Meet our 2024 Speakers

Sosa Eweka-Valentine
Organizer/Founder Talks with Sosa

Sosa Eweka-Valentine is a Journalist and Registered Nurse. She is also the founder of Talks with Sosa, a public speaking platform that seeks to bring experts to discuss various issues, from social justice to mental health. She is also the founder of Salt City Advocacy Society, a non-profit society with the purpose of creating a better environment for refugees and new immigrants most especially women and children of African descent. Her hobbies include biking and reading.

Leslee Montgomery

Leslee Montgomery is a seasoned Professional Counsellor, health and safety specialist, and mental health advocate working at the intersection of mental health, storytelling, and construction. As the founder and CEO of Humanology Partners, a consulting and wellness company, she crafts blueprints for wellness and mental health specifically tailored for the trades.

Having grappled with her own mental health challenges early in her construction career, Leslee understands the unique struggles faced by tradespeople. Her compassionate and authentic approach enables her to address difficult topics honestly. With years of experience in her steel toes, Leslee possesses the credibility to challenge the mental health stigma in the trades.

Recognizing the profound impact of mental health challenges on individuals, affecting both personal well-being and professional lives, Leslee is equipped to guide teams through techniques for immediate improvements. Her interventions aim to reshape thought patterns, behaviours, and emotions ultimately enhancing life satisfaction both personally and professionally. mitigating the risk of future issues.

Stephen Quinlan

Stephen Quinlan has been a social worker for over 35 years and has practised in England, Scotland and British Columbia. He has developed his own unique practice based on his extensive experience. When he was a

Director at Plea, a large not for profit, he built a database that was designed to track and improve service and produce evidence of compliance for accreditation purposes. He has also been a Subject Matter Expert for The Association of Social Workers Board of North America. His work earned him The Most Inspiring Social Worker of the year in 2015 from the University of British Columbia Social Work Department and the British Columbia Association of Social Workers. Shortly after his award, Steve took a role as an Addictions Counsellor, where he developed the concept of Happiness Management, the big brother to Anger Management. Anger Management teaches you how to put out fires, whereas Happiness Management teaches you how to avoid them.

Steve’s dry self-deprecating sense of humour and English accent grabs the audience and keeps them listening to every word. Steve is very active in his community, having served on Boards for not for profits and involved in organising many community events. In his spare time, his passion lies in exploring transit systems and in the name of him practising his own happiness management, he set the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to travel to all Vancouver Skytrain stations – with plans to set it again when the new Skytrain line is built.

Denise Wozniak

Denise Wozniak is a TEDx speaker, a Certified Speaking Coach and is University of Pennsylvania certified in Positive Thinking and Resilience. She speaks professionally and promotes an “Us and UsTM” mindset.

Denise was recognised with the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network Award; the Queen Elizabeth II Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the L’Oreal Woman of Worth Nomination, and the Royal Photographic Society 100 Heroines Award for her global advocacy work on behalf of children living with HIV/AIDS. 

Most recently, she was the host of the Canadian Pavillion at the International AIDS Conference in Munich, Germany.

Denise resides in Mission, BC. with her husband and their two dogs.

Esther Ofori

Esther Ofori is a dedicated clinical counsellor known for her compassionate and client-centered approach. She emphasizes the importance of creating a safe, non-judgmental, and kind environment to support clients on their healing journeys. Her therapeutic methods are deeply rooted in person-centered and trauma-informed care, ensuring that each client feels understood and respected.

Esther’s extensive training and expertise include a variety of therapeutic modalities such as, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), Gottman Couples’ Therapy, Emotional Focus Family Therapy (EFFT), Somatic Processing, and Motivational Interviewing (MI)

These specializations enable her to tailor her approach to meet the unique needs of each client.

Esther holds a Masters degree in Educational Psychology from Simon Fraser University, a member of the BC Association of Clinical Counselors (BCACC), and a Registered Clinical Counselor (RCC).

Esther has 9 years of experience working with adults, youth, and couples.

Esther is the founder of Hope For Today Counseling Service and a Clinical Counsellor at Fraser Health – Primary Care Network.

