Keynote speakers


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Anthony McLean

The Intersection of Mental Health & Anti-Racism

Many Canadians felt their emotional capacity overwhelmed after the murder of George Floyd and the recent revelations about Canada’s Residential Schools. For Anthony McLean, who works in both mental health and anti-racism, it was a collision of his worlds. Now, he helps leaders explore the overlap between mental wellness and racial equity – and how microaggressions can be the “death by a thousand paper-cuts” to creating a sense of belonging. He contends that empathy is at the heart of work of equity, diversity and inclusion – and mental health awareness. Psychological safety and creating a sense of belonging are central to both pursuits. This interactive presentation helps leaders bring more empathy to the work of anti-racism, mental wellness and school leadership in 2021.


With a background in theatre, Anthony McLean delivers lively presentations on diversity, anti-racism, and mental health. He has delivered hundreds of inspiring talks across Canada, the US, and Australia. As a respected voice in his field, McLean has appeared on CBC News, Global Toronto’s Morning Show, and Breakfast Television. Delivering research-backed tools and actionable strategies, McLean always leaves his audiences inspired to bring their best every day. 

McLean is also an actor who has starred in television commercials for Ford, Milk, Sprite, Verizon Wireless, and Bell. He hosted the CBC Television show The X and was featured in the documentary films Colour Me, SOAR, and Rising Above. In his theatre career, McLean acted in the renowned Stratford Festival, where he developed his passion for Shakespeare. He also loves to freestyle rap — give him any topic in the world and he’ll make up a rap on the spot about it.


Gloria Purvis

The Gift of Others: Addressing racism, bigotry and prejudice in light of our faith

We are called to witness our faith in many ways especially in how we treat other people in our society. How, as leaders in our Catholic schools, we teach and cultivate diversity and inclusion among our students and within our learning communities is vitally important especially during these turbulent times. Gloria Purvis shares insights on how to pre-emptively address racism, bigotry and prejudice at the individual, cultural and structural levels in light of our faith. 


Gloria Purvis is a graduate of Cornell University and she worked for nearly two decades in the mortgage industry before becoming a risk management director at a major financial services company. 

She served on the National Black Catholic Congress' Leadership Commission on Social Justice, and as an Advisory Board Member on the Maryland Catholic Conference's Respect for Life Department as well as the Archdiocese of Washington's Pastoral Council. 

She also taught Natural Family Planning and helped prepare engaged couples for marriage as a member of a Pre-Cana team in the Archdiocese of Washington. 

She has appeared in various media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, PBS Newshour, Catholic Answers Live, and EWTN News Nightly, and hosted Morning Glory, an international radio show. She is Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic of the Year for 2020.

She is a full time stay-at-home mother and consultant for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’s Committee on Religious Liberty. She is the creator and host of the EWTN TV series, Authentically Free at Last, that deals with the modern challenges to the expression and understanding of authentic human freedom. 

She is currently the creator, host, and  executive producer of The Gloria Purvis Podcast in collaboration with America Media.  The podcast discusses current news and complex issues at the intersection of church and society and creates space for those voices and perspectives not often given a platform.

She is dedicated to promoting the sanctity of human life, marriage, and the dignity of the human person. 

You can follow her on Twitter @Gloria_Purvis and Instagram @iamgloriapurvis and subscribe to her podcast on Apple, Amazon, Google, Spotify, or wherever you stream your podcasts.

You can find more about the podcast here:



Dr. Lisa Bélanger

Your Brain on Change: How to Thrive in and Help Manage Rapid Change

Change is the only constant. Our brains are designed to function best with a delicate balance of monotony and change. This is, of course, not what work and life throws at us. So how can we prepare ourselves and our teams to thrive in periods of change?

Drawing from psychology, behavioural science, and neuroscience, Dr. Lisa Bélanger shares practical tips to helps teams to perform well even in high-stress situations. She provides simple tools that build resilience, enhance performance, and improve our ability to handle stress and pressure in periods of rapid change.

Audiences will learn:

  • How to establish behaviours and thought processes required to thrive in both monotony and change.

  • How to design and implement specific habits to improve focus and manage attention.

  • Steps to set up an environment and community to facilitate mental well-being and promote healthy behaviours.

  • How to effectively manage mindsets and maintain a positive mindset.


