Andrea Paquette

President and Co-Founder of the Stigma-Free Society

Andrea Paquette is the President and Co-Founder of the Stigma-Free Society. She is an experienced speaker who lives well with bipolar disorder having been diagnosed for over 16 years. She holds a double major degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies and she has worked for the BC government in the areas of mental health and addictions, social development and education. She is certified in ASIST Suicide Prevention. She has also been trained and certified in the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health First Aid course. Andrea has received many awards including the 2015 Courage to Come Back Award by Coast Mental Health.

Andrea Paquette

President and Co-Founder of the Stigma-Free Society

Engaging, Fun and Authentic

Strengths: 

I feel that my personal story of living with bipolar disorder resonates with people. I am authentic and honest in my talk. I love moving people to action and having them get help for themselves.

Topics of expertise:

Student mental health mostly grades 8-12, how to define and tackle stigma, and bipolar disorder specifically.

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Entertaining
  • Informative
  • Inspirational

Samara Liberman

School and Community Presenter & Programs Manager at Stigma-Free Society
(she/her)

Samara is the Programs Manager for Stigma-Free Society. She has a Bachelors degree in Equity Studies, a Masters in Teaching and a professional development certificate in Youth Mental Health. Samara wrote her Masters thesis on inclusive education practices for students with learning disabilities. She is passionate about inclusion in all forms, but specifically for students struggling with learning disabilities and/or mental health concerns. She has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia, as well as generalized anxiety disorder and situational depression, which she speaks about openly and honestly. She wants to work towards removing the stigma connected to seeking mental health help from a professional and is open about her experience in therapy.

Samara Liberman

School and Community Presenter & Programs Manager at Stigma-Free Society
(she/her)

Tenacious, Vulnerable, Warm 

Strengths: 

Living with two learning disabilities and two mental health diagnoses that greatly impacted my academic experience, I can relate to students who might be struggling in these areas. I understand how mental health is impacted by other aspects of our identities, such as disability, and can speak to these intersections from my own lived experience.

Topics of expertise:

Ability/disability, Anxiety, Depression, De-stigmatizing therapy, Panic attacks, Learning difficulties, Mental Health and Disability stigma, Diversity/Inclusion

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Personal
  • Relatable
  • Accessible

Alensia Ma

School and Community Presenter

Alensia is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Counselling Psychology at Adler University and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a BA in Psychology. After struggling with her own personal mental health issues during her undergraduate degree, she began working in the hospitality industry as a hostess eventually ending up in management. Seeing the everyday struggles and addiction that is prevalent in this industry, she has been inspired to return to education and begin a career path to help and educate hospitality workers and young adults. She would like to contribute to a greater awareness and reduced stigma of addiction and help others manage their highly stressful lives with more positive coping mechanisms and community support. She is excited for this opportunity to work with Stigma-Free society, gain experience and continue to open and grow her own perceptions and worldview.

Alensia Ma

School and Community Presenter

Creative, intuitive, joyful

Strengths: 

I’m able to explain more complex ideas and thoughts using metaphors as well as insightful and knowledgeable about psychology and mental health. I’m also courageous when it comes to being honest about my challenges and journey.

Topics of expertise:

Psychology, mental health in general and depression and bulimia specifically

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Informative
  • Positive
  • Authentic

Mike Skrypnek

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Mike Skrypnek understands how to normalize the narrative so men can share their challenges and identify ways to overcome their limitations. All men have limits, most are imposed by traumas experienced in life that are designed to protect us, but hold us back. In doing, so they restrain our families too. Not everyone experienced childhood abuse, but almost everyone has lived under toxic stress at some point and feels they are living below their potential. Mike can show you ways to gain insight needed to develop the awareness to overcome any limit keeping you from your own personal or professional success. Mike is an international bestseller of nine books, a keynote speaker, men’s mental health advocate, and sought after business strategist who has shared his insights and wisdom with thousands of passionate purpose driven entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives. His coaching focuses on purpose at the intersection of personal, professional and philanthropic development.

Mike Skrypnek

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Optimistic, Passionate, Purposeful

Strengths:

My life story is filled with love, happiness and success. The journey with schizophrenia in our family, and my own experience with childhood trauma shaped the way I lived. The mental health crisis I lived through helped align my efforts to break my silence, seek help and enjoy healing.

