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Leading Change Summit 2023

Circles of Change: Inspiring Ethical Spaces in Gender-based Violence Prevention

May 2 – 4 2023, Edmonton 

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) is excited to announce the 2nd Leading Change™ Summit. Building on the bold conversations from our 2019 event, the 2023 Summit will focus on ideas, research, and emerging practices in visioning, fostering, and sustaining more ethical spaces in gender-based violence prevention.  

Register Now!

Register for the Leading Change Summit 2023!

At the River Cree Resort & Casino:
May 2:
6 pm – 9 pm: Welcome Reception and Opening Ceremonies
May 3:
8 am – 9 am: Breakfast
9 am – 4 pm: Conference Events
May 4:
8 am – 9 am: Breakfast
9 am – 2:15 pm: Conference Events

ACWS members, please check the Members Hub for a discount promo code.

Conference attendees may be eligible for funding to attend, through the Muttart Foundation Bursary Program. Visit their website to apply.


Tickets for Leading Change with Jonathan Van Ness!

At the Edmonton Convention Centre:
May 3:
7 pm: Leading Change with Jonathan Van Ness (Doors at 6 pm)

ACWS welcomes JVN at the headline event on Wednesday, May 3, at the Edmonton Convention Centre for a personal conversation on the serious topic of gender-based violence tackled with characteristic compassion and humour.

ACWS members, please check the Members Hub for a discount promo code.

Tickets can also be purchased for the full conference, with the option to include the additional JVN ticket at a discounted rate.


What is Leading Change?

Leading Change™ is the call to action of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS), and offers tailored gender-based violence prevention training to workplaces, schools, government, sports groups, and communities.

More Info


Marilyn Poitras

L.L.B. (USASK), L.L.M. (Harvard Law) 

May 4, Closing Keynote Address

Marilyn is an ethical space designer, public speaker and positive deviant. She is a lawyer and a student of Indigenous traditional law with Knowledge Keepers and communities from all over the world. Through her expertise in law, her love of family and gifts as a teacher, Marilyn is building an Indigenous language of Design Thinking to bring a strategy to create and reinvent design solutions through traditional teachings on natural law, spiritual law and human law.   

As a lawyer, negotiator, professor, writer, film producer, an editor and as a community builder, Marilyn sees doorways at every step in a design process to practice inclusion. Her gift is to notice who is here and to ask who is missing and asking why. Michif Cree and Irish/Scottish, born and raised in Southern Saskatchewan, Marilyn comes to her work with passion, conviction and focuses her lens on relationship development, for everything.  

Willie Ermine

May 2, Opening Keynote Address

Willie Ermine is from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. He is a retired professor from the First Nations University of Canada and now works for his own community in the field of traditional health. He has an extensive history working with Elders and has also published numerous academic articles. He has presented in various conferences nationally and internationally. His continuing work centers on the promotion and creation of the ethical space with the primary interest in the nature of indigenous thought.    

Event Sponsors

Thank you to our event sponsors for their generous support.

Edmonton Community Foundation
The Wolfe Pack Warriors Foundation
Alberta Federation of Labour