Coming Soon!

Jessie Hemphill (Tlali'ila'ogwala)

Jessie is from the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation. Raised in rural Port Hardy, BC, her love of community led her to a career in planning and facilitation as well as a seat on Port Hardy's Council from 2011-2016. As a founding partner of Alderhill Planning Inc., Jessie specializes in Indigenous community planning, assisting communities and organizations in revitalizing Indigenous planning practices and exercising self determination. She also teaches Indigenous planning at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Island University. She has a Master of Community Planning and was awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal upon graduation. Jessie also received the Canadian Institute of Planners President's Award for Young Planners in 2018. Jessie lives in Nanaimo, BC, with her husband Jamaine and daughter Ida.





Norma Kassi

Norma was raised and educated in Old Crow, the most northerly community in the Yukon. She is a citizen of the Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation (People of the Lakes) and a member of the Wolf Clan.  It was in Old Crow flats where Norma gained her depth of traditional, scientific and ecological knowledge. Her grandfather, mother and the land were the bearers of this invaluable, ancient knowledge, which was passed on to Norma at a very young age. This knowledge has woven her into the land of the Vuntut Gwich’in and has given her an understanding of her homelands and the beings with which the land is shared.


Encouraged by her Elders, Norma entered politics shortly after leaving school. In 1985, Norma was elected into Yukon’s Legislative Assembly as Member for Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation, a position she held until 1992.  During this time, Norma was selected by the Elders of the Gwich’in Nation to act as a spokesperson on behalf of the Gwich’in people for the preservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. This caribou herd is the lifeblood of Norma’s people, including those living across northern Alaska and the Northwest Territories, and they are now at serious risk due to the recent opening of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas development.


As a spokesperson, Norma traveled extensively throughout the world educating many people about the critical and inseparable relationship of the Gwich’in people and the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and the devastating effects of the proposed industrial development. Her audiences have included grassroots Americans, United States Congressional members and Senators, world leaders, Indigenous communities through out the Arctic and across North America, as well as appearances on Canadian, American and British network television.  Stemming from this work, Norma had the opportunity to produce, direct and narrate several documentary films. Today Norma still finds herself educating people about the critical and inseparable relationship between the Gwich’in and the land.


In 1991 Norma was awarded the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation and Achievement Award, and the Goldman Prize in 2002, one of the world’s highest profile awards for Conservation. In 2004, Norma was chosen by the Governor General of Canada the Right Honorable Adrienne Clarkson to travel with a National delegation of dignitaries on a speaking tour throughout Russia. In 2016 Norma was honoured to receive the biennial Cathleen Kneen Award from Food Secure Canada, recognizing her vision, leadership and commitment to grassroots activism in building a more just and ecological food system.


From 1995 to1998 Norma was the Environmental Manager for the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN). In this capacity, she headed the CYFN Northern Contaminants Program, and was Chair of Centre for Indigenous People Nutrition and Environment - CINE. The latter was with Dr. Harriet Kuhnlein, then Director of CINE at McGill University, where Norma initiated and conducted dietary studies of Yukon First Nations in collaboration with Dr. Kuhnlein and others.


Norma’s insight and commitment encouraged her participation on a number of boards and councils: David Suzuki Foundation (1990 – 1992); World Wildlife Fund (1996 – 2000); Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (1998 – 2001); and the Alaska Wilderness League (1993 –2007).  Currently Norma continues her work on the International Gwich’in Steering Committee whose mandate is to fight for the Preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in North Eastern Alaska.


While Norma’s work is global, she has never lost focus on her community and other Yukon First Nations communities. In 2007, she co-founded the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research, (initially called the Arctic Health Research Network-Yukon) with long time northerner and researcher Jody Butler Walker.  The goal of AICBR is to promote community-based northern led research aimed at improving the lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of the north and promoting the health of their environments.


In 2016, Norma joined the Canadian Mountain Network as a co-Research Director. In addition to her role at CMN, Norma also serves as Senior Advisor to the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, which advocates for Indigenous-led land use planning, Guardians programs, and the creation of Indigenous Protected Areas.


Norma is also a well-known speaker, raising awareness and educating people at local, territorial, national and international events about the dire circumstances faced by Indigenous people across the North, and the urgent need for Indigenous-led community-based research to develop relevant solutions.



