Keynote Speakers

Come Celebrate AC Successes!

Welcome to the 2017 Kaleidoscope Conference opening keynote addresses consisting of a panel of three remarkable Alumni. Join them as they share their individual journeys from AC student, to entrepreneur and to giving back to the community.

Crystal Martin is the Cultural Policy Advisor-Education for Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI).  Tungasuvvingat Inuit is an Inuit-specific, provincial service provider that provides social support, cultural activities, counselling and crisis intervention as a one-stop resource centre to meet the rapidly growing, complex and evolving needs of Inuit in Ontario. TI has received mainstream recognition as a centre of excellence in several programs supported by more than a dozen public and private funders, including all levels of government. As the Cultural Policy Advisor-Education, Crystal supports, advises and guides Learning Ministries at tables and advisory councils to provide voice to Inuit students and their families in Ontario while also working alongside the Ministry of Education in the development of policy. 

Prior to her current role, Crystal was the Inuit Program Coordinator for Raytheon Canada Limited, North Warning System managing their Inuit Training and Development Program.  She was responsible for initiating and maintaining relationships with Inuit Owned Companies and outreached to local schools to engage Inuit youth in  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in the classrooms across Canada’s North. Additionally, she conducted events and motivational interviewing in the north to encourage secondary school completion. Crystal has also worked with the Department of Family Services in Nunavut, as well as an Inuit Youth Worker in Ottawa.

Throughout her career, Crystal has remained committed to creating, planning, and coordinating many Inuit youth programs to motivate, engage and inspire Inuit youth to continue education and employment. In Canada, Inuit represent 0.2% of the total Canadian population, 4.2% of the Indigenous population with a median age of 23. This reality has encouraged Crystal to focus on culturally-specific youth programs and engagement to build a better future for her people, communities, and country.

Crystal is a proud graduate of the Social Service Worker Program from Algonquin College’s Waterfront Campus in Pembroke (2013) and is currently working towards an Applied Management Certificate. She is an Inuk, originally from Hall Beach, Nunavut, population 700. Crystal and her family moved to Ontario to gain better access to education and employment opportunities not adequately available in the north. Crystal brings her personal and professional Inuit community experience to everything she does and believes that her understanding of the unique challenges faced by many Inuit communities allows her to reach out children and youth more effectively.

Imrun Texeira was born and raised in Ottawa, and grew up with passions for travelling, sports and most especially cooking. Imrun started his culinary journey at the young age of 14 as a dishwasher and signed up as an Apprentice Cook at the age of 16 while attending High School in Kanata. Imrun quickly climbed the culinary ladder and took on a Chef de Cuisine position at a highly regarded Resort in Algonquin Park at the age of 20, one year after graduating from the Culinary Apprenticeship Program at Algonquin in (2014).  He later went on to be a Finalist on Canada’s Chopped Canada TV Show and travelled to the United Kingdom to intern at some of the Top Rated Michelin Star restaurants there.  

Upon returning to Canada, Imrun landed a gig with Chef Marc Lepine (2-time winner of the Canadian Culinary Championships) at his revered restaurant ‘Atelier’. While working with Chef Marc, he was able to further his culinary knowledge by enrolling in courses at Algonquin focusing on Chocolate, Sugar, and Wine. Within the last year, Imrun has been nominated as Algonquin College’s Most Successful Recent Graduate and has earned his certification as a Red Seal Chef.   Additionally, Imrun was a Premier’s Award Nominee in 2016.

Imrun now plans to take all the skills and knowledge he has attained and travel overseas to further his culinary career.

John-Philippe Smith is a stone carver and sculptor who completed his two-year diploma in Heritage and Traditional Masonry at Algonquin College in Perth, Ontario in 2001. During the two-year program, he began a stonecutting apprenticeship while working on the Library of Parliament in Ottawa. Following this project, Philippe moved to Toronto to work in North America’s largest stone carving studio. Here he completed his stonecutting apprenticeship in a high pace and high volume stone shop. During the same time John-Philippe also worked for a very small stone carving company, Carter, Richer & Stark (CRS) which focuses on heritage restoration and high-end residential projects.

Philippe returned to Ottawa in 2007 to once again work on the Parliament buildings. Wanting to move towards more complicated sculptural work, Philippe began to develop his drawing skills with a focus on human anatomy. In 2011, Philippe seized the opportunity to work in France for Atelier de Sculpture Jean-Loup Bouvier, one of Europe’s premier sculptural studios. Here he worked in several mediums including stone, clay and plaster.  Some of his carved pieces were placed on France’s most notable buildings including the Palais Royale in Paris and the Prefecture de Paris. This experience provided him with the knowledge and vision to create a similar studio in Canada; a business that would distinguish itself for its quality of work by employing traditional means and methods. 

In 2012, this vision became a reality when he and fellow carver, Danny Barber, incorporated to become Smith & Barber – Sculpture Atelier Inc. Since this time, both Danny and Philippe have been busy carving pieces for restoration projects across Canada, including the West Block Rehabilitation Project on Parliament Hill. 

“Creativity in Motion!” 

Michelle Valberg is a renowned explorer, adventurer and wildlife photographer who has been telling stories with her camera for more than 30 years. Although she has travelled everywhere from Africa to the Caribbean sea in search of adventure, she is particularly celebrated for her passion for the Arctic.  Michelle graduated from Algonquin College’s Photography Program in 1997.

Known for her unique ability to make relatable images of unimaginable landscapes, Michelle finds art in all of nature’s most intimate moments. The world around us mirrors what we see in ourselves, she says, including our beauty, our simplicity, our complications and our responsibilities. Nature is a part of and reflects who we are.

A Canadian Nikon Ambassador, Michelle has exhibited her works internationally. In 2011, her work was the subject of a critically acclaimed, three-month solo exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Her images are also see on the tail wings of three First Air aircrafts, while her photo of a polar bear graces the cover of the Canadian Geographic Atlas of Canada. And, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, her iconic image of a Nunavut drum dancer will appear on a coin, as part of a special series from the Royal Canadian Mint.

Michelle’s work extends beyond photography. In 2009, she founded Project North, a not-for-profit organization committed to delivering education and sport-based opportunities to youth in Canada’s Arctic. Since its inception, more than $750,000 in new sports equipment has been delivered to more than 24 Inuit communities.

Michelle has also self-published four books: Look Beyond…The Faces & Stories of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Dare to Dream… A Celebration of Canadian Women, Arctic Kaleidoscope…The People, Wildlife and Ever-Changing Landscape and her children’s book, Ben & Nuki Discover Polar Bears.