Become a Speaker

We’re always looking for our next great speakers! Do you have an interesting story to tell? Have a look at our Speaker Expression of Interest. You could be part of our fundraiser!

Our Speakers – November 15th, 2018

Rachel Harrison

Navigating the Uncharted:  Being Confident in the Face of Fear

Rachel Harrison is a peak performance expert and the Founder of Blue Dragon Coaching. Having worked on six continents and in over 15 countries, she has a wealth of experience and knowledge to help leaders navigate the unknowns in their business to increase their impact and results. This speaker and coach knows how to increase leadership capabilities, build impressive revenue streams and create high performance outcomes. With her vast background in information technology, competitive intelligence and sales she recently started working with a Motivindex as the lead Sales Research Manager for the UK and US. She loves supporting community and is the host and emcee of a monthly speaking event based in Halifax called Momondays.

Laura Simpson

Laura Simpson is the CEO and co-founder (along with artist, Dan Mangan ) of Side Door , a Canadian startup with the mission to create greater value and opportunities for performing artists by facilitating shows in houses and other alternative venues. The online platform matches artists and hosts based on preferences, then books and tickets shows. Side Door’s mission is to give audiences instant access to intimate and unique events happening in their own neighborhoods, hosted by passionate community curators. Laura also founded The Syrup Factory , which began (and continues to be) a concert venue in her home and evolved to include artist consultation. Although she’s lived in and travelled to various places, she’s always returned home to Nova Scotia. She believes experiencing amazing live art in intimate community settings leads to stronger human connection, greater empathy and improved mental health.

Amy Schwartz

Amy is the loyal but mischievous friend who convinced you to go nightswimming, sing in math class, eat too many mangoes, tell the whole truth, start the dance floor, stand up for justice, show some love and take the plane rather than the job. Her secret-not-secret passion is finding herself at home everywhere: from a 43 ft sailboat en route from Cape-Town to Florida, to the local matriarch’s front lawn on Easter Island, a first-edition VW bus in Argentine Patagonia, a raft on the Karnali river in Nepal, a bike in the Peruvian Amazon, her hammock-tent on a Mozambiqe beach, next to more surf-breaks than she cares.

Before launching UnleashSurf  – a remote-working and travel experience for surfers with wanderlust, Amy was a specialist in creating healthy and active places that you’d like to linger in, developing government policy for community-led renewable energy, running the Nova Scotia Sea School and guiding outdoor adventures. She’s gotten accolades as an Agent of Change by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce and her founder story has been featured in fantastic publications like Forbes, Inc and Cooler Mag. She grew up on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.

Kathryn MacKinnon

From Ordinary to Legendary
Kathryn helps women stop comparing and competing so they can let go of Ordinary and discover their Legendary. For her, this means finishing 19 Ironman triathlons (each of which consists of a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and a 42.2 km run (full marathon) to be completed in 17 hours).

Over twenty years ago Kathryn got off the couch and started swimming. She could barely swim 50m before needing to stop and catch her breath. From there she added cycling to her repertoire then taught herself to run and entered her first triathlon.

Fast forward to two years ago; Kathryn qualified to compete at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, which, for her, was a dream come true. Sadly, she got sick on the bike, missed the cut-off and wasn’t allowed to continue the race.
This year, she’s back in Hawaii to give it another shot and is facing the fear of not finishing again.

There were many reasons why she “should” have waited until next year to make her comeback but  something inside her told her to go this year.

If there is one thing Kathryn has learned in her life, it’s to…Trust the voice inside her, as it will never lie!

April 19th, 2018

Pernille Fischer Boulter

As the founder of Kisserup International Trade Roots Canada Inc., Kisserup Europe and Kisserup Arctic, Pernille has over 25 years of international business experience. She provides advisory services, project management, trade training and consulting services to public and private sector organizations worldwide. She is facilitating public/private partnership development, consulting and export development services and has established successful joint ventures across the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia, Pacific, Latin, South and North America. With comprehensive experience conducting global projects she has worked on contracts funded by the European Development Fund (EDF), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the Caribbean Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

Several of her projects have been showcased as Best Practices on SME Development in ACP by European Union funded Donors. She has worked on projects in over 90 countries, on 6 continents and in 25 sectors. She is frequently retained as a keynote speaker on international trade, investment and entrepreneurship in both private and public sectors and she is an internationally recognised Subject Matter Expert on SME development.

