2019 Conference Workshop Presenters 

We are pleased to present information about our excellent 2019 Conference presenters. Their bios are presented below in alphabetical order for ease of reference.


Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the founder of Russell Alexander Family Lawyers and is the firm’s senior partner. In addition to helping his own clients with separation, divorce, custody and support issues, Russell oversees the operations of all five of the firm’s offices, supervises the firm’s clerks, and collaborates frequently with the firm’s associate lawyers and their own clients. He is co-presenting with Jason Kwiatkowski, Carrie Heinzl and Carolyn McAlpine.


Tahereh Barati

Tahereh is a mental health practitioner and clinical supervisor using Collaborative, Narrative approach in her work with people who have consulted her since 1991. She is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist,  a Clinical Fellow and an Approved Supervisor of American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.  

Brownen Bruch

Bronwen is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA), Financial Divorce Specialist, and Accredited Family Mediator; she has also received collaborative training. Her 25-year career as a professional accountant started in large corporations like IBM Canada Ltd and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. Bronwen comes to the divorce arena with a much needed conciliatory style to resolving conflicts. Her knowledge of taxation, financial planning, mediation, and collaborative procedures helps her to provide clients with a thorough evaluation of the financial ramifications of their settlement options. She is co-presenting with Rob Smith.


Joan Cass

Joan Cass’ thirty years as a medical social worker resulted in her being a subject matter expert on compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.  After completing her certificates at York, she transitioned becoming a Qualified Mediator and a Director on the Board of ADRIO. She is also an Independent Complaint Facilitator on the ADRIO Roster for OACCAC, and a Debriefing Counselor for Trillium Gift of Life Network. She is proud co-founder of JADE Mediation Practice Group. 

Marianne Cuhaci

Marianne Cuhaci has been practicing as a social worker for over 35 years and for the past 20 years, her practice has focused mainly on families undergoing separation and divorce. Marianne provides clinical services to separating families in conflict over parenting matters. She is an experienced and accredited Family Mediator, Arbitrator and Parenting Coordinator and also provides training in her field. She is co-presenting with Elizabeth Fabiano.

Colleen Currie

Colleen Currie is a lawyer, mediator and trainer. She has taught Alternative Dispute Resolution and Trusts at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; and Family Mediation at Carleton University, Centre for Conflict Education and Research. Colleen’s law and mediation practice is limited to family matters, i.e., mediating and advocating for clients on relational issues. She uses her skill and experience to facilitate difficult conversations for life’s transitions: marriage, separation, aging, death. Colleen works with clients to create solutions and agreements, helping families resolve conflict in a respectful, non-litigious way. Colleen is a member of the OAFM, Collaborative Practice Ottawa, the OCLF, and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). She has appeared on radio, television and in print on the topics of conflict resolution and family matters.


Gary Direnfield

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary was the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their peacemaking practice.


Gregory Evans

Greg Evans is the principal of Evans Family Law Corporation, a boutique family law firm in Winnipeg that emphasizes a respectful approach to separation and divorce. Greg is a founding member of Collaborative Practice Manitoba, teaches the Clinical Family Law course in the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba and is a regular speaker on family law matters at the Manitoba Bar Association and the Law Society of Manitoba. Greg has been named to the Best Lawyers list in Canada since 2015 and has twice been named the Family Lawyer of the Year (Manitoba) in 2016 and 2018. Greg has also been listed as a leading family law practitioner by Lexpert. Greg has a keen interest in the use of technology to improve the delivery of family law services to clients. In his off hours, Greg is a musician, uncle, and band member of Say Uncle!, whose second CD “Scattered Seeds” was released in January 2017 to virtually no critical acclaim. In 2018, Greg premiered his one man play “Scattered Seeds” in Oakland, California. It has subsequently played in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Sonoma, California. He is co-presenting with Chau Tran.


