2016 Speakers

Dr. Abigail Adebusuyi


Abigail holds a PhD degree in Microbiology and Biotechnology from the University of Alberta and has 10+ years’ experience in biological research and teaching. She has been involved in a number of multidisciplinary research projects such as the Hydrocarbon Metagenomics Project and the Bioconversion of coal into fuel using enhanced engineering pathways. Currently as an Applied Scientist with Grande Prairie Regional College’s Research and Innovation Center, she investigates innovative ways to improve microalgae cultivation for carbon capture and production of valuable bioproducts. Abigail is interested in using her expertise to optimize microbial processes and develop sustainable solutions to deal with environmental problems.

Talk Summary

Abigail draws on her research experience and technical expertise to provide a critical look at how some groundbreaking research is leading to natural and sustainable solutions to today’s environmental issues.


Horacio Galanti


Horacio is a Civil Engineer as well as a passionate high altitude mountain climber, polar explorer and ultra-marathoner. He started climbing at a very early age and throughout the years he progressed to tackle the big mountains of the world. Horacio works for the City of Grande Prairie as Director of Community Safety and he is leading a large service area with more than 350 employees.

In 2001, after leading more than 40 expeditions to high altitude peaks in his native Argentina, Horacio set out to complete The Grand Slam of Mountaineering: climb the highest mountain of each continent (The Seven Summits) and reach the North and South Poles by foot. As part of the Project, he summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt Elbrus, Mt Aconcagua and Mt. McKinley. In 2013, Horacio reached the summit of Mt. Everest where he set a new World Record using mobile technology, performing the highest banking transaction on Earth, in association with his sponsor, the Standard Chartered Bank from Singapore.

In April 2014, he finished the North Pole Marathon – 42 km on ice at – 50°C and later that year he traveled to Papua New Guinea to climb the Carstensz Pyramid, a technical rock climb in one of the most remote places on the planet. The final expedition to finish The Grand Slam of Mountaineering was completed a few months ago in Antarctica, where Horacio, in a period of 4 weeks, climbed Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica and then, he skied 140 km in temperatures around 60 below, to reach the Geographic South Pole.

Talk Summary

The 7 Summits + 2 Poles Project is a mountain experience and a trip around the world, connecting mountains, people and cultures to discover the power of nature in untamed environments. The presentation will feature the marvels of high altitude landscapes and the lessons learnt while climbing the highest peak of every continent and reaching the North and South Poles by foot.


Alan Goff


Alan is an award-winning speaker who one enthusiastic audience member called “The most passionate speaker on the planet.”

He has received numerous awards including being recognized and awarded for ‘Outstanding Leadership and Achievement’ by the Metropolitan Executive and Professional Registry, as well as receiving Dale Carnegie’s ‘Highest Award for Achievement’.

Alan’s work has taken him throughout North America and abroad. He has been published in national magazines including New York City’s ‘Mainline Magazine’ and the Canadian Institute of Management’s ‘Leaders in Management’ publication.  He was featured on the CBS Network program ‘Leading Experts’, and is a frequent media guest on numerous radio and internet broadcast stations.

Alan has spoken to C-Level executives, sales & network marketing professionals in a wide variety of industries, colleges, schools, governments, churches and countless associations. He has shared the stage with internationally-recognized experts, sports celebrities, best-selling authors and politicians, and was honored to speak at the Nebraska State Capital.

Alan is the President of Achieving Goals, a training and consulting company specializing in organizational health, team leadership, achievement, and human potential. He is a founding member of The John Maxwell Team of Certified Leadership Coaches, Teachers and Speakers, and has been speaking professionally since 2006.

Talk Summary

As a kid, Alan used to “jump the train and ride the rails” home from school (yup, he was too lazy to walk across town). Little did he know then, watching cars couple in the switching yards would lead to profound lessons on how leaders connect – or fail to connect – with their people. Combined with experiences from his love for travel, Alan will discuss connection lessons from Travel Agents, Tour Guides, and Locomotive Leaders.


