Learn more about the presenters below.

Presenter biographies are organized by Keynote, then alphabetically by first name.


Justin Sempsrott R

Dr. Justin Sempsrott

•  Wednesday, November 24, 8:30am  9:30am | Keynote: The Pandemic and the Path Forward for the Aquatics Industry

Justin started as an ocean lifeguard in Florida in 1996 before completing medical school. He co-founded Lifeguards Without Borders, the International Drowning Researchers’ Alliance and serves in leadership roles for both. He is Medical Director for Starguard Elite and the International Surf Lifesaving Association. He works full-time as a frontline Emergency Medicine Doctor in the rural western US, where he lives with his wife and son.

Phil Eastwood R

Phil Eastwood

• Thursday, November 25, 8:30am  9:30am | Keynote: Everyday Leadership

Phil is a dynamic presenter whose story-telling style educates, entertains and motivates audiences to improve their communication skills and relationships. Popular with audiences large and small, Phil delivers a message that positively impacts life at work and home.

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Anita Bleick

•  Thursday, November 25, 10:45am  11:45am | Lessons Learned and Beyond Panel: Instilling Aquatic Staff and Community Confidence through COVID

Biography coming soon.

Beth Fisher 2 R

Beth Fisher 

•  Thursday, November 25, 10:45am  11:45am | Lessons Learned and Beyond Panel: Instilling Aquatic Staff and Community Confidence through COVID

Beth has worked in the Aquatics industry for 20 years. She began her career in municipal aquatics, and has spent the last 13 years managing the Aquatic Centre for the University of Guelph, which serves both the students and the greater community.

Chris Westwick

Chris Westwick

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Chris started working at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre opening day in October of 1981, with none other than Mr. Dale Miller as her first supervisor! Throughout the years, Chris has held different positions throughout the Recreation department while raising her children.  Chris currently holds the role of Aquatics Coordinator with the City.  Personally she has received a “promotion” to Grandma – and is enjoying her new role very much!

Christa Balatti

Christa Balatti

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Christa grew up in Northern BC, and left the snow and cold, moving to Metro Vancouver to attend Simon Fraser University. In 2001, she began her recreation career in the City of Surrey and in 2010 transitioned to the City of Maple Ridge. There have been countless adventures throughout her career, and the most recent as a City Liaison for the 2020 BC Summer Games, was unforgettable. She has 3 sons who have played multiple sports throughout their childhood and youth, which has afforded her the opportunity to get involved in volunteering for the local and provincial sport organizations at the grassroots level.

Dale Miller R

Dale Miller 

•  Thursday, November 25, 9:45am - 10:30am | Pandemic-Style Drowning Prevention

Dale has worked in the BC aquatic recreation field since 1974 in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Quesnel and Langley. For the past 28 years, he has been Executive Director for the BC & Yukon Branch of the Lifesaving Society.  He served as Chair of the Aquatic Recreation Branch of BC Recreation & Parks Association for seven years and as a BCRPA board member for two years.  Dale has taught the BCRPA Pool Operator course since 1986 and has been a PoolOps instructor-trainer since 1996. He was a member of the task force responsible for the development of a pool worker safety course known as PoolSafe BC.  Dale’s leisure time includes playing soccer and spending time with his four grandchildren.

Daniel Sander R

Daniel Sander 

•  Wednesday, November 24, 10:45am - 11:45am | Agency Update: The Latest News on Aquatics

•  Thursday, November 25, 12:00pm - 12:45pm | An Introduction to Psychological First Aid for Aquatic Professionals

Daniel is the Swimming and Water Safety Representative for Lower Mainland and Coastal BC at Canadian Red Cross. Throughout his 10+ year career in the aquatics industry, he has learned that communities are best served by teams led in a consistent, conscientious, and empathetic manner. Daniel is passionate about training and mentoring the next generation of leaders within aquatics to provide quality, accessible water safety education to as many Canadians as possible.

