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2020 Event

February 29, 2020

Bell Performing Arts Centre

Seventeen speakers. Seventeen points of view. Seventeen ways to shift your thinking. Meet 2020’s outstanding group of speakers covering topics inspired by medicine, law, human experience, spirituality, creativity, the environment, and more.

Our Leadership Team

Bringing TEDx to Surrey is a consuming passion for our leadership team and all the hard work is paying off. Coming from different backgrounds but committed to achieving a single goal, they strive to discover and showcase ideas that have the potential to transform us and enhance our community. Here’s the team leading the efforts of all to make TEDxBearCreekPark the best it can be.

Alan Warburton

Licensee & Curator

Tania Ehman

Lead Coach

Ron Newell

Sponsorship & Logistics Manager

Trevor Marples

Technology Lead

Monica Neville

Finance Manager

Noel Bentley

Emcee & Program Coordinator

2020 Partners

This is the premier TEDx event in Surrey, BC, and it is made possible with the support of our amazing partners who share out passion for the community.

Presenting Partners

Platinum Partners

Gold Partners

Paige Thomsen Artistry

Silver Partners

Community Partners



Adrian Midwood

Adrian Midwood is Vancouver area born and raised, though he set sail (literally) for all corners of the globe at 18 years old. His travels started on the west coast in Tofino, where a passion for the ocean was born, and where he presently r…

Adrian Midwood is Vancouver area born and raised, though he set sail (literally) for all corners of the globe at 18 years old. His travels started on the west coast in Tofino, where a passion for the ocean was born, and where he presently resides again.

Adrian worked his way through the ranks and became a 200-ton Ocean Rated Boat Captain at 25 years old. Shortly thereafter, he became a permanent resident of the South Pacific Island Nations. Once settled and working in what most would consider a dream life existence, the implications of our convenience culture caught up with him in the most remote corners of the world. Adrian founded a small grassroots organization and collaborated with some of the largest NGO’s and charities on eradicating waste plastics from our oceans. He is a social entrepreneur who has designed and operated various local plastic remediation programs to initiate circular economies and stop plastic from entering our waterways.

Adrian is currently the Executive Director of Plastic Oceans Canada. His TEDx talk is centered around raising awareness of the plastic crisis, diving headfirst into tackling the issue on a larger scale, and how everyone can be the solution with simple achievable steps from home in their daily lives.

When Adrian is not juggling the various irons in the fire of endless partner programs, he enjoys anything that means being in the ocean, with surfing taking precedence over anything else.


Aida Sanjush

Aida Sanjush is an 18-year-old Afghan girl, born into a family with a strong value for education. So much so, her family made the tough decision to allow Aida to move to America to pursue an education at 15. From a young age, Aida’s parents instilled perseverance and standing up for justice without fearing the consequences. As a result, Aida tirelessly fought for her right to education and others around her. Shortly after arriving to Canada, she received the Canadian Spirit Award; a full scholarship into Stratford Hall, a private IB school, where she built community both within and outside school.

Aida is an ambitious artist. She uses her art as a tool to express her identity. During her two years of IB studies, Aida created a series of her stories through different mediums of art which were then exhibited. In her spare time, she paints, writes poems and draws Arabic calligraphy. 

Aida’s talk is about her journey for education and the lessons she learned. She hopes to share her unique global stories and experiences to inspire generations. Aida is a passionate advocate for females and refugees. Therefore, she volunteers at Kinbrace Community Society, where she created art sessions for refugee youth’s wellbeing and captained teams for the Ride for Refuge to raise awareness and funds in Canada.  

Aida has been a public speaker from a young age hoping to become a future leader in Canada. Recently, she has embarked on a new journey at UBC to study Political Science with a full scholarship.


Aniela Guzikowski

Aniela Guzikowski, age 12, is a certified Streamkeeper and dedicated volunteer at Mossom Creek Hatchery in beautiful Port Moody, BC. Most Sundays, and any other chance she gets, you’ll find her downstairs working directly with Mossom’s Hatchery Manager caring for the baby chum, pink, and coho salmon they love. From routine fish care, to egg takes, to fin clips, to fry releases, Aniela is never afraid to get her hands (or feet) wet. When Aniela is not working with salmon, you can often find her pulling invasive species from Mossom Creek’s forest.