Jay Pittersevern2

International Placemaker & Author

Jay Pitter, MES, is an author and place-maker whose practice mitigates growing divides in urban centres. She spearheads institutional city-building projects, rooted in neighbourhood knowledge, focused on: cultural heritage interpretive planning, gender based mapping, inclusive public engagement, safe streets, and healing fraught sites. Creating more inclusive cities is not just a professional mission for Jay; it is personal. Her city-building values are informed by the long-term mentorship of her second-grade Irish Canadian teacher who modelled the power of reaching across social divides when she was a child growing up in social housing. As a result of these rich experiences and international portfolio, Jay shapes urgent city-building conversations through media platforms such as the Agenda and Canadian Architect—as a keynote speaker for organizations like the UN Women and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—and as lecturer and knowledge producer in urban planning faculties across North America. Recently, Jay consulted on Edmonton’s new heritage plan; hosted a professional development luncheon for women city-builders in Detroit; shared her place-making principles with Memphis River Parks Partnership; and led (RE)IMAGINING CHEAPSIDE, a Confederate monument placemaking process in Lexington. To learn more check out Jay's Website.



Ginger Gosnell-Myerssevern2

Decolonization Strategist & Bridge Builder

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, of Nisga’a and Kwakwak'awakw heritage is passionate about advancing Indigenous rights and knowledge, while breaking down barriers between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

Ginger was the City of Vancouver's first Indigenous Relations Manager where she was central to advancing Vancouver as the world's first official City of Reconciliation, and identified opportunities across all City departments for ways that reconciliation can be advanced, and through this seen over 75 initiatives off the ground. Central to this work was the City of Vancouver recognizing that it was on unceded Coast Salish homelands - the only government in Canada to embed this truth in it's governance, policies, and programming. She was also the City lead for identifying and implementing 28 of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.

Ginger worked on the Environics Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study as both Project Manager and Public Engagement Director. The UAPS is Canada’s largest research study on Aboriginal people living in urban environments, and has become the leading research on urban Aboriginal people’s values, aspirations, experiences, and identity. In 2010 the UAPS received the Public Policy Impact Award by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, and the IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award for not for profit organizations.

Ginger is featured in the inspirational book: Notes from Canada’s Young Activists: A Generation Stands up for Change (2007). In 2012 as part of the CBC documentary series “8th Fire”, Ginger was highlighted and profiled for her views on Aboriginal issues and relations in Canada. Ginger is an Action Canada 2004 Fellow, former Co-Chair to the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council, former President of Urban Native Youth Association, was a founding member of the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples, and sits as a Board of Director for the Inspirit Foundation and a Board Member for Greenpeace Canada



Mayor - City of Victoria, British Columbia

Lisa Helps is the 52nd Mayor of Victoria. Prior to being elected as Mayor, she served as a Victoria City Councillor for one term, from 2011 to 2014. Mayor Helps' has an undergrad degree in history and women's studies, a master's degree in history focused on the history of public space in Victoria between 1871-1901 and was awarded the Trudeau Scholarship for her research on the history of housing, homelessness and the governance of poverty in Victoria and San Francisco from 1931-1971.

Mayor Helps' past community experience includes: the Executive Director of Community Micro Lending - an organization that she helped to start in 2009; board member and board Chair of Fernwood NRG, which bought the Cornerstone building, opened the Cornerstone Cafe as social enterprise and built 10 units of affordable housing; member Leadership Victoria Program Committee in which she helped craft and deliver a nine month community leadership program; Chair, Bread and Roses Collective, which produces the Victoria Street Newz for low-income people to sell.

With a transparent and common sense approach to decision-making, Mayor Helps has championed both citizen-led and local-business-led initiatives in a variety of areas. She is leading a transformation at City Hall in order to foster a more innovative, proactive and responsive culture to meet and exceed the needs of residents and the business community.

If you’d like to get to know a bit more about Lisa and her take on city issues, please take the time to listen to the Lisa, Gene and Eric Show.




Associate Professor, Director of Urban Studies; co-founder of the Center for Neighborhoods - University of Missouri - Kansas City

Dr. Jacob A. Wagner is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning + Design, the Director of the Urban Studies Program, and Faculty Director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UKMC) Center For Neighborhoods.