Elizabeth Fabiano

Elizabeth Fabiano is a certified specialist in Family Mediation and Parenting Coordination with a practice in Ottawa entitled Ottawa Co-Parenting Solutions. Elizabeth comes to the field of alternative dispute resolution after years of front-line experience working as a criminologist and cognitive behavioral consultant with clients from a number of social service fields, correctional rehabilitation, mental health and addiction services, at risk youth and vocational rehabilitation. She is co-presenting with Marianna Cuhaci.


Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. He is a mediator and collaborative lawyer

Jacinta Gallant

Jacinta Gallant is a collaborative lawyer, mediator, trainer and presenter in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. “Never cut what can be untied” is the inspiration for Jacinta’s work, and “untangling knots” has been the focus of Jacinta’s highly successful collaborative and mediation practice. Jacinta is an engaging and energetic trainer in the international Collaborative Practice community. She loves the challenge of working with skilled professionals who want to deepen their skills to be more natural and authentic in practice. Her training focuses on the work we need to do to develop a better understanding of what matters to our clients so that we can help them reach creative and workable agreements. With a great sense of humour, and lots of experience from “lessons learned”, Jacinta offers collaborative training that will help you transform your practice. Jacinta is a member of the IACP Training Faculty, the IACP Training Curriculum Task Force and has delivered highly acclaimed training throughout North America and in Europe, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. She is co-chair of her provincial Collaborative Practice group, and has served on the IACP Board of Directors.


Carrie Heinzl

Carrie co-founded Fairmore Family Law Financial Solutions offering independent, fact-based financial analytics and settlement insights to individuals and couples working through separation and divorce. Carrie has been developing education programs focused on legal, individual and financial engagement of those people within the Family Law system for over a decade. Carrie serves on the Board of Directors of York Collaborative Practice; and is an active member in Collaborative Practice for Durham, York, Kawartha and Toronto. She is co-presenting with Russell Alexander, Jason Kwiatkowski, and Caroline McAlpine.

Judith Huddart

Judith Huddart has always believed her clients and their children deserve more than "winner take all" court battles. She understands the importance of keeping parents child-focused during separation and divorce. It is no surprise that she is a founding member and Past Chair of Collaborative Practice Toronto, and past President of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation, representing Ontario's 18 Collaborative Practice Groups. She has taken extensive training to be able to offer her family law clients. She is co-presenting with Mary-Anne Popescu.


Seema Jain

Seema Jain is an Accredited Family Law Mediator and Child Protection Mediator, Children's Lawyer, a Collaborative Family Law lawyer and Family Law Arbitrator. She is also an appointed Dispute Resolution Officer at the Superior Court of Justice, who assists parties by narrowing issues and facilitating settlement before the parties meet with a judge.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, she obtained a Masters Degree in Social Work and worked as a clinical social worker. Seema frequently presents on various topics such domestic violence screening, family law, and advanced mediation topics and has over twenty years of experience mediating complex disputes, including child-inclusive mediation She is co-presenting with Daniella Wald.

Alyson JoNes

After building a very successful private practice throughout the years with Clair Hawes & Associates, Alyson had the opportunity in 2008 to purchase the centre. She took the practice to a whole new level as Owner, Clinical Director and President of Alyson Jones & Associates. In her usual enthusiastic manner, Alyson embraced the opportunity to bring her MORE philosophy to more people. She brought together a comprehensive team of like-minded professionals who are also committed to counselling as an opportunity for growth. She is co-presenting with Karen Redmond.

Jamie Jocsak

Jamie is the owner of BCH Actuarial Services. Jamie has a degree in pure mathematics and is a qualified actuary. He is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the governing body for actuaries in Canada. He is also a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, which is based in the United States and is the largest actuarial professional organization in the world. Prior to starting BCH Actuarial Services Inc., Jamie worked as an actuarial analyst and then as an actuary for Mercer, one of the largest benefit consulting firms in the world. During his time with Mercer, Jamie worked on the retirement programs of many large and small companies in both the private and public sector as well as the executive retirement programs of some of Canada’s largest companies. Jamie is co-presenting with Kelley McKeating.


