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  • Affordable Educational Credits
  • Watch At Your Convenience
  • Worldwide Speakers
  • Captivating Topics
  • Peer Interactions

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.

  • Leigh Ann Cates-McGlinn, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC, RRT-NPS, CHSE
    Program Chair

    Dr. Leigh Ann Cates-McGlinn, has over 27 years of total bedside experience as a registered nurse and respiratory therapist in home health, general and adult, pediatric, and neonatal critical care nursing with greater than 14 years in practice as a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP). Academically, she was Assistant Professor with Baylor College of Medicine in Department of Pediatrics in the section of Neonatology. She has also been faculty as an Associate Professor University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), East Carolina University and Old Dominion University in in their NNP Programs. Currently, Dr. Cates-McGlinn is the owner and director of McGlinn Institute which specializes in neonatal education, skills, and simulation. Dr. Cates-McGlinn's research interests include healthcare competency evaluation, hi-fidelity simulation training, and legal case review. She is recently published and serves as reviewer for multiple healthcare journals. Finally, Dr. Cates-McGlinn has also presented on multiple levels from local to international.

  • Laurel Wilson
    LAUREL WILSON, IBCLC, RLC, BSc, CLE, CCCE, CLD
    Education Manager

    Laurel Wilson is a TEDx and international speaker, pregnancy and breastfeeding specialist, consultant, educator, and author. Laurel is the co-author of two books, The Attachment Pregnancy and The Greatest Pregnancy Ever; original editor of The CAPPA Lactation Educator Manual; as well as a contributing author to Round the Circle: Doulas Talk About Themselves. Her passion is blending today's recent scientific findings with the mind/body/spirit wisdom to help professionals and families realize the magnitude and importance of the perinatal period. Spending 17 years as Executive Director for Lactation Programs for the Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association formed the foundation of her inquiry into the science of human milk. She acted as a board director for the United States Breastfeeding Committee from 2016-2019 and currently serves as an advisor for Kindred Media. Laurel has been joyfully married to her husband for three decades and has two wonderful grown sons, whose difficult births led her on a path towards helping emerging families create positive experiences. She believes that the journey into parenthood is a life-changing rite of passage that should be deeply honored and celebrated.

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.

  • Kavya Babu Hegde
    KAVYA BABU HEGDE - Digital Projects Coordinator

    Driven by determination, innovation, and technology, Kavya is extremely passionate to contribute her skills and experiences as a Digital Projects coordinator here at GOLD Learning and Online Education. She has spent most of her career in the events industry gaining experience in areas such as event curation, execution, and management. Her interest in technology further led her to advance her career in Virtual Events. Kavya is inspired by GOLD and is grateful for the opportunity to be able to make a difference in women's healthcare and development.

    Born in India and moved to Canada to pursue her further education, Kavya has a Master's in Global Management from Royal Roads University. During her free time, you would find Kavya traveling around the world exploring different cultures and places.

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    KELLY NG - Outreach Manager

    As a life-long learner, Kelly successfully holds an MSc, BCom, and Yoga Teacher Certificate. She currently researches healthy-aging and environmental issues. Additionally, she has extensive experience in sales, client relations, and marketing. As a Sales Manager, Kelly will develop and maintain alliances with key partners, associations and clients. She loves connecting with clients, partners and staff to develop long-term sustainable relationships.

    Kelly has spent the past few years building and operating a yoga health center for healthy aging. She is a Certified 500-hour Yoga Instructor with specialized training in Aging-Adults and Therapy. Her core values of learning and healthy living guided her to inspire others to live their best life at any age or stage in life! In her spare-time, you will find Kelly teaching or practicing yoga, hiking, jogging, or travelling the world experiencing culture and culinary.

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    MANJIT SANDHU - Education Administrator

    Manjit's background involves Customer Service, Project and Training Management served with a side of Administration. Her work experiences incorporate a variety of business sectors including, FortisBC (natural gas), City of Surrey - Fire Services (municipal government & emergency services), TransLink (transportation), Golden Ears Bridge tolls (electronic tolling), and eBay/PayPal (e-commerce & financial processing). By joining the GOLD Learning team, she is excited to add health and education services to that list!

