Speakers Bio

Victims of Homicide, Western Canadian Conference

‘Moving forward- Building Hope’

Delta Edmonton South, May 15-16, 2017


Speaker Biographies


ANNETTE BIDNIAK: Annette has made numerous appearances as a guest speaker and media relations trainer across Canada and the United States. During her 16 years as a public information officer with the Edmonton Police Service, Annette gained extensive experience in media relations and crisis communications. She was honoured for Outstanding Public Service by the Edmonton Police Service, and received the Mark of Excellence in Media Relations from the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada and the President’s Award from the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators’ Association.

Early in her career, while working with Alberta Correctional Services as a staff trainer, Annette was trained as a hostage negotiator and learned the value of clear, concise communications in high-risk situations. The Alberta government later recruited Annette to their team of communications directors, which included assignments within the ministries of Solicitor General and Public Security, Sustainable Resource Development and Corporate Human Services.

With nearly 30 years as a communications specialist, Annette will help you feel comfortable and confident when managing emotionally-charged, high-pressure media situations.


DONNA BRADLEY: Donna Bradley began her career with the Correctional Services of Canada in April 1993 as a Correctional Officer at Drumheller Institution. She transferred to Edmonton Institution in May 1994 as a Correctional Officer. In 1995 she began working as a Parole Officer at Edmonton Institution. Donna has worked as a Parole Officer in both the institution and the community. Donna worked as the Coordinator of Case Management for a number of years and had an opportunity to work on assignment at National Headquarters and assist in other roles including the Assistant Warden Interventions and Reintegration Manager. For the past 10 years Donna has been working as a Manager of Assessment and Interventions at Edmonton Institution, which entails working closely with the interventions department, Parole Board of Canada, Victim Services, community partners, members of the public and offenders.


HEIDI CABAY: Abuse, addiction, abandonment, murder, depression, fighting for freedom… The early parts of Heidi’s story are hard to tell, and presumably difficult to hear. But in order to find inspiration in the way she lives, you must understand the path she has endured, one step at a time. Heidi chose from a young age to live not as a victim, but as a survivor. Persevering through innate strength and courage, she has rewritten the ending to the horror story which sought to define her; embracing the miracle of who she was created to be. Heidi is a mother to 3 beautiful children and is passionate about connection, play, nature and movement. She strives for excellence in all she does, which has lead her to many successful careers with the intention to help others. Massage Therapy, Personal Training, Day home Provider, Educational Assistant, and Public Speaker. Heidi is currently writing a book and part of an amazing tribe of women that have collaborated their stories in an empowering anthology: When Women Talk, EMPOWERING EACH OTHER ONE STORY AT A TIME that will be published June 2017.

Heidi’s passionate spirit is infectious. She will continue her journey and share her story to inspire and empower others to live one step at a time through love.


MARIANNA CACCIATORE: Marianna Cacciatore is founder of the Children to Children program at Tu Nidito, an author, teacher, and public speaker. Her book, Being There for Someone in Grief has been used as a guide for hospice volunteers and as a textbook for Spiritual Directors. It was endorsed by Stephen Levine, Mark Nepo, Wayne Muller, and Parker Palmer.

For 16 years, she served as Executive Director of Bread for the Journey, a national organization dedicated to grass-roots neighborhood philanthropy. She has just completed the manuscript for her second book, The Way of Love, Generosity, and Grief: An Intimate Portrayal of Stitching the Heart Back Together which draws on both careers, and can be best explained in the words of poet Naomi Nye in her poem, Kindness. “Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing… Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread… ”


MIKE DANYLUIK: Mike is the managing partner and responsible lawyer for the law firm Davidson Gregory Danyluik. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, he received his bachelor of arts [honors] from the University of Western Ontario and his bachelor of Law degree from the University of Alberta. Mike was called to the Alberta bar in 1994.

