Alaina Podmorow is a 15 year old young lady who is presently a grade 9 student at Aberdeen Hall university preparatory school in Kelowna B.C. Alaina is the founder of Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan and is passionate in her commitment to enforce universal human rights. Alaina is an avid soccer and basketball player, track and cross country runner and loves snowboarding in the winter.
In 2006, Alaina was inspired into action after attending a speech in her community by Canadian journalist, author and human rights activist, Sally Armstrong. Alaina learned about the human rights violations that had befallen Afghan girls. Alaina could not believe there were girls in Afghanistan that were not given the same rights and freedoms she experienced every day. Alaina started Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan in the spring of 2007. Since 2007, Little Women has raised almost $400,000 and have started teams of “Littles” across Canada and now into the United States. Alaina has currently focused the work of Little Women to establishing rural libraries; although she is passionate in her goal to one day create athletic programs for Afghan girls in hope that it can be integrated into the school curriculum. Alaina speaks across the country to youth and adults about the need for education and basic human rights for girls and women in Afghanistan.
Alaina is the recipient of many awards, including a 2008 recipient of the Me to We Award, the 2010 Huggable Hero award, City Television’s “BT’s Brightest” and Canada’s Top Teen Philanthropist for 2012. Alaina and Little women also won the order of Lake Country and Alaina was presented an award on Parliament Hill from Minister of International Cooperation, honorable Bev Oda for her dedication to educating girls in Afghanistan. Alaina was selected as a Global Teen Leader for the We Are Family Foundation’s (WAFF) Three Dot Dash Initiative to attend the initiative’s Just Peace Summit in the spring of 2011, in New York City, USA and has recently returned from the 2012 Just Peace Summit where she presented as an alumni and volunteer.
Alaina and Little Women are featured in a youth documentary series and Alaina is speaking across the country, engaging both youth and adult audiences in the necessity to take action and educate. Alaina’s motto that “education=peace” is always emphasized in both her work and her words. Her belief is that if we can educate everyone, peace will follow.
Social Entrepreneur, Author, 10 x Ironman Triathlete and 100km Ultra-marathoner
Social Entrepreneur and athlete, Crystal Flaman’s personal mission in life is to make a difference in the world. She’s raised over 1.4 million dollars for various charities including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association and Room To Read through her work and athletic endeavours.
Crystal is a 10 x Ironman finisher, 100km ultra-marathoner and she has cycled across Canada on the first tandem bike to cross the country, with her twin sister. She is currently training for her 11th Ironman race where she is competing and raising funds to build another school with Room To Read so that over 400 children will be able to go to school.
Crystal Flaman is the owner of the Kelowna International Hostel, an international travellers hostel in BC, Canada and Inspiring Success Services Inc. She is the author of The 90 Day Intentional Living Challenge and has just written A Village Inspired, a compilation of simple ideas to live a long, healthy and happy life! She’s the creator of Imagine The Ripple Effect and founder of DIVA Retreats.
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Urban Farmer / Food Activist Green City Acres
A musician turned urban farmer, Curtis Stone is the owner/operator of Green City Acres, an urban farm based out of Kelowna, BC. Green City Acres farms under an acre of land spread out amongst seven different urban plots to grow vegetables for various direct consumer markets throughout Kelowna. All transport is accomplished using only bicycles and custom built trailers. Having no prior experience as a farmer or gardener, Curtis started his farm simply out of a desire to be more autonomous, and to make a living by the triple bottom line principle. His farm has now completed two successful seasons, employs one other person full time, and is still growing. During his off-season, Curtis works as a public speaker, teacher, and consultant, sharing his story and inspiring a new generation of farmers.
Dr. Frank Hayden
From humble beginnings in a school basement in Toronto, Dr. Frank Hayden has changed the face of sport for people with disabilities the world over. A career spanning five decades, his life’s work is today renowned as the Special Olympics. To the athletes, it’s known as the place where dreams begin.
