TOTA AGM & Summit | Speakers: Minister Lisa Beare, Randy Durband, Sonja Gaudet

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association’s annual Summit is just around the corner! This year’s theme is “Drive for Sustainability,” and we look forward to spending time with those of you who have signed up! If you haven’t, it’s not too late, and we hope you can join us this year! Located on traditional Syilx territory, our venue of Spirit Ridge in Osoyoos is devoted to promoting inclusion, reconciliation, and community building. We’re thrilled to share this world-class facility that features a desert winery, sensitive landscape, and a coveted cultural centre with you all, joined by some incredible speakers to discuss our vision for a sustainable future for all.

We are honoured to announce that the Honourable Lisa Beare will be joining us as a speaker this year. Lisa currently serves as the Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture for British Columbia, as well as serving as the elected MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.

Prior to her election as MLA of May 9th, Lisa was elected as a Trustee for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education (School District #42) in 2014. She has been a flight attendant with Air Transat for 20 years, and previously worked as a commercial pilot.

She has been a CUPE member since 1997 and was Vice-President of Local 4078 Air Transat Flight Attendants in Vancouver. She received a diploma in Local Government Management from the University of Victoria and is a member of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council.

She has worked on a number of Boards including her current position as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Women Voters Congress. She has also been a member of the Board of Directors for Variety the Children’s Charity and past President of both Women in Aviation and The 99’s.She is the proud mother of a beautiful 2-year-old daughter.

Also joining us this year is Randy Durband, the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC is the UN-supported NGO that establishes and manages global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The GSTC Criteria include guidelines for minimizing negative environmental, cultural, and social impacts while maximizing travel and tourism as a force for good. Mr. Durband is a frequent speaker on sustainable tourism and has served on many tourism boards and sustainable tourism awards judging panels.

Finally, we are thrilled that Sonja Gaudet will be bringing us her incredible story and show us how to think through accessibility. After sustaining a spinal cord injury twenty-one years ago from a horseback riding accident that left her paralyzed from the bra-line down, Sonja Gaudet was determined to continue her active lifestyle alongside her husband and kids.  Using the “power of sport” as rehabilitation, she has since gone on to live a full and meaningful life as a mother, wife, athlete and motivational speaker.

She has recently retired from competition, and in January of this year, was presented with a Canadian stamp in her honour, bringing much-needed awareness to the Paralympic Games and the abilities within everyone to overcoming challenges in their own lives. For thirteen years, she has had the privilege of competing for Canada around the world as a Paralympic athlete, winning three Paralympic Gold Medals and three World Championships in the sport of Wheelchair Curling.

Sonja has a keen interest in accessibility issues in her community and beyond, and she lends her knowledge and experience to creating recreational opportunities for people with mobility challenges. She is looking forward to the beginning of a new and exciting partnership between SCI BC and TOTA, promoting the AccessBC project and the concept of Universal Design within the tourism industry in the Thompson Okanagan Region.


How to Participate:

  • Registration: $199.00 + GST
  • The AGM & Summit is being hosted at Spirit Ridge, and they have kindly offered a group rate of $139 plus taxes for a condo style room, fully furnished with a gourmet kitchen. There are single and double occupancy rooms available. This price is available for the nights of November 12th-14th. To take advantage of this great rate at a one-of-a-kind resort, please contact them at (250) 495-5445, and identify that you are attending the TOTA AGM & Summit.

How to Register:

  • Visit our website here to fill out and submit the registration form

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