Students paying attention to a presenter

Featured Presenters and Panels

Featured Presenters

See the featured presenters by conference stream

(un)define your Leadership - Alex Smith

Alex Smith Featured Presenter

Alex Smith (UBC Nursing grad 2011) found his passion and purpose working with marginalized communities as a registered nurse in Vancouver.  At his LGBTQ clinic, he saw high-risk patients diagnosed with HIV due to lack of access to an expensive new HIV prevention medication, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). In 2016, Alex created the Davie Buyers Club – a pathway outside of the mainstream healthcare system that allowed people to access an FDA-approved generic version of PrEP produced in India, shipped to the USA, and then retrieved by border-crossing Canadian patients. Risking his nursing license for ‘going rogue’, Alex and the Davie Buyers Club helped 300 people access PrEP, prevented many HIV infections, and influenced the healthcare system to respond to the lack of PrEP access in BC. PrEP became available in BC at no-cost in Jan 2018. Alex is now studying medicine at the University of Calgary.   

Leadership (un)bound - Jason Quach

Jason Quach Featured Presenter

I’m a marketer by trade and storyteller at heart. My current job title is Marketing Automation Manager at SAP, and I have previously worked at Hootsuite and RED Academy. As a UBC Kinesiology graduate, I started my career journey with opportunities with UBC Orientations, Collegia, and the Kinesiology Undergraduate Society. Am so grateful for my time at UBC as each experience pushes you forward and gifts you with transferable skills that’ll open future doors.

(un)cover Vulnerability - Ling Pai

SLC 2020 Featured Presenter Ling Pai

...Keep Your Head Up. You Can’t See The Ground Anyway.”

Ling Pai is a Visually Impaired Adaptive Surfer on Team Canada. She is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and serves as the Director of Fitness at Pulse Cardiac Centre in Vancouver. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Kinesiology degree in 2007. She won Silver at the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships in 2018. She also hikes, trail runs and skis. Ling does of this with low vision.

At age 14, Ling was diagnosed with a genetic disease called “Dominant Optic Atrophy.” This progressive eye disease causes the optic nerve to degrade. There are no medication or surgical procedure to treat this disease. Ling became “legally blind” at age 32 and is determined not to let her failing eyesight hold her back. After living with Optic Atrophy for over 20 years, Ling will share some of her stories about adaptation and perseverance. She fights her narrowing vision with a constant expansion of perspective.

(un)derstand your Filters - Cicely Belle Blain

SLC 2020 Featured Presenter Cicely Belle Blain

Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter - Vancouver, one of CBC’s 150 Black Womxn Making Change in Canada and BC Business 30 Under 30 2019 and has served as a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the United Nations. Cicely Belle runs Cicely Blain Consulting - a social-justice informed diversity and inclusion consulting company with over 50 clients across North America, Europe and Asia. Their work is informed by their professional and academic background at the University of British Columbia, their lived experience as a Black, queer artist, a community builder, an intersectional feminist and a Black liberation activist. Cicely Belle is also an instructor in Executive Leadership at Simon Fraser University and their first book debuts in 2020.

(un)leash the Possible - Mimi Choi

SLC 2020 Featured Presenter Mimi Choi

 Mimi is a professional makeup artist renowned for her unique artistic style. Since graduating from Blanche Macdonald Centre in 2014, her pioneering illusionary work has garnered international attention and a large following on social media (@mimles).  Coupled with her background and previous career as an educator, Mimi now instructs masterclasses and workshops around the globe where she demonstrates her iconic looks. She also freelances as the artistic director for various campaigns and her CV includes collaborations with brands such as Make Up For Ever, MAC, UNICEF, Warner Brothers, Food Network and Samsung to name a few. Since making a name for herself in the makeup industry, Mimi’s work has exploded into the pop culture scene as she has been featured on various international television shows, magazines, music videos, and most notably at the 2019 Met Gala where she created the event’s most talked about look on actor/model Ezra Miller.

Mimi's story will demonstrate that the path to a fulfilling career is not always a direct one.  She will also discuss how she turned what was once a debilitating sleep disorder into inspiration for her work and how she chooses to use barriers in her life as motivation.

