“Inclusivity Matters” – Giving back to communities in need with a message of resilience and teamwork—on and off the ice.
The first Inuk player in history to be drafted by the NHL, JORDIN TOOTOO announced his retirement after 13 years in the league to give back to the communities he knows and loves. Bringing a message of inspired inclusivity, Tootoo speaks to the need for real teamwork—at work and in our social communities. A trailblazer on and off the ice, Tootoo’s talks offer a moving and timely discussion of grit and resilience, goal-setting, overcoming adversity in the pursuit of excellence, and how life can be improved through meaningful stewardship.
Jordin Tootoo played for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 1999 to 2003 before being chosen by the Nashville Predators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play with the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks, banking 161 points, including 65 goals in 723 career games. Of Inuit and Ukrainian descent, Tootoo is not just the first Inuk player, but also the first one raised in Nunavut to play in the NHL. As an Indigenous athletic leader, Tootoo has long understood his responsibility as a role model, speaking openly about the need for mental health resources, and fighting the taboos around discussing mental illness. He is committed to reaching Canada’s Indigenous communities through his work with the Team Tootoo Foundation, founded in honour of his late brother Terence. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Nunavut promoting healthy living and encouraging conversations about difficult topics like addiction and suicide.
“It’s part of Canada that a lot of people struggle with mental health and addiction, suicide, these issues are a national epidemic. I feel that, at this point in my life, it’s my calling to give back to a lot of these remote communities,” says Tootoo. Bestselling author of the memoir All The Way: My Life on Ice, Tootoo brings an uplifting message to his audiences, creating a culture of inspired inclusivity with authentic hockey and community stories.
Dr. Michael Ungar
“Nurturing Resilience through a Strong Community”
Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is a Family Therapist and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University where he holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Child, Family and Community Resilience. Since 2002, Dr. Ungar has directed the Resilience Research Centre, designing multisite longitudinal research and evaluation projects in more than a dozen low, middle, and high-income countries, with much of that work focused on the resilience of marginalized children and families, and adult populations experiencing mental health challenges. Dr. Ungar has published over 180 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the subject of resilience and is the author of 15 books for mental health professionals, researchers and lay audiences. These include Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success, a book for adults experiencing stress at work and at home, The Social Ecology of Resilience: A Handbook for Theory and Practice for researchers, and Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs, a book for clinicians. His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology Today’s website.