Speakers

Learn more about our expert speakers and the experiences they bring to the table:

Tracey Grose holds an MSW degree from the University of Georgia and a certificate in School Social Work from Wayne State University. She has worked in children’s community mental health in Detroit, Michigan and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. After returning home to Ontario, Tracey obtained a permanent position as the first Black social worker, with the Durham District School Board of Education. Tracey enjoys teaching and mentoring students. She is known as the connector, facilitating connections with community organization such as the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies’ “One Vision, One Voice” study, community representative on the African Canadian adaptation of Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) and she is currently the Chair of the Ontario Association of Social Workers School Social Work Advisory Group. Most recently, Tracey has assumed the role of Culturally Responsive School Mental Health Practices Lead and Implementation Coach with School Mental Health Ontario.

Dr. Deepy Sur is the Chief Executive Officer at the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW). She is a visionary leader who brings a unique blend of innovative thinking with diverse social work expertise and management experience. She holds a PhD in Social Work Administration from Walden University, a Master of Social Work from York University, and a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University. Deepy holds extensive clinical social work experience in mental health especially working with children and adults, trauma informed care, and sexual assault survivors. Her work in public health focused on promotion, prevention, and evaluation. During her 12-year tenure at Trillium Health Partners, Deepy held formal leadership roles in the Strategy Management Office, Ambulatory Care and Medical Education. She has led health system planning at the Toronto Central Local Health Integrated Network as a Director of Integration and Planning and has a passion for healthcare. In addition, Deepy has also been an Assistant and Adjunct Clinical Professor at McMaster University and currently is a Faculty Instructor and Curriculum Designer for the Medical Psychiatry Alliance’s Collaborative Care Certificate Program. She is also regularly involved in completing research publications as part of her ongoing commitment to the profession. Her research interests include interprofessional care and empathy in social work practice. Since joining OASW Deepy has been focused on the implementation of a new provincial member engagement structure and increasing professional development opportunities for social workers in partnership with government grants. Renewed strategic directions at OASW have resulted in over 10% growth in membership and a deepening commitment to equity integration. She looks forward to continued advocacy, partnership and raising the profile of social workers across Ontario. 

Zhawano Binesek, Atik Dodemii, also known as Tina Armstrong, is a member of Bearskin Lake First Nation within the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Territory. She is a grandmother of two beautiful children, mother of three amazing adults and an incredible partner of 37 years. Tina is a 2nd degree Midewin who belongs to the beautiful Minweyweyigaan Mide Lodge in Manitoba. Ms. Armstrong holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University, and is a Registered Social Worker. As a translator, educator, helper, teacher, mentor and seasoned facilitator, Zhawano Binesek brings with her over 30 years of experience working with the Indigenous Peoples in many different capacities from frontline roles, to leadership positions. Tina is currently an Elder within the Master of Social Program at Wilfred Laurier University and has been in this role for over 12 years. Zhawano Binesek currently has her own private practice as an Indigenous Cultural Practitioner and Clinician utilizing Indigenous ways of knowing, seeing, doing and being with the people she walks with. As a registered Health Care Provider for Health Canada under the NHIB and IRS programs, Tina works with individuals and families locally, and from the various First Nations within Northwestern Ontario. 

What can we learn when we really listen to each other? Bee Quammie's presentations centre on the stories that often aren’t told, providing spaces where audiences can learn, be empowered, and find a relatable voice. In addition to speaking, she’s a writer, award-winning digital content creator, health advocate, and media commentator. She is the host of kultur’D | The Pop Culture & Diversity Show on Global News Radio am640, and has been blogging for over a decade, including her longest-running personal blog, ‘83 To Infinity.

Focusing on areas around natural hair care, wellness, race & culture and more, ‘83 To Infinity enabled Bee’s transition to freelance writing. Her writing has been featured in print and digital publications around the world like Chatelaine, Ascension Magazine, For Harriet, EBONY Magazine, The Globe & Mail, The Establishment, VICE, Revolt, and many others. Bee was recognized by Black Enterprise as one of the “most impactful and successful voices in the online space,” was the recipient of the Best Blogger Award at the 2014 Black Canadians Awards, and was accepted into the 2016 class at the THREAD At Yale Fellowship Program for Storytelling in Modern Media. After the birth of her daughter, Bee founded The Brown Suga Mama, a blog focused on motherhood from the perspective of a Black Canadian mom.

Bee has also taken her thoughts, words, and knowledge from behind the computer screen. She can be seen and heard across North America, having spoken at conferences and schools, and featured on TV and radio across the continent. Some of her notable features include being featured on Arise TV’s Our Take in New York City discussing international healthcare, and twice on TVO’s The Agenda With Steve Paikin, speaking on education & employment options for Canadian millennials and the presence of women in media. Bee is also a cast member of the Drunk Feminist Films collective, which hosts bi-monthly interactive film screenings that examine societal structures within pop culture.

