Keynote Speakers

Morning Keynote | 8:00 - 9:00 am

The Opioid Crisis: Breaking Stigma and Saving Lives 
Mark Barnes, Pharmacist and Owner, RespectRx Pharmacy

Mark Barnes, along with his partner pharmacists are very passionate advocates for the respectful approach to substance misuse and mental health treatment. This led them to develop RespectRx Pharmacies that pride themselves on providing dignified, stigma-free pharmacy services to those with complex mental health and addiction issues. 

Mark’s work on the opioid crisis led to the development and implementation of a fentanyl patch return program to help curb diversion of this deadly drug to the streets. This program has received significant local, provincial, and even national attention. In 2015 this fentanyl “patch for patch” return program became Ontario law and is now a practice standard for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists.  

Mark is also heavily involved in addiction education. He serves on the Overdose Task Force with Ottawa Public Health & Eastern Ontario Heath Unit since 2012. Most Recently Mark and Respect Rx Pharmacies have partnered with St John Ambulance to deliver two national opioid overdose prevention projects that distributes naloxone overdose prevention kits to high risk and underserved communities. 


Afternoon Keynote | 1:00 - 2:00 pm

Creating Brave Spaces  
Dr. Johanna Pagonis, CEO/Founder,
Sinogap Solutions Leadership Consulting  

Dr. Johanna Pagonis is the CEO and founder of Sinogap Solutions Leadership Consulting, and the author of Choose to Be a Leader Others Would Want to Follow.  

Dr. Pagonis launched Sinogap Solutions after recognizing many habitual workplace challenges while in her role as a manager. These familiar obstacles included a lack of managerial training, limited access to mentors, and dealing with unpredictable challenges while maintaining an air of confidence, even though doubt crept into her mind.  

Since the full-time establishment of Sinogap Solutions in 2020, Dr. Pagonis’ firm has worked with over 50 companies to develop customized leadership programs that have successfully equipped supervisors and managers with the skills necessary to maximize the human potential within their teams.