Archive for the 'Women in Leadership' Category

Minister of Justice & Attorney General

Posted by on Nov 04 2015 | Events, Women in Leadership


What a day for Jody! And a great day for Canada!

There are many of us, women and men, who have worked towards greater representation of women in government. This new cabinet reflects much of the diversity in Canada.

There is a lot of work to be done and some challenges ahead. But it was a great day today.

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Jody Wilson-Raybould, my new MP

Posted by on Nov 03 2015 | Events, Life at home, Women in Leadership

Liberal Victory Jody 023

On the night of October 19, Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected in our new federal riding of Vancouver Granville. As tomorrow is the day that the new cabinet will be sworn in, I wanted to post this before the announcement. Most media reports are suggesting that she will be appointed by Trudeau to cabinet. Over the course of the past 15 months we’ve had many chances to spend time with her.

I was given some special honours during her campaign. I was asked to say a few words of welcome at her campaign office opening. And she asked me if I would be willing to write an endorsement for her. I did with great pleasure. It was astonishing for me to see who else had been asked. I was seriously outclassed as there were several prominent citizens there!

She even tweeted my endorsement just before the election.


Last year, after being acclaimed as the Liberal Candidate, Jody had a chance to introduce Trudeau at a rally held at Douglas Park. It was the first political rally I had been to for a long time.

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Daniel and I were inspired last winter to go out door knocking for Jody so that we could see Stephane Dion again. We had been delegates for him at the 2006 Montreal convention and it was an amazing experience.


I had the chance to invite Jody to the WAMS (Women Againts MS) event where I spoke on March 31. It was there she learned about how prevalent MS is in Canada. She wanted to join my team for the MS Walk. How could I say no?

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Jody is such a down-to-earth, fun-loving person that she is a pleasure to be around. It was so much fun to have her as part of our team, the Wahls Warriors. I realized that she had so much to offer our community and our country.

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As the election date drew closer, Daniel and I got more involved. He worked on the sign team and a bit in the office. I did little bits here and there. Jody and her team worked so hard for over a year to get to get to know residents and communicate the Liberal vision.

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And on election day, our house was a ‘home centre’ for volunteers where we spent all day getting our vote out. It was go, go, go all day. At 7:00 pm, when the polls closed, I dropped off a couple of volunteers to do the count at a local polling station and heard that a Trudeau victory had been declared. I started to cry.

Daniel and I had a bite to eat, then went to Jody’s small celebration party where we waited for local results. When they finally came in, a photographer for the Vancouver Sun snapped these shots of us.


And one of Jody’s campaign team sent this shot to me.


Ten years ago, we did everything we could to prevent Stephen Harper from becoming Prime Minister. It was an incredibly emotional experience to be part of such a large victory with a majority government, knowing that Harper was gone.

And before we left to go home, we asked our new MP for another photo while we told her how proud we were of her! She ran a clean, honest, and respectful campaign.

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Thank you, Jody, for your willingness to step forward and lead.

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Meeting Dr. Terry Wahls!

Posted by on Nov 03 2015 | Books, CCSVI/Neurovascular health, Events, MS, Presentations, Workshops. Media, Women in Leadership

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I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Wahls at a conference held here last month, sponsored by the Canadian Neurovascular Health Society.

As soon as I heard she was speaking, I signed up. According to the conference organizer, I was the very first person to register. (For a nice summary of the conference, Joan Beal wrote up a post about it. Of course, that was another thrill for me — the chance to meet her! She is a true champion and very smart woman and I was really glad she attended.)

The day before she spoke, I found myself face to face with Dr. Wahls. I desperately wanted to know how to get across to people with MS that it’s worth trying her diet. She told me that I just need to accept the fact that some people are so attached to their foods and habits that they will resist. The best I can do is to encourage and set an example. But it continues to be very difficult for me to watch others in the MS community in decline while I continue to improve. No fatigue, able to work out, able to see clients again . . . I want this for everybody.

