Speaker Biographies

Aaron Solowoniuk

Aaron is one of the founding members of the Canadian rock band Billy Talent. He has been living with relapsing-remitting MS since 1997. Aaron first decided to give back to the MS community by starting a series of events called F.U.MS. From rock concerts to art shows to golf tournaments, Aaron was able to help kick start the MS Scholarship program, MS Camp and now the MS Can Be summit. Aaron has recently stepped away from the drums and uses a Positive Mental Attitude to navigate the unpredictable journey living with MS.

Amanda Piron

Amanda Piron defines herself as a life long learner constantly seeking opportunities for self development and the betterment of her fellow (hu)man. With great pleasure and privilege, she has volunteered for the MS Society since 2008 in various advocacy and support roles. She has lived with RRMS since the age of 16, have 4 extended family members who also suffer directly from MS and now has a growing number of friends affected by or living with the disease. She is so excited to be surrounded by brilliant young minds who are forming the future of MS advocacy and leadership.

Brendan J. Fox

Brendan is the co-founder of the Exercise Therapy Association, where he is the head instructor for the highly popular and regularly sold out “Exercise Therapy” certifications. Exercise Therapy is for health care workers who want to learn biomechanical assessments and correctives, in addition to mental toughness techniques and protocols to address the he forgotten muscle – the mind.

Brendan is driven by the mission to educate, support, motivate and guide people to lifelong transformation, and leadership. He shares relevant, practical and meaningful tools related to motivational psychology, and influential leadership. He gets his message across with sincerity, humour, a deep understanding of human behavior, and a talent for creating practical solutions for the real world. 

Bruce Hunt

Bruce Hunt is a highly sought after public speaking coach and key note speaker. Through his company Toronto Speakers Academy he has worked with a wide variety of organizations including Pepsi, Xerox, HSBC to name a few. He has coached entrepreneurs, teachers, lawyers, students and olympians in their quests for public speaking greatness.Bruce teaches timeless communication techniques in an ahead-of-the-times sort of way. Sit back, relax, and let Bruce transform you into the fearless and awesome speaker you deserve to be!

Charles Bird

Charles Bird has worked as a public policy specialist and advisor to senior Ministers at both Queen's Park and in Ottawa for more than twenty years. His experience includes work for the Hon. Sean Conway and later for the Hon. Ralph Goodale as Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. While at Natural Resources, Mr. Bird was a senior advisor to Minister Goodale, attending numerous international climate change negotiations including the Kyoto Conference in December, 1997 as a member of Canada's high level delegation.

From 2000 to 2004, Mr. Bird was a senior consultant at Earnscliffe Strategy Group in Ottawa, serving a range of private sector clients in such diverse fields as energy, health care and the automotive industry. From 2004 to 2006, he served in Ottawa as the Vice President of Government Affairs for Bell Globemedia, owners of the CTV Network, the Globe and Mail, and numerous other communications and entertainment properties.

He is a graduate of both the University of Toronto and Upper Canada College, and is a regular political commentator for CBC News Network and CTV News Network.

Dana Hansen

Multiple sclerosis has been a fact of life for Dana's family for her entire life. Her mother, who was diagnosed with the disease 30 years ago, remains her primary motivation as she continues to grow with the MS Society of Canada. Having joined the organization two years ago, she's had the privilege of working on eight different MS Bike tours with a focus on both event execution and setting strategic direction in her current role as Fund Development Specialist.

During her tenure with the program they have raised over $12.6 million for those living with MS across Ontario funding research and much-needed client services. With her mother in mind, she looks forward to continuing to help researchers move towards their ultimate goal: ending MS.

Francette Maquito

Francette is a communications enthusiast working on print & digital media for the Student Recruitment office of Glendon, the bilingual campus of York University. With a passion for leadership, higher education, sports and community engagement, Francette loves to work with students and discover new ways to empower and support her peers. You can find her in the French section of a bookstore or on the hunt for the best dessert in every city she visits.

Kim Miyama

Kim Miyama Events is an internationally recognized event production company providing luxury consulting, design and event management expertise.

The founder and principal planner, Kim Miyama, is an award-winning event planner, holding over a decade of experience in high-profile corporate and luxury wedding planning. Starting her career in large-scale outdoor events, such as the Rogers Cup, the Men's Canadian Open, and the 2010 Winter Olympics, Kim has become a driving force in the event industry.