Dr. Wagner teaches courses in urban planning and urban studies focused on neighborhood planning, equity and community development in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD). He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Urban Design and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

His most notable work is co-founding the Centre For Neighbourhoods (CFN), which serves as a catalyst for neighborhood planning activities, linking research, education and service activities directly to the issues facing neighborhood organizations in the region. CFN aims to leverage the expertise of the UMKC faculty and the creativity of students to address the pressing challenges for neighbourhoods in the city.

The Centre allows for neighborhood leaders to have access to neighborhood data, participate in training and workshops, and actively work with faculty and students to develop and build their organizations. Through an expanded university-community partnership, the Center for Neighborhoods will help to develop and sustain effective community-based organizations in Kansas City, MO.


Elder, Musqueam Nation

Jim K. Kew is an Elder of Musqueam Nation.  His Musqueam name is Kwes Kwestin, a hereditary name carrying the duty to bridge the cultural gap between Canada and Musqueam.  As an elected councilor twenty years ago, he signed the Statement of Intent to negotiate a Treaty with Canada. He has worked to bridge the cultural gap between Canada and Musqueam through art.  Jim has worked as an artist, on his own for seven years, and as a shop technician for seven years in the late Bill Reid’s Studio.

Jim also worked as an Archaeological Technician in British Columbia and Alberta.  His experience ranged from field surveys to Laboratory identification and analysis of human remains.  This is how Jim decided to begin his quest to bridge his worlds of Canada and Musqueam; by researching the past, and identifying the common threads between the academic view of First Nations prehistory, and the Oral prehistory of my people.

With the failure of the Treaty process over the past twenty years, his interests turned to corporations as a possible means of bridging the economic and cultural gap between Musqueam and Canada.  He has previously been either president or chairman of various small aboriginal companies, some belonging to Musqueam, some belonging to him and his partners.   Jim is currently engaged in a private business project promoting traditional Salish culture.


Severn Cullis-Suzuki


Earth Charter Commissioner and Council member; host of the APTN TV series ‘Samaqan: Water Stories’; board member of the David Suzuki Foundation.  A longtime activist for the future, Severn and friends started the Environmental Children's Organization at nine years old.  This culminated in a speech to the UN at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 when she was twelve. Severn is proud of her work on the Earth Charter Commission and continued engaging with UN Earth Summits – bringing 'Recognition of Responsibility' pledge to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg 2002, and returning to Rio +20 as a Champion for the Canadian Earth Summit Initiative WE CANada in 2012.

Severn has participated in five speaking tours in Japan with the Namakemono Club; the most recent supported the post-Fukushima Million Mothers’ anti-nuclear movement.  Severn is an Action Canada Fellow (‘04-‘05), has published several books in Japan, and was an editor and writer for Notes from Canada’s Young Activists (Greystone books, 2007) in Canada. She holds a B.Sc. in Biology from Yale University and an M.Sc. in Ethnoecology from the University of Victoria, where she studied with elders from the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations and Dr. Nancy Turner. 

Nine years ago Severn moved to the archipelago of Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia, home of the Haida Nation, her husband’s community.  There she began to study the critically endangered Xaayda kil (Skidegate dialect of the Haida language) with elders.  She was a founding board member of the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society, and today she is a Vanier Scholar pursuing a PhD at the University of British Columbia with the goal of bringing language research to help the revitalization of the Haida language.  

Visit her website at severncullissuzuki.com.

Kaye Krishna

Kaye Krishna is a leading expert in the intersection of development, housing and urban policy.  She has extensive experience in inter-governmental and public-private development, economic development, community engagement, and urban planning with an emphasis on real estate and the built environment.

Kaye leads the City of Vancouver’s Department of Development, Buildings and Licensing (DBL), which enables the development of vibrant communities, ensures the quality and safety of buildings, and strategically leverages the use of permits, licences, and enforcement to advance Council priorities.  She is leading the City’s efforts to transform development and licensing and is steering key policy issues, including short term rentals, taxis, liquor, and marijuana dispensaries.

Prior to joining the City, Kaye was a Principal with HR&A  Advisors, a leading economic development, real estate and planning firm in the United States, where she worked with cities and states across the country to ‎develop integrated strategies to build physical, economic, and social resilience. Kaye also served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner for New York City's affordable housing agency, where she led key initiatives, including rewriting the City's ten year housing plan after the 2008 housing crisis and launching a new city-wide proactive preservation and enforcement strategy to protect at-risk buildings.

In 2014, Kaye was recognized by the Urban Land Institute in their inaugural “40 Under 40” class. Kaye has a Master of Urban Planning from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours  in International Relations from Ohio State University.


