Donna Church

Born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario Donna spent twenty-seven years living and working in various locations in Southern Ontario. During this time she has experienced learning as a college and university student. Her passion for the engagement of learners is born out of her personal experiences and amazing opportunities early in her career. For the past twenty-six years Donna has worked in the Ontario College system. Most recently she has assumed the role of Vice President Academic at Lambton College. Along with a team of dedicated people she is leading the Mobile – Class+ Experience. Donna has been a juvenile diabetic for the past 38 years. She has accepted this disease as a challenge that must be mastered. Donna is quick to adopt the use of innovative technologies to manage her disease. She is a very proud mother of two adult children.

Jason Dewling

Dr. Jason Dewling is a well-regarded educator with a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Alberta, but moreover, he is known as a highly energetic and visionary leader of people. Dr. Dewling has a very entrepreneurial and creative approach which is an ideal fit for the faculty and staff at Olds College, where he serves as VP Academic and Research. In recent years he has presented on leadership topics at several national conferences, served as a consultant, and co-written several articles. He was also nominated for a Manning Innovation award in 2014.

Olds College is known nationally for its approach to change and innovation. Recently, Olds has stepped forward with a bold new approach to engaging learners in a digital world. In addition to being the first fully integrated iPad learning environment in Canada, they have more bandwidth per student than any other post-secondary in Canada. Leveraging these two assets Olds College requires students to take a gamified entrepreneurship course on their iPads as a capstone course prior to graduation.

Jason is happily married to Heather Dewling for over 20 years and they share the joy of parenting their two daughters, Jenna (15) and Heidi (13). The Dewling family live in Olds, AB.

Will Gadd

“Nobody ever died wishing they had spent more time behind a desk.”

Will Gadd is one of the top outdoor adventure athletes in the world (Outside, Men’s Journal and Explore say so anyhow…). Will is best known for wild outdoor adventures in multiple different sports, but he’s most proud of his ability to complete those adventures safely and share them with others. He has appeared in, hosted or produced more than 100 global television projects. He is an award-winning writer (New York Times, Men’s Journal, etc.), film maker, and dad. His book on ice climbing is the top publication in its field, and has been translated into five languages. Gadd’s presentations on “Risk and Reward” and related topics take him all over the world to speak to audiences ranging from Nike and Enbridge to at-risk youth . He is the National Geographic “2015 Adventurer of the year” for his paragliding adventure in the Rockies.

Alex Russell

Dr. Alex Russell is a clinical psychologist who helps children develop resilience and their own personal relationship with school and achievement. At the heart of his message—and his book, Drop The Worry Ball—is that children learn by experiencing non-catastrophic, painful failure, and it is through the process of these failures that they mature into resilient, resourceful and emotionally balanced individuals.

Dr. Alex Russell believes that parents need to see failing—whether it’s a test, a course, or a tryout for a team as a normal part of growing up and not a sign of parental incompetence. In Drop The Worry Ball: How to Parent in the Age of Entitlement (co-authored by journalist Tim Falconer) and on stage, he offers a fresh perspective on raising children that is reassuringly familiar and strikingly sensible.

Dr. Russell provides assessments and psychotherapy to children and adults, in addition to consulting with schools, teachers and psychologists. He has addressed many parent and counsellor groups over the years. He is intimately familiar with the culture of the school system and the relationship that parents, teachers and counsellors share with regard to the children we are raising. He is a popular speaker to parents’ groups and educators, and has been an online mediator of a TV Ontario website focused on parenting and child development. He is a research affiliate with the Hincks-Dellcrest Institute where his activities include the development of an early intervention family therapy program serving families with children at risk, articles on children’s emotional development, and serving on the editorial board of Ideas: Emotional Well-Being in Child Care, a nationally circulated journal for early childhood educators. A father of two teenagers, he is an active parent in his community and an avid hockey player and coach.