Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
May 22, 2015
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
(Expanding Your Counselling Practice Using Digital Solutions)

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 Regional Clinical Manager for Toronto Central and the Team Lead for Central Canada. 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 18 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. 

Nancy Bird
(Resource Management and Development) 

Nancy joined United Way KW 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 overseeing community investment, 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, has an Adult Teacher/Trainer certificate from Conestoga College 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 a Masters of Social Work student from University of Windsor. She regularly does presentations for classes at both local universities and the local college.

Nancy’s volunteer work focuses on schools and community. Nancy was on the Board of her children’s cooperative preschool and then went on to serve for four years on school councils, including one year as Chair. Now that her children are in high school, Nancy sits on the Safe and Healthy Community Advisory Committee 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.

Jaime Brown, PhD
(Program Evaluation)

Jamie 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 main interests include social determinants, effects and strategies for preventing and managing chronic illness, health policy, citizen/public participation and social justice issues in 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
(Advanced Single Session Therapy)
(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 17 years of direct practice he has been teaching brief 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. Scot's most recent publications include Quality Assurance at the Walk-in: Process, Outcome, and Learning (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. 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. She currently has a private psychotherapy practice in Waterloo. 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 an MA in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and a post-graduate diploma in Addictions Treatment and Prevention from Georgian College. Throughout her 13 year career, she has worked across the continuum of care in various capacities and has designed and delivered training workshops for healthcare professionals in the field. Her frontline experience includes working in residential and outpatient settings treating diverse client populations including
clients with concurrent disorders, mandated clients, women and children, cross-cultural populations, couples and family members. A career highlight includes her 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 addiction counselling services. She also enjoys a part-time private practice with Pace Consulting Group providing specialization in the area of substance abuse problems for Employee Assistance Programs. She has been a member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation since 1999 and holds the International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor designation. 


D’Arcy Farlow, MHSc
(Facilitating Participatory Decision Making)

D'Arcy has been active in the fields of health promotion, public health and capacity building for over 25 years. During this time she has had extensive experience providing consultation and facilitation to numerous and diverse stakeholder collaborations, community groups, organizational teams, not-for-profit boards, foundations, municipalities and governmental institutions.  D’Arcy also teaches a graduate course on Community Capacity Building for the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. 

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.


Sue Gallagher, MSW, RSW
(Core Counselling Skills)
(Foundations of Trauma)

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!

Wendy Golding

(Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL) Certification for Mental Health Professionals) 

Wendy Golding is a trusted and respected leader in the field of personal and professional empowerment, a professional speaker, author and president of Horse Spirit Connections Inc., a not-for-profit corporation founded in 2006 that is dedicated to promoting transformation and personal growth through the wisdom of the horse. 

Wendy is a seasoned professional and entrepreneur with over 30 years' experience in the corporate and equine worlds. Her proven track record of success includes spearheading inaugural international projects while sitting on the Chamber of Commerce Board and acting as director of the Governor General Horse Guards, president of the Jaycees and co-owner of Winks & Ink, a multi-million dollar marketing and merchandising company she co-founded with her partner Andre in 1994. 

Wendy’s extensive knowledge and wealth of experience has helped hundreds of people, including executives, professionals and individuals, realize their potential and achieve their goals with a greater sense of personal and professional empowerment. 

Wendy has been passionate about horses all of her life – winning shows as a young girl and taking the requisite number of falls! As an adult, she became a member of the Governor General's Horse Guards where she honed her riding skills in military parades, musical rides and lance work. Her passion then turned to polo. While enjoying the thrills and teamwork with her horses, Wendy eventually stopped playing due to a polo injury and turned her focus to exploring deeper connections with horses.

In 2005 Wendy found she was missing the call from her heart. To focus on the journey of making her dream a reality, Wings & Ink was sold in 2010 and another inspiring chapter in Wendy’s life began. 

The journey took her to the Epona Equestrian Services in 2005 to study under Linda Kohanov who has received international recognition for her innovative work and her many books. Wendy became a certified EponaQuest instructor, completing an extensive apprenticeship, including leadership training, with Linda. Her second EponaQuest mentor was Kathleen Barry Ingram, a pioneer in the field of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy who is now a contributor and guest lecturer at Horse Spirit Connections. Wendy weaves together her love of horses and teaching at Horse Spirit Connections where healing and learning take place on all levels for horses and people alike. Horses are treated as equal partners in a journey where horses help people evolve consciously and become whole in body, mind and spirit.

Karma Guindon
(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 13 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 was a part-time faculty member with the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and the Master of Social Work 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)
(Foundations of Trauma)

Sandy is a graduate of the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to her social work career, Sandy taught school in P.E.I. and B.C.