An organization’s greatest asset is its people. Award-winning CEO Dr. Lisa Bélanger shows leaders and teams how insights from behavioural science research can be applied in the workplace to optimize the performance, productivity, and innovation of leaders and teams. She helps close the gap between intention and action resulting in long-term change and a competitive advantage.

With a PhD in Behavioural Medicine, Dr. Bélanger is the CEO and founder of ConsciousWorks, a consulting firm that helps everyone from executives to entrepreneurs apply the findings from leading-edge scientific analyses to maximize their mental and physical well-being at work and at home.

On-stage, Dr. Bélanger has presented to clients throughout North America, such as Collins Barrow, the University of Alberta, and CEBS Canada.

Dr. Bélanger is also a Certified Exercise Physiologist; a past Honorary Research Associate at Swansea University, Wales; researcher at the University of Calgary; instructor at the University of Alberta Executive Education, and the author of Inspire Me Well: Finding Motivation to Take Control of Your Health. Additionally, she is the founder of Knight’s Cabin, a national non-profit offering no-cost wellness programming to cancer survivors.


Mark Henick

Prioritizing Mental Health in Challenging Times

Internationally recognized mental health advocate Mark Henick shares insight and practical strategies to help prioritize and look after your mental health in these exceptional circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our current work and home lives have been completely upended and are now surrounded with a constant haze of stress and anxiety. Through this virtual presentation, Henick creates an open dialogue on managing mental well-being and self-care during this difficult time, and helps audiences to learn how to prioritize their mental health.

Topics covered include maintaining routines and structuring your day, healthy sleep and diet, managing anxiety, combating loneliness, staying connected, and more.


With over six million views, Mark Henick’s TEDx talk, "Why We Choose Suicide," is among the most watched in the world. His story of searching for “the man in the light brown jacket” who saved his life from a teenage suicide attempt captured global attention, and when he learned of products being sold on Amazon that promoted suicide, his successful online petition to have them removed garnered tens of thousands of signatures. Henick has dedicated his life from an early age to opening minds and creating change. His talks are informed by his direct experience with stigma and the mental health care system, and he brings his diverse and unique perspective to every audience as someone who has been a patient, a professional, a policy influencer, and a public figure in the mental health system. 

Henick is currently the Principal and CEO of a boutique consulting firm that helps individuals, companies, and governments to move strategically from awareness to action in improving mental health and wellness. He was previously the National Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), and, prior to that, served as the youngest president of a provincial CMHA division in history, the youngest ever member of the board of directors for Canada’s Mental Health Commission, and as a national spokesperson for the Faces of Mental Illness campaign. He has also worked as a frontline mental health counsellor, and as the manager of a national workplace mental health training program.

Henick has appeared in hundreds of television, radio, print, and online media features on mental health. His work has been featured in such outlets as CTV National News, Entertainment Tonight, the Toronto Star, The New York Daily News, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, and Reader’s Digest. He has had bylines with CNN, TheGlobe and Mail, TheMontreal Gazette, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. The memoir of his experiences, So-Called Normal, was released in January 2021.

Henick holds a Master of Science in child development; a Bachelor of Arts with interdisciplinary honours in psychology and philosophy; and has certificates in trauma counselling, suicide intervention, non-violent crisis intervention, mental health first aid, and knowledge exchange.


Niigaan Sinclair 

Truth, Healing and Reconciliation

Leading in faith and in communion requires Principals and Vice-Principals in Catholic schools to honour and respect every person within their own narrative. This includes our Indigenous learners, families and staff. How can we lead in ways that help everyone own the truth and promote the healing that leads us all to reconciliation? Niigaan Sinclair will share his knowledge to inspire leadership and growth in each of us that will move us to connect personally and committing to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) and an Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba. He is an award-winning writer, editor and activist who was named one of Monocle Magazine‘s “Canada’s Top 20 Most Influential People” and he won the 2018 Canadian columnist of the year at the National Newspaper Awards for his bi-weekly columns in The Winnipeg Free Press. In 2019 he won Peace Educator of the Year from the Peace and Justice Studies Association based at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He is an international media commentator as a part of the "Power Panel" on CBC's Power & Politics and National Affairs panel on CBC's The Current. He is also a former secondary school teacher who has trained educators and students across Canada.   


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Blessed by the grace of the Lord, the love of God and communion of the Holy Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 13:13