Kevin Hilgers


Kevin Hilgers has resided in Grande Prairie for over 20 years. After 15 years in broadcasting, he became an entrepreneur. Wave Media assists businesses with marketing. One of his larger projects for the past 7 years has been operating the very successful Rotary Dream Home Lottery as Raffle Manager. Kevin and his wife Janice have two children in the later years of their education. Kevin is an active member of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie, an organization that offers fun, friendships, networking, leadership skills, and the opportunity to serve the community. Since joining, he has been on the executive board, eventually becoming president. He also became Rotary International District 5370 Governor 2012/13. This four year journey took him and Janice to training events and opportunities worldwide. As Governor, he led and inspired over 2300 Rotarians in the world’s third largest Rotary district to grow their community service capacity. He has spoken to over 70 Rotary clubs and at many events in that role. Kevin believes “I’ve received far more from Rotary than I could ever repay, but I’m going to try”. He enjoys inspiring others to receive the benefits of serving the community, whether locally or globally.

Talk Summary

Kevin has seen many people’s lives enriched by connecting with their community.   Often, as is the case with Kevin,  the rewards of community service can outweigh the investment of time and energy put into it.  By connecting with your community – be it local or international – you may be surprised by who gets the most out of it.


Cara Jones


Cara Jones is an international award-winning short-documentary filmmaker, an award-winning mixed media artist, a youth advocate, author, blogger & podcaster.

Passionate about the power of storytelling, Cara has reached out to extraordinary people who have inspired her life journey sharing their experiences through her podcast.  Some of these wonderful individuals included, Canadian Rocker, Bif Naked, Olympic Gold Medal Winner, Megan Mikkleson and founder of the world renowned social enterprise Me to We and Free the Children, Craig Kielburger.

Cara loves engaging diverse audiences and continues to spread her message of faith, hope, perseverance, and resilience to an international audience. As a youth and community engagement advocate Cara captivates her audience by sharing her experience in Media Literacy, Media & Social Justice, Community Engagement & Capturing Lived Experiences as well as Conscious Living Through Interconnectivity.

Talk Summary

Familiar Strangers: ‘How your personal story can create a ripple effect that inspires and changes lives.’

When Cara Jones was 18 years old a stranger changed her life by sharing their personal story of overcoming adversity. It led her down a path of using her artistic skills to capture and highlight the power of simple connections amongst strangers.


Judy Kucharuk

Biography a_judy

“Think before you speak Judy, look before you leap Judy”: Constant reminders given to Judy (Stanley) Kucharuk by her peers as she was growing up. Thankfully, this rebellious small town girl simply could not comply and a rushed headlong into life, unable to edit the words that bubbled to the surface unchecked. Those (oftentimes) inappropriate thoughts and words became a conduit for her to share her lifelong struggle with depression.

Judy now lives in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and when she isn’t working full time as a Special Events Manager at the Encana Events Centre, she is writing her weekly column for the Alaska Highway News or recording her bi-weekly column “Peace of Mind” for CBC Radio Daybreak North.

Recently Kucharuk published her first book titled, “Naked Tuesday” – a self deprecating collection of real-life essays which follows the author as she gets older….but never quite grows up. The book is an intimate, relatable look at her life as a daughter, a wife and a mother and how she uses humour to share her life experiences.

Summary of Talk

They say that membership has its privileges. Okay… as a member of the (not) exclusive club of Canadians suffering from depression, Judy has the privilege of sharing her experience wrestling with the chainmail that occasionally encapsulates her being, making movement towards any shred of sunlight virtually impossible. Unashamed and not willing to hide behind a mask of “I’m okay…really I am”, Kucharuk will discuss her lifetime struggle with a brain that from time to time, feels the need to pull the shades down and retreat into a corner.


Victoria Wanihadie


Teacher and Truth-Seeker

Victoria Wanihadie is an advocate for the rights of the Dunvegan Beaver People #152. In an effort to help the Tsattine Beaver descendants, an elder let her know that she needs to know her roots.

Taking the elder’s advice, she has been on the road for the last year meeting the Tsattine Beaver descendants, and listening to their stories.   In doing so, she realized the importance of resuscitating her endangered language and culture.

Talk Summary

Before finding her ‘roots’ Victoria was bullied for her actions in choosing against greed. By getting to know her cultural past, Victoria learned of the cultural genocide of the Beaver People of Dunvegan. Now she is collaborating with others, to restore her tribal language and practices.