Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
February 13, 2016
Canadian Excellence


All Professional Development instructors are highly qualified. Their knowledge and skills are backed by hands-on experience.


Kathy Absolon-King, MSW, PhD
(Indigenous Peoples: Addiction and Recovery)

In Anishinaabe, Kathy, is also known as Minogiizhigokwe (Shining Day Woman). Kathy is Anishinaabe kwe from Flying Post First Nation in Ontario. She is Marten Clan and also Second Degree Midewiwin of the Three Fires Society Midewiwin Lodge. Her work in Indigenous knowledge is rooted in her experiences of growing up close to the land. Her passion for wellness among her people has been one of the driving forces in her 20 years of work as a social worker and helper, educator and knowledge searcher. Kathy was Program Coordinator for B’saanibamaadsiwin Native Mental Health Program from 1996-2003 when she left to pursue doctoral studies. In 2008 Kathy received her PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She is the author of Kaandossiwin: How we come to know, as well as articles and chapters on Native mental health, Indigenous research, Indigenous social work practice, community healing and wellness and Indigenous knowledge.

Kathy is an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in the MSW Aboriginal Field of Study, using holistic approaches to teaching and learning.   

Michel Arsenault, MSW
(Video Counselling: Expanding your Practice Beyond the Clinical Walls)

Michel graduated from McGill University with a Master’s in social work. He has over 20 years of clinical experience. He has been with Morneau Shepell for over 17 years and has extensive experience working in the employee assistance plan (EAP) industry, including Management of Clinical Operations for the Call Centre and Director of the Trauma Department. Currently he is the Clinical Director, Ontario. Michel is a frequent blogger and author on the Work Health Life blog, facilitates Morneau Shepell’s ongoing clinical professional development program, the Learning Line, and has been integral in the development of some of Morneau Shepell’s key clinical digital solutions. 


Stephanie Baker, PhD(c), RSW
(Concurrent Disorders)

Stephanie is a registered social worker who has been practising in the field for the past 20 years. Her experience spans a range of areas including acquired brain injury, addictions, intimate partner violence, mental health, concurrent disorders and trauma. She has provided individual, marital, family and group counselling throughout the duration of her practice in both community and institutional settings.

Stephanie is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University and negotiates several additional responsibilities in conjunction with full-time studies. Clinically, she is a social worker with the Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Program at the Niagara Health System, facilitates domestic violence groups with the Family Counselling Centre (Niagara) and offers consultation and training for various community organizations. In the academic realm, she is an instructor for McMaster University in the Addiction Education Program and an instructor at Wilfrid Laurier in the Master of Social Work Program. 

Elise Barrette, MSW, RSW
(An Introduction to Animal Assisted Interventions)

Elise is the second school social worker in Ontario to be working with a Canine Assisted Therapy dog from National Service Dogs. Elise and NSD Uley work hand-in-paw together at the London District Catholic School Board. Elise is also NSD Holly's secondary handler. With over 10 years' experience as a school social worker and over 15 years of working with children and families, Elise offers a unique perspective in incorporating Animal Assisted Therapy to her workshops. Elise is also a TLC Certified Trauma Consultant as well as a children's yoga instructor.

Nancy Bird, BA
(Resource Management and Development) 

Nancy joined United Way Kitchener-Waterloo in January 2001 as Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. Since then Nancy has held several roles at United Way KW including Grants and Allocations Officer, Assistant Director, Community Development and Director, Community Development. In January 2012, Nancy took on a new challenge as VP, Resource Mobilization. This portfolio includes all community investment and community development work, agency relations, research, measurement and evaluation, and resource development/fundraising.

Nancy believes strongly in continuing education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo, an adult teacher/trainer certificate from Conestoga College, a Management and Leadership certificate from WLU Faculty of Social Work, and is an alumnus of Leadership Waterloo Region. Passionate about coaching and mentoring others, Nancy has been a field supervisor for the Bachelor of Social Work program at Renison College, University of Waterloo for over five years and has also supervised Masters of Social Work students from University of Windsor. She regularly does presentations for classes at both local universities and the local college.

Nancy's community work focuses on schools and community. Nancy served on several school councils for a number of years, and currently sits on the Safe and Healthy Community Advisory Committee and the Project Team for the Neighbourhood Strategy for City of Kitchener, the Housing Stability System Advisory Committee and the Housing Stability System Community Advisory Board for the Region of Waterloo.

