Workforce Summit February 2022


The Chilliwack Economic Resource Network (CERN) is presenting its 2022 Workforce Summit in an online format from February 9th to 10th, 2022. The program will be delivered ONLINE over two days utilizing a comprehensive interactive virtual event platform to enhance the Summit experience. So regardless of where you are in BC, you will have the opportunity to learn unique and dynamic strategies to deal with the current workforce shortages. This summit is truly about the Power of People.

Location: Online Event – Attend Virtually


8:30 – 8:45 am                       Daily Welcome by Sandra Bonner –                                                              Pederson, Bear Image Productions
8:50 – 9:50 am
Keynote –  Working and Leading in a Time of Reconciliation by Len Pierre
10:00 – 11:00 am
Panel Discussion- Retention & Attraction with moderator Veronica Lyver, Estelle HR

Panelists: Brenda Baptiste, Marlon Hall & Alan Martens

11:05 – 11:50 am

The Power of the Employee Experience -5 Ways To Retain & Attract Staff presented by Yvette Wu, Subtext Consulting

11:50 – 12:00 am
Closing Day Presentation & Summary by Dale Wheeldon, President & CEO, Bc Economic Development Association


8:30 – 8:35 am
Daily Opening by Nicole Read, General Manager, Community Futures South Fraser
8:35 – 9:25 am
Closing Keynote – The Power of DEI by David McLauren
9:35- 10:05 am
Presentation: Workplace Exhaustion– Tips to Help presented by Jenn Cusick, Luminate Wellness
10:05- 11:05 am

Panel Discussion- Rethink Workforce Solutions with moderator Nicki Bullock, Culture Co

Panelists: Wim Kerkhoff, Brody McDearmid & Stan Vander Waal 
11:05 – 11:35 am
 The Power of Philanthropy in Employee Retention presented by Sharon & Christina, Giving Well
11:35 – 11:50 am
Closing & Recap- by Nicole Read 

Want to register for the Workforce 2022 Summit?

Click here to learn more about Online Summit Speakers

Speaker Bios – Day 1

Len Pierre: Working and Leading in a Time of Reconciliation

Len Pierre is Coast Salish from Katzie (kate-zee) First Nation. Len is an educator, consultant, TEDx Speaker, social activist, traditional knowledge keeper, and cultural practitioner.

He is in the final stages of his Master of Education degree from Simon Fraser University focusing on curriculum and instructional design. His experience includes Indigenous education and program leadership from various health organizations including the First Nations Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and the Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.

As an agent for change, Len leads and advises for systemic transformation in universities across North America. He specializes in the development of educational programs and services with decolonization and reconciliation as its core values. He comes to us with an open heart and open mind and hopes to be received in the same way.

Learn more about Len Pierre at 

Yvette Wu

Yvette Wu: The Power of the Employee Experience – 5 Ways to Retain & Attract Staff

With 15 years of experience in strategic consulting, Yvette has led within Fortune 500 companies, medium and large-scale social enterprises, and fast-paced tech startups.

Her diverse industry and corporate background lends a unique mash up of experiences and skill sets. Through her DEI practice, she has supported many brands including Sony Image Works, Innovate BC, The Forum, League of Innovators, Jillian Harris Designs, Canadian Health Institute for Research, to name a few. She is passionate and eager to use business as a force for systemic change in the realms of social justice and equitable climate action.

Learn more about Yvette at

Day 1 Panelists: Retention & Attraction

Brenda Baptiste

Brenda Baptiste

Brenda is a 2021 Order of British Columbia recipient.

In 2003 she was hired to coordinate the planning and operations for the $10-million first phase of the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (NDCC) that would celebrate Syilx culture and life in the desert context.  The centre went on to win numerous awards and is now in a phase two expansion for which Brenda is guiding the Indigenous story.

Following the inspirational success with the NDCC, Brenda was elected to the board of the then Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC), a young financially strapped organization of 12 members and one employee. It now has 500 members and 12 employees.

Brenda builds capacity and opportunity with the belief that tourism can balance socio-economic development for Indigenous people.

A member of the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), Brenda graduated as a Registered Nurse specializing in Indigenous health, with a focus on community development.

Marlon Hall

Marlon Hall

Marlon is the Owner and Operations Manager of Metric Civil Contractors. Saying that Marlon loves being an entrepreneur is an understatement.

Building Metric Civil Contractors into the thriving company it is today is the culmination of some of his greatest passions – finessing heavy equipment to do high quality work, supporting and energizing people to achieve their very best, and striving for excellence in every facet of the business.