Panel speakers to be determined.

Session 1 [10:15-11:30]

Planning for Urban Indigenous Peoples

  • Ginger Gosnell-Myers - Manager, Aboriginal Relations, City Manager's Office, City of Vancouver
  • Lesley Campbell - Social Planner, Aboriginal Community Planner, City of Vancouver - Social Policy & Projects

Bricks, Beams and Brews: The Transition of Inner City Industrial Lands

  • Peter Leathley - Senior Program Manager, Digital Infrastructure and Assets, City of Vancouver
  • Joji Kumagai - Executive Director, Strathcona Business Improvement Association
  • Alicia Medina - Co-Founder, Faculty Brewing Co. & Owner, Oddity Kombucha
  • Michael Geller - Architect/Planner/Real Estate Consultant/Property Developer, Adjunct Faculty at SFU, President of the Geller Group

Turnip the Beet: Pushing the Limits of Urban Agriculture

  • Marcella Crowe - Executive Director, Vancouver Urban Farming Society
  • Brent Mansfield - Director, BC Food Systems Network
  • Elana Evans - Co-Owner, City Beet Farm
  • Colin Dring - Principal, Colin Dring Consulting

Session 2 [1:45-3:00]

Women, Gendered Bodies, and City-Building: An Intersectional Lens

Public City, Private Transit?: Transit in the age of the autonomous vehicle

  • James LaPointe - Senior Planner, Mobility Innovation at TransLink
  • Michael van Hemmen - Public Policy Manager at Uber
  • Paul Krueger - ‎Lead Planner, Transportation Plan Team at City of Vancouver

Shaking Things Up: Planning for an Uncertain Future

  • Katie McPhereson - Manager of Community Resilience, City of Vancouver
  • Fiona Dercol - Section Manager, Public Saftey at the District of North Vancouver
  • Jackie Yip - PhD Candidate at the Institute of Resources, Environment, and Sustainability
  • Jessica Shoubridge - Principal, Thrive Consulting

Campus Walking Tour

  • Grant Miller - Director of Planning, UBC Development Services
  • Karen Russell - Manager, UBC Development Services
  • Dean Gregory - Landscape Architect, UBC Development Services

Session 3 [3:30-4:45]

Planning for the Night-time Economies

  • Heather Deal - Councillor, City of Vancouver
  • Matt Troy - Vancouver Art + Leisure
  • Ken Tsui - Here There Studio

This is not an Open House - Pushing the Envelope on Public Engagement

  • Mitra Mansour - Interdisciplinary Designer and Creative Director and Facilitator, Creative Room + Vancouver Design Nerds Society
    • Activity topic - PLAYtheBLOX: A Fun Participatory Urban Design Game  
  • Vince Verlaan - Principal, MODUS Planning, Design & Engagement
    • Activity topic - The magic formula for generative dialogue: diversity, divergence and interdependence
  • Amanda Gibbs - Manager of Public Engagement, City of Vancouver
    • Activity topic - Open Houses Support Exclusive Engagement: What are the opportunities for more inclusive strategies in civic engagement
  • Colleen Hardwick - Founder and CEO, PlaceSpeak Inc.
    • Activity topic - Smart Cities and the Rise of Location-based Civic Engagement
    • Activity topic - Hunting Trolls and Unearthing Sock Puppets: Making Online Engagement Legitimate
    • Note, please bring a laptop or smartphone to this activity to fully participate

Seeking Common Ground and Good Planning Outcomes in a Polarized World 

  • John Friedmann - Honorary Professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning
  • Aftab Erfan - Director of Dialogue and Conflict Engagement, UBC
  • Elizabeth Ballantyne - PhD Student, UBC SCARP
  • Peyvand Forouzandeh - PhD Student, UBC SCARP
  • Jennifer Rae Pierce - PhD Student, UBC SCARP
  • Nannan Xu - PhD Student, UBC SCARP

Audacious Solutions to the Housing Affordability Crisis

  • Kishone Tony Roy - CEO of BC Non-Profit Housing Association
  • Janice Abbott - CEO of Atira Women's Resource Society
  • Patrick Stewart - Founding Principal of Patrick R. Stewart Architect & Associate Professor at Laurentian University
  • Tsur Somerville - Director of the UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate & Associate Professor at UBC
  • David Eby - MLA Vancouver, Point Grey