The GOLD Conference Team

Meet the GOLD Team

Meet the team of enthusiastic individuals who work all year round to bring you an exciting online conference!

Education:

  • Fleur Bickford
    FLEUR BICKFORD, BSc, RN, IBCLC
    Director of Educational Programming
    (she/her/hers)

    Fleur Bickford is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with a Bachelor of Science from Queen's University. As an RN, she worked in Maternal and Child Health, gaining experience in labour and delivery, postpartum care and pediatrics. After the birth of her two children, Fleur became involved with La Leche League, eventually becoming a leader and serving as a member of both the Professional Liaison Department and the Social Media Advisory Committee, while working towards her IBCLC certification. Fleur then made the move to private practice as an RN and IBCLC and spent years working with challenging breastfeeding cases before focusing on health education with GOLD. Fleur has been very active in her local lactation community as past president of Ottawa Valley Lactation Consultants and one of the leaders of the group that established the regional breastfeeding website ottawabreastfeeds.ca. She is also a professional speaker whose presentations and articles have been shared internationally. Fleur's clinical experience in perinatal care combined with her professional and volunteer experiences with educating both families and health care professionals, lend themselves well to her role as Program Director for GOLD.

  • Christine Staricka
    Christine Staricka, BS, IBCLC, RLC, CE
    Education Coordinator

    Christine Staricka is a Registered, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant and trained childbirth educator. As the host of The Lactation Training Lab Podcast, her current role focuses on training, supporting, and coaching current and aspiring lactation care providers through a membership community, social media, and her blog on Substack. Christine created and developed The First 100 Hours© concept, an early lactation framework designed to support lactation care providers with the knowledge and mindset they need to help families optimize early lactation. Christine worked as a hospital-based IBCLC for 10 years and has over 21 years experience providing clinical lactation care and support. She provides clinical lactation care to families at Baby Café Bakersfield and serves as its Director. Christine recently completed 6 years of service on the Board of the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA.) She holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Phoenix. She has been married for 28 years, lives in California, and is the proud mother of 3 amazing daughters.

  • FIONA LANG-SHARPE, IBCLC, NAMCW
    Director of Communication & Master of Ceremonies
    (she/her/hers)

    Fiona Lang-Sharpe is a Birth Doula and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice in Edmonton, AB, Canada. Fiona has over 20 years of experience attending births, supporting mothers post partum, and offering lactation case management services. Having studied in England under the National Association of Maternal and Child Welfare, Fiona moved to Canada in 1989 and after having her first born son was accredited through La Leche League Canada as a Leader and went onto obtain her certification as an IBCLC. Fiona's experience in perinatal health along with her interest in technology and social media and passion for quality education makes her an excellent fit for GOLD Conferences International. Fiona is one of the first voices you'll hear as one of GOLD's online Master of Ceremonies, and is also often one of the first faces you'll see, online and in person, as she represents GOLD at industry events and via social media. Fiona is highly anticipating an expanding role with GOLD, as GOLD increases it online offerings.

  • KRISTIN SCHWARZ, LM
    Program Chair & Master of Ceremonies
    (she/her/hers)

    Kristin Schwarz is a licensed midwife, maternal fitness educator, childbirth educator and bereavement doula. Kristin moved to the United States from Europe in 1997 where she worked in marketing and online education. After a peaceful home-water birth of her 2nd daughter, Kristin decided to help other women feel empowered in their birth choices. She trained to become a childbirth educator, received a degree in midwifery and holds a Florida midwifery license. Kristin's experience in perinatal and postpartum health and her background in online education make her a good fit for Gold Conferences International, and she is excited to contribute to GOLD and assist in its online growth. Kristin lives with her family in South Florida where she enjoys snorkeling and yoga on the beach.

Logistics & Management:

  • ANDREW DERGOUSOFF - Managing Partner

    With a background in technology start-ups, Andrew has been working within the educational meetings industry for more than ten years now. He was involved in bringing the GOLD brand from her original owners in Australia to Canada and building a new team of professionals to further nurture the company into the online education leader it is today. Andrew is focused on seeing new education and continual technological improvements added to GOLD in order to bring our unique style of accessible and affordable education to an ever-widening health care audience. His favourite part of the job is hearing from Delegates who were able to utilize education they learned through GOLD into their daily practices.

    If he is not busy working on his latest pie chart or drumming up a great deal for your group to come to a conference, he's likely travelling far-flung lands to extol the virtues of online learning or training to be a ninja.

  • DAVID VENUS - Sr. Director of Growth

    Originally from Vancouver Island, David moved to Vancouver in 1998 to attended The University of British Columbia, Majoring in Biology. He successfully operated an online marketing & web development company, catering to over 100 Clients internationally. David managed the technical operations of the GOLD Lactation Conference in 2012 and in 2013, joined the GOLD Learning Team.

