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Maryam Zeineddin, MD, CCFP, FCFP

Zili Chair, Zili Health Inc.
Family Physician, Ambleside Medical Centre

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Annie Y. Chou, MD, FRCPC Cardiology, FRCPC Internal Medicine

Cardiologist, St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital

Director of General Cardiology, St. Paul’s Hospital

Assistant Program Director of the UBC Adult Cardiology Program, University of British Columbia

Dr. Annie Chou obtained her undergraduate degree in Honours Physiology, and completed her Medical Degree, Internal Medicine Residency, and Cardiology Fellowship all at the University of British Columbia. After completion of her training, Dr. Chou worked at Lions Gate Hospital and the North Shore Heart Centre for 3 years prior to being recruited back to St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital as the Director of General Cardiology at St. Paul’s Hospital and the Associate Program Director of the Adult Cardiology Program for the University of British Columbia. She is also an avid traveller and has been to over 45 countries.

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Sinikka Elliott

PhD in sociology and co author of Pressure Cooker, The Atlantic Book Review

Dr. Elliott is an associate professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia. She received her undergraduate degree from Dalhousie University and her master’s and doctorate from the University of Texas-Austin. She is the author of two well-received books that examine family life at the intersection of health and wellbeing. Her latest book, Pressure Cooker, coauthored with Sarah Bowen and Joslyn Brenton, examines how current conversations around the value of home cooking often ignore the realities most families face. Pressure Cooker has been highly praised in The Atlantic and Pacific Standard, and Dr. Elliott has been interviewed by major news outlets including the CBC, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. In addition to her academic work, she has written for Psychology Today, the New York Times, The Guardian, Politico and others.

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Jennifer Heil

Social Innovator, Community Activist, Olympic Champion

As VP of Sport Development at viaSport and co-founder and strategic partner of B2ten, a privately funded charity which employs business-based principals to funding and developing elite Canadian athletes, Jennifer champions sport and works with leaders to strengthen the sport delivery system in British Columbia and across Canada. Jennifer understands first hand how the importance of sport and physical activity goes far beyond the playing field underpinning one’s well-being and success.

Jennifer has worked in the private sector in different roles including as a member of the Deloitte Innovation Consulting team as well as in the not-for-profit sector, and as a sports commentator.

Jennifer continues to advocate and empower young women around the World through access to education. In 2013 Jennifer successfully raised $1million for the Because I am a Girl initiative.

She graduated from McGill University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Jennifer is the most successful female skier in Canadian history, winning Olympic Gold and Silver medals. As the first and only female freestyle skier in the world to complete “the Grand Slam,” winning all major titles in her sport, Jennifer is a member of the Alberta, Quebec and Canada Sports Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Meritorious Service Decoration (M.S.C.) awarded by the Governor General of Canada.


Gloria Macarenko

CBC News Host & Zili Conference Host

Long time CBC News host Gloria Macarenko takes the host chair on Metro Vancouver’s afternoon show On The Coast, where she explores the day’s news and local communities, and goes in-depth with hyper-local stories. Gloria is also host of CBC Television's Our Vancouver, a current affairs television show, as well as The Story from Here, a national Radio One show that brings Canadians the most lively and intriguing interviews from across the country. 

Previously, Macarenko hosted CBC Radio One’s B.C. Almanac where she connected with British Columbians through conversation. Prior to that, Macarenko hosted the award-winning newscast CBC News Vancouver at 5 & 6. She has twice been nominated for the Gemini Awards in the category of "Best News Anchor" in Canada.

Gloria Macarenko is an award-winning journalist and senior leader on the news team. In her time with CBC, she has been awarded a Jack Webster Award for "Best News Reporting", multiple RTNDA Awards and a Leo award for "Best Anchor in a News Program" with former co-host Ian Hanomansing. Gloria has guest hosted on The National and CBC News Now.

Macarenko's relationship with British Columbia goes far beyond the newsroom. You can see her volunteering and hosting for organizations such as Arts Umbrella, Dr. Peter Centre, RCH Hospital Foundation, BC Cancer Foundation, the Gordon Smith Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the Prince Rupert Foundation and the International Women's Forum.

Born and raised in Prince Rupert, her travels take her around B.C. When not in the host chair, or on the road, she can be found enjoying a good book or sampling the spectacular culinary adventures Vancouver is known for.



Dr. Gabor Maté

Order of Canada Recipient and Author: When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Gabor Maté is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. To learn more, join his e-news list at


Diane McIntosh, BSc Pharmacy, MD, FRCPC 

Psychiatrist, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Dr. McIntosh graduated from Dalhousie University, where she completed an undergraduate degree in pharmacy before completing her medical school training and adult psychiatry residency. She is a clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia and has a busy private practice. She is extensively involved in continuing medical education programs to colleagues nationally and internationally, with a focus on rational pharmacology. She has a particular interest in the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. McIntosh sits on the Board of Directors of CANMAT, the Canadian Network For Mood and Anxiety Treatments and the Advisory Board for CADDRA, the Canadian ADHD Research Association. She blogs about mental health issues for Huffington Post Canada.
Twitter: @drdianemcintosh



Dr. Mark Sherman

Family Practitioner, Founder BC Assn. for Living Mindfully

Mark Sherman is a proud father and husband who lives in Saanichton, BC. He is a Family Physician with a special interest in mental health and psychophysiological disorders. He is the Executive Director and a founder of the BC Association for Living Mindfully as well as Living This Moment. Mark has been facilitating Mindfulness Based Stress Management workshops and courses to patients, physicians, health care professionals, educators, and community groups for over 12 years throughout BC and Canada and is currently working on his first book on Mindfulness in Medicine. Mark believes that mindfulness and meditation offer powerful tools in healing our minds and bodies and are necessary human skills in fully living our potential."



