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Leading Change Summit 2023

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

May 2 – 4 2023, Edmonton 

This May, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) hosted the 2nd Leading Change™ Summit. Building on the bold conversations from our 2019 event, the 2023 Summit focused on ideas, research, and emerging practices in visioning, fostering, and sustaining more ethical spaces in gender-based violence prevention. The Summit brought together 45 guest speakers and over 200 attendees to share promising practices in building ethical spaces. 

Summit Program

Below is the Leading Change Summit Program, with agenda, session descriptions, and panelist bios.

Keynote Speakers

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 3, 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.