Our Committee & Speakers


Julie Davis, Randy Semeniuk, Jenna Smith, Sante Salvador, Amanda Hermiz, Dr. Patrick Smith, Darlene Kennedy, Cristina Melnik, Mary Bondy, Connie Martin, Dennis Byrne, Christine Prymack, Carol Myers, Jennifer Grbevski, Paul Carter, Jane Meriano, Chuck Smith, Pete Cusumano, Shannon Fuhr, Dave Batten, Nancy Campana

Dr. Patrick X Smith

Dr. Smith has been a Windsor family physician since 1987. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1983. He was a part time emergency room physician at Windsor Regional, Collingwood General and Leamington General for seventeen years. He also worked for Windsor Regional Cancer Centre before starting his family practice.

He was born into a large family of eleven children and grew up in Windsor, Ontario. He is married to his wife Shannon of twenty-six years, and together they have two children, Patrick and Taylor, now 26 and 24.

Actively involved in the community, Dr. Smith has coached for many years in travel sports with Tecumseh baseball, hockey and Windsor Core City Hoops. He is proud to have coached his son to an OBA Provincial title in Little League baseball, and his daughter to an Ontario basketball AAA Provincial title with Core City Hoops.

He coordinated the Mark Hunt Melanoma Awareness Fund-Raising Walk, which has helped to heighten awareness of skin cancer, and in particular malignant melanoma in the City of Windsor.

In his youth, Dr. Smith was an All-City basketball and football player for Riverside High School. He won numerous athletic and academic scholarships coming out of high school, and was honoured with the “Bruno Bitkowski” award for the most gentlemanly athlete in the City of Windsor. He chose to turn down athletic scholarship opportunities to pursue a career in medicine.

Very physically active and a sports enthusiast, Dr. Smith commutes daily to and from work on his road bike. He also counts hockey as one of his passions, playing pickup two or three times a week. He loves to read, listen to Motown, and dining out locally and in Detroit. Living on Lake St. Clair gives him the opportunity to enjoy many hours of power boating, kayaking, and jet skiing. He is a member of Beach Grove Golf and Country Club.

Dr. Smith is a member in good standing of the Ontario Medical Association, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Essex County Medical Society, Canadian Association Emergency Physicians and the Canadian Association of Aesthetic Medicine.

Ginger Zee

Brought to Youby Greater Talent Network
When it comes to nationally recognized broadcasters, the phrase “I’ve seen it all” has become a tired cliché. In the case of Ginger Zee however, the expression doesn’t even scratch the surface. Known to millions as the face of ABC News’ meteorology team, as well as for her third place finish on the 22nd season of Dancing with the Stars, Zee’s story goes far beyond the confines of television. With the release of her New York Times best-selling memoir Natural Disaster: I Cover Them, I am One, Zee brings readers along the immensely difficult path that
took her from a depressed fledgling meteorologist to the first female chief network
meteorologist at a network. After obtaining a B.S. in Meteorology from Valparaiso University, Zee worked her way up through various news outlets in the Midwest as a weather reporter and storm chaser. But as she puts it, by chasing these storms she was avoiding the real one brewing at home—a string of misguided relationships, including a horrifically abusive one that wouldn’t end until she was forced to call the police, and a deep soul search that lead her to check in to a mental health hospital ten days before starting her job at ABC. Zee was struggling with significant mental health issues that went undiagnosed until she entered that
inpatient therapy and began—slowly but surely—to get her on track. Despite all of this dysfunction, self-doubt, and turmoil, Zee has managed to build a remarkable career and family. Now, she is taking her message of resilience and self-care around the country. Zee will leave audiences feeling renewed, empowered, and intensely moved by her raw, poignant chronicle of life as a Natural Disaster.
Ginger Zee is the chief meteorologist at ABC News. You see her covering the nation’s weather headlines on Good Morning America and across all ABC News broadcasts and digital platforms. She also hosts an ABC News original digital series, Food Forecast, focused on climate and its impact on agriculture. Ginger has covered almost every major weather event and dozens of historic storms for the past fifteen years—from Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy; from the Colorado floods and wildfires to the aftermath of tornadoes all over the nation, but most memorably those in Moore and El Reno, Oklahoma; and from blizzards in Boston to record-breaking heat in Death Valley. She not only shares her passion for meteorology but, more important, presents the human side of these storms. Having storm-chased since college, Ginger has a genuine passion for the atmosphere and a dedication to getting young people interested in science. She lends her voice to Dr. Zephyr Skye, the storm-chasing alien of
Disney Junior’s hit show Miles from Tomorrowland. Additionally, Ginger and her husband, Ben Aaron, star in Renovation Realities: Ben and Ginger on DIY Network. The Emmy Award–winning meteorologist attended Valparaiso University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology. She served as an adjunct professor at her alma mater from 2008 to 2011. Ginger also holds the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society. She resides in New York City with her husband and son.