It was wonderful for her to have the chance to continue spreading the word about her own amazing story and others’ successes by following The Wahls Protocol.

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After the talk, Dr. Wahls had a book of The Wahls Protocol signing in the hallway. I had mentioned to the audience that we have a Wahls Protocol Support group in Vancouver, and I encouraged people to talk with me if they wanted more information. When I went out to the book signing, there was still a long lineup. I waited until the end so that I could talk with Dr. Wahls.

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Dr. Wahls was so generous with her time. She answered everybody’s questions thoroughly. I first mentioned to her that I had been in Marshfield, Wisconsin at the same time that she was there. She was a physician at Marshfield Clinic and I was doing my clinical fellowship.

I talked to her about the drug I have been taking for two years. The natural way to promote the antioxidant NRF2 pathways is through diet, exercise and stress reduction — all parts of The Wahls Protocol. I considered the side effects — which for me, were minimal — the recent cases of PML, and the recent discovery of the lymphatic system existing within the brain. After discussing a bit more with my husband, I decided to discontinue Tecfidera.

I bought another copy of her book and had it autographed. I’ll use this as a fundraiser or a gift for members of our local support group. I was really pleased to see how many of our group who attended the conference.

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I left the conference early as there was election work to be done . . .

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Vancouver Farmers Market — Nuez Beverage Co.

Posted by on Oct 30 2015 | Life at home, Women in Leadership

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Earlier this year, I was looking for an alternative to coconut milk in my smoothies as my skin seemed to be reacting to it.

I found Lauren at the market selling beautiful nut milk. She has figured out a way to dehydrate it and freeze it so you can reconstitute it and use it. I have become one of her most loyal customers. She is always a joy to see at the market.

My skin responded positively very quickly and I now use her pure almond nut milk every day.

She has done a lot of extra work on building her business over the last year and she now has a beautiful website, changed the signs at her stall, and redesigned the packaging.

Thanks, Lauren, for the beautiful pure nutmilks!

Nuez TN Day 002Nuez TN Day 001nuez jody 001

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MS Walk 2015

Posted by on May 27 2015 | Events, MS, MS Walk, Women in Leadership


Well, activity in my life has picked up so much that I’m falling behind in the blog posts. We had our big successful MS Walk this past Sunday. The group that I started and facilitate for the MS Society formed a team and we raised more than the goal of $7,500 that I set in February. The $8,802 means our group will receive $880 for our group activities!

After my speech on March 31 at the WAMS event, Jody Wilson-Raybould offered to join the team. It was so great to have her at the walk too!. One of the photos published by the MS Society shows her and her campaign team member Lea with signs showing support for me! (You can see all the photos selected by the MS Society to represent the walk here.)


Fortunately, I know one of the volunteer photographers and she sent me a couple of additional shots of our team that I liked. (We had a volunteer take photos for us but I haven’t received them yet.)

We wore aprons as Wahls Warriors have to cook our own food to make sure we can control what we eat. I brought a big wooden spoon as part of my costume. And as a team captain, I got a nice baseball hat, like the one seen below. The woman wearing the hat is Stephanie Mosher, the MS Society staff person in charge corporate relations and of WAMS. She’s a lot of fun and we get along great. And it’s a really nice photo of her.

Team walking


The event started with a speech from my friend, Sarah Le Huray of team Making Lemonade. And the very end of the event, after the awards were given out, two of our Wahls Warriors crossed the finish line, almost unwitnessed except by me, Daniel and one other man, who cheered these two for their accomplishment of a 5 km walk. Ravina was the very last one and she crossed with her two sons. She told me she wouldn’t have been able to do this a few months ago!

MS Walk 2015 Ravina crop

So proud of you, Ravina!

Well done, Wahls Warriors!!!