In addition, Nancy helps support the work of United Way at a national level by participating on the national Community Investment Leaders Network and Resource Development Leaders Network.

Pamela Bowes, MEd
(Navigating the Maze of Income Replacement Programs)

Pamela  is the Manager of Money Matters and Workplace Programs with Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation. She has over 20 years of experience working in the area of income replacement options for people too sick to work. Pamela has amassed an extensive knowledge of various programs at both the front-line and policy level. Pamela has a Master’s Degree in Adult Education, and an undergraduate degree in Vocational Counselling.

Jaime Brown, PhD
(Program Evaluation)

Jaime earned a PhD in applied social psychology at the University of Guelph. Her keen interest in intervention theory, design and evaluation has continued to grow through her 10 years of work as an applied research and evaluation consultant with community-based research organizations, provincial and federal government and health and social service agencies. Jaime has research and evaluation experience in a variety of content areas, but is particularly passionate about health and mental health services. Jaime's interests also include child development and family relations. She was involved on the design team of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth and in a pan-Canadian community-based research project examining the meaning and impact of father involvement on fathers, child development and family relationships. Jaime has experience facilitating professional training and development sessions about evidence-informed decision-making and knowledge translation and exchange, and teaching university psychology, statistics and program evaluation. Before joining Taylor Newberry Consulting, Inc., Jaime coordinated a national project to support knowledge translation in public health practice and policy for the National Collaborating Centres for Public Health at McMaster University.


Scot Cooper
(Single Session Therapy, Narrative Therapy with Individuals, Groups and Communities)

Scot founded the Brief Narrative Practices Project as a means to provide specialized quality training to service providers working in time constrained therapeutic contexts. Alongside more than 18 years of direct practice he has been teaching ‘brief’ narrative and single session walk-in therapy for more than a decade locally and abroad. Scot offers the curriculum through a spirit of adventure and exploration, inviting participants to practice, stretch their skill set and transfer specific learning into everyday practice. Alongside this Scot has worked extensively in the Neighbouring Communities and Pen Pal Project; narrative practice informed relationship building initiatives between First Nations and their neighbours. Scot's most recent publications include Brief narrative practice at the walk-in clinic: The rise of the counterstory, and Quality Assurance at the Walk-in: Process, Outcome, and Learning (2014 & 2013, International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work) and the co-editing of the book Masters of Narrative and Collaborative Therapies: The voices of Andersen, Anderson, and White (2011 Routledge Publishing).

Rick Csiernik, BSc, BSW, MSW, PhD, RSW

Professor, School of Social Work, King's University College at Western University, Rick has written and edited eight books, including Substance Use and Abuse: Everything Matters, Responding to the Oppression of Addiction and Wellness and Work: EAP in Canada, authored 140 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and has been an invited presenter to over 200 national and international conferences, workshops and seminars. He has been part of research teams that have received over $3 million in funding and has been on the King's University College honour role of teaching 14 consecutive times. Rick was the co-developer of the McMaster University Addiction Studies Program where he has taught for over 25 years and was the inaugural recipient of the McMaster University Instructor Appreciation award.


Annette Dekker, MSW, RSW, RMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor
(Clinical Supervision)

Annette has over 35 years of clinical experience in a variety of settings across the province and has been teaching and supervising in the field of family therapy and social work since 1995. Most recently she worked for seven years with the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team in Kitchener. She currently has a private practice in Waterloo. Annette enjoys mentoring the next generation of social workers and family therapists because this brings diversity to her professional life and challenges her to remain current in the field.

Annette practices therapy from a collaborative stance of curiosity and continues to be amazed by the resilience and strengths that people have. 

 Lorral Deline, MA, ICADC
(Counselling Techniques in Addiction Practice)

Lorral has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and a post-graduate diploma in Addictions Treatment and Prevention from Georgian College. Over her 16 year career, she has worked across the continuum of care in various capacities. This includes working within residential and outpatient settings where she has gained extensive experience in group facilitation and individual counselling and the opportunity to treat diverse client populations including clients with concurrent disorders, mandated clients, women and children, cross-cultural populations, couples and family members. She has also designed and delivered training workshops for healthcare professionals and has experience in the management of government initiative projects. A career highlight includes employment in the Cayman Islands to develop and implement residential treatment protocols for government funded programs. Presently, Lorral is employed with William Osler Health System in the mental health and addictions program providing outpatient crisis counselling services. She is a qualifying member of the new College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. 

