The GOLD Conference Team

Meet the GOLD Team

Meet the team of enthusiastic individuals who work all year round to bring you an exciting online conference!

Education Developers:

  • Fleur Bickford
    FLEUR BICKFORD, BSc, RN, IBCLC
    Director of Educational Programming

    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.

  • CAMILLA AVISS, RN, BHSc(N), IBCLC
    Program Chair

    Camilla has worked as an RN for over twenty years in various nursing specialities including occupational health, maternal child health and public health. After the birth of her twins and experiencing many breastfeeding difficulties herself, she began her internship and studies to become an IBCLC. Camilla then ran a private lactation consulting and childbirth educator practice for many years before taking a role in a children's mental health agency where she continues to work. She currently is the parent educator for ages 0-6 years providing support to parents and caregivers as well as running a collaborative breastfeeding and perinatal mental health clinic. Camilla's has a special interest in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, infant mental health, ankyloglossia and breastfeeding multiples. In her spare time Camilla loves to travel with her family, spend time in nature, cuddle with her vast array of pets, or work on perfecting her downward dog in yoga.

Education Delivery:

  • FIONA LANG-SHARPE, IBCLC, NAMCW
    Director of Communication & 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.

Logistics & Management:

  • ANDREW DERGOUSOFF - Managing Partner

    With a background in technology start-ups, Andrew has been working within the educational meetings industry for more than ten 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, Majoring in Biology. He successfully operated an online marketing & web development company, catering to over 100 Clients internationally. David managed the technical operations of the GOLD Lactation Conference in 2012 and in 2013, joined the GOLD Learning Team.

    David is very passionate about customer service and ensuring that conference Participants 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 managing 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

    During his off time, you will catch him back on the beautiful Vancouver Island where he squeezes into wetsuit to surf the icy waves of the Pacific North West.

  • ISABEL DA COSTA - Event Manager

    Isabel's background revolves around Event Production, Management, and Marketing. She has experience running a variety of events from webinars to outdoor festivals which gives her a particular insight into what quality customer service looks like. Her most recent work has been in the web development/B2B SaaS sphere which lends itself to her current role with GOLD Learning as their Virtual Events Manager. She considers the GOLD Learning platform to be an innovative vehicle to ensure maternal and infant healthcare professionals of all walks of life have the ability to learn and grow to better support their community.

    Isabel was born and raised in Vancouver and holds a BA from the University of Victoria. In her spare time you can find her checking out concerts at local venues, flexing her retention of useless facts at a trivia night or catching up on her endlessly backlogged reading list.

  • NINA ADRIANNA - Speaker Manager

    My educational background is in International Affairs. I worked in the public sector for five years, promoting innovation in government. After that I was self-employed for three years; involved with various inspiring projects. Now, I am excited to be part of developing a niche for online conferences, as they are an efficient, green and accessible means for people to connect globally. I enjoy my bicycle commute to work and fuel myself with vibrant foods and lovely friends.

  • MEENA RAJANALA - Marketing & Communications Coordinator

    Meena Rajanala joined the GOLD family after completing her Bachelor's Degree in Communication at Simon Fraser University. Moving to Vancouver to pursue higher education and career opportunities, she has interned in the field of marketing and communications gaining valuable experience in event, project and marketing coordination.

    Seeking new challenges, Meena is thrilled to contribute to making maternal health education globally accessible to such a niche group of professionals in Women's Healthcare. She is enthusiastic about forwarding her experiences and exploring possibilities for GOLD Conferences with communications and marketing initiatives in the years to come.

  • JESSICA LAMB-BROWN - Education Administrator

    Jessica grew up in the Okanagan and moved to Vancouver in 2011. Her professional background as a Community Support Worker with mothers in Vancouver's DTES has given her a great appreciation for the positive impact maternal healthcare workers and consultants have on individuals and their parenting experience. Jessica holds an Advanced Diploma in Business Management from BCIT and an Associate's Degree in Women's Studies from Langara College. Jessica is passionate about women's health issues and she loves that the GOLD online learning platform delivers innovative, world-class continued education options made easily accessible for maternal healthcare professionals around the globe. Jessica is a hobby naturalist and spends her free time hiking, bird watching and organizing around environmental justice.

