Meet Our Keynotes & Presenters!
Dr. Jennifer Heisz (she/her)
Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz is an expert in brain health. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and directs the NeuroFit Lab, which has attracted over $1 million to support her research program on the effects of exercise for brain health. Dr. Heisz received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience (McMaster) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Brain Health and Aging at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital (Toronto). Dr. Heisz's research examines the effects of physical activity on brain function to promote mental health and cognition in young adults, older adults and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Many honors and awards recognize Dr. Heisz for her outstanding contributions to research including the Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario, the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award, and the Canada Research Chair in brain health and aging.
Sarah Gallsworthy (she/her)
Sarah Gallsworthy is on a journey to share the power of movement, health and quality programming. Growing up in British Columbia, she learned early about the value of active, healthy living. As part of the LGBTQI2S community, Sarah also understands that barriers to programs and spaces can limit potential. She is an advocate for awareness and inclusion to help others find a sense of belonging and acceptance. Sarah left the healthcare sector with a passion for teaching others. She is currently a professor in both the Fitness Health Promotion and Recreation Programs at Seneca College, in Ontario, a learning facilitator for the Coaching Association of Ontario, a Physical Literacy master learning facilitator with Sport for Life, a collaborator with INclusion INcorporated and a master trainer with High Five. As a sport and recreation consultant, Sarah has been a part of many Provincial, Territorial and National initiatives that support physical literacy, child development and quality engagement. When not working, you can likely find Sarah keeping active at her local park in her most important role of mom to young daughter Ayla, whilst tossing a frisbee (that will never be returned) to Great Dane, Hamilton.
Anthony De Laurentis (he/him)
Anthony De Laurentis loves everything recreation. From programming to teaching to supervising, Anthony has done it all. Living in the City of Toronto, Anthony's journey started in 2004 as a Building attendant working 6 hours a week to now being Supervisor of Community Recreation. Anthony has also been spending some time teaching at two colleges in Ontario in their Recreation and Leisure and Sport Management Programs. In addition, Anthony is an aspiring Master Trainer with HIGH FIVE, which includes being a Principles of Healthy Child Development Trainer, HIGH FIVE Sport Trainer, Healthy Aging Trainer and a Quest 2 Trainer. Anthony loves teaching new recreation leaders how to enjoy teaching and encouraging others to love recreation and fun activities. Anthony finds that using humour is the best tool to get participants to learn and explore. One of Anthony's philosophies is to always put people first.
Rachel Bar (she/her)
Rachel Bar is the Director, Research & Health at Canada’s National Ballet School. She completed her PhD in Psychology at Ryerson University and her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Trent University's Trent Centre for Aging & Society. As a dance artist, she has been part of the multidisciplinary team that developed NBS’ approach to dance programming for older adults. As a researcher, she has been involved in several projects investigating how and why older adults can benefit from accessible dance innovations.
Nancy Lehan (she/her)
Nancy is a Community Dance Specialist and the Manager of Adaptive and Integrated Dance at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS). She is a graduate of NBS' Teacher Training (Dip) Program and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education with The University Bath and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). As a registered ballet teacher with the RAD and full-time faculty member at NBS, Nancy has extensive experience developing and leading dance classes for people of many ages and abilities and has taught in a variety of the school's community, recreational and post secondary programs. As a professional dance educator, Nancy specializes in programming for children with diverse physical, cognitive and developmental needs, and has recently developed a new Adaptive Dance Program at NBS alongside Holland Bloorview KIds Rehabilitation Hospital.
Karie Papillon (she/her) & Brandie Yorg (she/her)
As a recreation professional, Karie has worked in the industry since she was a teenager. Her real passion is working with Older Adults. In her 13 years at the Aurora Seniors Centre, Karie has grown the programming to include over 80 active, lifestyle programs. There is a large focus on the fundamentals of movement - to keep everyone safe and active.
Brandie is the program lead at the Aurora Seniors Centre for Seniors Centre Without Walls, and Seniors Centre in the Mail. She also designs the yearly Fall Prevention Campaign and Wellness series. In her years of fitness instruction, Brandie is always intentional with her goals to make lives better for seniors
John Byl (he/him)
John Byl, PhD, (he, him) is the Canadian Gopher Educational Consultant, was president of CIRA Ontario (2003-2018), and a retired professor of Physical Education at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario (1986-2014). Dr. Byl has authored or coauthored over 30 books. He is the winner of several professional awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for promoting physical activity across Canada, and is a regular workshop leader across Canada. He has a special interest in promoting fun, active participation for all children and developing and maintaining personal wellness.