    David is very passionate about customer service and ensuring that conference Participants are able to navigate the websites without a hitch. If you ever are experiencing a technical problem, He'll be there to rescue you!

    Apart from being the go-to guy for Technical Support, he has been responsible for managing the GOLD Brand, as well as re-developing the GOLD Conference Websites. He strives to further develop the GOLD Learning format into an interactive and globally accessible system, helping the valuable education reach all parts of our planet

    During his off time, you will catch him back on the beautiful Vancouver Island where he squeezes into wetsuit to surf the icy waves of the Pacific North West.

  • ISABEL DA COSTA - Senior Projects Manager

    Isabel's background revolves around Event Production, Management, and Marketing. She has experience running a variety of events from webinars to outdoor festivals which gives her a particular insight into what quality customer service looks like. Her most recent work has been in the web development/B2B SaaS sphere which lends itself to her current role with GOLD Learning as their Virtual Events Manager. She considers the GOLD Learning platform to be an innovative vehicle to ensure maternal and infant healthcare professionals of all walks of life have the ability to learn and grow to better support their community.

    Isabel was born and raised in Vancouver and holds a BA from the University of Victoria. In her spare time you can find her checking out concerts at local venues, flexing her retention of useless facts at a trivia night or catching up on her endlessly backlogged reading list.

  • NINA ADRIANNA - Speaker Manager

    My educational background is in International Affairs. I worked in the public sector for five years, promoting innovation in government. After that I was self-employed for three years; involved with various inspiring projects. Now, I am excited to be part of developing a niche for online conferences, as they are an efficient, green and accessible means for people to connect globally. I enjoy my bicycle commute to work and fuel myself with vibrant foods and lovely friends.

  • Kavya Babu Hegde
    KAVYA BABU HEGDE - Projects Manager

    Driven by determination, innovation, and technology, Kavya is extremely passionate to contribute her skills and experiences as a Digital Projects coordinator here at GOLD Learning and Online Education. She has spent most of her career in the events industry gaining experience in areas such as event curation, execution, and management. Her interest in technology further led her to advance her career in Virtual Events. Kavya is inspired by GOLD and is grateful for the opportunity to be able to make a difference in women's healthcare and development.

    Born in India and moved to Canada to pursue her further education, Kavya has a Master's in Global Management from Royal Roads University. During her free time, you would find Kavya traveling around the world exploring different cultures and places.

  • Joan Umeh
    JOAN UMEH - Junior Events Manager

    Joan Umeh is the Junior Digital Events Manager at GOLD Learning. She has spent most of her career in the events industry, her goals include delivering well-coordinated memorable events, meeting clients' expectations and ensuring optimal communication and organization. While planning and organization of events is her primary responsibility, Joan Umeh also excels in decision making, creative thinking and time management. In her spare time, Joan likes fine dining, music concerts and loves to travel to scenic destinations.

  • MEENA RAJANALA - Marketing Manager

    Meena Rajanala joined the GOLD family after completing her Bachelor's Degree in Communication at Simon Fraser University in 2018. Moving to Vancouver to pursue higher education and career opportunities, she has interned in the field of marketing and communications with valuable experience in event, project and marketing coordination.

    Seeking new challenges, Meena is thrilled to contribute to making maternal health education globally accessible to this unique group of healthcare professionals. She is enthusiastic about forwarding her experiences and exploring possibilities for GOLD Conferences with communications and marketing initiatives in the years to come.

  • Sarah Wong
    SARAH WONG - Digital Marketing Specialist

    Sarah is a marketing and project management professional originally from Hong Kong. Her professional background as a brand executive for global brands and labels has given her extensive exposure to the world of branding, omnichannel marketing and e-commerce. While career took her to the project management field earning her PMP certificate, life led her to Canada and later to her current role here with GOLD Learning. She is thrilled to leverage her expertise and insights to contribute to the positive impact that GOLD Learning has always been creating.

    Outside of work, you may find her enjoying quality moments with friends, biking through the city, or hiking exploring the beauty of nature with a film camera in hand.

  • GOLD
    MANJIT SANDHU - Education Product Manager

    Manjit's background involves Customer Service, Project and Training Management served with a side of Administration. Her work experiences incorporate a variety of business sectors including, FortisBC (natural gas), City of Surrey - Fire Services (municipal government & emergency services), TransLink (transportation), Golden Ears Bridge tolls (electronic tolling), and eBay/PayPal (e-commerce & financial processing). By joining the GOLD Learning team, she is excited to add health and education services to that list!

