Speakers

JUTTA TREVIRANUS

Since 1979, Jutta Treviranus has worked to make sure that new technologies, and how they are used, do not exclude, ignore or disadvantage people that find themselves at the margins.  She has created a large global community that collaborates to show policy makers, technical companies and all kinds of organizations how people that are often excluded can be engaged with dignity and respect.  She demonstrates how this is good for everyone in our society.   Jutta is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto.   She sits on many decision-making committees around the world that influence how new technologies are used and regulated.  She tries to tell people about the opportunities and risks through presentations and articles.  

MICHAEL MACDONALD

Michael Joseph McDonald is the author of four books and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize.  His short films have aired on television in Canada, France, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Michael’s work explores where human dignity meets human fragility.  Over the years, Michael has had the fortune of living alongside people with intellectual disabilities in 19 countries, and he worked as a house assistant in L’Arche France and L’Arche Kenya.  He is the filmmaker behind L’Arche’s latest docu-series, As I Am.

DR. PAMELA CUSHING

Pamela Cushing, PhD Anthropology, has been a Professor at King’s University College at Western University in London, Ontario since 2005.  She is the founder and Director of the growing Disability Studies degree program which takes an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding the ways in which society can be changed to make it less disabling and exclusionary of disabled people.  This often includes creative insights that she learned from living in L’Arche communities for her doctorate as well as through ongoing collaborations with Jean Vanier and L’Arche, including being a course designer for the St. FX certificate on Intellectual Disability & Community.  Along with a team from the Jean Vanier Association, she is helping create an academic symposium in summer 2019 on Jean Vanier’s philosophy.   She is a grateful mom of two elementary age sons that keep her grounded and real.

TARA CONNOLLY

Tara Connolly, B.Ed., M.A., RP, is a Transitions Specialist with over 17 years experience working with and learning from adults and youth on the Autism Spectrum.  In her counseling practice, Tara supports neurodiverse thinkers to thrive on their own terms and co-create meaningful transitions related to adulthood.  In her past work as the Coordinator of the Transition Support Centre at Algonquin College, she was instrumental in designing an innovative service that supports the transitions of students on the spectrum into and throughout post-secondary environments.  It empowers students to leverage the tools they need for success and builds the capacity of the post-secondary community to recognize and effectively incorporate the inherent strengths of neurodiverse thinkers.  Currently at Carleton University, Tara co-leads the David C Onley Initiative, a collaboration of 4 post-secondary institutions making positive impact by bridging the gap between post-secondary graduation and accessible employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for students with disabilities.

‘MAYOR’ GREG KAZMIERSKI

Greg Kazmierski is the Honourary Mayor of Blackburn Hamlet, the community in which he lives in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1991, Greg became the first mentally disabled student to graduate from an integrated high school placement in Ottawa.  Since that time, Greg has thrived as an active member of his community.  In addition to being named the Honourary Mayor of Blackburn Hamlet by the Mayor of Ottawa, Greg has also received the Canada 125 Medal and the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.  Greg recently celebrated his 30th anniversary as an employee of his local Metro grocery store.  He holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

VINCENT KAZMIERSKI

Vincent Kazmierski is Mayor Greg’s brother.  In that capacity, he also serves as Mayor Greg’s chief of staff, account manager, ‘lawyer’, and publicist.   In his spare time, Vincent is also an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.  Before joining Carleton University in 2005, Vincent practiced as a lawyer in Toronto and also worked for the former Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin.  He has been a member of the Board of Directors of L’Arche Canada since 2014.