How Change Happens: Speaking Tour

How change happens: a conversation on ending violence against women and girls

Join Oxfam and partners at a How Change Happens event in your city to address the powerful forces that shape social change.

How Change Happens: A powerful conversation on ending violence against women and girls  

2018 is the year of the #MeToo movement. The prevalence of violence against women across our society – in our homes, in our workplaces, in our organizations – cannot be ignored.

Be part of a powerful conversation with Oxfam, National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence and Women’s Shelters Canada on what action needs to be taken – and what we can all do – to end violence against women and girls. Join Oxfam and partners on this national speaking tour

All talks are free with reserved seating. Seating is limited.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.


2018 Tour Dates

  • April 6 – Victoria, BC (Victoria Conference Centre)
  • April 7 – Calgary, AB (University of Calgary - Dining Centre)
  • April 9 – Edmonton, AB (University of Alberta Lister Conference Centre)
  • April 13 – Ottawa, ON (Museum of Nature)
  • April 16 – St. John's, NL (The Rooms) –– CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS
  • April 17 – Halifax, NS (Halifax Central Library)

to rsvp


About the Speakers

Speakers on Tour

Julie Delahanty

Julie Delahanty

Executive Director, Oxfam Canada

Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada as of October 1st, 2014, is a leader on gender equality and human rights with more than 20 years of international development experience. Before joining Oxfam, she was the Director of the Central America Program for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, and has served as the Director of CIDA’s Gender Equality and Child Protection Division. Julie has written extensively on issues of gender and employment, agricultural biodiversity, sexual and reproductive health and rights, garments and globalization. She sits on the Executive Board of Oxfam International where she acts as the gender champion for the world-wide influencing and campaigning work of the organization.


Kate Higgins Director of Policy and Campaigns Oxfam Canada

Kate Higgins
Director of Policy and Campaigns, Oxfam Canada

Kate Higgins has over fifteen years experience managing high-impact initiatives in a variety of strategy, research and policy roles in the international development space where she has connected big-picture ideas with concrete action on global sustainable development, inequality, women’s rights and civil society innovation. Previously, she worked for CIVICUS, the North-South Institute, the Overseas Development Institute and AusAID and has provided advice to several international organizations, including the United Nations, World Bank and OECD.  Kate has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda and has worked on short-term assignments in Bangladesh, Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Tanzania and Yemen.  She has degrees from the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney. A dual Australia-Canadian citizen, she lives with her partner and two young children in Ottawa.

Angelica Ramirez

Angelica Ramirez

Manager for Advocacy and Partnerships, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development

Angelica Ramirez brings a decade of well-rounded experience in policy development and advocacy work, combining lessons from working with both government and non-government organizations. She is currently the Manager for Advocacy and Partnerships of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development, one of the leading policy advocacy organizations in the Philippines working directly with legislators to advance human development and rights-based policies. Angie is a partner of Oxfam’s Creating Spaces project working to end violence against women and girls in the Philippines. She has a strong background in advocacy work and campaigning, capacity building and communications and is a dedicated advocate for women and girls’ rights and empowerment.

Shelley Germain

Shelley Germain

Executive Director, Gignoo Transition House Inc
(National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence speaker in Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton)

Shelley Germain is a Migmaq woman from Listuguj First Nation. Proud mother of four daughters and four grandchildren. She is the Vice President of the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence and the Executive Director of Gignoo Transition House Inc., which is the only Indigenous transition house in New Brunswick, which services all 15 First Nations as well as Off reserve Indigenous Women and Children escaping domestic violence. Gignoo Transition House recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of service and culturally appropriate support.

Dr. Anita Olsen Harper

Dr. Anita Olsen Harper

Consultant, National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence
(National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence speaker in speaker Ottawa, St. John’s, Halifax)

Dr. Anita Olsen Harper was born on her family’s traditional territories; her first language is Anishinabe. Anita has an in-depth awareness and understanding of national Indigenous issues and consistent with her First Nations identity, her work promotes the areas of education and health. She has been involved in anti-violence community engagement work for women’s crisis shelters including those in Nunavut for the territorial government such as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC.) Her PhD dissertation is titled “Domestic violence in Aboriginal communities: A context for resilience” (2011). She is a member of the RCMP “Circle of Change” advisory committee, and the trustee member for the mandatory Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Advisory Committee on Equity (ACE); she participates in improving and updating the identification and evaluation and other processes for special education students, and for equity. Her most recent work was conducting a workshop on “Structural barriers facing Indigenous students in Canada” at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE). Dr. Olsen Harper’s approach promotes interdisciplinary and creative application to efforts in education, health and well-being, with much of her work focusing on violence against Indigenous women and girls.