    Manjit was born in Squamish, BC and settled down her roots in Surrey, BC – she will always be a BC girl at heart! Manjit holds a BA from KPU and has an Award of Achievement in Diversity & Inclusion from UBC. In her spare time, you can find Manjit playing tennis and shooting hoops with her kids, playing field hockey for the Surrey Sharks, or enjoying some quality family time playing Uno, Monopoly, and watching Netflix.

  • JESSICA WONG - Education Administrator

    Jessica grew up in the Okanagan and moved to Vancouver in 2011. Her professional background as a Community Support Worker with mothers in Vancouver's DTES has given her a great appreciation for the positive impact maternal healthcare workers and consultants have on individuals and their parenting experience. Jessica holds an Advanced Diploma in Business Management from BCIT and an Associate's Degree in Women's Studies from Langara College. Jessica is passionate about women's health issues and she loves that the GOLD online learning platform delivers innovative, world-class continued education options made easily accessible for maternal healthcare professionals around the globe. Jessica is a hobby naturalist and spends her free time hiking, bird watching and organizing around environmental justice.

  • Nicole Schneider
    NICOLE SCHNEIDER - Education Administrator

    Nicole has worked passionately and intentionally in customer facing positions for 15 years. Her background includes many different industries: alarm operations and emergency dispatch, office administration, health care billing, and food services, but GOLD is by far the most purposeful and fulfilling. In 2014, Nicole's oldest son, Tucker, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Undergoing many surgeries and procedures at BC Children's Hospital and lots of follow up care from Tucker's amazing team at Victoria General Hospital, he is now doing incredible! Working with the amazing speakers and staff here at GOLD feels like a full circle moment of sorts and a way to stay involved with the medical community that so heavily plays a part in her and her family's life. Since coming on board with GOLD, Nicole has really enjoyed working with our speakers to facilitate their incredibly engaging presentations and connecting with attendees from around the world.

    Originally from the small town of Sooke, BC, Nicole is now raising her 3 kids in Calgary, Alberta with her husband. In her spare time (who has that with 3 kids?), Nicole enjoys spending days at the lake with her family, discovering new restaurants, attending wine tastings with friends, going to the zoo, exploring Calgary in general and just relaxing in her sunny backyard with a cup of tea or an iced coffee.

  • GOLD Team
    JESSICA THIRLWELL - Group Sales Manager

    Jessica is the Group Sales Manager. She graduated from York University with a degree in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has a passion for health and wellness and believes in empowering women to prioritize their well-being through education, access to resources, and supportive communities. Since earning her degree, she has been dedicated to the health and wellness industry, specifically in sales.

    Jessica resides in Toronto with her husband and young son. In her spare time, she is an avid sports enthusiast. Whether it's playing soccer or engaging in kickboxing, Jessica finds joy and fulfillment in staying active.

  • Bola Gbadamosi
    BOLA GBADAMOSI - Customer Service Associate

    Bola is a a Customer Service Associate at GOLD and has worked in customer service roles for 5 years in other fields such as Hospitality. She is passionate about helping others. In her spare time, Bola loves travelling and taking photos. Aside from travelling and photography she also enjoys being a homebody.

  • KIM JOHNSTONE, IBCLC, LLL Leader, HHP
    Social Media

    Kim Johnstone has been working in the health field since 2000 and has a passion for supporting educated and empowered wellness. She first graduated from the British Columbia College of Equine Therapy then went on to continue her education at Grant MacEwan University with the Holistic Health Practitioner program. She focused her career on families, and furthered her attention to breastfeeding support through her work as a La Leche League Leader and then through certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Kim currently works in private practice in the area of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she assists families through their breastfeeding relationships. She has participated in the GOLD conferences for several years and is happy to have joined the team as Social Media Personnel.

  • inner6-ban1
    GABRIELLE NG - Web & Graphic Designer

    Gabrielle Ng is a Vancouver-based designer specializing in graphic design, front-end web development, and 2D animation. Her artistic journey began during her early childhood, when her love of storytelling led her to illustrate and bind her own comic books. Her naturally inquisitive personality, passion for design, and need to express herself is what drives her to pursue her career in new media.

PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE:


    Annaloice Penduka - Advanced Midwife and Lecturer

    Barbara Harper - RN DEM CHT BCHE CKC

    Benbarkat Samira - Midwife

    Irene Lorente Collado - RN, Midwife IBCLC

    Megan Bochum - LM CPM IBCLC PMH-C

    Paul Golden - RM RN PGCE (Teaching) BA (Law) AMINZ (Mediation)

    Ramona Denk Webb - MSM, CPM

    Sarah Mlambo - RN, RM, HIV Couns, MSc Nursing, PhD, Nursing

    Vaira Avota - CLC, CD(DONA), CPD(CAPPA)