Riley Yesno

Riley Yesno (she/her) is a queer Anishinaabe scholar, writer, and commentator, from Eabametoong First Nation and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

She is highly sought after for her words and analysis— called an “Indigenous powerhouse” by the Toronto Star, “one of the brightest young minds in Canada today” by jury members of the Canadian Journalism Foundation, and “a rising intellectual giant by the University of Toronto.

She has been a contributor and commentator for some of the largest media outlets in Canada and the world, including the New York Times, BBC World News, The Globe and Mail, and CBC National News. Riley has also travelled the globe speaking at internationally renowned institutions and events, including the UN climate negotiations, the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality, TEDx stages, and many others.

She has taught Indigenous governance at Toronto Metropolitan University and is completing her PhD at the University of Toronto, where she is studying Indigenous / Canadian politics and is a Vanier Scholar. Riley is at work on the proposal for her first book of non-fiction, which will look critically at reconciliation in Canada, interwoven with her lived experience.


Beyond Reconciliation
It has been almost ten years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its Final Report and launched Canada’s reconciliation project into the country’s political and social consciousness. What progress has been made? Where have we failed to take action? In this talk, Riley charts the trajectory of reconciliation from its inception to the present— highlighting Indigenous people’s critiques and the work we must all do to go beyond reconciliation as it has been pursued to date.

The Future is Indigenous
Too often, Indigenous people are wrongly viewed as ‘past people’— stuck in a time of pre-colonization and unable to adapt to the modern world. In this presentation, Riley shows that Indigenous people are, contrary to this racist belief, one of the most adaptable people out there— surviving apocalypse after apocalypse and adapting to every change brought on by colonization— Indigenous people have never let up on their commitment to realizing futures where we all thrive. Drawing on a concept called ‘Indigenous Futurism, ‘ Riley will explain how Indigenous art and activism are writing the story of a bold new future— today.

Indigenous Queerness: The Colonizers Brought the Closet
Over the past few decades in North America, the term ‘two-spirit’ (2S) has been increasingly recognized. As a queer Indigenous person herself, in this talk, Riley aims to break down what ‘two-spirit’ means, where it came from, and common misconceptions of the identity. She will also highlight how colonization has impacted all of our understandings of gender and sexuality and challenge audiences to decolonize their relationships to gender and sexuality as well— whether you’re Indigenous or not.

How did an internet joke turn into a rallying call for Indigenous action that spans across the continent? This is the story of Land Back: Building off of a longstanding history of refusal of the settler-colonial status quo, Land Back has become a point of connection for supporters of Indigenous self-determination and, increasingly, for those who see Indigenous leadership as the world’s greatest hope against climate destruction. This talk will outline how Land Back came to be and how it fits into the larger story of Indigenous contestation, provide examples of Land Back in action, and suggest ways we can all take part in the growing movement.

Lessons in Youth Leadership
Riley was only sixteen years old when she started taking up prominent leadership roles in Canada and around the world. From the Prime Minister’s table and UN negotiating rooms to grassroots youth movements, she’s learned many lessons about what it means to be a truly strong and honourable leader. Drawing on these experiences and teachings from an Anishinaabe worldview, this talk asks audiences to deeply consider questions like: How do you define leadership? How do you move through challenges with integrity? Is leadership about having a seat at the table, or should we be challenging the idea of ‘the table’ altogether?

Transforming Education for Indigenous Peoples
In Canada, we know that public education is not serving Indigenous people in the way it should, even as the statistics improve from year to year. From the closing of the last residential school in 1997 to now, Indigenous people continue to have high school graduation rates far below our non-Indigenous counterparts, and Indigenous representation in higher learning is even further behind. How do we overcome this? How can we decolonize the classroom— both the physical environment and the learning approach— so that all students not just pass, but feel empowered and seen by their education?

