Know Better, Do Better 2020 features 17 local speakers giving main stage talks and leading interactive workshops, on topics ranging from parenting and reproductive justice to women in arts and culture in the KW region.
Full-Spectrum Perinatal Worker, Public Educator, and Spoken Word Artist
Beth is an experienced birth worker, radical reproductive justice activist, and internationally-
competing spoken word artist. She is the founder of Placenta Squad, Waterloo Region’s largest and longest running networking group for perinatal professionals, as well as the founder and director of Revolutionary Doula Training, a certificate program for people wishing to apply social justice values to their full-spectrum doula practices. A village wise woman, a popular public educator, and a passionate performer, Beth seeks to heal the world one broken heart at a time.
LGBTQ+ Diversity & Inclusion Consultant
Christopher is a graduate student at the University of Waterloo. He has been engaged in queer activism for over half a decade, with specific emphases on empowering queer folks to be more effective self-advocates, and helping organizations develop more queer-friendly spaces. He has been involved in a number of large community projects, including as a director of a national conference for LGBTQ+ engineering undergraduates, and as a founder and executive director of a California-based conference for the professional & academic development of LGBTQ+ high schoolers. In his free time, Christopher enjoys knitting, boxing, and spending time with his partner & his rabbit Tiberius.
Arts and Culture Blogger, Arts Management Professional
Glodeane Brown is the Founder and Editor of Culture Fancier, the arts and culture blog she started in 2016 with the aim to educate, entertain, and inspire people. She is currently working as the Programming and Operations Coordinator at CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area), helping to plan and manage the 2020 biennial.
Parenting Coach, Positive Discipline Ontario
Hilary is passionate about creating relationships based on respect rather than old power-over paradigms in both her work with challenging youth and struggling families, and with her own family. She works to move beyond the coercive, manipulating, power-wielding parenting techniques which are so prevalent in our society.
Hilary has been exploring horizontal relationships, encouragement and empowerment for over 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies and is a certified parent educator. Her approach to guiding young people toward being responsible, respectful, and resourceful people is deeply respectful and encouraging to both adults and children. She has worked to establish respectful relationships in schools and group homes in Switzerland. Since 2018 she has brought her experience and bag of tools to caregivers, including supporting survivors of domestic abuse in regaining their role as an authoritative parent.
Artistic Director, Neruda Arts
Actor. Award-winning playwright. Music Presenter. Cultural Programmer. Advocate of the Visual Arts. Community Activist. Project Manager. Mover. Shaker. Partner. Mother. Friend. Isabel Cisterna is all these things and more. Isabel immigrated to Canada over 20 years ago from Chile. In 2002, she established Neruda Arts and hasn’t looked back. Last year, Kultrún World Music Festival attracted 20,000 attendees. The roots of her passion and tenacity run deep in the Waterloo Region.
· The Canada 150+ Medal (2019)
· The Waterloo Award and The Paul Harris Fellowship (2018)
· Leading Women Building Communities (2014)
· Waterloo Woman of the Year (2013)
· Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award (2012)
· Government of Chile Award – Achievement as a Chilean living abroad (2011)
· Oktoberfest Woman of the year for Arts & Culture (2010)
· Waterloo Region Record – 40 Under 40 award for leadership (2009)
· KW Arts Awards for the Arpillera Tapestry of life Project (2008)
· KW Arts Awards for Mentor of the year (2007)
Neruda Arts, a non-profit world-music presenter, is dedicated to building bridges in the community through music, dance, drama, and literary and visual arts. Aside from concerts, Neruda establishes panels, facilitates conversation, creating interactive events regarding social issues, Neruda educates and introduces the community to a more inclusive attitude regarding multiculturalism, issues of racism and exclusion.
Funeral Celebrant, Founder of Exit Matters
Jen Davis, founder of the social enterprise Exit Matters, has a passion to “spark” the conversation we all need to have, but often don’t know how to start, about what matters to us in our life and our death. As a long-time hospice volunteer, funeral celebrant, and inventor (including two boards games “Exit Matters” and “Bucket List”), Jen provides resources and coaching to help people learn about, explore and share their end-of-life options and choices. The magical part, Jen believes, is that by focusing on our death we actually become more aware of our values and what we find important in our life.