Ian Mcdonald R2

Ian MacDonald

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Ian joined Carscadden Stokes McDonald in 2007 and has been Partner since 2012. His work with the firm includes the Lieutenant Governor Medal-winning Swalwell Park, Kensington Park, and Robert Burnaby Park Washrooms, and ranges from the small (bike parking facilities for Translink), to the gargantuan (14 acre Prairie Winds Park in Calgary), to the speculative (a proposal to use bikes to mitigate damage in post-earthquake Vancouver). In addition to practice, Ian has taught at the UBC School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture from 2005 until 2013, and again in 2020, served on the board of Vancouver's Centre A Gallery, sought (and lost (badly)) a position on the Vancouver School Board, and is currently President of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.

James Braam R

James Braam

•  Wednesday, November 24, 9:45am  10:30am | A New Era of Wellness

As one of HDR’s global design leads, James’ portfolio of award-winning Recreation + Wellness projects emphasizes vision, creativity, context, and sustainability that balance cost with high efficiency. With 20+ built projects and dozens of studies, he brings a passion for healthy buildings that is integral to his collaborative design approach. Prior to joining HDR, James served as a national design director for the recreation and wellness sector in the US for over 12 years. Now at HDR, James serves as a design principal, focusing on community, sport and wellness projects.

Julie Kaufman R

Julie Kaufman

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Julie is an Aquatics Supervisor at City of Richmond and has worked in the aquatics industry for over 12 years. In her current role, she was fortunate to be a part of opening Richmond’s newest natatorium at Minoru Centre for Active Living.

Karen Zaiden 2

Karen Zaidan

Wednesday, November 24, 1:00pm  1:45pm | Panel: Pandemic-Inspired Aquatic Facility and Operations Adaptations

With her background in training and coaching/mentoring, Karen has been leading aquatics in the North for over 15 years.  10 of those were in the NWT and in the Yukon since 2015.  She is a National Trainer with the Lifesaving Society as well as an advocate for the North. She continues to build teams, young and old, collaborates nationally, and is passionate about bring water awareness to all.  Through COVID, she was a key point person working closely with the Covid Response Unit in the Yukon for aquatics and recreation as a whole.

Kelsey Woods R

Kelsey Woods

•  Thursday, November 25, 10:45am  11:45am | Lessons Learned and Beyond Panel: Instilling Aquatic Staff and Community Confidence through COVID

Kelsey is the Fleetwood Recreation Operations Manager in the Community & Recreation Services Division with the City of Surrey.  She has worked in aquatics for 12 years in both public and private sectors. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and is particularly interested in human behavior and how recreation positively impacts the psychological and emotional wellbeing of the community.

Kevin Klippenstein R

Kevin Klippenstein

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Kevin has been the design lead at VDA Architecture Ltd. since assuming the leadership of the firm 13 years ago. Kevin has been the lead on 21 constructed aquatics  projects and undertaken 17 aquatic studies, completed 9 dry sport/fitness facilities, and 6 arena projects, including as an advisor on the first indoor arena in Mongolia. With 33 years of experience in the architectural field, Kevin has been involved in all aspects of recreation and community facility development from initial consultation and feasibility studies, design, production of contract documents, field review, to commissioning.

Kim Winston R

Kim Winston

•  Thursday, November 25, 1:00pm  1:45pm | Beyond COVID – Designing Community Recreation Facilities in the New Normal

Kim is interested in creating architecture that helps people re-imagine and realize new possibilities for their communities. She enjoys working with clients and communities to understand their needs and establish a shared vision for a project. As an Associate, Kim brings over 12 years of experience working on community, recreation, education, and master planning projects. Her work focuses on engaging the community and finding cost-efficient but inspirational design solutions. Kim was integral to the Granville Island 2040 Land Use Vision & Strategy, Rosemary Brown Arena, Harry Jerome, and New Westminster Aquatic & Community Centres. She is currently leading the design of the new Burnaby Lake Aquatic & Arena Centre. Kim loves being an architect because she can work in a team that continually questions and finds solutions that make the buildings and cities where we live our lives, better.

Kyle Kronebusch Hs R

Kyle Kronebusch

•  Wednesday, November 24, 10:45am - 11:45am | Agency Update: The Latest News on Aquatics

Kyle has been a member of the Lifesaving Society Education Team for the past year following six years as Aquatic Leader with the City of Prince George. He has been a National Trainer for the past five years and continues to lead that group of regional representatives of the Lifesaving Society. He is also currently completing his Masters in Education.

