Rhiannon Bennett is a Musqueam band member and was raised in her territory in what is now known as Ladner by her parents and grandparents. Rhiannon’s family instilled a strong sense of community in her and values of community service which lead to Rhiannon working with children, youth and families for over 20 years in a variety of roles ranging from dance, soccer, and teaching, community development. She is active in her community and volunteers her time on a variety of community organizations.

She is also very active within the BCNDP having served as President for Delta South’s Riding Association and served on the Women’s Rights Committee as well as founding the Aboriginal Commission which she now co-chairs.

Rhiannon is well known for asking the tough questions in a manner that encourages engagement and dialogue. The overarching themes of her work have been decolonization and reconciliation. Up until the birth of her daughter in 2016, she worked for the Musqueam Indian Band where she was the Family Outreach Worker. Rhiannon made history in 2014 when she was elected to the Delta School Board but was not re-elected in 2018. Rhiannon is passionately working towards creating a more equitable world for all people.

Lucca and Rebecca take time to follow the threads of Rhiannon’s life through the generations past and present, to listen to and honour this powerful soul’s transformative work!

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Perhaps you might not expect the key descriptive words of the owner and director of a funeral home to be sunny, laughter, optimistic, effervescent, compassionate, quirky, thoughtful, courageous – but they describe this one to a T! Wendy Rée has lived fully since her birth and childhood years in small-town Ontario, and her life and work experiences have contributed greatly to her focus on being able to have a “heart-centred” career, which she has found in funeral service.

Wendy came to funeral service after being moved by the care and professionalism she experienced at her grandmother’s death and funeral. She sees a strong correlation between the gentle approach of natural parenting and natural death care, a practice of embracing and celebrating the subtleties of individuals, making Wendy a natural fit with the KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony philosophy of funeral practice. She believes in families being fully involved in all death care decisions and thoughtfully provides ways to empower them to do so.  Some of the ways Wendy has contributed to this has been through hosting a home funeral practicum and participating in and successfully completing the Sacred Passages Death Doula training.

Lucca and Rebecca dive in, asking questions expected and unexpected for someone with a profession many folks wonder about!

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Chastity Davis is a mixed heritage woman of First Nations and European descent. She is a proud member of the Tla’amin Nation, located in Powell River just off the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC. Chastity strives to keep her sacred First Nations culture, traditions, and values incorporated into her modern day life. She feels it is her life purpose to facilitate the building of bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and has dedicated her professional and personal life to do so.

Chastity is sole proprietor to her own consulting business, Chastity Davis Consulting and has been a successful entrepreneur for 8+ years. She is the Chair of the Ministers Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women, Chair of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Indigenous Council, and past director for the Minerva Foundation. Chastity co-founded the Professional Aboriginal Women’s Network and is currently serving as Co-Chair for this important network.

Chastity is also a Registered Yoga Teacher; Chastity weaves in Indigenous knowledge with the ancient wisdom of yoga and brings her practice to Indigenous and non-Indigenous women across BC. She has spoken at several international, national, and local events on the importance of building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Lucca and Rebecca get to know what has helped this extraordinary human become and do what she does in an inspiring hour of sharing!

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Sue Dumais is a Global Impact Visionary Leader answering the call to heal the world. She is a best-selling author, international speaker, a divine leader of light leaders, a sacred guide, gifted intuitive healer, a miracle weaver and a global voice of HOPE and inspiration for the “Heart YES Movement.”

In 2014, she received the WOW Spirit Success and Soul Award. Sue also established the Heart Led Living Foundation, which provides emotional and financial support to women and girls in Kenya.

Her most recent book is called “Stand UP Stand OUT Stand STRONG ~ A 30 Day Guide to Navigate Life When the SHIFT Hits the Fan”. Sue brings the gifts of insight, awareness, and self-empowerment creating a shift in consciousness from head to heart. Her unique approach fosters deep healing and a profound awakening as she guides others to hear, answer, and trust the highest calling of their heart. Sue is passionate about illuminating the path for others as they discover, embrace, and embody their heart YES.

Lucca and Rebecca talk through the experiences and learning that Sue went through to spark her choices and lead her down this path.

