Meet Some of Our COMMUNICATORS

Brian Dollar
Brian DollarKeynote Speaker
Brian began in Kids Ministry in 1992. He has served at two churches, The Oaks Fellowship (Dallas, TX 1992-1999) and First NLR (North Little Rock, AR 1999 – Present). He loves kids, Kidmin Leaders, and everything that involves leading children in their spiritual journey!

Brian founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998, which creates and provides Kids Church Curriculum, Music, Games, Videos, and more to churches around the world.Over 10,000 churches have used High Voltage Kids Ministry materials! Brian has had the privilege of speaking at many Kidmin Conferences, Workshops, Seminars, etc. He has a passion for passing on what God has enabled him to learn from his years of ministry and learning from other Kidmin Leaders!

He is the author of “I Blew It!”, “Kidminnovation”, and “Talk Now And Later”, a book to help parents lead their kids through life’s most difficult topics . He also writes “Brian’s Blog” at briandollar.com as a means to connect and share his experiences with the Kidmin community. In September 2015, “Talk Now And Later” was the #1 New Release in Amazon’s Christian Families category (both in English and Spanish). Outreach Magazine named “Talk Now And Later” their Children’s Resource of the Year 2015.

Brian and his wife, Cherith, have two amazing children – Ashton (daughter) and Jordan (son). He loves running, hiking, and watching his favorite sports teams: the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Cowboys!

Carey Nieuwhof
Carey NieuwhofKeynote Speaker
Carey Nieuwhof is the Lead Pastor of Connexus Community Church, a growing multi-campus church north of Toronto and strategic partner of North Point Community Church. Prior to starting Connexus in 2007, Carey served for 12 years in a mainline church, transitioning three small congregations into a single, rapidly growing church.

He speaks to North American and global church leaders about parenting, leadership, change, and personal growth. Carey writes one of the most widely read Christian leadership blogs today at www.careynieuwhof.com. His writing has been featured in places as diverse as ChurchLeaders.com, TheGospelCoalition.org, XXXChurch.com, SermonCentral.com, BeliefNet.com, Christianity Today, Outreach Magazine, and more. He also hosts the top-rated Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast.

Carey is the author of “Leading Change Without Losing It” and co-author of “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity”. He and his wife Toni live near Barrie, Ontario and have two sons.

