Fail Forward Workshop

Multipurpose Room 0140 (3:30pm-5:00pm)

Inspired by Ashley Good’s internationally acclaimed practice of turning failure into possibilities for inner and other transformation, four of a kind organizations will share how they identified and leveraged silver linings in child trauma - for recovery, women abuse - for the courage to change, youth reintegration - for community resilience, and mental health services - for reclaiming dignity and hope. A structured brainstorming format empowers anyone to help their organizations grow stronger from setbacks worth tackling in the first place.

Ashley Good

Founder & CEO, Fail Forward

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Before launching Fail Forward, Ashley worked in Cairo with the United Nations Environment Programme and as a management consultant in Vancouver, Canada. In both lines of work, Ashley saw a fear of failure inhibit innovation, adaptation, and general growth. In response, she launched both and the consulting firm, Fail Forward, to spark a shift in how civil society perceives and talks about failure, and to help organizations learn, innovate and build resilience.

Ashley has spent the past three years working with a range of organizations from donors and foundations to not-for-profits and private sector companies to use failure as a learning tool and culture driver to support and foster innovation. She is well known for building the Organizational Learning Team at Engineers Without Borders Canada, and continuing to lead the development of their annual Failure Report.

Her work on failure has received coverage in a wide range of media and news outlets, including the  Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Guardian, Harvard University’s Hauser Center for NonProfit Organizations, TED talks, BBC World, The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail and, most recently in interview with Arlene Dickinson on CBC.  Ashley was also the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Harvard Business Review and McKinsey Innovating Innovation Award.

Oana Branzai

Associate Professor, Strategy, Ivey

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Oana Branzei is the David G. Burgoyne Faculty Fellow, the Building Sustainable Value Research Fellow, and Associate Professor of Strategy at the Ivey Business School. Oana is also the convener and Ivey faculty for the PhD Sustainability Academy, a global event of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability.

As an academic, teacher and consultant, Oana enables executives and students to successfully transform local and global tensions among economic, social and environmental issues into future sources of competitiveness. Oana explores the origins of competitive advantage with an emphasis on how social interactions and/or socio-emotional resources pattern the creation, capture, conversion and distribution of value. Her current initiatives explain how social innovation can help organizations attain and sustain competitive advantage at the intersection of markets and social movements.

Steve Cordes

Executive Director, Youth Opportunities Unlimited

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Steve joined YOU as Executive Director in 1988. Under his leadership, YOU has grown into an 
internationally recognized and award-winning agency. Steve is a sought after speaker who shares 
his passion, insights and experiences in the areas of community engagement, social enterprise and youth services. Steve received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Western University in 1984. He is recipient of two Paul Harris Fellowships from Rotary International and has also held positions at Fanshawe College and Niigwin Skills Development and Placement Centre (now Pathways). Steve is a former Rotarian and member of numerous community task groups. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations and provincial associations.

Don Seymour

Executive Director, WOTCH

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Don Seymour is the Executive Director of WOTCH Community Mental Health Services an organization that provides community based services to persons with serious mental illness in Southwestern Ontario. Prior to this, Don spent 11 years as the Executive Director of Lambton County Developmental Services based in Petrolia, Ontario. 

Don’s community involvement includes a term as Town Councillor for the Town of Petrolia, sitting as a board member for Bluewater Health and being involved in various advocacy committees and provincial organizations such as Ontario Agencies Serving Individuals with Special Needs. In 2003 Don was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his work and advocacy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. His current volunteer roles include sitting as a board member for the Public Services Health and Safety Association of Ontario and Co-Director of Camp Wendake, a one week summer program for persons with HIV/AIDS. 

Don has a BA from the University of Guelph and a MBA (specialization leadership and organizational development) from Royal Roads University in Victoria BC. Don and his family reside in London ON and are avid campers and hikers.

Lynn Blumas

Micro Enterprise Co-ordinator, WOTCH

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Lynn Blumas is the coordinator and creator of the Micro Enterprise program at My Sisters’ Place, a not for profit program of WOTCH Community Mental Health Services in London Ontario. The Micro Enterprise's initiative empowers women to learn a full complement of skills that may lead to employment or entrepreneurial opportunities .