Murdered and Missing: Canada’s Failure to Protect Indigenous Women, Girls, and Queer People
The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people was released to the general public in 2019, but it had been a conversation in Indigenous communities for much longer than that. In this talk, Riley traces the history of injustice against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people from the onset of colonization to now. The goal is to look beyond the data and the public reports and ask bigger questions like: How can we build communities and worlds that truly value non-violence, consent, and accountability?

To book Riley, please reach out to

Prince Shakur

Prince Shakur – author, journalist, podcast host, video maker, and educator – is a radical voice in today’s literary and cultural landscape.

With his thought-provoking articles in prominent publications such as Teen VogueAfropunkCatapult, and Vice, Prince explores queer culture, the impact of police and prison systems, diasporic representations in film, and the captivating inner lives of black icons. Notably, his career has been widely celebrated and recognized by GLAAD, The Hurston/Wright Foundation, and the Society for Features Journalism for his impactful media work.

His debut memoir, When They Tell You To Be Good, was described as “… a searing account of self-discovery amidst the unyielding weight of structural oppression.” (Publishers Weekly).

It was named one of TIME Magazine‘s Most Anticipated Books of the Fall.

Beyond the written word, Prince Shakur harnesses the power of visual storytelling. He collaborated as a writer, co-producer, and lead actor in BEFORE I DIE, a short film about two childhood friends on the precipice of an event that promises to reshape their lives. He has attended several prestigious artist residencies, including Sangam House, Studios of Key West, Norton Island, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and La Madison Baldwin.

As an organizer, he brought racial justice issues to Ohio University as a student organizer and writer. While in Seattle, he defended worker rights as a boycott organizer and then worked as a bank teller at Compass Housing Alliance for people without housing. Since then, he has participated in numerous environmental actions/movements, including Standing Rock; organized cultural events, protests, and abolition trainings as a lead organizer with Black Queer and Intersectional Collective; raised funds to support migrant caravans support efforts at the US/Mexican border; and organized against fascism through art and political action.

Prince, the host of the Black anarchist podcast “THE DUGOUT,” has a decade-long history of grassroots organizer. He brought racial justice issues to Ohio University, defended worker rights in Seattle, and worked as a bank teller at Compass Housing Alliance from 2014 to 2016. His activism extends to environmental movements like Standing Rock, cultural events with Black Queer and Intersectional Collective, fundraising for migrant caravans, and organizing against fascism through art and political action.

Since 2023, Shakur has served as an adjunct at Lehman College and a writing instructor for various queer/BIPOC writing organizations on memoirs, Black history, archival, and radical narratives. He is additionally a vital source for writing resources and reflections online as the founder of Millennial Writer Life, an Authortuber, and a political commentator to a TikTok following of over 8,000.

To book Prince, please reach out to

Harrison Mooney

Harrison Mooney is a best-selling memoirist and award-winning journalist from British Columbia, Canada. His debut memoir, Invisible Boy, has been shortlisted for two BC and Yukon Book Prizes, the prestigious Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was the winner of the 2023 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for nonfiction. Harrison’s work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Vancouver Sun, the Guardian, Yahoo and Maclean’s. He lives in East Vancouver with his family and family dog, Bootsy.

Speaking Topic

Black History in BC: From James Douglas to me
Harrison guides his audience through a survey of Black History in BC, beginning with James Douglas, the Father of British Columbia. Douglas kept his Blackness under wraps as best he could, serving as the British Crown and Hudson Bay Company’s primary contact in the new colony, “passing”, in the parlance, for a dark-skinned white man. Nevertheless, he was instrumental in welcoming nearly 800 racialized settlers, B.C.’s Black pioneers, to Vancouver Island in 1858 — an invitation that would set the stage for the development of Hogan’s Alley, B.C.’s first Black neighbourhood, in mainland Vancouver. This community would swiftly be displaced, destroyed to make way for a viaduct, and this erasure echoes through to present-day. Harrison Mooney himself will attest to this, drawing a straight line from Douglas to the present-day experience of Blackness on the West Coast.

