CreativeMornings Ottawa November 2020: Radical, with Waubgeshig Rice

Any number of words can spring to mind when you hear the word radical.

Radical politics. Radical thinking. Radical candor.

What you don’t hear very often, though? Radical creativity.

But that’s what the speaker for CreativeMornings Ottawa’s November 2020 event embodies – a radical way of thinking about how we combine ideas, disciplines and cultures.

Waubgeshig Rice is a journalist and novelist from Wasauksing First Nation on Georgian Bay. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies.

In his talk for CreativeMornings Waubgeshig will discuss an idea that, for 2020, seems pretty radical: How to quiet your mind and think about a few areas you’re willing to shake things up.

In the process, he’ll also introduce a few more phrases into our vocabulary – like radically kind, radically welcoming and radically profound.

Waubgeshig will pull a few key themes from his most recent novel to illustrate his talk. Moon of the Crusted Snow, a post-apocalyptic novel about a small northern Anishinaabe community.

Waubgeshig graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002, and spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a video journalist, web writer, producer, and radio host. He left CBC in 2020 to focus on his literary career. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and two sons.

The event takes place November 20, 2020 starting at 8:30 a.m.

Tickets for the virtual event are available here on Friday, November 13, 2020.


CreativeMornings Ottawa September 2020: Spectrum, with Tara Connolly and Christine Jenkins

Creativity is all about facing down the unknown – surveying the jumble of experiences we experience on a daily basis for previously unexplored pathways to problem-solving, entertainment and enlightenment.

There is much to be learned, then, from embracing the full spectrum of ways to do, act and think. By examining (and championing) the diverse realities from which others view the world, we not only make ourselves more creative – we make the world a better place.

In September 2020 CreativeMornings Ottawa will use the lens of neurodiversity, including both neurodivergent and neurotypial thinkers, to look at the way the energy of creativity can be leveraged to increase accessibility, connection and capacity in our community.

Tara Connolly and Christine Jenkins, each of whom have personal experiences with neurodiverse thinking, will explore with the audience how neurodiverse people crack open unseen spaces to tackle creative challenges and see the previously unseen.

The talk is designed, in part, to be a challenge to neurotypical thinkers to push out of their comfort zones to embrace other ways of thinking. How can we examine the unwritten social rules that exist around us and to begin a creative engagement with neurodiverse friendly spaces and interactions?


Tara (she/her), M.A., RP, is a Transitions Specialist with over 20 years experience consulting on the use of inclusive practices to support accessibility in a variety of settings. Currently an Assistant Director with the READ Initiative (Research Education Accessibility Design) at Carleton University, Tara is involved with a number of projects that seek to improve accessibility in workplace settings.


Christine (she/her) is a very late-diagnosed autistic woman from Ottawa. She has written extensively and presented often in the decade since her assessment at age 48.

The event will take place online on Friday, September 25, 2020 with tickets going on sale here on September 18 at 11 a.m.

The Ottawa talk is part of a global CreativeMornings series on the theme of “spectrum”.

“As individuals committed to artfully living, we can paint refreshing possibilities that are not just for ourselves but also for others,” reads the September 2020 theme note from CreativeMornings.

“Assemble your tools: Listen, look within, embrace the weird, and take the prism and flip it on its head — you’ll likely find a breathtaking blend of opportunities to make a difference.”

August 2020: Nathan Hall on stress

Stress is a response. Something happens – a looming deadline, an unexpected setback, an argument with a friend – and we respond with stress.

Sometimes this response is good. We get the adrenaline we need to push through to achieve goals that we might previously thought impossible.

More often than not, though, this response is less than favourable. We lose sleep, start to eat worse and just generally feel a sense of dread with which most everyone associates with stress.

But within that gap – between stimulus and response – there is considerable opportunity to create.

The August 2020 CreativeMornings Ottawa event will feature a talk from someone who is no stranger to the world of stress and creativity.

Nathan Hall is the CEO of Simple Story, an award-winning, video marketing agency. In his role, he works with many brands and corporations of all sizes from around the world - helping them realize the power that video and storytelling has on their business.

On August 28, he will explore this month’s global CreativeMornings theme of stress and discuss the role stress plays in creativity as well as oppression and racism in the business and creative worlds in Canada.

This month, we’re also excited to welcome a performance from Ottawa singer-songwriter Nambi (formerly known as Rita Carter).