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Letter from Joyce Murray, MP, and photos from WAMS

Posted by on Apr 10 2015 | Events, MS, Women in Leadership

MS Society photo

photo: MS Society

The MS Society published some photos on flickr from the WAMS event on March 31. While it’s nice to see that there are several photos of me and Daniel talking with people, there is only one distant shot of me speaking on the podium at the lectern. There would have been more but my photographer was busy filming my talk! I guess I was the low profile speaker. Note to self — bring two cameras . . .

Stephanie Mosher, Corporate Relations Specialist at the MS Society, and I spent a lot of time talking about the event. She did all the work organizing the event but we bounced ideas around. I suggested that since we would be holding the event in the federal riding of Vancouver Quadra, that a greeting from the Member of Parliament would be a nice gesture. As I have known Joyce Murray for several years, I offered to contact her office and see if she might be available. But as parliament was in session on that date, her assistant said that they would be able to provide a letter to be read at the event. So, we invited Jody Wilson-Raybould, the official liberal candidate for Vancouver Granville, to read the letter on behalf of Ms. Murray.

I thought the letter was really nice and I managed to get a copy of it. She mentioned visiting our Kitsilano Self-Help Group last year, as well as her personal connection to MS.


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WAMS BC Launch Reception

Posted by on Apr 01 2015 | Events, Facial Pain/Trigeminal Neuralgia, Health Care, MS, Presentations, Workshops. Media, Public Speaking, Videos & Webinars worth watching, Women in Leadership

I was invited to be one of the speakers at the BC Launch for Women Against MS, or WAMS. As 75% of people with MS are women, and Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world, MS is a disease of Canadian Women.

I invited our local federal Liberal candidate, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to attend and present the welcome letter from Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra, the riding where the event took place. The letter that Ms. Murray wrote was thoughtful and moving, as she had a personal connection to MS and has visited MS groups, including a visit with our Kitsilano Group.

All in all, it was a successful launch. Other speakers were Karimah Es Sabar, President and CEO, Centre for Drug Research & Development, and Dr. Cornelia Laule, WAMS grant recipient.

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Dr. Laule brought all the researchers in attendance up on the stage with her. It was a really nice gesture as she described the important work they are all doing to help us.


I wore a few pieces of jewelry that represent hope that I put on as I got dressed. I had a ring from my mom, a teal bracelet from the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association of Canada (you can see it on my right wrist), starfish necklace and earrings from a special day with my husband, Daniel, and a pin in the front of my dress from the Evelyn Opal Society, who was one of the founders of the MS Society of Canada.

I also got a chance to reconnect with Sarah Le Huray and Lori Batchelor. I regret not getting a photo with Lori but Sarah was on the ball and came by to take a photo!


I’m pleased with how the evening went and I hope I get asked to speak again.

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Two great interviews with Dr. Terry Wahls

Posted by on Mar 30 2015 | Facial Pain/Trigeminal Neuralgia, Health Care, MS, Women in Leadership

I love this interview because it’s a good summary of her amazing story, and Dr. Wahls encourages people to grow their own food. This fits in so well with our local farmers markets and community gardens, supported by the City of Vancouver.

This interview is a bit older but it really accurately describes how you just do your best to move forward even when you know there is something not quite right. The interviewer was really interested in learning about the emotional and psychological experience of dealing with a progressive neurological condition.

And the fact that she, as a doctor, as well as medical colleagues didn’t know what was happening, made me realize how striking it was that my pediatrician friend was the first one to connect the dots. He is an impressive diagnostician! The main difference was that he actually LISTENED to me, then did a lot of thinking and called me back to discuss further. Unfortunately, the doctors I was seeing, a neurologist and a gastroenterologist, totally pooh-poohed his suggestion that it could be MS.

I experienced a degree of denial for many years, dismissing general symptoms as “burnout” or “aging”. Her description of occipital neuralgia is similar to my trigeminal neuralgia.

She is the ultimate self-advocate and a real inspiration to me!