Bridget Williams

Bridget Williams has been CEO, Author, and Proprietress since July 2016. She is the business owner of Adjusting Your Life Style Frugal Spending B. Williams.

Bridget returned to Nova Scotia in 2013 as a Stage 4 cancer Survivor who in fact thought she was coming home to die. It has been 5 years. She actually wrote a book about Transitioning After Stage 4 Cancer-Going Home to Die.

Bridget is enormously grateful. After her diagnosis, she decided to fight back, by transforming her lifestyle and entire self. She challenged herself with determination, diligence and patience began to rebuild her life piece by piece. Her life lesson is a blessing and she is a vessel of restoration.

Since July 2016 she has written 20 books which are currently available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She had to champion positive beliefs and remove sabotage/hindrances from her life. She believes in mentoring and helping others through her personal experiences and transparency.  Bridget felt it was necessary to help others through her personal story, challenges, staring over, removing the shadows, time waits for no one, and taking back what was stolen with in her spirit.  She believes in providing others with the necessary tools to begin again which is a dedication of service and education.

When Bridget received emails from others locally and from other countries whom she has never met, she took it as an indication of how she has helped, impacted, empowered, and inspired.  This was the WOW factor or AHA moment for her.

Bridget had the opportunity to be employed for a number of different industries from banking, education, corporate, health, not for profit, private sector, insurance, timeshares, property management, and the list goes on.  Her books help students to seniors.

Beth McKay

Beth has always lived life driven by her curiosity & courage. From finance, to film, to successful Entrepreneur, today, as a Professional Co-Active Coach, she serves women by being open and vulnerable. Through one-on- one coaching, workshops and speaking, Beth champions women to let go of the ‘to-do’s’ and stories that are holding them back from living a Brave and Bodacious Life, without apology.

November 16th, 2017

Jen Nicholson

Jen Nicholson is a mom of four teenage girls, a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with Executive Finance.  Jen has climbed up – and then down the corporate ladder and now helps finance professionals become executives and move from the cubicle to the corner office.  She has over 20 years of experience – some good and some bad in public and private energy, mining and shipping companies as well as academia.   She is now building a successful business and life on her terms.

Hon. Joanne Bernard E.C.N.S

Joanne Bernard has been building communities for over 15 years in Nova Scotia.  She is currently CEO and President of  Easter Seals Nova Scotia and sits on the Board of Directors of MSVU Alumni Association.

In 2002, Joanne established the Marguerite Centre, the only residential facility for women recovering from addictions and abuse in Nova Scotia. Her leadership in the women’s community continued in 2005 as she was tasked to lead Alice Housing, which offers second stage housing for women and children leaving abusive relationships. In 2008, she developed Healing the Bruises, the only interventionist therapy program in Atlantic Canada for child witnesses of domestic violence.

Ms. Bernard has been recognized for her work in the non-profit field, having led Alice Housing to multiple Donner Awards. Professionally she has received the Peter F. Drucker award for Non Profit Management in Canada in 2011, the Holly House Award for her work on the issue of homelessness and in 2015 the Inspire Award for her Public Service

Elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 2013, Ms. Bernard was immediately appointed to the Executive Council of Nova Scotia where she served as Minister of Community Services, Housing Nova Scotia, Disabled Persons Commission and Advisory Council for the Status of Women.

Ms. Bernard holds of Bachelor of Arts (Political Science with Distinction) from Mount Saint Vincent University, Masters of Arts (Political Science) from Acadia University and a Certificate of Leadership from Saint Mary’s University.

Joanne is married to Annette, mother to grown son Taylor and proud owner of 5 rescued cats.

Lori Anne Jones

Lori Anne is the founder and CEO of SHIFT Strategies – a Change Consulting firm where she and her team help organizations and individuals activate their transformation potential and evolved to their next level of brilliance.  LoriAnne is a dynamic entrepreneur with a over 20 years of experience supporting transformation and creating positive space for personal and organizational evolution.  She believes that everyone has, at a core level, the courage and capacity to overcome and emerge from challenges and adversity stronger and more resilient. Lori Anne is also an artist with a prismatic world view able to see the possibility of many views, perspectives and possibilities which serves her well in her business as she works with individuals and organizations to realize their full potential and maximize their impact. She has a passion for and a commitment to assisting young women realize their potential and has created an empowerment program called SPARK where she creates the opportunity for young women to harness their gifts and activate their brilliance.

