Chief R. Stacey Laforme

Chief R. Stacey Laforme, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

R. Stacey Laforme is the elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN). Born and raised on MCFN, Chief Laforme has served his community for over eighteen years, being first elected to council in 1999.

Chief Laforme has participated in a number of committees and boards throughout his seven terms; served as a Councillor, including involvement with the MCFN’s Pan Am Games Secretariat (PAGS), as Chair of the PAGS Committee.

Chief Laforme is committed to increasing involvement and communication between Elected Council and both on and off-reserve membership. He is very active throughout MCFN’s traditional territory, which encompasses 3.9 million acres of Southern Ontario, not only as a Chief, but as a notable storyteller and poet. Chief Laforme has recently been appointed as honorary senior fellow for Massey College, joining the duke of Edinburg and the Chancellor of Oxford, as only the third person awarded the highest honor the college can bestow.


Dr. Jenny Ingram

Dr. Jenny Ingram

Dr. Ingram is a specialist in Internal Medicine and a sub-specialist in Geriatric Medicine.  She is the founder of the Kawartha Centre – Redefining Healthy Aging, a leading clinical trial site in cognitive research. A graduate of Queen’s University Medical School, where she attained her fellowships in Internal Medicine and in Geriatric Medicine. The recipient of the OMA 2016 Glen Sawyer Award for community leadership, Dr. Ingram has been appointed the Senior’s Lead Physician of the CE LHIN, supporting the development of policies and programs LHIN wide to support seniors throughout our region.


Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard

Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Director, First Peoples House of Learning, Trent University

Greetings, I am a proud member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, the first ever Aboriginal Trudeau Scholar, and I have over 25 years of Board experience at the grassroots, provincial and national levels. Following in the footsteps of my mother Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell, a noted advocate for Indigenous women’s rights, since joining the Board of the Ontario Native Women Association back in 1994, I have been working toward the empowerment of Aboriginal women and their families. Before coming to Trent, I was elected President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada in 2015, and was recently awarded the Governor General’s Medal for Service.

I am also the mother of three young girls who are also being raised to be activists working for equality, equity, and social justice and as a result my passion is focused on improving the education system at all levels. My research has focused on strategies for building academic success for Indigenous students, which has served me well as I have served on numerous government committees advising on everything from the selection of new members for the Senate of Canada, to the development of the provincial strategies on Anti-racism, Indigenous Children and Youth, Safe and Accepting Schools, Aboriginal Justice, etc..

I co-edited “Until Our Hearts Are on the Ground: Aboriginal Mothering, Oppression, Resistance and Rebirth”, as well as “Mothers of the Nations” with Kim Anderson, and “Forever Loved:  Exposing the Hidden Crisis of MMIWG in Canada” with Jennifer Brant.

Dave McKinstry

Dave McKinstry 

Raised in Peterborough, I was involved in sports and exposed to the arts during family weekend outings in Toronto.  I swam competitively and finished my swimming career on the Varsity swim team at U of Toronto.  I joined Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity while doing my Bachelor in Physical and Health Education.  Upon graduation I worked for London Life Insurance in sales for 2 years but decided I wanted to pursue sciences at UBC and applied to medicine there 4 years in a row but was turned down…so changed course and switched my pursuit toward an MBA.

To support myself at UBC I started several small business ventures and worked as the Cruise Director for three seasons on the TSS Prince George doing the Alaska tours.  Upon leaving UBC I was hired by CN Hotels to be one of their 5 National Sales managers.  That career lasted a few years but the ADD in me got bored and I moved into the Head-Hunting business.

In 1993, with my husband Nick, we bought a small cottage on Sandy Lake in the Kawartha’s to open a four season 2-bedroom Bed and Breakfast.  Nick died of AIDS in the winter of 1995 and I continued our dream and eventually, after meeting my second husband Michael in 1997, expanded Woodhaven into an 8-suite inn called Woodhaven Country Lodge.  Along the way I continued to follow my dream to adopt children.  In 1997 I had become such a thorn in the butts of our federal government, I received a call from the immigration minister asking if I’d like to become Canada’s test case for gay people adopting internationally.   He didn’t have to ask twice – we started the adoption process for our first son Nicholas, age 5, from India in 1998 …while waiting for this paperwork to meander thru’ Ottawa’s labyrinth of departments our second son, Kolwyn arrived on our doorstep in July ’98.  We’d been contacted by the People with Aids committee in Toronto to ask if we would give Susan and her 4-yr. old son a free weekend ….as American authorities wouldn’t allow her to board a plane to Disneyland (via Childrens Wish Foundation) because of her AIDS status.  We’d just had a cancellation that morning and they arrived…. over the next 24 hours our lives would be dramatically altered…. Susan asked us to adopt her son so she could die with peace.   I became Kolwyn’s legal co-guardian within 3 weeks and she died 7 weeks later.  I’d been fighting the system for almost 20 yrs to adopt children, and within 5 months we suddenly became fathers of two sons!  

I have written 4 books.  In December ’18 Rebel Dad was published, giving an account of our lives as parents of two adopted sons, becoming the first openly gay couple permitted to co-adopt children in 2001.  Our sons are 26 and 27 yrs old, working and living with their girlfriends. Michael and I have been married 24 yrs and are beginning to look seriously at retirement from Woodhaven allowing for more volunteer endeavors.

We still travel, ski/snowboard as a family and enjoy raucous games of crib by the fireplace.   We’ve been featured on Michael Enright’s CBC Sunday Morning radio show, during 2017 sesquicentennial celebrations we were one of thirteen Canadian families filmed for the Legacies 150 project, CBC’s gift to Canada and in 2019 the documentary rights to Rebel Dad were purchased by Toronto’s Hearthat Entertainment.

David Michalski

David Michalski, MSF, Doctors without Borders

Dave Michalski has over 19 years working and living abroad in both secure and insecure locations for MSF (Doctors Without Borders) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Botswana, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Iraq, Libya, South, Guinea, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Bahrain, Lebanon, Thailand, Myanmar, Belgium and the UAE.  His Masters dissertation was on the consequences of the West’s failure to engage with the Islamic Court Union in 2006 Somalia. 

He has been involved in several crisis response teams including kidnapping cases.  Since 2015, he has been an associate professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs (a master’s program at University of Toronto).  In his role as Special Advisor to the Office of the General Director of MSF and is currently working on portfolios with regards to Eritrea and Somalia.  He is a regular speaker at the Annual Youth Resiliency Conference that focuses on paths of youth radicalization to violence.

Brigitte Gall

Brigitte Gall 

Having completed 52 episodes of the Gemini nominated design and renovation television series Me, My House and I, Brigitte Gall knows a thing or two about how to remove slivers.  Previously, she laboured under extreme work conditions for the television series World’s Greatest Spas (which aired in over 85 countries) in which she travelled to 5 continents in search of the World’s Greatest Spas. 

Oh the humanity!

Gall is the proud owner of a Gemini award for her one woman show Joan of Montreal, a Gemini nod for her CTV special “Girl Has Gall”, and Gemini nod for her dramatic turn as a serial-killer for the series Blue Murder, a Genie, a Golden Sheaf, and Gold at the Houston Film and Television festival.

Currently Gall is working on a new project that has been over 10 years in the making.  Pakistani Sugar is the darkly comedic retelling of true events of an 18-year old red-neck from Saskatchewan who ends up living and working in Pakistan. 

Brigitte grew up on a farm on the windswept prairies of Saskatchewan. She attended school in Creelman (population 101) and was named Valedictorian of her class of 4.  Seriously.

She is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Rotary District Conference.