Conference Speakers
Conference Speakers
Special Guest Presentation
On the evening of October 28th, there will be a Public Lecture by Special Guest Speaker, Brian Vallee.
Concurrent Speakers and Updated Agenda
Click here for Speaker Bios.

See current Conference Agenda updated.
Keynote Speakers!
Imagine standing on an inner tube floating in rough waters. Four friends, arms interlocked. Each one working hard to stay standing. Waves rocking. Winds blowing. Movement from anyone requiring adjustments from somebody else.

It isn't easy. Hard enough to balance yourself let alone help others stay on their feet. And yet, if one falls off, chances are everyone gets wet.

There was a time when this kind of interdependence was an unspoken reality of community life. Increasingly, it is the focus of attention. A shift, some say, 'from the frog to the ecosystem': not any one issue or agency in itself but the web of relationships in which they exist.

When did this shift occur? Where did it come from? Is it really important or just a passing fad? If working collaboratively is important, how do we do it in a way that really pays off in terms of a healthy, resilient community?

Eric Leviten-Reid and Liz Weaver will share insights and experiences from Vibrant Communities, a national initiative exploring comprehensive, collaborative approaches to poverty reduction. They will address both the 'what' and the 'how' of this emerging approach to complex community concerns: successes, stumbles and emerging questions.
Liz Weaver

Liz Weaver, Lead Coach, Vibrant Communities - Liz Weaver of the Vibrant Communities Canada team provides coaching, leadership and support to Ontario community partners, including Opportunities Waterloo Region and the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction. As lead coach, she helps initiatives develop their frameworks of change, supports and guides their projects and helps connect them to Vibrant Communities and other comprehensive community collaborations.

Prior to this position, she was the Director for the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction, which was recognized with the Canadian Urban Institute's David Crombie Leadership Award in 2009. In her career, Liz has held leadership positions with YWCA Hamilton, Volunteer Hamilton and Volunteer Canada. In 2002, Liz completed a Masters of Management for National Voluntary Sector Leaders through McGill University and her thesis 'Storytelling and the Voluntary Sector' was published. Liz was awarded a Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002 for her leadership in the voluntary sector, was an Athena Award finalist and in 2004 was awarded the Women in the Workplace award from the City of Hamilton.
Eric Leviten-Reid

Eric is the Learning and Evaluation Coordinator for the national Vibrant Communities initiative. He has lead responsibility for the design and administration of the Pan-Canadian learning and evaluation process for Vibrant Communities Trail Builders, and is coordinating the development of a series of case studies on specific poverty reduction strategies undertaken by Vibrant Communities partners. He plays an active role in helping to discern trends, patterns and insights arising from the Vibrant Communities experience. Eric also serves as coach for Vibrant Communities initiatives in Atlantic Canada.

Eric has nearly 25 years experience as a researcher and practitioner in the field of community development with a special focus on comprehensive, collaborative approaches to complex issues. He began his career addressing issues of community economic development in his home town Cape Breton Island and later worked for eight years with the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Eric has an academic background in social theory and anthropology, and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from York University where he focussed his studies on participatory approaches to personal and social change.
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