Topics of expertise:

Perseverance through traumatic experiences in childhood, mental illness in families, coaching
3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Inspiring
  • Motivating
  • Familiar

Gia Khunkhun

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Gia K. is an 11-year old girl with a big heart and unique mind. She believes her dyslexia is a gift that gives her the ability to see the world in a different, exciting and refreshing way. For example, she likes to combine, flip and make up words. Gia is a “possibiltarian” – someone who believes in possibilities! Gia is a senior volunteer with Dolphin KIDS: Future-ready Leaders where she helps teach younger children important social, emotional and innovation skills. She is passionate about nature, team sports, art & science. Gia’s motto is “work hard, think positive, make the world a better place & have fun!” She would to love to talk to your school about dyslexia, how she overcame the stigma of a learning difference and why it is now her great gift!

Gia Khunkhun

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Unique, Creative, Caring 

Strengths: 

I believe I am a caring and thoughtful presenter. I spent a lot of time and thought on my presentation to make it very helpful for other children and even teachers.

Topics of expertise:

Dyslexia, Mean Behaviour of Others

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Relatable
  • Brave
  • Hopeful

Cam Webster

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Cam, 25, was first hospitalized with Psychosis N.O.S. (Not Otherwise Specified) in July of 2014, less than one month after his 19th birthday. His illness developed and he was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder 2 years later. Cam is a “Mental Health and Addictions” student at Camosun, he has taught C.B.T. classes for Island Health and he has also taught Wellness Recovery Action Plan workshops through Mental Health Recovery Partners. Cam has been sharing his mental health story for 4 years now to try and raise awareness, break stigma and help others.

Cam Webster

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Friendly, Athletic, Curious 

Strengths: 

As someone living with various mental illnesses, I find students connect well with my story and my honesty. I believe managing a very successful recovery enables me to present in a relatable and authentic way that students seem to really connect with.

Topics of expertise:

Science and statistics related to mental illness, early warning signs, various ways activities can help with recovery.

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Candid
  • Honest
  • Optimistic

Joesh Khunkhun

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Joesh is a 15-year old school presenter for the Stigma-Free Society. He is very passionate about sports and plays a lot of them, his favourites are soccer, basketball, and football. Joesh is extremely passionate about ADHD and learning differences and how we as a society can be more aware of them. Joesh does not see these as a disorder but as more of a benefit and how we can effectively utilize ADHD and learning differences in our school systems. As someone who has both ADHD and the learning difference of written output, Joesh wants to inspire and educate young minds about what it’s like to live life with these and why it is important in our communities.

Joesh Khunkhun

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Adventurous, Energetic, Positive

Strengths: 

Some strengths I have as a speaker include fearlessness, confidence and positivity. My speaking is very energetic, and I love storytelling. I also know how to engage youth through humour.

Topics of expertise:

ADHD, Learning differences, IEPs, Technology Addiction & Problematic Use, Racism, Anxiety, Climate Change/ Environment.

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Inspiring
  • Perspective-shifting
  • Educational

Tanpreet Parmar

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Tanpreet aims to encourage others to cultivate their own success and turn the life that they dream of into a reality. Tanpreet is a model, actress and philanthropist. She has a BBA majoring in Human Resource Management. She was crowned Miss Charity British Columbia in 2014 and Miss India-Canada in 2016, and placed 2nd runner up in Miss Canada 2020. Tanpreet believes in giving back to the community and is regularly invited to engage in motivational speaking with youth in which she shares the challenges, failures, and insecurities she has faced. She emphasizes the importance of self-love and confidence, and to never let anything or anyone bring us down.

Tanpreet Parmar

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Compassionate, Determined, Genuine 

Strengths: 

I am confident, enthusiastic and engaging. I like to interact with my audience!

Topics of expertise:

Body Image issues, Self-Care, Confidence, Self-Esteem, Stigma, Mental Health Awareness and Bullying.

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Empowering
  • Authentic
  • Inspirational

Nathan Lirenman

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Nathan Lirenman is a 20-year-old young man, currently enrolled in the Kinesiology program at Capilano University. Nathan is a person who has worked hard to learn the skills necessary to be successful in life and proud of who he is, a young man who happens to have Autism. Nathan has used determination, and hard work to not let stigma, stereotypes, and adversity get in the way of his goals. Nathan loves to keep active by running, working out, and walking in nature which he has felt has made him stronger mentally. Nathan is motivated to shatter all the stigmas associated with Autism!

