5th Annual Student Success Provincial Conference

May 14-16, 2018

Check back for more presenter biographies 

Deidre Bannerman
Director, Quality Learning, Teaching and Innovation, Canadore College

Deidre provides leadership for program quality assurance, curriculum integrity, professional development related to teaching and learning, applied research, academic policy review and revision, and special projects and initiatives. She holds a variety of positions outside the college that compliment her role within the college. She is the Past Chair of the local School/College/Work Initiative (SCWI), Regional Planning Team (Nipissing Parry Sound), Canadore’s representative on the Heads of Quality Management and is an auditor for Colleges Ontario’s, College Quality Assurance Audit Process.

Angela Burnie, Manager, Student Life

Angela has been at Seneca since 2013, and has over 10 years of experience in residence life and student affairs. The student life portfolio at Seneca includes: Orientation, first generation / OPAIP support, leadership development, co-curricular experiential learning, peer mentoring, and front line services (transportation, off-campus housing, lockers).Angela is passionate about community engagement and social justice and incorporates those values into her work, particularly when designing and implementing programs to enhance the student experience and transition to College.

Lindsay Byers is the Co-op Consultant-Student Developer for Georgian College’s Hospitality, Tourism, Culinary, Recreation, Golf, Ski, and Museum and Gallery Studies programs. She has been a Co-op Consultant with the School of Hospitality & Tourism since 2013, but has been at Georgian since 2003 where she started as a co-op student. She has worked in several areas of Georgian College including Human Resource Services and International Education & Training. Lindsay is a graduate of Queen's University, Conestoga and Georgian College and understands how important industry experience is for post-secondary students. She enjoys watching students succeed in the workplace and teaching the Co-op and Career Preparation course to help students prepare for the world of work both on their co-op/internship, and as graduates.

Patty (Algonquin, Golden Lake First Nation heritage) has a Masters in Public Policy and Administration, with a focus on Indigenous Program Administration. She has worked with provincial and federal governments and has extensive experience working with Indigenous organizations and the non-profit sector. Patty has worked on a variety of topic areas, including youth suicide, child welfare, Indigenous Research, urban Indigenous community development and services, Indigenous housing and homelessness, youth justice and more. Her current role with Canadore College is the Manager of Indigenous and Business Relations, where she holds two CIHR Indigenous research grants.

Jeffrey Collins, Coordinator - Student Life

Jeffrey is a new professional with a BEd from York University. As a student leader at Canadore College and York, Jeffrey developed many leadership training, and orientation events that utilized an experiential learning pedagogy. While at Mohawk, Jeffrey chairs the Student Leadership Development team in delivering a series of professional development events that culminate in the Mohawk Student Leadership Academy retreat for over 120 student leaders.

As President and CEO of OCAS, Karen Creditor believes the best part of her job is sharing the journey of over 200,000 individuals every year as they take the first step toward a brighter future through a college education.

Under her leadership, OCAS continues to deliver new and innovative pathways and support for both college applicants and explorers, while also delivering leading-edge systems, dependable technology, and cost-effective solutions across the Ontario college system. Karen’s professional background includes technology and software leadership positions at prestigious firms Cap Gemini, Peabody Energy and Research in Motion (now Blackberry), as well as over a decade of teaching experience at three respected academic institutions - St. Louis Community College, Washington University and Conestoga College. In addition to her position at OCAS, she is also an active member on the boards of Skills Ontario and the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT).

Joe Danis is the Vice-President of Student Affairs & Organizational Development at Campus Living Centres and resides in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada with his wife Pam and their two children Maya and Luc.

Joe has spent over 20 years of his life working to improve the world around him. For Joe, inspiration lies in fostering strong communities while empowering others to experience the power of community and contribution firsthand.

It was during his time as a student at the University of Winnipeg when Joe found he had a responsibility as an individual to contribute to the world around him. While studying International Development and Conflict Resolution, he was chosen to participate in a service learning program in Bangladesh. While the education benefits were clear, he was also amazed how the experience shaped him as an individual – learning more groundedness and empathy for global communities.