Growing Up Black in B.C.
How does a Black child growing up in a white family, immersed in a white community, understand his identity or his place in the world? Harrison Mooney shares the tale of his childhood as a transracial adoptee — a story first told in his memoir, Invisible Boy. Raised by white fundamentalist Christians, separated from his Black family members, and discouraged from connecting with Blackness at all, Mooney spent over two decades searching for a sense of self that remained elusive until he finally found the writing of James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and others. Reflecting on his upbringing and experience as a Black boy in the Bible belt, Mooney illuminates the need to be seen by one’s family, community members, and self.

Everything I’ve Ever Written: What James Baldwin taught me about myself

The first time Harrison Mooney read a book written by a Black author, he was 21 years old. That book, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, also marked the first time that Mooney felt like a book was speaking directly to him. The experience not only changed his life, but it gave the young, transracial adoptee a new perspective on his own Blackness — an identity he’d never been encouraged to explore.But even in his all-white home and all-white community, Mooney was always exploring his Blackness and identity in writing, by hook or by crook or by accident, and a light-hearted review of his output from childhood to present-day demonstrates how desperate he always had been for the answers he finally uncovered in Baldwin’s famous, fiery 1963 letter to a nephew.

In finding the words that he’d sought his whole life, Mooney also found a firm footing for the identity he’d never fully embraced. The memoirist’s description of the evolution of his mind, his sense of self, and what it says about the way this society fails adoptees and its racialized children, especially as they pursue positive personal and cultural identities, will leave you breathless.

Follow Harrison on Instagram is here, and on X (Twitter) is here.

Selected media

• The Abbotsford News (this one talks about my keynote speech work)

• Global BC presents: Harrison Mooney

• Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize winners announced

• Rakuten Kobo: Looking Ahead with Harrison Mooney

• I’m the permanent host of an open mic for Black poets. Here’s a link to that.

• The Tyee

• Best books of 2022 – The Globe & Mail

• Best books of 2022 – CBC

Harrison Mooney live

Vancouver Public Library Book launch

To book Harrison, please reach out to

Ruchira Gupta

Ruchira Gupta is an Emmy-winning journalist and founder of the anti-sex trafficking NGO Apne Aap, which empowers women and girls to exit systems of prostitution. I Kick and I Fly is her debut fiction novel.

She has been awarded the French Ordre National du Mérite, the Clinton Global Citizen Award, and the UN NGO CSW Woman of Distinction, among other honors, for her contribution to the establishment of the UN Trafficking Fund for Survivors, the passage of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act and her grassroots activism with Apne Aap. She also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Smith College. She has co-written a book with Gloria Steinem, “As if Women Matter” and edited two anthologies, “River of Flesh” and “Renu’s letters to Birju Babu.”

Ruchira has worked for the United Nations in Nepal, Thailand, Kosovo, Iran, and the USA. She occasionally teaches at the New York University’s Center for Global Affairs as a visiting faculty. She divides her time between New York and Forbesganj, her childhood home in the foothills of the Himalayas, where she furthers the work of Apne Aap and paints her mother’s garden.

Speaking Topics

  • Human Rights and Social Justice:
  • Sex Trafficking: The Global Perspective
  • Policy Frameworks to Combat Human Trafficking
  • Shifting the Blame: From Victims to Perpetrators
  • Women’s Rights in Developing Countries

Topics on Journalism and Media

  • The Role of Journalism in Social Justice
  • Emmy to Activism: The Power of Storytelling
  • Media Influence on Gender Issues

Topics on Literature and Writing

  • Creating Fiction with Purpose: Writing “I Kick and I Fly”
  • Working with Gloria Steinem: Feminism in Literature
  • The Power of Anthologies in Highlighting Social Issues

Topics on Education

  • The Importance of Education for Women and Girls in Red-Light Areas
  • Engaging with Academia: From NYU to Grassroots Activism