  • inner6-ban1
    MELISSA EGGER - Partnership Manager

    Melissa Egger is a Partnership Manager at GOLD Learning. She joined the team in 2015 and now works with International Associations creating new engaging ways to offer online education to a broad audience. Melissa works on making cutting-edge education more virtually accessible to health care professionals around the world.

    Melissa has a Master of Science in Business from the University of Jonkoping, Sweden. Certified as a Digital Event Strategist, she uses her knowledge to effectively plan and execute virtual events to enhance the user's experience. She values the great environment GOLD Learning offers its team members, as well as the wonderful network it connects her to within the field.

    Currently living in Lisbon, Portugal, Melissa pursues new cultural adventures, loves all kinds of outdoor activities and maintains a balanced lifestyle with yoga and good food.

  • inner6-ban1
    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
    Social Media

    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:

  • Anne Eglash, MD, IBCLC, FABM
    Physician Reviewer

    Dr. Eglash is a clinical professor with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in the Department of Family Medicine. In addition to practicing family medicine, she has been a board certified lactation consultant since 1994.

    In 2013 she developed the Outpatient Breastfeeding Champion training program to teach breastfeeding knowledge and support to the primary care medical offices in the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation System in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Anne is a cofounder of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and is the co-medical director and cofounder of the Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.

    She is the medical director of the outpatient lactation program at Meriter Hospital, and the medical director of the University of Wisconsin Lactation Services. She has published many peer-reviewed articles on breastfeeding medicine and sits on the editorial board for Breastfeeding Medicine Journal. She co-hosts and produces a free breastfeeding medicine podcast series, The Breastfeeding Medicine Podcast, which can also be found on iTunes.

  • STEPHANIE PITMAN, BScN, RN, PNC(C)
    Lead Nurse Planner

    I live in a small rural community in Nova Scotia, Canada. I am a Registered Nurse who has a passion and a love for Maternal Child services and a passion for continued education!I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing as well as my Perinatal Certification through the Canadian Nurses Association. I currently work as a Clinical Nurses Educator for a unit a Maternal Child unit that encompasses a mix of labour and delivery, antenatal, post-partum, pediatrics, special care nursery and a pre-natal clinic. I have worked for this unit, first as a staff nurse, then as an educator for 18 years. I am a NRP instructor, ACORN instructor and have completed many courses some of which include ALSO, NCAST, ENPC, PALS, STABLE, RTS Bereavement training, Step 2 breastfeeding, and MaD breastfeeding course for Health Professionals. I am a bilingual Acadian who speaks French and English.

  • DANIELLE SAXON, RN, MSN, IBCLC

    I am a Registered Nurse with 13+ years experience, the first 10 years of my career I spent working in a medical-surgical setting, including 7 years in the charge nurse position. I have been working on the mother-baby unit at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge for almost 4 years, providing care for a varied population of postpartum mothers and newborns. I became certified as a lactation consultant through the International Board of Lactation Consultation Examiners (IBLCE) in 2018. This has been a fulfillment of a long-time goal. My education towards IBCLE certification included completing a semester-long lactation educator-counselor course, which prepared me to provide breastfeeding education to mothers in a group setting or one-on-one. I am passionate about the benefits of breastfeeding and enjoy helping new mothers learn to breastfeed. I have been a La Leche League leader in my community since 2015, providing support to lactating mothers by phone, text, email, and through our Facebook page, La Leche League of Baton Rouge. Occasionally, I lead La Leche League group meetings and will be doing so once per month starting in February. I have 6 children of my own, all breastfed through the toddler stage. I am looking forward to a chance to use my knowledge and skills to help families in our community as a lactation consultant in private practice, as well as in the hospital.