Laura Donelan, MSW, RSW
(An Introduction to Animal Assisted Interventions)

Laura is a school social worker with the London District Catholic School Board. She is the first school social worker in Ontario to receive an accredited Canine Assisted Therapy dog, NSD Holly, to partner with in her work with students. In addition, Laura is a certified yoga instructor, trained in adventure therapy and trauma intervention. Laura believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of nature and animals. She is the co-founder of Dancing Creek: Adventures in Balance Inc., a therapeutic adventure company and has worked with children, youth and their families for more than 20 years. Laura is the author of "Holly’s Pawsitive Life Lessons", a book for children, parents and educators.


Marshall Fine, MSW, EdD
(Ethics in Social Work)

Marshall is a professor and Associate Dean: MSW Program, in the Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University. He has been involved in the teaching of professional ethics in couple and family therapy and social work over the last few decades. His recent research, writing and presentations are primarily related to ethics in social work practice, as well as supervision in couple and family therapy and families' experience in Child Protection Services. He was a member of the Ethics Committee for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and has acted as a consultant and reviewer on ethical matters related to social work practice.

Charity Fleming, MSW, RSW
(Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Levels I and II)

Charity is a registered social worker with 10 years’ experience concentrated in psychotherapeutic outreach to priority populations. She is the founder and clinical manager of Qualia Six Nations/Brant, a secondary location of Qualia Counselling Services Inc., a full service counselling agency specializing in CBT. A proud Anishinaabe woman (bear clan), Charity is currently researching and developing a new model for treating historical trauma in First Nations. Called Sacred Circle CBT, the model is a delivery of the clear intentions of CBT for mental distress, combined with ethnocultural practices, values and beliefs of Aboriginal groups across the lifespan.

Charity is an alumnus of WLU’s Master of Social Work program.


Sue Gallagher, MSW, RSW
(Core Counselling Skills)

Sue has been practicing in the field of social work for over 30 years and has focused on work in crisis and trauma as well as social work education. Sue worked for over 20 years as a member of the Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre where she responded to acute cases of sexual and domestic violence through the emergency departments of two local hospitals. She also provided ongoing counselling to those men, women and children who had experienced sexual and/or domestic violence. Currently, Sue offers general counselling through Cardinal Counselling and Mediation in Waterloo.

Sue teaches and provides field education in the Social Work programs at York University, University of Calgary, Renison University and Wilfrid Laurier, as well as in the Social Services program at Conestoga College. Sue teaches a course on Trauma and Trauma Healing at Conrad Grebel University College with the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

She brings her experience and enthusiasm to the professional development workshops at Laurier!

Karma Guindon, MSW, PhD (candidate)
(Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)

Karma is PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University. Her dissertation research is exploring ecological ethics for therapy practice. She is a registered social worker and registered marriage and family therapist. Karma has been a practicing therapist since 1994, beginning her career as a group therapist for child, adolescent and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and supervisor of group therapy interns. Since this time, she has practiced in the areas of adolescent eating disorders and adult mental health. Karma also practiced for 15 years at a child and family therapy program at a York Region teaching hospital. Currently, she is in private practice providing couple and family therapy and individual therapy to children, adolescents and adults. She is a part-time faculty member with the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and Renison University College, University of Waterloo, and has been an instructor with the Master of Social Work degree program at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has also presented at numerous national and international conferences. Karma has provided supervision to students and therapy trainees and consultation to mental health professionals.

Karma co-authored a DBT workbook for teens, which was published in 2009. She uses a systems-based and integrative approach to practice and is informed by DBT, narrative therapy, CBT and psychodynamic models. 


Sandy Jardine, MSW, RSW
(Core Counselling Skills)

Sandy is a graduate of the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to her social work career, Sandy taught school in PEI and BC.