Public Policy and Law

  • Influencing Global Policy: UN Protocols and National Laws
  • Legislation for Empowerment: US Trafficking Victims Protection Act
  • India’s Evolving Legal Landscape on Human Trafficking

Personal Development and Leadership

  • Leadership in Activism: Building and Growing Apne Aap
  • Balancing Multiple Roles: From Faculty Member to Frontline Activist

Art and Creativity

  • Painting Mother’s Garden: Creativity as a Source of Solace and Inspiration
  • The Intersection of Art and Activism

International Relations and Global Affairs

  • Working with the United Nations: Lessons in International Activism
  • Global Trends in Human Trafficking: A Comparative Study

Culture and Identity

  • The Importance of Roots: New York to Forbesganj
  • Cultural Sensitivities in Humanitarian Work

Technology and Modern Solutions

  • The Role of Technology in Combating Sex Trafficking
  • Digital Platforms: A New Frontier for Activism?

To book Ruchira Gupta, contact Rob Firing at

Alejandra Schrader

Alejandra Schrader is an award-winning author, plant-based nutrition certified chef, food TV personality, and activist based in Los Angeles, CA.

She is the author of “The Low-Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan: Reduce Food Waste and Combat Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant-Based Recipes.” Her book won the 2021 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for the United States in the Food Waste category.

Ms. Schrader’s message focuses on sustainability, biodiversity, and nutrition as the key for optimal food systems where everyone has access to good food. She has been invited to speak at the United Nations and the World Bank. She has been interviewed by high-profile media including The New York Times and Forbes.

Some of the international events where she has spoken include the Global Nutrition Summit 2017 in Milan, EAT Forum 2018 in Stockholm, Devex World 2020, United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021, Women in Food and Agriculture 2022 in Frankfurt, and AGRF 2022 Summit in Kigali where she also cooked for a dinner hosted by President Kagame.

As an Ambassador for the Periodic Table of Food Initiative, Alejandra spoke at two different launching events of the initiative—the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva and FINUT Conference 2022 in Mexico City.

Ms. Schrader is a founding member of the Chefs’ Manifesto—a program by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub—and she has taken a lead in promoting equity and sustainability in our food systems. She is an Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goal 2: “Zero Hunger,” and has contributed to campaigns by the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Food Programme, EAT Foundation, and Global Citizen.

A Sister on the Planet Ambassador for Oxfam America, Alejandra has traveled internationally to work with ecological farmers and underprivileged communities in developing countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Peru. She has also done policy advocacy at the United States Capitol where she has met with elected officials including (former) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and then US Senator, now Vice-President Kamala Harris, among others.

As a celebrity chef, Alejandra has showcased her passion for planet-friendly food on all major television networks in the United States and Canada. She’s made appearances on national TV shows such as Access Hollywood Live, The Talk, Café CNN, Despierta América, the Marilyn Denis Show, and The Social.

She is an alum of the popular cooking show ‘MasterChef’ with Gordon Ramsay where she earned the title of fan favorite as a top finalist in the competition. Alejandra has competed on other culinary competitions such as Food Fighters with Adam Richman on NBC and ‘El Sabór de Aarón’ with Aarón Sánchez in Discovery Familia.

Ms. Schrader has a Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University. She holds a Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Published Work:

“The Low-Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan: Reduce Food Waste and Combat Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant-Based Recipes” – DK Books/Penguin Random House June 8, 2021
– Winner, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2022, Food Waste Category, United States.
– Foreword by Dr. Gunhild Stordalen, Founder and Executive Chair, EAT Foundation
– Endorsements for The Low-Carbon Cookbook by: Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Food Systems Summit, Abby Maxman, President and CEO of Oxfam America, Paul Newnham, Director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub Secretariat and the Chefs’ Manifesto, Courtney Hazlett, Executive Producer and Creator, Netflix’s Restaurants on the Edge, and Mary Sue Milliken, Chef and Food Systems Advocate.