C.C. Dorrie

C.C. Dorrie spent the first eight years of her life in Hnusta, Slovakia living in a world of fear and violence, until she was abducted by her father. Eventually settling in Canada, she did not see her mother again until she was a teenager. After their emotional reunion, she spent many years running from her past in search of something just out of reach.  Along the way, she met both angels and devils in disguise, before finding the courage to open her Pandora Box.

She has enjoyed living peacefully on the coast of Nova Scotia with her husband and two children since 2005. Every day, she wakes up and looks out at the Atlantic Ocean and its glittering blue waters—much like the waters of the majestic Mediterranean, into which she poured her heart all those years ago.  This is her first book.

Speakers from our 2018 Spring Fundraiser:

Rachel Sovka

Rachel is a bold believer in love and resilience. Across 20 countries, through journalism and international development, she has helped people embrace lives of meaning, tap danced, and consumed unhealthy amounts of hot sauce – in that order.

Rachel studied anthropology and philosophy in British Columbia and Quebec before falling in love and spontaneously hitchhiking across the country to Halifax where she was hired at CTV News. When she’s not in the newsroom, Rachel leads community engagement projects from flashmob music videos to teaching classes of refugees, and volunteers with influential organizations from Global Shapers to Symphony Nova Scotia. Rachel is an advocate for women’s rights and literacy in prisons; she currently serves on the board of directors for Halifax’s roller derby league and Youth Art Connection. Lately, she can be found running marathons, becoming a certified hot air balloon pilot, and working to launch a company that makes spreading love more central, creative, and accessible – because she believes in love, and so do you.

Natalie Frederick-Wilson

Natalie launched House of Auto Details and Krown Rust Control with her husband David in 2013. This Bedford, Nova Scotia business has built an innovative and holistic approach to automotive detailing, vehicle reconditioning, and rust protection, helping clients protect their vehicles and preserve antique and exotic cars. Clients include Luckett Vineyards, Tim Hortons, Ford Canada, and BMW Halifax. House of Auto Details has won two Silver Awards from the Halifax Chamber of Commerce: New Business of the Year in 2015 and Small Business of the Year in 2017.

An American immigrant of Afro-Caribbean descent, Natalie believes that helping others succeed is the greatest form of service. She encourages other small business to take calculated risks, mentors international students and newcomers, and enjoys speaking on panels and at networking events. She also sits on the marketing board for Sandy Lake Academy, represents the Halifax Chamber as an ambassador, and volunteers for various community health initiatives.

Denika Coakley

Denika is a woodworker and artist with a lifelong love for design and carpentry. She has loved to paint for as long as she can remember and as a child built boats with her grandfather and older brother. She incorporates her love of painting and building into her one-of-a-kind custom furniture and design.

Today, Denika runs her own company, DC Woodworks, from her home in Dartmouth while raising two young daughters. Her vision is to inspire women of all ages, especially her daughters, to go after their dreams and have the confidence to venture into male-dominated careers. 

Lianne Perry

Lianne is an award-winning freelance writer and performer with extensive experience in theatre. In 2015, she received funding to tour her original one-woman comedy show in Nova Scotia. She’s Got Mono chronicles Lianne’s personal experiences of living with bipolar disorder. In addition to her creative pursuits, Lianne has worked with the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University since 2010, where she administers employability programs for youth and provides consulting services in online marketing and technology efficiency for businesses in Atlantic Canada. Lianne is a Faculty Advisor for the Enactus team at Saint Mary’s University, a founding member of the Nova Scotia Women in Technology task force, and member of the Techsploration Advisory Board.

A keen and driven entrepreneur, Lianne is also co-founder of two technology companies. PinPoint Virtual Solutions creates mobile apps and online solutions for the event market, and Karmabuy is a start-up focusing on community purchasing power, connecting companies that care with social enterprises  creating unique handmade gifts. Lianne loves being in business, and always has more ideas than time to implement them.