Local Speakers

Jane Sterk

Jane Sterk

Executive Director, Cowichan Women against Violence
(Guest local speaker Victoria)

Jane Sterk is Executive Director of Cowichan Women Against Violence (CWAV) Society. Sterk has a Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology. She spent the years between 2003 and 2013 in politics, six years as leader of the Green Party of BC. Jane has extensive background in public education, mental health care, business and organizational development. CWAV Society has a range of services for women and children in the Cowichan Valley whose lives have been touched by violence or abuse. Somenos Transition House provides a confidential location for up to 30 days where women with and without children can escape abuse. CWAV’s community services include victim services for short-term crisis support and safety planning, longer term counselling for women and children and a four-month pre-employment program focused on life skills and the development of self-esteem and self-confidence. CWAV offers several groups for parenting, personal growth and healthy relationship building, including groups for teens that are forming relationships and men who have used violence.

Patricia Vargas

Pat Vargas

Executive Director, A Safe Place
(Guest local speaker Edmonton)

For the past 17 years Patricia Vargas, MBA, has been the Executive Director of A Safe Place, a shelter for women and their children fleeing violence, located in Sherwood Park, Canada. Her past work includes the creation of websites with legal information for abused women and as the coordinator of community responses to family violence in Edmonton and area. She has also worked as the Coordinator of a multi-agency diversity project for Alberta Human Rights Commission and t. In 2009 she developed a Governance Model for a Global Network of women’s shelter and played a key role in organizing the Ottawa summit for Shelters in 2009 which led to the creation of the Global Network of Women’s Shelter, she is a current board member of the network and Inter-Americas Shelter Network. She was a United Nation Canadian delegate in 2009 and 2010 and presented with her colleagues of the Global Network at the United Nations. She has done extensive report and publications on the subject of violence against women. Her most recent work is the development of an International protocol to transfer women victims of human trafficking from shelter to shelter internationally. Pat is an avid advocate for women’s equal rights, the rights of immigrant women and marginalized communities.

Kia Rainbow

Kia Rainbow

Executive Director, Interval House of Ottawa
(Guest speaker Ottawa)

Kia Rainbow is the Executive Director of Interval House of Ottawa, a 30 bed shelter for women and their children who have experienced violence. With over twenty-five years of experience working in the area of violence against women she has researched, developed, implemented, managed and evaluated numerous VAW programs; one of them was the opening of Chrysalis House, a twenty-five bed shelter for abused women and their children in Kanata. Currently, Kia is putting much of her energy into creating an innovative and ground-breaking animal housing program at Interval House of Ottawa. The animal housing area will support women and their children fleeing violence to bring their loved family pets into the shelter with them. With a Master of Social Work, Kia also enjoys the learning environment and currently teaches part-time at the School of Social Work, Carleton University.

Ginger MacPhee

Ginger MacPhee

Executive Director, Chrysalis House Association
(Guest local speaker Halifax)

Ginger has worked with Chrysalis House Association for over two decades, first as a volunteer and currently as Executive Director. Ginger holds a Master’s degree in Political Science, with a focus on the impact of policy decisions on transition house organizations in Nova Scotia. A staunch advocate for the importance of the inclusion of lived experience in decision making processes, Ginger first entered the work of transition hoses as a shelter resident with her young daughter. Ginger works daily to ensure the inclusion of diverse voices in decision making processes at all levels.

Linda Ross

Linda Ross

President/CEO, Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women
(Guest local speaker St. John’s)

Linda Ross has held the position of President and CEO of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Newfoundland and Labrador since May 2009.  She has over 30 years of experience in policy development and program planning and delivery in the field of community development, women’s economic and social equality, HIV/AIDS and public health, both in Canada and internationally.  Previous to joining the Provincial Advisory Council, she spent 24 years in various positions working with Oxfam Canada. Linda has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Women in Resource Development Corporation, past co-chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition against Human Trafficking and is a member of Newfoundland and Labrador Access to Justice Committee. Linda is the Co-chair of the Justice Minister’s Committee on Violence against Women and Girls. She is the recipient of the 2017 YWCA Women of Distinction, Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kim Ruse

Kim Ruse

Executive Director, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter
(Guest local speaker Calgary)

Kim has over 25 years’ experience in program, service and organizational innovation, evaluation and outcome management and has extensive experience working with complex social issues such as domestic violence, poverty, homelessness and healthy family functioning. Kim currently holds the role of Executive Director of the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. Kim has consulted nationally on community engagement, assessment and planning and has presented nationally on program design, development, evaluation, clinical engagement and organizational development. In 2011, Kim was honoured to be one of the winners of the McKillop award for commitment and contributions to the Calgary community.  Kim was also recognized as one of the 2017 Individual Award Recipients for Leadership in the Prevention of Family Violence in the Province of Alberta.  She has spent much of her career leading human service organizations in designing and delivering programs that meet real needs and are sustainable within the community. She is committed to developing and supporting excellence in improving social conditions and systems.