The GOLD Conference Team
Meet the team of enthusiastic individuals who work all year round to bring you an exciting online conference!
FLEUR BICKFORD, BSc, RN, IBCLC
Program Director & Master of Ceremonies
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.
FIONA LANG-SHARPE, IBCLC, NAMCW
Public Relations Manager & Master of Ceremonies
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
Master of Ceremonies
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
Andrew oversees the management of our conferences and events as well as acting as liaison between GOLD Conferences International and its parent company, WebCoast Events Inc. Thrilled to be involved with GOLD's efforts to bring quality online education to health care professionals around the world, Andrew is looking forward to seeing how GOLD grows in the near future. If you cannot reach him at the office – he's likely travelling far-flung lands to play the drums and/or training to be a ninja.
DAVID VENUS - Director of Marketing & Online Development
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.
RAISSA DICKINSON - Event Manager
As the GOLD Event Manager, Raissa is passionate about supporting the dissemination of the latest research and education into the hands of maternal healthcare providers. Raissa holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of British Columbia. Raissa previously worked in a rural Indigenous community in the Northwest Territories of Canada, where she conducted community based action research to determine and increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding. Excited to contribute to the work of GOLD, Raissa is looking forward to delivering quality education to maternal and child healthcare providers.
An avid outdoor enthusiast, in her free time you will find Raissa camping, fishing, running, and hiking.
MELISSA EGGER - Partnership Manager
Born and raised in Austria, Melissa Egger attended school with her main focus on health and sport. After completing with a certificate she focused on an additional core theme, graphic and design. After graduating from school she started her Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Sales in Vienna, with her main focus on Electronic and Mobile Marketing. Moreover, she did her study abroad in Business Administration at Capilano University in 2012. She instantly felt in love with the city, culture and life-style. As a fresh graduate from FH Vienna she came back to Vancouver. She is always looking for new challenges and one of her most exciting one is being a part of the GOLD-Team, working as a Conference Coordinator. To give health interested people a convenient access to education and professional development all over the world is definitely something which lets you feel good. She is enthusiastic about sport, cooking and there is barely a week without exploring a new spot in or around the city. She is very thrilled to be part of the GOLD-Team.
KIM JOHNSTONE, IBCLC, LLL Leader, HHP
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.
NINA ADRIANNA - Speaker Manager - on Maternity Leave
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.
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:
LYNDA ROBINSON, IBCLC, BSNNurse Planner
Lynda is a Registered Nurse with 35+ years experience in Women's Health with a focus on maternal/ infant care. She has 16 years as a Labour & Delivery nurse as well as 13 years as a Public Health Nurse doing postpartum home visits. During her career she has been very passionate about breastfeeding and providing holistic care to moms and families to empower them with tools to be successful with their breastfeeding experience. She has also been an IBCLC since 1998. Presently Lynda is a Nurse Educator at MacEwan University in Edmonton Alberta Canada in the Nursing faculty. She takes 3rd year BScN students into the maternity setting at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton where she mentors them to apply their theory knowledge in a family centered care approach. She shares breastfeeding knowledge with students as she works with moms to empower them about the 'art of breastfeeding.' Also during Lynda's Public Health years she worked extensively with moms, families and physician to screen for Post Partum Depression and connect with resources in the community to aid with their healing. Lynda is also a mom of a daughter and son who are grown and successfully launched in their chosen careers as educators. Lynda has participated in the GOLD conferences for several years and is honored to have joined the team as Nurse Planner. She very much looks forward to journeying with the team as GOLD continues to grow.
Ana Polona Mivšek - Committee Member
Since graduating as a first BSc midwife in 2000 (after a period of 14 years when there were no midwives trained in Slovenia) Polona Mivšek has become the first midwifery educator in Slovenia (now Head of Midwifery at the University of Ljubljana, the only midwifery school in Slovenia, Leader of undergraduate Midwifery programme and a Head of midwifery chair) and the first and currently the only midwife with a PhD in Slovenia. In order to develop Slovenian midwifery in the best possible way she nationally actively collaborated with women's organisations, professional midwifery organisations and Ministry of Health. Her bibliography consists of 140 works, most important: 10 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 8 peer-reviewed professional papers, 19 scientific papers published in conference proceedings, 5 chapters in monograph. The main research interest of Polona is midwifery; in a broader sense women's reproductive health through the sociological and psychological ocular.
Denise Henry - Committee Member
Denise's family originates from the Caribbean island of Grenada although she was born and grew up in London. In 1988 she qualified as a registered general nurse (RGN). She then went on to complete her midwifery training at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in 1991.
Denise currently works as Specialist Perineal Midwife at St George's Hospital in London. Having spent 22 years at Queen Charlotte's Hospital where she trained she feels like the new girl with just over 2 years' experience at her current unit. During her many years at one unit she managed to have a varied and satisfying career. The highlight of that time was between 1997 – 2004 when she worked as a caseload midwife. It took her on a steep learning curve and she enjoyed that first real opportunity to truly work as an autonomous practitioner and advocate whilst providing ante, intra and postnatal care to women on her caseload. It was during her time as a caseload midwife she became interested in providing appropriate care for women affected female genital mutilation (FGM). She was instrumental in setting up a clinic for women in 2008 and has recently started another clinic at St George's Hospital.
Denise finds her job both enjoyable and rewarding, but believes that her time outside of work is far more important. Spending time with her family and friends are very important to her, especially the little ones. In her spare time Denise loves to socialise and also enjoys travelling. Her current favourite place is the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
Hettie Grove - Committee Member
Hettie Grove received her Bachelor of Nursing in Nursing Education and Administration from University of South Africa, after her diplomas in General Nursing, Midwifery and Community Health Sciences(Honors). She received her specialisation as an Advanced Midwife with Honors at the University of Johannesburg. She has worked extensively in the public health sector as well as midwifery and HIV. Currently she is an International Childbirth educator and a International Board certified Lactation Consultant. She is an honorary Lecturer at the Witwatersrand University in South Africa teaching lactation. Hettie was very involved in an advisory capacity in the establishment of a midwifery driven unit in the private sector in South Africa She serves on the Gauteng Breastfeeding Forum Committee. Currently working in a private practise established 17 years ago and lives with her husband of 32 years in Springs Gauteng. They have 2 kids and 2 grandchildren and have written numerous articles in various midwifery and lactation fields in both professional and informal magazines.
Mia Fothergill - Committee Member
Mia Fothergill has had a wide variety of interesting jobs - including actress, quiz master, tarantula handler and zipline guide - but began her midwifery career in 2000 and found her calling. Working at Britain's oldest maternity hospital, she co-ordinated a team which provided one-to-one midwifery care to teenagers and vulnerable women, and was very proud of the wonderful outcomes that this approach achieved with this challenging client group. After moving to Canada in 2007, she now works as a Registered Midwife in Edmonton, Alberta, which has the highest homebirth rates in the country. Mia is delighted to be able to practice in a way that allows her to fully indulge her passion for home and water birth. She recently gave birth to her second daughter, both girls born at home of course, and is trying her best to juggle motherhood and midwifery practice.