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.
ANDREW DERGOUSOFF - Managing Partner
With a background in technology start-ups, Andrew has been working within the educational meetings industry for more than nine 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 - Director of Marketing & Online Development
Originally from Vancouver Island, David moved to Vancouver in 1998 to attended The University of British Columbia, with a focus on Biology & Commerce. He successfully operated a marketing & web development company for 10 years before joining GOLD in order to manage the Technical Operations, Logistics & Marketing of the company.
David is very passionate about customer service and ensuring that conference attendees 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 directing 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, no matter what your technical skill level. As a son of a Midwife, you could say he was born for this role.
During his off time, he loves to explore the raw beauty of the Pacific Northwest, typically with a surfboard under his arm, a tent in his backpack and a camera around his neck.
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.
SARAH JONES - Event Coordinator
My background is in environment and fitness. I'm a LEED certified sustainability professional with a degree in environmental geography and I'm also a certified personal trainer! At the core of both of these is healthy living, something that I practice in all aspects of my life. I'm thrilled to be a part of ICS's Virtual Conference department as the GOLD Learning Event Coordinator. GOLD's mission to provide outstanding maternal-child health care education is a goal I fully support for two main reasons: the subject matter ultimately benefits the health of growing families and I think it's incredibly important to expand access to quality education. I'm a socially minded individual and I love to motivate others to be their best.
In my spare time, you'll find me at the gym, spending time with friends and family, or reading up on the latest in American politics, foreign affairs, and fashion news!
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.
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.
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.
Debbie Fisher - Committee Member
My name is Debbie Fisher and I work as the Associate Director of Midwifery - Maternity services manager for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board in New Zealand. I am also currently a Ministerial appointed midwife member of the Midwifery Council of New Zealand. I have a background in Nursing and have worked as a midwife since 2000 in Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand in a variety of midwifery models of care including continuity of care. I became a registered IBCLC lactation consultant in 2007 and currently members of the New Zealand College of Midwives and the New Zealand Lactation Consultants Association. I have worked as part of BFHI teams, as a private and public lactation consultant and also provide breastfeeding education. I am excited to be a part of the Professional Advisory Committee for GOLD Lactation 2017 and feel that I will be able to contribute from a local and national perspective. I live in Nelson New Zealand with my husband and 15 month old daughter who still enjoys breastfeeding and so do I!.
Effath Yasmin - Committee Member
Effath Yasmin is an International Board Certified lactation Consultant (IBCLC), internationally certified lactation educator and the founder director of Nourish & Nurture Lactation Care & Parenting Education an outreach clinic for mothers and families seeking professional clinical lactation management and parenting counseling. Yasmin sits on the Board of Directors and National Advisory Board of Birth India, an NGO striving for safe and supported birth in India and an active member of the International Association of Tongue-Tie professionals (IATP).
She spear-headed the Ankyloglossia professional support forum for sharing knowledge about treating tongue ties amongst multi-disciplinary health professionals from multiple countries. Her work has been published in the International Journal of Laser Dentistry (IJLD) and in the upcoming textbook of laser dentistry.
She is currently furthering her study in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy to support health and well-being. She envisages a deeply compassionate model of care for mothers and the families providing holistic care. Yasmin lives with her family in Mumbai, India.
Lisa Marasco - Committee Member
Lisa Marasco has been working with breastfeeding mothers for over 20 years and has been Internationally Board Certified since 1993. She holds a Master's degree in Human Development with specialization in Lactation, co-authored The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk with Diana West(Oct 2009), and is a contributing author to the Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultants. Currently, Lisa is employed by WIC of Santa Barbara County while she continues to research, write, speak, and maintain her private practice, Expressly Yours Lactation Services. In addition, Lisa is an Associate Area Professional Liaison for La Leche League of So. Calif/Nevada, and serves on the Breastfeeding Coalition of Santa Barbara County, the Editorial Review Board of the Clinical Lactation, and the Book Review Committee for the Journal of Human Lactation.
Swati Scott - Committee Member
Swati Scott is a public health dietitian with experience in home and community care, mental health, acute care, primary care, chronic disease prevention, and education. She has enjoyed working in all areas of nutrition practice but her favourite specialities are public health and maternal child nutrition. Swati continues to work in private practice, consulting with many businesses and agencies. She has taught breastfeeding in prenatal classes for over 10 years. Her interest in lactation was sparked during her dietetic internship when she accidentally met an IBCLC. Six years later, after the birth of her first daughter, she embarked on becoming an IBCLC herself. Currently, Swati continues to work in perinatal programs, and is active in many breastfeeding promotion initiatives, such as the annual Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge on Vancouver Island, Canada, and volunteering for the British Columbia Lactation Consultants Association. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and enjoys cooking, swimming, bicycling, traveling, and spending time with her two daughters and wonderful husband.