In her 18 years as a clinical social worker, Sandy has worked in various settings. She has been a clinical investigator with the Office of the Children's Lawyer and has been an associate faculty and coordinator of the applied counselling post-degree, post-diploma program at Conestoga College. For 10 years she has worked with the Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre responding to acute cases of sexual and domestic violence. She is currently a Field Education Coordinator with Renison College School of Social Work at the University of Waterloo, as well as a session lecturer with the Renison Institute of Ministry. In her private counselling practice in Cambridge Sandy works with individuals, couples and families who present with various and diverse issues both through EAP programs, as well as a fee for service provider.

Sandy is certified as a Field Trauma Specialist, a Compassion Fatigue Specialist and a Clinical Traumatologist through the Traumatology Institute of Canada.

In partnership with Sue Gallagher, Sandy develops and delivers workshops to various agencies, professionals and community groups. 


Heather Kerr, MSW, RSW
(Engaging Challenging Clients: Working with Specialized Populations in Addictions)

Heather is registered social worker, therapist, consultant and trainer providing workshops and teaching as part of her private practice. Heather holds a BA in psychology/law and criminology from Carleton University and a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also a certified Equine Therapist.

Heather has over 25 years’ of experience specializing in addictions and trauma. She has worked extensively in provincial and federal corrections. Heather has provided training in Ontario and across Canada and the United States. She has also been an instructor at Conestoga College.

Heather has been the Executive Director of Stonehenge Therapeutic Community in Guelph for over 12 years. She completed a secondment with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network as Lead for Addictions Integration in 2013. Heather is one of the founding members of the Canadian Association of Women’s Criminal Justice Residential Options.

Hilton King, BSW, MSW
(Indigenous Peoples: Addiction and Recovery)

Hilton is Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nation. His Anishinaabe name is Wahmahtig (Leaning Tree). He is First Degree Mediwiwin of the Three Fires Society Mediwiwin Lodge. Hilton has a background in Native mental health, addictions, justice and child welfare. He received his BSW from Ryerson University in 2010 and is currently working on his Masters in Social Work at Laurier, with an emphasis in wholistic healing knowledge. Hilton is also a talented drum maker and has facilitated many cultural-based workshops on the drum, shakers and teachings of the Anishinaabe peoples. His social work practice is rooted in his cultural identity as an Anishinaabe man. Hilton is a respected community helper and held a political position for four years within his community, which contributed to his knowledge of mental health, justice and child welfare.


Annette Kussin, MSW, RSW
(Adult Attachment: Redeveloping Security in Adulthood, Attachment in Adolescence: The Wonky Brain that Allows for Change )

Annette is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and advanced Attachment Focused Therapist. She was the owner/director of the Leaside Therapy Centre, a multi-discipline clinic in Toronto, until 2012. She has a private practice where she specializes in attachment focused therapy for adults, couples and adoptive families. She has worked in children's mental health as a therapist, supervisor, manager and clinical director.

Annette has received advanced training in Attachment Focused Therapy from Daniel Hughes and is a member of an advanced consultation group in this model of therapy. She offers consultation to agencies and individual professionals and regularly provides training to organizations throughout Ontario including Wilfrid Laurier Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work, Safeguards Children’s Services Training, Hincks-Dellcrest Institute and children's mental health services and child welfare agencies in the area of attachment, trauma and brain development.


Colin McVicker, BA, MA
(Group Counselling)

Colin has worked in the addictions field for 15 years. He has had the opportunity to work in the U.S. and Ontario healthcare systems treating individuals and their families for concerns around problematic substance use and gambling. He is currently working in the addictions field in a clinical capacity.

Colin has experience working with clients at a variety of levels in the healing process of addiction treatment and has worked with individuals ranging from ages 13 to 89. He is an experienced presenter and has had the opportunity to present at international conferences about new treatment approaches used in the clinical field.

Colin has had the privilege of treating clients in both individual and group counselling approaches and he looks forward to supporting students in cultivating a deeper understanding of the importance of group counselling in the treatment process of addictions.

Colin has recently completed his Masters of Health Leadership at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C. He focused his major research project on developing collaborative treatment practices for concurrently diagnosed patients/clients. Colin has helped facilitate organizational learning sessions on mentorship, team building and conflict resolution and has a keen interest in how teams work together to achieve common goals. 

