Learning & Networking Events

The regular networking sessions offer so much more than merely meeting others who work in the same field. Stimulating conversation occurs between people who share the same goals of improving accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities, and increased independence through meaningful employment. Our regular networking meetings bring together individuals who work for local employment service providers, schools, colleges, disability services organizations, and other bodies. At these meetings, presentations educate attendees regarding disabilities, programs, government initiatives, and other services. Participants also have opportunities for collaboration, networking, and information sharing. These meetings are held in Abbotsford.

The BC Career Development Association has approved Focus Disability Network Society meetings and conferences for Continuing Education Credits. These credits are essential for certification and recertification as a Certified Career Development Professional.

Employment Service Centres have a requirement to attend educational sessions and network with other Employment support agencies. Attendance at Focus Disability Network Society events fulfils this criterion and builds capacity within the participating organizations.

Conferences are held annually, with locations ranging between the Fraser Valley Abbotsford and the Lower Mainland.
They provide detailed information regarding issues related to disability and employment.

Bi-monthly learning and networking sessions, held in the Fraser Valley, boast a roster of highly qualified experts presenting on topics to increase your knowledge. The environment is casual and open, promoting good dialogue and sharing of information amongst participants. Our events are approved by the BC Career Development Association, for Continuing Education Credits necessary for certification and recertification as a Certified Career Development Professional.

Take a look at the history of agendas below to see the variety of topics and calibre of presenters.

Annual Conference

November 9, 2023

September 12, 2023

Jeanne Morton and Elizabeth Specht from the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC

Ness Gale from the Low Entropy Foundation

Christine Buchanan from Open Door Group

CNIB – Come to Work program.

Learning & Networking Session

June 13, 2023

To be announced

April 18, 2023

Heather Branscombe, Abilities Neurological Rehabilitation; 
Ness Gale, Low Entropy Foundation.

Agenda to come.

January 17, 2023

Belinda Deenik, Director of Learning and Development at the Canadian
Association for Supported Employment (CASE);
Lori Davis, Facilitator, Community Living BC;

Alyson Seale, Associate Professor, University of the Fraser Valley;

Lisa Persaud, Team Leader - Employment Services, March of Dimes Canada (MODC)

November 24, 2022

Garth Johnson, auticon Canada;
Dr. Rachelle Hole and Sandra Polushin, Transitioning Youth with Disabilities and Employment (TYDE) Project;
Jody Dickerson and Gordon Watt, Neil Squire Society;
Kim Donaldson, Fable Pathways;
Ling Huang, Technology North;
Aaron Davis, Mission Community Skills Centre Society

September 13, 2022

Russell Pinnson, Executive Director at JustWork;

Peter Bailey, Co-Owner of Free Rein Associates;

Nate Toevs, Marketing Manager for the WorkBC Assistive Technology Services program;
Lisa Smith, Sr Manager Special Care Services at WorkSafeBC

June 14, 2022

Bryce Schaufelberger, selfadvocatenet.com;
Rocio Zielinski, Sto:lo Community Futures;
Genievieve Apolinar, Canadian Mental Health Association;
Robert Fraser, Fraser Valley Artisans Food Hub

April 12, 2022

Kim Welsh, WorkBC;

Kristin Coyne, Encompass Support Services;
Tim Staunton, Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation;
Pamela Bragg, Sarkany Management;
Landon Sawatzky, Volken Academy

January 11, 2022

Dr. Rachelle Hole, UBC;
James Bork, Aerotek
Diana Dufour-Zand, Mission Community Skills Centre Society
Denali Moss, Seabird Island
Tara Cummings, YMCA of Greater Vancouver

November 18, 2021

Frank Cohn, Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture;

Len Pierre, Len Pierre Consulting;
Heather McCain, Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods;
Sadiq Mohini, Immigrant Services Society of BC

Learning & Networking Session; Annual General Meeting

September 14, 2021

Kate Collins, Embers Staffing Solutions;

Ruth & Naomi's Mission;
Stephanie Betsch, Fraser Valley Pacific Autism Family Network

April 13, 2021

Vineetha Nakka, The Centre for Epilepsy & Seizure Education;

Jillian Bradley, inclusionBC

February 9, 2021

Josh Bohr, Salvation Army;
Tara Cummings, TMCA of Greater Vancouver;
Tomoko Cerf, Pacific Community Resources Society

November 17, 2020

Cal Purcell, Canadian Vocational Training Centre

September 15, 2020

Chris Gaudet, Raymond James Ltd – Nava Wealth;
Vandya Joshi, DIVERSEcity;
Marie Lembesis, Registered Clinical Counsellor

June 25, 2020

Scott Williams;
Kristin Bower;
Dr. Marci Regambal, Back in Motion;
Pat McLeod

March 10, 2020

Nate Toevs, Neil Squire Society;
Natasha Elliott-Herrick, Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association;
Stephen Evans, Mission Community Skills Centre Society;
Doris Woodman MacMillan, Number Unlimited;
Desiree Sher, Tumour Foundation of BC

November 19, 2019

Keynote: Alyson Seale, University of the Fraser Valley;
Annette Borrows, Community Futures South Fraser;
Dawn Taylor and Scott Williams, PLEA Community Services;
Marsha Wilson, Douglas College

Learning & Networking Session
Annual General Meeting

September 17, 2019  

Valerie Beebe, MS Ambassador;
Roberta Neault, Life Strategies;
Teresa Pippus, Community Futures South Fraser

June 18, 2019

Lori Davis, Community Living BC;
Dan Collins, Inclusion Langley Society, and Dr. Rachelle Hole, UBC Okanagan

March 12, 2019  

Erin See, Fraser Health;
Dr. Christopher Cooke, Work Evaluation and Research Center;
Christy Peters, Community Living British Columbia

January 15, 2019

Tami Logan and Krista Mosdell, Inclusion Langley Society;
Rebecca Farnell, Pacific Autism Family Network;
Shea, Self-advocate

December 4, 2018

Shelley Nessman, In the Company of Others

September 18, 2018

Annette Borrows, Inclusion Langley Society;
Damon Forster, BC Alliance for Manufacturing;
Gizelle Debad, Chilliwack Society for Community Living;
Ryan Baker, Little Kickers Fraser Valley

May 29, 2018

Ilene Candiana, Abbotsford Community Services Community Legal Advocacy Centre;
Carol Paetkau, Gilles van de Wall, and Natasha Ellitt Herrick from Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association;
Janet Morris-Reade, ASPECT (Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training);
Kwaku Yeboah and Gordon Ross, Ready Willing & Able

April 10, 2018

Bryce Schaufelberger, Self Advocate Network;
Annette Borrows, Langley Association for Community Living;
Stephen Evans and Susanne Mitar, Mission Community Skills Centre Society;
Greg Lockwood, Centre for Employment Excellence BC

January 23, 2018

Gail Finnson, Rotary at Work BC;
Marc White, Work Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute;
Tami Logan and Arienne Jaeb, MentorAbility; 
Matt Klassen, Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction

November 22, 2017

Jenn Cusick, Luminate Wellness

September 19, 2017

Susanne Eddy and Teddie Steede, Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction
Dion Yuen, BC Housing

May 16, 2017

Debby Simcoe, FamilyWORKS
Kristin Bower, Vancity
Susanne Eddy, Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation
Kevin Koopmans, Economic Developer

March 28, 2017

Clare Seeley, the District of Mission's Economic Development Office
Saverio Desanteris, Canada Revenue Agency Jenna Christianson-Barker, Pacific Autism Family Network

January 17, 2017

Sandy Liles, BC Centre for Ability
Arlene Schouten, MSA Society for Community Living