Speakers' Corner

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    Future Speakers

    • Please note that the list of Future Speakers will be placed on hold until we are able to meet again safely.

    • Speakers In the Recent Past

    • June 3, 2020 ~ Note: This meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19, but the second "Speakers in Isolation" video series was provided involving eminent Canadian, Dr Christopher DiCarlo,philosopher and educator, at the University of Toronto.

    • May 6, 2020 ~ Note: This meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19. Instead the "Speakers in Isolation" series was commenced featuring astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Sunita williams.

    • April 1, 2020 ~ Note: This meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19, but the following information is being left to indicate what was intended. Gates Cooney will do a presentation on Emotional Intelligence. According to Gates, the research is clear that Emotional Intelligence is essential to building a balanced life. In this one-hour interactive emotional intelligence presentation (prepared specifically for Probus members), we will learn about:
        • Emotional Intelligence – what it is and why it’s important personally and professionally
        • The science behind emotions: what the brain does under pressure and a specific technique for managing derailing emotions
        • Emotional Connection: a model to connect with others even under pressure.
      With over thirty years of professional experience as a learning specialist and facilitator, Gates brings seasoned expertise to her training delivery. She recently retired from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission where she worked as a senior learning specialist for 18 years. She earned her accreditation in Emotional Intelligence from the Institute of Health & Human Potential (IHHP) and her credentials in adult learning from St. FX University and her studies at Walden University. Gates received her training as a facilitator via Intersol and Langevin Learning Services. Her passion for adult learning is surpassed only by her passion for Emotional Intelligence. An open-minded lover of learning, Gates insists she learns just as much from the adults she teaches as they do from her. Her desire to inspire others and help them reach their full potential by developing emotional intelligence and effective communication skills keep her motivation and commitment strong.

    • March 4, 2020 ~ There were two separate presentations at this meeting. 

      The first presentation was given by Marlene Pearce, President of Probus Canada, accompanied by Jamie Doolittle VP and District Director, with a presentation on Probus in honour of  Probus Month. Marlene gave a description of the history of Probus and the phenominal growth that has taken place since its inception.  There was also be a related celebration of our Charter Members to mark Probus Month.

      The second presentation was given by Joellen McHard and Steven Brown who spoke about the 'Lanark County Community Justice' program. The purpose of this extremely successfull initiative is to bring people together to repair the harm from conflict and crime and to promote the use of restorative practices. The high standards of their program was recognized in 2013 when they received the Attorney General of Ontario Award for Excellence. It is a court diversion program for both youth and adult offenders.
      Joellen McHard is the Executive Director of Lanark County Community Justice. She has a degree in Sociology and a degree in Gerontology, plus a wealth of experince with other organizations.
      Steven Brown is a 26 year veteran OPP officer who has supported this program from it's inception in 2000.(OPP). He is Carleton University BA graduate in Sociology / Anthropology with a concentration in criminology.

      Restorative Justice from an Indigenous Perspective (not directly related to presentation)

    • February 5, 2020 ~ local author and historian, John McKenty, returned to do a presentation on "The Life & Times of Joe Perkins". In his latest book by this title, John has taken a very objective perspective in telling Joe Perkin's story by weaving the many versions that he has uncovered. It is a story full of accolades and acrimony depending on who tells it. Joe was part showman and part salesman, but was he a visionary or an opportunist? The people of Perth could never decide.
      John retired as a high school principal in 2004 after 30+ years in education. He has partnered with local organizations and over a 100 volunteers as he chaired the Stewart Park Festival for the past 10 years, the subject of his last presentation to Probus in May 2019. In 2018 he was awarded the Perth Medal for his volunteer efforts and his contribution to the Perth community. He has written 6 books of local history and a history of the CCM company.

    • January 8, 2020 ~ Since Ontario has been revising how Health Care Service is to be delivered, Michele Bellows was invited to come to discuss Ontario Health Care Teams and what is happening locally. She explained some of the Primary Health Care options for health care which include: Nurse Practitioners, Family Physicians and Virtual Care. Michele is the new Chief Executive Officer of Rideau Community Health Services, a multi-site organization providing Primary Health Care in Merrickville, Smiths Falls, Perth, Lanark, Leeds and Greenville. She will explain what Community Health Care Centres are and their Model of health and wellbeing. Originally from St. John's Newfoundland, Michelle has an extensive nursing career, including several senior managerial positions in different facilities, as well as part-time professorial roles.

