Keynote speakers

picture of allan kehler


Allan Kehler is a mental health advocate, international keynote speaker, and best-selling author of four books. His TEDx talk on men and mental health has gained international attention, and he has been featured on several television and radio programs. For nearly a decade, Allan instructed various mental health related courses at the college level while also working as an addiction’s counselor and clinical case manager.

Today, Allan is a highly sought-after speaker on various topics related to mental health and wellness. He has stood on nearly 1,000 stages and is recognized for his engaging style and captivating approach. Having persevered through his own challenges with mental illness and addictions, Allan speaks from a place of experience. His moving stories tug on heartstrings, inspire a new perspective, and allow people to connect with themselves and others at a deeper level. He uses humor and compassion to create a safe space where people feel seen, heard, and supported.

Allan has developed a genuine appreciation and passion for learning and working with Indigenous people and communities. This has played a key role in his own recovery, and these cultural teachings can be found in his presentations. Recently, Allan and his wife, Tanya, launched Born Resilient™ – a clothing line that empowers people to persevere through their challenges. They are proud to donate a percentage of their profits to organizations that promote wellness. Allan currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He shares his life with Tanya, four boys, three dogs, and a tank of fish.

Liz Horvath, B.A.Sc., CRSP,
Manager, Psychological Health and Safety
Opening Minds, Mental Health Commission of Canada

Liz is on a mission to make work a great part of life for as many people as possible.   

She is currently working as the Manager of Psychological Health and Safety with the Opening Minds division of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where she leads the development and implementation of training and services to support organizations with their psychological health and safety efforts. She is an accomplished consultant and international speaker known for her empathy, interpersonal skills, and physical and psychological health and safety expertise.  

Liz’s expertise has been built by helping organizations design and implement successful health and safety systems and consulting in her previous role as Senior Occupational Health and Safety Consultant in the OHS Legal and Consulting Group at Gowlings. Her work has spanned numerous industries, including manufacturing, construction, utilities, mining, education, municipal operations, health care, and emergency response. 

Later, as a Program Manager with CSA Group, Liz managed the update of existing occupational health and safety standards as well as the development of several groundbreaking standards, including: 

– Management of Confined Spaces 
– Hazard Identification and Elimination and Risk Assessment and Control 
– Occupational Health and Safety Training 
– Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.  

She was also previously self-employed as the Founder and President of Hale Health and Safety Solutions Ltd., focusing on building well-being into how we work.   

Liz holds an honours degree in Environmental Science, specializing in Occupational Health and Safety, plus certifications in Integrating Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Psychologically Safe Conflict Resolution, and numerous other courses. Liz is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), and a member of the International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment (IAWBH), Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), and the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA).   

She is a dedicated wife and grandmother, loves camping, kayak fishing, and gardening, and actively supports charitable organizations that work to improve the lives of people in desperate need. 


Dr. Chris McLeod is the Director of the Partnership for Work, Health and Safety and Associate Professor and Head of the Occupational and Environmental Health Division in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.

His research focuses on the program and policy evaluation of occupational health policies and practices and the causes and consequences of work-related injury and disease. He has worked with the BC Construction Safety Alliance and WorkSafeBC to evaluate the impact of the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program and the COR audit tool. He is currently leading an evaluation of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario’s Health and Safety Excellence program, focused on the longer-term impacts of changing health and safety practices. Other areas of research include exploring the effect of COVID-19 policies on violence, bullying and harassment in the service sector in BC and national and international comparative work on return to work after work injury.

Dr. Robert Macpherson is a Research Associate at the Partnership for Work, Health and Safety in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.

He leads research on comparative work disability and occupational health and safety interventions. Examples include a comparative study of four provinces on the barriers and facilitators to return to work in the construction sector, the effectiveness of regulatory inspections on changes in workplace hazard management in BC and reductions in firm injury rates in Alberta, and the effectiveness of Certificate of Recognition (COR) programs across several provinces.

Most recently, Robert helped secure funding from the BC Construction Safety Alliance to develop an occupational health and safety management approach and tool for small and micro construction firms. Robert’s expertise is using large administrative datasets and statistical modelling techniques to provide rigorous research evidence to inform policy and practice. For example, findings from the Alberta COR evaluation have been used to inform changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Suhail Marino is the Director of Privacy and Operations at the Partnership for Work, Health and Safety in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.

Suhail has many years of experience in public health research, program development, evaluation and management. She is a Canadian-certified privacy officer with a solid background in data access, privacy and security in population and occupational health research. In addition to bachelor’s degrees in arts and science, she holds internationally recognized certifications in Information Privacy Management and Research Law.

She has initiated, coordinated, and facilitated evaluation studies, epidemiological studies, and public health forums. Suhail serves as a lead interviewer for our qualitative studies, including a comparative study of four provinces on the barriers and facilitators to return to work in the construction sector and an evaluation of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario’s Health and Safety Excellence program.