Jason Kwiatkowski

Jason Kwiatkowski is a member of York Collaborative Practice and the Collaborative Practice Durham Region as a financial professional. He provides business valuation and litigation support services to law firms, private and public companies as well as non-profit organizations and individuals. Services include rendering of conclusions on the value of businesses, intellectual property and economic damages. He has completed numerous valuation and expert reports for various purposes, including: share transactions, tax planning, corporate reorganizations, succession/exit planning, insurance coverage, commercial and shareholder disputes, matrimonial disputes, collaborative family law, breach of contract, securities law, financial reporting and transfer pricing. Jason also assists private business owners with exit planning and transaction advisory issues including, but not limited to, comprehensive exit plans, benchmark business valuations, pricing analyses, value enhancement, pre-sale planning and due diligence.He is co-presenting with Russell Alexander, Carolyn McAlpine and Carrie Heinzl.

Matthew Krofchick

Matthew Krofchick is a Certified Management Accountant, Chartered Business Valuator, and a Certified Management Consultants of Canada. Matthew has assisted in the valuation of many businesses from innovative technologies to discontinuous medical devices. Matthews financial background is applied daily to reviewing and creating financial modeling for business valuation and litigation support reports. Matthew has lectured on valuation related topics. He is co-presenting with Alison Sawatzky.

Christine Kim

Christine Kim is an experienced family mediator specializing in custody and access issues. Christine graduated from the University of Toronto, receiving her Master of Social Work in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Collaborative Program in Ethnic-Pluralism. She is an Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association of Family Mediation, and is a Child Protection Mediator on the Ontario roster. She also acts as a Clinical Investigator with the Ontario Children’s Lawyer. With over twenty years experience in the social work field, Christine has worked locally and globally with diverse groups including street youth, seniors, women, and the LGBTQ community. She is co-presenting with Jared Norton.


Bev LeMay

Bev presently co-ordinates a successful Private Practice entitled "The Centre for Constructive Thinking" working with adults, adolescents and children to help them re-construct their thoughts and learn to think positively about their life. Bev was trained in Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) by Dr. Albert Ellis at The Albert Ellis Institute in Manhattan NY, and uses this form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in her practice. Bev has worked in the Family Law arena for over 30 years as a Section 30 Assessor, Mediator and Parent Coordinator. Bev has an expertise in domestic violence and conducted the DV training for the Durham Regional Police and has presented several workshops in the area of DV. She has extensive experience in high conflict separation and divorce and in 2008 completed her training as a Collaborative Family Professional. She is co-presenting with Mark Noxon.

Shirley Levitan

After spending her initial years at a large Toronto Bay Street law firm, in 1991 Shirley decided to help clients on a more personal level by opening up her private practice, Shirley Eve Levitan Family and Fertility Law. Since then, Shirley has attended at the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Divisional Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and has assisted at the Ontario Court of Appeal. Shirley is also a trained mediator and certified collaborative practitioner.


Carolyn McAlpine

Carolyn has been a practicing Social Worker and Mediator for over 20 years, and has extensive experience in working with children, custody and access, divorce facilitation, child protection and reconciliation therapy. She is co-presenting with Russell Alexander, Jason Kwiatkowski, and Carrie Heinzl.

Kelley McKeating

Kelley is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and has been a fully-qualified actuary since 1995.  She is a Fellow of both the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and of the Society of Actuaries.  From 2011 to 2015, she was Chair of the Committee on Actuarial Evidence of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. She spent most of her early career specializing in pensions and employee benefits.  In 2005, she began to work in the field of expert actuarial evidence.  In the context of family law, she assists clients by providing marriage breakdown pension valuations, lump-sum support determinations, “Boston” calculations, and by helping to draft the pension-related sections of separation agreements. She is co-presenting with Jamie Jocsak.

the Honourable Justice June Maresca

Justice June Maresca received her LLB and LLM degrees from Osgoode Hall Law school.  She was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in 2004, where she heard both criminal and family matters.  She partially retired from the Bench in 2018. She is co-presenting with Victoria Smith.