Prior to practicing with Davidson Gregory Danyluik, Mr. Danyluik was with the Attorney General of Alberta and gained extensive experience with all major criminal prosecutions including murder, armed robberies, motor vehicle fatalities, young offender transfer hearings and government services prosecutions.

Since joining the firm in September 2001, Mike has built on this foundation in his criminal trial practice developing extensive experience handling all manner of criminal and narcotics matters. He has successfully defended clients charged with murder, robbery, sexual assault, fraud, trafficking, proceeds, breach of trust all manner of serious and complex offences. His practice also extends to providing representation and advice to members of professional associations including police who are either under investigation for, or charged with administrative or criminal offences. With respect to Homicide, Mike has been involved in excess of 30 such prosecutions and numerous Criminal Motor Vehicle Fatalities.

As an extension of his practice Mike continues to be involved in the legal community both through continuing education and volunteer work. From 2005-2011, he was a member of the Edmonton Regional Legal Aid Committee which reviews appeals from persons denied coverage for all categories of legal services and served as Chair from 2008-2011. Since then he has moved on to the Northern Appeals Committee which represents the highest level of Appeal or request for provision of legal services for individuals or special coverage and disbursements to counsel until its restructuring 3 years later. In addition, Mike is regularly invited to host a first-year law school student for their Job Shadowing program and to participate in the small firm career day at the University of Alberta law school. He volunteered for the inaugural law camp for high school students in the summer of 2008 and has been both a principal and a mentor for articling students and young lawyers and continues to provide advice and opinions for other counsel with respect to criminal matters. He both lectures at and continues to attend and participate in law, forensic science and advocacy related conferences and seminars.


COLIN DERKSEN: Staff Sergeant Colin Derksen is currently one of three Staff Sergeants in charge of the Edmonton Police Service Homicide Section.  He has been a member of the EPS for 21 years and has worked in a variety of uniformed positions, including Patrol, Beats and the Child At Risk Response Team.  As an investigator, Colin has worked in the Sexual Assault Section, Child Protection Section, Polygraph Unit, the Major Crimes Interview Support Team and Homicide Section.  He is also a proud member of the Peer Support/Critical Incident Stress Management Team within the EPS and works hard to ensure that his co-workers remain mentally healthy and productive.

As a member of the Homicide Section, Colin is proud to work in a capacity that allows him to identify and hold accountable those who commit murder.

Colin is married and has two teenaged sons. Outside of his work, he loves to ride his motorcycle, is an avid snowboarder and enjoys camping and hiking.


ASHLEY FINLAYSON: Crown Prosecutor with Alberta Justice since 1999. Previously, Defence Counsel from 1986 to 1999. Graduated from University of Alberta Law in 1985.




DUANE HUNTER: My career began in Downtown Division 20 years ago. After spending time in patrol I transitioned to the position of a Beat officer for the Boyle / McCauley communities. From there my career focused on organized crime (gang and drug work). My current posting for the last two years has been in Homicide Section as one of the Staff Sergeants. Which includes Missing Persons Unit.


RICK JANÉ: S/Sgt Rick Jané a manager responsible for RCMP Major Crimes North. This unit is responsible for all homicide investigations that occur in RCMP jurisdiction in the Northern half of the province.

S/Sgt Rick Jané began working on homicide investigations in 2004 and has spent time in Wood Buffalo Persons Crimes, RCMP “K” Division Historical Homicide Unit and RCMP Major Crimes North during that period.

S/Sgt Rick Jané is the current RCMP liaison with the Victims of Homicide group and greatly values the input members of that group have provided on how homicide investigations impact them.


KAROYLE (Victim Services Panel; 4B): I am an Ermineskin Cree Nation member. I am a mother to 5 adult children. I come from a large family. I was gifted with 4 brothers, today I have 2 that are living. I have raised 2 grand daughters to adult hood and still 2 grandchildren at home that I am raising.

I have been employed with Maskwacis Victim Services for 9 years. I enjoy the job that I am doing. I love connecting with people and sharing stories.