Lynn’s interest in Micro and Social Enterprise has brought her many rewarding connections and memorable moments within the community. The newly renovated Coach House that houses the Micro Enterprise is one of those rewards. The Coach House is community collaboration and a proud accomplishment for My Sisters' Place and the ME collective. Lynn believes her love for pirates and Burning Man, an annual festival held in the dessert, maintains her own inner creativity and spirit. One will never really know? When she is not desert bound, she continues to network and maintain her community commitment as a 4th year member of the Breakfast Meeting for Women, and a continuous sponsor of "Awesome London". Her affiliation with Pillar and local community For Profit businesses allow for continued growth and inspiration to the ME program. She has 3 children minstrels in their own right, and lives with her other 2 loves, her dog and cat. You can reach Lynn at [email protected] 

Ailene Wittstein

Executive Director, Merrymount


Ailene moved to London from Northern Michigan, after she and her late husband, Rabbi Joel Wittstein, put their careers aside to write and create, while running a Bed and Breakfast Inn. After a few years, their search for more culture for the whole family, led them to London Ontario when the children asked that their next home be in a town with a traffic light. Inspired by the creators of Head Start in her exchange term at Merrill Palmer Institute in Detroit months before the 1967 Detroit Riot and then after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, teaching Family Studies in an inner city school during the 1968 riot, Ailene is an unwavering champion of what is right and just for all people and determined to give all families the support that they are asking for when they ask. For the past 25 years, Merrymount has developed into a centre of hope and support for families going through times of crisis and transition. Ailene’s other loves are family, friends and the arts. Ailene is past President of Orchestra London and also presently sits on the Boards of Investing in Children and Temple Israel of London. Ailene has Chaired and participated in endless committees and Advisory Committees. Ailene feels very strongly that the best work is done, when you’re not doing it alone.

Shelley Yeo

Women's Community House

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Shelley Yeo is the Director, Transitional & Community Programs at Women's Community House in London, Ontario where she has worked in several different capacities for over 23 years. Women's Community House provides safe places & services for women & their children, including emergency shelter, transitional housing, 24 help-line, transitional outreach and Family Court Support. Among her many responsibilities Shelley oversees the Women’s Community House social enterprise, Mine 101, London’s most unique urban-designed, recycled, women’s clothing store.

Community awareness, community development and coordination within a relational practice are of particular interest to Shelley. She is an active participant in initiatives that promote an end to violence against women and their families in all its forms. She continues to challenge herself and others with maintaining the vision of a world where we are all free to make personal
choices and to live in peace.

Jody Heycock-Watson, Mine101

Where I have been: I was born out west the child of first generation Canadians. They were a tough stock that made their way to Northern B.C. from St. John’s, Newfoundland, when this great nation was a little younger. I am quite proud of my Welsh ancestry, a magickal people that give me strength to move forward daily. 

Where I am at: After a series of misadventures, some education, academia, much street knowledge and a stint as a single mom. I’m most proud of surviving my parenting (him and me), a grade 12 diploma and some college in my 40’s. I have healed many a wounded heart and today my spirit is dancing a little lighter. I spend my days, writing, creating and turning want the world may see as ‘failure’ into rites of passage.

Where I am going: My fantasy is to create income from my writing.

1) To support myself and give my beautiful grandbabies a loving legacy from where there came.

2) To be published and have my message, ramblings and random thoughts out there, so I can help other folks get through this life.

3) To be honored and recognized for the twist and turns that have made me, me would be my dream come true.

Stacey Cardona, Mine101

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University of Western Ontario graduate, a Mother, wife, daughter, sister & a dedicated Roller Derby player are my titles.  I am a collage of my favorite things.  Romance, loyalty, comedy, faith & Karma.  Subtle graces in my day become major influences in my life.   I will never take for granted a compliment, a hug, a good glass of wine, or making someone else's day with a kind word.  I live by my own motto: the exhilaration of success far out ways the fear of failure.  I will never turn away an opportunity to do something new.  Volunteering makes me happiest and a better Role Model for my son.

Rachelle Lamarche, Mine101

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With 20 years experience in customer service, sales and design, Rachelle Lamarche joined Women’s Community House to help launch their social enterprise Mine101 in March 2011.