Selected Media:

Public Speaking Engagements:

  • Society for Economic Botany and Society of Ethnobiology Conference “Human and Planetary Health: Everything is Connected”, Atlanta, GA (June 6, 2023)
  • Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio Convening “Climate Change, Food Quality, and Planetary Health”, Lake Como, Italy (May 8-13, 2023)
  • The Periodic Table of Food Initiative Launch, Mexico City, Mexico (October 10, 2022) A side event at FINUT Conference II Keynote Speaker
  • AGRF Summit, Kigali, Rwanda (September 7, 2022) Speaker, Presidential Gala Dinner
  • Women in Food and Agriculture Summmit (June 14, 2022) Featured Speaker, “Lowering Your Carbon FOODprint”
  • The Periodic Table of Food Initiative Launch, Geneva, Switzerland (May 23, 2022) A side event at the 75th World Health Assembly Keynote Speaker
  • United Nations Food Systems Summit – Pre-Summit Dialogues (June 30, 2021) Speaker, “Solutions Rooted in Food and Social Innovation”
  • Devex World 2020 (December 10, 2020) Speaker, “How Businesses Can Build a Resilient, Sustainable Food System”
  • United Nations Food Systems Summit – World Food Day (October 16, 2020) Expert, Roundtable Discussion: “Chefs as Potential Agents of Transformative Change in Food Systems”
  • Earth Day Live 2020 (April 24, 2020) Featured Participant – Segment: “Healthy Cooking for a Healthy Planet”
  • World Bank, Washington, DC (April 10, 2019) Panel Speaker, On the Menu: Can Food be the Planet’s Medicine?
  • Live Interview: Healthy Eating for Better Development
  • Live Interview (Spanish): Cómo Una Dieta Saludable y Sostenible Puede Salvar Vidas y Nuestro Planeta?
  • United Nations, New York, NY (February 5, 2019) Panel Speaker, Global Launch of the Report: EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health
  • EAT Forum, Stockholm, Sweden (June 12, 2018) Presenter, Chefs Manifesto Global Launch
  • Global Nutrition Summit 2017, Milan, Italy (November 4, 2017) Presenter, Chefs Network for Global Goals
  • Social Good Summit, New York, NY (September 12, 1017) Presenter, Eat for Good campaign

To book Alejandra Schrader, contact Rob Firing at

Tara McGuire

In Tara McGuire’s first career as a radio broadcaster, she got up very early each morning for over twenty years to keep her audience company throughout their morning commutes by telling stories, interviewing newsmakers, and interacting with guests about the issues of the day. Now, Tara continues to engage with her love of language and dialogue by sharing transformative stories in more personal and literary ways. 

Tara speaks from the heart about the intimate experience of losing a child to overdose and the larger, more complex landscape of the overdose crisis and its costs to our society. Her first book Holden After & Before — Love Letter for a Son Lost to Overdose, an innovative hybrid work in memoir and fiction exploring grief, motherhood, and the overdose crisis, was published in 2022 by Arsenal Pulp Press. The book was named one of the best books of 2022 by The Walrus, one of CBC Books nonfiction to watch for, and featured in the Vancouver Sun’s “Must Read List” for 2022.

Tara has delivered powerful keynotes personalizing the impact of the crisis and the need for compassion to groups such as the BC Provincial Court Judges Annual Education Conference, Capilano University Kinesiology, Moms For All Paths to Recovery California, and Moms Stop the Harm Canada. She also presents on creative writing and the valuable opportunities for think-shift to be found in nonfiction and the personal essay. Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Chatelaine, The Globe and Mail, Geist, Room, The Tyee, Montecristo, and on CBC Radio. 

Tara holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia’s School of Creative Writing and is a graduate of The Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University. She has presented with and interviewed other writers at AWP 2023, The Vancouver Writers Fest 2021 and 2022, WORD Vancouver, The Sunshine Coast Festival of Literary Arts, the UBC School of Education, and the University of Washington’s creative writing program. 

