Our Medical, Trauma and Mental Health Experts:
1. LCol Alexandra Heber MD FRCPC CCPE
Dr. Alexandra Heber was a mental health nurse for 9 years before entering medical school. She completed residency training in Psychiatry at McGill University and the University of Toronto. From 1996 to 2003, she was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and Coordinator of the Women’s Program in The HIV Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital. She was also the psychiatrist on an Assertive Community Treatment Team at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Toronto. Since 2003, she has worked for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). In 2006, Dr. Heber enrolled in the CAF at the rank of Major and was appointed the Clinical Leader of Mental Health Services for the CF Health Services Centre (Ottawa). She has presented nationally and internationally on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the military population, and has delivered educational sessions for Chaplains, Military Police, CF Interrogators, OPP, Ottawa Fire Services, and other first responders. In 2006, she was lead author on a NATO publication, “Combining Clinical Treatment and Peer Support: A Unique Approach to Overcoming Stigma and Delivering Care”. In 2007 she co-authored a book chapter in: Combat Stress Injury: Theory, Research and Management. Between 2006 and 2009, Dr. Heber authored a number of reports for the Justice Department, Government of Canada on cases involving torture and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In 2009, she deployed to Afghanistan for a three month tour as the Psychiatrist in Charge of the Canadian Forces Mental Health Services for Task Force Kandahar. In 2012, she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. In August 2013 she accepted a position in the CF Health Services Group Headquarters’ Directorate of Mental Health, the national body which sets standards and develops programs for the military mental health clinics across Canada. In 2014, LCol Heber, along with a colleague, developed an online course sponsored by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, entitled, “PTSD: A Primer for Primary Care Physicians”, which teaches doctors and other health care professionals how to recognize and treat PTSD. The course is fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
Dr. Heber is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa.
2. Dr. Manuela Joannou BSc. (Hons) M.D. CCFP (EM)
Dr. Joannou is a Family Physician and Emergency Medicine Physician currently practicing in Perth, ON. She is also the Medical Director of Tay River Reflections Medical Spa in Perth since 1999. Dr. Joannou graduated from the University of Ottawa Medical School in 1990. She completed her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Ottawa in 1992 and then achieved Special Competency in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care from the University of Ottawa in 1993. She was awarded the Frank P Craft Graduation Award for Excellence in Family Medicine. Dr. Joannou
has worked in various Emergency Departments including the Ottawa General and Ottawa Civic Hospitals, and in a number of community hospitals for 22 years. She has a special interest in psychotherapy and has been leading discussion groups and wellness programs and speaking at public events and conferences for the past 10 years. She has a specific interest in the field of PTSD in First Responders and Military Personnel.
3. Dr. Jeff Morley, Registered Psychologist
Dr. Jeff Morley is a Registered Psychologist, and Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress. Jeff recently retired from the RCMP as a Staff Sergeant after 23 years of service. In his private psychology practice Jeff works extensively with police, military and emergency responders. Jeff teaches on Psychologically Healthy Workplaces, Trauma & Resilience to organizations and first responders across Canada. Jeff also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches Trauma Counselling and Group Counselling.
4. Dr. Barbara Anschuetz EdD, RP, CTS Registered Psychotherapist
Barbara completed her Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto, is certified as a Trauma Psychotherapist, Trauma Specialist, Traumatologist, Expert in Traumatic Stress and Certified EMDR Therapist. She is the Clinical Director of The Trauma Centre, which provides a comprehensive treatment program for individuals and families in the areas of trauma therapy, counselling and critical incident response. She has 30 years’ experience that includes local, regional, national and international trauma psychotherapy, training, consultation and education. She has served on boards, task groups and committees to foster awareness of trauma and PTSD. For the past 18 years, Barbara has also served as the Clinical Director of the York Region CISM Team for first responders and their families. She has received numerous recognitions for her work in trauma response.