After graduating, Joe became the Director of Housing and Student Life at his alma mater, and took special interest in providing others similar learning opportunities he had. As Joe’s career shifted to the University of Manitoba, he created Praxis, an initiative to promote community outreach, service learning and social justice among University of Manitoba students. In 2005, he received the University of Manitoba Outreach Award for his development and implementation of Praxis. Through his initiatives, he has created several successful service learning programs in countries such as Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ecuador and Costa Rica. Joe also created several local initiatives at the University including the Reading Buddies program which connected university students with children in Winnipeg’s core. This program received the prestigious City of Winnipeg’s Mayor’s Award for Volunteerism.

Over the years, Joe has received a multitude of opportunities to speak candidly on his passions as they relate to the importance of contribution, connection, and compassion. He speaks to the value of leadership, innovation, and purpose as avenues to building healthy and diverse communities and successful teams. Joe has since identified his calling to be ‘connecting people to experiences and opportunities’. Humbled by his experiences across the globe and throughout his career, Joe still maintains that critical reflection must be a part of the human experience in order to ensure continuous personal growth and instill a true sense of connection to the communities he serves.

John Daggett is the Co-op Consultant – Employer Development for Georgian College’s Hospitality, Tourism, Culinary, Recreation, Golf, Ski, and Museum and Gallery Studies programs. John’s role is to support student’s co-op semester(s) with regards to posting and developing employment opportunities alongside them while taking into consideration past experiences and future career plans.

John has been working with Georgian College co-op students since 2003. Before that, he worked with Centennial College in Toronto helping students to find their career path. He has assisted at-risk youth with making life changing decisions, helped high school students make the jump to post-secondary schooling, provided career guidance to Generation X’ers, and assisted new comers to Canada with academic accreditation and access to professional associations. Most recently he has focused his energy on “Generational Understanding” with today’s millennial students. John is also the Head Men’s Varsity Rugby Coach at Georgian College and when he’s not meeting with employers, you might find him on the rugby field working with Georgian College’s athletes.

Michelle Deirish, MEd, CCC, Project Lead, Campus Mental Health Partnerships Centennial College

Michelle has over 10 years of experience as a clinician, professional practice lead and consultant in the areas of mental health, recovery and suicide intervention. Michelle was the Centennial College Lead on Extending the Circle of Care, a joint Mental Health Innovation Fund project with Georgian College aimed at enhancing supports for students with mental health or substance use-related concerns using holistic and collaborative approaches.

Dean is a client service partner in BDO Canada LLP’s North Bay office and has over 20 years of experience in public accounting providing auditing, accounting and taxation services to a broad client base, including not-for-profits organizations, municipalities, school boards, hospitals, private companies and First Nation Communities. He is a former part time lecturer at Nipissing University, as well as former lecturer at CPA Ontario’s School of Accountancy and former lecturer and author with CPA Ontario’s Professional Development Program. In total Dean has lectured to more than 1,500 students and professionals over his career to date and has been asked to give presentations on many different topics over the years including:

  • Public Sector Accounting Standards
  • UFE training for northern Ontario CA/CPA students
  • Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises
  • Annual Income Tax Updates
  • Board of Director Governance Training to Board members throughout Ontario

Tanis Fink is the Director of Libraries for Seneca College. Tanis is a graduate of University of Western Ontario where she completed both an honours degree in Social Sciences and a Master of Library Science. She is a graduate of the 2003 ACRL/Harvard Academic Library Leadership Program and the 2014 Harvard Library Leadership in a Digital Age program. Tanis has championed many strategic initiatives for the Seneca Libraries in the areas of information literacy, digital literacy, digital libraries, information services and systems, and e-learning.

In addition to her work at Seneca College, Tanis has worked on several provincial initiatives as part of the Heads of Libraries and Learning Resources (HLLR) and Ontario Colleges Library Service (OCLS) and presently is the Chair of HLLR. The Learning Portal is one of the key strategic directions of HLLR and Tanis was asked to take on the role of leading the building and delivery of the Learning Portal in partnership with Virginia Roy, OCLS and the 24 college libraries.