Kim has worked with clients all over Canada and the world making their dreams for a perfect event a reality. She has stayed true to her philosophy of approaching every event with the same integrity, commitment, and passion; regardless of size, budget or theme. With this philosophy, Kim has become a highly regarded and sought out planner in the industry.​

She combines her logistical expertise with her dynamic approach to planning to make every event flawless whether a corporate launch party to a luxury wedding. As a professional event planner, she's been featured by Notable.ca as a Notable Young Entrepreneur, nominated for Top 30 under 30 in Ontario, and speaks at Ontario Colleges and Universities on being a young female entrepreneur.  As a philanthropist, Kim is a co-chair of Night to Fight MS, an annual fundraiser that raises funds and awareness for MS research and MS initiatives to better improve the lives of those suffering from MS. Being an young Canadian living with MS, it is Kim’s goal to support in any way she can to help find a cure.

Matt Tod

With a fundamental belief in the potential we all possess to develop ourselves and contribute meaningfully to a better world, Matt has dedicated his passion towards human potential development and helping others be their best when it matters the most.

For over a decade, Matt has found life purpose in service to others locally and around the globe, empowering over 90,000 young people, educators and adults to become better versions of themselves.

His journey started early, being selected as one of the Top 100 young leaders in Ontario by the Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada (YSEC).

Since then, Matt has applied his skills as a youth leadership speaker and facilitator (traveling around North America on a motivational speaking tour), Manager of Speaker Development for ME to WE, Executive Director of Youth Programs for the Institute for Health and Human Potential; Associate Director of Learning & Performance Development at WE (formerly Free The Children)—a movement and organization on that empowers people to change the world; and as an Empathy & Leadership Facilitator with Twenty One Toys.

As a thought leader on the topics of leadership, team training, effective communicant and human potential development, Matt has also contributed his comprehensive knowledge back to the community within articles written for Actionable Books, Empowerment Magazine, as well as for social entrepreneurial venture, SoJo.

Night to Fight Panel

Shane Miyama, Kim Miyama and Jason Love all live with MS. They decided to fight back. They started Night to Fight in 2014 to raise funds to support MS initiatives and research that resonated with them in a fun casual way.  Each of the event chairs live with MS and have supported national walks and other events in the past, but wanted to be more active in the fight. They recognize the importance of helping younger Canadians find their own path to changing the narrative and building awareness about MS.

Shane, Jason, and Kim are truly confident that a cure will be found in their lifetime as advances in science occur every day.  Until then, they continue to rely on and are grateful for the love and support of friends, family, and Night to Fight sponsors.

This panel of amazing young people is an example of what we are encouraging you to do. Not everyone is interested in fundraising. But we want you to find your niche and make a difference in a way that resonates with you.

Pam Valentine

Pam joined the MS Society in 2018 with the drive and passion to lead the team of volunteers and staff in their work to accelerate research for better treatments and ultimately, a cure for Canadians living with MS.

A trained research scientist, Pam comes to the MS Society from Alberta Innovates where she spent over a decade and a half leading innovation and change. Her leadership at Alberta Innovates included significantly growing the health research portfolio and strengthening integration of research and health systems to maximize impact for patients and providers. She also led the establishment of a new Alberta Innovates organization that consolidated four corporations across the health, energy, agriculture, and forestry sectors. Pam started her career as a faculty member at the University of Calgary at Hotchkiss Brain Institute and then moved to Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research where she held a number of leadership roles.

Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Pam is a published researcher and has been awarded the Canadian Psychological Association of Excellence and the Neuroscience Canada Foundation Award. Pam believes in achieving impact in the health domain, a passion she developed as a basic scientist with a strong desire to facilitate the linkage between basic research and clinical care.

Pam is a strong advocate with an appetite for community involvement; serving or having served in positions at the international, national and provincial levels with the organizations including Canadian Institute for Health Research Institute Advisory Boards, National Alliance of Provincial Health Research Organizations and the International Progressive MS Alliance.

Scott Dunham

Scott Dunham is currently the Director, Curriculum and Faculty Development at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC).  His personal relationship to MS began when he was a 25 year old student at the college, but like many he was initially mis-diagnosed and the symptoms were written off as a product of "student syndrome" and related to his sport.  After graduation he ran a successful health practice in Toronto, taught at CMCC and competed in rugby for team Ontario and for Canada. At the age of 30 he was officially diagnosed with MS, but continued with all these endeavours, additionally completing 2 Masters degrees and transitioning fully into Educational Administration.  Scott continues to play rugby, work full-time and volunteer in various ways through the MS Society.  He feels extremely lucky to have a patient and supportive wife, and two young girls who motivate him every day to be a better person.

Shannon King

Shannon King is a Guelph, Ontario native who currently works as the Morning Show Co-host at Virgin Radio in Montreal. 

She recently turned 30 and just got engaged to her partner of 11 years. 

Shannon was in highschool when her mother and best friend was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.