Gabriel Dumont Institue


2016 Contact Conference Update

Jun 7, 2016

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By Sylvia Moss

The 12th Annual Contact Conference was held in Saskatoon on April 12-13, 2016. After years of attending the Conference and having a booth to showcase Gabriel Dumont Institute at the event, I was invited to join the committee that hosts this amazing conference. The committee was wonderful to work with and I admired how efficient and knowledgeable they all were. They definitely have it down to a science after 12 successful years!

During the two day conference, attendees had the opportunity to attend multiple workshops. One such workshop was put on by our own Training and Employment Director Lisa Wilson, who spoke about the success of the GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Program and the importance of effective partnerships for the success of apprenticeship programs. Lisa was joined by Jordan Lang, our employer partner and owner of K&L Mechanical, as well as Zachery Alphonse, a Level 3 Plumber apprentice in the GDI Apprenticeship Program, who is placed with K&L Mechanical. Not only was the workshop informative, but there was also a lot of humour in this session as Zachery joked about someday becoming a business owner and doing a hostile take-over of K&L Mechanical!! You could certainly see this employer and employee had a good rapport. All the three presenters were asked a lot of great questions, and the feedback we as a committee received was all very positive.

Another highlight and a presenter that is kind enough to participate each year was Dr. Norm Amundson from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Amundson is a professor of counselling psychology and the author of numerous books that many of us in the counselling field are probably familiar with.

Vicki Towriss, CEO and President of Towriss & Associates Workforce Solutions, offered conference attendees the FREE opportunity to access “Everything DISC”- workplace assessment that included an individualized and confidential report for each person participating. Everything DISC is an assessment tool that identifies your own (as well as your client’s), styles and tendencies, and how to understand and adapt your communication and/or counselling style.

There were 20 workshops in total, too many to go into great detail on, but all very informative and relevant to the work we do at GDI each day.

Wrapping up the conference was Keynote Speaker, Senator Lillian Eva (Quan) Dyck, who left us all inspired and moved by her story of struggle and triumph. In the most moving speech of the conference, Senator Dyck described how she became a champion for equity in issues such as Aboriginal Women in Science. Her speech challenged all those listening to believe in their dreams and not give up no matter what or who is against you!

In closing I would like to encourage others in our organization to look at attending this conference in the upcoming years. I assure you that you won’t be disappointed in the content or relevance to the work we do here at GDI.

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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