Speaking, Facilitation
& Workshops

Lived Experience and Best Practices: Shared Passionately and Professionally.

 


Sharon uses the confluence of these experiences to reflect on how each has made her stronger, more empathetic, and how each of us can harness our experiences to grow personally, to assist and empower others, and to build a better and more compassionate world.

 

Embracing our Superpowers

Presentations about how the lived experience of mental health conditions can be reframed as Superpowers, with insight and resources on how to Embrace our Superpowers for our own well-being and the greater good. Excellent for classrooms, professional development, team-building, and creating health working and learning environments.


What you call a ‘Mental Illness’ I call a Superpower

My awareness of living with a mood disorder began with a diagnosis of post-partum depression after the birth of my first son in 1992. I would come to realize that I had lived with a mood disorder my entire life, as had several family members, but stigma issues meant they remained undiagnosed and undiscussed. When my son began experiencing anxiety, I wanted to empower him and limit the impact of stigma on his life. Being comic book geeks, I used the term Superpowers to explain his condition and how he could think about, and effectively live with it. For the first time, I was naming what I had been doing for years, not just to cope, or to manage, but to succeed! This presentation talks about that journey and how we can all be Superheroes of our own mental health - Capes optional!

 

Hello, My Name is Anxiety and I’d like to be your Superpower
Rising up from the Depths: Depression as a Superpower
I Can See From Both Sides Now: Balancing Bi-Polar Superpowers
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Shiny Object!: Focusing the Superpowers of AD(H)D

A series of presentations on specific mental health conditions and how they can be reframed to identify the strengths that can be drawn from by those with lived experience. Interactive superhero-inspired presentations for youth (and the young heart) to better understand how our brains work, how we can rewire them, and most importantly what it means to Embrace Our Superpowers and transform our lives. Presentations include resources, supports, and accessible techniques grounded in neuroplasticity, mindfulness practice, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and guided by someone who uses these tools daily.

 

Tapping into Your Team’s Superpowers

As a person with lived experience of a mood disorder, an employee, and employer, I am acutely aware of how the quality of our work environment impacts our mental health and productivity, and these things are very much interconnected. When employers, and leaders within an organization, are able to understand the role they play in promoting mental health and well-being, they are better able to support their employees, benefit from their employees’ Superpowers, and build an organizational environment with high levels of productivity and success. This presentation includes workplace supports and resources to help organizations build healthy and productive teams and stigma-free work environments.

 

Flying Solo and Not Tripping on Your Cape - Mental Health & the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship means taking risks and putting yourself out there, often going it alone. Transitioning from a work environment with colleagues to a more self-directed agenda has implications for our mental health. Learn how preparing for that transition ensures your personal well-being, increasing your productivity and success. Includes resources available to the self-employed and evidenced-based and accessible techniques grounded in neuroplasticity, mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and guided by an entrepreneur who uses them daily.

 

Strengthening Democracy: Mental Health & Activism

Elected life and political activism can have a profound impact on the mental health of the individuals who seek to build a better world in service of others. From grassroots engagement, political activism, and strategizing to campaigning and engaging voters, each draws the best from us, but can also undermine our mental well-being. Issues of stigma and stress often keep those of us with lived experience from seeking elected office. For those who have yet to experience mental health conditions, politics can be the place where mental well-being is undermined for the first time. This series can support people at any level of political engagement to build their resilience and to use their Superpowers for good!

 

Minister with a Mood Disorder: Elected Life, Lived Experience & Superpowers

Living with a mood disorder presents many challenges, but also provided me with  the opportunity to learn about neuroplasticity, mindfulness, and the benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as part of my ongoing recovery. What I came to realize, and what has been supported by research, is that lived experience provided me with a different way of seeing the world, and empowered me to be a better leader. I share my mental health history and how it would shape my ability to become elected (twice!) in an unwinnable seat, oversee a $6 billion dollar budget, and face the daily grind of Question Period and media scrums, where anything can happen. This presentation includes discussion of the role of elected officials in shaping mental health policy, ending stigma, and the value of our Superpowers in creating a better policy and a stronger democracy.


More than Sidekicks: Activists and Organizers
So You Want to Change the World: Mental Well-being for Candidates
Welcome to the Jungle: Mental Well-being for the Newly Elected
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Transforming Political Culture & Elected Office

A series of presentations on specific political roles and the mental health impact on each to preserve the mental well-being of people in these roles, and to identify the strengths that can be drawn from those with lived experience within these roles. Interactive superhero-inspired presentations to better understand how our brains work, how we can rewire them, and most importantly what it means to Embrace Our Superpowers and transform democracy for the well-being of all. Presentations include resources, supports, and accessible techniques grounded in neuroplasticity, mindfulness practice, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and guided by someone who has survived and thrived in elected life and who uses these tools daily.

 

Empowering Leadership

Leadership draws on many aspects of our character and experience. It teaches us a great deal, and comes with great responsibilities. Engaging stories about leadership that will empower you to bring out your best, because we often learn the most when confronting challenging situations.

 

The ‘F’ Word: Feminism as a foundation for leadership, team-building & equity

As a feminist academic, domestic abuse survivor, and elected official who lives with a mood disorder, a recurring theme in my life has been the role of feminism in creating compassionate, empowering, and successful work and learning environments. This presentation examines what feminism is, and isn’t, and how it can be used as a foundation to create environments that enhance mental health and well-being and help organizations grow leaders and strong leadership ethics.

 

What can a ‘white girl’ know?: Non-Indigenous Canadians as allies – respectfully engaging & supporting Indigenous Empowerment

I have been fortunate in having many wonderful, and simultaneously difficult, learning moments as a non-Indigenous student, educator, activist, and elected official, who believes in decolonization and reconciliation, and works to be a strong ally to Indigenous people in Canada. It has meant being hired to teach an introductory Indigenous studies class to a classroom filled with Indigenous social workers and confronting the structural and systemic inequalities that created that situation. As a result, I became the ‘secret decoder ring’ for my Indigenous students to learn a history systemically denied to them, and a translator to my non-Indigenous students to help them understand that they too had an important role in shaping a future grounded in equitable relationships. This presentation addresses how we can each move forward together in self-examination, education and empowering ourselves and each other.


Also includes:

Minister with a Mood Disorder: Elected Life, Lived Experience & Superpowers
Tapping into Your Team’s Superpowers