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2017 Conference:

Day   Hr  Min Sec

Reading For The Love of It

Neil Pasricha
Thursday Special Opening Presentation
Happier Educators, Happier Classrooms

Neil Pasricha, a Harvard MBA, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning blogger, and one of the most popular TED speakers in the world, is the author of #1 international bestseller The Book of Awesome and the creator of the “1000 Awesome Things” website which has received nearly 20 million hits, averages 45,000 views a day, and has won two Webby Awards. His stunning first picture book, Awesome is Everywhere, has received international praise. With the simple touch of their fingers, children can go on a stunning interactive journey to see the world as they never have before.

His latest book, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything (also an international bestseller), draws on the latest research in happiness to increase individual performance and create a more positive and productive living and work environment.

Neil’s writing and work has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Sunday Times, China Daily, The Jakarta Post, The Sydney Herald and Wired. Until recently, he also spent a decade with Walmart, the world’s largest company, directly working for two CEOs and as the organization’s director of leadership development. He now travels all over the globe sharing messages on happiness to Fortune 500 companies, schools, and non-profits.

Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA) is a specialized, public arts-academic high school located in Toronto, Canada. Founded on September 8, 1981, Etobicoke School of the Arts has the distinction of being the oldest, free standing arts-focused high school in Canada. Students major in dance, drama, film, music (band or strings), music theatre or visual arts. Students work with committed staff in an exciting and dynamic curriculum tailored to each art. ESA’S Music Theatre program is the only kind of interdisciplinary program in the Toronto District School Board, which integrates Vocal, Theory, Drama, Dance and Technical Theatre to train and develop the student as a ‘triple threat’ performer.

Deborah Ellis
Thursday Luncheon Keynote
The Legacy Choice

Deborah Ellis is the author of more than 20 books for young people. In her novels and books of interviews, she tries to reflect the realities of life for kids living in war zones and other difficulties around the world. Deborah penned the international bestseller The Breadwinner, as well as many challenging and beautiful works of fiction and non-fiction about children all over the world including her most recent book entitled The Cat At The Wall. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She has received the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has been named to the Order of Ontario. As a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised, she “walks the talk,” donating most of her royalty income to worthy causes — Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Street Kids International, the Children in Crisis Fund of IBBY (International Board of Books for Young People) and UNICEF. She has donated more than one million dollars in royalties from her Breadwinner books alone. Deborah hopes that by learning about others’ struggles for courage we will learn how to have more courage ourselves.

Margaret Trudeau
Thursday Banquet Keynote
Changing My Mind

Margaret Trudeau is a Canadian icon, celebrated both for her role in the public eye and as a respected mental-health issues advocate. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit.

Margaret is the author of four books, including her bestselling title, Changing My Mind, which charts her life’s ups and downs, and her latest title, The Time of Your Life, which offers women an inspirational and practical approach to creating a healthy, happy, secure and satisfying future. Margaret sits on the Executive Advisory Board of the UBC Mental Health Institute as a community advocate, and she is the Honorary President of WaterAid, a charitable Canadian non-governmental agency that is dedicated to helping poor communities in developing countries build sustainable water-supply and sanitation services. She is also the proud mother to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Marie-Louise Gay
Friday Breakfast Keynote
Illustrated Words

Marie-Louise Gay has written and/or illustrated over sixty books for children: from picture-books like the Stella and Sam series, Caramba or Any Questions? to novels like Travels with my Family or The Traveling Circus. Her books have been published in over fifteen languages. Some of her books have been adapted for puppet theatre, live theatre and an award-winning animated TV series. Watch for her upcoming book, Short Stories for Little Monsters — which will be available at the conference! Marie-Louise has won many awards for her work, such as two Governor General’s Award, the Vicky Metcalfe Body of Work Award, the E. B. White Award and has been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Steve Paikin
Friday Luncheon Keynote
Literacy and Citizenship

Steve Paikin has been anchor of TVO’s flagship current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin since 2006. In 2013, he was appointed chancellor of Laurentian University in Sudbury, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and invested into the Order of Ontario. He was made a distinguished visiting professor at the Ryerson RTA School of Media and School of Journalism in the Faculty of Communication & Design (FCAD) in 2015. He has served as moderator of six election debates: the 2006, 2008, and 2011 federal leaders’ debates, and the 2007, 2011, and 2014 Ontario provincial leaders’ debates.

Steve has written seven books: The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics; The Dark Side: The Personal Price of a Political Life; Public Triumph, Private Tragedy: The Double Life of John P. Robarts; The New Game: How Hockey Saved Itself; Paikin and the Premiers: Personal Reflections on a Half Century of Ontario Leaders (Winner of the 2014 speaker’s Book Award); I Am A Victor: The Mordechai Ronen Story and most recently, Bill Davis — Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All. He has also produced several feature-length documentaries for TVO. Steve holds honorary doctorates from Victoria University, Laurentian University, Humber College and McMaster University.

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