    • December 4, 2019 ~ Mary Dawson gave an interesting overview of the Federal Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's Office and the reporting requirements as covered by the act. She followed up with a discussion of some of her cases and addressed questions and comments. She was the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in Ottawa from July 9, 2007 to January 8, 2018. She administered the Conflict of Interest Act for senior public office holders and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, she had a long and distinguished legal career within the Department of Justice, and was Associate Deputy Minister from 1988 to 2005. She drafted many important Acts of Parliament in the early part of her career and then led the Public Law Sector where she provided legal advice to the Government in public law matters, including aboriginal affairs. She played an important role in relation to constitutional matters, including the drafting of the patriation package (Constitutional Act, 1982) and all subsequent Constitutional amendments and proposals until her departure, including the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord. Ms. Dawson was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1978 and was named to the Order of Canada in 2007.

    • November 6, 2019 ~ club members David and Helga Zimmerly talked about their fascinating year in Khartoum in the second year of the reign of Omar al-Bashir, who recently was forced out of power in that country. They spoke about witnessing the effects of his harsh rule. Using David’s photographic images, they gave an illustrated talk on their time there – a mélange of cultures and exotic events – Sufi whirling dervishes, Filipino cockfights, Nuba wrestling – in the midst of starvation , displacement and civil war. David and Helga spent 10 years exploring the world in their 35 ft. cruising sailboat before settling here in Perth. Their adventure in Khartoum was just one the adventures they experienced in their 10-year odyssey. For a glimpse of their adventures, please click here for a sample from their e-book “The Voyage of Erasmus Volume 1 - Ottawa to the Arctic.

    • October 2, 2019 ~ Maggie McDougall from Spectrum Cannabis, the medical division of Canopy Growth, provided an educational presentation on medical cannabis. She discussed cannabis legislation, the uses of medical cannabis, safe and responsible use and accessing medical cannabis.

      Maggie is local to Smiths Falls and surrounding area with deep roots in the community. As the Community Engagement Specialist, she is excited to combine her passions for Canopy Growth, building community, and cannabis for wellness. She began her career at Canopy Growth in Customer Care, where she gained valuable brand and product experience. She's passionate about education around making informed decisions, whether for wellness or recreational use.

    • September 4, 2019 ~ Probus Perth member Audrey Cole gave a presentation on supported decision-making ~ "Guardianship or Equality? Is there a choice?" In the growing consciousness of human rights of the post WWII era, the inherent discrimination in traditional notions of guardianship surfaced in the then developing disability rights community. Generally speaking, amongst all other citizens, only people with severe intellectual disabilities were subject from the age of majority onwards to the often arbitrary loss of equality and legal status inherent in guardianship law. Unfortunately, beyond their immediate families and supporters, few people cared. Thus, from the earliest days of the family driven Community Living Association, the search for alternatives to traditional guardianship has been on the agenda. Despite those decades of effort, we are not yet there for everyone but the notion of an accountable, world wide, concept of supported decision making is now firmly embedded in Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which Canada and many other countries have now ratified. Ultimately, our still oppressive provincial laws in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada are required to comply. Similarly, we seniors, often by the decisions of others, can find ourselves under guardianship with no equal status in society. Some of us may already have unwittingly chosen that future status by means of Powers of Attorney. Why? If we in Canada can be seen as a leader of a world wide movement that now ensures that people with intellectual disabilities cannot lose legal capacity status solely on the basis of cognitive incapacity, surely we should ensure the same for ourselves.
      Read Audrey Cole's informative speaking notes.

    • Pamela StaggJune 4, 2019 ~ Pamela Stagg with her presentation ~ A walk on the wet side:  What makes wetlands valuable? Pamela Stagg took us on a walk through local wetlands – and through the financial benefits that wetlands contribute to our economy and our lives. We saw and heard the creatures of wetlands in this colourful and eye opening presentation.

