VIU Students Host Virtual Leadership Conference

Vancouver Island Leadership Conference organizers Kayla and Seth

Seth Recalma and Kayla Passmore, chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Vancouver Island Leadership Conference, pose together at a previous VIU event.

June 3, 2020 - 1:30pm

VIU students take annual leadership conference online to support mental health and well-being.

A longstanding leadership conference led by Vancouver Island University (VIU) students will go forward as planned with one key difference this year – it will be held completely online.

The 12th annual Vancouver Island Leadership Conference (VILC) will run for the entire month of June and features student speakers, keynote speakers and virtual events that range from yoga sessions and guided meditation, to an educational session on nutrition and holistic health, to professional development workshops. The VILC aims to connect students with a passion for leadership and empower diverse thinking in an ever-changing world.

This year’s theme, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is “Resilient Minds, Brilliant Leaders.” All events aim to support student mental health and well-being.

“It’s fitting that our conference’s theme is all about resiliency because our journey towards rebuilding this conference online throughout these unprecedented times embodies exactly that,” says Kayla Passmore, VILC Vice-Chairperson. “I couldn’t be more excited to help provide a venue for students and peers that focuses on positive mental health and holistic wellness.”

Students and community members can sign up for the Monday speaker series and/or the Thursday excursion series, which feature different health and wellness presenters, through Eventbrite. All events take place via Zoom. Keynote speakers include Charlene Bearhead, Educational Lead for Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children; Elena Sinelnikova, founder and CEO of Crypto Chicks, an international non-profit organization; and Dr. Deborah Saucier, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor. The series wraps up on Thursday, June 25 with a Moment of Gratitude Flashmob to show support for essential workers. Attend one of four workshops prior to the event to learn the virtual flashmob dance that will be performed at 7 pm.

“It has been a year filled with lots of ups and downs, and for a lot of students, it has been a time of loneliness and isolation,” says Seth Recalma, VILC Chairperson. “For me the conference has been a medium through which we are able to connect and create community among our students and with the general public.”

The conference is supported by VIU’s Office of Co-Curricular Engagement & Learning and builds on the office’s successful #socialstrengthening initiatives – a series of online events that began on March 30 and stretched through to the end of May to keep the VIU community connected with each other at a time of heightened anxiety. The series included virtual games nights, student leadership talks, baking tutorials, a talent show, Zumba, a paint night and learning to code workshops. Online offerings grew as other departments learned about the initiative and jumped on board with their own events.

“During this time, our office has been able to fully shift our programming online and provide a hybrid model in support of co-curricular activities and student resiliency initiatives,” says Omar Karim, Coordinator of the Office of Co-Curricular Engagement & Learning. “We are thankful for all of the collaborative work that has been done between departments in facilitating social strengthening initiatives. The Vancouver Island Leadership Conference is a great example of how student initiatives can digitally pivot to continue to provide students with a strong and engaged university experience.”

For more information and to register, visit the Vancouver Island Leadership Conference Eventbrite page or email




Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Advisor, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews


Vancouver Island Leadership Conference 2020 Schedule

Schedule for Speaker Series

Monday, June 1 - Opening Ceremony and Address

Monday, June 8 - Keynote talk from Elena Sinelnikova of Crypto Chicks Int.

Monday, June 15 - Keynote talk from Charlene Bearhead

Monday, June 22 – Keynote talk from Deborah Saucier, President and Vice-Chancellor, Vancouver Island University

Schedule for Excursion Series

Thursday, June 4 - Yoga and Meditation with Andre Arsenault

Thursday, June 11 - Holistic Nutrition and your Daily Diet with Madison Day

Thursday, June 18 - Professional Development and Growth with Joe Moretti

Tags: Student Success

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