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Promoting WAMS at Surrey Women in Business Awards

Posted by on Mar 07 2015 | Events, MS, Women in Leadership


Stephanie Mosher, Corporate Relations Specialist of the MS Society, invited me to the Surrey Women in Business Awards, to help promote WAMS (Women Against MS) and to inform people of the upcoming launch on March 31, and the gala lunch in November. Justin Trudeau, leader of the Federal Liberal Party of Canada, was the guest speaker at the awards lunch. I was standing at our table when I glanced over at the doorway and noticed Justin walking slowly into the room. I caught his eye, approached him and introduced myself by saying I was a member of Team Jody, I have MS and would be be OK if I took a picture with him in front of our poster board. He was gracious and complied. I am really glad I managed to be the first one to get a photo as I couldn’t get close to him later on.

Earlier I had spoken with Hon. Penny Priddy, the only woman in Canada to be elected at all levels of government, from school board, municipal council, member of the provincial legislature and cabinet minister, and federal member of parliament. She and I knew each other from her years as the honourary co-chair of the Women’s Campaign School when I was president of the host organization, the Canadian Women Voters Congress. She was very interested in knowing how I was doing and what I was doing to maintain my health.

Hon. Penny Priddy

Hon. Penny Priddy

I continued to help promote the event and managed to get several photos with some local high-profile people. Many of them had connections with people who had MS, so it made conversation easy.

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I managed to get a photo with Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO of Vancity Credit Union, the major sponsor of the awards ceremony. She and I had met some years ago when I ran for the Vancity board of directors. And I asked Steve Darling of Global TV (and MC for the event) for a photo.


After the lunch, across the room, I spotted Vikram Vij, celebrity chef and member of Dragon’s Den. I told him I was a neighbour (we live about 5 blocks away from him) and I would love to have a photo with him. He was gracious and bowed to us after the photo.

There were some additional politicians there, including former MP, Sukh Dhaliwal, and federal candidate, Wendy Yuan.

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I am super-excited about the gala lunch in November to hear the speakers, Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk , creative campaign developers (Dove Real Beauty Campaign) and the leadership trainers of their company Swim.

But the best part about yesterday was feeling like I was in my element again.


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MS Awareness & Vancouver Street Soccer League

Posted by on May 27 2014 | Events, MS, Women in Leadership

Street Soccer Mayor Chief Chu 011

I was invited to attend the annual Vancouver Street Soccer League playing with the Vancouver Police Department by park board Commissioner, Sarah Blyth, on Saturday, May 25th.

Daniel and I spent most of the day in the garden but dropped by to say ‘hi’ as I haven’t seen much of Sarah since her election to the Vancouver Park Board. She’s been really busy with all the projects she’s initiated and I’ve been dealing with my complex health concerns for the last four years.

I had been given pins from the MS Society to distribute as and I gave one to Councillor Andrea Reimer a couple of weeks ago. I was pleased to see that she came to participate in the game.

Councillor Andrea Reimer

Councillor Andrea Reimer

Then Mayor Robertson arrived and I took advantage of the opportunity to give him a pin as well.

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Me with Mayor Gregor Robertson

A few minutes later, Chief Constable Jim Chu arrived. He said a few words and then tweeted a photo.

Chief Chu taking photo to upload on Twitter

Chief Chu taking photo to upload on Twitter

I went to introduce myself to Chief Chu. My cousin Steve was with the VPD for many years and was a Deputy Chief under Chief Chu before retiring. Chief Chu knew a fair bit about the large Sweeney family and he was pleasant to talk to. I asked if I could take a photo with him and the other officer and they were more than happy to oblige.

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Me with Ian Upton and Jim Chu, VPD

Sarah Blyth arrived with Trish Kelly, a young woman who is seeking a nomination from Vision Vancouver to run for the park board. I asked for a photo with both of them.

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Before I left, I presented a pin to Commissioner Blyth.

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I really enjoyed myself with all this excitement and the interesting people I met. I chatted with some of the players and other observers. It felt good to be in a social environment that had nothing to do with MS, even though I was giving out pins.

Perhaps next year I’ll be in a position to do more for MS Awareness. But I really enjoyed being back in my element.


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