      In a nutshell, Pamela Stagg is a naturally creative individual. The story of her life is the articulation of her creative inspiration and artistic sensibility. Her passion and intellectual interest in the natural world have been the mainstay for her success as an artist, teacher, amateur field naturalist, radio host and nature program producer. Pamela’s artistic creativity led her to discover that she had a talent as a botanical artist, drawing and painting plants and flowers in very precise and authentic representation. In 1991, Pamela won the Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal at Kew Gardens, the world’s top prize for botanical painting. That event transformed her hobby into a second profession and she soon exhibited work on both sides of the Atlantic, illustrated a book on roses and was commissioned by the Royal Canadian Mint to design their trillium gold coin. Eventually she was asked to teach botanical painting and subsequently became instrumental along with other botanical artists in founding the Botanical Artists of Canada Society.

      Since her retirement, Pamela has re-focused her creative interest as an amateur field naturalist, she has travelled frequently to the Yukon and northern British Columbia and she has gained an extensive understanding of a wide variety of eco-systems about which she is always happy to share. As an avid birder, she teaches bird identification and has created a wide variety of presentations interest to field naturalist clubs and organizations that support and protect Nature. In fact she has a weekly nature program for the new Prince Edward County radio station, CJPE 99.3 FM called The Country Naturally.

    • John McKentyMay 1, 2019 ~ John McKenty, Chair of the Stewart Park Festival, presented a behind the scenes look at the Stewart Park Festival and the volunteer base that keeps it going. The Stewart Park Festival is designated one of the top events in the Province of Ontario. Behind every successful event is a dedicated team of volunteers with an excellent organizational team. John McKenty has tirelessly provided leadership and direction to this group and has created an event that thrives on local volunteerism, partners with local organizations and gives back to the town of Perth. John was awarded the 2018 Perth Medal for contributions to the community, a much deserved honour.

    • Andrew HammondApril 3, 2019 ~ Andrew Hanlon's presentation was all about Guide Dog Training. Andrew is a qualified Guide Dog Trainer and Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. He first worked with dogs while serving in the Military and later as a Pup Manager in the Royal Marines in the United Kingdom. In 1993 Andrew made the life changing decision to accept a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor apprenticeship in England, where he experienced tremendous professional success and met his wife, Wendy. He worked his way up to District Team Manager in Leeds before emigrating to Canada in 2006. He proudly entered this CNIB trained dog initiative at its outset, a direction that has proven to offer many more opportunities and choices to blind and partially sighted Canadians. As Director of training for the Canadian Guide Dog school, Andrew continues to be impressed by the incredible passion and enthusiasm of everyone involved in this program.

    • March 6, 2019 ~ Robert Dick with a presentation on Light Pollution entitled “Blinding Light – Bring Back the Night”. The presentation will address the proven impact of artificial light at night on the ecology of animals and plants, on our own biology, vision, and our brain, and will consider what we can do to minimize this impact. For over a century, astronomers have known about the impact of artificial light on the night sky, but this knowledge was just the tip of the iceberg. Studies into the effects of light on our biology and mental functions are revealing a more profound physical impact.
      For more information on Robert Dick click here and for more information on his topic about light pollution click here.

    • February 6, 2019 ~ This month there were two keynote speakers at our meeting including:
      • Pauline Fitchett, the Executive Director of the Perth Enrichment Program for Older Adults (PEP), will speak about the reasons behind the development of the program, how the program was established, and the benefits of those who are involved in the program. Pauline has been the Executive Director of PEP for over four and a half years. Before this position, she was the General Manager of the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce for more than three years. This position gave Pauline the chance to connect with many different people, non-profit organizations, and the community itself.

      • Jamie DoolittleJamie Doolittle, Probus Canada Treasurer and the Director for Ontario-District #1 visited the club as part of his duties as District Director. He spoke entertainingly about the origins of Probus and about the growth of Probus Clubs both in Canada and internationally.

    • January 9, 2019 ~ Vickie Kaminski, the Acting CEO of the Perth and Sniths Falls Dstrict Hospital, spoke about the successes of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital and the future direction of hospitals. She has had a remarkable career at the centre of the hospital systems of several jurisdictions. A nurse by training, Vickie became the first CEO of the amalgamated hospitals of Greater Sudbury in Ontario, went on to be the executive head of the entire Alberta hospital system, then to a similar position in Newfoundland and Labrador and finally to another deputy minister level position in charge of all the hospitals of South Australia. Upon her retirement back to Canada, Vickie agreed to lead PSFDH on an acting basis. The hospital has been very fortunate to attract Vickie as our acting CEO during the prolonged absence of Bev McFarland.

    • For a complete list of Speakers and their topics from the inception of the club in 1996 to the end of 2018,