KATHLEEN (Victim Services Panel; 4B): Kathleen was born and raised in Slave Lake, AB. She graduated with a diploma in Social Work in June 2008 from Northern Lakes College in Slave Lake, AB. She is currently working on her last two elective courses to complete her bachelor’s degree through the University of Calgary. In November 2012, Kathleen was presented with the Employee award for Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council and in April 2014 she accepted the education award from her home Nation, Beaver First Nation located in Northern Alberta. In January 2014 she accepted a directorial position in her community managing Restorative Justice and Victim Services programs. Kathleen is the mother of one son, age 3. Based out of Slave Lake, Kathleen works with her team to provide victim support to five First Nations, Kapawe’no First Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, Driftpile Cree Nation, Swan River First Nation and Sawridge First Nation. Kathleen works in partnership with local police services assisting in meeting the needs of her clients. She enjoys the work she does in rural northern First Nation Communities.




PATRICK KNIGHT: Patrick Knight is a civil defense litigation attorney in Miami, Florida who has tried more than 130 cases to jury verdict. He is also a professional speaker who has presented more than 400 speeches and seminars around the United States and in twenty-five other countries on topics of leadership, communication, management and business ethics. He has authored several leadership manuals and e-books like Jumpstart Your Organization, Medicine Through the Legal Lens, Teach – Coach – Train!, Positive Seduction, and Metro Synergy – Community Impact Projects from Around the World.

Patrick has written a book called Blessed to Survive: The Thanksgiving Day Massacre, which describes his journey from tragedy to triumph after being the victim of one of the worst mass-shootings in South Florida history. Patrick has given away hundreds of copies of his books to victims of tragedy in order to give them some hope in the face of adversity and help them realize that God will give them the strength they need to get through anything. This journey has given Patrick a new topic to discuss as a speaker and he has continued to speak to a wide range of audiences with his message of hope.


KRISTA (Victim Services Panel; 4B): Krista is a victim advocate. She provides support and advocacy to victims of crime and tragedy. She holds a variety of complex roles related to the Victim Service Unit sector which include: being a team leader for a group of advocates within the Service; being a dispatcher of crisis calls to support victims; and, a member of a major incident response team, providing crisis assistance through long-term support to families impacted by homicide. Krista has participated in a variety of training opportunities and has accumulated over 2,200 hours of service to support victims of crime.

In addition to her volunteer role, Krista has over ten years’ experience in a variety of psychology, research and evaluation settings. She holds a Master of Education in Educational Psychology (Measurement, Evaluation and Cognition) through the University of Alberta. As a component of her Master’s thesis, she led a complex developmental evaluation with a partner organization to examine the promotion of evaluation utilization in developmental evaluation. Components of this training included therapeutic models of counselling and clinical psychology. She has also completed the Community-Based Research and Evaluation (CBRE) Graduate Level Degree Program, also through the University of Alberta.

Krista has specialized knowledge related to crisis management and support, comprehensive data structuring, analysis, visualization and reporting; as well as evaluation, including: developmental, formative, impact and summative program evaluations. Krista is a credentialed evaluator, a Board Director for the Canadian Evaluation Society (as well as current member), a current member of the American Evaluation Association, is a certified ARECCI (A pRoject Ethics Community Consensus Initiative) Second Opinion Reviewer and facilitator, and consults on independent contracts.


SUSAN LETENDRE: Susan Letendre is a Manager of Assessment and Intervention at Edmonton Maximum Security Institution. She commenced her career with the Correctional Services of Canada in April 1993 at the Bowden Institution where she was a Correctional Officer. She moved to Edmonton Institution in September 1994 as a Correctional Officer and began acting as Parole Officer in 1995.

In December 2011 after working 2 years as a Community Parole Officer at Edmonton Parole, she returned to Edmonton Institution as the Manager of Assessment Intervention. She has had various developmental opportunities within the organization, which include working at Regional Headquarters as a Project Officer, Transfer Coordinator and Coordinator Case Management. Over the past few years she has also assisted in the role of Assistant Warden Interventions.

