2019 Workshops

Opening Ceremonies

Lev Bukhman is the founder and CEO of Studentcare, the leading provider of student health care in Canada - he also started out as a student union executive at McGill. He’s been on and around Canadian university and college campuses for 30 years – studying and going to law school while founding the student start-up that became Studentcare, which works with over 90 student associations to serve over 1,000,000 students. He sits on the Faculty of Arts Advisory Board at McGill University, has served on the Board of Governors of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and was profiled by the Montreal Gazette as one of Montreal’s “Top 40 under 40”.
If there’s someone who understands the student union exec life, it’s Lev, and he’ll be talking about what we can do to get the most out of this experience.

Student Unions and Climate Action

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990 he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis, The David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.”  His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, B.C. 
Read more here: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/david/


Peter Guo works at MNP as the BC Enterprise Risk Services Leader but he kicked off his career years ago in student politics. With three years of student leadership under his belt (including President of UTSU!), he’s been in our shoes and is here to tell you what you need to know about running an effective student organization. Hint: there’s a lot. Starting with the basics - why is fiscal responsibility the building block for any chance of success? He’ll dive into how to create and maintain strong organizational structures that engage your fellow Executives, Council, clubs, and the rest of the student body, as well as the difference between a successful structure for businesses and program delivery. But with yearly turnover, who passes this information on? Guo will dig into what new and leading thinking looks like for knowledge continuity and representation. There’s a lot to learn in this hour, but to keep it short and simple: he gets it and we’re going to get a quick look into the impactful services that MNP has provided student unions.

Future of Work

Amanda's career has always been mission led – from her work in the nonprofit sector, municipal politics and the Ministry of Education – she is driven by the opportunity to create meaningful change. Amanda was a 2015 Diversity Fellow and was nominated for the Everyday Political Citizen award for founding a pre-apprenticeship training program and public art project. Amanda now works for LinkedIn and manages the relationship with colleges and universities across Canada to help them leverage Lynda.com and LinkedIn to achieve their academic and professional goals. Amanda is also the co-lead for LinkedIn's social impact committee in an effort to support LinkedIn's vision of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.

The Future of Student Unions

Alex Usher has a long history in higher education. Currently, he is the President of Higher Education Strategy Associates, a role he has held for over a decade striving to improve the quality, efficacy, and fairness of higher education systems in Canada and worldwide. Throughout his career, Alex has served as a director, researcher, and lobbyist for a number of organizations, however, before all of those positions he was also the first national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. His expertise in student financial aid and access to post-secondary education is regularly sought by media, from The Globe and Mail to Macleans, and he’s here to talk to us about what the future of student unions and the student movement can look like.

Lobbying Effectively

Nikki Hill is a Principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group where she brings over 20 years of experience in politics, strategic communications and government relations. As a senior executive with the BC New Democratic Party for over 10 years, Nikki led province-wide campaigns, training and public outreach initiatives for provincial and federal elections.

Nikki previously served on the senior management team at United Way of the Lower Mainland as director of the partnership with the labour movement. She now supports United Way in her role as the volunteer Co-Chair of the Period Promise campaign, which drove the BC government’s announcement in April to provide menstrual products in schools. Prior to joining United Way, Nikki was the Executive Director for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society BC Chapter.

Nikki has a degree in political science from the University of British Columbia and an Associate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from BCIT. 

Developing Leadership and Partnerships to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Violence

Kate Rossiter, PhD, is Research & Projects Manager at the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC), a provincial non-profit organization that coordinates and supports the work of over 300 community-based anti-violence programs and initiatives across BC. This workshop will focus on preventing and responding to sexual violence within campus communities. The facilitator will highlight best practices, using a trauma-informed and intersectional lens, and outline the foundational pillars of a trauma-informed response to a disclosure of sexual violence. The workshop will emphasize the role of student unions and student leaders in advocating with respect to sexual violence policy and creating positive changes in campus culture, and the value of developing partnerships with community-based organizations.

On the Hot Seat: Maximizing Media Opportunities

Jackie Asante is a Senior Vice-President at Fleishman Hillard HighRoad (FHR), a public relations and government affairs agency with offices across the country. FHR is the Canadian division of FleishmanHillard in the U.S. – one of several agencies which form the global OMNICOM Group, the second largest advertising and communications holding companies in the world. Jackie works as a senior strategist and leads initiatives for long-term clients such as YVR Airport and MEC and has, this year, supported new and innovative start-ups such as cannabis producer Zenabis. Over her many years in agency, Jackie has worked on a vast range of projects with an incredibly varied list of brands. From telecom to retail and from professional sports to biotech, she has developed and led strategic and creative campaigns designed to launch brands, promote products, manage issues and protect reputations. Many of those projects included outreach to local, national and international media. 
The workshop Jackie presents will provide insight into how to get the best possible results when you have an opportunity with media (of any description). The session is designed to help student leaders better understand interview fundamentals, including: key elements media seek for every story; the role and responsibilities of organizational spokespersons; tips for taking control during an interview; and constructing the best possible ‘response pyramid.’ The skills Jackie teaches are not constrained to media, but can be used in virtually all question and answer situations. The session is highly interactive and for part of the time participants will work in teams to develop messaging, select spokespersons and engage in mock interviews.