Cynthia Campanaro (she/her)
Cynthia is an active mom of 3, wife, HPE teacher of over 20 years, coach, cake-maker, yoga lover, and athlete. She grew up in NS where her childhood was very active and always outdoors! Her physical literacy journey began in Highland dance and gymnastics, and she dabbled in combatives (karate & wrestling), competitive swimming, running, triathlon, and obstacle course racing as the years went by. The more she challenges herself, the happier she tends to be. Over the past 5 years, Cynthia has become self-educated on the practice and power of mindfulness in supporting optimal mental health as well as helping her overcome significant injuries. She believes it is important to model healthy, active living for her own children as well as her high school students and exude a life-long love of movement for optimal health. She has presented her integration of Mindfulness into HPE at HWDSB PD sessions, online webinar with Sport Hamilton as well as at OASPHE 2018.
Kyla Crocker (she/her)
Kyla Crocker is a purpose driven leader who is passionate about advocating for the importance of getting kids and youth of all abilities active and moving daily. She is the Program Director for MOVE by GoodLife Kids - a physical activity and fitness program for kids and youth, ages 12 to 21, with an intellectual disability and autism. Kyla pursued an academic career in Kinesiology receiving her undergraduate degree from Acadia University and her master’s degree from the University of Toronto. With 10+ years of experience in the sport and recreation field it has allowed her to share her passion to create a positive impact in communities through the power of movement. When Kyla is not working, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors, going to the gym to lift heavy things or watching the newest episode of Station 19!
Paolo Zambito (he/him)
Paolo Zambito has worked with non-profit organizations for several years. Since 2018, he has been serving as the Executive Director of Kin-Ball Canada and travels across Canada and Northern U.S. to show how inclusive the sport can be.
Father of three young children, he holds a Master's degree in public administration which was completed as part of an internship with the COLUFRAS, an international NGO led by former Québec Minister of Health Rémy Trudel. The mandate of the COLUFRAS is to disseminate literature on public health issues all around the world.
Paolo also holds a certification as an instructor on OMNIKIN games and is a Kin-Ball certified trainer and a Level 1 Kin-Ball referee. Pushing the idea that sportsmanship and cooperation can go a long way in promoting physical activity in children and in the general population, Paolo has been presenting Kin-Ball in schools and showing teachers how to play the game.
Suzie Carmack (she/her)
Suzie Carmack, PhD, MFA, MEd, ERYT 500, NBC-HWC,C-IAYT is on a mission to help individuals, teams, organizations, and government agencies to move to well-being. With 30 years of experience as a college professor, scholar and trainer, Dr. Carmack is the author of two #1 best-selling books -- Genius Breaks (2017) and Well-Being Ultimatum (2015). As a yoga teacher trainer and board-certified health coach, she has certified 1000's of yoga teachers and health coaches across 5 continents in her YogaMedCo method -- which brings the practices of yoga, lifestyle medicine and coaching together. She currently serves as the Department Chair of Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where she directs the world's only M.S. program in Yoga Therapy. She also holds appointments as a Senior Scholar for the Center of Well-being at George Mason University and as an Education Advisory Board Member for MedFit Foundation. She is globally recognized for her pioneering work to bring yoga into offices and schools in the early 2000's, and for her more recent research and advocacy work investigating ways that yoga practices (on and off of the mat) can reduce burnout, compassion fatigue, and diseases of despair in military, healthcare and education workforce settings. Learn more at www.DrSuzieCarmack.com
Eric Mathura (he/him)
Eric created Boardgains for teaching his boot camp classes because he wanted to “gamify” fitness and make it fun. He wanted to make his classes feel more like a game than a workout. Fast forward to the present and now instructors from all walks of life (bootcamps, gyms, schools, camps, parents, etc) are using the BoardGains game to teach their classes & communities. “...one of the greatest feelings I get is seeing my game inspiring kids to get off their phones and be active!” says Eric.
Callen McGibbon (he/him)
Cal has been a strength coach for nearly 20 years working at the Olympic level, NHL level, with active youth and also served as Team Canada’s Special Olympics Power Lifting Coach. Fitness has always been the backbone of his lifestyle and he is always looking to improve methods to deliver fitness and movement competencies among our youth.
Rob McLeod (he/him)
“Frisbee Rob” McLeod is a motivational speaker and frisbee ambassador living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has 10 Guinness World Records, 14 World Championships and the Canadian Distance Record. He has spoken in more than 400 schools to over 135,000 kids about physical literacy, resiliency, kindness, and being their best. He is the co-author of The Davy Rule and has been in the 2014 & 2015 Guinness Book of World Records.
Dianna Moulden (she/her)
Dianna is a sport physiotherapist who works with professional athletes, predominantly NHL, in the clinic and then seasonally with the Canadian Bobsled Team (in Winter) and the CEBL Niagara River Lions (in Summer). Her goal is to give every athlete the tool to manage their own health to keep them in the game as long as they want. Dianna incorporates mobility, mindset (sleep, breathwork, mindset) and meals (proper nutrition) to keep athletes feeling and performing at their best.
