Session 2 – Tuesday May 16 2023

Pick Your Podium: Where do you want to make your impact?


  • Chi Nguyen

    Chi became Executive Director of Equal Voice National in January 2023, after having spent the past 20 years working in the social innovation sector. She was a recent candidate in the provincial election for the riding of Spadina-Fort York, and has spent her career with leading local and national organizations bringing forward solutions to community challenges. 

    Chi has been involved in community building for the past thirty years and is involved in organizations such as BMW Responsible Leaders network, and the Global Diplomacy Lab, and has helped to develop public policy, engage citizens and end systemic and cultural inequality.

    Part of Chi’s mission with Equal Voice includes working to help elect women and gender diverse individuals that represent the diversity of Canada, working against hate and injustice in politics, and to embed diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and accessibility throughout the organization and all of its programs.

    Chi holds an Master Science in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics. She is a past YWCA Woman of Distinction and recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.

Guest Speakers:

  • Elder Odelle Pike

    Odelle grew up in a strong traditional Mi’kmaq family in St. George’s NL. She owned and operated a successful business in a neighbouring community for over 25 years. During this time, she also focused her efforts on community, earning her several national awards and recognition. Such as the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Governor General Sovereign Award for Indigenous Leadership. The Unlooneg Lifetime Achievement Award. NLOWE Visionary Award, Western Newfoundland Volunteer of the year Award and Skate Canada national Volunteer of the Year Award. In fact, Odelle is being honoured this week with an Honorary Degree from Memorial University. 

    Upon retiring from her business, her work has primarily concentrated on cultural revitalization and helping Indigenous men, women, and youth. She is the President of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network, Past President and Founder of the Bay St. George Cultural Circle presently known as the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre, Director with Unlooneg on their Board, many advisory committees and several national committees, and was formally Stephenville Ward Counsellor with the Qalipu Band.

    Her attention of late has been in supporting the families affected by cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and residential school survivors. She is committed to rebuilding Mi’kmaq communities through the combined efforts of Band Members, government agencies and industry through their collective wisdom and cultural ways. She is a respected Elder in her community and is an active traditional teacher, mentor and educator. 
  • Mary Shortall

    Mary Shortall defines herself as a feminist, and a life-time labour, political and social justice activist. Mary recently retired as President of the Newfoundland & Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL), a position she held since in 2013. 

    Before being elected to the NLFL, Mary held the position of Atlantic Regional Director, and NL Representative, for the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC); where she worked since 2001. She cut her union teeth in the early 80’s as a union representative, and member of her Local’s Executive Board at Air Canada, where she worked for 28 years. 

    Through her work at Air Canada, and the CLC she has been a proud union member. The light bulb came on for Mary when she trained as a peer-instructor (discussion leader) for her union in 1989. After more than 30 years of facilitating, Mary continues to be inspired the “magic” of critical discussions that happen when workers come together on any subject. For her, education, organizing and action are foundational ingredients for worker power, activism and change. 

    Mary ran as a candidate for Canada’s New Democratic Party in the 2021 Federal election. She has been a member of the New Democratic Party for most of her adult life. She believes there is often an important connection between what we want to see in the world, and our political action. And the best place to find ourselves, may be on a ballot! 

    In March 2021, Mary was named one of the top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business by the Atlantic Business magazine. Enjoying having more time now to do other things she loves, Mary may have retired from her job, but states that she will never retire from the “movement” she loves so much. In April 2023, Mary was named the first Special Advisor for the Federal NDP.
  • Nicole Kieley

    For Nicole, growing up and living in Mount Pearl, means giving back. As a proud O’Donel High Alumni, devoted volunteer, caring neighbour, and engaged citizen, she believes our collective efforts are what make up the incredible diversity, health and prosperity of our community. Nicole has been Deputy Mayor of Mount Pearl since 2021 and has previous experience running for provincial government, as well.

    With over 20 years of working experience leading community based organizations, Nicole has contributed to the empowerment of people and communities within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Her roles have included President of the Memorial University Graduate Students’ Union, Executive Director for Women in Resource Development Corporation, Executive Director of the NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre and Special Advisor to the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. In all her work, listening, connecting, and advocating for people was foundational.

    Earning a Master of Women Studies degree from Memorial University, Nicole understands the value, strength and business case for equality and inclusion in our neighbourhoods and at the decision making table.

    In addition to being a community- minded advocate, Nicole is also a successful entrepreneur and business women. She co-founded and created Escape Quest, a thriving escape room business that celebrates local history and culture. She values and understands that our local economy and business owners are critical to the health and vitality of our cities. Together with many community allies, Nicole has led provincial projects and coordinated initiatives that contribute to resilient communities. She is a firm believer that to address complex issues we need many good people from all expressions and experiences working together with respect, meaning, and purpose.