2019 Speakers

Kiana Alexander

Kiana Alexander
Emerging Leader Programming Director, Raven Institute

Kiana is a mixed heritage woman who is very proud of both her European and Métis ancestry. Kiana’s Métis (Fraser family) homelands are rooted in Fort Chipewyan, AB and she has had the privilege to be born, learn and grow up a guest on Coast Salish territory. With gratitude, she acknowledges the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples for allowing her to create a life, work and play on their ancestral and unceded territories.

Kiana is a proud Métis Iskwew, a storyteller, a creative thinker and a lover of an exquisite cup of earl grey tea. Kiana is fierce in her pursuit of ensuring all young people across the nation know unwaveringly that they are leaders and that they belong. She embraces radical curiosity around the idea of learning to lead together.

Kiana is a certified MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) Practitioner using this powerful tool for personal growth and development, team building, and leadership development. Kiana is trained in the facilitation of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and the 360 degree Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) assessments.

In addition, Kiana received her Diploma in Aboriginal Focusing-Oriented Therapy & Complex Trauma Certificate at the Justice Institute of British Columbia in December of 2017. Kiana is currently working on her Masters of Arts in Leadership degree and is a graduate researcher at Royal Road University.

Amal Alhuwayshil

Amal Alhuwayshil
Intersectional Feminist

Amal is an intersectional feminist, born and raised in Saudi Arabia. This woman’s inspiring story of how she came to be here through overcoming a series of events, from being in a fixed marriage at the age of 19, to filing for divorce and moving to Canada, to becoming an inspirational public speaker, to finding her passion in advocacy and policy development.

Amal came from a culture where women are oppressed, flew across the world into a new culture, new language, and in the past 6 years she learned the importance of student leadership. She got elected for the UBCO Students’ Union as the Vice President External affairs in 2017, as the first female President in 2018, and for the BC Federation of Students as the Campaigns Coordinator. Through those roles she was working with both the Provincial and the Federal government on behalf of BC post secondary students, including the recent win to eliminate interest on student loans.

Connecting for Change means two things to Amal.

  • Advocacy: Her journey and evolvement from a follower and an activist to becoming a leader and an advocate for policy change
  • Organizing: Her journey with the BC student movement and connecting postsecondary institutions from across the province under one umbrella; together, we are stronger.
Asha Diaz

Kirsten Anderson
Founder, Integrate Play Solutions

After 25 years as an entrepreneur in the toy industry, and over a decade as the play expert on Global TV, Kirsten sold the award winning “Best Toy Store in Canada” to bridge her expertise in business leadership and the bottom-line benefits of play for ALL ages, especially in the workplace

Though some call her a Playologist, she’s actually an International keynote speaker on the power of playfulness to improve innovation, wellness, culture, and team dynamics.

Kirsten is the founder of Integrate Play Solutions; a boutique training corporation working with organizational teams in diverse industries, to help solve their messiest challenges using playful methods – the favourite being LEGO® Serious Play®.

When Kirsten isn’t playing with her family and friends you will find her volunteering her time sitting on executive boards for the International Play Association Canada, Spare Parts Adventure Play, Parent Advisory, Do What U Luv, and is also honored to be a Play Ambassador for the US Play Coalition so as to build a better world – one brick at a time.

Asha Diaz

Victoria Anthony
Singer-songwriter

Victoria Anthony became an internet sensation in 2018 after singing her heart out to her idol, superstar recording artist PINK, in front of 18,000+ spectators at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. And as one radio personality put it “she NAILED IT”.

It’s the memory of a lifetime and a thrilling moment to witness, including the millions who saw it in the days afterwards, thanks to worldwide press coverage. It’s been viewed over 100 MILLION times online and it’s changed Anthony’s life forever.

The attention gleaned from the event, and the confidence gained from the experience has led to Anthony collaborating with some of Canada’s most decorated producers to write and record her own original music. Her first single, Without You, was soft-released in February 2019 and has already generated more than 371,000 streams on Spotify. A second song, and her first official radio single, “Because I’m A Girl”, was released on March 22. The music video for Because I’m A Girl was released April 23, 2019, directed by Nathalie Boltt and produced by Keyon Slowly, and has over 1,000,000 views on YouTube in two short months.

“Because I’m A Girl” was co-written alongside the Toronto songwriting duo of Rob Wells and Shobha, collectively known as The Fourth Floor, who have worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Nelly Furtado among many others.

“It’s not too political, but political enough to get my meaning across” Anthony explained. It’s about the importance of women having control of the choices in their life; it’s about empowerment and standing up for yourself, starting when you’re a girl and keeping that sense of inner strength throughout your whole life. And it’s also about women standing together, united, to make all our lives better,”

With the overwhelming success of ‘Because I’m a Girl ‘Anthony wanted to continue the momentum and the message behind the song by releasing a dance version, expected to hit streaming platforms July 12th, 2019. “Because I’m a Girl’ remix has a beat that will resonate with your soul and will undoubtedly make a splash this summer.

On July 25th, 2019, Victoria Anthony had her first concert with a packed venue at the iconic Rio Theatre in Vancouver, BC, called ‘NEVER STOP.’ She rocked the theatre with her original songs, breathtaking cover songs, incredible dancers, and even a soulful gospel choir! Everyone was on their feet, dancing to the energy of the room with Anthony’s fantastic performance. This concert will be a night to remember, and a kick start to many more shows to follow!

With such fierce determination, an abundance of raw talent that is only now starting to be fully explored, and a powerful authenticity and sense of self-awareness, there is little doubt that Victoria Anthony is on the cusp of a truly extraordinary career as a songwriter, vocalist and recording artist.

Asha Diaz

Asha Diaz
Singer-songwriter, Mental Health advocate

Asha Diaz is a singer-songwriter based in Vancouver whose goal is to help pre-teens understand their emotions, and advocate for mental health in youth.

She works with a program called Grit, whose science-based course reaches around 400 kids a year, and counting. Inspired by her own struggles with mental illness, she is hoping we can make the future a better place to grow up in, even if you’re struggling