Meet the Speakers


 Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis is the author of The Best Laid Plans, and The High Road, satirical novels of Canadian politics. His debut novel (TBLP) was originally self-published in 2007 and won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

McClelland & Stewart published TBLP in September 2008. He also won the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Regional Fiction – Canada East category. In 2010, the Waterloo Region chose The Best Laid Plans as the One Book, One Community selection. In February, 2011,  The Best Laid Plans was crowned the winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade.” The sequel to The Best Laid Plans, called The High Road, was published in September 2010. It was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, in April, 2011.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University in 1983, Fallis turned his back on engineering and joined future Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s full time staff for the 1984 federal Liberal Leadership campaign. He served on the political staff of the Liberal Minister of State for Youth, the Honourable Jean Lapierre, in the short-lived cabinet of Prime Minister John Turner. He stayed with Lapierre as his Legislative Assistant in opposition (1984-85) following the landslide victory of Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative Party.

Terry returned to Toronto in 1985 as Legislative Assistant to the Honourable Robert Nixon, Treasurer (now called Finance Minister). Then, for nearly eight years (1988-95) after leaving provincial politics, he was a government affairs and communications consultant with the international PR firm, Hill and Knowlton. For more than 20 years, Terry has counselled corporate and government clients on various fronts including crisis communications, media relations, issues management, marketing communications, public opinion polling, public affairs, stakeholder relations, etc. He has also written speeches for CEOs, cabinet ministers, and other community leaders.

Terry currently sits on a number of boards and lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Jane Hanlon

Biography Coming Soon


Melissa Hellwig

Melissa Hellwig holds a Masters of Environmental Management from Australia and has been a Niagara-based environmental educator and sustainability consultant since 2005. She is currently with the City of St Catharines delivering their community municipal sustainability plan.

Melissa has been involved in several non-profits supporting Niagara’s green economy, including the Niagara Climate Change Network and the Niagara Sustainability Initiative (a carbon accounting social enterprise).  

She is interested in building the capacity of the non-profit sector, wine, transformational leadership and the beach, but not necessarily in that order.

Bill Helmeczi

Bill is the Director of Mental Health for Pathstone Mental Health Services. He is a part-time instructor in Child and Youth Studies Department at Brock University.  He has an M.Ed, M.Sc (Psych) and is currently completing his doctoral dissertation in Public Health Policy. He has a specialty in treating High Risk children and youth.   He is also the co-developer of a treatment computerized program and co-author of an accompanying treatment manual Treating Children and Adolescents who Sexually Abuse: A Group Treatment Approach(2004).  He has a extensive experience with preschool children and developed the C.A.R.E tool to assist preschool professionals in the identification of behavioural issue in preschool children.

Lori Kleinsmith

Lori Kleinsmith is a health promoter at Bridges Community Health Centre (CHC) and works at the Port Colborne-Wainfleet Site. Prior to joining Bridges CHC in 2009, she worked for 15 years in various health and wellness capacities including managing an employee fitness centre and coordinating two community-based injury prevention organizations. Lori is a member of the Niagara Prosperity Community Committee (NPCC).

Her areas of special interest include the social determinants of health, advocacy, inter-professional health care, community engagement and tobacoo cessation. Lori is a mom of two young boys and resides in Pelham.

Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May is an environmentalist, writer, activist, lawyer, and leader of the Green Party of Canada. Elizabeth became active in the environmental movement in the 1970s. She is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was admitted to the Bar in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. She held the position of Associate General Counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre prior to becoming Senior Policy Advisor to the federal minister of the Environment from 1986 until 1988. Elizabeth became Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada in 1989, a position she held until March 2006, when she stepped down to run for leadership of the Green Party of Canada.

In June 2006, Elizabeth stepped down as Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada, a post she had held since 1989, to run for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada. She was successful in her bid, was elected the Green Party’s ninth leader at their national convention in August 2006.

Elizabeth was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. In November, 2010, Newsweek magazine named her “one of the world’s most influential women.” She is a mother and grandmother. Elizabeth makes her home in Sidney, British Columbia.

In the 2011 Election, Elizabeth made history by being the first Canadian Green Party candidate to be elected to the House of Commons. She now represents the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Tiffany Mayer 


Tiffany Mayer is a former newspaper reporter, who, after leaving the newsroom, changed from a passive observer to an active participant in her community. She is the founder of The Garden of Eating – Niagara, organizing volunteers to harvest fruit that would otherwise go to waste and sharing it with local social organizations. She also blogs regularly about local food and agriculture and organized the first cash mob in St. Catharines.



Mike Moffatt

Mike Moffatt is a lecturer in the Business, Economics and Public Policy group at Ivey. An economist by training, Mike’s interests relate to the intersection of societal issues, public policy, economic growth and firm level strategy. Mike is particularly focused on regulations relating to environmental issues. How can governments reduce the release of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds at the lowest cost to the economy? How should jurisdictions co-ordinate environmental policy as not to act as a deterrent to international trade? What strategies can firms use to shape and comply with environmental regulations? How are new environmental regulations altering the relationships and responsibilities between partners in the supply chain?

In 2005 Mike co-founded Nexreg Compliance Inc., a company that provides consulting services to the chemical industry. Nexreg assists their clients by developing cost-effective strategies for complying with foreign regulations when entering new markets. Mike’s client base includes a diverse mix from small businesses to several Fortune 500 companies.

From 2002 to 2010, Mike was the (a division of the New York Times Company) ‘Guide to Economics’. By the end of his time at About, Mike’s articles were being read over 1 million times each month, making him the most widely read economist online. Since leaving, Mike has been writing for the economics blog Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.

Al Naser

Biography Coming Soon

Robert Routledge

Robert is a veteran campaigner, having managed numerous campaigns at the Provincial, Federal and Municipal level. He has been a member of the Guelph Green EDA and CA for four years and Edmonton-Strathcona before that. He has a Masters Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University and an Undergraduate Degree in Education from the University of Alberta. Born in Calgary, raised on Vancouver Island Robert has led a colourful professional career with experiences working on cruise ships, airports, manual labour, corporate training, politics; and for the past six years, student affairs in post secondary education. He’s an avid TFC fan and a casual athlete who enjoys soccer and ultimate frisbee.

Michael Sims

Michael Sims is the president of the Trinity-Spadina riding association in downtown Toronto.  He has worked as an editor, journalist and computer programmer and has long been interested in the intersection between politics, activism and technology.

 He has run for office on his own, achieving 35% of the vote as an unknown candidate running against a 20-year incumbent, and has assisted with several Green campaigns. He promises an fast-paced, entertaining and merciless presentation.  There will be cake.


Elisabeth Zimmerman

Elisabeth Zimmermann has worked for 19 years in the non-profit sector specifically around the issues of poverty and the last five as Executive Director of the YWCA Niagara Region.  The YWCA is a non-profit organization working with homeless women and their families providing crisis housing, transitional supported housing, life skills programs and ongoing support services.  She is passionate about promoting community understanding concerning the issues that women and girls still face and the impact of poverty on the lives of families and the community. Elisabeth is the Chair of the Niagara Prosperity Community Committee (NPCC).