5. Dr. Isabelle Gamache
Dr. Gamache completed her Doctorate in clinical psychology at l’Université du Québec à Montréal and is a member of l’Ordre des psychologues du Québec. She is specialized in cognitive-behavioural therapy. She works as a psychologist for the Montreal City Police. Her work is to provide consultation, prevention and emergency response to police officers. Dr. Gamache is also a member of the trauma Studies center of l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal. The trauma studies center is a multidisciplinary research, teaching and clinical center dedicated to trauma related issues. Primarily, she offers evaluation and treatment to victims of PTSD. In addition, in her private practice, she
6. Joddie Walker, MS, RP, CTS, D.A.A.E.T.S. Registered Psychotherapist
Joddie holds a Masters of Science in Forensic Psychology and is a Certified Trauma Specialist with ATSS and National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children. She holds Diplomate status with the American Academy of Traumatic Stress and is a National (USA) Credentialed Advanced Advocate. In Joddie’s private practice, she specializes in first responders, their family members as well as civilians with PTSD, anxiety or depression. Joddie has 25 years of experience working directly with
crime victims in various program settings. She has been trained in three models for debriefing, each for a specific audience: first responders, children or community members. She aided first responders as part of two critical incident stress teams. Her direct experience includes volunteerism with two Peer Teams, one in Canada and the other in the USA. Joddie’s response with CISM also included responding to survivors of September 11th terrorist attack on two occasions and two populations: survivors of the South Tower and New York City Police Department. Joddie’s technical support and teaching includes conducting trainings throughout the USA and Canada on topics such as victimology issues and sexual offenders. Joddie has taught for the National Fallen Fire Fighter Foundation (USA) on death notification, trauma, grief and los s. She has also developed a peer/mental health led curriculum for first responders of child abuse on secondary traumatic stress. Her mission: to restore hope and healing to those whose job it is to bring hope to others.
7. Ms Linda Antoniazzi, BA, MSW, RSW, CTS, CTR
Ms. Antoniazzi has been a registered Social Worker in the Province of Ontario since 1989. She worked as an Adult Protective Services Worker, including being a public trustee, and as an individual, marital, and family therapist with a Family Service Bureau before working for 17 years in the field of child protection and abuse treatment. She taught various college courses in the Developmental Services Worker, Social Services Worker, Police Foundations, and Law and Security programs for Sheridan College, and she was deemed an expert witness in the Halton and Hamilton Family Courts on child protection matters.
For more than 25 years, Ms. Antoniazzi has specialized in treating persons victimized by childhood sexual, physical, and mental abuse, as well as rape, cult/ritual abuse, domestic violence, military trauma, and life-threatening events such as severe vehicular or workplace accidents. She has been instrumental in the development and ongoing training of Peer Support Teams to assist Children’s Aid Society staff in the event of traumatic incidents, and has provided individual and group therapy to victims of abuse and trauma, including firemen, police, and veterans.
Ms. Antoniazzi holds an MSW from McMaster University, as well as a BA in Sociology (with undergraduate studies in Psychology and Criminology), and a BSW from the University of Windsor. She is also certified internationally in the areas of Trauma Assessment and Treatment, Critical Incident Response, and Clinical Hypnosis. She is a Certified Trauma Responder and a Certified Trauma Specialist with the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialist and she has been a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies since 2006. She is a registered treatment provider for Veterans, RCMP and Military personnel with Blue Cross/Medavie, as well as a registered provider with Health Canada, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.
8. Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., RP., CCC., Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Co-Executive Director, TEND
Françoise is a Registered Psychotherapist in the province of Ontario and compassion fatigue specialist. Her experience stems from 20 years as a crisis counsellor, working in hospital, university counselling service and community mental health environments. Françoise is co- executive director of TEND, whose aim is to offer counselling, consulting and training to helpers on topics related to organizational health, secondary trauma, self-care, wellness, burnout and
compassion fatigue. Since 2001, Françoise has given hundreds of seminars on compassion fatigue and self-care across North America to thousands of helping professionals in the health care fields. Françoise is an engaging and dynamic speaker who offers evidence-based solutions to helpers seeking validation and new strategies to remain healthy while working in this challenging and rewarding field. Her positive outlook and commitment to helping clients excel are hallmarks of her work. Françoise is fluently bilingual in English and French and can present in either languages. She is the author of “The Compassion Fatigue Workbook” which was published by Routledge in 2012 as well as several articles and publications.