    Manjit was born in Squamish, BC and settled down her roots in Surrey, BC – she will always be a BC girl at heart! Manjit holds a BA from KPU and has an Award of Achievement in Diversity & Inclusion from UBC. In her spare time, you can find Manjit playing tennis and shooting hoops with her kids, playing field hockey for the Surrey Sharks, or enjoying some quality family time playing Uno, Monopoly, and watching Netflix.

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    MELISSA EGGER - Partnership Manager

    Melissa Egger moved to Vancouver, Canada three years ago, that's when she joined the GOLD Family. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Sales from the University of Applied Science in Vienna. Melissa is thrilled to be working with Healthcare Professionals from around the world. Providing health interested people a convenient access to education from all over the world is definitely something which lets you feel good at your work. She is enthusiastic about yoga, camping and a healthy lifestyle. She is always seeking new challenges, especially to get to experience new customs and new cultures from around the world. Melissa is working as a Partnership Manager with GOLD and has been growing with this wonderful family for the last three years.

  • NINA ADRIANNA - Speaker Manager

    Nina's educational background is in International Affairs. She worked in the public sector for five years, promoting innovation in government. After that, she was self-employed for three years; involved with various inspiring projects. Now, Nina is 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. She enjoys her bicycle commute to work and fuels herself with vibrant foods and lovely friends.

  • Sam Rancier
    SAM RANCIER - Sales Coordinator

    Sam is the Sales Coordinator at GOLD Learning who loves helping people find solutions and achieve their goals. She has spent most of her career in sales and customer service, gaining experience in areas such as business development, management, and entrepreneurship. While sales is her primary responsibility Sam also excels in digital marketing and customer service. Sam particularly loves being faced with new challenges and finding simple and unique solutions.

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    LAURA BAGGOTT - Sales Coordinator

    Laura holds a Marketing Diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Additionally, she brings over 10 years' experience in sales, marketing, social media, and social work administration. She is enthusiastic to apply her knowledge within the education and events field. Laura is passionate about health, education and events.

    Laura was born and raised on Vancouver Island. In her spare time, Laura enjoys riding and training horses. She also loves travelling the world and meeting new people. You may find Laura doing spin class or sipping a drink on the patio.

  • GOLD
    ARUSHI GAUR - Customer Service Associate

    Arushi Gaur moved to Vancouver in 2014 to pursue bachelor's degree in Biology at UBC. With over 5 years of experience in healthcare and customer service, she is thrilled to join GOLD and contribute to maternal-child healthcare education. Along with her passion for healthcare, Arushi likes being challenged and strives to create a positive impact in this field through education.

  • BRANDI ALTESSE - Customer Service Associate

    Brandi grew up in Ottawa and moved to Vancouver in 2015. She purchased a school bus, packed up her life along with her dogs to start a new beginning. With over 10 years of customer service in variety roles from hair, banking, automotive and hospitality. Brandi is very passionate about customer service and anticipating the needs of others. Always seeking new challenges as "you can never learn in your comfort zone.", she is excited to be joining the team and to be a part of the journey of GOLD Learning's growth on empowering women.

    On her spare time, she enjoys trying out new coffee shops, pet sitting as she is a Certified Dog Walker with Canine First Aid and spending time with her loved ones.

  • 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.

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    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.

  • JESSICA WONG - Education Administrator (On Maternity Leave)

    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.

PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE:

  • Stephanie Pitman
    Stephanie Pitman - BScN, RN, PNC(C)
    Lead Nurse Planner

    Stephanie Pitman lives in a small rural community in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is a Registered Nurse who has a passion and a love for Maternal Child services and a passion for continued education! She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing as well as her Perinatal Certification through the Canadian Nurses Association. She 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. She has worked for this unit, first as a staff nurse, then as an educator for 18 years. She is a NRP instructor, ACORN instructor and has 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. She is a bilingual Acadian who speaks French and English.