Nathan Lirenman

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Ambitious, Empathetic, Determined 

Strengths: 

My strengths as a speaker is my courage to be able to speak in front of audiences, and my passionate desire to convey my message courageously.  I also am really interested in learning about everyone around me.

Topics of expertise:

Living with Anxiety and Autism.

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Courageous
  • Thought-provoking
  • Engaging

Sarah Khan

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Sarah aims to help break down the stigma that surrounds mental health. As someone who experienced the stigma around talking about her own experience with anxiety and depression Sarah is passionate about sharing her story so that others know that they are not alone. Sarah is a Librarian and holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a focus on Youth Services. She is also a Journalist, Actress, Curve model, Lifestyle and Book Blogger. Sarah likes to spread positivity and hopes that her story will encourage others to focus on their mental wellness and practice self-care.

Sarah Khan

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Outgoing, Empathetic, Honest 

Strengths: 

I’m an outgoing person and I like to talk and connect with my audience to create an engaging experience. I’m a storyteller and I know how to interact and communicate with youth, to create inclusive spaces and promote meaningful conversations.

Topics of expertise:

Anxiety, Depression, Overwhelm, Burnout, Self-Care, and Wellness.

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Inspiring
  • Relatable
  • Engaging

Kristiyana Yordanova

School and Community Presenter & Communications Lead at Stigma-Free Society

Kristiyana Yordanova is currently enrolled in the Psychology Program at the University of British Columbia. She is pursuing her passion studying both Psychology and Neuroscience. She is currently fulfilling her dream in becoming a clinical psychologist, and helping women feel empowered by means of education and more affordable therapy. Along with her career goals, Kristiyana is an aspiring author of Forbidden Words. She has written about the difficulties of toxic relationships and spiritual growth. Being crowned as a Miss World BC finalist 2022, Kristiyana has shown extensive volunteer work, contributing to various community and charitable events supporting causes like women’s empowerment, education workshops for mental health in youth, and women’s shelters. As the Youth Ambassador for BC, she represented her city and province with pride. She will also be partaking in Miss World Canada 2022.

Kristiyana Yordanova

School and Community Presenter & Communications Lead at Stigma-Free Society

Compassionate, Positive, Radiant

Strengths:

As a speaker, my strengths are my ability to confidently and authentically present my story, and make others feel as if they are not alone. My biggest strength is my vulnerability.

Topics of expertise:

Depression, anxiety, positivity and well being, meditations, spirituality, awareness of bullying, toxic environments and abuse.

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Genuine
  • Self Awareness & Introspection
  • Strength

Mike Scott

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Mike Scott is a father to four, retired electrician and foreman, and avid study of stigma and mental health. Mike is currently working on the Family Research Advisory Panel for the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine. While also achieving his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1997, Mike experienced a ten-year battle with life-threatening episodes in bipolar I disorder.

Mike Scott

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Poetic, Optimistic, Empathetic

Strengths: 

By learning to deal with stigma and manage my own mental health, I have been able to have success in careers and in raising my family over the last twenty years. I aim to convey my insight and experience when given the platform, also with an ability to provide solutions such as in the Q&A.

Topics of expertise:

Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder, Mania, Psychosis

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Surprising
  • Interesting
  • Driven

Sterling Renzoni

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

After recovering from two eating disorders, Sterling has become an established mental health advocate. He has continued to raise awareness about and advocate for those with mental illness, through Trent Active Minds, EDify Talks, The Stigma-Free Society, Ontario Shores Center for Mental Health Sciences and The Yellow Tulip Project.  As a mental health advocate Sterling has shared his story on CBC Radio One and on CP24, making headlines for his experience recovering from an eating disorder during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sterling is committed to creating a safe environment where students and community members can seek treatment and talk about their experiences with mental illness and mental health challenges.

Sterling Renzoni

School and Community Presenter at Stigma-Free Society

Friendly, Approachable, Genuine

Strengths: 

Sterling has lived and academic experience with mental illness and battling stigma, in elementary, secondary and university. He also has experience presenting on national television and on student panels. He is trained in SafeTalk, and he is a certified mental health first aider.

Topics of expertise:

Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, OCD and related disorders, Personality Disorders, Battling mental illness in school, Mental Health Advocacy

3 ways to describe your talk:

  • Inspirational
  • Heartwarming
  • Informational