Our Lived Experience Trauma Survivors from within Federal Infra-structures:
9. Staff Sergeant Ron Campbell, RCMP “K” Division
Ron is a serving 34 year member of the RCMP, presently working in Employee & Management Relations in Edmonton. Ron was diagnosed with PTSD in 2004 and Major Depressive Disorder in 2009. Since then Ron has gone on to be a public speaker on Stress Management in Policing, and Self Care& Prevention of Operational Stress Injuries. His audiences have included the FBI, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, The Canadian Association of Police Governance, Canadian Police College, and many police conferences across the USA and Canada. Ron is a committee member on the Lieutenant Governor’s Circle and Mental Health and Addictions (Alberta) and supporter of the Warhorse Foundation. He is also active in peer support to first responders across Canada. His editor is putting the finishing touches on his book which he hopes to have published in 2015.
10. Deanna Lennox, War Horse Awareness Foundation
Deanna, recently retired after 16 years of service with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 2004, Deanna suffered a permanent hearing loss as a result of being exposed to several shotgun blasts. This injury abruptly ended Deanna’s operational policing career. The sudden loss of hearing - and the loss of her identity as a police officer - contributed to her suffering a bout of Major Depression. A few years later she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Deanna is determined to pass on what she refers to as “Tools in the Toolbox” for frontline service providers. In addition to professional counseling (including EMDR), she has experienced the benefits of working with horses, yoga, meditation, journaling and other alternative healing modalities. Deanna is a certified meditation teacher and brings the experience of meditation to her symposiums and retreats. In January 2015, Deanna’s memoir is scheduled to be released by HarperCollins. Her book, “Damage Done” chronicles her experiences in the RCMP, her struggles with depression and PTSD, the creation of the War Horse Awareness Foundation and her passion to continue to help others.
11. Sergeant (ret’d.)Kurt Grant, CD2
Sergeant (ret’d.) Kurt Grant is a 32 year veteran of the Canadian Forces Reserves. In 1994 he left a high paying job in the Defence industry to serve as a peacekeeper with the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) in Croatia on Operation Harmony, Rotation 5. As a result of his experience in the Balkans, he published his first book, All Tigers No Donkeys (Vanwell, 2004). This was followed several years later by Pilgrimage: A Soldiers Search for God and Church (Self Published 2010). In addition to his responsibilities as an infantry Sergeant, he worked at the Directorate of History
and Heritage as a researcher and writer, and was the Managing Editor of the prestigious CANADIAN ARMY JOURNAL. In addition to his own works, Sergeant Grant has edited a number of professional and private books, made several book contributions, and have published more than thirty articles in peer reviewed journals. Sergeant Grant was diagnosed with PTSD in 2011.
12. Richard Chenier, Managing Partner, Chenier Consulting Canada
Richard has over 30 years of senior management and consulting experience. He had a distinguished 16-year career in the Manitoba public service including five years as Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines and Co-operative Development. Richard served as Executive Director of the Social Planning Council of Sudbury for a three year period. Driven by a lengthy family and personal history of mental illness, he went on to become a founding member of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. He was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 1985 while leading a provincial delegation to Brazil and subsequently PTSD as a result of his experiences in the RCMP at the beginning of his career. In 1998 he started Chenier Consulting Canada. Over the past seventeen years he has specialized in mental health and continues to provide national organizations and provincial government ministries with his services in project management, strategic planning, research, evaluation and facilitation. More recently he has served as catalyst and project manager developing state of the art online training programs for Canadian physicians, Canadian nurses and other healthcare professionals along with a learning program to support Canadian lawyers, judges and legal students. Richard has a special interest in mental wellness in the workplace and shares his unique personal experience from both an employer and employee perspective. He promotes back to work strategies that are founded on education, early intervention, prevention and the financial and social burden of mental illness in the workplace.
He advocates recovery models which are centred on promoting safe workplaces and peer support.
Our Lived Experience Trauma Survivors from within Provincial, Municipal, Private Infra- structures and Personal Experiences:
13. Staff Sergeant (Ret’d.) Sylvio (Syd) A Gravel, M.O.M.
Syd Gravel, a former Staff Sergeant from the Ottawa Police Service, with 31 years’ experience, is one of the founding fathers of Robin’s Blue Circle, a post-shooting trauma team of peers, first established in 1988. Syd is an over 25 year PTSD survivor and has been a peer supporter since 1988. In 2007, he was nominated and inducted by his peers and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, for the Order of Merit in Policing, Canada. Since his retirement he has devoted all his time and energy to addressing the development of resilience and resistance to trauma and peer support within the emergency and enforcement environments, including the writing of his two books, “56 Seconds” and “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support” available at www.56secondsbook.com, He is a volunteer with Badge of Life Canada.