Silken Laumann
Olympic Hero

Four-time Olympian Silken Laumann is one of Canada’s most inspirational leaders, a bestselling author, and a highly recognizable and beloved athlete. As an elite athlete, writer, and life coach, Silken has made her work reaching her own potential and helping others reach theirs. Inspiring, funny, thought provoking and always down to earth, Silken opens her heart and leaves her audience ready to unlock their own potential and aspire to their own greatness. What prevails in Silken is the human spirit, the humor to keep learning through the failures, the courage to see opportunities within obstacles, and the tenacity to never stop trying to be better.

Silken’s Olympic story is legendary and inspirational. As reigning world champion, Silken fought back from a devastating rowing accident to win a bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Her stunning 10-week recovery and her courage in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles endeared her in the hearts of Canadians. Silken was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, having won three Olympic medals and four World Championships. She is also the two-time winner of the Canadian Female Athlete of the Year award and recipient of the Lou Marsh award in 1992, as Canada’s top athlete. Although her competitive rowing career ended in 1999, her ability to inspire continues.

Silken is authentic and honest about her life journey. In her memoir, Unsinkable, Silken shines a spotlight on all the obstacles she has encountered—and overcome. Silken speaks candidly about her athletic success and triumph over physical adversity, but also the intense personal challenges of her past and the fierce determination she applies to living a bold, loving and successful life today.

Silken has learned to approach each day with energy and optimism while continuing to dream big. She has used her notoriety to raise money and awareness for a variety of initiatives, including GoodLife Kids Foundation as their Kids Champion, raising funds to support national, provincial and local programs that provide sustainable physical activity opportunities for kids ages 4–14; Right To Play International, an organization that brings sport and play to the most disadvantaged children in the world; and WE Day, a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities.

In 2015, Silken received a Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Margaret Trudeau
Celebrated Canadian | Mental Health Advocate

Margaret Trudeau is a Canadian icon, celebrated both for her role in the public eye and as a respected mental-health issues advocate. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit.

Margaret is the author of four books, including her bestselling title, Changing My Mind, which charts her life’s ups and downs, and her latest title, The Time of Your Life, which offers women an inspirational and practical approach to creating a healthy, happy, secure and satisfying future.

Margaret sits on the Executive Advisory Board of the UBC Mental Health Institute as a community advocate, and she is the Honorary President of WaterCan, a charitable Canadian non-governmental agency that is dedicated to helping poor communities in developing countries build sustainable water-supply and sanitation services.