Tenacious, and achingly pure, Nambi is a powerhouse of acoustic soul. A beloved fixture in her hometown of Ottawa, she balances her music career leading workshops, organizing community events and being a mom to two young boys. At the heart of Nambi’s music lies an inextinguishable belief in compassion, and a tireless quest for peace.

As has been the case for the past several months, August’s event will be hosted online.

To register, click here! Tickets will be available starting on August 21 at 11 a.m.

CreativeMornings Ottawa, July 2020: Underdog with Sheena Brady of Tease Tea

Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? The times when we’ve felt down and out, running against the tides and generally had the odds stacked against us.

This month, CreativeMornings will be celebrating the long shots, dark horses and the sleepers with our focus on this month’s theme, underdog.

To mark the occasion, CreativeMornings Ottawa will be welcoming Sheena Brady for a virtual session on July 24, 2020 to explore her experience as an underdog.

Sheena is the founder and CEO of Tease Tea, an all-natural and sustainably sourced loose-leaf tea company based in Ottawa (and a CreativeMornings partner).

“Growing up in a single parent household, if you translated my family history into data points, statistically I should have never gone to college or even graduated high school (fun fact: I did grade 9 math three times),” says Sheena. “However, I not only became the first to do both, I carried an audacity and decided to live by ‘why not me?’ ever since.”

After becoming a certified Tea Sommelier, Sheena fell in love with tea and decided to launch her own tea company. Tease Tea started in 2013 as a side hustle and creative outlet from her demanding career in hospitality.

After realizing a career in hospitality would prevent her from building a successful e-commerce business, Sheena decided to work for Canada’s own e-commerce software, Shopify. From there, she blended teas out of her home while working full-time.

Today, she still works at Shopify in leadership. As a Merchant Success Lead for Shopify Plus. At the same time, she has grown her side hustle into a million-dollar award-winning company that serves customers in over 30 countries around the world.

“I’ve developed a deeply rooted passion for supporting and investing in women from diverse and intersectional backgrounds,” says Sheena. “I want to help you realize your potential. To be audacious. Because, why not you?”

Combining her passion for tea with her desire to empower women and young girls around the world, a portion of the proceeds of every purchase supports programs that are dedicated to empowering women and young girls. From shelters to startups, Tease Tea has contributed over $150,000 in product and financial support to date including what was at first a small program that has since grown into a company of its own, The Founders Fund.

Sheena’s success is the embodiment of the notion of the underdog set out in this month’s CreativeMornings Global theme note.

“When others expect them to lose, underdogs must lean on their self-trust and hard won experiences to envision and fiercely assert new realities,” the note says. “They do not dwell on what’s expected of them, but instead focus on what’s not expected of them.”

You can register for this month’s event on July 17 right here.

Over 8 years, CreativeMornings Ottawa has grown significantly and this is because of you—our community.

We have grown through feedback – we know you want CreativeMornings Ottawa to be a platform for diverse voices. We want that too. That’s why we’ve decided to shift our programming for this month to help amplify some of these voices.

We consciously try to ensure that those who take our stage reflect the many unique perspectives and backgrounds that help creativity in Ottawa to thrive. Earlier this year, we made a commitment to supporting BIPOC creatives and speakers. We’ve been in the process of building broader partnerships and platforms so that we can be a part of a sustainable change. Yet there is more to be done.

Why didn’t we shift the conversation earlier? We wanted to continue to focus our efforts on building long-term solutions. We felt that the movement was greater than the moment and thought that it deserved a more thoughtful response than we could develop on short notice. However, it was brought to our attention that reactionary or not, the conversation needed to shift.

We acknowledge this is a small step. But we also want it to act as a promise: That together we will make CreativeMornings Ottawa into a truly creative, inclusive and welcoming space.

We know that there is a lot more to learn as we try to turn CreativeMornings Ottawa into a place that welcomes and amplifies our diversity of voices. Thank you for pushing us to be better.

Your friends,

Maxine, Marwan & the CM Ottawa Team

CreativeMornings Ottawa, June 2020: Insecurity with Lindsay Taub

The creative life is a fearless one. Self-doubt, trepidation and insecurity are the enemies of creativity.

That’s what we’re told – at least when it comes to the advice from most creatives.

On June 26 CreativeMornings Ottawa will welcome Lindsay Taub, an entrepreneur, foodie, wife and mom of two, who will offer a different take.

Lindsay will deliver a talk called “Insecurity breeds creativity”. She will use her own experiences to show everyone that the insecurity that many face with starting something new – whether it be starting a business or writing a novel – can help fuel us to achieve our creative goals.