At this time, Ms. Letendre continues to focus on the Interventions department within the Correctional Services of Canada.


JUDY LOUIS: Judy is a highly motivated, high-energy educational consultant with a demonstrated track record for fostering learning and promoting multicultural diversity. She is a recipient of an Excellence of Teaching Award and the Alberta Centennial Medal for innovative approaches to education and the promotion of cultural diversity.

Judy is from a family of 9 children: 4 biological siblings of Scandinavian descent and 5 adopted from varied multicultural backgrounds. Many years later the family learned three of the children were part of the 60’s Scoop. During the 60’s, many commented her family looked like the United Nations. Her Mom early identified that the First Nations siblings needed to learn about their heritage and so Judy’s journey began along with them. During that time, she was traditionally adopted into a family from the Samson Cree Nation and over time she has learned the beauty and strength of the First Nations People by actively participating in many traditional ceremonies and the teachings of Plains Cree Spiritual Leaders. Judy and her husband Roy were finalists at the 2016 Emerald Awards for promoting the sacredness of water in Central Alberta that had International impact.

Judy is an avid collector of First Nations artifacts and loves to travel. As a trained investigator for Corrections Service Canada, Judy can often be found working in federal correctional facilities. As well, Judy is a former board member for 16 years on the Citizens Advisory Committee at Pe Sakastew Healing Centre in Maskwacis where the goal is to successfully reintegrate the offenders into the community. She recently retired from Alberta Human Services as a committee member for Social Care Facilities. She enjoys the 14 grandchildren from her blended family with her husband Roy.


ROY LOUIS: Roy Louis is a member of the Samson Cree Nation. He is from a family of leadership and former President of the Indian Association of Alberta. Roy is a co-founding member of Peace Hills Trust Company and Peace Hills General Insurance.

Mr. Louis helped initiate the Pe Sakastew Healing Centre in Maskwacis with former Commissioner Ole Ingstrup. In 2003, he and his wife Judy traveled to China to receive an International Award for the Healing Centre.

He is the recipient of Canada’s 125 Medal in 1992 and the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 for his continued volunteerism, multiculturalism and promoting cultural awareness and business development for First Nations. He is also the recipient of the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal in September of 2012 for his work with RCMP.

Mr. Louis was a member of the Senate for the University of Alberta and a member of the Capital Health Authority Board until 1998. He was on the RCMP’s Aboriginal Advisor to the Deputy Commissioner of “K” Division from 2007- 2015. Mr. Louis is also a member of CNACC. Roy is also an Aboriginal Advisory to Commissioner of Corrections Don Head in Ottawa.

On December 3rd, 2013, Mr. Louis received a Lifetime achievement award from the Alberta Aboriginal Role models. In July 2014, Roy Louis was chosen as one of Alberta’s Most Influential People for his role as a Community Leader. Roy was a finalist for the Alberta Emerald Award for his work in reviving the Water Ceremony in Maskwacis.


LUCY (Therapy Dog): Training Facility: Dogs with Wings / Location: Camrose Police Service and Camrose RCMP / Primary Handler: Michelle Hauser / Service date; April 15, 2013 / Connect with Lucy at Facebook LucyVSU

Lucy officially started work in Camrose on April 15, 2013 with program coordinator/manager Michelle Hauser as her primary handler. She was supplied by Dogs with Wings, an Alberta based program accredited by Assistance Dogs International. Lucy also has police members trained as handlers along with a second handler.

Lucy is the first victim services dog in Alberta to enter a courthouse. Lucy’s entrance into the courthouse began with the program manager familiarizing courthouse staff with the dog, her abilities, and purpose. This slow, careful introduction along with a strong relationship developed by the program manager resulted in Lucy being welcomed into the courthouse and eventually a courtroom.

Lucy participates in court orientation, which includes a physical walkthrough, instructions on courthouse procedures, and even a mock trial. Prior to any appearance in court all are informed of her possible attendance. Care is taken to ensure her attendance does not create a distraction or cause unnecessary commotion, even her collar is removed so that her tags don’t make noise.

