2018 Toronto Experience


2018 Featured Speakers

Jeff Adams

Paralympian and World Champion

For Jeff Adams, a wheelchair is a vehicle for success. This five-time Paralympian and six-time World Champion in wheelchair sports is living proof that focus, determination, and spirit are the keys to achieving “gold medal” dreams. Combining his unique understanding of life’s challenges with his experience as a world-class athlete, Jeff synthesises his experience in sport, government, and business into messages that show how the path to success is often the same, regardless of the goal that is being pursued.

Jeff started using a wheelchair at nine years old; the radiation therapy that saved his life while battling cancer in infancy had, by nine, permanently damaged his spinal cord. Since then, he has faced this monumental challenge admirably, competing in six consecutive Summer Paralympics, from 1988 to 2008, and winning a total of three gold, four silver, and six bronze medals.

Jeff has appeared in television commercials, acted as a global spokesperson for multinational corporations, and worked as a journalist and commentator for media. He served as Chair of the Accessibility Committee for the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid Committee, and is Chair of the Ontarians with Disability Advisory Council. He is a recent inductee into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame.

A rare breed of an athlete, Jeff successfully transitioned from sport to business.  He founded two companies, Marvel Wheelchairs, and Icon Wheelchairs, Marvel underwent an acquisition in 2010, and Icon was acquired in 2015.  Jeff is currently the Executive Director of the ArtsGames Foundation.


Dr. Amy Cheung

Dr. Amy Cheung is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto and is on staff at the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Cheung is an adolescent psychiatrist and works clinically with youth with mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Cheung conducts research in the management of mood disorders in adolescents and young adults by primary care providers, and the transition between high school and post-secondary education for youth with mental illness. Dr. Cheung holds the Bell Canada Chair in Adolescent Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She is currently heading a North American collaborative examining barriers to the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of adolescent depression in the primary care setting. This collaborative project includes the development and dissemination of guidelines for the management of depression in this population. Dr. Cheung is also examining the prevalence of adolescent depression and suicide in the Canadian population and factors influencing service utilization.


Dr. Kwame McKenzie

Dr. Kwame McKenzie is CEO of the Wellesley Institute. He is an international expert on the social causes of mental illness, suicide and the development of eff ective, equitable health systems. As a physician, psychiatrist, researcher and policy advisor, Dr. McKenzie has worked to identify the causes of mental illness and in cross-cultural health for over two decades. He is an active, funded researcher of social, community, clinical and policy issues and has nearly 200 academic publications including four books. In addition to joining the Wellesley Institute as CEO in March 2014, Dr. McKenzie is Medical Director responsible for Dual Diagnosis, Child Youth and Family and Geriatric Services and Director Health Equity at CAMH. Dr. Kwame is a full Professor and the Co-Director of the Division of Equity Gender and Population in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. Dr. McKenzie is President of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto, and sits on the Board of the United Way Toronto.


Dr. Kathy Short

Kathy Short is a Clinical Child Psychologist with research and practice interests in school mental health promotion, knowledge mobilization, and implementation science. She is Director for School Mental Health ASSIST, a provincial implementation team supporting the uptake and sustainability of evidence-based promotion and prevention programming in schools. Dr. Short has served on several provincial advisory groups, including the Student Well-Being Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Education, and the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council for the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and is involved in several national projects. She co-chairs the School Mental Health International Leadership Exchange (SMHILE), a network of global leaders focused on key themes in mental health promotion.


Benny Michaud

Benny Michaud is an ayahkwew (Two-Spirit), Eagle Clan, Michif person currently living in Ottawa and working as Acting Assistant Director for Carleton University’s Center for Indigenous Initiatives. Originally from Winnipeg, her families’ traditional territory extends from St. Boniface to Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan. Having worked in both education and mental health sectors she has worked throughout her career to support Indigenous youth. She is a skabewus, President of the Ottawa Region Metis Council, a community organizer and committed to creating safer spaces for Two-Spirit youth in ceremony.