14. Staff Sergeant (Ret’d.) Brad McKay, C.T.R., C.T.S.S.
Brad McKay is a retired veteran with 33 years of service with York Regional Police. Brad co-created the York Region Critical Incident Stress Management Team in 1996 where he holds a position as advisor to the executive and alumni team lead. Brad started the Operational Stress Injury Prevention and Response Unit for the York Regional Police and lead the creation the Peer Support Team there in 2014. As a Certified Trauma Services Specialist, Brad has responded to and coordinated over a thousand interventions for front line responders and their families. He leads Trauma Recovery Groups, provides peer support in a weekly first responder yoga program. Under the umbrella of MDSC he is an instructor in the “Transitions to Communities” project in Toronto and has been assisting as an interim site coordinator. As a volunteer on 2 Peer Teams, Brad is a community minded energetic advocate for wellness and peer support. Brad is a Team Lead, for the Peer and Trauma Support Systems with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. He recently co-authored “Walk the Talk” a peer support systems guide with Syd Gravel.
At The Trauma Centre in Sharon Ontario, Brad provides clinically supervised peer support that falls within the spectrum as determined by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in their “Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support” The Trauma Centre believes that there is significant value having peer support systems included in the recovery model for their clients.
Brad is a National Senior Police Advisor to the Board of Directors for Badge of Life Canada.
A motorcycle enthusiast, a bicyclist, and a hiker, Brad enjoys travel of all kinds and any outdoor activities. As a devoted father of 2 young ladies, he appreciates the value of family and connections
15. Kristina Hulton, Health and Wellness Specialist
Kristina Hulton has been promoting wellness for the past 18 years. She has developed strong facilitation skills during her tenure as a professor in the Fitness & Health Promotion Programs at both Loyalist College and St. Lawrence College as well as acting as a course conductor for the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology. Currently, Kristina is a Workplace Wellness Specialist at St. Lawrence College in the Corporate Learning & Performance Improvement Department.
Kristina’s efforts helped St. Lawrence College achieve the “Gold Award” from KFL&A Health Unit for workplace wellness initiatives in 2012 & 2013. Kristina specializes in helping police organizations develop psychological health and wellness programs. Kristina is a trained Co-Active Coach© through Coaches Training Institute and has utilized her coaching skills to develop customized psychological health & safety programs for police organizations. She has developed psychological health and safety management training workshops, front-line officer psychological wellness programs and she is also the Principal Investigator for an applied research project “Developing and implementing a comprehensive management training program that supports
and promotes psychological health & safety in policing.” Kristina has experience delivering the Guarding Minds @ Work tool and is our “go-to” person for such work.
16. Rae-Lynne Dicks, BA-Criminology, MA-Criminal Justice
Rae-Lynne Dicks is a former 911 Communications Operator (VPD & VFRS), with 10 years’ experience and is a 12 year survivor of chronic PTSD due to cumulative traumatic incidents. As part of her master of arts degree, Rae-Lynne conducted the first research in Canada that focused specifically on Canadian 911 operators and PTSD; it is titled, Prevalence of PTSD Symptoms in Canadian 911 Operators. Rae-Lynne is a volunteer with Badge of Life Canada and a guest speaker for Tema Conter. Rae-Lynne regularly speaks publicly to share her story that she blends with discussion about the early warning signs along with the development of PTSD as she experienced it. Rae-Lynne also discusses issues involving stigma in first responder organizations and her road to survival, including how she made the conscious decision to live. Rae-Lynne’s goals are twofold;
1) to effect change in the emergency services industry and 2) to pursue her doctorate.