Niamh Tallon MB BCh BAO, FRCSC

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, Fertility Specialist, Olive Fertility

Dr. Niamh Tallon received her medical training at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She went on to complete a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Saskatchewan and then came to Vancouver to pursue a fellowship in Gynecologic Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (GREI) at the University of British Columbia.

In addition to having a busy private practice treating fertility at Olive Fertility Centre, Dr. Tallon is a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC and actively involved in resident and medical student teaching. She works as part of a team of healthcare providers at the women’s reproductive health program, BCWH, dealing with early pregnancy complications.

Dr. Tallon’s special interest includes the impact of aging on fertility treatments and developing strategies to overcome this. She has co-authored a guideline for fertility preservation in reproductively aged women, and is passionate about empowering women with knowledge about their own reproductive health.

Dr. Tallon lives in Vancouver with her husband and 2 children. Her own fertility challenges have given her a special empathy and understanding of what her patients are going through.


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Tamara Taggart

Community Leader, Activist, Veteran Broadcaster, Liberal Party Candidate of Canada in Vancouver-Kingsway. 

Tamara Taggart is a community leader, activist, veteran broadcaster, cancer survivor, mother, and candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in Vancouver-Kingsway. 

Born and raised in Vancouver, Tamara is a community leader who advocates for others and raises much-needed funds for many important causes. Throughout her career as a broadcaster on local television, radio and digital media, Tamara earned her place as a trusted voice for people in Vancouver. She has focused two decades’ of volunteer efforts on health care and the well-being of children and people with disabilities.

Tamara chaired BC Women's Hospital’s Hope Starts Here campaign, raising $17 million for the newborn intensive care unit. She also served as chair of the BC Cancer Foundation’s Inspiration Gala for five years, raising more than $16 million for cancer research and treatment in British Columbia.

Tamara’s 2014 TED Talk, Two Conversations that Changed My Life, struck a chord with medical professionals and universities around the world, by reframing the way healthcare practitioners communicate hope.

In 2015 Tamara was awarded the Order of BC—the highest honour awarded by the Government of British Columbia—in recognition of her years of public service. She also received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2016.

Tamara and her husband Dave have three children— son Beckett and daughters Zoë and Poppy. They also share their home with George their Airedale Terrier, Penelope their rescue dog from Mexico, and rescue cats Broccoli and Brussel Sprout.

Special Guests


Miranda Joan


Miranda Joan is a singer/songwriter born in Montréal and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Now based in New York City, Joan’s multi-cultural upbringing and love of soul music and its many shades, finds her sound floating somewhere between soul, pop, and singer/songwriter. 

Her debut EP Still fused retro soul with an electronic edge, and Joan's latest releases are the singles 'Free' and 'Happy To Have You'. The new music provide highlights a female-forward tone and an underlying theme of empowerment; uncovering and connecting with one’s own strength and the importance of self-love. Joan confides, “This latest body of work is a reflection of my journey through the lens of finding my footing as a woman and the importance of my community of women who support me on this path”. 

Joan has performed on international tours, as well as playing to sold-out audiences in New York City. She is a co-host and co-founder of Femme Jam (NYC’s first all-female led jam session), which creates a space in the music community that both shines a light on female musicians and also fosters a safe and inclusive space for women to play, network and gain exposure. Her next single ‘Girlfriend’ is due for release fall 2019.


Ann van Messel

Founder, Dragonfly Pilates

“Movement = Life”

As a life-long athlete, burdened with a scoliosis diagnosis and chronic back pain, she early on recognized the limits of the medical system – from the brace that constrained, but did not heal at the age of 12, to the steroid shots as an adult that at best just delayed the pain.

Ann’s worked throughout her career to bring instruction, healing and self-actualization through movement. First as an outdoor educator and whitewater guide, and then incorporating her study of reflexology, yoga, functional movement and pilates.

Through pilates, Ann assists her students to achieve their movement goals and find an alternative to often self-imposed inactivity.

A Vancouver native, and world traveler, Ann’s undergraduate degree is from Queens University and MBA from Arizona State University. Ann van Messel is a Comprehensively Certified Pilates Instructor and founder of Dragonfly Pilates in West Vancouver. She’s just returned from Mentor-for-instructor training in LA, with Body Arts and Science International, the premier international pilates education organization. (Coming soon)

For more information:


Megan Walker-Straight

Teacher, Dance For Parkinson’s

Megan danced professionally in NYC for many years, most notably with the renowned Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She is a past recipient of a Merce Cunningham Trust Fellowship for Reconstruction and continues to be active in the preservation of his legacy. She holds a BA in Dance from the University of California, Berkeley and trained in the University of New York, Hunter College Dance Therapy Masters program and at the Helix Institute for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Healing in NYC.  Megan has been teaching Contemporary Dance in the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University since 2000.  

In 2015 Megan began her involvement with Dance for Parkinson’s and has since been awarded three times the Stanley J. Wertheimer Teaching Fellowship by the Brooklyn Parkinson’s Dance Group/ Mark Morris Dance Group in New York. She teaches dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s in locations throughout the Lower Mainland.