(un)learn History - Vicki George

SLC 2020 Featured Presenter Vicki George

Theme: We cannot forget the truth-telling part when speaking about reconciliation today

Vicki is the Assistant Director, Programming, First Nations House of Learning.

Vicki is from the Wet'suwet'en Nation.  She is trained in the legal, executive and corporate world with 20+ years of experience. Vicki grew up with law, politics and history discussions around the dinner table. 

Vicki developed and produced "The Constitution Express: A Multimedia History" (2005-2006), a joint project with UBC's First Nations Studies program and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.  Generational activism has deep roots for Vicki.  Her father, Ron George, was a key participant and organizer in the Constitution Express, and Vicki's project started an archive for this historical movement that resulted in Section 35 being included in the Canadian Constitution.  To date, Vicki’s project is still the only significant work on this extraordinary Indigenous history. Vicki’s project led to her being a documentary subject in the film "The Road Forward", (2017) written and directed by Marie Clements.

Vicki utilizes her formal and informal education, work experience, life experience, skills and training to further Truth and Reconciliation efforts.


See the panels by conference stream

(un)define your Leadership - Grow Together: Filtering, Mentoring, and Changing


Brayden Cohen

Nouns have it right: people, places, and things." - Bobby Hundreds

A natural-born connector and millennial, Brayden finds inspiration by the people he meets, places he travels, and the things that people create. Born and raised in Metro Vancouver, he graduated with his Bachelors of Business (honours) in marketing management. With close ties to Vancouver, Brayden started his marketing career in a garage working for an apparel start-up, DUER, bringing them to global growth. Later, moving to Modo, North America's first member-owned carsharing organization and now, working with Vancouver's tech unicorn, Hootsuite in Social Marketing. Brayden feels strongly about giving back to his community through unconventional ways of mentorship—acting as a peer to peer mentor for Langara's Co-op Career Centre and the Leaders of Tomorrow Program through the Vancouver Board of Trade. He hopes that panel attendees leave the discussion understanding that mentorship is: valuable for everyone involved, about building and nurturing authentic relationships, and unique to each individual. 

Taran Ghatrora

Taran is Blume’s Cofounder and CEO. She is a 500 Startups fellow, G20 youth delegate for Canada, and a 30 Under 30. Taran’s focus on empowering women and storytelling began in childhood. Her passion broadened to destigmatizing taboos around periods and sex ed and advocacy after law school, during her Master's at UBC, where she focused on gender equity abroad due to periods. The experience catalyzed her desire to create action pathways for women through Blume’s sustainable, organic products and educational content. Taran now shapes Blume’s long-term vision, strategy, and narrative to support today’s generation of confident and informed women.

Jacques Martiquet

Jacques, he's an odd entrepreneur. In the last 5 years, Jacquesworked as an emergency medic at giant festivals, he graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc. in Pharmacology, he attended Burning Man in the middle of a desert, and he traveled across the world throwing hundreds of sober flash mob parties... alone. His human connection agency, VYVE, has been featured in VICE Media, praised by the President of UBC, and hired by multiple colleges, companies, and community groups. During a meditation retreat, he discovered his life's mission: To spread the high of human connection. How he advances his mission is by a systems-change approach to party entertainment.

Leadership (un)bound - Conversations with Campus Leaders


Reina Fernandez

My name is Reina and I am a third year student at UBC double majoring in International Relations and Sociology. I had the privilege to be part of the Jump Start program twice, as Orientation Leader and Senior Orientation Leader. Both experiences helped me strengthen my leadership skills as well as my cultural awareness. Having the opportunity to engage with people from all around the world encouraged my personal and professional growth. Another leadership position that has aided my professional development is my current role as Coordinator for Communications and Public Affairs at the BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC). Partaking in such projects has proven to be extremely beneficial and I am excited to promote these type of experiences for other students. 

Sarvenaz Oloomi

I am Sarvenaz Oloomi, a second-year psychology undergrad in the faculty of Arts and a Collegia Advisor. I am also involved with the UBC Mental Awareness Club as a communications coordinator and volunteer with the UBC Yoga Club. To me, mental health and self-care are important and personal topics that I try to engage with every day and help others in as well. I try to also balance involvement and work alongside keeping a good academic standard. One of my biggest passions is music. I have been singing since I was little but in choirs since high school. I have had school awards for music and for being involved in leadership in music but the biggest was winning the Top Senior Jazz Vocalist at the International Surrey Jazz Festival. In short, I love to socialize with people and help others as much as I can with my experiences.