Helen Mullen-Stark, MSW
(Program Development and Project Management)

Helen has been the president of HMS Inc. Human Resource Solutions since 1995. As an independent consultant Helen has engaged in numerous successful consulting ventures within both the private and public sector. Helen has undertaken a number of project management assignments for Children’s Aid Societies, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and children’s mental health organizations and has also provided facilitation services to a variety of social service providers for organizational restructuring and program development. She has over 30 years experience in the child welfare sector with several Children’s Aid Societies throughout Ontario. Helen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of organizational systems, interagency and intergovernmental linkages. 


Michelle Nogueira, RSSW, CAC II, CPGC
(Introduction to Relapse Prevention)

For the past 26 years, Michelle has worked through the continuum of care in the addiction field. She has achieved certifications in gambling, addictions, and is a Registered Social Service Worker. Michelle is currently working at Homewood Community Addictions Services as a Problem Gambling Counsellor.

She has been intrigued with problem gambling since 1989 and for the past 13 years has provided outpatient counselling (individual, group) to problem gamblers and their significant others. She has initiated, developed, implemented and facilitated a wide range of programs and services for problem gamblers and their significant others. She has also developed relapse prevention programs for both problem gamblers and substance abusers.

Michelle has had the pleasure to work in all areas of the gambling field and has developed partnerships with key stakeholders in all facets of the gambling industry: treatment, prevention, gambling venues and most recently research. Michelle was a Co-Investigator on a research project titled
A Comprehensive Review of Problem Gambling Self-Assessment Tools for Use on an Internet Platform and was honoured to present the findings at the 15th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking in Las Vegas.

has been a source for the media and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications (National Post, Financial Post, Globe and Mail, Guelph Mercury, The Record, Orangeville Banner). She has collaborated with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to develop a video that promotes treatment and self-exclusion (

Michelle has also had the opportunity to present on gambling, gaming and substance use at a variety of forums throughout her career. One of her special interests is working with individuals who have internet/technology addictions.

Margaret Notar, MSW, RSW
(Mindfulness-Based Therapies: A Look at MBSR, MBCT, DBT and ACT, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, CBT: Beyond the Basics, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Eating Disorders, Suicidal or Self-Harming? Assessment and Treatment of “At Risk” Teens)

Margaret is a clinical social worker with over 25 years’ experience working in the mental health field with individuals, families and groups. Since 1999, Marg has been a part-time faculty member with Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, teaching in the individual, families and groups stream, as well as providing a variety of workshops through the faculty’s Professional Development office. More recently, she has also been a part-time faculty member with Renison University College’s School of Social Work. She has acted as a field supervisor for many students over the years and provides live and online clinical consultation to social work professionals through her private practice where she also sees adolescent and adult clients.

Marg has been a long-time therapist with hospital outpatient mental health services for adolescents and their families. She has contributed to, and developed, eating disorders treatment, prevention and professional development services in the Waterloo region, previously as co-founder of the Eating Disorders Awareness Coalition, a non-profit charity that was subsumed under the auspices of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Marg has published on topics such as motivational interviewing with teens, self esteem enhancement groups, family work with families whose loved one has an eating disorder, and mother-daughter relationships, and has conducted workshops on numerous topics across Canada. In another life, she is also an award-winning quilt artist whose work has been selected for exhibition in local museums and national exhibitions.


Keith O’Meara, MEd, RSW, CSFT
(Solution Focused Crisis Intervention, Solution Focused Therapy for Couples and Families)

Keith is a social worker/therapist with Family Services Durham. He has over 35 years' experience in the field, with an extensive background working with youth and adolescents, mental health, families, couples and individuals from all walks of life requiring counselling. He is a seasoned manager, educator, therapist and workplace mediator. He is frequently requested to provide consultation or training in the areas of solution-focused counseling, crisis intervention and workplace mediation. Keith uses a solution focused approach in all of these roles.

Keith’s commitment to the solution focused approach began over 15 years ago when he received training at the Hinck’s Dellcrest Institute, Brief Therapy Training Centre and with the University of Toronto’s Social Work Continuing Education. This lit a spark in him that prompted him to go to Milwaukee and take the advanced training offered by Insoo Kimberg and Steve DeShazer. Since then Keith has been a strong advocate and teacher/trainer in this method of helping troubled individuals throughout Ontario.