17. Tamara Gaboury
Tamara is a 9-1-1 Dispatcher Supervisor for the Grande Prairie Fire Department with over 16 years of experience. Tamara understands the challenges of trying to balance work life and home life and has successfully implemented a variety of tools and strategies that help her continue to excel in both areas of her life. Tamara is a graduate from the Leadership Institute and a member of the Wellness Fitness Initiative Committee at the Grande Prairie Fire Department. She is a certified Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach and has utilized this training to help fi rst responders and corporate groups learn about and cope with occupational stress. Tamara has been invited to speak at several events including the Association of Public-Safety Communication
Officials in Vancouver in 2014. Tamara is dedicated to educating people about the benefits of addressing operational stress injuries by sharing her training and experiences with others.
18. Tom Gabriel (Dipl.) ACW, ICADC, CCAC, CTSS (ret. Police Constable)
Tom is certified by the Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation as an International Alcohol and Drug Counsellor (ICADC), a Certified Canadian Addictions Counsellor (CCAC) and holds a certification with the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists as a Certified Trauma Services Specialist (CTSS). Tom also received his diploma (Addiction Care Worker) from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. His extensive background includes 35 years as a former Police Officer that has given him a unique perspective with those who suffer from addiction, trauma and related mental health issues not only from the streets of Toronto, but also within his own profession when dealing with colleagues and their families during his eight-year tenure with the Toronto Police Service's Employee and Family Assistance Program.
After retiring from the Service in February of 2012, he continues to assist Service Members and their families in his current position with the Toronto Police Association as an EFAP Consultant, Crisis and Addiction Counsellor. Tom has presented in many venues for police agencies, conferences, colleges, private companies and many other speaking engagements.
To recognize his achievements in policing and for his work with Service Members and their families, he was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and later awarded the Peter Armstrong Community Award of Excellence from the Renascent Foundation. Tom is on the Board of Directors and Planning Committee for the Annual Institute on Addiction Studies and has served as a past Board Member for Alpha House (long-term recovery home for men in Toronto) and past President on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation.
19. Detective Sergeant (Ret’d.) Danny (Dan) Bowers
Dan spent over 30 years with the Ontario Provincial Police before retiring in 2008. His resume includes; criminal investigator, communications centre supervisor, intelligence officer and O.P.P. liaison to Interpol. As a result of his time in policing, Dan has been living with PTSD for more than 31 years. Following his retirement, Dan worked as a consultant and training facilitator in the fields of private security, policing and military intelligence. He is both a dynamic and passionate speaker who has lectured to groups in excess of 400 people. Depending on the subject matter, participants have come from over 20 countries. Dan has always been extremely proactive in matters concerning police and public safety. His philosophy is rather straight forward; knowledge and experience must be shared where it can help others! Prior to his career in policing, Dan spent 4 years as a proud member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
20. District Fire Chief J. Dave Connor
Chief Connor is a decorated 34 year veteran at Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services, serving Ontario’s third largest City. He initiated the MFES Peer Support Program in 1989, and continues to serve as the training coordinator. He co-developed and delivered a mental health training program to over 600 members, and is currently working with City Employee Health Services to implement the National Standard for Workplace Mental Health at MFES. He is a mental health trainer and leadership communication facilitator, and specializes in company officer development.
21. Neil Orr (Ret’d) York Regional Police.
Neil began his policing career with the O.P.P in 1984, before joining the York Regional Police in 1987. His career has included assignments in Communications, Child Abuse, Forensics and the Training Bureau. Neil is a PTSD survivor and is has been a committed Peer Support member and trainer for the
York Region Critical Stress Team for over 15 years which has included deployment to New York City in 2002 to support NYPD Officers. Recently Neil was part of the selection process of the York Regional Police Peer Support Team. Neil currently serves in the capacity of Peer Support on the York Regional Police CISM Alumni Team. Neil shares his personal and professional experiences openly as a dynamic positive presenter.
22. K. Paul MacKenzie, C.A.D.C., C.T.R., C.T.S.S.
Paul is a former Halifax Regional Police Officer (Rtd.), having served in Patrol Division, Mounted Division and as the Employee and Family Assistance Program Coordinator. Paul is presently the Firefighters and Family Assistance Program Manager for the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency.