A sport enthusiast and varsity athlete, Frank kept his passion for sport close to his heart while studying science, eventually earning his PhD in Exercise Physiology and Psychology from the University of Illinois.
Early in his post-doc career and working at a school, Frank noticed an obvious gap in the care structure for the children with cognitive and learning disabilities. In short, they weren’t getting any exercise.
He knew that it had nothing to do with capability and everything to do with attitude; that if given the right opportunities, the children with disabilities could reap the same social and physical benefits from sport as any other child.
His ideas and a proposal for a regimented sport program caught the attention of one key advocate – the Kennedy Foundation.
From the first games in Chicago in 1968, his vision for healthier, stronger kids has grown into an international organization that has helped more than 3.5 million athletes with over 226 Special Olympics programs in 170 countries.
Jan Vozenilek is a cinematographer and photographer and over the past fifteen years, he has worked on documentaries, travel films and corporate promos for an array of clients worldwide.
Jan’s passions include environmental education and telling extraordinary stories that bring together people, nature, cinematic beauty and history all through the eye of his lens.
In his TEDxKelowna presentation, Jan will share what he and his team discovered, during their most recent project, on one of the remotest islands on our planet, called Midway.
John believes that charity matters and is opinionated on how to facilitate it. Right now, most of his time is spent working towards making giving simpler and more rewarding for Canadians, whether they do a little or a lot of it. He's doing this through the internet, helping shape how people interact with charity in an increasingly online culture.
John started his career in corporate finance and banking, but charity has been a longtime interest. He's been around it in one way or another all of his life; his dad, Blake Bromley, is one of the world's leading charity lawyers. Together, they started Benefic Group to fill the void in specialized expertise in charity law, strategy and policy in Canada.
John has also founded two technology platforms for the charity sector: Peer Giving Solutions, which helps charities raise awareness, supporters and money through the power of online community and storytelling; and Chimp, a kind of "charitable bank" that lets account holders give in a number of ways from just one place
B.LA, M.Sc. MCIP, LEED™ New Monaco Enterprise Corporation.
Mark is a LEED™-accredited planner who holds professional degrees in both Landscape Architecture, and Community and Regional Planning. Mark is Vice President of Development for New Monaco Enterprise Corporation – a company developing a large master-planned community in the Okanagan.
Mark‘s work over the past decade and half has focused on integrating progressive development principles into the both the mainstream development industry and local government plans and policies.
Mark’s career started in the City of Vancouver as a city planner and subsequently as the founder and first manager of its Sustainability Office. Mark then helped co-found two consulting companies, the Holland Barrs Planning Group, and then HB Lanarc Consultants – both of whom have been recognized nationally as leaders in innovative planning, design and sustainability.
After a decade of consulting, in 2011 he joined New Monaco Enterprise Corporation to lead the planning of one of the most innovative projects in the Okanagan Valley in the heart of BC wine country.
Mark is seen by many as a leader of innovations in planning, and his past projects and accomplishments include:
He played a major role in the planning of Southeast False Creek in Vancouver, which was declared the greenest neighbourhood in North America in 2009 by the US Green Building Council;
He has won many awards for his projects and has developed many concepts and frameworks relating to sustainable communities such as the 8 Pillars of a Sustainable Community, Urban Magnets, and the acclaimed Resilient Cities Manifesto in 2009; He is the co-author of the widely referenced book, Agricultural Urbanism, that focuses on progressive ways of integrating sustainable food systems into city planning and design;
He has served on numerous boards, including being a founding director of the Institute for Urban Vitality, the Healing Cities Institute and the Pacific Arrowsmith Institute. He is currently on the Board of the Urban Development Institute in BC;
In the past he was recognized as one of Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40, and in 2010, he was awarded the “Planner of the Year”, by his peers in the Planning Institute of BC. He currently lives on Vancouver Island with his wife and two spoiled cats, where he works, thinks, writes and enjoys the bounty of his garden as well as that of the Island’s farms and wineries.