Marlon has more than 20 years of experience around heavy equipment and managing complex, high value projects in a diverse range of industries. Through his work he has developed into a resourceful, forward thinking, and solutions driven leader with a primary focus on cultivating long-lasting, trust based relationships.

He is also a dedicated champion for the City of Chilliwack and when not sitting on various local committees and boards, you can find him exploring our beautiful province on a bike, boat, or snowmobile.

Alan Martens

Alan Martens

Alan plans, directs and coordinates the sales, marketing, and operational strategies for TYCROP Trailers.

His responsibility is ensuring and improving the performance, productivity, efficiency and profitability for the business and it’s stakeholders. He has worked at TYCROP Manufacturing for 28 years and has been in his current role of President of TYCROP Trailers for 7 years.

TYCROP Trailers works closely with schools throughout the Fraser Valley to offer mentorship days.

This program allows students to experience first-hand what it’s like to work in assembly line and / or fabrication. Mentorship days usually involve a short introduction to TYCROP Trailers, a safety orientation, facility tour, lunch and then work experience on the line with several mentors guiding them step-by-step.

This program not only offers work experience, but also careers opportunities. TYCROP Trailers has employed many students from the program with full-time and part-time jobs.

Speaker Bios – Day 2

David McLauren:The Power of DEI

David is helping companies with proven strategies, practical tools, and sustainable outcomes through leadership and diversity.

He speaks five languages, brings a wealth of education, proven strategies, and expertise to businesses, and brilliantly helps companies increase their profits and productivity through diversity.

David is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, facilitator, expert on Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion, Sales, Change, Productivity, Business Growth, Sales.

He consistently energizes, educates, and empowers his audiences.

Learn more about David at

Sharon Davis: The Power of Philanthropy in Employee Retention

Sharon had a lengthy career in Investment Finance before shifting her focus to the nonprofit community, introducing best practices to elevate their fundraising capability, awareness, and growth.

The opportunity to bring non-profits and business together as partners was the catalyst for Giving Well.

Learn more about Sharon at

Christina Labarca: The Power of Philanthropy in Employee Retention

Christina holds a BA in Adult Education and a Masters of Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership from Carleton University. 

Christina has always looked for ways to give back and over the years has fundraised, volunteered and supported numerous local and international charity organizations.

Learn more about Christina at

Day 2 Panelists: Rethink Workforce Solutions

Wim Kerkhoff

Wim Kerkhoff

Wim Kerkhoff is the CEO & Founder of Kerkhoff Technologies Inc, an IT Consulting Firm that also has a Linux division called Crafty Penguins. He leads a growing team of IT Professionals who provide advanced Microsoft, Linux and DevOps consulting services to tech companies in the Fraser Valley and around the world. He also leads the SaaS division called TopLeft (TopLeft is a work visualization system for IT service providers that are using ConnectWise or AutoTask)

Through a university Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, several IT jobs in software development, Linux-based network security and database administration, Wim founded his own company Kerkhoff Technologies. He always wanted to build a company where it would be fun to work—a company with great culture, great people, no bureaucracy and no toxic relationships.

Wim and his team have been instrumental in driving continuous improvements in their clients’ IT infrastructure. He thrives on creating solutions that can grow with their clients’ needs and complex structures. He is a conscientious business owner in all aspects of his business – from employees to customer service and support. Wim’s passion for excellence, his grit to solve difficult problems and his personal and business core values are amazingly embodied by his team.

Brody McDearmid

Brody McDearmid

Brody is the CFO for Meridian Farm Market, a medium-sized family business in the Lower Mainland of BC. He came on as a partner and the CFO in 2007.

Meridian Farm Market operates 8 small grocery stores and is opening a new online order distribution center this year.

They have approximately 400 employees and are looking to continue growing in the next 5-10 years.

Meridian Farm Market has been an inclusive employer for over 4 years and has many employees with various diverse-abilities at all of their locations.

Hiring inclusively has been a great success for the company, the managers and the employees themselves.

Stan Vander Waal

Stan Vander Waal

Stan Vander Waal is the owner of Rainbow Greenhouse.

Rainbow is grateful to host an extensive foreign worker program and a comprehensive in-store merchandising program.

Their peak season employee count exceeds 800.

From humble beginnings to today, Stan and Wilma Vander Waal credit the success of their journey to the hundreds of dedicated people who live our values to serve our retail partners.

Although it takes advanced systems and structure to run an organization of this size, our commitment to remain a family-run business guided by core values is unwavering.

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