Anti-Oppression 101

Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer. They run Cicely Blain Consulting - a social-justice informed diversity and inclusion consulting company. Cicely will be addressing historically underrepresented voices and tools to improve in your advocacy in the workplace.
Understand the basics of anti-oppression work. Learn how to be more inclusive and respectful and engage in work that propels you and your fellow students to be a central part of a more equitable future for all. 

Panel on Public Relations

Kylie McMullan is the principal at Finch Media, a marketing and communications consultancy. Kylie has a strong background in public relations and marketing, stemming from her experience both client-side with Johnson & Johnson and Nature’s Path Organic Foods, and in agency, working on accounts such as Celestial Seasonings, Happy Planet Juice, BC Women’s Hospital, and Prospera Credit Union. Kylie is also an Instructor of Public Relations for Simon Fraser University and the co-author of the first Canadian-based public relations textbook, Canadian PR for the Real World. Kylie has a Masters of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and her Advanced Project Management Certificate from Stanford University. She is currently completing her PhD in Industrial Management and Economics from KTH Royal Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. She was recently selected as BIV’s 2018 Top Forty under 40 and was nominated as a YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Business and Professions category. Her agency, Finch Media was nominated by the YWCA as an Outstanding Workplace in 2019. 

Panel on Public Relations

Paul Nixey is a senior strategic communication professional and crisis specialist with more than 20 years’ experience in reputation management, marketing, public relations, and digital communications. He is known for cutting through the noise and focussing audiences on what really matters—the message and the call to action. Returning to Canada, he served as Director of Communications to a Canadian Member of Parliament, and later as Director of Communications for the Mayor of Vancouver’s political party.

Spencer Keys on Setting Goals and How To Achieve Them

Spencer Keys spent his early post-university life as a government relations professional and is currently a lawyer and the managing counsel of Charthouse Lawyers. His practice includes corporate and commercial law, wills and estates, and real estate law, and the reason he got into this field is simple – he likes to take care of people so they can focus on living their lives. This mission has been driving Spencer’s career since hewas in university, using his time to advocate for and support students as the President of the AMS of UBC, a government relations advisor and regional director for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, and the executive director of the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations. He’ll be tapping into his years of experience to lead a conversation on how to achieve our goals through proper strategic planning and effectively leading an organization.

Panel on Public Relations

Andrea Reimer is recent Loeb Fellow at Harvard University, an advisor for Simon Fraser University’s Social Innovation Certificate program, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. Andrea has been a strong public voice in Vancouver and the metro region for almost two decades, with a focus on making government transparent and easy for the public to access, and giving people the tools to hold power accountable. Andrea is particularly passionate about issues that intersect jobs, justice, and climate action. Andrea started her public work as a community organizer and in 2002 she was first elected to the Vancouver School Board, a first for the Green Party in Canada.  
In 2008, Andrea Co-chaired Gregor Robertson’s successful campaign for Mayor, ran for Council herself and won went on to be elected to three terms on Vancouver City Council until she decided to step down in 2018. During her decade on City Council, Andrea spearheaded the City’s effort to be the Greenest City on earth, championed Vancouver’s nationally significant municipal framework for reconciliation with indigenous peoples, catalyzed the City’s Digital Strategy, grew the largest municipal childcare program in Canada, and transformed public engagement and open government policies.  As a long-time political lead on Planning in Vancouver and Vancouver’s representative on Metro Vancouver’s Regional Planning Committee, Andrea also brings a strong understanding of housing, transportation and land use issues across the region.  Her work has won local, national and international recognition, including being named to Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50 for the last four years, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award, numerous requests to speak internationally and frequent inclusion on local “Best of the City” lists. After choosing to leave municipal politics, Andrea was awarded a prestigious Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in recognition of her globally significant contribution to urban policy and civic leadership. This honour was especially notable as Andrea is one of the only people in the fellowship 49-year-old history to have no formal post-secondary education prior to coming to Harvard. In addition to her public roles, Andrea has also been a prolific community volunteer serving as president of diverse organizations ranging from a credit union to the Canadian Women’s Voters’ Congress. She also ran a small business, worked in service, retail, and manufacturing, and survived a street-involved youth.

What's different?

SUDS aims to improve the workshop experience year after year. Our goal is to provide content that enhances and builds upon the knowledge that you already have, inspires innovative ideas, and provides you with tools and actionable strategies to incorporate within your student society.

This year's presenters will not only provide insightful lectures but engage with the delegates to provide a platform for discussion, idea sharing, and collaboration.