Jake Medeiros

Jake is a current 5th-year BSc student in Chemical Biology and Residence Coordinator of Nootka House in Totem Park. He has lived in residence throughout his degree as a Residence Advisor in Totem Park and Place Vanier Residences, and has hosted many events centered around student involvement/outreach such as Coffee House and Let’s Talk About Mental Health. Jake has also been involved with The Breakfast Club at UBC since its inception in 2016, and loves all forms of physical activity including running, hiking, swimming, and most recently kickboxing. Outside of Residence Life, Jake is also a TA and an avid cook!

Alexandra Lambert

Alexandra is currently a third year at UBC majoring in International Relations. Her previous leadership involvements as a Residence Advisor in Place Vanier and as an Assistant Director for UBC Recreation Intramurals, has led to her current role as Program Developer for the Intramurals program. Through her experiences, she has found that fostering one on one relationships is truly the best way to integrate herself and others, as well as support a community of 120 student volunteers. Outside of classes and Intramurals, Alexandra loves to challenge herself and ran her first half marathon back in October. She also enjoys spending time outside, and her favorite spot is at the top of the Blackcomb bowl in Whistler.

Tara Gholamian

Tara is a 3rd year Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences Student here at UBC. Her leadership journey started due to her passion for helping others, and a drive to include equity in her leadership. Her most memorable experiences at UBC come from acting as a Science Orientation Leader, Aboriginal Experience Student Leader, Multiple Sclerosis Club Executive, Period Conference Executive, and a Biology Teaching Assistant. Most notably, as an Equity Ambassador with UBC Peer Programs, she raised awareness concerning issues of social justice and worked to make minority student groups have a voice through various workshops and discussions. Currently, she is the Training Team Leader of the UBC First Aid Student Team where she practices harm reduction to make the UBC campus safer for staff, students, and community members. She is continually excited to learn from other student leader’s experiences and to be a part of their leadership journey!

Dorothy Fu

Dorothy is a third-year commerce student studying Operations and Logistics and is proud of her involvement with the Financial Wellness Peers (FWP). Her interest in financial wellness first developed in high school, but it really took a forefront when she moved to UBC and started living on her own. After joining the FWP team at the end of her first year, Dorothy hopes to continue to help improve financial literacy in students and empower them to take control of their personal financial situations. Outside of academics, Dorothy is a self-proclaimed baker (it doesn't always end well!) and is always on the lookout for fun and interesting recipes. 

(un)cover Vulnerability - The Power of Leading with Openness


Chris Hakim

Chris Hakim is a fourth-year student in the UBC Faculty of Arts with a deep interest in political and legal advocacy. Currently serving as the Alma Mater Society’s President (AMS), Chris works to promote the student experience in all facts of the UBC community through a data-driven approach and strategic planning. In addition to being AMS President, he is a Senator on the UBC Vancouver Senate and the Chair of Senate Budget Subcommittee. Chris also serves as a Board member of both CiTR and the UBC Student Legal Fund Society.Prior to becoming AMS President, Chris worked as the AMS Vice-President Administration where he aimed to build efficiency within the AMS’s internal operations. Before this, he was involved in the AMS as a member of its Board of Directors and Chair of the AMS Governance Committee.

Kawa Ada

Kawa is a Residence Life Manager at UBC. In higher education, he has previously held positions in both student life and on the faculty. Kawa is also an actor and writer. Educated at The Boston Conservatory, he was cast on Broadway after graduation. Since then, he’s performed on stages across the country. With multiple nominations for Canada’s highest theatre honours, he is a past recipient of the Theatre Critics’ Award and the Dora for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actor. In his latest film, he starred in The Breadwinner, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. As a writer, Kawa has the distinction of being the first Afghan Canadian published playwright, with his drama, The Wanderers, published by Playwrights Canada Press. His next play, Finding Islam, is due out in 2021. He is a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Marcus Jung