Jeff Harmon
Jeff HarmonKeynote Speaker
Jeff Harmon has been pastoring for over 25 years in Edmonton, Alberta. He was voted by Group Magazine as one of the top 20 influencers of the last 20 years in Children’s Ministry. His passion is to equip leaders so that they influence and impact their local churches. With a passionate commitment to see leaders succeed, he speaks at conferences, colleges and churches. Jeff has been married to Lord for 30 years and together have 2 married sons, one incredible daughter and a Shih-Tzu named Shiloh.
Melanie Driedger
Melanie DriedgerWorship Leader
Singer at 3.
Lover of Jesus at 5.
Worship Leader at 15.
Wife of Justin at 21.
Reverend at 25.
Mother (of Eli & River) at 27.
Worship Arts Director at centralcc.ca at 33.
Leah Bennett
Leah BennettBreakout Speaker
Leah and her husband Ryan are the Family Life Pastors at Peoples Church in Hamilton, Ontario. Leah is passionate about the Word of God and seeing children and families find hope, healing and purpose in Him. She also loves to ask questions, bake and make new friends… so come say hi!
Laura Bronson
Laura BronsonBreakout Speaker
Laura travels across Canada as a missionary inspiring young people to be real in their faith. She does her ministry through graffiti, music, skateboarding, breakdancing, YouTube vlogs, speaking and fashion. The Keep It Real crew was started 10 years ago and they now travel to schools, church’s, skateparks, camps and drop in centres to share the gospel in a relevant way. Laura lives in Toronto but often feels like she lives out of a suitcase. One of her favourite places to visit is Europe.
www.ikeepitreal.ca
Shelly Calcagno
Shelly CalcagnoBreakout Speaker
Shelly Calcagno is the Family Ministry Pastor at Faith Welland in the Niagara Region. She is passionate about partnering with and equipping parents, raising leaders and seeing the younger generation engaged in and living out their faith. Shelly loves to write, develop curriculum, speak, blog at shellycalcagno.com and is the author of Tini’s Tangles. Shelly enjoys being creative and taking on a good DIY project from Pinterest, especially if mason jars and chalkboard paint are involved. Her favorite thing is to inspire people with ideas, and the best part of life is her family.
Amanda Carrol
Amanda CarrolBreakout Speaker
Amanda is a guidance counsellor in the public school board & has been leading children’s ministry for close to 20 years. Her greatest loves are travelling, being outdoors and spending time with her family
Rick Carrol
Rick CarrolBreakout Speaker
Rick has over 10 years experience working with kids and families. He possesses a masters degree in counselling psychology and works with the Western Ontario District as a counsellor/therapist for pastors and their families. Rick has been pastoring at PORTICO Church in Mississauga for the past 9 years, formerly in the Student Ministries dpt. and now as the Campus Pastor in Milton.
Jenni Colwell
Jenni ColwellBreakout Speaker
Jenni Colwell is a wife and mother of four great kids, Samuel, Abigail, Moriah and Julia. She is also the Assistant Family Life Pastor at Glad Tidings in Burlington. Her favourite part of ministry is training young leaders and inspiring adults to serve in their giftings. She loves baseball, children’s arts and crafts and vacationing with her high-energy family.
Mark Colwell
Mark ColwellBreakout Speaker
Mark serves as the District Youth Ministries Director for the Western Ontario District of PAOC. He is married to Jenni and is father to Samuel, Abigail, Moriah and Julia. He is a veteran of over two decades of ministry and is an experienced pastor, mentor and teacher. His passions include leadership development, specifically pouring into the leaders he serves, preaching and family life. Mark loves adventure, both the kind you create and the kind that God invites you into to share.
Gianpaolo Galessiere
Gianpaolo GalessiereBreakout Speaker
Gianpaolo has been in ministry for 15 years, serving with children, youth, and Families. He brings a unique perspective to family ministries as he began as a youth pastor, transitioned to a children’s pastor and eventually a family pastor. This allows him to speak to a wide range of leaders when it comes to ministering to families as a whole.
Gianpaolo has 3 children, Judah (8), Adyson (6) and Levi (5) and an amazing wife Alicia. He is currently the Family Pastor at Central Community Church in St. Catharines Ontario.
Cora Girard
Cora GirardBreakout Speaker
I have been happily married to my husband, Anthony for over 25 years. Together we have been blessed with two amazing kids. Lindsay, the oldest at 20 years old. She is currently interviewing for a position as an Airplane Mechanic. Our youngest AJ, is 15 years old and is anxiously awaiting his July birthday so he can get his licence. Our favourite vacation location is the warm beaches of Florida where we love digging up shark’s teeth in the gulf and soaking’ up the sun! I am the Kids Director at LakePoint Family Church in Leamington and I love it!! It is such an awesome privilege to partner with parents and lead kids into a growing relationship with God!
Donna Jo Hewitt
Donna Jo HewittBreakout Speaker
For the past fourteen years, Donna Jo Hewitt has been teaching at Calvary Christian School in St. Catharines. She is vice principal, lead teacher responsible for the Kindergarten Program, and is in charge of ministry support and development. Donna Jo is part of the Special Education Team at CCS and focuses on early identification, intervention, and program planning. She is actively involved in presenting workshops in school, church, and community settings.
Shawna Lester
Shawna LesterBreakout Speaker
Shawna Lester has been part of Connexus Church since it’s beginning in 2007 as a volunteer. Passionate for reaching families brought her to the Connexus staff team in 2011 to lead children’s ministry. More recently she has been given the role as Family Ministry Director overseeing birth to high school in our 2 current locations. Shawna is passionate for reaching families and training the next generation into significant church leadership.
Shawna lives in Orillia with her family who all serve at the portable campus of Connexus every week. In 2016 her oldest daughter also joined the staff team in student ministry, along with her youngest in the leadership development program. Connexus has never been louder!
Jordan Knarr
Jordan KnarrBreakout Speaker
Every Sunday morning, Jordan bursts with energy as he leads the children’s ministry at CPC in Orleans, Ontario. His love for kids and leaders alike has been evident in his more than 10 years in ministry. He strives to share his passion for Jesus, make disciples of kids and keep kids coming back each week for something new and grounded in the Word. Over his career, Jordan has pastored nursery, kids, jr. high and youth. Jordan’s background in media arts is tangible every time he ministers and being a kid at heart helps him relate to kids of all ages. Jordan does life with his wife Jen and two awesome and energetic kids, Asher (6) and Julianna (2).
Kathy Maietta
Kathy MaiettaBreakout Speaker
Kathy has been serving as the Children’s Ministries Specialist for the Eastern Ontario and Nunavut District for over 10 years. She also assumes the position of Program Director for the Children’s Ministry Program at Master’s College & Seminary and as well, is a Registered Early Childhood Educator.