Karen Gendron
Student Success Specialist
Algonquin College

Sandra Heron
Manager of Student Retention & Academic Success
Algonquin College

Renee Hallee
Director of Teaching and Learning Support Services, College Boreal

Alice Hsiung, MEd, Coordinator, Career Services, Centennial College Alice has over 15 years of experience in empowering post-secondary students towards career success. She leads a team of career professionals to engage students in career development activities, prepare them for transition from education to employment, and connect them to employers. Alice is also the Central Regional Representative of the Ontario College Career Educators (OCCE) networking group.

Meg Houghton, B.A., M.Sc., Associate Dean, Student Wellness and Equity, Humber College

Meg has comprehensive leadership experience in both college and university student affairs units overseeing a wide array of functional areas. Since joining Humber is 2013 she has led the integration of the health, counselling and accessibility teams.

Tanesia Labarrie-Thody - Career Services Consultant, Fanshawe College
Amelia Ertel - Career Services Consultant, Fanshawe College
Brian Malott – Career Services Consultant, Fanshawe College


In our roles, we support students as they transition into the workplace. Our role includes individual appointments plus conducting classroom visits and workshops on all employment related topics. We are continually encouraged to engage in professional development and have recently completed training on best practices in resume writing. Brian specializes in personality assessment tools for career planning and has obtained Career Development Practitioner and CHRL. Amelia has recently obtained her Career Educator Certificate through the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers. Tanesia specializes in assisting high school graduates with transitioning to post-secondary and/or mapping career plans. As part of the Employment and Student Entrepreneurial Services team, we also support college wide events such as our annual Career Fair, Ignite Career Conference, and Employer meet and greets while maintaining employer relations.

Lisa Lamb
Student Success Specialist
Algonquin College

Kim LaPierre
Team Lead, Student Success Services, Canadore College

Kim has worked at Canadore College for the last 6 years as the Team Lead of Student Success Services. She is passionate in her work supporting students and helping them to navigate the system and connect them to both campus and community resources. Recognizing that Canadore College offers students world-class educational opportunities, student success is about more than just what goes on in the classroom, it's also about physical wellness, mental health, a positive approach to learning that prepares students beyond the academic environment.

Brittany Lauton, Supervisor, Student Life and Special Projects

Brittany has worked in Recruitment, Outreach, and Student Services since 2007. Prior to her current role, Brittany worked at the University of Toronto where she developed workshops using design thinking and prototyping to facilitate leadership development. At Mohawk, Brittany is a member of the Student Leadership Development team working to build leadership training that reaches a diverse range of students.

An educator, instructional designer and international project professional, Sue Lister is one of the researchers on the "Pathways Originating from Community Based Delivery Programs”, ONCAT project. She has taught courses delivered in a format customized for indigenous learners on a First Nation in central Manitoba as well as in communities in Northern Ontario. In addition to her work in Canada, Lister has worked on international contracts related to post-secondary education in China, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. Whether working in Canada or internationally, Sue has a unique ability to recognize political and cultural realities and to reflect these in the work she does. Sue has also designed, developed and taught many post-secondary online courses, and is currently a facilitator for the internationally renowned “Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW)" program.

Arslan Mahmood, Director, International Student Services Currently working as a Director, International Services, with over 16 years of working experience in international admissions, student recruitment and providing services to international students. In 2011, he completed Master’s Degree from University of Guelph in Leadership. Mr. Mahmood works closely with Seneca staff, students and faculty members on delivery of student services. He has a high degree of familiarity with student services’ programming and delivery, and happy to share his experiences with colleagues in the education community

Patricia Makokis (Ed.D.) is acclaimed as one of Canada’s most outstanding Indigenous leaders and aboriginal experts. Her warm speaking style engages audience everywhere. She uses humour and relevant anecdotes to make her points and researches each audience in depth before each presentation.