For more than 10 years  Keith has taught Solution Focused Crisis Intervention and Basic Skills in the University of Toronto’s School of Social Work continuing education program. He is also an associate examiner for certified solution focused specialist designations offered by the Canadian Council of Professional Certification.


Raechel Pefanis, MDiv, MSW, RSW
(Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Levels I and II, CBT Immersion)

Raechel is a registered social worker with 15 years’ experience in the field of psychotherapy. She received her Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy from Tyndale University College and Seminary and her MSW from Flinders University in Australia. She is a Diplomate with the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, largely considered the world’s preeminent body for certification, training and dissemination of CBT.

Throughout her social work career, Raechel has held positions at a number of agencies including Participation House, Cardinal Counselling and Mediation, Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region and the Centre for Family Medicine. In 2010 Raechel and a partner founded Qualia Counselling Services Inc., a full service agency specializing in CBT with individuals, couples, families and groups. Today the agency employs more than 20 administrative staff and psychotherapists, all of whom specialize in CBT.

Raechel is also an adjunct faculty member with McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine where she participates in training medical residents preparing to practice family medicine.

David Pell, MSc
(Accepting and Adapting to Organization Change in a Turbulent Environment)

David has extensive experience with local economic development programs and youth entrepreneurship. He operated his own business and worked for government, universities and the voluntary sector. David was a partner in Development Initiatives Inc., an international consulting firm. He was the founder and president of the Community Business Resource Centre in Toronto, a highly successful entrepreneurship training centre and consulting organization in economic development. As the CEO of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and the Canadian Youth Foundation, David expanded the organization’s lending, mentor support and career planning programs for young people across Canada. David was also the Chief Executive Officer of Street Kids International, an organization recognized by the United Nations as a leader in youth programming. David is the author of several publications on economic development and community and corporate partnerships including NGO and Private Sector Partnerships and Community Profit. David is currently working as a consultant and is a co-founder and manager of Youth

Lisa Pont, MSW, RSW
(Behavioural Addictions)

Lisa started at the Problem Gambling Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as the older adult specialist in 2007. Prior to that, she was hired at CAMH in 2002 to develop and coordinate the telephone support line. Lisa’s experience in counseling, outreach, community work and training led her to her position as a trainer/therapist at the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario at CAMH. Currently, she is involved in responsible gambling industry training and specializes in the area of online gaming, gambling and Internet overuse. Lisa continues to provide group and individual counseling and develops and delivers customized training programs. Lisa teaches both in professional development and continuing education programs at two Ontario universities and presents at domestic and international conferences. Her expertise has been sought out for print, radio and television.  She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and a Master of Social Work from York University.

Stan Pope, MSW, RSW
(Video Counselling: Expanding your practice beyond clinical walls)

Stan is the Regional Clinical Manager – National Capital Region, Northern New Brunswick and Video Counselling at Morneau Shepell. In addition to his 15 years’ experience in the EAP field, Stan’s clinical experience includes extensive work in child protection and children’s mental health services. He has worked for the Ministry of the Attorney General (Ontario) performing court ordered custody and access investigations. He also worked with a Community Care Access Centre dealing with chronically ill clients and seniors. Stan works closely with the non-profit organization Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario, running groups on mindfulness.

Stan was instrumental in the development of video counselling at Shepell. He helped design the training protocols, and recruits, trains and provides ongoing clinical and technical support for the video counselling team. In addition, Stan was part of the research team that looked into the effectiveness of the video counselling program at Shepell and has presented at international conferences on the Shepell video counselling program.

Stan graduated with his Masters in Child and Youth Care Administration in 1996. He has taken intensive training with the Brief Therapy Training Centre and has a certification in hypnotherapy.

Stan has co-authored two papers on video counselling:

Screen to Screen – Counselling in Today’s Digital World. Journal of Employee Assistance, 2nd Quarter 2015, Vol. 45 No. 2. Barb Veder, Kelly Beaudoin, Stan Pope. 

Employee and Family Assistance Video Counseling Program: A Post Launch Retrospective Comparison With In-Person Counseling Outcomes. Med 2.0 2014;3(1):e3  2014, comparative study on the effectiveness of video counselling as compared to traditional in-person counselling.