As a broadcaster, Tara has moderated events and interviewed fascinating artists and luminaries such as Isabel Allende, Sarah Ferguson, Roberta Bondar, Queen Noor, Goldie Hawn, Elizabeth Gilbert, Madeleine Albright, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Sally Field, Robert, Redford, Isabella Rosselini, Lily Tomlin, Mary Robinson, Billy Jean King, Marlee Matlin, Diane Keaton, and Margaret Trudeau.

Tara works as a voice-over actor and freelance editor. She loves to hike with her dog, read on the beach, and grow her own salad. She lives with her family under the tall trees of  North Vancouver.

Selected Media:

The Current with Matt Galloway:

The Globe and Mail OpEd:

CBC On The Coast with Gloria Macarenko:

To book Tara McGuire, contact Rob Firing at

Amanda Thebe

Amanda Thebe is a Fitness and Women’s Health Expert with nearly thirty years of experience in the fitness industry, as well as the author of the Amazon best-selling book, Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too!

She is the co-founder and Chief Wellness & Branding Officer at Nyah Health, a complete healthcare solution for menopausal women in Canada. As Canada’s first menopause workplace educator, Amanda provides on-site or virtual educational presentations in the workplace to improve productivity, retention and attendance for female employees through menopause.

Amanda is a popular guest on podcasts, radio, tv and online summits, and her health and fitness tips have been featured in media outlets like Oprah, Shape, Prevention, Health Line, CBC Radio, Global News Canada, The Doctors, and many more.

Amanda has spoken for many companies, organizations and governments in North America and around the world, including the RCMP, the United Nations family of Agencies (OECD, OSCE), Fortis Inc, Emera, and Police Scotland and England.

She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Speaking Topics

Menopause 101
Hardly any of us think of menopause until the first symptoms begin to make their appearance. Here is a primer on what to expect and what not to, how symptoms of menopause can affect your life or the life or someone you love, and some key points on what sorts of treatments are available, and which may be right for you. This talk will cover:
• What is menopause, definition, misconceptions
• Symptoms: neurological, emotional, physical
• Treatment options

Menopause in the Workplace
1 in 10 women are leaving the workforce because of menopause symptoms and they do not feel supported in their organisation. When an employer becomes an informed workplace, female employees feel supported which will help your company see improvements in productivity and retention. Amanda has delivered education and uplifting talks worldwide and covers topics such as:
• Why is menopause more than just a woman’s health issue: it’s a social issue; a political issue; an economic issue!
• How is menopause a workplace issue?
• Issues + Cost and burden to employers
• What can employers do to help women through menopause?
• Examples of policy change/companies who have implemented these

5 Key Tenets of Healthy Living through Menopause
Many people underestimate how impactful lifestyle changes can be for our overall health and longevity, as well as reducing the risk of many diseases. By implementing small habits into our daily lives, we can see an improvement in our energy levels, productivity, mental well-being and physical capabilities. Amanda is a 30 year veteran in fitness and wellness and can deliver talks on topics such as:
• Nutrition, exercise, mindset, stress and sleep management
• Easy ways to leverage the power of lifestyle changes
• Improve health outcomes and longevity

Selected Media:

CTV – Menopacolypse
NTV – Companies begin offering training on menopause in workplace
THE TELEGRAPH – Are you suffering in silence from the ‘menopocalypse’?

To book Amanda Thebe, contact Rob Firing at

Nazbah Tom

Nazbah Tom (Diné), (they/them) – Somatic Practitioner and Writer

Nazbah is from the Navajo Nation on their ancestral homelands, currently known as Arizona. Their original training is in drama therapy which offered an experiential form of psychotherapy with individuals and groups. As a somatic practitioner they use a combination of conversation, breath work, gestural work, bodywork, and incorporating new somatic skills to support and guide individuals and groups through a process of embodied transformation. They have been published in several anthologies including the Lambda Literary Award winner Love After The End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction. 