  • Anne Eglash
    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.

  • Amy Holmes
    Amy Holmes - PharmD, BCPPS

    Amy Holmes has practiced as a pharmacist for over 20 years with the last 11 years being focused in the area of neonatal and maternal medicine. She has presented regionally and also internationally through GOLD Learning. She has published papers as well as book chapters. Amy has also presented scientific abstracts in poster sessions at international conferences.

  • Amber Valentine
    Amber Valentine - MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, IBCLC, CNT

    Amber Valentine is a Speech-Language Pathologist who graduated from the University of Kentucky with her MS in Communication Disorders. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She recently received her credentials to become a Certified Neonatal Therapist (CNT). She worked for Baptist Health Systems, Inc for 8 years before moving to Florida where she worked for Wolfsons Children's Hospital and Mayo Florida. She is now back in Kentucky working for Baptist Health Lexington. She has experience in adults and pediatrics with feeding and swallowing difficulties including: bedside swallow evaluations, Modified Barium Swallow studies, FEES, and pediatric feeding evaluations including NICU. She has experience with head and neck cancer patient including evaluation and treatment of swallowing difficulties, PMV use, and voice after total laryngectomy including TEP. She has provided guest lectures for the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville on feeding and swallowing topics. She has presented at the hospital level, local, state, national, and international levels on pediatric feeding/swallowing and breastfeeding.

  • Anna Axelin
    Anna Axelin - RN, PhD, Associate Professor

    Anna Axelin's academic career has included conducting quantitative and qualitative research on maternity and neonatal care in multidisciplinary and international research groups. In the Academic year 2011-2012, she joined the faculty of Department of Family Health Care Nursing in University of California San Francisco for her post-doctoral research. Since 2018, she was appointed as an associated researcher in the Department of International Maternal and Child Health at University of Uppsala in Sweden. In addition to the academic career, she has ten years working experience as a NICU nurse.

    Anna is leading the Health in Early Life and Parenthood (HELP) research group which aims to promote health and welfare in the early stages of life. Her special research interest is how to keep parents and sick newborns together throughout the infant hospital stay and strengthen their relationship already during pregnancy. Her other research interests include pain and sleep in neonates, and the implementation of evidence-based practice in maternity and neonatal care with the help information technology.

  • Conche de Alba Romero
    Conche de Alba Romero - MD PhD, IBCLC, NOMAS licenciature and NIDCAP certificated.

    Concha de Alba is from Spain. She is a mother of three and a dedicated neonatologist. She works at level three BFHI (Hospital 12 de Octubre de Madrid) with very low birth weight infants and is responsible of the Lactation area in the NICU. She also has a private lactation consult.

  • Dawn Teeple
    Dawn Teeple - DNP, RN, IBCLC, CLE

    I would like to introduce myself! I have lived in Baltimore, Maryland all of my life and have been a Registered Nurse for over 36 years. I love working in this wonderful profession and have had the honor of working in many different settings. My passion has always been working in Women's and Newborn's health and worked with new families in many different areas. I have worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery, Postpartum, Well-Baby Nursery, Pediatrics, School Nursing and as an educator helping students achieve their goal of becoming a nurse. I am also practicing as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant both in-patient and in private practice. I pride myself on being a life-long learner (love school!) and earned both my Masters in Nursing Education and finally pursued my dream of a becoming an advanced practice nurse with my Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Healthcare Leadership. I have been married for 29 years to a fellow nurse and have three wonderful children, my oldest son is 26 years old, my daughter is 23 years old and teaching Kindergarten. We were blessed when we were older with another son, currently 9 years old and is my miracle boy (born prematurely but is doing awesome as a gifted third grader). I am in the process of establishing my own IBCLC private practice for both consulting and providing education classes in my community.