Friday, March 1, 2013


Upcoming Event

Together Against Violence

Women's Day community forum March 8 in Chilliwack for men too

Released by Jennifer Woodroff, Asst. to MLA Gwen O'Mahony


he Community Office of MLA Gwen O'Mahony and the Chilliwack Chapter of Soroptimist International are teaming up to present a unique event on the occasion of International Women's Day, on March 08, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at St. Thomas's Anglican Church Ministry Centre, 46068 Gore Avenue, Chilliwack.


Standing Together invites all members of the community to join women in the struggle against violence in our daily lives.


"We are part of a growing movement that is saying: This is not just a women's issue. This is a community issue that all members of society, including men, need to address as human beings with the inherent right to live in peace and security, " Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O'Mahony explained.

The Keynote of the event will be delivered by Damian George, a spiritual advisor in the correctional system and member of the Moose Hide Campaign and Dr. Rob Lees, a registered psychologist and Professor of Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University.


"We believe that the voices of men who spend their lives working for a less violent society need to be heard", said Anita Rogers, President of the Chilliwack Soroptimist Chapter. "We need men like these to stand with us".

Following the Keynote session, there will be four breakout speakers:

Sheila Smelt, Trustee in Bankruptcy: Women and Financial Abuse
Tanja Shaw, Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Body
Patti MacAhonic, Expert Consultant: Taking Control with Time Management
Bobbi Jacob, Executive Director, Ann Davis Transition Society: Overview of ADTS programmes, with a focus on those geared to men and families

"We're grateful to these four women for joining us on International Women's Day to offer the gift of their expertise to the community" said O'Mahony. "This is a great chance for local people to come and hear these highly accomplished women address key areas that support personal growth through self-determination".

The event will also feature presentation of prizes to first, second and third place winners of the Media Contest by members of the Chilliwack Huskers Football Club. Not to be missed are the information tables and prize draws for items donated by local women small business owners, the BC Lions and others.

Standing Together is endorsed by the End Violence Association of BC.


"Men speaking up about this issue is an idea whose time has come and we are indebted to the BC Lions for stepping up and to people such as Anita Rogers and Gwen O'Mahony for all the ways they are addressing this issue," said Tracy Porteous, Executive Director of the Association.


Please note the deadline for submissions has now been changed to March 07. Entries will be judged on the day of the event, March 08.



Standing Together: United Against Violence is proudly sponsored by Star 98.3 FM



Standing Together: Uniting Against Violence Speaker Bios


Damian George, Moose Hide Campaign

Born into Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, Burrard inlet reserve on the North Shore of Vancouver, Damian’s ancestral name is “Stalaston”. His grandfather is the legendary Chief Dan George.  From an early age, Damian studied the work of traditional artists, including his grandfather. He is an expert carver, having created numerous works of art and cultural heredity. He was selected to create art for the Millennium sky train station projects.


Damian has spent many years as a spiritual advisor in the correctional system, providing support and traditional teachings to male inmates. By integrating spirituality and culture he has sought to advance the cause of defusing anger to prevent further violence. He brings this work into the community by providing post-release support. Sundancer, sacred pipe carrier, sweat lodge keeper and residential school survivor, Damian has walked the red road for 26 years. He hopes for a day when men can stand up for women as they once did.


Dr. Rob Lees, Registered Psychologist

Since 1991, Rob has worked with the Youth and Mental Health Service, under the auspices of the Fraser Health Authority, fulfilling such roles as team leader, community psychologist, regional consultant and regional practice analyst and is a member of the College of Psychologists of BC.


Rob teaches in the Graduate Program in Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University (Family Therapy and Family Systems) and in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of the Fraser Valley. He is the author of Prepared Companions and The Growth in Marriage Handbook. He also writes for The Chilliwack Progress on human relationships.  Rob is currently engaged in a research project with Dr. Lisa Moy of UFV:  Promising Practices in Domestic Violence.


Breakout Sessions


Sheila Smelt, Trustee in Bankruptcy

Session:  Women and Financial Abuse

Sheila is a member of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals and a Certified General Accountant. She has over 16 years of experience practicing in business and consumer insolvency and restructuring including four years with a National Professional Services and Chartered Accountancy Firm.  Sheila has a background in small business management, manufacturing, real estate and banking.


Sheila provides personal financial counselling and has presented seminars & workshops on Personal Financial Management.


Patti MacAhonic, Consultant, L-Attitude in Leadership Consulting Ltd.

Session:  Taking Control with Time Management

Patti has worked in leadership and organizational development for most of her career. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and management consulting from Royal Roads University and a bachelor’s degree in adult education (with an emphasis on organizational development) from the University of the Fraser Valley.  Patti has also completed executive education at Richard Ivey School of Business and Sauder School of Business.


Patti is outgoing Executive Director of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce and  a past Executive Director of the BC Wildlife Federation, as well as the BC Brain Injury Association.  She has worked as an independent consultant across Canada for various NGOs and businesses. 


Tanja Shaw, Owner, Ascend Fitness Inc.

Session:  The Secret to Transforming Your Body

Tanja is a passionate Fitness Coach, Kinesiologist and entrepreneur. She is owner of Ascend Fitness, a fitness company dedicated to inspiring and educating others to make powerful and positive changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition. Always passionate about leading an active lifestyle, Tanja competed in Modern Pentathlons (shooting, fencing, swimming, horseback riding and running) as a teen. 


She later competed in triathlons and half marathons. To raise money for an educational project in Ghana, Tanja cycled from Tofino, BC to St. John’s, Newfoundland.  She believes in the power of building up the body as an important component of self-esteem and pursuing life’s possibilities to the fullest.


Bobbi Jacob, Executive Director, Ann Davis Transition Society

Prior to coming to Chilliwack, Bobbi worked in East Africa for 15 years as a game warden/pilot and then in the field of international aid managing health, water and agricultural programs. She also worked in the Middle East and S.E. Asia. Bobbi has BAs in education and social work and Masters degrees in international relations and ecology.


Bobbi has been the Executive Director of Ann Davis Transition Society since 1995. Since then, the Society has grown from a women’s shelter to now offer therapeutic and support services for women, children, youth, men and families as they work to overcome the issues of abuse and domestic violence. Providing  supervised access visits, play and art therapy for children, legal advocacy and individual and group counselling for men and for women, Ann Davis has two sites in Chilliwack, with offices in Hope and Agassiz. It is probably the only women’s organization in the province to offer free services to men and couples. Ann Davis’s programs are innovative and award winning and are the subject of a university research study.




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