Leading by Example: Stacey Wakelin

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. – Helen Keller

STACEY WAKELIN (Founder From Passion to Purpose Events)

Stacey’s life changed direction in the fall of 2014. Motivated by the speakers at a Seattle event, and inspired by their courage, Stacey realized the time had come for her to move in the direction of her dreams. Her passion is, and has always been, to help people – and sidetracked by life, as many of us are – she still didn’t have the degree in social work she assumed was essential to making a difference.

But, with examples from the 2014 conference fresh in her mind, Stacey decided to create her own path! Take a look at what she’s accomplished without that degree – using her available resources, her skills and talents, and with the support of her family and friends:

  • Compassion 604: The Compassion Collective, a loosely organized group of co-workers and friends who get together semi-regularly to help people experiencing homelessness.
  • Creativity Counts, a series of crafting workshops, primarily for refugees, through the Literacy through Arts & Crafts program at Options Community Services.
  • BC Families for Inclusivity, a group whose “core belief is that every human being, without exception, deserves to feel safe, accepted and appreciated” and to that end voice their support for, and promote the inclusion of “LGBTQ youth and community members who face intolerance or discrimination.”

Bridges out of Poverty

A few months ago, Stacey attended a Bridges out of Poverty workshop, which provides insights into, and strategies aimed at reducing poverty. She came away from the experience feeling it was really important that more people in the community have an opportunity to attend one of these day-long workshops. On Tuesday, June 12, in Langley, Stacey Wakelin and the AYAM Civic Society will host a Bridges out of Poverty workshop led by Gayle Montgomery and Kim Godin.

For people who work or volunteer in the not-for-profit sector, social services, education, etc., this day-long workshop is for you! For more info, to attend, or to sponsor the seminar, please click here.

~ Debbie MacLeod

Leading by Example: Bryan Gidinski

Leadership is action, not position. – Donald H. McGannon

Being brave enough to take a first step towards anything new is always a challenge. The alternative, though, is to stay on the “path of least resistance,” even though it may be taking you in the wrong direction. If you’ve discovered that your path is not heading towards happiness and fulfillment – and you don’t know how to change that – then the Speakers at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference may be exactly the people to meet.


BRYAN GIDINSKI (Panel Speaker)

Bryan GidinskiBryan is an educator with more than 20 years of teaching experience. He currently teaches grades 6 and 7, but has also worked as a course instructor for post-secondary education students. In his own classroom, Bryan tries to remain sensitive to the issues that surround boys and their learning. To that end, he’s combined his passion for writing with innovative methods of engagement so that both boys, and girls are motivated to achieve to their highest potential.

Lost Boys Consulting was created as the means by which Bryan could, more formally, share his innovative classroom practices with other teaching professionals. Bryan addresses writing instruction, and issues around boys and literacy learning:

  • through speaking engagements at conferences and conventions;
  • with professional development workshops and accompanying resource packages;
  • by creating new workshops on relevant topics;
  • by maintaining an up-to-date website with access to conference materials; and
  • with website content that includes annotated links, and downloads.

My questions: How much time do you spend on your company? Could Lost Boys Consulting become a full-time job? Have school administrations been receptive to your work? Have you thought about writing a book?

These are just a few of the questions I’ll have for Bryan during the afternoon panel session on May 26th. What will yours look like?

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Leading by Example: Laura Koch

I hope to inspire others to live more intentionally, connect with other humans more authentically, and give of themselves more honestly. Our passions are our gifts to the world. – Laura Koch

Being brave enough to take a first step towards anything new is always a challenge. The alternative, though, is to stay on the “path of least resistance,” even though it may be taking you in the wrong direction. If you’ve discovered that your path is not heading towards happiness and fulfillment – and you don’t know how to change that – then the Speakers at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference may be exactly the people to meet. These individuals are leading by example with journeys of inspiration that highlight courage, creativity, and passion.


LAURA KOCH (Guest Speaker)

Laura KochLaura had checked all the boxes for the perfect life: graduate high school, go to university, get a job, climb the ladder, find a spouse, buy a house, have kids, and get a dog. Then, in 2012, something changed, and Laura, and husband Ryan, took some time to reflect on their lives, and to consider what they truly valued.

The resulting journey began with a lifestyle change, and ended with them in full pursuit of their passion: music. To date, Laura, with her band The Kwerks, has accomplished the following:

  • become a bandleader, songwriter, and touring performer;
  • written, recorded, and published 3 CDs;
  • reached the top 25 in the 2017 national CBC Searchlight Competition;
  • been featured in a Dominion Lending Centres national commercial campaign;
  • been nominated twice for Fraser Valley Music Awards; and
  • received the Excellence in Performance by a Female Artist Award at the 2017 Fraser Valley Music Awards.

My questions: How did your children react to the change in lifestyle? How did you deal with criticisms from others about your choices? Do you regret anything? What’s the best part of your new life?

These are just a few of the questions I’ll have for Laura during her morning presentation on May 26th. What will yours look like?

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Leading by Example: Mocha Ochoa-Nana

When you lead by example, you create a picture of what’s possible. People can look at you and say, “Well, if [she] can do it, I can do it.” When you lead by example, you make it easy for others to follow you. – Bruna Marinuzzi

Being brave enough to take a first step towards anything new is always a challenge. The alternative, though, is to stay on the “path of least resistance,” even though it may be taking you in the wrong direction. If you’ve discovered that your path is not heading towards happiness and fulfillment – and you don’t know how to change that – then the Speakers at The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference may be exactly the people to meet. These individuals are leading by example with journeys of inspiration that highlight courage, creativity, and passion.


MOCHA OCHOA-NANA (Panel Speaker)

Mocha Ochoa-NanaMocha is the Founder and CEO of the public relations firm The Oracle Group International in Washington D.C. She is a literary entrepreneur who passionately seeks best-selling author status for her clients by connecting with local, national, and global communities. She is also a literary activist who:

  • co-founded the NAACP Author Pavilion at their Annual Convention;
  • served as Diversity Chair for The National Book Festival;
  • created the International Women’s Book Club Summit, The Silver Spring Book Festival, and The Soul of South Florida Book Festival:
  • consulted on the development of The National Press Club’s Annual Book Fair, and the National Council of Negro Women’s Author Pavilion at the National Family Reunion; and
  • founded the Reading Across Continents initiative, an interactive cross-cultural literary exchange project connecting students, teachers, and authors in international book clubs, and book discussions around the world.

My questions: What kind of education/background/work experience did you have when you started your own company? How do you get a book festival off the ground? How do you create a global initiative with three different stakeholders? How the heck did you find the time for all of this?

These are just a few of the questions I’d love to ask Mocha during the afternoon panel session on May 26th. I bet you’ve got a list of your own!

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!