Dr. Makokis is an internationally and nationally renowned speaker and expert on Indigenous related topics. She is in demand as a speaker across Canada because of her articulate and humourous presentations style, her dynamic experience and education, her activism and fight for change, and her approach to First Nation Communities and for Canadians to become stronger, together.

Dr. Patricia is authentic. She is an authority on Indigenous values. She lives them daily. Residing on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation She is a proud First Nation representative and member of the indigenous community. She is passionate about who she is, the knowledge she possesses and the groups and individuals she represents. She has embraced both the Cree culture and the western world view.

She intimately knows the history of indigenous peoples and she practices their philosophy and beliefs in everything that she does. She knows the proceedings and Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The vital and necessary guiding principles of her Indigenous values are deeply rooted in the worship and respect for the land and the environment.

A member of Nipissing First Nation, Judy has worked as the Manager of Community Based and Contract Training at Canadore College for the past eight years.  Previously secondary school teacher at Nbisiing Secondary School, she has worked directly in education for over 30 years.  Judy is originally from Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island and has established a number of successful pathways and transition programs in partnership with many First Nation communities across the district.

Jen McMillen is the Dean of Students at Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, a position she has held since September 2013. Jen is responsible for the vision, planning & implementation of programs & services intended to shape & broaden the student learning environment & the total educational experience. In addition, Jen is responsible for facilitating positive relations with the Humber Student Government, providing immediate and ongoing support for students in crises and offering leadership in the design and execution of the Student Code of Conduct where Human Rights concerns are at the forefront. Jen is also integral to the handling of emergency responses on behalf of Humber College, as a member of the College critical incident preparedness team.

Toby Merritt, Accessibility Counsellor at Mohawk College.

Toby has a Masters in Education, and is currently pursuing his Masters of Social Work at the University of Windsor. Toby has over 20 years of teaching and case management experience supporting students with disabilities.

Jeannette Miron has worked in the Ontario College and University system for over seventeen years. She has progressed through various roles in her career and is currently the Registrar and Director, Strategic Enrolment services at Canadore College in North Bay. Pathways and transfer credit fall within her portfolio. She has been an active participant in transfer and mobility initiatives at her institution and provincial working groups for the past seven years.

Kirstin Morris
Student Success Specialist
Algonquin College

Rachel Morris-Ohm, Manager, Student Relations and Services

Ms. Morris-Ohm holds an M.S.W from York University and is certified in Conflict Resolution from Stitt Feld Handy. She is also currently training to become a registered psychotherapist. She came to Seneca with over 10 years’ experience in the non-profit sector working in restorative justice programming, residential homes and employment services. For the past 7 years, Ms. Morris-Ohm has been working in student affairs and conflict resolution in differing roles. She is best known at the college for being able to eat her weight in deserts.

Jennifer is currently an eLearning and Digital Literacies Librarian at Seneca College Libraries, and seconded to Seneca’s Centre for Teaching and Learning for part of her time. She is a co-coordinator of the Seneca Sandbox (a digital media/maker lab), the Project Manager for the Ontario College Libraries’ Learning Portal, the Chair of Seneca’s Open Educational Resources Committee, and a co-founder of the eLearning in Libraries Collective.

In a day she might plan conferences and professional development events, shoot and edit videos for the library’s instruction program, build online tutorials for students or employees, assist faculty with finding open textbooks or using library resources in Blackboard, consult with faculty who want to assign digital projects, and teach students and faculty how to create WordPress sites, instructional videos or digital stories. For more about Jennifer, check out her eportfolio: jenniferpeters.wordpress.com

Stephen Preware is the Manager of Operations & Student Communications in the department of Student Success and Engagement at Humber College. In this role, Stephen collaborates with the Dean of Students to develop the strategic direction for student communications, coordinates communications efforts that support institutional projects. Prior to joining Humber, Stephen held progressively senior roles in marketing, finance and business operations at IKEA Canada. In each role, Stephen used data analytics to direct on-going activities and continuously improve the effectiveness of customer loyalty communications and retail operational strategy. Stephen holds and Masters in Communications Management from the University of Southern California.