Chizitara Nkwopara is currently pursuing her MSc in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene at the UBC School of Population and Public Health, and she holds a BSc in Physiology.

She also works as a Research Assistant at the Partnership for Work, Health and Safety. Prior to joining the Partnership, Chizi worked as a Health and Safety Officer in the Oil and Gas and Construction industries. With the Partnership, she has contributed to two projects; one focuses on the effect of extreme heat on heat-related illness and injury among workers, and the identification of at-risk workers to be prioritized for policy and practice in British Columbia (BC).

The second project involves creating an occupational health and safety management approach and tool specific to small and micro-construction firms in BC. Additionally, under the Occupational Health Division at UBC, she contributed to the BC Construction Safety Alliance “Lead in ceramic tiles” research project by collecting lead and silica exposure measurements at BC construction sites. Her graduate thesis will address the knowledge gap in understanding the relationship between ergonomic risk factors, musculoskeletal pain, and mental health among uninjured young and early-career construction workers in BC.

Nidal Naaman is a husband and a father of four who currently serves as Sr Director of Health, Safety, and Environmental for Bird Construction’s Civil Infrastructure, Industrial Construction and Maintenance divisions. Nidal is based out of Edmonton, Alberta.

His experience crosses industrial and commercial markets and a broad range of services across Canada, including civil works, industrial buildings, environmental infrastructure, and process scopes.

After graduating from the NAIT CET program in 2004, Nidal began his HSE journey. In addition to his CET Diploma, Nidal graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension with Distinction in Occupational Health and Safety and successfully obtained his CRSP in 2009.

Nidal is a leader in organizational excellence and culture. With a deep understanding of Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), he has bolstered Bird Construction’s leadership philosophy. His presentation on HOP at the COAA’s April Luncheon showcased his adeptness in implementing HOP’s five core principles to drive organizational change and enhance operational performance.

Andrew Ross, the CEO of Clark Builders, is a passionate solution provider who leads authentically and enthusiastically. Known for his engaging leadership style, Andrew focuses on the collective success of Clark Builders, their clients, and the communities in which they work, emphasizing people and their wellbeing and creating lasting impact.

Andrew’s career began as a labourer, and through dedication to excellence and continuous learning, he has achieved significant professional and educational milestones, including a Bachelor of Commerce, Project Management Certification, Executive Program Finance Certification, ESG Designation, and Indigenous Canada Certification, amongst others. His career advanced within the company, leading to Executive Vice President, President, and CEO. Today, Andrew leads a team of over 800 individuals with a genuine desire to see each team member succeed and go home better off than when they arrived. Under his guidance, Clark Builders continues to deliver on its purpose of enriching the lives of the people who work with them and in the communities they help build.

Jennifer A. Miller, K.C., represents industry leaders in energy, medicine, utilities, construction, road building, transportation, and manufacturing and appears before all levels of courts in Alberta, as well as courts in other jurisdictions on provincially and federally regulated matters.

Jennifer speaks and writes on health and safety issues for educational organizations, corporations, and professional associations, including the Alberta Medical Association, the Canadian Bar Association, Printers and Graphics Industry Association of Alberta, Alberta Gas and Oil Pipeline Operators Safety Council, Alberta Petrochemical Safety Council, Plant and Engineering Maintenance Association of Canada, Alberta Sand and Gravel Association, and Gas Processing Association of Canada.

She has contributed to international, national, and local publications on medical-legal issues, including the Health Law Review, the Health Law Journal, and Mental Disability and the Law in Canada.

Jennifer is a former chair of the labour and employment law subsection of the Canadian Bar Association, a former executive for the Edmonton Medical Legal Society and a former associate of the University of Alberta Health Law Institute.

She is an honorary member of the Ophthalmologic Society of Alberta and a keen supporter of the arts community.

Dr. Karina Thomas is the Occupational Disease Science Lead within the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) prevention services branch at the Government of Alberta. Her role encompasses leading evidence-finding to support OHS policy and program development and delivery and evaluation for continuous improvement and accountability in the OHS program.

Her team administers the Supporting Psychological Health in First Responders grant program. These activities inform the province-wide OHS System, which aims to create safer work environments for Albertans. Dr. Thomas has a Ph.D. in Public Health and 20 years of experience with the Government of Alberta, including leading the work for the Psychosocial Hazards pillar of the OHS Prevention Initiative.

Tiana Field-Ridley is an enthusiastic mental health advocate with a passion for turning systems knowledge into real-world change. She is currently working as a senior program manager at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where she supports employers in building workplace mental health strategies that align with the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

Tiana is also an Appeals Commissioner for WCB. Her former experience includes six years serving on the Alberta Mental Health Review Panel where she gained extensive experience with in both mental health and judicial systems. She was also previously self-employed as an independent Mental Health First Aid instructor and conflict management consultant with a focus on community development. Tiana holds a degree in Human Services, along with certifications in Psychological Health and Safety, Mediation, Communication and Conflict Resolution as well as Workplace Fairness Restoration. She is currently undergoing her master’s degree in Transdisciplinary Leadership.