As a recently graduate from LFS’s Global Resource Systems program, Marcus has fond memories of student involvements at UBC.  His favorite leadership experiences come from his time as a Residence Advisor & Coordinator, a Student Ambassador, a SLC workshop facilitator, a Career Peer & Science Peer Academic Coach and a Senior Orientation Leader.  He was also able to partake in the International Service Learning program after his second year, as well as acted as a teaching assistant for the ACAM 390A Global Seminar.  A common theme of these involvements is Marcus’ passion of creating spaces for others’ reflection and growth, taking its form through community building, workshop facilitation or 1-1 coaching conversations.  He believes that each and every one of us has a unique ability to make an inclusive and compassion world, and he hopes to help bring that out in others throughout his life.  He is inspired by student leaders, and he can't wait to meet you all!

Catherine Rawn

I am a faculty member in the Learning Enhancement area of the Psychology Department at UBC. My title is Professor of Teaching, which means I am a tenured and promoted faculty member who specializes in Teaching and Educational Leadership. My academic training is in experimental social psychology, with an emphasis on quantitative methods. This background has influenced both what and how I teach. The goal of my teaching practice is to help people develop ways of thinking and doing that are informed by the methods and evidence of quantitative psychology, and that will prepare them to engage in their social worlds throughout their lives. 

(un)derstand your Filters - Considering Diversity and Identity in Leadership


Harlan Pruden 

Harlan Pruden, First Nation Cree, works with and for the Two-Spirit community locally, nationally and internationally. Harlan is a Ph.D student at UBC and an Educator at the BC Center for Disease Control's Chee Mamuk program. Harlan is also the Managing Editor of the

Becki Ross 

Becki Ross is a long-time academic activist in social justice movements, including LGBTQ2S liberation, trans rights, sex workers¹ sovereignty, and reproductive rights.  Becki does her queerly feminist anti-colonial teaching and research in Sociology and the Social Justice Institute at UBC. With Jamie Lee Hamilton, Becki is the co-founder of the West End Sex Workers Memorial, which in installed at the corner of Pendrell and Jervis streets in Vancouver. Becki is the author of Burlesque West: showgirls, sex, and sin in Postwar Vancouver (UTP, 2009), which is being used as source material for a new play, "Polly and the Penthouse,² under development by Fugue and Touchstone theatre companies in Vancouver. Becki¹s published journal articles appear in BC Studies, The Journal of Women¹s History, Canadian Theatre Review, Sexualities, The Journal of the History of Sexuality, and Labour/le travail. Her areas of teaching include decolonial feminist methods of research, sexuality studies, gender relations, and families.

Angela Macdougall

(un)leash the Possible - What Will Be Your Legacy?

Arnaud Petitvallet

Arnaud Petitvallet is the co-founder and COO of Wize Monkey. After working on Wize Monkey as a school project in 2013 as part of an International Business Master program in France, he moved to Vancouver to create the company with friend and business associate Max Rivest. The pair eventually met Enrique, their co-founder and coffee farmer during one of their sourcing trips in Nicaragua, and went on to be the first "Earth to Cup" tea company on the market. Arnaud enjoys travelling to Nicaragua to create new blends and tea formulas, and wants ultimately to see the impact created by Wize Monkey spread to all 25 million coffee farmers through the world. Arnaud is one of the recipient of the 2018 BC Business "30 Under 30".

Andrew Coffey

Andrew opened The Hive in 2012 after working in Outdoor & Adventure Education for many years and having witnessed the power Experiential Learning in Challenge Settings.  With The Hive, he strives to Make Life Better for the Vancouver Community by improving Health and Wellness through Climbing, Education and Community.

Ava Nasiri

At this year’s Student Leadership Conference I’m excited to share lessons I’ve learned about the importance of listening to and honoring peers and communities. Community engagement has been embedded in my DNA since I can remember. As a first year at UBC I discovered my interest in politics and policy and spent some time as Vice President Administration and President of the AMS– at that point responsible for supporting a brilliant group of club presidents, opening the AMS student Nest and raising $50M for a new gym for students. Presently, I work at the intersection of technology and education, advising private sector clients on strategy, operations and community engagement. My spare time is spent on improv comedy, non-competitive basketball and painting.  

(un)learn History - Decolonizing Leadership: When Help is No Longer Helpful