Jared Norton

Jared is a private practice clinician with extensive experience working in the field of high conflict separation and divorce. Beyond his clinical practice he serves on the clinical panel with the Office of the Children's Lawyer, and provides court connected family mediation with Mediate393. He is also a speaker and trainer on the topics of family and individual mental health, and has taught domestically and  internationally on the topics of mediation and parenting coordination. He is co-presenting with Christine Kim.

Mark Noxon

Mark has been involved as a financial neutral in over 100 collaborative cases. He  is a Chartered Accountant (CA), Chartered Business Valuator (CBV), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). Mark believes that combining  technical knowledge with creative thinking helps generate settlements that optimize outcomes for both spouses while minimizing destructive conflict.  He is a member of the Toronto, Durham and York region collaborative associations and has served on the Toronto and York boards. Mark will be co-presenting with Bev LeMay.


John Panagakos

John is the creator and Founder of Separation Mortgages a unique service targeted to specific people and organizations. He is highly regarded within the family law community and known as ‘the go-to’ professional for Separation/Divorce Mortgage financing.

Separation Mortgages is a unique mortgage service targeted to specific people: married people who are separating or divorcing who own a home; common-law couples with or without a cohabitation agreement who intend to purchase a home together; individuals (i.e. friends or relatives) who purchase a home together; and couples who have already separated and want to purchase or refinance a property.

Charmaine Panko

Charmaine Panko practices in the field of conflict resolution as a collaborative lawyer, mediator, arbitrator, and trainer. Charmaine has assisted in the resolution of legal disputes of all types from corporate commercial to family and estates matters.  She uses a common sense approach to legal disputes focusing on the needs and interests of the parties.  Her approach is informative and client centred, presenting win-win options for those in the midst of a legal dispute.  

Angela Pickard

Angela Pickard focuses on the processes as much as the outcomes of family mediation. A focal point for Angela working with clients is their mental health and well-being during the process of conflict resolution as well as with clients' families, friends and workplace as separation, divorce, and mediation itself can be a stressful experience. She facilitates the mediation process in a hopeful, neutral and respectful manner.

Mary-Anne Popescu

Mary-Anne is the Executive Director of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM).  As an OAFM Accredited Family and Elder Mediator in private practice, she works to bring peaceful resolutions that help families adapt to challenges and changes across the life cycle.  Mary-Anne is also a roster mediator for the Office of Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Affairs.  In recognition of her volunteer contributions to St. Joseph’s Maternal Health Support Program, Mary-Anne received the Ontario Award for Good Citizens, from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Mary-Anne supports diversity and equality as an ally and volunteer for Toronto PFLAG.   She served for eight years as a Panel Member on the City of Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment. Mary-Anne is also the past Chair of the ADR Institute of Ontario’s Family Section and past Board Member of the OAFM She is co-presenting with Judith Huddart, the Executive Director of the OCLF.

Jackie Porter

Jackie Porter is an award-winning financial planner who has been in the financial industry for the past 18 years serving thousands of families, established businesses, and professionals in the GTA. She also helps professionals who are experiencing a life change by receiving a settlement or severance package. Her practice focuses on cash flow management and tax planning. She is a featured speaker and advocates for numerous corporate, professional and charitable organizations.


Karen Redmond

Karen Redmond is a divorce lawyer in West Vancouver. Karen specializes in Divorce, Separation, Child & Spousal Support, Child Custody & Guardianship, Property Division, Mediation and Collaborative Law. She is co-presenting with Alyson Jones.


Alison Sawatzky

Alison Sawatzky started Sawatzky Valuations in 2011.  She has over 25 years of experience as a Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) and has focused solely on business valuations and family law support for the last 12 years.  Alison is a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) and a Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist (CFDS).  She is also a trained Collaborative Financial Professional. She is co-presenting with Matthew Krofchick.

Joanna Shaw

Joanna is a family and children’s lawyer.  Mediation became a natural addition to her already child focused law practice and she has been part of our team since 2013.  Joanna seeks to help her mediation clients resolve issues and move towards better communication.  Along with parenting plans which are focused on children’s best interest, she helps clients with their financial issues.