Cassie Richardson is one of the Counsellors on the Kingston campus of St. Lawrence College. She is a Registered Psychotherapist and a Registered Marriage & Family Therapist. She is passionate about issues of inclusion and social justice and incorporates those values into her work with students and the wider SLC community. Along with her colleague, Heather Richards, Cassie founded the Positive Space program at St. Lawrence College in August of 2015. Cassie and Heather saw a need to address the invisibility of the LGBTQ community at SLC and collaborated with Queen’s University to bring the SLC version of the Positive Space program to life. Since the inception of the program over 240 people have registered and the campaign continues to grow in response to consistently positive feedback

Nora Simpson, B.A. (Hons.), J.D., Associate Director, Accessible Learning Services, Humber College

Nora leads a talented team of accessibility professionals who are committed to increasing inclusion on campus. Prior to joining Humber, Nora practiced law for 4 years specializing in human rights law before joining the college system as an associate professor and program coordinator.

Amanda Soriano is the Digital Communications Coordinator in the department of Student Success and Engagement at Humber College. In this role, Amanda works collaboratively with the Dean of Students, the Manager of Operations & Student Communications, campus partners and a team of media students to develop engaging content that supports student needs. Prior to her role as Digital Communications Coordinator, Amanda spent over 4 years in various roles within Student Affairs as part of the Transition and Leadership team at Humber College. Amanda holds a Public Relations Advanced Diploma from Humber College and is currently working part-time towards a degree in Media Studies from the University of Guelph-Humber.

Ryan is the Client Relations Manager at CreativeWorks Marketing (CWM).  Since graduating from The University of Western Ontario, he has worked in a marketing capacity across various industries, including higher education. With numerous projects for Ontario colleges under CWM’s belt, Ryan has gained the knowledge to offer unique digital solutions to address the challenges faced by colleges today. 

Lorraine is a proud member of Attawapiskat First Nation.  She holds an MA in History from Nipissing University and works as the Regional Assessment Lead for Mushkegowuk Council – Omushkego Education.  Through learning and teaching experiences from early years to post-secondary, Lorraine re-examines, re-thinks, and re-works curriculum to include and to support Ininiw (Cree) ways of knowing and doing.  Sutherland plans to pursue a PhD in Education using tipaachimowin (storytelling) as a method for sharing and understanding students’ ways of knowing.

As Director of Education at Omushkego Education, Irene’s professional portfolio includes the early learning to post-secondary education continuum of Mushkegowuk Council.  Driven by professional, personal, and family experiences, Irene has unique insights about federal and provincial policies and strategies impacting First Nations education.  She has a passion for life-long learning and believes in sharing knowledge and working together.  As a mother, grandmother, and member of Moose Cree First Nation, she embraces the richness and spirituality of the Land and is determined to improve Indigenous community wellness through education.

Mary Wabano, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Director of First Peoples’ Centre & Associate Dean of Indigenous Studies, Canadore College 

Overseeing Canadore’s Indigenous education strategy and organizational policy, Wabano leads the development of culturally-relevant student supports; program design; curriculum creation and adaptation and Indigenous learner recruitment. Engaging with six Aboriginal Education Institutes, various employment agencies and tribal councils, Wabano leads the college’s institutional commitment to improving access and success in higher education for FNMI learners. She is a member of the Attawapiskat First Nation of the Mushkegowuk territory, and has worked in Aboriginal health, social policy and education as an advocate, analyst and director.

Kasey Waddell, Accessibility Counsellor at Mohawk College.

Kasey has a Masters in Education from Brock University. Kasey has a background in both IBI and ABA therapies, and 10 years of experience supports persons on the Autism spectrum in a variety of roles. Kasey is also a part-time professor at Humber College in the school of Social and Community Services.

Shelly Waplington
Student Success Specialist
Algonquin College

Jody White
Student Success Specialist
Algonquin College