Bee holds a degree in Health Sciences from the University of Western Ontario and Post-Graduate Certificate studies in Health Promotion from George Brown College. Her work in healthcare has focused on mental health research, international health, and brain injury/dementia support and advocacy. Bee has worked with entities like the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, helping to lead provincial discussions in dementia and technology and with program promotion across the province, while also conducting work with the Ontario Provincial Police on awareness of community policing and dementia.

Patrick Case, MLS, LL.B., LL.M., is Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Equity Officer in the Education Equity Secretariat of the Ministry of Education. Dr. Case was most recently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph. He was a long-time adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he directs the certificate program in human rights theory and practice.

From 1979 to 1985, Mr. Case was a trustee with the City of Toronto's Board of Education, where he served as an equity consultant from 1989 to 1999. From 1999 to 2009, he was Director of the Office of Equity and Human Rights at the University of Guelph, and from 2006 to 2010, he was a Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In addition, he has been a trade unionist, school counselor and legal practitioner whose primary focus has been to serve survivors of male violence. Mr. Case was a staff lawyer in the Family Law Division of Parkdale Community Legal Services. He is a past chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, which was created as part of the federal government's redress agreement with Japanese Canadians, and served as co-chair of the Equality Rights Panel of the Court Challenges Program of Canada. In 2015, he was a member of the Management Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board and one of two persons appointed by the Minister of Education to review the management and administration of the York Region District School Board.

Lisa Doerksen is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and is currently in the role of Team Lead supporting the Prevention / Early Intervention System Collaboration Team with School Mental Health Ontario. Lisa has spent the majority of her professional career serving in various roles within the child and youth mental health sector including both front-line clinical as well as senior leadership positions in a non-profit organizational setting. In addition, Lisa was the Mental Health Leader for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, located in Northwestern ON as part of the implementation of Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy from 2011 – 2014.

Lisa rejoined the School Mental Health Ontario team in 2019 and assumed the role of Implementation Coach for 8 school boards located in the Thunder Bay Region. Lisa also held responsibilities for Northern Focus as part of her portfolio.

Lisa has also received training at the University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management Executive Programs – through the Public Sector Leadership Series. As a life-long learner, Lisa’s areas of professional interest include identity-affirming; evidence-informed structured psychotherapy interventions for children, youth and families; school-based mental health promotion and prevention and leadership development that facilitates organizational / transformational system change.

Lisa has also had the pleasure of facilitating professional development / training on a variety of topics related to child and youth mental health to different audiences at the local, regional and provincial level. Lisa’s greatest joys are her family and spending as much time as possible outdoors enjoying all that Northwestern Ontario has to offer, preferably with a fishing rod in hand.

Randell Adjei is an entrepreneur, speaker and spoken word practitioner who was recently appointed Ontario’s first Poet Laureate. Randell, is the founder of one of Toronto's largest youth led initiatives; Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E Edutainment). In 2018, R.I.S.E received the Toronto Arts Foundation’s, Mayor’s Youth Arts Award.

Randell is the author of “I am Not my struggles,” a powerful Anthology released in 2018. Randell was also named CBC’s Metro Morning’s Torontonian of the Year in 2015 and NOW Magazines Local Hero in May 2017. In 2020 Randell opened up for President Barack Obama at the Economic Club of Canada.

Carol Soares, RSW (she/her), is a registered social worker, project manager, and equity, diversity and inclusion specialist who has dedicated the greater part of her 25-year career to supporting initiatives that address social justice issues that have historically perpetuated inequity and experiences of trauma.

Formerly the Director of Clinical Services for a non-profit women’s organization, Carol has used her creative ability to develop and implement projects incorporating innovative, anti-oppressive policy development and service delivery models.

Carol has always represented and advocated for the interests of those from racialized, equity-deserving groups, and has taken this work further through her efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion, mediation in cultural contexts, and human rights law training. She has also acquired experience in protocol development, program development and evaluation, data collection and analysis, curriculum development, and professional training for clinical service practitioners.

As social workers, Carol believes that it is possible to build capacity and sustainability in our sector when diversity is not only part of service delivery initiatives, but also a part of its leadership and governance structure. Like so many of her mission-driven social work colleagues, she also believes that the time has come to incorporate more meaningful inclusiveness in all that we do. Carol has always embraced the opportunity to be part of conscious collaboration processes and brings her desire to always remain curious and change-driven to OASW’s Board of Directors.

Todd Elliott is a School Social Worker on the Mental Health Resource Team at Peel District School Board. Todd has over 20 years of experience working with children, youth, and families in both community mental health and school board settings. Currently Todd’s focus is on supporting students who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ in a school setting as well as providing consultation and training to school staff on how to support these students and create safe and inclusive learning environments. Todd also participates in a number of school board and community-based committees that seek to champion meaningful 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion and address homo/bi/transphobia in schools.

