board of directors for the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, sits on the SafeSport Work Group with AthletesCan, and is an athlete council member for Athletics Canada.

Best Selling Author & TedX Speaker

Nelson Soh

Nelson Soh is not your ordinary Chartered Professional Accountant; he is a TEDx Speaker, 2x best-selling author, an entrepreneur, and CFO. Nelson is a University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business graduate who brings a wealth of knowledge from a diverse experience background. Throughout his career, Nelson has worked with organizations like KPMG, Pearson Education, Cathay Pacific Airways, CPA Canada, and more. With a passion for helping others paired with his ability to teach others about money and finances in a simple and easy-to-understand way, Nelson helps people and businesses create positive changes to reach their full potential. His most recent TEDx Talk is titled, “Financial Literacy and the Social Media Generation.” An important message across all generations that financial literacy is non-negotiable. With the rise of social media, young adults may be negatively impacted and influenced which heeds the importance of financial literacy. Nelson is a professionally published author and his book is titled Life Literacy - Real life knowledge and resources for the next generation to succeed. Along with financial literacy, Life Literacy teaches personal and professional literacy to anyone that is looking to improve their life. Nelson has spoken at national conferences, recorded podcasts, and written articles on topics around financial literacy, lifestyle, and fitness, and created the 100-Day Money Mindset Journal – a tool to help people create healthy habits and a positive mindset around money. He was recently featured in the Daily Hive, in a local Mercedes-Benz commercial, and will soon be featured in the BC CPA In-Focus magazine this spring.

Founder, Rumble Supershake

Paul Underhill

Living with cystic fibrosis, Paul had a need for optimal nutrition and was struggling to find a tasty, nourishing drink, powered by natural goodness. After a visit to his local natural grocer confirmed there was nothing available that checked all the boxes, he knew he was on to something: Paul laced up his apron and fired up the blender to boost his own wellbeing.Paul needed a team to realize his vision, so he reached out to friends and the team ‘rumbled’ to life. On the journey to bring the product to market, Paul's health deteriorated to the point that he required oxygen 24/7, and was ultimately forced to undergo a life-saving double lung transplant. Just one year after the operation, Paul completed the 140KM Tour de Victoria in honour of his donor. After a few years of hard work and determination from the whole team, Paul was thrilled to finally make Rumble available for everyone at grocery stores across Canada. Soon after, Paul and the team successfully pitch to the Dragon’s Den on national television catapulting Rumble into coast to coast distribution. Paul’s personal quest has turned into something we think is pretty special: an opportunity to bring healthy, hunger-beating alternatives to people who share our appetite for life. It’s this vision that drives our young company and keeps us innovating for better living.

Connection Speakers

Connection to Earth
Plant Consultant & Herbalist

Sarah Dafoe

Originally from England, I have a background in Creative Design, Business Administration and horticulture. In 2008 I moved from Salt Spring Island, with my husband and three children, to the traditional territories of the Sneneymuxw and Nanaoose First Nations here in North Nanaimo, on whose land we have the good fortune to reside and raise our children on.I found plant medicine after moving to Nanaimo, when I began looking for nature connection schools for my children.  It opened up a whole new world of plant allies, land stewardship, ancestral roots and nature connection to us, enriching our lives beyond expectation.