Since 2007, Nicole Rustad has developed, overseen and implemented with her team, Disney Online Studios corporate citizenship plan.
In addition to developing strategy for the Disney Online Studios corporate citizenship, Nicole manages grants on every continent, oversees Disney Online Studios’ employee volunteer efforts and works with her team globally towards empowering the players of their online communities like Disney’s Club Penguin (the largest and fastest-growing virtual world for kids on the globe with players in over 200 countries) to make a difference through programs like Coins For Change which engages millions of children to make a difference annually. Nicole also ensures that Disney Online Studio’s Green Plan is embraced at all levels.
Outside of work, Nicole has always nurtured a passion for community involvement and volunteerism doing a variety of activities from keynote speaking, board work, advising charitable organizations, working with social entrepreneurs, high-level fundraising & events planning. She has served as an advisor, speaker and media coordinator for Partners in the Horn of Africa since 2004 and is the co-chair for their “Great Big Run For Africa", a 100km relay to raise funds for micro-financing initiatives in Ethiopia. Nicole is also a staunch advocate for the work of War Child and their sexual & gender based violence programming in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most recently, Nicole is working on the Midway Project to bring the world’s attention to the effects our consumption is having on our planet.
Nicole Rustad lives in Kelowna, BC Canada with her husband, 8-year old son & mutt from the local SPCA. She’s traveled the world to 40 countries for work and for fun and through her experiences is a staunch believer in the power of individuals to make a positive change in our world.
Paul graduated from Queen’s University with an Honors, BA in 1999.
He is the Corporate Vice President of Etherington Generations Inc, a privately held insurance consulting boutique based in Toronto that specializes in employee and executive benefits; personal life insurance and estate planning and planned giving (www.teg.ca)
At an early age Paul was introduced to the Special Olympics movement through his parents who started the Special Olympics Canada Foundation. The Special Olympics Canada Foundation was established with the goal of ensuring long-term financial stability for the more than 34,500 athletes registered in Special Olympics programs in hundreds of communities across the country. Paul, volunteered for the Special Olympics Canada Festival and sat on the board for 15 years and was a former volunteer coach of the Special Olympics Scarborough Cyclones Floor Hockey team. Paul now sits on the Special Olympics Ontario Board. In 2009 Paul and his brothers received the Queen’s University Alumni Humanitarian Award and in 2011, Paul was named the first ever Notable Young Professional of the Year.
In 2002 while working full-time in the insurance industry, along with his 2 brothers, Paul spearheaded motionball a nationwide philanthropic movement in support of Special Olympics. 10 years later motionball has raised over $2,600,000 for Special Olympics Canada and has engaged thousands of supporters.
Motionball is a not for profit, that raises funds and awareness for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation. motionball’s mandate is to introduce the next generation of sponsors, volunteers and donors to Special Olympics movement through integrated social and sporting events while creating relevant, meaningful experiences that help bring the fun back into giving. Throughout the course of the motionball calendar year more than 6,000 participants, supporters and Special Olympic Athletes enjoy our 12 annual events in 7 cities across Canada. Interests:
When Paul is not working or organizing motionball events, he can be found on the golf course, playing sports or enjoying a game of poker with friends and spending time with family- in particular his three favorite girls: wife Nycki and two beautiful daughters, Skylar and Sloanne.
Rhonda Draper is a Governor General’s Award-winning educator who works as a music specialist in the public education system. While teaching, she asks the students to help her recognize the needs of the more vulnerable. This has allowed Rhonda to make a leap from concert to ‘benefit concert’, from drumming to ‘drumming for peace’ from singing to teaching children to ‘raise their voices’ for others in song. Currently, Rhonda and her students are working on a humanitarian project/song called ‘Raise Your Voice’. Her students have empty pockets but that doesn’t stop them from forging ahead for change!