Over the past 30 years, Paul has developed and implemented policies and programs pertaining to the delivery of Employee and Family Assistance Programs, Referral Agent Programs, Critical Incident Stress Management to emergency service providers such as the RCMP, Emergency Medical Care (EMC) Paramedics, 911 Operators, Children’s Aid Society, Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority, Atlantic Support Services Association and the Canadian Coast Guard. As well as for community based trauma response teams such as Strait Area Debriefing Association, Eastern Shore CISM Debriefing Team, Kanesatake Community Trauma Response Team (Quebec), Yarmouth County Community Response Team and the Chippewa’s of Georgina Island (Ontario).
Paul has also worked with the Native Community in the Maritimes as the liaison officer between the Regional Police and the Native Community. He continues to work with the Native Community across Canada as well he has served on the Atlantic First Nations Task Force on HIV/AIDS, former healing consultant for Teachings of the Sweet Grass Braid Society (survivors of residential school), a facilitator of the teachings of the Medicine Wheel and an associate counselor for the Eagles’ Nest Recovery House. Paul is the former Director of the Spirit of the Eagles’ Feather Society.
Paul is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Traumatic Stress Network. He is also currently a member in good standing with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists, the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention, the Suicide Information & Education Centre, the former Nova Scotia EAP Association (Past President) and the Addictions Intervention Association. Paul is past Vice Chair of the Executive Board of Directors for Alcare Place, an addictions recovery house located in Halifax, NS and recently served as the Atlantic Regional Director on the National Board of Directors for MADD Canada.
Paul has been recognized for his work and has received many awards such as the St. John Ambulance Appreciation Award, The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. Jerusalem, The Priory of Canada, The Halifax Police Department Award of Recognition for the Employee Assistance Program, Medals of Exemplary Service from the Province of Nova Scotia, Health Canada Award of Recognition for services provided for the Swissair Flight 111 Recovery, 2007 National recipient of the Tema Conter Memorial Trust Public Service Award and recipient of the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Paul has also been featured in many articles on the both his personal and professional life and most recently was featured in the book “The Sixty Second Story” written by Janice Landry.
23. Dwight Powless
Dwight Powless is a Mohawk from Six Nations Reserve near Brantford Ontario. As a young child Dwight along with his siblings were sent to the Mohawk Institute residential school. Dwight’s mother, also a product of residential school, sent her children to the Mohawk Institute to escape extreme poverty. This experience proved to be more damaging than remaining home. Residential school put Dwight into a tumultuous environment of sexual , physical and mental abuse and neglect. The wounds of Residential school made Dwight susceptible to further abuse in his home community. Continued abuse led to addictions.
Dwight fled his community and joined the military in hopes to escape his anguish, in an effort to start a new life. The structure of the military echoed residential school. The culture of the military continued the pattern of racial intolerance and verbal abuse. He tried to use his work ethic and academic successes to prove he was a valuable individual. But, this approach to acceptance had little positive effect. It strengthened the harms done to him and they boiled to the surface. Lashing out physically became a pattern of behavior that sent him to confinement on a regular basis. Then alcohol became his self medication to suppress and smother the anger and pain. Constant failure drove Dwight to attempt suicide. The military’s solution was medical discharge after a short period of medical treatment. Alcohol continued to be Dwight’s medication.
Dwight’s life then assumed the pattern of wandering. Looking for a place to belong. Alcohol and a failed marriage were constant companions. Despite the trauma that haunted Dwight, it was the work ethic his mother had instilled in him when he was little that sustained his development and progress in his work career. Early in his career, Dwight immersed himself in cultural experience and knowledge to rebuild his core self. It is culture that gave him the tools to overcome his addiction. The culture gave him the strength to recognize that his marriage was over. Dwight began to take control of his own life. However long it would take, Dwight was preparing himself to face head on the pain of residential school.
He recognized that the residential school experience was the root of everything negative that had happened in his life and he was going to do something about it. Dwight hired a lawyer. The negativity that he had internalized for years did not belong to him. It belonged elsewhere. At this point Dwight began to speak aloud about his experiences. First to the lawyer, then to other survivors who were just beginning to face their experiences.
All the while that Dwight was going through his healing; his work ethic sustained his life physically and mentally while culture reeducated him emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As those parts merged and Dwight began to function as a single unit, his career improved simultaneously.