In her 16 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 the past nine years she has worked with the Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre where she responds to acute cases of sexual and domestic violence. She is currently a Faculty Field Consultant with Renison College 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)

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 & Criminology from Carleton University and a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also a certified Equine Therapist. 

Heather has over 20 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 10 years. She completed a secondment with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network as Lead for Addictions Integration in 2013. Heather is Chair of the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy Committee. Provincially, Heather is an Executive Member of the Ontario Halfway House Association. Nationally, she 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)

Annette is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and advanced Attachment Focused Therapist. She is the owner/director of the Leaside Therapy Centre, a multi-discipline clinic in Toronto, where she specializes in attachment issues and trauma for children and adults. 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 Safeguards Children’s Services Training, TAPE, Hincks-Dellcrest Institute and children's mental health services and child welfare agencies in the area of attachment, trauma and brain development.


Lisa Pont, MSW,RSW
(Behavioural Addictions)

Lisa has a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and a Master of Social Work from York University. She 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 coordinated the Telephone Support Line at CAMH since its inception in 2003. In all of her professional roles, she has been a strong advocate for people living with mental health and/or addiction issues. Lisa's experience in counseling, outreach, community work and training led her to the position of  Trainer/Therapist with the Problem Gambling Project and Problem Gambling Service at CAMH. She is currently involved in training and counseling in the area of gaming, gambling and Internet overuse.


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 11 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)
(Group Dynamics in Group Therapy: Addressing Group Process)
(Suicide Risk Assessment)

Marg 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. More recently, she is also 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 where cognitive behaviour therapy has been one of several therapeutic techniques practiced. She has been one of a handful of clinicians who have 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.


Keith O’Meara, MEd, RSW, CSFT
(Solution Focused Crisis Intervention)

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.


David Pell, MSc 
(Managing Organizational Change)

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 authour 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

Shoshana Pollack, PhD 

(Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL) Certification for Mental Health Professionals)

As a child, Dr. Shoshana Pollack, PhD, had an affinity with horses and spent many summers trail riding and hanging out at various horse farms. Although never far from her heart, Shoshana moved away from this passion and pursued university studies and eventually a career as a clinical social worker and university professor. Recently she has brought together her two passions: helping people heal from trauma and working with the wisdom of horses. As a clinical social worker for over two decades, she brings an expertise in the treatment of trauma, relational violence and anxiety to her Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy practice. She sees nonjudgmental relationships and a balanced connection between body, mind, spirit and the environment as essential for fostering health and wellbeing and is thrilled to be able to join with horses in this process. Connecting with the exquisite sensitivities of horses opens up a powerful space of healing in which wounds and silences can be transformed and authenticity can be uncovered.  

In 2008 Shoshana worked with Wendy Golding on a small pilot study about the effectiveness of Equine Facilitated Learning with women in addiction treatment. After experiencing the respectful and gentle way that Wendy worked with the horses and the participants in the program, Shoshana decided to get certified in Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL), with Wendy as one of her trainers. Over the past few years, Shoshana has worked with Wendy  to bring this innovative and powerful healing method to the social work and mental health fields by providing workshops and seminars to various mental health professionals. She is thrilled to be working with Wendy to offer a FEEL certification for mental health professionals.

Lisa Pont, MSW, RSW

(Behavioural Addictions)

Lisa has a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and a Master of Social Work from York University. She 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 coordinated the Telephone Support Line at CAMH since its inception in 2003. In all of her professional roles, she has been a strong advocate for people living with mental health and/or addiction issues. Lisa's experience in counseling, outreach, community work and training led her to the position of  Trainer/Therapist with the Problem Gambling Project and Problem Gambling Service at CAMH. She is currently involved in training and counseling in the area of gaming, gambling and Internet overuse.


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.

Tracey Robertson, MSW
(Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

Tracey has 25 years of experience in strategic philanthropy, program development, and community capacity building, at a local, provincial and national level. As the Regional Program Manager for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, one of Canada’s largest grant-making organizations, Tracey supports the effective distribution and management of $4.7M annually to over 400 arts and culture, social services, sports and recreation, and environmental organizations in the Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin areas.

In 2005, Tracey was the senior lead and analyst for one of OTF’s major research projects that evaluated the impact of OTF’s $100 million investments in building organizational capacity. More recently, Tracey co-designed an innovative and proactive future fund initiative to strengthen youth social entrepreneurship in Ontario. She shares her knowledge and continues her love for learning, as a part-time instructor for the Social Entrepreneurship program at Wilfrid Laurier University. A recognized community builder, she thrives on collaboration, innovation and system-wide change.


