Our Experts

GrowSmartGirls thanks our panel of guest speakers for giving their time and energy to present to our audiences

2018 Guest Speakers - Spring Series

Hon. Catherine McKenna, MP & Minister of the Environment


Career Path

Hon. Catherine McKenna is the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, and Minister of Environment an Climate Change. Please see Minister McKenna's official website for her biography.

Laura Luketa, Human Resources Coordinator, Federal Government


Career Path

Laura Luketa is a young professional who is passionate about law, security, public policy and how policies can empower women’s advancement in legal, social and economic aspects. She is keen on sharing her insight on professionalism and her passion for the success of young women in their careers and entrepreneurial paths. 

Laura holds a Bachelors of Arts (Law) degree.  She is currently a Co-ordinator in Human Resources for the federal government, a position in line with her plan to pursue her Master’s degree (Public Policy/International Affairs) and career objectives.  

Rose LaBrèche, International Rugby Referee


Career Path

Rose LaBrèche is a passionate advocate for the empowerment of women and strives to put theory into practice through sport. She has been involved in rugby since 2003 as a player, coach, administrator, and most notably, match official. She transitioned into refereeing from playing and has subsequently won the provincial and national 'Match Official of the Year' title for two consecutive years, and also holds a position on the Board of Directors for Rugby Ontario. She has refereed at the highest level of the sport worldwide in both men's and women's competitions, including prestigious events such as the Pan American Games in 2015, Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in 2016, Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017, and the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Outside of sport, she holds a Master's degree from the University of Ottawa in International Development and Environmental Sustainability, and currently works for the federal government in Ottawa.

Abbie Sizer, Financial Services Manager, BMO


Financial Literacy / Materialism

Abbie Sizer is a Financial Services Manager for BMO in the Glebe who is passionate about the advancement of women in political, social, and economic spheres. She brings this enthusiasm to her role with BMO WISE (Women in Supportive Environments) and as the Regional Co-Director of BMO Pride. She earned her Bachelor of Social Science and is currently completing a Master of Arts in Feminist and Gender Studies. 


2018 Guest Speakers - Winter Series

Kasie Coulombe, Program Coordinator, Early Intervention Program, The Royal


Mental Health

Kasie Coulombe is the Program Coordinator for the Early Intervention Program at The Royal. The Early Intervention Program is a yearlong school-based intervention for youth at-risk for developing substance use concerns or early on-set mental illness. Kasie is also a part-time faculty member in the Child and Youth Care Program at Algonquin College, teaching both academic courses and supervising second year CYC students in school-based placements. Kasie has a MA in Education with a concentration in mental health counselling and is a Registered Psychotherapist. 

Jessica Cadman, Drug Free World Co-Chair (Ottawa)


Substance Abuse 

Jessica is a 23-year-old young professional and aspiring doctor with a passion for helping others.  She has her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Mount Saint Vincent University and has served as a volunteer in her community since the young age of 11.  She has held various leadership positions and most recently accepted the position as the Drug-Free World (DFW) Ottawa Representative.

Jessica recently lost her cousin to an accidental drug overdose which has played a large role in the reason behind her involvement with DFW Ottawa.  Jessica believes in advocating for community wellness, eliciting positive change within the greater Ottawa area and in using her skills in event planning, public relations, leadership and teamwork to better the community.  Her goal in being the Drug-Free World Ottawa representative is to become a leading influencer to create a positive impact for communities within Ottawa through educating youth and the community on drug use in our city.

Adam Ozorak, Drug Free World Co-Chair (Ottawa)


Substance Abuse

Adam Ozorak is a contractor during the day and a Drug-Free World advocate by night. He has worked in the construction industry for over 10 years and has more recently taken on the role of being a Drug-Free World Ottawa Co-Chair.  He has seen and experienced the impacts of drug abuse firsthand and is devoted to educating youth on the repercussions of drug use. As a new father to a beautiful little girl, he knows that it is vital that he takes responsibility for tackling the issue of youth drug use in Ottawa.

Constable Stephanie Lemieux, Ottawa Police


Sexual Assault, Harrassment, Interference; Cyber Safety; Substance Abuse

  Constable Stephanie Lemieux is a trusted, recognized and reliable go-to resource in the Ottawa communities in which she serves. 

Starting with Ottawa Police Services in 2005, she transferred to the School Resource Officer section in 2011 where she assisted south Ottawa schools with criminal incidents - drugs, assaults (including sexual assaults), thefts, personal robberies etc. She has delivered countless presentations to students on cyber safety and on pursuing a career in policing.

Const. Lemieux is currently assigned to the communities of central Ottawa. Working with business improvement groups, community organizations, municipal government as well as the community health centre, she is focused on higher risk needs in the community, assisting in implementing crime prevention programs. She is also engaged with community partners to promote public spaces for positive community use.                                         

Constable Laurie McCann, Toronto Police Service


Social Media 101

Training Constable Laurie McCann has been a police officer with the Toronto Police Service since 1998 and has worked in several units including plainclothes, special events, recruiting, traffic, Community Response Unit and also worked as a crime analyst. She assists with teaching the Toronto Police Social Media course and also works with officers in engaging the community through Social Media. She spent 4 years speaking with grade school and high school students as well as parents regarding cyberbullying, internet safety, sexting and accountability. Laurie is an international speaker and has presented all over the world on Social Media, Safety and how social media plays a part in Law enforcement both overtly and in criminal activity.

Julie S. Lalonde


Sexual Assaut, Coercion, Consent

Julie S. Lalonde is an internationally recognized women’s right advocate and public educator. Julie works with various feminist organizations dedicated to ending sexual violence, engaging bystanders and building communities of support. She is the site director of Hollaback! Ottawa and the coordinator of Draw-the-line.ca, a bystander intervention campaign funded by the province of Ontario. Julie has won numerous awards for her work including "Best Volunteer in a Leading Role” by Volunteer Ottawa, a two time winner of the "Femmy Award" and she is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. 


Other speakers coming soon