Connection to Others
Canadian National Rower

Kate Haber

Kate Haber, Ph.D. is a mom of two, founder of Island Mom, a pre- and postnatal fitness coaching business, a Student Employment Facilitator at Camosun College in the Co-op Education and Careers Department, and a retired national team athlete with Rowing Canada. Kate pursued a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Toronto with a focus on injection treatments for tendon injuries. At that time, she gained a passion for anatomy and taught numerous gross and neuroanatomy courses as a teaching assistant. During her studies she was Captain on three Varsity teams, and eventually decided to focus on racing for Canada in rowing. Following graduation of her Ph.D., Kate joined the Canadian national team as a lightweight rower. She went on to compete internationally on three different continents over almost 5 years. She won Gold at the 2015 and 2019 Pan Am Games, bronze at the 2016 World Championships, Silver at the 2016 world cup and attended the Rio Olympics as an alternative for the silver-winning lightweight double! Kate became the first mom on the Canadian National rowing team in over a decade, giving birth in 2017 and returned to compete at the 2018 World Cups and Championships. Since her retirement in 2019, Kate has been an advocate for Safe Sport, mentoring athletes who are experiencing abuse/bullying, and pushing for more athlete-centered programming, inclusivity, and diversity within rowing in Canada. In 2020 Kate had a second child and during parental leave she developed a pre and postnatal fitness coaching business. Kate is currently working with a small group of moms and moms-to-be, providing evidence-based coaching with the goals of encouraging improved quality of life and increased confidence. She is also a new employee for Camosun college where she facilitates co-op and internship opportunities, working to help students realize their career goals. Kate really enjoys challenging herself and learning new skills and is currently satisfying that craving by training to become a Volunteer firefighter at the East Sooke Volunteer Firehall.

Connection to Culture
First Nations Engagement Coordinator, Moose Hide Campaign

Seth Recalma

Hello everyone! My name is Seth Recalma and I’m the First Nations Engagement Coordinator for the Moose Hide Campaign. On my mother’s side I’m of Nuu-Chah-Nulth ancestry, from the Hesquiaht Band. On my father’s side I have roots to the Namgis/Haida and Qualicum First Nations. I am a VIU Alumni of the Bachelor of Business Administration program, with a major in marketing with aspirations of pursuing Indigenous Law. I was the previous Chairperson of the Vancouver Island Leadership Conference along with various student engagement positions through VIU’s Office of Co-Curricular Engagement and Learning. I’m so honoured to have been asked to speak at the 2022 Vancouver Island Leadership Conference and I’m looking forward to sharing my voice into this space. All my relations, gilakas'la.

Connection to Culture
Co-Founder & CEO, NorthMedia Agency

Reid Skelton-Morven

Reid Skelton-Morven is a Tsimshian & Nisga'a Entrepreneur & Prince Rupert City Councillor, born in raised in his matrilineal territory of the 9 Allied Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams & Metlakatla.   Reid firmly believes that collective prosperity requires that we have one eye on tradition & one on the future as we continue to reclaim & rebuild our ways of knowing, being, and showing up in the world. Much of Reid's purpose & reason for being is empowering the entrepreneurial capacity within individuals, leadership & government, especially local, rural & indigenous governments. As indigenous peoples, Reid firmly believes in reclaiming our cultural roots as hunters, gatherers & traders, as historically, indigenous peoples have always had systems of trade & enterprise since time immemorial. In his public life, Reid firmly believes in building meaningful relationships & building bridges of coexistence where we can all embrace the world with an enterprising lens of opportunity, where leadership & government can be more entrepreneurial to help generate the resources to reinvest in what truly matters, which is the people that we serve.

Connection to Self
Founder, I AM RESILIENT.

Nikita Paddock

Nikita Paddock is a Global Resilience Advocate. She is the founder of I AM RESILIENT., a movement targeted to normalize resilience education and practices. Prior to starting I AM RESILIENT., she explored universities, communities, nations, cultures, and the world to learn about resilience practices. After working as a nurse in neurosciences, she gained an understanding of the brain’s ability to change and be resilient, which resulted in resilience in one’s life. She taught workshops, yoga, and mindfulness for universities and centers to promote resilience in students, faculty, and healthcare providers. She went on to work in public health gaining experience in small nonprofits, private businesses, community enterprises, regional health authorities, provincial and national organizations, and global corporations. These included wellness promotion, family and pre/postpartum/ infant health, school health, mental health/ suicide prevention. Eternally curious, Nikita shares her experience through the consilience of various knowledge systems.