Angela Rolleman MSW, RSW
(Motivational Interviewing for Helping Professionals)
(Fundamentals of Addiction)
(Positive Psychology)

Angela is a graduate of Laurier's Faculty of Social Work. She currently works as a Social Worker/Counsellor at the Thames Valley Family Health Team in Woodstock and also has her own business providing personal development seminars for individuals and training for professionals about addiction and related topics. Angela 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. Other prior employment has included working in child welfare and employment counselling. Angela has designed and delivered several training events and workshops for professionals about substance abuse and addiction. She has presented at several conferences including the Association for Municipal Employment Services, the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association, the Family Health Team Mental Health Networking & Education Day, and the Annual Institute on Addiction Studies.  Angela was also instrumental in starting the Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy committee in 2006.

Kate Ross-Rudow, MSW, RSW
(Suicide Risk Assessment)

Kate has worked in the field of mental health as a clinical social worker/family therapist for 31 years. She worked in a multi-disciplinary outpatient child and adolescent hospital setting for 29 years focusing on individual, family, parental and group therapy with youth and their families. In addition, Kate has consulted with numerous community agencies and has provided numerous training workshops.

Kate has instructed for Wilfrid Laurier's MSW program since 2000, teaching Introduction and Advanced Family Therapy, Reflexive Practices, Treatment of Children and Adolescents and Introduction to Group Therapy. Kate also maintains a private practice in the Kitchener-Waterloo community.


Candice L. Schachter, PT, PhD
(Integrating Trauma-Informed Care)

Candice is an adjunct professor at the School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. She received her physical therapy training at the University of Saskatchewan and doctorate at the University of Western Ontario. Her interest in trauma-informed care arose from her work as an activist volunteer in sexual assault centres in Windsor and London. She was the principal investigator of the Sensitive Practice Project, a multi-disciplinary, multi-phased project aimed at generating research-based guidelines on trauma-informed care to assist healthcare practitioners to work more effectively with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. She co-authored The Handbook on Sensitive Practice for Health Care Practitioners: Lessons from Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and has presented information on trauma-informed care nationally and internationally to diverse audiences including physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, physical, occupational and speech therapists, dieticians, practitioners of complementary medicine and mental health clinicians.  Candice is keenly interested in ways that healthcare practitioners can integrate trauma-informed care into clinical practice to foster better healthcare experiences for adult survivors of childhood violence and positive survivor-clinician relationships.

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.

Carol Stalker PhD, RSW
(Integrating Trauma-Informed Care)

Carol has been a professor in the Faculty of Social Work at Laurier since 1994. She completed the MSW at Laurier in 1974 and practiced social work for 20 years primarily in adult mental health in London, Ontario. She completed a PhD in Social Work from Smith College, Massachusetts, in 1993. During her time in full-time practice, Carol developed expertise in working with adults who had suffered traumatic child abuse and her PhD dissertation was a study involving adult women survivors of child sexual abuse. Beginning in 1995, she partnered with Dr. Candice Schachter and Dr. Eli Teram to conduct research about the experiences of men and women survivors as they sought healthcare. Out of that research, an interdisciplinary team developed two editions of the Handbook on Sensitive Practice for Health Care Practitioners. As a member of this team, Carol has conducted workshops and published numerous papers on this topic. Carol was also on the planning committee for two “Trauma Talks” conferences for healthcare providers held in Toronto in 2012 and 2014. Other research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of social work and mental health programs with a wide range of client populations.

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

Cathy joined United Way KW in 2008 as CFO and became CFO/CAO in 2010. Her areas of responsibility include finance and accounting, human resources, technology, administration, facilities, 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 KW, 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. Currently Cathy is a member of the Women of Waterloo Region Judging Committee. 

In addition, she 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, and is a recipient of the KW Oktoberfest Professional Women of the Year award.


Andrew Taylor, PhD
(Program Evaluation)

Andrew is a program evaluation consultant with more than 20 years experience. He 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 is author of the
Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) Evaluation Handbook and a resource guide called Building Sustainable Non-Profits. He has a PhD in social and developmental psychology and co-runs Taylor Newberry Consulting Incorporated in Guelph, Ontario.


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.


Paul Wittes, MSW
(Expanding Your Counselling Practice Using Digital Solutions)

Paul has a Master's degree in social work from McGill University and has been a leader in the employee assistance plan (EAP) industry for over 20 years. He currently serves as Manager, Global Clinical Services and E-Counselling for Shepell, Canada’s largest provider of EAP services. Paul brings his counselling skills in all modalities – in person, telephonic, e and video – and experience with other digital innovations to his work with Global EAP clients and their employees. Prior to his involvement in the EAP field, Paul worked in psychiatry and medicine in the Montreal hospital system. He has extensive experience in treating substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, stress, depression and bereavement, as well as in couple/family therapy. Paul has presented at numerous international EAP conferences including EASNA, EAPA, EAEF and APEAR.