A concerned environmentalist; Aniela is the voice of a campaign called Butt Free BC designed to tackle the issue of the plastic pollution caused by cigarette butt filter litter. As a confident and capable public speaker, she has recently given delegations to several city councils challenging them to join the fight against the marine and freshwater pollution caused by cigarette butt filter waste. She was recently honoured to have been chosen as one of 300 youth environmentalists to attend the Ocean Heroes bootcamp where she gained useful campaigning tools to help her in her fight against ocean plastic pollution.


Tracy Theemes

Tracy Theemes is a financial advisor and co-founder of Sophia Financial Group, an investment advisory firm that works with high net worth clients while devoting a day each week to pro bono clients who do not have access to needed financial advice and support. She believes that poverty is far more complicated than wealth and too few resources are available to help those with the most challenging problems.

For ten years, she has spearheaded, “Sophia Wealth Academy” a one day education event and fundraiser that is now an online community resource for education, tools and economic empowerment. She is the co-host of “Wise Money Moves,” an often humorous and always engaging podcast about managing money, relationships and power.

Tracy holds an M.A. in Counselling Psychology. She is a Certified Financial Planner, insurance licensed and a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute. Tracy was awarded the International Alliance of Women Global 100 Award for her work in empowering women through education. Her book “The Financially Empowered Woman” won the Bronze prize for the Living Now awards for finance and economics and the Axiom Gold medal in the category of personal finance. She received the UBC Education Alumni 100 award for her community leadership in promoting financial literacy and has been nominated for the YWCA Woman of Distinction award in Business and the Professions and the BIV Influential Women in Business award in Vancouver, BC.


Drima Starlight

Drima Starlight, born Amir Ahmad Nasr, is an author, speaker and activist-journalist for human rights turned born-again musician and singer-songwriter based in Toronto. Before being exiled to Canada and returning to his artistic roots, his work and journalism had been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Guardian, WIRED, BBC, CBC and dozens of media outlets in over 13 languages telling stories about faith, consciousness, borders, human wellbeing and our new sci-fi present. Following the release of his debut memoir in 2013, his book was praised by a readership that includes former White House officials, Hollywood personalities, Ivy League academics, celebrated journalists and technology entrepreneurs.

He has shared the stage with Nobel Prize Laureates, former heads of state and fellow outspoken advocates for human rights and democracy from around the globe. After a decade of seeing through a lens of what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it, he rediscovered his first love for music and found renewed purpose as a recording artist and creative entrepreneur now on a journey to the Billboard Hot 100. In his first ever public appearance as a musical performer, after arriving in Canada in 2014, he shares his deeply personal reasons for his profound shift in thinking.


Guy Felicella

Guy Felicella spent 30 years in addiction, dying and being brought back to life six times when the toxic drug supply laced with fentanyl hit the streets of Vancouver. In his treacherous journey through homelessness, substance use, safe consumption sites and health care failures, Guy has become a respected and trusted expert and now works as the Peer Clinical Advisor for the Province of British Columbia’s Overdose Emergency Response Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health’s Regional Addiction Team and the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use.

In addition to his important career, Guy also goes into secondary and post-secondary schools speaking to students about addiction and harm reduction. He is passionate about teaching our youth the realities of the current opioid epidemic and answers the hard, unanswered questions from teens. Guy enjoys speaking to the nursing and university students, promoting non-stigmatizing attitudes towards substance users.

In addition, Guy speaks publicly at conferences, forums and symposiums across Canada sharing his knowledge. Guy has appeared on many media outlets, from televised interviews on CTV, The Today Show on NBC and CBS Denver to written articles in the Toronto Star, Mediaplanet, Georgia Straight and Seattle PI.

Guy had the pleasure of being involved in TEDxWhite Rock with his first TEDx talk, “Let’s Remove the Stigma of Harm Reduction.”

Guy is pushing barriers to address the current overdose crisis and may challenge the way you view addiction.


Isabelle Mercier Turcotte

Isabelle Mercier Turcotte is a brand builder, business performance catalyst, co-founder of LeapZone Strategies and one of the best-selling authors of The Next Big Thing: Top Trends From Today’s Leading Experts to Help You Dominate the New Economy. Her first TEDx entitled The Power of Zero Tolerance has impacted more than 2 million souls to date.