Lucy waits to greet victims at the door when they walk in the courthouse, she walks with them to the witness room and waits until it’s time for them to testify. Lucy may be under the stand so the victim can hold onto her leash as something tangible, she may only be allowed in the gallery placed in a position so the victim can make her their focus during testimony, or if Closed Circuit Television is being used she is placed beside the victim either on the floor or in some cases on a chair next to them so they can touch her physically. In 2015 Lucy attended 46 court trials in the Camrose region and travelled to 17 other courts around Alberta

While she is assigned full-time to Camrose and District Victim Services, the program recognizes the challenges faced by other victim service units in rural Alberta and are happy to have Lucy travel to other VSUs in Alberta to assist with cases or awareness events.


LOUISE MACKAY: Dr. J. Louise MacKay is a Registered Psychologist who currently lives and works in Edmonton, Alberta. For the past 17 years, she has spent the majority of her working hours in private practice with children, adolescents, and adults who present with diverse issue, such as issues focusing on anxiety, depression, sexuality, gender, and numerous other issues. In particular, Dr. MacKay specializes in working with children, adolescents, and adults who have been victims of sexual, physical, and emotional trauma. Prior to working solely in private practice, she worked at the Sexual Assault Center in Edmonton, Alberta for six years where she was a Child Psychologist as well as Director of Client services.

Due to her expertise in child trauma, Dr. MacKay has worked and continues to work closely with the Pediatricians and staff at the Child and Adolescent Protection Center (CAP) at the University of Alberta Hospital as well as the detectives and staff at the Zebra Child and Adolescent Center in Edmonton. Also, she continues to provide trauma assessment and treatment for young victims. Dr. MacKay has been an expert witness in both family and criminal court in the Edmonton Region.

Additionally, Dr. MacKay has had the opportunity to travel abroad and volunteer at the Department of Health, Women & Children Protection Center at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines. She worked with traumatized children and their families through use of a translator and consulted with the other psychologists regarding the needs of the center. Additionally, she participated in the first Conference in Cebu on Children and Trauma where she was the keynote speaker.


FORREST MARIDAS: Forrest Maridas has an MA in Clinical Counselling Psychology as well as a graduate certificate in Art Therapy.  Additionally Forrest works within a Process Oriented Psychology model, of deep inner work and large group processing. Over the past 15 years, Forrest has interwoven art and talk therapy interventions in her therapy with clients. Forrest works at MacEwan University as well as Bridge Psychological.


FRANÇOISE MATHIEU: Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC., RP. ; Specialist in High-Stress Workplaces; Co-Executive Director, TEND

Françoise Mathieu is a sought-after speaker and educator in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. With over 20 years of work in the field of mental health, she brings with her extensive experience as a crisis counselor, and nearly a decade of working with Health Canada’s CFMAP (Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program). Françoise is now Co-Executive Director of TEND, a joint venture with Dr. Pat Fisher and divides her time between public speaking engagements and working with organizations looking to train their teams about burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, high stress workplaces, self care and helper wellness.

Françoise is one of the leaders of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma education in Canada. Since 2001, she has given hundreds of seminars on compassion fatigue and self care across the country to over 50,000 helping professionals in the fields of health care, child welfare, the criminal justice sector, social and human services, emergency response, armed forces, education, addiction treatment and the Immigration and Refugee Board.

She is the author of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook, which was published by Routledge in 2012 as well as the author of several feature articles.

Françoise is also the chair of the CARE4YOU Conference, a popular event which brings together leaders in the field, front line workers and compassion fatigue educators for two days of learning, connection and refueling. This event is held in June every year.