Lindsay is the owner of Sundae School, Ottawa’s coolest spot for creamy treats. She used to be a psychotherapist, but now she chooses to help people with something even more therapeutic than therapy: ice cream. She believes in the healing power of sweet dairy (and non dairy) treats and loves being a delicious part of her community.

The June 26 talk – again held virtually as CreativeMornings respects physical distancing measures to combat COVID-19 – will feature all the hallmarks of CreativeMornings Ottawa events: Coffee, friendship and laughter.

Lindsay is also an active member of her community and supports various organizations such as The Ottawa Hospital Foundation and the Sandy Hill synagogue and community centre. It’s all part of a community-minded philosophy that she and her husband have formulated: They’ve resolved that they have a responsibility to make Ottawa a better place.

What if everyone in Ottawa, everyone who cares about making Ottawa better, felt a responsibility to improve the city and were able to overcome their own insecurities. What would that look like?

As this month’s theme note from CreativeMornings global notes:

“Ignite a small dose of your courage and fiercely protect its flame. Commit to breaking one limiting belief at a time. With good work and focus, you’ll soon be able to spread your wings and fly higher.”

Tickets for the Ottawa event can be found here.


CreativeMornings Ottawa May 2020: Nature, with Jay Sinha

Maintaining our creativity takes work. We need to develop and foster it if we want it to stay strong and lively.

The same is true of nature: It has the power to feed and rejuvenate us in ways we may have never imagined. But we also need to ensure we protect it and keep it vibrant.

This month’s CreativeMornings Ottawa speaker knows the importance of strengthening the role nature plays in our lives. Jay Sinha is a scientist, lawyer, ecopreneur and tree hugger.

Jay has always been captivated by nature, and his environmental protection instincts really took hold when doing a grade six project on acid rain. Now he sees chilling parallels between yesterday’s acid rain and today’s borderless toxic microplastics.

Like with all recent CreativeMornings talks, May’s event will be hosted virtually. We are also celebrating our EIGHTH year this month and have some special activities lined up:

  • The Peace Room is hosting a short meditation session
  • Juno award winner KellyLee Evans is performing a song
  • We’re hosting a giveaway for books and other goodies from Jay’s company, Life Without Plastic
  • We’ll have the usual assortment of familiar faces, smiles, and fun ways for you to help us celebrate CreativeMornings Ottawa’s birthday!

About Jay Sinha’s talk

In his CreativeMornings talk, Jay will speak about the sacred powers of nature and how to access them in our lives.

Jay hails proudly from the sunny, windy prairies of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is the co-founder and co-owner (with business partner Chantal Plamondon) of Life Without Plastic, a globally established online shop and information resource for safe, high quality, ethically-sourced, Earth-friendly alternatives to plastic products for everyday life, including zero waste essentials.

An honours degree in biochemistry from Western University taught him about the microscopic world. He completed civil and common law degrees at McGill University, followed by a dip back into science with a graduate diploma in ecotoxicology from Concordia University—all the better to understand the toxic effects of plastics. He has held various positions in the public, private and civil society sectors.

Jay is a co-author (with Chantal) of the timely bestselling book, LIFE WITHOUT PLASTIC: The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy, which distils their years of experience seeking out plastic alternatives into an easily understandable deep dive into the plastic pollution issue and practical how-to guide for living with less plastic. So far, the book has been translated into Italian, Japanese, Czech, Slovak, and an updated French version. Korean and Mandarin are on the way.

Jay now resides in Wakefield, Quebec, Canada.

Get your tickets!

Free tickets for the event will be available at 11 a.m EST on May 22 right here.

In May 2020, CreativeMornings Ottawa is celebrating its eighth year! Stay tuned for some special virtual birthday activities both at our May event and on our social channels.

CreativeMornings Ottawa April 2020: Purpose, with Jace Meyer 

What’s your purpose?

Purpose doesn’t need to be a grand vision – according to this month’s theme note from CreativeMornings “it can exist in all sizes and dimensions, separately, or even all at once.”

This month’s CreativeMornings Ottawa speaker has brought purpose to matters big and small throughout her career.

Jace Meyer is a Mètis mother, teacher, artist, entrepreneur, and intrapreneur currently living, working, and playing on unceded Algonquin territory.

She’s cultivated an expertise in the co-creation of culturally relevant, place-based STEM and adult education. Her teaching has reached 1.25 million Canadian youth from coast to coast to coast.