Melissa Pyne, MSW, RSW
(CBT Immersion)

Melissa is a registered social worker with 10 years' experience in the field of mental health counselling. She works in the Outpatient Mental Health and Addictions program at Grand River Hospital delivering individual and group therapy to adults in acute mental health crisis. She also provides field supervision to Laurier's MSW students. In addition to her work at the hospital, Melissa works at Qualia Counselling Services Inc., a full service counselling agency specializing in CBT.

Melissa holds a BA (Hons) in psychology from York University and an MSW from Laurier. She is certified in concurrent disorders and is in the final stages of the Daring Way TM certification (highly experiential methodology in developing shame resiliency based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown).


Ian Robertson
(Trauma and Addictions) 

Ian currently works as the Regional Clinical Supervisor for Addictions and Mental Health at the Niagara Health System. Previously, Ian was as a substance abuse counsellor at the Niagara Withdrawal Management Centre, the New Port Centre, as a clinical therapist for Mental Health Services, Regional Facilitator and Trainer for Mental Health, and also consultant for several community organizations. He is a certified Clinical Traumatologist, Compassion Fatigue Specialist and Substance Abuse Counsellor. He is trained in Trauma Incident Reduction (TIR), Level 1 & 2 of EMDR, Threat Assessment, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Process Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Ian has been a speaker at international, national, provincial and regional conferences and an organizational trainer on topics such as substance abuse, trauma, concurrent disorders, mental health, youth at risk, youth threat assessment, Motivational Interviewing, Stages of Change, Organizational Trauma-informed Practices. He is currently working on his Advanced Certification as a Clinical Supervisor from Smith College, School of Social Work in MA, USA. Ian also owns and operates a private practice in Niagara.

Angela Rolleman MSW, RSW
(Fundamentals of Addiction, Motivational Interviewing in Addiction Treatment, Motivational Interviewing for Helping Professionals, Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness)

Angela is a registered social worker, speaker and trainer. She has additional training and expertise in addiction counselling and has worked in both outpatient and residential (short-term and long-term) addiction treatment settings as well as implementing the Ontario Works Addiction Services Initiative in Guelph. Currently, Angela has her own business providing on-site training workshops for organizations as well as personal development workshops for individuals; she is an instructor for the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Social Work Professional Development Program; and she works part-time as a social worker at the Family Health Team in Woodstock. Angela has been a speaker at several conferences on topics including addiction, motivational interviewing, self-esteem, overcoming limiting beliefs and positive psychology. She has also delivered several personal development workshops for clients on topics including happiness, self-esteem, overcoming limiting beliefs, emotional eating and achieving your dreams. To learn more, visit


Sylvie Smith, BA, ICADC
(Addiction and the Family)

With over 15 years in the addictions field, Sylvie has worked in several areas in the continuum, including withdrawal management, harm reduction, methadone maintenance and short- and long-term residential treatment. In her current role, she provides individual and group counselling to people struggling with substance use/abuse and problem gamblers and their families including students at local high schools. Sylvie also presents education sessions to clients, the community and other health professionals. She is active in in various committees in her community including harm reduction, domestic violence and sexual assault. Recently, as a co-investigator, Sylvie presented findings of her research,
A Review of Problem Gambling Self-Assessment Tools for Use on Internet Gambling Platform, at the International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, in Las Vegas (2013).

In her various roles, Sylvie has always had a special interest in supporting families who live with addiction find supports and healthier means to cope. She has helped develop programs and sessions on supporting teens who have parents who abuse substances and for teens who abuse substances themselves.

Sylvie has a diploma in Social Service Work and Drug and Alcohol Counselling, as well as a BA in Social Development Studies. She is an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor with the Canadian Addiction Counsellor Certification Federation.

Cathy Snyder, FCPA, FCMA, CHRP
(Human Resource Management, Resource Management and Development)

Cathy joined United Way KW and Area in 2008 as CFO and became CFO/CAO in 2010. Her areas of responsibility include finance and accounting, human resources, technology, administration, facilities, marketing and communications, policy and compliance, risk and strategic planning/measurement. Prior to joining United Way KW, Cathy was Vice-President, Finance at Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) in Waterloo. 