Joshua Lenti-Jones

Joshua Lenti-Jones educated at the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Vancouver, graduating in 2005, in conjunction with direct tutelage from Dr. Tong Nian Zhuo, a modern master of classical methods. Joshua engaged in a portion of his practical studies at An Hui teaching hospital in Hei Fei City, China. He loves bantering and joking with his patients, but most of all he enjoys seeing them get better and thrive! Joshua loves motorcycles, fishing, the outdoors, music, and good company.

Lindi Nolte

Lindi Nolte is a South African-Canadian spoken word poet, storyteller, Tedx speaker, and educator. Lindi has been actively 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 and the west coast of the U.S. 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.

Lacey Lee Elliott

Lacey Lee Elliott was  an automotive journalist and TV host on Global Nationals “Driving Television.”  After working on the show for 20 years she had a brain tumour removed and decided she needed to make a major change in her life. Traveling in her RV with her dog Jasper and documenting her life experiences on YouTube, she learned first hand the effects of social media. Her passion in life is to inspire others with the understanding that it is ok sometimes to not be ok.

Seyi, ThePoet

Seyi, ThePoet is a passionate spoken word artist who brings raw emotion and profound insight to the stage. His performances, rich with themes of mental health and the human experience, have touched hearts and sparked conversations. Notable highlights of his career include a moving performance at the SFU Black Caucus Graduation and winning second place at the highly regarded Da Luv Jones Slam Competition.

Balancing his artistic pursuits with academic endeavors, Seyi, ThePoet is studying Music and honing his technical skills as an audio tech intern at Lobe Studios. This combination of creativity and technical expertise allows him to craft performances that are both emotionally powerful and sonically refined.

Seyi, The Poet uses his art to explore and document the struggles and triumphs of everyday life, offering a voice to those who may feel unheard. His work resonates deeply with audiences, creating connections and fostering a greater understanding of the shared human experience. Whether on stage or in the studio, Seyi, The Poet is dedicated to making a meaningful impact through his words and music.

Jonathan Cauri

Jonathan Cauri is Executive Director of Umoja Operation Compassion, a 20-year-old charity which provides holistic settlement support to multi-barrier newcomers and refugees of all cultural backgrounds living in Surrey. 

Umoja’s culturally attuned, trauma informed work is centered on its vision of “Building Strong Communities; Moving from Newcomers to Neighbours.” through upholding the dignity and unique worth of those they serve.

Jonathan has a background in marketing communications, client relations, and organizational development. While he originally served in the private sector, his move to community services was motivated by his lived experience as a first-generation immigrant and a growing burden to contribute his voice to the conversation on defining trends affecting the overall sense of wellbeing for our communities. 

On a personal note, he is originally from Nairobi, Kenya and is married with 3 grown children having moved to Canada in February of 2002. 

Entertainers

Lord nation

Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. Lordnation was born in Edo state, Nigeria. His love for music started at a young age from listening to different genres of contemporary music and playing in his high school strings orchestra.

The Nigerian Native pulls inspirations from the likes of Kanye West, Damien Escobar, Fela Kuti, Michael Jackson etc. “The goal is to inspire kids from the current generation to spread peace and love through music,” says the artist. After experiencing an emotional roller coaster during his migration from Nigeria to Canada, Lordnation has drawn inspiration from his struggles to create original music from the soul. As a means of giving back to the community, Lordnation also teaches classical violin lessons to kids who aspire to follow his musical journey.

By displaying the buoyant sound of the violin in various genres, Lordnation has broken boundaries and gotten the attention of many. His music has captivated audiences and introduced many to the art of the violin by playing beats and songs they can relate to. The growing popularity of the artist has required him to perform at several events in genres such as classical, hip-hop, R&B, and afro-beats.

Kara-Kata Afro beat live band

Kara-Kata Afrobeat Group, our musical spice is exotic and inspiring. We have been together since 2012 and we keep growing. We consider ourselves a family, a community united in our love for sharing Afrobeat music, African culture and celebrating the vast and diverse human landscape of Canada and Africa. We are multicultural, multiethnic and everyone is welcome.

Our band leader, Toyin Kayo-Ajayi is originally from Nigeria and he started the band to create a space of community and inclusivity. Our band is now one facet of our non-profit organization,

Kara-Kata Afrobeat Society of Canada, where we create events, offer community outreach and more recently we have been working on farm projects locally in Canada and in Nigeria. Our purpose for the band and organization is to come together in community, share African culture and spread joy. No doubt our events and shows will get you dancing, connecting and feeling the love!