Isabelle’s passion is to empower change and growth. “Momentum Generator” is her middle name and she has a relentless drive to help entrepreneurs raise the bar and expand their comfort zone to create outstanding brand experiences.

She has a “Simon Cowell” edge and is not afraid to tell it like it is. An inspirational speaker with an unquenchable enthusiasm for life, Isabelle is consistently leading-edge in facilitating change. Her undeniable track record and authentic connection with people has gained her a reputation as one of North America’s top small business influencers.

Throughout her career, Isabelle has had the opportunity to help hundreds of small business owners, as well as some influential brands such as A&W, Robeez Footwear, Earls Restaurants, IMAX Corporation, and HSBC Investments. She was instrumental in helping raise their business standards and redefine their industries through outstanding business strategies and forward-thinking communication tools.

With over two decades of hands-on experience working together, Isabelle, along with her partner Margarita, are determined more than ever to help entrepreneurs and couple-preneurs catapult their way to massive success. Known as a power duo they are primed to share their experience on how couples can work and thrive together.


Margarita Romano

Margarita Romano is as unique as her role at her company, LeapZone Strategies. She is an Equine-Guided Strategist. Supported by her intuitive equine partners, she loves to collaborate on a strategic level to provide a different perspective, and to help uncover and clarify purpose and direction. Margarita is a visionary strategist, processor, business owner, systems engineer, creative writer, fanatical problem-solver, and the best-selling author of Sitting on the Fence – How to Love Without Limits – a sharing of her life with Isabelle Mercier Turcotte and her realizations, learnings, and ideas about the power of love.

In 2016, Margarita traded her city life for beautiful Vancouver Island, BC, where she now operates Trailblazers alongside her partner Isabelle. Trailblazers is a mesmerizing 5-acre equestrian retreat centre where business leaders come from around the world to take a time-out to focus on their business, their brand, and on what is holding them back from owning their genius.

As a certified equine-facilitated coach, Margarita helps heart-centred entrepreneurs and couple-preneurs connect the dots to lead spectacular lives driven by heart and soul. Her 20+ years of experience working closely with people and getting to understand how they think and function through brand development and implementation, along with her passion for life, make her determined to help people live and operate by design, and increase their units of happiness.


Tom Dutta

Tom Dutta is an award-winning CEO, speaker and International #1 Best Selling author with over 30 years’ experience transforming leaders and companies worldwide. Tom’s experience spans the Education, Financial, IT, TELCO, Not-for-Profit and Health sectors. His career includes senior roles in many Canadian companies including Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. Tom is the host and executive producer of the Quiet Warrior Internet radio show.

As Founder and CEO of KRE-AT® Tom is an authority on what motivates leaders’ actions. Tom’s business experience, and 10-year study of the science behind success has enabled him to create a proven coaching and mentorship formula called The Way of the Quiet Warrior®.

Tom received the William Shatner MOVING AMERICA FORWARD AWARD special TV Series, and the 2018 Courage to Come Back Certificate of Top 3 Nomination Finalist for his incredible mental health journey. These narratives will be part of Tom’s latest film project, taking his life story to the big screen. His purpose is to lift the stigma of mental health in the workplace.

Tom has served as Chairman of the Board pioneering a shift in the access to mental health services for over a decade and an advocate for programs serving mental health.

His talk at TEDx BearCreekPark is about the important role leaders have in lifting the stigma around mental health.

Tom’s beautiful wife Anna, his three children, one granddaughter, and miniature Shih Tzu Shadow are the lights that shine brightest in his life.


Lindi Nolte

Lindi Nolte is a South African-Canadian spoken word poet, TEDx speaker, and educator. Lindi has been involved in the poetry slam scene in Vancouver since 2014. In 2018, she placed first in a spoken word poetry competition and was crowned Vancouver’s Grand Slam Champion. She has a bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a bachelor of Arts in Education from UBC.

Lindi is an active member of the performing arts community in Vancouver and has performed on stages across B.C. Her poetry explores universal human experiences and gives a raw and intimate account of her own life. Lindi strives to make poetry accessible for any and all listeners, regardless of their relationship with poetry. She teaches creative writing and poetry as a means to help people connect through authentic self-expression by allowing them to bravely share their voices.

