Sookie Bardwell (she/her/hers + they/them/theirs) is passionately committed to the work of helping people be better together. She is a white settler invested in the work of decolonization and racial justice. She is also a fat, queer, genderqueer femme living with invisible disability. Her work is informed by all of these ways in which she moves through the world.
Sookie is an OCT certified teacher, has been trained as a sex and relational health educator through Opt BC, and holds an MA in Gender Studies and Feminist Research from McMaster University. She has been involved in social change/justice work for almost twenty years, and has extensive experience as an educator, trainer, facilitator and coach- with a focus on 2SLGBTQIA+ equity and inclusion, Body Liberation, emotional + relational development, and sexual health. She believes everyone deserves to be treated like a person, and that everyone deserves access to- and has the capacity to develop- the knowledge and skills needed to encounter difference with respect, compassion, kindness and genuine curiosity.
Iradele Plante (she/her/hers) is a research and evaluation nerd, a white settler, and a cis femme living with an invisible disability. She’s been lucky enough to have worked in diversity & inclusion for over 5 years in Canada, the US and the Netherlands. Most notably, she supports community engagement for Venture Out, Canada’s first conference building stronger LGBTA+ communities in the tech sector. She also founded Calling In, a diversity & inclusion consultancy for startups and a partner to the collective. She prides herself in being a logistics master, scheduling wizard, and loves to talk all things quality assurance, evaluation and institutional accountability. On her spare time, she's either reviewing masters applications for the Dalla Lana School of Public Health or publishing papers about the role the internet plays for community building among LGBTQA+ youth. If you were spot her at an event, she’s probably hanging around the free food.
Ronnie Ali (they/them/their) is a Registered Psychotherapist (College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario) and a wellness and inclusion consultant. They are a transqueer person of colour, born in Trinidad and Tobago, and settled in Canada in the 1990s.
Ronnie has been a healer and helper in a variety of education, community and health care settings since 2010, primarily working with QT BIPOC folks. Ronnie’s focus is on analyzing and supporting humans and the systems in which they are situated. They strive to be actively conscious of the invisible influence of oppression, grounded in critical pedagogy and critical psychology, and guided by empathy, mindfulness, and ethical process. They aim to inspire flexibility in thought and action, to encourage others to deepen their awareness of self-as-other, and to teach tangible and accessible skills relevant to the topic at hand. They understand that each individual’s capacity for personal evolution is connected to our world’s natural tendency toward growth and transformation.
Some common topics covered by their consultation include: mental health and wellness, conflict transformation and critical incidents, social oppression and dehumanization, developmental and institutional trauma, and addressing the impact of colonization.
*NOTE: Ronnie does NOT provide psychotherapy at Challenge Accepted.
Rebecca Benson (she/her/hers/they/them/theirs) is a Tuscarora and Gaelic Two Spirit activist, writer, facilitator and equity consultant; they have lived in Dish With One Spoon territory for much of their life. Rebecca began their career in Equity work while working to improve policy for BIPOC students at Queen’s University during her Master’s degree. The 2014 Recipient of the Museum of Healthcare’s Margaret Angus Research Fellowship, she has applied her understanding of healthcare access for Indigenous people to designing cultural sensitivity trainings for healthcare providers and facilitating for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network.
Rebecca has worked for a number of non-profits including Historica Canada and Egale, Canada Human Rights Trust, specializing in the coordination and management of community programming and equity consultation. Her current day job is the Equity, Membership and Engagement Coordinator for The Writers’ Union of Canada. As a speaker on Two Spirit identities and Indigenous issues, they have facilitated across the country, appeared several times on CBC's The Current, and have been hosted by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell. They’ve been involved with a number of community organizing initiatives including two spirit ceremony reclamation initiatives, INAC Ground Zero, and Walking With Our Sisters. A crip hard femme of many genders, they are a Mohawk language learner, and are deeply committed to fostering solidarity between BIPOC communities.
Faye Bontje (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) likes to build things from scratch. She draws on her 12 years in organizational development, executive management, and emergent systems design to create powerful learning solutions for clients worldwide.
Faye holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University, a Certificate in Adult Education from Saint Francis Xavier University, and a Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP) designation with the Institute for Performance and Learning. She finds collaborative work infinitely preferable to sitting alone at a desk, and is honoured to share her identities and experiences in the service of helping others to find growth, and comfort, in their own.
Faye is currently to serving as in-house Experiential Learning Specialist with the Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development (OCEPD) at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Christine Hsu (pronouns: she/her/hers/they/them/theirs) is a first generation immigrant settler who identifies as nonbinary, genderfluid and as a queer woman of colour. She has a strong passion for and an extensive background in educating and advocating for diversity and specifically 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion, particularly in sport, health and fitness as well as in the workplace. They have 10+ years of facilitation experience within anti-oppression education settings from across all sectors from municipal public services to national and Olympic sport organizations. They are an Ontario certified educator and trained conflict mediator with a Bachelor of Physical & Health Education from University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education from Ontario Institute of Studies In Education, and an Adult Education Certificate from St. Francis Xavier University.
Their current work is training in all aspects -- as a holistic healing-centred personal trainer, sports inclusion consultant, and a learning consultant that specializes in Diversity & Inclusion. They approach D&I work with equity change management and offer executive/leadership coaching. The latter involves delivering in-person training/workshops, instructional design, and consultation on policy development with an anti-oppressive/anti-racist and intersectional lens across the province and nation.
Alyx Duffy has focussed on equity and inclusion across the country since 2010, with a strong focus on LGBTQI2S safer schools and communities. As a program coordinator, they’ve overseen and successfully delivered complex public education campaigns like Draw the Line – Against Transphobic Violence. Their work as an equity facilitator leaves participants of all ages feeling empowered & educated to create safer and more inclusive communities for people from all walks of life.
Alyx’s work is rooted in their ever-evolving attempts to understand themselves in context. As an able-bodied, white-presenting, MAAB, dyadic, neuro-typical, lean, university educated, English speaker, with a middle-class, settler family background they recognize the many ways in which they benefit from systems of privilege operating around them. Understanding and leveraging this privilege, while teaching others to do the same, is a key element of their work in communities across the country, as well as in their life at home.
As a genderqueer, multi-ethnic, and pansexual person they’re also compelled by their own experiences of invisibility, discrimination and marginalization to push the limits of normative social institutions. Alyx enjoys encouraging everyone to consider how they can make their community safer and more inclusive for each and every complex and dynamic individual.
Alyx uses “they/them/their” pronouns, and asks others to use these pronouns in reference to them. They have a BA with Honours in Anthropology from Concordia University.