Co-Chair & Educational Director, Sex Workers’ Action Network (SWAN) of Waterloo Region
SWAP (Sex Workers’ Action Project) Hamilton
Twitter/Instagram: @IsisIntrepid (some sensitive content)
Jelena is a harm reduction and sex worker’s rights activist. She has spoken on CBC, Vice, and other media outlets on the topic of sex workers’ liberation, and was also subpoenaed as an expert witness to testify in a human trafficking case in 2018 which was a constitutional challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws. She provides professional trainings and workshops for organizations, businesses, and agencies who wish to affirm the rights, and dignity of sex workers. Additionally, she provides other public speaking engagements on topics such as reducing obstacles to accessing the medication PrEP- for trans, sex working, ACB, and incarcerated women.
Karen Schulman Dupuis
Researcher. Speaker. Shift Disturber.
Named one of BetaKit’s 30, then 40, then 80 Women in Canadian Tech Worth Following, Karen Schulman Dupuis (better known as KarenSD) is routinely called a ‘force of nature’. She is a speaker, writer, an award-winning communicator, designer, teacher, mentor, and a shift disturber. Karen is a passionate supporter of women in their leadership and career trajectories, and a champion of diversity and inclusion as a growth strategy and a leadership competency.
Karen’s work follows the principles of business design; the integration and intersection of marketing, operations, and strategy goals. She has worked with technology startups and entrepreneurs for over 20 years. Karen has held roles with startups and large enterprises from Director to COO.
Karen is currently the Strategy & Marketing Vice President at Project Clean, the principal consultant at Social Design, and a mentor at TechStars Toronto and the Roundhouse Accelerator.
Karen recently achieved her Master of Arts in Leadership through Royal Roads University.
Founder and Artistic Director, Pat the Dog Theatre Creation
A fierce advocate for regional theatre artists, Lisa O’Connell (she/her) is the founding Artistic Director of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, a catalyst for new works of theatre and PlaySmelter, Northern ON’s New Work Theatre Festival. Artists work created at PTD have received or been nominated for the RBC Tarragon Playwright Award, the Carol Bolt Award, Governor-General’s Award (Drama), RBC Emerging Directors Award, among others. Work created at PTD has been presented at Magnetic North Theatre Festival, SummerWorks, Canadian Stage, Tarragon, MT Space, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Theatre Aquarius, The Grand Theatre, among others. O’Connell is a two-time recipient of a Special Jury Award from Arts Awards Waterloo and has delivered the closing Keynote address at the Canadian Association of Theatre Researchers Conference. She was past Caucus Chair at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, Advocacy Committee of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Steering Committee Equity in Theatre and is the creator of Regional Women Lead, a national initiative to address gender parity for women in theatre. She is a recipient of a New Conversation Award (British Council/Canadian High Commission UK) for The Women’s Room with Lyth Centre, Scotland. O’Connell has been published in Canadian Theatre Review, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, among others. She divides her time between her artistic homes in Waterloo, ON and Sudbury, ON with her partner Mark Walton.
Child and Youth Worker, Emergency Shelter Worker, Trained Facilitator and Mediator
Liz says: I am passionate about building our next generation of men as a female because I have experienced the intersection of gender based violence and unhealthy concepts of masculinity! I work in a group home for street affiliated teenage males as well as in a men’s shelter for men experiencing homelessness and addiction. I think the interconnection of healthy masculinity and restorative justice is really valuable and have been able to explore this through Community Justice Initiatives where I facilitate a group for men who have sexually offended, as well as being present as a trained mediator for victim offender related cases. I am so pumped to chat about this topic and can’t wait to learn from the wisdom in this room!
Liz is presently studying Social Development Studies and Psychology; specializing in Social Work, Social Action and Social Policy at the University of Waterloo.
Director, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre
Lori is 2-Spirited nēhiyaw āpihtākosisān with family roots at mōniyawi-sākahikanihk, Treaty 6 territory in kīwētinohk kisiskāciwan. She is an intergenerational survivor of the Indian Residential School system and a child from the Sixties Scoop generation. Over a span of 25 years she managed to locate and contact not only her birth mom, but all 6 of her living siblings who were scattered across several provinces. Lori has made it her career advocating for social justice and working towards a more equitable society for all. She started out working with at-risk youth, later in the area of Indigenous public housing, and then became a victim services resource officer before moving into post-secondary. Most recently, she was a federal candidate in the 2019 election. Now, with over 13 years of progressive leadership with contributions in student services, academics, research and administration, Lori is an experienced leader in education with a proven track record particularly in advancing processes of Indigenization, reconciliation, and decolonization and speaks nationally and internationally on these topics. Lori holds two undergraduate degrees (Indigenous Studies and Psychology), a master’s degree in Adult Education and is working towards a PhD in Social Justice Education. She currently holds the position of Director, Shatitsirótha’ Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre at St. Paul’s University College.