Elyse Cathrea (she/her) is a Peer Support Facilitator for CMHA Edmonton’s Caregiver Connections and a Recovery College Facilitator. Through her role, Elyse empowers caregivers of loved ones with mental health challenges to connect with one another, navigate stress, support themselves through their caregiving experience, navigate the mental health system, and much more. She supports clients to manage and learn tools in supporting their own mental health and wellbeing. Elyse is a Certified Peer Support worker, Certified Coach and Somatic Embodiment Practitioner and Clinical Somatic Educator in training. She has a Bachelor of Management & Human Resources, with 12 years experience working in Human Resources and Organizational Development. Elyse brings a unique blended experience of working within the HR realm, to 1-1 and group mental wellbeing coaching and support. Elyse is passionate about mental health, demystifying chronic stress and the ways in which it impacts us, and sustainable stress management.

Micheal Pietrus is a Director with Opening Minds and Director of Mental Health First Aid Canada at the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). He has led the Commission’s anti-stigma initiative, Opening Minds, since its inception in 2009. Under his leadership, Opening Minds became the largest systematic effort to reduce the stigma of mental illness in Canadian history.

In 2015, Michael was recognized for his work when Opening Minds received the Innovator Award at the 7th Together Against Stigma Conference in San Francisco. He has presented on his team’s research and anti-stigma and training programs at conferences around the world, including Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Micheal is a co-founder and co-chair of the Global Anti-stigma Alliance, which is composed of more than 20 international organizations working to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

He was appointed to the World Health Organization’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Mental Health, Brain Health and Substance Use. STAG reports directly to the Director-General of WHO. Its mandate is to advise WHO on overall global policies and strategies.

Erin Eden is an industry specialist with WCB’s Industry Support team. With a passion for creating and maintaining meaningful connections, Erin dedicates her time to consulting with and educating employers so they have the information they need to make important decisions. This includes best practices for effective disability management, understanding legislation and the relationship between claims and accounts, and the benefits of early and safe return to work following workplace injury and illness. 

Erin has been with WCB for 16 years and has spent 10 years in her role with Industry Support. In her career, Erin has worked directly with injured workers in active claims management roles. This gives her a unique lens in being able to understand the needs of both the employer and the injured worker. Her current portfolio includes industries such as forestry, roadbuilding and heavy construction, education and health care.

Amanda Wyatt is a psychological injury coach with WCB’s Special Care Services Coaching and Resource team. With extensive experience in disability management, administrative law, psychological health and wellness, and recovery and return to work, Amanda works with case managers, employers and medical providers in the community to coordinate treatment and facilitate collaborative return-to-work planning. Amanda also works with industry specialists where additional support and expertise is required for psychological injury claims.

Amanda has been with WCB for nine years, spending the last three years as the psychological injury coach. Her experience has included supporting injured workers with severe physical injuries and first responders with psychological injuries. She has also worked with employers on developing reintegration programs to help workers with their timely and safe return to work. Her background in social work and alternate dispute resolution helps her to build consensus with clients for early return-to-work planning.

Austin Dowling is a Certificate of Recognition (COR) Audit Review Analyst at the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA). Austin is responsible for enhancing the safety and auditing standards within the construction industry in Alberta. His role involves in-depth quality assurance reviews, stakeholder engagement, and ensuring the effectiveness of safety programs and audits. His expertise in occupational health and safety, combined with his strong communication and mentoring skills, make him an invaluable asset to the ACSA. Austin is an avid sports fan, with a keen interest in hockey, football, and basketball. He also loves movies, some of his favourites include Top Gun Maverick, The Lord of the Rings and the Indiana Jones franchises.

Stacey Broetzel has made her mark in the city and is a well-known personality working in Edmonton TV as a morning show host and currently on morning radio. The award-winning broadcaster is a highly ethical, personable, articulate communicator and is a trusted source to listeners/viewers/followers. Her superpower is engaging in stimulating conversations. She brings diligence, professionalism, and preparedness to everything she does. Stacey has a broad and nuanced understanding of local, provincial, and federal issues, from politics to community initiatives. She has interviewed everyone from Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards, actors like Alan Alda, and a number of Prime Ministers and Premiers.

Reg Crowshoe, also known as Awakaaseena (Ah-wah-kah-SEE-nah), meaning “Deer Chief” in Blackfoot, is from the Piikani Nation in Southern Alberta.

He is the son of Joe Crowshoe, a respected Elder and Bundle Keeper. Reg is recognized within his community as a ceremonialist and prefers to be called a ceremonial grandparent, a title reflecting his role in passing on traditional rites and culture. Reg was educated at the St. Cypriot Anglican Residential School and, despite the challenges of an educational system that did not reflect his indigenous beliefs, it was there that he learned to read and write, a skill set that served him through his subsequent studies at the University of Calgary and his time with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Today, Reg focuses on cultural preservation, actively teaching and participating in ceremonies, and maintaining the Blackfoot heritage.