TEDxUNBC 2017 Speakers


Penny Jones

Penny Jones is a mom of four, but fights with a mother’s spirit for so many.

A long time advocate for the rights and effective treatment for people living with mental illness and addiction issues, this woman has no problem standing up for the people around her.

 She relentlessly gives back into the community, volunteering with countless organizations. More than just a driven volunteer Penny lives and breathes the world of supporting others.

Penny went to school in Northern BC then moved to England, where she trained as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in a large psychiatric hospital.  She worked and traveled in Europe till 1992, when she returned to Canada. Penny spent from 1992 till 2003 with Canadian Mental Health Association as the Coordinator for housing and outreach services. She then transferred her skills to Northern Health. She is currently employed as an outreach clinician serving people living with serious and persistent psychiatric disabilities and Substance use.

She is also a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner, training in this philosophy in 2003. Penny then became a change agent within the culture of mental health and addiction services within BC.

She uses humor as her greatest weapon. Penny exposes many of the hurtful, damaging and painful issues that plague our society. One of which is how we are a society deal with issue of body image. Her style is thought provoking and loud (in a good way). She considers herself an educational entertainer (whether people find her funny or not) and believes in the power of laughter, both as a motivator and as an agent of health. Penny's passion is people. She gains strength by assisting people in their journey of recovery.

At TEDxUNBC 2017, Penny will share the power confidence has when addressing body image.

Shobha Sharma

With Indian roots, Shobha was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. Fostered by her ancestral heritage, as well as the social issues within her community of Prince George, she was influenced by the implications of colonization on individuals and society at large. Determined to engage this dialogue, Shobha completed an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2003, and a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance from the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria in 2007. 

With over 10 years of experience in non-profit organizations, international development and indigenous self-determination, Shobha has dedicated her professional career to community development both nationally and globally. Her passion for human rights has led her to not only engage in indigenous dialogues responding to globalization and governance in North America, but to plan and implement international programs in Africa and Asia around capacity building, youth leadership, cross-cultural understanding, resource distribution/infrastructural development, and the social and economic empowerment of women.

In 2015, Shobha founded, Our Satya, an international organization that engages the global community to respond to the health and well being of women and infants within impoverished conditions around the world.  Our Satya, is presently working in India and Canada, where the organization is engaging rural communities in programming around Education, Health & Wellness and Empowerment.  One mother at a time, Our Satya, is actively working to empower women to first respond, and then change their reality. 

At TEDxUNBC 2017, Shobha will talk about the way society helps or hinder women care for their children in India.

Cori Ramsay400X400.jpg

Cori Ramsay

Cori Ramsay was born on Vancouver Island and spent her childhood living in various places including a trailer park in Coquitlam, a school bus in Hope, and a condemned building in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  After the loss of her parents, Cori moved to Prince George to live with her aunt and uncle where she attended the University of Northern British Columbia, graduating with a degree in English (2010).

Upon graduation, Cori entered into the financial services industry, working in various financial roles until she found her passion in marketing and communications.  It was here that she started working with Living Wage for Families, a not-for-profit organization based out of Vancouver, focused on poverty reduction.  With a firm understanding of what it means to live in poverty, Cori has spent the last three years calculating the living wage for Northern British Columbia.  Hoping to put an end to low wage poverty, Cori works to dispel misconceptions around working poverty and minimum wage. 

At TEDxUNBC 2017 Cori will share how one person can make a difference in the lives of low wage workers and put an end to working poverty.  


Leona Prince

Leona Prince was born in Prince George. After moving to several small Northern BC towns, she settled in Prince George in 1996 when she began her post-secondary education at UNBC. She completed a cross-college double major BSc Biology and First Nations Studies (2004) at UNBC and continued on to the Bachelor of Education Senior Years program graduating in 2006. She then began working in School District No. 57 in 2006 and had various roles including District Resource Teacher for Aboriginal Education. She then moved onto an administrative role in 2014 as the Vice Principal of Quinson Elementary and then in the following two years at Nusdeh Yoh ‘House of the Future’, British Columbia’s first Aboriginal Choice School. She completed her Master of Education in Multidisciplinary Leadership from UNBC in 2017. She has recently started a new role for School District No. 91 as the District Vice Principal of Aboriginal Education.

As a teacher and administrator Leona uses her time to volunteer on several tables, committees and boards which all focus on education in some capacity. She served as a director on the boards and tables of Success by Six Early Years Indigenous Development Circle, MOMSS, the Carney Hill Neighbourhood Center, and the Aboriginal Leadership Advisory Committee for the British Columbia Principals and Vice-Principals’ Association. Her work focusses on bringing Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Being to the forefront of education and giving equal opportunity to all Canadian citizens. Her main goal in the work she does as the lead for the Aboriginal Education Support Professional Learning Team for ERAC is to assist and support all educators in British Columbia in incorporating Aboriginal knowledge into curriculum in a culturally safe and responsive manner. This is also the focus of the business that she started in 2016 with her sister Gabrielle Astrope, Fireweed Canada, which promotes the use of authentic and relevant Aboriginal resources. The goal of the company is to expand and begin publishing books that represent and tell the story of the Dakelh (Carrier) people with 3 titles in production.

