Chris Ruden, as seen on The Rock's TV Show Titan Games, is an international keynote speaker, disabled pro athlete, and adaptive model who uses his disability and Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis to inspire people to turn adversity into advantage. Chris speaks about diversity, inclusion, and overcoming limitations, especially in the diabetes & disability space, helping [...]
Caroline Tapp-McDougall is the publisher of Caregiver Solutions magazine, a Canadian publication dedicated to the wellness of seniors, their caregivers, and their families. The author has a background in health care communications and extensive editorial experience in the areas of health, wellness, and disability as the managing editor of a number of Canadian magazines. She is also a respected speaker at conferences and events and is on the board of directors of the Canadian Abilities Foundation.
There is something magical about returning to a familiar place. A place where you were born and where your relatives have always lived. A place you move back to after many years away. The magic happens when you realize it’s the same place but delightfully different. Phyllis was born in Stratford and grew up in Perth County. After high school, and a short career in banking — with a stint as a teller in Stratford — she groomed racehorses, worked at Disney World, attended Wilfrid Laurier University, and earned a degree in creative writing at the University of British Columbia, where she met Lamont Mackay in a writing course. Together, they travelled throughout Europe for nine months, owned five restaurants in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, explored Canada and the United States in a motorhome for nine years, and owned a test kitchen on the north shore of Lake Erie. Phyllis moved back to Stratford in 2018.
Lamont is known as the note-taker. You will recognize her around Stratford as the person with the notepad and pen. With her travel-writer’s perspective and passion for adventure, she is astounded by the volume of things to see and do in her city. While teaching high school English in Surrey, British Columbia, Lamont was bitten by two life-altering bugs: food and travel. Travels in Europe with Phyllis Hinz led to an exciting culinary partnership, with restaurants and a catering company in St. Jacobs and Kitchener-Waterloo, ON. Lamont and Phyllis were branded “The Cooking Ladies” by the editor of a magazine in which they would write a culinary-travel column for twenty-five years. They have also coauthored ten cookbooks and have been published in newspapers and magazines across Canada and the United States. Lamont views life as an adventure whether panning for gold in the Yukon, tasting cod cheeks in Newfoundland and Labrador, judging World Food Championships in Alabama, or living in downtown Stratford.
Juno-nominated singer and songwriter Dayna Manning exemplifies the very best that Canadian folk music can be. Manning’s three-decade career has taken her from coast to coast in many forms, from major label recording artist to independent producer and engineer. As a modern renaissance artist, Dayna's memoir Many Moons debuts along with the sweets sounds of [...]
Lise Leblanc has the experience and insight to offer guidance through her 'Wish I Knew' and 'Mental Health Recovery' series where books range from Caregiving and Grief to coping with PTSD. As a registered psychotherapist for over twenty years, Lise applies her deep insights and effective strategies to each book she writes. Through relatable and real-life [...]
A client once said, "I wish I could see the world through your eyes." Terry Manzo has been a professional freelance photographer for thirty years. Her photographs combine unique and compelling perspectives with strong technical skills. She has exhibited regularly in Ontario and worked on several ambitious social media projects, posting daily or weekly photographs [...]
John Kastner, author of Justin Bieber: Steps to Stardom, is a lifelong writer, having spent thirty-three years as a journalist. He graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with majors in English and History, began his career as a sports writer at the Stratford Beacon Herald, and retired as the managing editor in 2012. During his career [...]
CBC columnist Andrew Coppolino’s passion lies in promoting the amazing cooks, restaurateurs, farmers, and producers in Waterloo Region and Wellington and Perth counties. If he had to, Andrew would eat pizza for the rest of his life. Luckily, he has more than one option as the food columnist with the Kitchener Post and CBC Radio. [...]