Speaking Topics 

The Power of Storytelling

By sharing their story of how their parents came to accept their sexuality/gender in college as well as their process of relearning the Navajo creation story of the Hero Twins, Nazbah inspires others to examine the stories we have grown up with, and to be curious about what might have interrupted or shaped those stories. Audiences will be inspired to learn more, innovate, or shift the way stories are formed in their lives, while empowering themselves to increase their sense of safety and belonging, and to live with more dignity.

Reclaiming Queer Identity and Practices in Indigenous Communities

The impact of colonization is evident in the harm and trauma created within Indigenous communities. One community that has been devastated is the 2SLGBT+ community. Out of the ruins of near apocalypse, Indigiqueer community is reclaiming, relearning, and innovating community practices that offer inclusion, safety, belonging, dignity, respect, and joy! Through the telling of three community practices reclaimed and innovated by Indigiqueer community in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area and Navajo Nation, the resilience, determination, joy, love, and fight for community is demonstrated. Each community shows how we can bend the arc of the river of humanity towards love and empowerment.

Landing Back in Our Somas

How does the land speak through you? How has land shaped you? Are you as resilient, adaptive, and sensitive as the land that made you? How are the things we practice in connection or disconnection with land? Land has so much to teach us about compassion, listening, resilience and community building. Through storytelling and interaction, Nazbah guides audiences through a process of reconnection with the land, themselves, and each other.

To book Nazbah Tom, contact Rob Firing at

Rahim Thawer

Rahim Thawer (he/him) works as a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, EDI consultant, facilitator and public speaker, sessional lecturer, writer, and community organizer. He began working in the HIV/AIDS sector in 2008 and dedicated over a decade to LGBTQ Muslim community organizing. He was welcomed as an International Visiting Scholar with the South African College for Applied Psychology (SACAP) for the 2021-2022 academic year and has taught as a lecturer at multiple universities in Canada. He’s an appointed Fellow at the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto for his contributions to the field of sexuality.

He was a co-editor and contributor for an anthology entitled Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Toronto Book Awards. He’s currently working on books under contract with Thornapple Press and Blue Cactus Press. His self-published essays on shame and sexuality, the social and sexual dimensions of envy, supporting LGBTQ Muslims, and the nuances of doing clinical work in communities you belong to can be found on Medium.


Rahim has spoken on over 35 topics related to queerness, identity, social justice, mental health, harm reduction, psychotherapy, social work practice, and cultural awareness. He uniquely combines EDI topics with the lens of psychological well-being.

We all offer critical front-line services for people who are vulnerable and who need very real forms of support. In the public sector, we encounter people who are constantly enduring the systems and cycles of poverty, abuse, addiction, and illness. While we aim to “meet people where they’re at” we can sometimes falter and forget to reflect on our relative position in the world to the people we work with. Further, we may feel helpless or fatigued to consider the position we’ve been placed in to support individuals who are up against grating systems. Talks that explore anti-oppression concepts focus on power, privilege and oppression and consider how they operate in our world for both our clients and ourselves.

Talking about trauma has become a big business for good reason. However, it’s useful to take a step back from the jargon and explore the concepts of trauma, trauma-informed, and vicarious trauma. This talk invites participants to examine the roots of trauma and sources of vicarious trauma in their own industry followed by a discussion of micro- and meso-level interventions needed to support individuals. Rahim will present a model for creating healthy boundaries and a burnout prevention plan.

We often reduce mental health to diagnostic labels, wellness to the absence of symptoms, and queer men’s health to prevalence rates. If we take an exploratory approach to mental health and wellness we can begin to unravel some of the specific determinants of mental health concerns that affect GBTQ2S guys. As a racialized queer psychotherapist, Rahim examines 13 unique determinants that queer men come up against that impact their well-being. These will include but are not limited to, internalized shame, body image, substance use, ageing, and the landscape of connection-seeking.