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Karen Williams has spent her life up until recently in Australia, creating and establishing a new breed of education for youth. She is now in Canada to change child care and education: to raise the standard as well as create more opportunities for children to thrive. She is also creating a company to educate parents how to empower their children and teens as well as teach them life skills that will have them know they are enough and lovable just the way they are. Karen’s background in child psychology and Applied Kinesiology specializes in unravelling the subconscious mind to reveal what is holding us back.

Lucca and Rebecca dive deep into Karen’s exploits in Australia, and her dreams for Canada.

Contact Karen via Lucca and Rebecca at info@essencetialconversations.com

Naava Smolash holds a PhD in English Literature from Simon Fraser University focused on nationalism and race theory. Her essay “The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture”  is used in counselling centres and university classrooms worldwide. Her writing appears in academic and popular publications including Studies in Canadian Literature, West Coast Line, Briarpatch, and the University of Toronto Quarterly’s special issue Discourses of Security, “Peacekeeping” Narratives and the Cultural Imagination in Canada. Current projects include a book on Nurturance Culture, and a speculative fiction novella entitled Cipher. She teaches in the English department at Douglas College, and lives halftime in Montreal.

We chat with Naava about the influencing factors in her life, what the essay represented and opened up for her, and what she’s creating now!

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Kat Wahamaa’s life work and volunteerism have spanned a passion for equality, music, dance, theatre, visual arts, social justice and more. She is an award winning international performing artist and song-writer, a facilitator and advocate for arts and social change. She has worked in many capacities from community artist to advocate at Canadian Mental Health Association, international touring musician to regional coordinator for BC Ministry of Women’s Equality, festival presenter to Provincial Emergency Program educator.

In 2013 she received the Abbotsford Arts Council Arty Award – Christine Caldwell Outstanding Arts Advocate. In 2015 she went to Paris with her partner Tony Rees among 10 artists chosen for the World Citizen Artist Peace Award. In She is a graduate student in the Master of Education – Art for Social Change program at SFU. She is currently ¾ of the way through her Artist in Residency for the City of Maple Ridge, ensconced in the historic Port Haney community.

Lucca and Kat go back many years, but it’s Rebecca’s first chance to get to know this societal mover and shaker! Kat’s legacy of social activism, art as a way of building community and communicating truths – it’s all explored here. We ran out of time!

 

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Sonali Fiske is a Leadership & Visibility Mentor amplifying the voices of marginalized & underrepresented women leaders. Through her signature program, Pick Your Platform & Raise Your Voice, she mentors women to strengthen & clarify their message & master their feminine authority in the societal spotlight. Sonali also hosts a weekly tele-class series entitled “Call to Sacred Activism,” for women leaders, activists & advocates.

In addition, Sonali is currently on the advisory council of the International Council of Interfaith & Indigenous Women & a partner of the newly formed Women & Girls Sector for The Charter for Compassion.

Lucca and Rebecca go deep with Sonali on influences in her life, where her passions spring from, and what comes next.

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Tada’s passion is helping social justice communities cultivate allyships founded in the principles of healthy relating: mutual nourishment, emotional self-responsibility, and wholehearted consent.

Their approach is founded on two core understandings:
1. The true face of oppression, from patriarchy to colonialism is energetic dis-ease that affects our embodied self-concept, which in turn express itself as a systemic issue. True healing of social trauma requires us to work on the level of the body. And, 2. Oppressive dynamics such as sexism and racism cause unnecessary suffering and violence by acting as amplifiers for repressed emotions from childhood and ancestral trauma.

Tada believes this is why truly transformative social justice work must be based in nurturance. Lucca and Rebecca explore what this looks like in their new course “Authentic Allyship Coaching”, and why Tada calls his body of work “The Selfish Activist.”

 

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Belva has worked with children the majority of her adult life. She was a private nanny for 12 years and is now entering into her 7th year as a preschool teacher. This fall has found her opening up her own outdoor early learning program in East Vancouver for children aged 2.5-6 yrs. Her passion for the outdoors is able to combine with her passion and belief in children with her new program and company, Muddy Boot Prints.

Lucca and Rebecca get their feet wet with Belva as they explore what drives Belva and what she’s seeking to create with and for the children she works with.

 

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