Kathy has communicated to audiences of various ages through teaching, training, conferences, women’s events, camps and churches across Canada. Her heart’s desire is expressed in Psalm 71:18, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” She is married to Domenic and has three children, Josie (and her husband Matthew), Anthony (and his wife, Kaitlyn) and Victoria, and “Nonna” to Judah!

Bill Markham
Bill MarkhamBreakout Speaker
Bill has served as Lead Pastor of Central Community Church in St. Catharines, ON, a growing multi-campus church with campuses throughout the Niagara Region, since 2008. He has been on staff at Central since 2001. He is a dynamic communicator who harnesses the ability to translate the timeless truth of God’s Word in such a way as to connect with both the growing believer and the first-time seeker. He is passionate about seeing people discover their God-given potential and live it out passionately by serving others. Bill engages in honest conversation about leadership, creativity and the church at inside.centralcc.ca as he discusses lessons he is learning as a first-time Lead Pastor in a growing, multi-staff, multi-campus church.
He has been married to his best friend, Karlene, for 20 years and they have three children, Reed, Tessa and Garrett. If you can’t find him at the church, you will most likely find him on the court where his passion for volleyball is seen in his commitment to coaching for the local high school and city travel teams.

Bill has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Summit Pacific College and a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Tyndale Seminary. He loves to read, dream audaciously and inspire others to do the same.

Shaun Slauenwhite
Shaun SlauenwhiteBreakout Speaker
Shaun is currently the Children’s Pastor in Essex, ON, and has been involved in children’s ministry for 23 years. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, he and his wife, Michelle were heavily involved in kids ministry, including overseeing the kids’ outreach ministry and writing curriculum.
Shaun & Michelle, have also spent considerable time doing missions work around the world, including New York City, Dominican Republic, Ukraine and India.
Amber Smith
Amber SmithBreakout Speaker
I’m Amber. The not-for-profit sector is where I work and play. As the People, Teams & Culture Specialist at a mental health hospital east of the GTA, I’m on a mission to bring joy to people’s lives each day by providing individuals and teams with strategies for effectively working together.
I’ve used my 17+ year of leadership experience to serve as a Children’s Pastor and Consultant, as the Co-Owner of an online training business for children’s ministry volunteers, as an Adult Educator, and as a Learning & Development Specialist.
Nicki Straza
Nicki StrazaBreakout Speaker
Nicki’s passion and energy are contagious as she brings over 20 years of children’s and family ministry experience to the table. From humble beginnings working with travelling clown and drama teams as a young teen, Nicki has worked with kids and youth in nearly every context. She has been instrumental in the introduction of KidLead to Canada, and regularly runs clubs, trains leaders and trains trainers to develop young leaders nationwide.

Nicki believes that kids in ministry become adults in ministry and believes her destiny lies in helping kids young and old understand and walk in the revelation of who they are in Christ. She is the author of Superhero In Me, a workshop based program designed for public school classrooms that empowers kids to change their world using kindness. She is a curriculum writer and program developer with a heart to teach kids how to think and live their lives with Kingdom perspective and Holy Spirit anointing.

She is currently the children’s pastor at Freedom House in Brantford, Ontario where she hosts her own kids club the L.A.F.F Academy. She is a regular contributing writer for www.kidology.org and Kidzmatter magazine as well as the Director of Lead Young Training Systems Canada. She lives with her husband and two beautiful children in Brantford, City of God!