My name is Mario Asta and I am the Program Manager for the Microsoft Learning Consultants Program at Microsoft Canada. Prior to joining the Education team in September 2015, I was in the classroom, as a student, in an MBA program on the Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Before my time in this program, I spent two years in Ontario classrooms as an elementary educator. I have taught students ages 3-15; and I am passionate about integrating technology in the classroom to improve student learning and boosting 21stcentury learning skills.
Outside of the classroom, I enjoy everything outdoors! On the weekends you can find me in the water, on top of mountains, or around friends and family.
In my past few years training educators across Canada, I have enjoyed witnessing the excitement and enthusiasm of teachers and students finding success through programs such as OneNote, Sway and Minecraft.
I look forward to working with you to help enable educators acheive more!
Learning Development Program Manager for Microsoft Education
Sandy Pell has led corporate communications and public relations for Canada’s hottest, high-growth, tech startups. Today, she’s at Vidyard, the video platform for business, which boasts customers including LinkedIn, Microsoft, HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo, and others. Prior, Sandy led public relations at Hootsuite, the social media management platform, during its transformation from 30-person garage startup to a global enterprise leader with more than 1000 employees and 15 million users.
In 2015, Sandy was selected as one of Canada’s Top 20 TechWomen in partnership with the C100 and the Canadian Consulate San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and in 2014 as one of the ‘Top 30 Under 30 in PR’. She provides ongoing mentorship, guidance, and support to the communications community with leading universities including UBC, SFU, and WLU. Sandy co-founded YVRPR (Vancouver public relation) and has recently founded WRPR (Waterloo public relations), networking groups which are now attended by nearly 250 senior communications professionals in their respective regions.
In her spare time, she and her partner paint large-scale, custom commercial murals and illustrations for global brands. Recently, they were selected by Lürzer’s Archive as two of the Top 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 2016/2017, the celebrated creative resource for advertising professionals worldwide. Sandy lives in the Waterloo region, Ontario with her husband, their puffy white husky and fluffy orange cat.
If you asked me what Explore, Discover, and Inspire meant to me when I was sitting in your shoes, I would have given you a completely different answer to what I’d stand up here and tell you today.
You see, growing up, I felt the pressure to follow the well-traveled path: go to university, get a corporate job, and so on. I figured that since I had worked all of that out by age 21 - life would turn out "good".
You see though, my passion for creativity wasn't fulfilled. And I don’t mean the type of creativity that comes along with painting a picture or - I’m referring here to the type of creativity that comes from doing things differently than your fellow-traveled friend.
Explore, Discover, Inspire.
The second that you give yourself the permission to travel outside of your comfort zone - whether by trying a new course, eating foreign food, or saying yes to the job that you lack confidence in - you discover that you actually can achieve anything that you want to -- if you put in the time. No, there is no written book to life. I had to retrain myself to stop waiting around for it. So if you wished that something existed, go make it happen. The more you explore, the more you discover, and the more you inspire those around you to do the same.
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
Attiya Hirji is a graduate of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. She is passionate about the empowerment of women and girls, and tackling issues related to gender equality. Attiya has spent time volunteering and working with youth in East Africa and Central America, and was among a group of women who started a social enterprise that seeks to provide early childhood education to children in urban slums. Most recently she spent time completing the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s International Fellowship program, which sent her to Kyrgyzstan to work at the University of Central Asia, a not-for-profit university whose mission is to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia’s mountain communities.
Attiya now works for Oxfam Canada in Ottawa as a Fund Development Officer and manages digital and community fundraising across the country.
When she’s not working or volunteering in the local community, Attiya enjoys playing ball hockey, café hopping, reading, and trying new restaurants with friends. She’s always planning her next vacation, and is currently working towards her goal of visiting 30 countries by the age of 30.
What does “Explore, Discover, Inspire” mean to you?
The three words are interconnected – each one influencing the others to ignite internal drive and meaningful action. Inspiration can be pulled from a culture, a place, a person, a thought, or an idea, and opens us up to new possibilities. However, the ability to recognize and internalize the inspiration in our daily lives requires us to be open and actively looking for its presence. The act of discovery hinges on our ability to be curious, to ask questions, and to challenge assumptions. We are global citizens, each one of us unique from one another, but together we can alter the course of the world. We have the opportunity and responsibility to learn and create something positive, but first we must have a deep understanding of the world we live in. Travel to foreign places, talk to unfamiliar people, and exchange knowledge and ideas. We have that power right here, right now. The question is, what are you willing to do with it?
Fund Development Officer, Digital & Community Fundraising
Raven Lacerte is a member of the Lake Babine First Nation and belongs to the Bear Clan.
Raven is a member of the 4R’s National Youth Steering Committee… a national youth movement that brings young people together to talk about Reconciliation… and she was also recently appointed to the Province of BC’s Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women.
Raven is the Co-Founder of the Moosehide Campaign. She was 16 years old when the Campaign was founded. She co founded the campaign with her father Paul Lacerte.
Raven has met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Prince of Monaco, and with the British Royals, Prince William and Kate to present the Moosehide Campaign and to discuss the importance of ending violence against women.
Raven is a new mother of a sweet little girl Cedar who has joined us today with her father Dominic Paul.
Raven is a practitioner of traditional Indigenous culture and spirituality.