Keynote Speakers

Monday, September 30
Keynote Speaker
Best Practices in Workplace Wellness
Pre-Symposium Special Session
Health promotion workplace expert
Dr. Michael O’Donnell,
Director of the Health
Management Research Center,
School of Kinesiology,
University of Michigan

Formed in 1978, the Health Management Research Center has helped more than 1,000 worksites measure the health risks of their employees; calculate the link between health risks, medical costs and productivity; evaluate the impact of their health promotion programs and, in the process, establish the scientific foundation for this area of research. Dr. O’Donnell has helped more than 100 employers, health care organizations, government agencies, foundations, and health promotion providers develop new and refine existing health promotion programs and has served in leadership roles in four major health systems. He is founder, president and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Health Promotion and is also founder and chairman emeritus of Health Promotion Advocates, a non-profit policy group created to integrate health promotion strategies into national policy. Health Promotion Advocates was successful in developing six provisions that became law as part of the Affordable Care Act. He has co-authored 6 books and workbooks, including Health Promotion in the Workplace, which was in continuous publication for 27 years, and more than 180 articles, book chapters and columns. He has presented more than 250 keynote and workshop presentations on six continents, served on boards and committees for 48 non-profit and for-profit organizations and received 13 national awards. His most recent awards are the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award, presented October 29, 2011 from the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, and the Bill Whitmer Leadership Award, presented September 14, 2011 from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO). He earned a PhD in Health Behavior from University of Michigan, an MBA in General Management and an MPH in Hospital Management, both from University of California, Berkeley, and an AB in psychobiology from Oberlin College. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor in Seoul Korea.

Tuesday, October 1
Opening Keynote Speaker
Dr. Richard G. Wilkinson
Social determinants of health specialist

Topic: What Determines Wellness?

Richard Wilkinson has played a formative role in international research on the social determinants of health and on the societal effects of income inequality. He studied economic history at LSE before training in epidemiology.

He is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School, Honorary Professor at UCL and a Visiting Professor at the University of York. Richard co-wrote The Spirit Level with Kate Pickett, which won the 2011 Political Studies Association Publication of the Year Award and the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Prize. Richard is also a co-founder of The Equality Trust. The Equality Trust works to reduce income inequality in order to improve the quality of life in the UK.  He is based in the U.K.

The philosophy of The Equality Trust is that people in more equal societies live longer, have better mental health and are more socially mobile. Community life is stronger where the income gap is narrower, children do better at school and they are less likely to become teenage parents. When inequality is reduced people trust each other more, there is less violence and rates of imprisonment are lower.


Tuesday, October 1
Dinner Speaker
Robert Bateman

Topic: How Reconnecting with Nature Inspires Wellness

Robert Bateman is a world-renowned artist and avid supporter of the natural environment. The Robert Bateman Centre is a virtual resource for the works of Robert Bateman and other artists inspired by nature. It is also a source for networking about in-nature education initiatives. The Bateman Foundation is a national, not-for-profit charity dedicated to education and public service based on the philosophies and legacy of Robert Bateman.  The Foundation’s purpose is to support educational programs delivered by others to promote lifelong engagement with nature.  Special emphasis is placed on programs for leaders and policy-makers, youth, families and First Nations.  Robert Bateman’s perspective envisions new social values based on nature, art culture and well-being. The Foundation maintains the Bateman archives including a substantial collection of original art and all of Bateman’s preliminary works, writings and other material.


Wednesday, October 1
Opening Keynote Speaker
Tod Maffin
Cultural Change and Technology Expert

Topic: Making the Digital World Human Again

Tod Maffin is a cultural change and technology expert and combines this with his expert knowledge of human behaviour. He is a phenomenal, highly engaging presenter.

Maffin, President of engageQ digital, is one of the country’s go-to commentators on the impact of accelerated technological change and innovation on the business and economic environment and can speak to every aspect of technology and resulting implications for the world in which we live.One of Canada’s podcasting pioneers, Maffin writes a blog that is followed by thousands of people in the media, technology and business communities around the world. He continues to report on national technology trends on CBC Radio and is the past host of “todradio dot com” and Real Life Chronicles.

Maffin is recognized as a thought-leader in business innovation and strategy to trend-spotting and technological advancements. In January 1999, he launched MindfulEye, an artificial intelligence firm that developed the patented Lexant technology to perform syntactic analysis on public opinion comments posted on the Internet and aired in the media, thus providing a “mood monitor” of stocks. The launch of MindfulEye precipitated a meteoric rise in his popularity as a technology futurist.

Maffin’s comprehensive understanding of Generation Y, high-velocity change and competition, hyper-innovation, and the accelerating pace of the world around us offer audiences an insider’s viewpoint of what the world holds in store and what lurks around the corner, whether it’s six months, a year, or ten years away.

His energetic, upbeat, jargon-free and highly entertaining presentation style ensures that audiences are not only captivated and engaged, but entertained and motivated. Maffin has addressed audiences around the world, from Stockholm to Berlin and from Romania to Australia, and is one of very few speakers capable of bringing an audience to their feet in a standing ovation at 7am.