Jordan Foley (he/him)
Jordan Foley CSCS, RSCC*D, is a Strength & Conditioning Specialist with CANSOFCOM and Co-chair of the Canadian Strength & Conditioning Association. Jordan is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach with Distinction from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a qualified teacher with experience from grades 3 to post-secondary. Throughout his career, Jordan has worked across a multitude of sports from the high school, collegiate, national, and professional levels.
Dallas Soonias (he/him)
Dallas Randolph (Keeshig) Soonias is a former professional volleyball player. He was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on April 25, 1984. He is registered in Cape Crocker reserve in Ontario. He is currently the Head Coach of the Sait Trojans Men's Volleyball team. He played his college ball for Red Deer College and then for the UofA Golden Bears winning three national gold medals and a silver in his 4 years. In 2004, Dallas became a member of the Canadian Senior Men’s Volleyball Team. Since then he has competed in hundreds of matches wearing the Maple Leaf and competed with the team in all major tournaments and competitions. In total he spent 15 years representing Canada.
Dallas is proud to be the first indigenous Canadian to represent Canada at the highest level of his sport and feels honored and blessed that the game he loves has taken him to all the corners of the planet. He always kept in mind when he put the jersey on, he’s not just representing Canada, but also the First Nations peoples. Dallas has played Professionally for clubs around the world.
Trevor Cottrell (he/him)
Trevor Cottrell, PhD, CSCS
Michelle Hillier (she/her)
Finding her own personal Breath & Fire has transformed Michelle's life. Her inner flame, which was either a pilot light or a blazing inferno is now a controlled blaze. She has been on her own intimate healing path of recovery since 2017 from double hip replacement surgery, addiction, grief and a marital separation which has created a deeper sense of compassion and understanding for herself. Essentially, a road to self-love. It is Michelle's desire to create experiences that hold space to help others find their own Breath & Fire within life’s journey.
Over the last two decades Michelle has been a sought after educator, speaker (TEDx) and published author/content creator, and has transformed millions of lives with her message through large crowd presentations, workshop trainings, content creation and one-on-one coaching and experiences. Her work has spanned a broad range of industries taking her internationally with her message. Michelle's creative ability to customize her content to an event theme is unparalleled.
Michelle is a Movement Specialist, Recovery Coach, Certified Yoga & Dance Teacher, former Professional Dancer, Fitness Professional and Mindfulness/Meditation Facilitator. She teaches dance and movement at Ontario Tech U in the B.Ed program and taught the Dance AQ for York U for over 10 years. She has seamlessly merged all her passions, skills, qualifications and personal experiences to create Breath & Fire to share with individuals, groups and organizations.
Andrea Haefele (she/her)
Andrea (she/her) is currently seconded as a Health & Physical Education curriculum consultant at Ophea. She has been part of many regional and provincial initiatives that support the H&PE curriculum, Healthy Schools, and also the Daily Physical Activity provincial policy. She is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and has spoken at professional learning networks such as the Hospital for SickKids, the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Jumpstart Charities, and Autism Ontario.
Rebecca Richardson (she/her)
Rebecca Richardson is currently an Instructional Program Leader with Halton District School Board, responsible for Secondary Health and Physical Education, The Arts and Safety and Well Being. Rebecca is also an executive member on both the local (H.S.S.A.A) and regional (G.H.A.C) athletic associations, responsible for leading interschool athletic programming and coordinating with athletic convenors. Her provincial and national leadership roles include: current Past President of OASPHE (Ontario Association for the Support of Physical and Health Educators), former member of Ophea's Curriculum Advisory Council, member of Ophea's SIPAC (Student Injury Prevention Advisory Council), and the Ontario Rep on the Board of Directors for PHE Canada.
Deniece Bell (she/they)
Deniece has been a Health & Physical Education teacher with the Peel District School Board. A former national level 400m hurdler, the love of movement was instilled in her, such that she now engages in coaching and fitness training. Deniece is currently pursuing a Masters degree within the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Their interests, and work with the IDEAS research lab, explore the experiences of in/exclusion of racialized LGBTQ2S+ folks in fitness spaces, and ways to support anti-racism in sport. Deniece plans to blend her personal and professional experiences to remind folks to find joy in movement, and highlight the holistic value, physical, emotional and mental well-being, that one can find within sport.
Yumi Lee (she/her)
My name is Yumi, and I’m a 19-year-old, queer, bicracial student, studying to become a physical education teacher. I currently work teaching skateboarding for my business, York Skateboarding Academy, where our goals include promoting inclusivity and safety at skateparks. In my free time, some of my hobbies include skateboarding, rock climbing, music and visual art. As someone who’s experienced the school system’s strengths and faults, I’m excited to share some ideas with you!