After designing and developing Shopify’s Research and Development onboarding program, RnD Camp, Jace inspired Shopify to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92 and is now the Lead for Indigenous entrepreneurs globally.

As a side-hustle, Jace consults with youth-serving organizations and is a BMW World Responsible Leader.

Jace will be speaking on the purpose she brings to her work and impart some wisdom about how participants can bring purpose to their work and home lives.

The event, which will take place virtually to help stop the spread of COVID-19, starts at 8:30 a.m. on April 24, 2020. All are welcome to attend!

To learn more about Jace, visit her website.

You can also learn more about this month’s global CreativeMornings theme here.

For more information on how you can participate, check out the event page.


[CANCELLED] CreativeMornings Ottawa March 2020: Identity, with Nick Lacelle of Dan Rascal

If you had to describe your identity – the qualities, characteristics and attributes that make you, you – what would you say?

Some might describe their core values: Honesty. Integrity. Fun.

Others might focus on their physical appearance. After all, there’s nothing more unique to each of us than our faces and bodies.

In other cases, identity is wrapped up in activity – closely tying it to the jobs, family time and leisure activities that dominate our days.

This notion of identity will be the core focus on Friday, March 20, when CreativeMornings Ottawa will host filmmaker and entrepreneur Nick Lacelle for a talk on this month’s theme of identity.

Nick’s public-facing identity is closely tied with the notion of creativity, thanks to 20 years of industry experience in film and television. From working as a director and cinematographer on feature films, including projects for Netflix and HBO Canada, to working in television for MTV and Comedy Network, to name a few, Nick has dedicated himself to pushing cinematic boundaries, obsessed with achieving the most out of every production.

In his talk, Nick will discuss the importance of knowing your brand’s character and identity while exploring the notion of “personified branding.”

He’ll also examine how he helps translate brands into characters in his work as partner and Creative Director with Dan Rascal, a video production company specializing in high-end video and video content strategies for brands and other agencies.

Nick will also discuss the role of identity has played in his career and how it impacts the creative process, creative pitfalls and the “get out of jail free” card that is “doing what you love”.

“Your identity is made up of multitudes — the stories you carry, the music you love, the challenges you overcome, the books you read, the communities you’re a part of, and more,” reads this month’s theme announcement from CreativeMornings HQ.

“But your identity is a colorful blend of not only what you consume or create, but also the questions you ask and what you’re willing to learn.”

How will your notion of identity affect your creative process?

CreativeMornings Ottawa is delighted to invite you to hear from Nick and gather with other local creatives on March 20.

Free tickets will become available on March 13 here.

And please follow along with us using the hashtags #CMidentity and #CMOttawa.

See you there!

CreativeMornings Ottawa February 2020: Invest, with Josh McJannett of Dominion City Brewing Co.

When most people think of investment, they think of finances: Investing in the stock market or buying into a mutual fund or purchasing a Canada Savings Bond. Whatever the means, though, the goal is always the same – to create a better future for ourselves.

What we don’t think about as much is investment in our creativity. The means might be different – think of trading in a stock for choosing to read a book or attend an event – but the idea is similar: By investing our time and energy in the right activities, we can become more creative.

On February 28, 2020 CreativeMornings Ottawa will host local entrepreneur Josh McJannett, the co-founder of Dominion City Brewing Co. at the Ottawa Art Gallery for a talk on the theme of invest.

Dominion City has, over the last five years, built a reputation for investing – both in brewing quality beer and investing in its community.

In 2018, for example, Dominion City introduced “Buck-A-Beer (For refugees in Ottawa)”. The program turned a government incentive to brew beer that only cost consumers a dollar into a fundraiser for refugees in Ottawa.

Dominion City has shown that investing in your community can produce big results. But so too does investing in our creativity.

Every decision we make – every day – is an investment for or against our creativity. Choosing to spend our time picking up a new hobby or joining a certain community can pay big dividends for our creative efforts.

“Wise investing requires patience and awareness,” says this month’s note from CreativeMornings global.

“It’s an art that combines our knowledge from past experiences with future aspirations to inform where we’ll put our energy and our heart. To live a sustainable creative life requires us to say ‘yes’ to the choices that bring richness into our lives, even when it seems risky.”

How will your investment in yourself build a better creative future for creativity?

CreativeMornings Ottawa is thrilled to welcome you to hear more from Josh’s journey of investment with Dominion City. We hope you’ll join us!

Free tickets will go live on February 21 here.

And, of course, you can follow along with this month’s theme using February’s hashtags: #CMInvest and #CMottawa