Spring 2022 Speakers

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David Seljak

A sociologist of religion, David Seljak is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Jerome's University in Waterloo, Ontario, and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo. With Paul Bramadat, he co-edited Religion and Ethnicity in Canada (2005) and Christianity and Ethnicity in Canada (2008). He is part of the editorial team working on Indigenous Spiritualities in Canada, the third volume of that series.  From 2005 to 2020, he served as Editor of The Ecumenist, a quarterly journal on spirituality, social justice, and dialogue.

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Dr. Thomas Verny

Psychiatrist, author, academic....and chess enthusiast with a lifelong interest in memory and the mind. Dr. Verny is the author or co-author of 48 scientific papers and eight books. His most famous is The Secret Life of the Unborn Child about the science of Pre and perinatial psychology is an international best seller and is sold in 28 countries. In a departure from his scientific writings, Dr. Verny has written a weekly column, Lifelines, in The Toronto Star and edited an anthology of short stories and poems about fathers and grandfathers entitled Gifts of Our Fathers.

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Rona Maynard

Rona Maynard overcame chronic depression to win her dream job as Editor at Chatelaine. Her truth-telling editorials were carried in wallets and taped to fridge doors. When Rona stepped down from the job she had loved, she discovered there’s a lot more to life than work. She wrote an acclaimed memoir, My Mother’s Daughter, launched a memoir workshop for first-time writers and expanded her mind on an art road trip across the U.S. (49 museums in five weeks). Rona’s husband and traveling companion of 50 years talked her into rescuing their first dog at 65. Her second memoir, Starter Dog, will be published next spring.

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Debbie Pond

Debbie served the RCMP for 35 years. Since retiring, she has helped found and now volunteers with U-R Home Awareness & Support Services, a York Region charity that works to educate about human trafficking and assists survivors.

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Marta O’Brien

Marta O'Brien has been an architectural historian for over 25 years. She earned her architecture degree with honours from Ryerson University, and Masters in environmental studies from York University. Marta teaches many architectural history courses for the University of Toronto's School of
Continuing Studies. Through her company, Citywalks, she presents toursand illustrated lectures for historical societies, seniors' learning organizations, and others. In 2021, Marta was elected an Honourary Member of the Ontario Association of Architects.

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Sara Mainville

Sara Mainville has been called to the Ontario bar since 2005. Sara has a Management degree (Lethbridge) and a LL.B. (Queen’s). She has earned an LL.M (Toronto) which has engaged her in a lifetime study of Indigenous jurisdiction’s important role in legally reconciling Indigenous sovereignty in Canada. She has practiced law as a solo practitioner and taught jurisprudence to undergraduate students after being an Associate for a well-known Anishinaabe-led law firm in Ontario. In 2014, Sara was elected Chief of Couchiching First Nation. She returned to law in 2016 by joining Olthuis, Kleer Townshend LLP.