CCR Speakers

Connection to Earth
Biology Alumni, Vancouver Island University

Samuelle Simard-Provençal

My name is Samuelle and I am a graduate from VIU’s biology and math departments. I am a passionate ecologist and naturalist. My main focus areas are ornithology and entomology, but it is really the birds that have the strongest hold on my heart. I’ve worked as a bird bander in BC and Alberta, and my most recent field work was this past summer in Metchosin, southern Vancouver Island, where I was working as a fall migration bander. This is where every day during the fall migration period, myself and my team aim to catch birds and band them for scientific data collection. I love bird banding as it allows me to better understand birds at the individual level. I can examine their feather replacement, plumage colouration, and biometrics more carefully. My passion for bird banding began at VIU, through the VIU Bird Banding Project, and soon I will be using the skills I learnt through the mentorship at VIU towards completing my master’s in Ontario. I will be studying an arctic songbird’s migration, and I will be heading to Nunavut in the summer to conduct the summer portion of my field work. I hope to learn more about the weather influenced movement patterns of my study species, the Snow Bunting, by tracking them using radio tags. Studying birds is a great privilege and I feel honoured to complete the work that I do. Aside from researching birds, I am also an avid bird watcher, photographer, and traveller. My work and passions often collide, allowing me to do follow my passions while simultaneously working. After my master’s degree, I hope to do some travelling before continuing on towards obtaining my PhD. I hope to be a professor, and who knows, I might even have the privilege of teaching at VIU one day!

Connection to Culture
First Nations Engagement Coordinator, Moose Hide Campaign

Seth Recalma

Hello everyone! My name is Seth Recalma and I’m the First Nations Engagement Coordinator for the Moose Hide Campaign. On my mother’s side I’m of Nuu-Chah-Nulth ancestry, from the Hesquiaht Band. On my father’s side I have roots to the Namgis/Haida and Qualicum First Nations. I am a VIU Alumni of the Bachelor of Business Administration program, with a major in marketing with aspirations of pursuing Indigenous Law. I was the previous Chairperson of the Vancouver Island Leadership Conference along with various student engagement positions through VIU’s Office of Co-Curricular Engagement and Learning. I’m so honoured to have been asked to speak at the 2022 Vancouver Island Leadership Conference and I’m looking forward to sharing my voice into this space. All my relations, gilakas'la.

Connection to OTHERS
Men's Basketball Captain, Camosun College

Jake Wilmott

I am a 24 year old student-athlete at Camosun College. I am currently completing a grad program learning how to teach children with special needs and I completed my BA with an English major in 2020 from UVic. I have been playing basketball for Camosun for 5 seasons and am in my last year of eligibility. Over the years my role has progressed from the youngest member of my team to our teams leader and captain. I have learned about leadership in a highly competitive environment and found I am most comfortable as a vocal and demonstrative leader.

Connection to SELF
Wellness Peer, Vancouver Island University

Kennedy Ordano

Kennedy Ordano is a member of the Hwlitsum First Nation, and currently lives and learns on the traditional lands of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, BC. Kennedy is a 3rd year Bachelor of Science student at Vancouver Island University who previously completed a diploma in Forest Resource Technology, and has since moved on to major in Biology. Outside of class she spends her spare time volunteering in VIU’s new Wellness Lounge, where her and other likeminded students have been trained as empathic listeners and guides to accessing student services on campus. Kennedy has been a part of the Wellness Peer program since its launch in Fall of 2021 and has loved being able to provide a safe place for students to talk about their concerns, as well as helping them to access further assistance they may be interested in such as academic advising, counselling, and other campus health and wellness services. She feels that the addition of the Wellness Lounge to the campus has filled a major space in accessibility for students, as it bridges the gap between realizing one may need help, and actually feeling comfortable enough to visit a counsellor. This also aligns with one of Kennedy’s strongest philosophies in both mental wellness and leadership, which is self determination. She believes that all individuals should feel free and encouraged to make their own choices for their life, and that real personal growth happens most effectively when one’s decisions to make a change are supported by their peers and leaders.