Travonne Edwards is an assistant professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at Toronto Metropolitan University. He is also a fourth-year PhD of Social Work Candidate in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work program at the University of Toronto. He currently holds an advanced diploma in Child and Youth Care (CYC) from Sheridan College, and a Bachelor and Master of Arts in CYC from Toronto Metropolitan University.

Travonne is an experienced critical youth worker with a demonstrated history of working in various social services related settings including child welfare and protection, education and supportive housing for youth experiencing homelessness.

His program of research aims to understand how state systems operate and how Black communities experiences them to one day improve their realities and outcomes. He currently works as a project director of a research project which partners with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid society One Vision One Voice, which is a program led by the Black community to address the overrepresentation and disparities faced by Black Canadians. Additionally, he teaches in the Sheridan College CYC program, works at University of Toronto’s Youth Wellness Lab as a Doctoral Research Coordinator, and is a Doctoral Fellow at The Centre for Research and Innovation for Survivors of Homicide Victims (The CRIB).

Dr. Funke Oba, faculty member and the Graduate Program Director at the school of social work, Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) is also an adjunct Professor of social work with University of Regina and Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) as well as Carnegie Fellow for the University of Lagos, Nigeria’s Department of Social Work.

Dr. Oba obtained her MSW and PhD degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University and her teaching has been recognized with teaching excellence awards from Wilfrid Laurier University and Toronto Metropolitan University. Her practice experience spans child protection and domestic violence prevention sectors. In these varied roles, Funke supervised many practicum students, she also co-designed and facilitated cultural sensitivity training for Waterloo Region CAS staff. Following a brief stint as MSW practicum coordinator for Wilfrid Laurier university. Dr. Oba now teaches, conducts research, and supervises graduate students’ research.

In 2021 Dr. Oba designed the first anti-Black racism course for TMU school of social work, aiming to equip future social workers with an ABR lens and support peers in infusing ABR into their worldview and pedagogical approaches. In this Funke is driven by the community’s needs as a past president of the African Canadian Association of Waterloo Region, and an advisor to Black Lives Matter Waterloo, Director of the Working Center, Kitchener, the African Community Wellness Initiative, and advisory member of many youth-serving agencies.

Dr. Oba’s commitment to demystifying blackness, disrupting ongoing colonization led her to start the CARE program which brought Black youth and MSW students together for experiential learning and the Leading While Black (LWB) project. Dr. Oba’s projects funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council include research on Black youth experiences of alienation, Black refugee youth access to post-secondary education, discourse analysis of Canadian anti-racism campaigns, food security among Black families during COVID, social capital of older Black adults during COVID, music education for racial justice and many internally funded studies on the health and wellbeing impacts of ABR embedded in Canadian systems and institutions.

Tanja Steinbach is Mi’kmaq living in the Niagara Region, Mom to three nearly grown children and Grandma three little ones. Tanja works alongside the School Mental Health Ontario team as a Prevention and Early Intervention Consultant - Indigenous Mental Health. On evenings and weekends, Tanja facilitates a small counselling practice as a Non-Insured Health Benefit Mental Health service provider. Her approach to helping is holistic, culturally applicable and authentic. Tanja is a registered Social Worker and has been working as a front-line community helper for over 20 years in urban Indigenous settings. Her experience includes teaching and counselling in post-secondary settings, mental health and addictions as well as advocacy and consultation work in local justice, child welfare, health and education sectors. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Education in Indigenous Adult Education and a Master of Social Work in Indigenous Field of Study.

Khadijah Kanji (she/her) (MSW, RSW) currently works in program evaluation for a university-based agency serving Ontario's youth programming sector; and as a clinical supervisor, group therapist and individual therapist, with a particular interest in serving 2SLGBTQ+ BIPOC. Khadijah also does anti-Islamophobia education and activism for an Islamic cultural centre; and writes and speaks regularly on issues of race, gender, and sexuality.

Toni Lauzon is of mixed ancestry, with Mi'kmaw roots from Eskinuopitijk First Nation and Black roots directly tied to freedom fighters who settled in North Buxton, Ontario, where she was raised. She is Registered Social Worker with an MA in Sociology and MSW from the University of Windsor. Her career work has been in Indigenous community and family support in mainstream child welfare and Indigenous social work in K-12 public education. She recently started with School Mental Health Ontario and has assumed the role of Equity and Identity-Affirming Learning Consultant. She is a social justice advocate, life-long learner, avid reader but most importantly a mother and partner.

Miguel Guayasamin is a husband and a father of four. He had his first daughter when he was 16 years old and she quickly sparked his fascination with child development and psychology. He often says that she was the one that raised him. Since that time the focus of his education, training and work experience has been to further his understanding the complexities that impact children’s mental health. Currently he is a School Social Worker at the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) assigned the Alternative Education Programs to provide direct support to students and to support the development of trauma informed classrooms. Miguel is passionate about capacity building within school environments to further support the development of mentally healthy schools.


Note: Speakers are listed by order of appearance in the Symposium program. Additional speakers may be added as they are confirmed.