Lauralee March R

Lauralee March

•  Thursday, November 25, 12:00pm – 12:45pm | An Introduction to Psychological First Aid for Aquatic Professionals

Lauralee is the South Surrey Recreation Operations Manager in the Community Recreation Services Division – City of Surrey. She has experience in both the private and public sectors and is a Lifesaving Society and Canadian Red Cross trainer. She holds a Masters in Business Administration specializing in Management Consulting and a Masters in Arts in Leadership. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Social Sciences. Lauralee is especially interested in emotional, psychological, and social wellness. When she’s not working or studying, you can find her working out or playing with her two energetic dogs and one energetic son.

Mary Chow R

Mary Chow

•  Wednesday, November 24, 9:45am  10:30am | A New Era of Wellness

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Mary has dedicated the last 15+ years of her career to community recreation projects. Firmly believing that buildings must serve the communities and stakeholders for which they are designed, she uses engagement, research, and innovation to create project success. From the Edmonds Community Centre (her first pool project) to the Prince George Downtown Pool (her current project), Mary has an intimate knowledge of how aquatic centres have positively shaped communities. Mary’s track record of Facility Excellence awards is proof that she places client and community needs first.

Michael Henderson R

Michael Henderson

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Michael is a principal at hcma. For Michael, it’s all about creating an engaged and empowered team where personal strengths can grow and flourish. Driven by connections with ambitious and engaged individuals, Michael promotes community building in both the facilities we design as well as in our studio environment. With unique focus on sports, recreation and community facilities, Michael has been an important member of the hcma team working on projects that include West Vancouver Aquatic and Community Centres and Legends Centre. Michael managed the design team for the Vancouver Olympic / Paralympic Curling Centre for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver as well as the legacy conversion of the Olympic Centre and the Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest Park. Michael recently contributed design and technical expertise for two multi-sport complexes in Montreal and an aquatic centre in Windsor, Ontario and he recently led the project team for the Minoru Centre for Active Living in Richmond, BC.

Paul Rigby Headshot R

Paul Rigby

•  Wednesday, November 24,  12:00pm  12:45pm | Virtual Pool Tour Featuring 8 Pools

Over the last twenty years, Paul has played a major role in many of FaulknerBrowns' mixed-use sport, recreation and aquatics projects. Many of the projects that Paul is involved with are driven by realizing high value for multiple stakeholders in complex situations. Based in the Vancouver studio, Paul continues to support the design and delivery of the practices work across Europe and Canada by cross sharing and evolving relevant new ideas from both sides of the Atlantic.

Paula Thulin R

Paula Thulin

• Wednesday, November 24, 1:00pm  1:45pm | Panel: Pandemic-Inspired Aquatic Facility and Operations Adaptations

Paula has been passionate about swimming since she was a child and passed her older sister in swim lessons at Green Lake in the beautiful Cariboo region of BC. She honed her leadership skills working for the past 27 years in Aquatics. Paula has been an Aquatic Centre Supervisor for the City of Delta, Red Cross Master Instructor Trainer and a Red Cross Water Safety Ambassador. Her passion has enabled her participate in many Red Cross initiatives around the world from China to the many Provinces in Canada. When Paula is not at a swimming pool, she is often found laughing with her friends and family (they may be laughing at her not with her).

Stephane Delisle R

Stéphane Delisle

Wednesday, November 24, 1:00pm  1:45pm | Panel: Pandemic-Inspired Aquatic Facility and Operations Adaptations

Stéphane (he/him) is Senior Manager of Programs & Operations at the UBC Aquatic Centre responsible for the overall strategic leadership of the business unit and the team of 12 full-time staff and more than 125 student-staff. Stéphane has over 25 years of experience within all levels of Canadian sport and recreation.  From community to national level sport, private sector events, to large international multi-sport games, he is keen to leverage cross-functional planning to deliver quality events, programs and services for guests/participants.  Stéphane is a franco-Ontarian who relocated to British Columbia in 1999. He is a graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics.

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