Fire Starters: igniting change with passion

Peterborough Speakers Series, in support of local health care, takes place at Market Hall in Peterborough on April 16

The 4th Annual Peterborough Speakers Series takes place at Market Hall in Peterborough on April 16, 2014
The 4th Annual Peterborough Speakers Series takes place at Market Hall in Peterborough on April 16, 2014

What do a famous photographer, a lawyer and author, a writer and playwright, a CBC radio personality, an athlete, and a coach and former Olympian all have in common?

They all fuse their passion for what they do with their love of life to create an impact and life-long change within their profession and the community they live.

They’re all “Fire Starters” who’ll be speaking at the 4th annual Peterborough Speakers Series at the Market Hall in Peterborough on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

“Fire Starters” is presented by the Greater Peterborough Health Services Foundation in partnership with Freedom 55 Financial.

Proceeds from the event will support the Partners in Pregnancy Clinic, which is part of the Peterborough Networked Family Health Team.

“This year’s speaker series shines a spotlight on some of our community’s most dynamic and innovative people,” explains Hannah Routly, executive director of the Health Services Foundation. “We’re excited to present their remarkable contributions of personal and professional success.”

You can find biographies and photos of each of the six speakers below.

Stuart Harrison, President and CEO of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, will be emcee for the evening. Doors open at 6 p.m., with speakers beginning at 7 p.m. An intimate cocktail reception follows the event, where attendees will have an opportunity to connect and chat with the speakers in a relaxed and casual setting.

Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased in person at the Market Hall Box Office, by phone at 705-749-1146, or online at Tickets are also available (cash only) at Moondance Records (425 George St., Peterborough, 705-742-9425)

Drew Hayden Taylor

When an oppressed people get their voice back, they tend to write about being oppressed. I write about how humour allowed us to survive all of those centuries of oppression and colonization and how it helped preserve our culture and allowed the wounds to begin to heal.

Drew Hayden Taylor
Drew Hayden Taylor
An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, Drew Hayden Taylor has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s premiere Native theatre company.

An award-winning playwright with over 70 productions of his work, Drew has also worked as a journalist and columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), a short-story writer, a novelist, a television scriptwriter, and has worked on over 17 documentaries exploring the Native experience.

Drew has travelled to 16 countries around the world, spreading the gospel of Native literature to the world. Through many of his books, he has tried to educate and inform the world about issues that reflect, celebrate, and interfere in the lives of Canada’s First Nations. He has served as Writer-In-Residence at the University of Michigan, the University of Western Ontario, University of Luneburg (Germany), Ryerson University, as well as at a host of Canadian theatre companies.

A prolific essayist and writer with 23 books to his credit, Drew’s first novel was published in 2007 and his 2010 novel Motorcycles & Sweetgrass was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for fiction.

Carol Love

It’s a long road that athletes must travel to achieve their goal of a podium performance. It’s my job to set fire to that passion and keep that fire burning.

Carol Love
Carol Love
A former Olympian, Carol was introduced to rowing at McMaster University as a novice and is a former member of Hamilton’s Leander Boat Club. She was a member of the Canadian women’s eight in the first appearance of women’s rowing in the Olympics in Montreal in 1976 and in the World Championships in 1977, where she earned a bronze medal — the first international medal for Canadian women.

As Canada’s most heralded female coach, Carol has spent over 30 years coaching with Trent University’s rowing program and the Peterborough Rowing Club.

She was named as head coach for Ontario’s team at the 2005 Canada Summer Games. Rowing Canada has awarded her their 25 Year Service Pin. Carol was chosen as the Ontario University Athletic Association Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2006 for men’s and women’s crews. At the 2010 Rowing Canada Aviron Conference in London, Ontario, Carol was honoured with the RCA Coaches Recognition Award.

In 2010, Trent University recognized Carol’s outstanding contribution, passion and commitment to rowing both at Trent and within the Peterborough community by naming the indoor rowing/paddling tank at the Trent Community Sport and Recreation Centre in her honour.

Carol is now engaged in developing the next generation of Olympic rowers. Trent University hosts one of Canada’s Talent Development Centers for Rowing Canada, and Carol’s job is to identify and develop new rowers.

Carol and her husband Brian (also a former Olympian) have raised their five children in Peterborough.

Julie Kirkpatrick

Life is made up of the spark of words, the light of love and the heat of pain — with a touch of humour and grace.

Julie Kirkpatrick
Julie Kirkpatrick
Julie is both a fierce advocate in her professional life as a lawyer, and a women of quiet creative reflection as a writer.

The youngest of six children, she was born and raised in northern Ontario, where she lived with her English father and Franco-Ontarian/Métis mother. After she finished high school, Julie left northern Ontario to travel overseas before moving south to study Canadian Studies at Trent University.

