Youth Forum Speakers

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Simone Cavanaugh

Born in Toronto, Ontario, and partly raised in Montréal, Quebec, Simone Cavanaugh is a Loran Scholar and a recipient of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 award. She recently graduated law school at McGill University where she majored in International Human Rights and Development and served as Equity Commissioner. She is a human rights activist who is passionate about women’s and children’s issues, particularly as they intersect with issues of disability and accessibility. As a motivational speaker, she has given a TEDx talk on overcoming challenges and empowering every child to reach their potential. She is interested in working toward better access to education and employment for Canadian youth with disabilities. She believes that everyone counts and can be an agent of change in Canada. In 2018, Simone became the youngest recipient to be awarded the Laurie Normand-Starr humanitarian award. She continues her work to this day with projects at home and abroad.

Follow Simone on Twitter at @Simone_Cav or Instagram at @SimoneCavanaugh.

Pavel Chernousov

Pavel Chernousov has a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Ottawa, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Moscow State University of International Affairs (MGIMO). His work history includes climate change assignments with the United Nations, the Moscow Carnegie Centre, and research and teaching positions at the University of Ottawa. Pavel has a strong academic background in government programs and international development.

While in the United States on his exchange program, he received the President’s Volunteer Service Award and letters of recognition from the US Ministry of Defence, the state of Tennessee, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He was a volunteer at Saint-Vincent Hospital and Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital in Ottawa working with senior and disabled patients.

During his teen years, Pavel was a volunteer at the orphanage house in Russia working with orphan children.

Kelsie Grazier

Kelsie Grazier is a contemporary visual artist based outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. She explores the concept of identity and self through her paintings. Kelsie works primarily with the traditional medium of oil paint on translucent mylar paper. Her art is created through an intuitive process that blends painterly aspects with fluid lines. She studied painting at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She went on to receive her teaching degree in Secondary Art Education and her Masters in Deaf Education at the University of British Columbia. Kelsie was born with a mild-moderate hearing loss but suddenly became deaf at the age of twenty four. Currently, her paintings depict her life experiences becoming Deaf.

Follow Kelsie on Instagram at @kelsiegrazier.

Landon Krentz

Landon Krentz is a bilaterally profoundly Deaf individual who is completely bilingual in American Sign Language (ASL) and English. As a Deaf artist, he brings a unique perspective to the role of a Director of Artistic Sign Language for theatre organization that wants to establish professional sign language theatre as an inclusive and intersectional artistic practice. The role has allowed him to advocate for the inclusion of artists within the larger community so that Deafness is looked upon as a reflection of diversity and culture. He is a skilled ASL/English transcriber who understands the theatrical context into sign language and works with a community of like-minded theatre interpreters in order to bridge the communication gaps between arts organizations and Deaf artists.

Follow Landon on Twitter and Instagram at @Landon_Krentz.

Kris Martin

Ask Kris Martin to do something for you and his standard response is “Not a problem.” Stepping in a race car that reaches speeds of over 200 miles per hour. Not a problem. Speaking to over 300 hundred students who look at him as a role model. Not a problem. Being born profoundly deaf. Not a problem. In fact, being born hearing impaired may have helped Kris. He learned to race by primarily using his tactile senses, and has given him a great ability to feel the track and use his instincts. Today Kris is actually able to receive partial hearing through the use of a implant he had surgically implanted when he was 8-years old. A company Phonak Hearing Systems created an audio device that uses radio frequency which allows Kris to communicate with his spotters. He certainly has the talent to race and he comes with racing in his blood. Warren Coniam(Uncle) and Doug Syer(Grandfather) are both in the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame. Kris also is strong proponent of giving back to those who are alike himself. A role model for many, Kris speaks to children and charities across North America. His speeches give hope to not only children, but to parents that their children can defy any odds that may be placed against them. Ask Kris if he is ready. He will tell you…not a problem.

Follow Kris on Twitter at @KrisMartinRace or Instagram at @kmr.46.