She loves hiking through thick forests, swimming in the ocean, and having picnics in the sun. Lindi currently lives in Vancouver in an apartment with five friendly house plants.


Darlene Illi

For 20 years Darlene Illi was the “first” first responder as a 911 operator and Police Dispatcher, constantly connected to tragedies unfolding. Her experience in this high stress profession widened her view to the many faces that can fall victim to PTSD.

The need for a mental hygiene routine in all workplaces became clear.

It is not only 911 operators but there are many caregivers working in high demand, high pressure environments, who have not learned how to take care of themselves first so they can continue to take care of others.

Darlene witnessed the damage that can be done by missing the signs and dismissing the symptoms of stress related illness.

Darlene is a partner in a Canadian training school and consulting business. She has been a guest speaker at a conference in the United States and at the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

The calm voice on the receiving end of the 911 calls is now sounding the alarm and raising her voice to spread awareness of the stress related illnesses that we all can fall victim to.

Darlene is awakening us to the growing need for a stress related prevention “PLAN” to be put in place in all work environments.


Mason Vader Ploeg

Mason Vander Ploeg is a grade 6 student at White Rock Christian Academy who is very passionate about saving the environment. He started taking action when he was 8 years old when he witnessed shark fishing in Hawaii. Mason first began to raise awareness of the dangers our oceans and sharks were facing by taking to social media and creating Mason’s Ocean on Instagram and Facebook. His mission is to “educate and empower people to make changes to help save our oceans”. Mason became a volunteer for Sharks 4 Kids and began doing classroom presentations about shark education.

Mason started his grade 5 year with unexpected heart surgery at BC Children’s hospital. After recovering he continued on with his mission of saving the oceans with renewed passion. He began letter writing campaigns, petitions, and speaking with restaurant owners encouraging them to stop sucking and ditch plastic straws. He participated in and lead shoreline cleanups and did his final IB school project on climate change. Mason collaborated with London Drugs to create a YouTube commercial about recycling.

Mason is currently a Junior Ambassador for Plastic Oceans Canada and focused on educating as many people as possible about plastic pollution. He has had the opportunity to speak in the Okanagan and local churches regarding the environment. Through all this Mason continues to dive in to education about our oceans, spending as much time as possible at the Vancouver Aquarium, and participating in their Junior Biologist Programs.


Stan Leyenhorst

Stan Leyenhorst is on a mission. Access for everyone, everywhere, all the time. It’s a great dream, but is it achievable?

Stan is passionate about accessibility and universal design.  He believes that collaboration is essential to achieving the goals of inclusion, universal access and community engagement.  Stan desires to provide leadership in building an inclusive environment where everyone has access and input for full engagement in all aspects of the design and building of living spaces, play spaces, workspaces and public spaces.

His passion for accessible design comes from his lived experience. Stan experienced a diving accident as a young man in 1977 which severed his spinal cord. Although doctors only gave him five years to live, he worked hard to regain his strength and has lived for four decades as a high-level quadriplegic. Stan has worked in several capacities in the building and construction products industry. More recently he was employed by the Rick Hansen Foundation where he brought together his practical knowledge of the building industry with his lived experience of working around barriers to access for those who use a wheelchair. The last couple of years Stan has been working for Universal Access Design Inc., performing existing condition assessments of the built environment, crafting universal design manuals, and teaching disability awareness sessions.


Ryan D'Arcy

Dr. Ryan C.N. D’Arcy, Eng.L., is a neuroscientist and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder, President, and Chief Scientific Officer of HealthTech Connex. He also holds Professorship appointments at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, where he serves as a BC Leadership Chair in neuroimaging and neurotechnology. He has published more than 245 academic works, attracted more than $85 Million in competitive research and innovation funding, and been recognized through numerous awards and distinctions (e.g., Canada’s Public Service Award of Excellence and named as a KickAss Canadian). Dr. D’Arcy is a 3X TEDx speaker, who speaks frequently on brain health innovations around the world.

Major career scientific advances include the discovery of white matter activation in functional MRI, the world’s first VR simulator for neurosurgical training and planning, the development and deployment of the world’s first brain vital sign framework, and the utilization of neuroplasticity in brain injury to drive recovery well beyond conventional limits.