Her continuous efforts in Aboriginal Education centers on her identity as a Dakelh (Carrier) woman, a member of the Lake Babine Nation and a decendant of Chief Kwah and Stiche. She has done all of this while raising three children who are her inspiration for all that she pursues and achieves. With her level of dedication to her career she has been recognized both locally and nationally winning an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2016 from the Prince George Aboriginal Employment and Training Association. She also received the 2017 UNBC Alumni for Professional Excellence Award and has been nominated in two categories for an INDSPIRE Educator Award for both Educational Leadership and Role Model.

At TEDxUNBC, Leona will be discussing some of the identity issues that Aboriginal people are facing as we are moving into a time of Truth and Reconciliation.

Seth Shelley11.jpg

Pastor Seth Shelley

Graduating from Summit Pacific Bible College in 2012 with a BA in Religion, Seth has pastored in Western Canada for the past 5 years. Currently he is the Associate Pastor at Timbers Community Church in Prince George, BC where his role is to provide counselling services, preform weddings and funerals, organize events for the community and a variety of other things. 

Prior to becoming a pastor Seth spent 5 seasons as a forest firefighter in Alberta, has spent time working on ranches, and worked as a surveyor for the mountain pine beetle project. In these experiences he gained a love for the outdoors and adventure. When he is not working Seth loves to spend time with his wife and 3 children exploring the outdoors, playing hockey, and canoeing.  

At TEDxUNBC 2017 Seth will be redefining how we look and talk about sexual violence in our society.

Nadine Caron11.jpg

Dr. Nadine Caron

Dr. Caron was born and raised in Kamloops, BC, and completed her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University (1993) and her Medical Degree (1997) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. During her surgical residency, Nadine completed her Masters of Public Health (2001) from Harvard University and after completion of surgical residency training (2003), moved to San Francisco to complete her Postgraduate Fellowship Training in Endocrine Surgical Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco (2004). Her love for B.C. brought her home and since January 2005, Nadine has been working as a General and Endocrine Surgeon at the University Hospital of Northern BC. She is an Associate Professor of Surgery at UBC located within the Northern Medical Program.  She is also Affiliate Faculty at the University of Northern British Columbia, Co-Director for UBC’s Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, Associate Faculty member at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, and Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.

As the first female First Nations student to graduate from the University of British Columbia’s medical school (Nadine is Ojibway from the Sagamok Anishnawbek Nation), she won the Hamber Gold Medal as the top graduating student and was named one of Maclean’s “One Hundred Canadians to Watch.”  Nadine’s main research and advocacy with rural, northern and Indigenous communities involves optimizing health status and the social determinants of health, increasing access to and utilization of health care services, and improving access to the research that leads to these for Canada’s often marginalized populations.

Through role modelling, speaking engagements and formal committees, Dr. Caron aims to share her passion and foster ongoing opportunities to address the known and suspected health disparities in rural, remote, northern and Indigenous communities.

At TEDxUNBC 2017 Nadine will be looking talk about why being the first person to achieve something, should not always be celebration. 

Dahne Harding11.jpg

Dahne Harding

Space, and freedom as transgression are central themes in the feminist creative and activist work of Dahne Harding.  

Mother, counsellor, teacher, poet, and artist she is interested in how humans create and recreate spaces that bind and / or free body and spirit, thus limiting the potential we all have to make contributions to each other and to society as a whole.  

As an alumnus of the University of Northern British Columbia, with a Master of Arts in Gender Studies and a Master of Education in counselling, Dahne worked for 10 years with marginalized men and women, the last 5.5 years in a maximum security provincial correctional facility as a mental health clinician.  The closed ecosystem of a prison gave her access to seeing human nature at its best, at its worst, at its most vulnerable, and at its most resilient.

It was here that the idea of space as a reflexive entity became a reality.  Dynamic interplay between ideology, policy, and concrete reality became a testing ground for a different kind of clinical practice. One that would deeply and profoundly affect the lives that it touched - clinician, clients and staff.  How we think about the incarcerated person, how that gets translated into policy and practice, and how it negatively impacts reintegration into the community is deeply influential to the health and outcomes of the individual and the community as a whole.

At TEDxUNBC 2017 Dahne will be looking at reframing the spaces we create for individuals who have been through the criminal justice system.