ODIE (Therapy Dog): Training Facility: Dogs with Wings / Location: Bonnyville Victim Services / Primary Handler: Debbie Winstone / Service date: June of 2014 / Facebook – Odievsu

He has supported children on the stand in different courtrooms in the Northeast Region which include Lac La Biche, Lloydminster, Wainwright, Cold Lake, St. Paul and of course here in Bonnyville. While we are waiting to enter the courtroom we have the opportunity to introduce Odie to the child (if they have not previously met) and go through some basic commands and instruction to help the child bring him into the courtroom. This provides a distraction/change of focus as well while they are awaiting they’re turn in court.

His presence just brings calmness to the environment that he is in. I had one of the people that works in the courthouse in St. Paul come to me when I was there and she actually said “I knew Odie was here the atmosphere is just different when he’s around”

He has also provides support during Forensic Interviews with both children and adults, because he is in the office everyday he also provides support to our walk in clients, has been called to the hospital to provide support to victims/ family members who may be going through a tragic situation.

Odie has become a huge part of our community and is asked to participate in events put on by various organizations and has brought very positive awareness to our unit as well as the RCMP. He also accompanies RCMP members when they do presentations in the community or have school tours in the detachment. We also visit the patients in Long Term Care at the Bonnyville Health Centre once a month.




JENNIFER SHORT: Jennifer Short is a Registered Psychologist based out of Edmonton. In her private

practice, she is focused primarily on trauma assessment and treatment for first responders and veterans.

She also facilitates workshops and presentations on various topics, with a particular interest on

developing personal resilience in participants.

Prior to working solely in private practice, Jennifer worked with Edmonton and Calgary Police Services as

an analyst. She also worked for the Correctional Service of Canada at Edmonton Institution as a





PAM VICENTE: Pam Vicente is the mother of Rob Vicente who went missing on October 10, 2010 and was later found murdered by two offenders who had a long history of trouble with the law. They murdered Rob to steal his car stereo, burying Rob’s body, leaving his family to frantically worry and search for the next four months. Pam and her family were thrown into a new world that they had no experience with, police, media, victim services, court system, correctional system and into a life sentence of trying to deal with the heartache and trauma of living with the murder of their beloved Rob.


WAYNE (Victim Services Panel; 4B): In 2005 I began my journey as an advocate for victims. After successfully completing basic training in 2005 I then completed training for crisis invention. I have received training on a multitude of subjects that pertain to assisting victims of crime that include: Suicide, Homicide, Sexual Assault, Grief, Trauma, National Parole Board, Stress Management, Different Cultures, Dealing with Children etc. In order to best serve victims of crime my training is ongoing.

I am currently a member of the court orientation team and court accompaniment team, which provide education on court procedures and accompanies victims of crime to court. I also regularly attend crisis calls to assist victims of crime and tragedy. Over the years I have logged over 4000 hours working with victims of crime.

I was accepted into an investigation response team that was developed as part of a response to a need to provide a specialized response to victims of homicide. In my role I provide direct assistance to victims of homicide in the immediate aftermath all the way through to the completion of the court process.


ASHLEY WELLMAN: Ashley Wellman received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Criminology, Law and Society and is an Associate Professor at the University of Central Missouri.

Her research focuses on violent victimization. Dr. Wellman’s primary research focuses on the lived experiences of families left behind in an unsolved murder, often referred to as cold case homicide survivors. She explores the survivors’ journey post-homicide, interactions with related practitioners and how the unsolved nature of the homicide impacts the grief process. Dr. Wellman partners with local law enforcement agencies and bereavement organizations to strengthen relationships and services between the police, homicide survivors and the community. Additional work centers on the emotional, physical and psychological tolls of sexual assault on its survivors, along with social reactions and interpretations of sexual assault. She is dedicated to advocating for awareness and resources for victims of violence.

Dr. Ashley Wellman has been featured on The Current, CBC Radio. Her work appears in several scholarly outlets including the Journal of Death and Dying, the Journal of Family Studies, the Journal of Cold Case Review, Crime Media Culture, and the Journal of Loss and Trauma.

Contact Information

Cathy Harvey, Event Coordinator
(780) 485-5955