Dr. D’Arcy received a B.Sc. (with distinction) from the University of Victoria along with both M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in neuroscience from Dalhousie University (Killam Scholar). He did post-doctoral training in medical imaging physics at the National Research Council (NRC) Institute for Biodiagnostics, and holds a professional engineering designation in neuroimaging and neurotechnology (Eng.L.). While with NRC, he spent over a decade leading the development of Atlantic Canada’s biomedical imaging cluster before returning home to BC in 2012 to catalyze and co-lead the development of Surrey’s Health and Technology District.


Trevor Greene

After graduating university in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Trevor Greene spent seven years in Japan working as a writer and journalist, where he wrote his first book, sadly unpublished, on Tokyo’s hidden homeless. Greene returned to Canada in 1995 to join the Royal Canadian Navy. In 1999 he settled in Vancouver and transferred to an infantry reserve unit because he was staying too clean. His first published work, published in November 2001, delved into the mystery of the disappearance of 31 drug addicted prostitutes from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In early 2006, Greene deployed to Afghanistan with the first Canadian combat deployment to Kandahar (Operation Archer).

On March 4, 2006, he was meeting with local elders in the tiny riverside village of Shinkay near Kandahar City when a young man, under the influence of the Taliban, came up behind him and drove an axe into his brain. The attack was the signal for an attack from the village. His platoon fought off the attack and Greene was medevacked to hospital on Kandahar Airfield. He was flown to Germany then Vancouver where Greene spent over a year in hospital, and then over a year in a specialized brain injury rehabilitation hospital in Alberta. For the last 13 years, he has lived in Nanaimo, BC with his 14-year old daughter, Grace, seven-year old son, Noah, and wife Debbie. Currently he is working on his seventh book, on social enterprises Trevor Greene.


Jacques Lalonde

Jacques has won multiple awards as an actor/playwright including best actor (2x), best production (3x), best short film, audience choice (3x) and a lifetime achievement award from The Vancouver International Fringe Festival. Over the years, he has performed for over 2 million people across Canada and his plays have been produced internationally.

A major highlight for Jacques was hosting at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. He has taught comedy, creative process and writing for over 25 years. Currently he teaches French to 2-5 year olds at several Montessori schools in the Vancouver area. He was Chairman of the BC United Nations Pilgrimage for youth for over 10 years, helping lead BC to 3 International Public Speaking Championships in that time.

In 2013 he survived a life-threatening stroke. In deep, dark despair he decided to write “Stroke of Luck”, a tale of recovery and hope and learned the power of art and creativity in healing and recovery. He has since become a leading advocate and spokesman for stroke survivors and awareness, working with the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation as well as the Stroke Recovery Association of BC. In 2017 he was a keynote speaker at a gathering of over 200 health practitioners throughout British Columbia.

He hopes to tour the World with his story and turn it into an educational documentary/presentation. He is currently working on two books: “The Magical Accident” and “People I’ve Known: an Unconventional Autobiography.”


Peter Scott

Peter Scott is a futurist, author, speaker, and technology expert on a mission. After receiving a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Cambridge University, he moved to California to work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He started in the Navigation section, which maneuvers spacecraft to targets a billion miles away, then moved to IT infrastructure, where he continues as an enterprise architecture contractor. Independently, he raises awareness about exponential progress in technology, particularly artificial intelligence. He has appeared on radio and television, given university courses and numerous appearances to highly diverse audiences in several countries. “Every group, no matter their age, background, or location, is equally engaged. People intuit the importance of this.” In February 2020 he spoke before an all-party parliamentary group on the future of AI in Britain’s House of Lords.

Peter has a parallel career in human development, including coaching. “I saw that the human race is on a collision course with AI, but confusion and ignorance abounded. I also saw how through human development people could change that, but weren’t aware of the technical issues. When I had children, I realized their future could be dark, and that I had the communication skills to make a difference. I resolved to bring the worlds of technology and human development together to solve this.”

His book “Crisis of Control: How Artificial SuperIntelligences May Destroy or Save the Human Race” explores this topic. He has founded the Next Wave Institute, an international educational organization and consultancy for futureproofing.