Always one to do things sightly out of order, she began a family, worked as a freelance magazine writer, published a literary journal called The Peterborough Review with her husband George Kirkpatrick, completed her Master’s Degree in Canadian Heritage Development Studies at Trent University, and studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School — during which time she gave birth to her youngest child). She was called to the Bar and began to practice law in 2001.

During a much-needed break in 2009, Julie walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain with her daughter, who was 17 years old at the time.

While walking, she wrote a series of letters to her friends. Writing is one Julie’s life-long loves and these letters formed the basis of her first published book, The Camino Letters, which was released in 2010.

Currently, Julie and her husband divide their time between Port Hope and Cape Breton. When she is not advocating in court in Ontario, Julie can be found in her Cape Breton saltbox working quietly on several writing projects.

Joe Cummings

Turn off the television and leave it off. TV is the enemy of creativity because it wastes time. Your clock is ticking. Get to work.

Joe Cummings
Joe Cummings

Joe Cummings is a Canadian poet and broadcaster/producer in the national radio newsroom of the CBC. He’s the former host of the award-winning arts program The Arts Report.

During his 20-year career as a journalist, Joe has covered everything from the House of Commons to the Stanley Cup final to the World Series.

His poetry has appeared in poetry publications across Canada and the United States, including Literary Review of Canada, Adirondack Review, and Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine.

His poetry collection Threats and Gossip was published by McArthur and Company in 2007.

Joe lives outside Toronto with his wife and their nine year old daughter.

Reanne Holden

There is an infectious aspect to being a fire starter where you help others realize their potential.

Reanne Holden
Reanne Holden
Born in Calgary in 1987, Reanne Holden has called Peterborough home since 1999. During her time at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School, Reanne achieved excellence in both academics and athletics.

Upon graduating high school in 2005, Reanne received the Governor General’s Award for the highest overall average in her graduating class, was awarded a scholarship from Peterborough’s Sports Hall of Fame for her balance of athletic and academic achievement, and was named Peterborough’s 2006 Junior Athlete of the Year.

While attending university, Reanne was the recipient of the Department of Chemistry Scholarship for academic merit and the Doreen Brisbin Award for academic achievement in a field where women are under-represented. Following her graduation with an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Reanne was named the University of Waterloo’s Woman of Influence by Ontario University Athletics for her excellence in sport and her field of study.

As an avid volunteer during her university career, Reanne spent time in Brazil where she lived and worked with an indigenous tribe and assisted with community development at a rural orphanage. She volunteered again in Tanzania, where she supported projects for a hospice and orphanage for HIV-positive adults and children. She was the inaugural recipient of the Kitchener Conestoga Warrior Community Citizen Award for contributions to her community and excellence in academics and athletics.

Now working as an account manager with Acklands Grainger, Reanne continues to volunteer at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital and with Ontario Basketball community programs while she pursues a Certificate in International Development from the University of British Columbia.

Michael Hurcomb

I willed my career into being through sheer determination, harder work than I’ve ever imagined, and an awareness that I only have this life to make things happen.

Michael Hurcomb
Michael Hurcomb
Michael Hurcomb’s formative years found him with a guitar on his lap and a darkroom in the basement.

He has been featured as one of Canada’s top 20 music photographers at the North by Northeast (NXNE) Festival and Conference.

Michael has forged his way into the industry by fusing his passion and first hand knowledge of the underbelly of rock ‘n roll with his life-long love of the still photograph.

Only this marriage of influences could teach the artistry of taking the multi-sensory experience of a stadium concert and capturing its very essence in only two dimensions.

Whether shooting concerts, portraits, fashion, or commercial work, Michael keeps his lens focused not only on framing moments but stealthily edging between these moments, flexing his impeccable sense of timing and his eye for a most unusual beauty.

Michael has successfully incorporated film into his portfolio by shooting, directing and producing segments for Blackberry, Gibson Guitars, Corbis Motion, and Trent University, music videos for Martin Sexton, Before The Curtain, and Adam Gontier, a reality TV series about Bollywood dancers, and three seasons of the web-based music show Bandwagon. is proud to be a media sponsor for the Peterborough Speakers Series

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Jeannine Taylor
Jeannine Taylor is the CEO, founder, and publisher of and a contributing writer. She's a self-professed geek and early adopter. Jeannine has over 30 years of experience in marketing, media and communications, and web development. She has been a digital media publisher for over 25 years since was launched online as Quid Novis in 1996. Her awards include Peterborough's Business Woman of the Year in 2005, a Premier's Award nominee in 2003, and a City of Peterborough Civic Award for chairing the development of Millennium Park. She's also a vegetarian, music lover and, cultural enthusiast. Jeannine would rather be at the cottage kayaking or hanging out with @caitthebordercollie. You can follow her on Instagram @wired_woman or on Twitter @wiredwoman.