In the Web
Marta Orlowska and Andrea Mauro
In the Web is an experiment in sound and vision. Formed in May of 2019, the group’s core members are multidisciplinary artists Andrea Mauro (Polly Beats) and Marta Orlowska (Cosmic River), accompanied by a revolving cast of talented friends and fellow earth defenders. In the Web focuses their attention and expression on love, connection, solidarity, community, witness and healing in a time of great unraveling.
Community Musician and Founder, KW Junk Music
2019 City of Kitchener Artist-in-Residence
Mary Neil is a professional community musician whose practice is situated at the intersection of music, science, and community development. Her organization, KW Junk Music, uses instruments made out of materials diverted from landfills and recycling plants to create “junk” instruments with a goal of making music accessible to everyone and challenging people to think about their sustainable practice. As the 2019 Artist in Residence for the City of Kitchener, Mary spent the year engaging communities across the city to create “community compositions” – songs which reflect each community’s values—which are then posted on KW Junk Music’s social media channels for all to enjoy. Mary is currently pursuing local collaborations to expand her work to further engage communities across the Region of Waterloo in meaningful music-making opportunities including working on an album of songs reflecting narratives of people with lived experience.
Spoken Word Poet & Teaching Artist
Mona Mousa is a community organizer, and activist, who held a 12 years spoken word poetry career. Mona has shown herself to be a force of positive change and a champion for social justice and community. She has worked tirelessly to make space for the voices who come from marginalized and often invisible identity groups, through the founding of Feather and Anchor, a talent agency that exclusively represented works of LBTQ & Poets of colour.
She’ll often say “it’s a political statement just to leave home some days”, but if her work is indicative of anything, it’s of a person who has seen a world of pain love and growth, who writes, performs, and navigates the world in a way that is indicative of a mission to find justice for marginalized bodies.
Artistic Director, MT Space
MT Space on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @themtspace
Pam performs with numerous Canadian companies, touring nationally and internationally. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s music program, Pam specialized in new music and improvisation, establishing a career as a multidisciplinary artist. Pam is currently the Artistic Director of MT Space where she pursues her passion for centralizing racialized voices through theatre. Pam was formerly the President of local new music organization, NUMUS, and is currently the Chair of Arts Awards Waterloo Region. In line with efforts to advocate for the arts on a local level, Pam also sat on the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for the City of Kitchener where she played an active role in voicing concerns on behalf of the larger arts community. In 2018, Pam was a recipient of Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship for Service Above Self in Arts and Culture, which was given at the Mayor of Waterloo’s State of the City Address. Most recently, Pam received the Emerging Leader in Performing Arts Award from the Canadian Arts Presenting Association.
Outreach Manager at TD Bank Innovation Lab
Samantha Estoesta (she/her) is a multiple-published poet and long time #WomenInSTEM and equity advocate. With an MA in Intercultural Communications and ten years in advocacy, community engagement, digital communications, and social media strategy, she centres her efforts on growing communities through reciprocal relationships. When she’s not talking about being a brown female in tech, she can be found pushing her child in a red stroller around Downtown Kitchener or tweeting/instagramming at @smoestoe.
Birth & Postpartum Doula
Victoria says: Hi, I am Victoria, sometimes fondly known as “Torrie”. I am the nourishing doula behind Victorian Wellness Doula Care in the KW region. I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree at Brock University in 2007. After a series of very difficult life events, I found myself in a place where self-care, the understanding of my past, unhealthy family dynamics, my mental health, and my physical well being moved to the forefront of my life. With the emotional, mental, and nutritional wellness journey that unfolded, I found the skills I had met the needs of birthing people: nurturing and supporting pregnant and postpartum families.
I began my doula training in 2014 and during this same year began working in funeral services, serving families in times of grief and loss. My passion is to nurture new families so they feel confident going forward into parenthood, and to teach families new ways to better care for oneself and family in pregnancy and the postpartum period.