During his 34 years with Canada Post, he went from a technician to Manager of Tech Services in 3 major plants in Canada. In 1994 he switched career direction into Retail of Northern Services, Prairie Region as Manager. During this time, Dwight’s work was recognized with awards and is one of very few who won all three Post Mark Awards: Team Award, Silver PostMark and Gold PostMark for exceptional service.
Canada Post created a new position at Head Office Ottawa in 1999 and asked Dwight to become the Aboriginal Relations Manager. During this period, Dwight was instrumental in helping CPC develop an Aboriginal strategy for increasing Aboriginal participation within the organization. As a result, CPC became recognized as the first Crown corporation to achieve the Bronze, Silver and Gold Hallmark Awards in Progressive Aboriginal Relations Program (P.A.R.). Dwight continued in this job until his retirement in 2009.
Upon retirement, Dwight took on two new projects by request. The editor and owner of SAY (Spirit of Aboriginal Youth) magazine asked Dwight to take on a role as Product Development Manager. Dwight initiated their best selling product: The Education Guide, a single source for the Aboriginal student wanting to pursue post-secondary education. It continues to be an anticipated issue each year.
The second project was initiated in the Algonquin College Access Program as the Community Liaison Resource: A program to develop Aboriginal participation in the relationship among the college, the student and the Aboriginal community. In 2014, Algonquin College received international recognition for a program that Dwight created: The Develop Mentor Program, a youth employment and personal development program. Dwight continues in strategic development for the benefit of Aboriginal communities.
Dwight also is an Aboriginal consultant for Diversity at Work in London (ON), a privately owned business to encourage diversity in the workplace. Dwight is a panel member for the IdeaConnector organization: a think tank that discusses the possible future roles of Aboriginal people in Canada’s future. It is culture that enabled him to be successful. It is culture that continues to inspire Dwight at this stage in his life.
24. Elaine Poulin, Health and Wellness Consultant
Elaine, a communications graduate, has devoted the past 10 years at offering wellness programs and tools to people in need. After spending time volunteering at the Palliative Care Unit of the Ottawa Mission, Elaine responded to a longing of the soul. In 2005 she sold her thriving gift basket business. One year later she sold her home and traveled to Africa to help the sick and less fortunate in one of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso. Elaine worked as a volunteer for 10 months to implement social activities for members of an African based association whom struggled with the effects of HIV. This experience changed the course of her life. Upon her return, despite a growing sense of vulnerability, Elaine continued to work with the sick and the dying in long-term health care facilities and palliative care units for 3 years. In 2010, Elaine was diagnosed with delayed onset post- traumatic stress disorder and a major depression.
Mobilizing all of her resources towards full personal empowerment, Elaine was able to recover. Through the sharing of her experiences in her workshops, Elaine demystifies PTSD and speaks on how she stabilized her wound. The road to recovery has been an inspiring process of personal growth which she has pushed herself to undertake. After spending 18 months in intensive EMDR treatments, Elaine developed a personal mission of helping others through her writings and workshops.
Her sense of curiosity, engagement and willpower has continued to flourish over the past 3 years through research and continued education in the field of resiliency building. She has completed her reflexology training and studied the principles of coaching and integral development through New Ventures West. Her keen interest in the field of neuroscience has led her to attend a conference in New York by Dr. Joe Dispenza. This knowledge she shares in her workshops.
In 2015, Elaine has presented a workshop on PTSD to a team of nurses from the Federal Government. As well, she presented a motivational seminar in May at the SHAW Center (Ottawa Convention Center) for the Association of Public Sector Information Professionals. She is listed as part of the speaker’s bureau of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
The professional challenges which Elaine has overcome in various work environments have made of her a natural motivator, a consummate humanist and an encouraging bilingual speaker and facilitator.
Elaine Poulin is the author of the book Perdre Sa Boussole, Reprendre Pied. She is presently finalizing the English version of the book which will be published in the fall of 2015. As indicated by the Honorable L’Gen Romeo Dallaire, in his preface to her book, Elaine shares very openly her difficult journey towards recovery. She demystifies PTSD and adds to the substance of our knowledge. As she confronts her powerlessness not only does she give value to her experience, she also invites those with similar wounds to step out of the shadows and live fully despite the wound.