Michael Landsberg
Mental Health Speaker and Host of TSN's Off the Record

Brash and witty, Michael Landsberg generates great fun during his customized and interactive talks. A seasoned on-stage pro, his talks are diverting and smart, injected with large doses of humor. Not one to shy away from anything, he talks frankly about mental health—and specifically, his own struggle with depression—and urges others to do the same.
The phrase “off the record” connotes a hushed conversation. TSN’s Off the Record, hosted by Michael Landsberg, is anything but. Landsberg’s popular talk show, full of personality, brag, fun, healthy argument, sports talk, pop culture allusions, big name personalities, and celebrities is one of the most entertaining half hours on Canadian television. Anyone who has watched him on television knows how diverting and smart Landsberg can be. On stage, he’s even better, as he presents a unique version of Off the Record.
One of the best-known personalities in Canadian broadcasting, Landsberg has been with TSN since the network’s inception in 1984. He has hosted Off the Record since its debut in September 1997. Twice nominated for the Gemini Award for Best Host or Interviewer in a Sports Program or Sportscast, Landsberg was the Whistler Host for Olympic Daytime on CTV during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, he anchored TSN’s Olympic Daytime.

Landsberg speaks publicly about his personal battle with depression and considers his ability to help reduce the stigma of mental illness as his most important professional calling. He has been an ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk, an initiative focused on raising awareness and encouraging dialogue about mental health, since it launched in 2011.

In 2013, Landsberg’s documentary, Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me, was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Screen Award for Best History or Biography Documentary Program or Series. In 2012, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health also named Landsberg one of its Champions of Mental Health. Landsberg also takes to Twitter, using the hashtag #sicknotweak to encourage discussion around mental health and creating a forum for those needing help. For his longstanding dedication to promoting mental health awareness, Landsberg will be honoured with the Humanitarian Award at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards.

Aisha Alfa
Aisha Alfa

Born in Nigeria, raised in Winterpeg, now making her home in Toronto, Aisha Alfa is making a name for herself in the Canadian comedy, hosting and acting scenes. She is the previous winner of Winnipeg’s Funniest Person with a Day Job, has performed at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and was a finalist in this year’s Toronto Comedy Brawl. She’s on MTV Canada and Much Music and was featured in the comedy documentary Sign Up & Stand Up. Aisha loves laughing and hates bananas.

Ted Ball
Ted Ball

TED BALL is a partner in Quantum Transformation Technologies a consulting firm specializing in building the internal capacity of healthcare organizations to redesign and transform themselves using the systems-thinking-based tools and processes.

Ted has worked as a speech-writer and policy advisor to Ontario Ministers of Health from all three political parties. He has operated as a transformation coach to CEOs of hospitals, CCAC’s, community services and Think Tanks as well as a facilitator for high performance teams developing strategy, creating knowledge products, shifting corporate culture designing new governance processes and reconfiguring whole service delivery systems.

He is well-known in the Canadian healthcare system for his thought-provoking essays on health system reform, organizational transformation, leadership, governance, balanced scorecarding and the design of complex adaptive systems. Today his thought-provoking blogs @ TedBall.com attract 1,500 to 2,500 healthcare leaders each week.

For the past twenty years Ted has worked on leading-edge knowledge product development teams to create tools and processes that liberate the knowledge & wisdom of frontline healthcare workers to redesign their systems, structures and processes to improve quality, efficiency and to enhance the patient experience. These tools combine the art and science of organizational alignment, leveraged strategic thinking and Story-Boarding.

Dennis D. Pointer, co-author of Board Work: Governing Health Care Organizations says that “one of Quantum’s great strengths is that they get people to see the ‘whole system’ and the ‘big picture’ so we can better integrate the component parts of governance, management, and our service delivery systems. They have raised the bar on both the science and art of systems thinking.”

In the mental health sector, Ted was awarded the CMHA’s Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition of his contribution to mental health in the Bill Davis Government; as a member of the Ontario Board of the Canadian Mental Health Association; and, as healthcare reform policy advocate.

Toronto Star columnist and editorial writer Carol Goar says that: “Ted Ball is one of the best informed health policy analysts in the province.” She says that “Ted has excellent connections at Queen’s Park, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the healthcare system.”

Jordan Smith

From London Ontario, Son of Mark and Cathie Smith. Brother to Geoff, Luke and Sophie. Graduate of Western University, were he studied Business and Psychology, while playing Varsity Basketball. He is currently working as a Sales Executive at the Kohler Company, managing the construction market in the GTA. He is passionate about sports, music, food and travel.