Rob Smith

Rob’s area of practice is focused on business valuation and litigation support services, including calculation of income for support purposes and loss quantification. He is co-presenting with Brownen Bruch.

Victoria Smith

Victoria is a Toronto family lawyer with over 30 years of experience.  Her passion and life work is to help her clients to resolve their separation and divorce wisely and with dignity, and to support an evolution in the legal profession from adversarial advocacy to conflict resolution advocacy. Over 15 years ago, she confined her practice to out-of-court settlement work using Collaborative Law/Collaborative Practice and mediation. She has successfully resolved hundreds of mediations and collaborative cases. She provide workshops to collaborative professionals across North America and internationally to critical acclaim. She is co-presenting with the Honourable Justice June Maresca.

Deanne Sowter

Deanne joined the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law, in July 2017, following several years working as a family law practitioner. She is a Research Fellow with the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution at Osgoode Hall Law School, and she was the 2015/16 OBA Foundation Chief Justice of Ontario Fellow in Legal Ethics and Professionalism Studies. Deanne’s research focuses on legal ethics, family law, and ADR, with an emphasis on the intersection of all three. Deanne is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Collaborative Practice Toronto, and Peel Halton Collaborative Family Law Group. Deanne's research interests lie in the areas of family law, access to justice and Women and the law.

Elizabeth Sterritt

Elizabeth Sterritt is a certified bilingual mediator, coach and trainer.  Elizabeth brings a great deal of experience to the field of mediation, coaching and training. Her work in the field of coaching and mediation has given her a consummate understanding of the importance of the role of relationships.  An accredited family mediator (OAFM), Elizabeth focuses on family conflict, with a special interest in intergenerational conflict and Elder Mediation.  She is co-presenting with Jennifer Suzor.

Jennifer Suzor

Jennifer Suzor is the Past-President of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. She practiced successfully in all levels of the Court and was certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2004 prior to restricting her practice to CDR approaches. She is an Accredited Family, Child Protection and Elder mediator as well as the founding member of Collaborative Practice Windsor. She now mediates exclusively, as well as training mediators at Family Mediation Training Canada, because she believes that mediation and collaborative processes produces better outcomes for families.  She is co-presenting with Elizabeth Sterritt.


Chau Tran

Chau Tran is an associate at Evans Family Law Corporation, a boutique family law firm in Winnipeg that emphasizes a respectful approach to separation and divorce. Chau is the Co-Chair of the Collaborative Practice Manitoba Technology Committee and sits on its Steering Committee. Chau is committed to helping parents resolve conflict through collaborative practices that protect the integrity of the lifelong co-parenting relationship. Her practice extends to adoptions and assisting intended parents wishing to start or grow their family through third-party assisted reproductive technology as well as providing legal advice to surrogates and donors. Involvement with organizations serving those who have challenges accessing justice is a priority for Chau. She has volunteered at A Woman’s Place Legal Help Centre, Legal Aid Manitoba, Pro Bono Students Canada, and at Siloam Mission. She is co-presenting with Gregory Evans.


Daniella Wald

Daniella is a family law lawyer, collaborative practitioner, and accredited family mediator. She assists clients going through separation and divorce to resolve all of their issues fairly and efficiently through a variety of consensual dispute resolution processes, including collaborative practice and mediation. Daniella has practiced in the area of family law since being called to the Bar in 2007, starting out at a boutique family law firm in Toronto and then opening her own settlement-oriented practice in 2015.  Daniella is passionate about raising awareness of out-of-court dispute resolution process options for families going through separation.  She is co-presenting with Seema Jain.

Lara Wellman

Lara is a certified business coach for small and micro-sized business owners, as well as solopreneurs. She helps people get crystal-clear on their business goals, gives them the support they need to reach them, and guidesthem toward creating the business and life they dream about.  Participants will walk away from her seminar with a clear understanding of the difference between a goal and a tactic, 3 goals to focus on over the next 3 months of business and a toolbox to map out the plans to achieve those goals.