Shame and sexuality; Supporting family members when someone comes out; The matrix of envy; Body image and wellbeing; Innovation in queer relationships; The meaning of substance use in our lives.

Pauline Dakin

Pauline Dakin is the bestselling author of Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood which won the prestigious 2018 Edna Staebler Prize for Creative Non-fiction. It was also named one of the best 100 books of 2017 by The Globe and Mail.

Run, Hide, Repeat is also the subject of a five-part podcast series of the same name with CBC Podcasts. Amazon called it one of the best podcasts of the year.

In addition, the memoir is the subject of an upcoming feature documentary and is  being adapted as a feature film.

Pauline is a professor of journalism at the University of King’s College, where she specializes in teaching audio and podcasting. She is a fellow of the MIT/Knight Science Journalism program (Cambridge, Mass.) on Medical Evidence.

She’s an award-winning journalist who was for many years a trusted voice on health and medical issues as a reporter for CBC National News. She was also the long-time host of the CBC regional documentary program Atlantic Voice.

Pauline’s reporting and documentary work have been recognized with many regional and national awards.

She lives in Halifax with her husband and their two dogs.

Speaking Topics:

Resilience and Overcoming Hardship (Mental Health)

Resilience, or the ability to cope with and recover from difficulties, is one of the fastest-growing and evolving areas of psychological research. Pauline Dakin shares the story of her chaotic childhood as a lens through which to examine the factors that confer resilience, and approaches that can help people develop it in their own lives. Pauline was told her family was on the run from the Mob, necessitating secret moves without goodbyes to family and friends. The truth was even more bizarre, launching a years-long quest for answers and acceptance.

Delusional Disorder: The Worst Mental Illness You Never Heard Of (Mental Health)

After Pauline published her memoir Run, Hide, Repeat, detailing the exquisitely complex and nuanced delusions that hijacked her family’s lives, she heard from people around the world who’d had similar, if less dramatic experiences. They were relieved to have a possible explanation. Delusional disorder is under-recognized and under-studied, and can be present in people who are high-functioning and appear normal. Because it’s hard to spot, it can pose particular risks to families caught up in the dysfunction. Delusional disorder has been suggested as a diagnosis for cult leader Jim Jones who lead the mass murder/suicide at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, or more recently the man responsible for the 2020 mass murder in Nova Scotia. Learn about the sub-types of delusional disorder and the remarkable and sometimes horrifying ways in which they impact sufferers and those around them.

Podcasting: Connection for the Ears (Technology and Media)

Everyone wants to make a podcast. This still-growing medium is a way to deeply connect with audiences, whether for journalistic, educational, or marketing purposes. But podcasting is a noisy environment, with millions available to stream and the vast majority of them not connecting. Pauline is the host, co-writer and co-producer of the podcast Run, Hide, Repeat, based on her book of the same name. Amazon named it one of the best podcasts of 2022, and it was the #1 podcast on Apple Podcasts. Learn about the podcasting landscape and what it takes to cut through the noise and grab your audience by the ears.

Misinformation and Disinformation: Countering Fake News in Health Care

The pandemic has shown clearly the risks and harms of false claims and conspiracy theories (ie. Bill Gates’ vaccine chips or bleach treatments.) It’s never been more important to find ways of countering science-deniers and elevating critical thinking. Pauline is a former national health reporter who’s been involved in teaching medical students how to counter evidence-denial and vaccine hesitancy. She uses this experience to help frame and address the problem, particularly in relation to health and medicine.

Storytelling for Scientists: How to Make Your Research Understandable to the Public

We live in an age of disinformation in which science-denying and logic-defying stories proliferate. The pandemic has both exemplified and exacerbated this trend. It’s up to people with knowledge and evidence to share it in a way that is accessible and understandable to the public. Pauline uses her experience as a former CBC health reporter, and a fellow of the MIT Knight Science Journalism program on medical evidence, to help scientists frame understandable messages to share what they know and counter forces of disinformation.

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