PAST KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Each year the Annual Mission Breakfast not only supports the critical work of Brunswick Street Mission, it also serves to build relationships with the business community, and creates an opportunity for meaningful dialogue on addressing poverty.
We have had some amazing speakers join us for the event and share their stories, inspiring us all to think about those Brunswick Street Mission serves. Here is a list of our special guests:
2020: RON JAMES - ‘A man of a million words and a million laughs, whose gist is his genius’… - Globe and Mail. Consistently hailed by audiences and critics from coast to coast, RON JAMES has been selling out theatres in Canada for more than 20 years. This verbal gymnast marries a comedian’s eye for satire with a writer’s ear for language, taking fans on a non-stop roller coaster ride, that cuts a wide swath through contemporary culture, with razor sharp wit and a poetically honed delivery. He has written and starred in a record breaking nine one-hour critically acclaimed CBC comedy specials; created and starred in two television series and on October 20, 2020, the publishing giant Penguin-Random House, will be releasing his first book, ‘All Over the Map’: a raucous Canadian journey running full tilt from the past to present, covering the road between his ears!
2019: Humanitarian at Home. General Romeo Dallaire is an internationally-recognized, award winning humanitarian, but his focus has always been individual human beings. "Every human is human; there is not one who is more human than another". The most vulnerable of our population: children; people struggling with their mental health, with addiction, with poverty; injured veterans and their families; all of these are people can be found in our own community. He understands on a deeply personal level how an individual's life can be profoundly affected -- almost destroyed, and how community support like that at Brunswick Street Mission can actually SAVE LIVES.
2018: Ann Dowsett Johnston. A Canadian award-winning journalist, shared her private, now public, story of overwork and street, alcohol addiction and depression, that has led her to become well respectedfor her expertise in higher education, alcohol addiction and public policy related to both. Her bestselling book and speaking topic offers a brave and informed look at Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. Ann is a provacative and dynamic speaker who engages audiences at a deeply personal legvel, exploring subjects that challenge many Canadian families and professionals.
2017: Mark Brand. With 11 businesses under his belt, Mark is an example of a new form of leadership with determination to breathe new life into our struggling and disjointed communities through his work in social impact business and as an educator, facilitator and speaker. He is recognized as one of North America's foremost social entrepreneurs. It’s through his cooking, philanthropic efforts, systems design, and love for the community that he’s found a unique balance in business and purpose. Mark walks his talk for real change!
2015: Stacey Bess. Bess taught homeless children in a small shed known as The School with No Name for two years. During that time she discovered by teaching and modeling love, self worth and courage, she could reach children with no home and little hope. Her memoir from that time was adapted into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Beyone the Blackboard.
2014: David Chalk. A serial Entrepreneur himself, David's first business made him a millionaire at the age of 23. He has since launched more than 20 companies in the fields of technology, education, construction, marketing, distribution, manufacturing and retail, and is recognized as one of the world's most gifted minds.
2013: Joe Roberts. In 1989 he was living under a bridge as ahomeless skid row addict. Today he is an author, CEO and internationally sought after professional speaker who motivates and inspires audiences worldwide.
2012: Theo Fleury. Former NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup winner and Olympic Gold Medalist and best selling author of Playing with Fire Healing motivator. Fleury helped us understand how a traumatic event early in his life caused a later derailing of his life leaving him nearly destitute and homeless.
2011: Stewart McInnes. A respected lawyer, a senior partner in the McInnes Cooper law firm, a Member of Parliament and a federal cabinet minister, is also a well-known philanthropist and the recipient of numerous awards that pay tribute to his distinguished law career as well as his generous volunteer activities. Stewart spoke of the connection between poverty and business, and made the compelling case that fighting poverty is actually good for business.
2010: Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy. A graduate of St. Mary’s University and Dalhousie Law School, Chief Justice Kennedy rose through the ranks of the judiciary and was appointed by the Prime Minister in 1998 as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. Justice Kennedy provided a unique perspective on poverty in Nova Scotia through the lens of our justice system.
2009: William F. Jones, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Focus: HOPE, located in Detroit Michigan. This retired Chief Operating Officer from Chrysler Financial shared the story of Focus: HOPE, a civil and human rights organization founded in 1968. Programs offered include providing food to over 43,000 people per month, training for over 2,740 machinists, and over 5,800 have graduated from the Fast Track reading and math skills program, and over 500 from the Information Technology Center.
2008: Frank O’Dea. A founder of Second Cup, he is a well-known and respected entrepreneur, but he had been living on the streets only a few years before. His story of triumph over adversity was incredibly inspiring!
2007: CBC journalist Mark Kelley. Winner of two Gemini Awards, Mark spoke of his experiences in creating an insightful documentary which involved him living on the street to obtain a firsthand account of what life on the street is really like.