Guest Presenters/Mentors 2013

At the Meaningful Work Retreat, we invite inspiring guest presenters to join us for as long as they can throughout the course of the workshop. Whether they attend for the entire weekend, or several hours, they are invited to share their personal stories and perspective on meaningful work – and assist participants in gaining more clarity on their own journeys. 

Guest presenter biographies and photos will be posted as they become available.

The whirl-wind Social Innovation tour

Brenna will bring her take on the most inspiring and exciting developments in the world of social innovation and entrepreneurship shortly after returning from a tour of Europe’s leading change-making organizations.

Crop profileBrenna Atnikov is the founder of Raven Conversations. She has extensive experience developing and supporting collaborative, community change initiatives and uses conversation-based approaches to support groups and organizations in identifying the wisest possible actions. Brenna is trained in The Art of Hosting and uses this experience to design and host meaningful conversations with non-profit organizations, public institutions and businesses seeking transformative change. Through her current work, Brenna is exploring the world of social innovation with the United Way of Calgary’s Leading Boldly Network and the broad topic of sustainability with imagineCALGARY.

How to thrive through Community Economic Development

CourtneyCourtney Hare (B.A. Psychology & History, M.A. Education) has worked in development, education, and evaluation for the last 10 years. She coordinates Thrive – Calgary’s Community Economic Development (CED) Network  which is a dynamic network of Calgarian’s building a more inclusive and sustainable local economy. Thrive is a convener and catalyser of CED in Calgary, facilitating connections and learning across the sectors – business, government, and non-profit. So many people are doing CED without even realizing it. Courtney was one of those people; working toward building a local economy that works better for more people and the planet her whole life without knowing it was called CED.

Living the Mystic Archetype:  Creating a more abundant and meaningful life!

Samantha brings a perspective merging her passion and commitment to health and wellness, as well as her personal experience of transformation and meaningful work, coupled with a keen business sense.

Samantha_close_up_1Samantha Orthlieb has been a practicing herbalist for over twelve years, in which time she has helped thousands of clients to heal and thrive. She runs a busy clinical practice and wellness store, Nurture Health and Wellness in NW Calgary and has recently started converting a rural property near Cochrane into a permaculture-inspired retreat centre and herb farm.

Samantha’s healing journey and awakening process began fourteen years ago. As she healed herself, she also evolved as a healer: she learned to stop minimizing herself and her intuitive gifts and step into empowerment. She became inspired to share her wisdom in her book: Opening the Senses of the Soul: Healing into Wholeness with Nature’s Vibrational Medicine. Her book, and its accompanying product line, is designed to help people heal their inner wounding and their relationship with Mother Earth using vibrational medicine.

Taking meaningful work outside


Colin Harris has been immersed in the field of outdoor education for over a decade. He has been Director of Outdoor Education at YMCA Wanakita in Haliburton, Ontario. He has instructed canoe trips for Outward Bound Canada and has worked with First Nations students in the Western Arctic Leadership Program in NWT. He has taught Phys Ed in Toronto and recently completed a Master’s of Environmental Education and Communication through Royal Roads University.  He is the Founder and Executive Director of Take Me Outside and initiated the organization by running across Canada, going into 80 schools across the country and engaging approximately 20,000 students in the conversation of their time spent in front of screens compared to their time spent outside, being active and connecting to nature.  Colin currently lives in Canmore, Alberta where he enjoys trail running, writing and continuing to find ways to engage Canadian students in exploring this country’s incredible backyard.

Alternative currencies for a healthy, resilient local economy

MikeUnrau_low2Mike Unrau has worked for years in environmental education, social action, theatre and community development.  He has worked at Green Calgary Association, as well as has spent over 8 years in Environmental Protection with both Provincial and National Parks.  After his Masters Degree in Arts and International Social Work, he directed several self initiated international projects leading and teaching University students in social work for application in rural Indian community development.

To further his passion of the arts, he co-founded Theatre Encounter in Calgary, where he facilitates groups towards a common vision of alternative creative expression and personal & social inquiry.  A fiery passion for meaning-making, human interaction, and multiculturalism, Mike uses a participatory research model in his facilitation, with a holistic approach to education initiatives and also a “big-picture” thinking in seeing connections between community, administration and relationship.  As he says, “how we relate to the environment is how we relate to others and ultimately ourselves.”  Oh, and he plays in a band, too.

Mike has worked as a program director at the Meaningful Work Project, and continues to support MWP on consulting projects and developing custom programs. He has worked as a Waterlution Calgary Hub Manager and is the current Coordinator of Calgary Dollars, Calgary’s complementary currency system, an initiative of the Arusha Centre.

Growing abundance and resiliency through permaculture

DSC_0117Adrian Buckley has played an integral role in helping create the Meaningful Work Project since its inception in 2009, including supporting the development of the LifeJAM.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Adrian came to Calgary as an environmental and community planner with a consulting firm. After taking a course in permaculture, Adrian completely shifted his career into permaculture design and education by starting up his own company called Big Sky Permaculture. Adrian has taught numerous introductory courses in permaculture, and has undertaken several permaculture garden installations around Calgary. Adrian has also started and managed Calgary Harvest which has turned into one of the largest fruit rescue initiatives in Canada. He is now a proud father of a one-year old named Robin.