Cathy is an active community volunteer, having served on many boards including United Way, Greater KW Chamber of Commerce, St. Monica House, KW Big Brother Big Sisters, CMA Canada and CMA Ontario. She is currently on the board of St. Jerome’s University and of her neighbourhood association. She has also volunteered on various committees including CMA Ontario Grand River District Committee, Arts and Cultural Grants Committee – City of Waterloo, CMA Canada Audit Committee and St. Monica House Finance Committee. Cathy has also spoken at various events, including Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Evening of Recognition, and an HRPA Peer to Peer Learning event. 

In addition, Cathy has volunteered with KidsAbility, Great Ride and Stride to Beat Cancer and the MS Walk. Cathy was a member of the review committee that assisted with the creation of CMA Canada’s Management Accounting Guideline "Performance Measurement of Not-for-Profit Organizations."

Cathy was awarded the CMA Ontario Community Services Award in recognition of her volunteer efforts with CMA Ontario, and the local community, is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and is a recipient of the KW Oktoberfest Professional Women of the Year award. 

Cathy was awarded the CMA Ontario Community Services Award in recognition of her volunteer efforts with CMA Ontario and the local community, and is a recipient of the KW Oktoberfest Professional Women of the Year award.


Andrew Taylor, PhD
(Program Evaluation)

Andrew is co-owner of Taylor Newberry Consulting, a company based in Guelph that specializes in helping non-profit groups make better use of research evidence. He is a program evaluation consultant with more than 20 years’ experience and has worked with a wide range of government departments, social service agencies, grassroots groups and foundations on program evaluation projects. He is also an experienced trainer and has run workshops on topics related to program evaluation across Canada. Andrew's approach to program evaluation employs a participatory, developmental approach and focuses on generating practical, useful information that can inform action.

Andrew recently assisted the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the development of their new outcomes-based investment framework. Together with Jaime Brown, he developed the investment framework used by United Ways across Canada. He is an instructor in the Program Evaluation post-degree certificate program at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Resident Evaluation Expert at the Ontario Nonprofit Network. He has a PhD in social and developmental psychology.


Jan Varner, MBA, CTDP
(Fundamentals of Management)

Jan is currently and has been the CEO of United Way Kitchener Waterloo & Area since 2005. Prior to this role, Jan was a faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University for 10 years. She was also the Director of the Laurier Institute, the management and development arm of the School of Business and Economics. She joined the faculty after serving 15 years in the private and public sector. Jan and her husband Dave own Innersee Initiatives Inc., an experiential training and development business that includes their own team building challenge course. Jan has been teaching with the Faculty of Social Work Professional Development department since 2006.

Elisha Van Harte, MSW, RSW
(Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: Beyond the Basics)

Elisha is the founder of By Clinical Design, a mental health treatment, training and development company. She also works in private practice in Guelph and in the role of Clinical Implementation Lead at Kinark Child and Family Services. Over the last 15 years Elisha has held many clinical and managerial roles within the mental health inpatient and community-based sectors. Within all of her roles, Elisha has facilitated clinical implementations of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) as well as provided education, training and supervision in the practice of DBT, CBT and other evidenced based interventions. In the last several years Elisha has provided training at all levels of DBT within hospitals, residential treatment homes, community outpatient and school-based programs.  Elisha has a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University and an Honours BA in psychology and crime and criminal justice and public policy from the University of Guelph.


Jennifer Will, BA, A:TP
(Counselling Techniques in Addiction Practice)

Jennifer Will has been in the addiction counselling profession for over 17 years and is currently employed with William Osler Health System in the Mental Health and Addictions Program. She graduated with a BA in psychology from Laurentian University and obtained a post-graduate diploma through Georgian College in the Addictions; Treatment and Prevention program. In more recent years she obtained a certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from McMaster University. Jennifer has enjoyed a varied career in the counselling field including group and individual counselling in both residential and intensive day treatment settings as well as delivering intake/screening services in the community treatment setting with substance dependent clients. She has been specializing in the problem gambling field for more than 10 years and has worked in both the public and private sectors.  Her current position involves providing individual and group counselling in an outpatient setting and also provides consultative and educative services to the early psychosis program at Brampton Civic Hospital.  Over her career, she has presented at conferences nationwide on the topics of treating concurrent disorders and older adults and has developed and facilitated a number of workshops for helping professionals.  Additionally, Jennifer is a qualifying member of the new College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.