  • DIANNE CASSIDY, MA, IBCLC, ALC, CCE

    I am a lactation consultant in Rochester, New York. I became interested in the field of lactation consulting after breastfeeding my own children. After spending thousands of hours working with new mothers and babies, I was able to sit for the board exam, which qualified me as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or IBCLC. In 2010, I completed my Advanced Lactation certification and BS in Maternal Child Health/Lactation. In the fall of 2013, I completed my MA in Health and Wellness/Lactation. I am dedicated to serving mothers and babies, and have the unique ability to identify with the needs and concerns of new mothers. I also have experience working with older babies and mothers returning to work and wishing to continue their breastfeeding relationship.

    I have 3 biological children, including twins, and 3 step children. I believe that women deserve the opportunity to have the breastfeeding relationship that they desire, free from distress, and I am honored to be part of this magical experience.

  • HEIDI REYNOLDS, IBCLC, RN, BScN

    I am a public health nurse currently working in a role that allows me to work with postpartum families. A large part of my role is supporting breastfeeding families and helping them to navigate their breastfeeding journey. I also am heavily involved in the health promotion of perinatal mental health and sit as co-chair on a community coalition that works to address issues of perinatal mental health. In December of 2018 I was certified as an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant and am so excited to take my breastfeeding expertise to the next level. While this certification enhances my current practice in my work, I also look forward to starting my own private IBCLC business on the side. As a new IBCLC with the public health, mental health, and peripartum background, I would really love to be able to contribute to the GOLD Lactation advisory committee this time around!

  • KIM SMITH, IBCLC, Doula, MLT

    Kim Smith is an IBCLC in Private Practice & Doula, former Medical Laboratory Technologist & retired LLL leader. With ten years experience she actively serves families in her hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan where she resides with her husband and 4 children. Her passion is to bring so much love and caring to new families that they can easily love and nurture their young children. Kim is also intrigued by new breastfeeding research and strategies to help reduce the barriers to breastfeeding and support mothers in to full term breastfeeding.

  • LIZ DENEER, BSC

    I am a mom of 3 and have dedicated my career to women's health. I am a community educator for Alberta Health Services and teach evidence-based prenatal classes for expectant and new parents in the Calgary area. I also run group prenatal care sessions at a Primary Care Network in the city where we combine prenatal doctor's appointments with education in a group setting. Finally, I am involved in a project with the University of Calgary looking to improve health outcomes for women who have experienced hypertension during pregnancy. I am the Canadian trainer for the CenteringPregnancy group care model, in addition I am currently working on my Masters in Public Health with a focus on perinatal care and support. I have a special interest in supporting women with unexpected health conditions in pregnancy as well as in perinatal mood disorders.

  • Tanya Singleton
    Tanya Singleton
    BSN, RN- BC (High-Risk Perinatal) MA(counseling) IBCLC, LCCE

    Tanya Singleton is a registered nurse with over 35 years of experience in Maternal-Child nursing. More than half of that career was as a Labor and Delivery nurse, certified in High-Risk Perinatal nursing. Tanya is also an IBCLC lactation consultant and Lamaze childbirth educator. She retired as United States Army Nurse Corp officer in 2003 and began working in private practice as a lactation consultant and childbirth educator. She has run several community non-profits in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area that dealt with issues related to women's and children's health promotion and illness prevention. Tanya is committed to quality education and lifelong learning, and has taught maternal-child and pediatric nursing to students in the Rappahannock Region of Virginia, sharing her various clinical anecdotes in classroom and in labs. She is an advocate for Perinatal Grief Support and early detection of post-partum depression. She is owner and proprietor of The Baby Whisperer, providing in-home support in childbirth education, breastfeeding and parenting. She is the mother of a blended family of five adult children and Nana to three.