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The GOLD Learning Team

Meet the GOLD Team

Meet the team of enthusiastic individuals who work all year round to bring you an exciting online conference!


  • Fleur Bickford
    Director of Educational Programming

    Fleur Bickford is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with a Bachelor of Science from Queen's University. As an RN, she worked in Maternal and Child Health, gaining experience in labour and delivery, postpartum care and pediatrics. After the birth of her two children, Fleur became involved with La Leche League, eventually becoming a leader and serving as a member of both the Professional Liaison Department and the Social Media Advisory Committee, while working towards her IBCLC certification. Fleur then made the move to private practice as an RN and IBCLC and spent years working with challenging breastfeeding cases before focusing on health education with GOLD. Fleur has been very active in her local lactation community as past president of Ottawa Valley Lactation Consultants and one of the leaders of the group that established the regional breastfeeding website She is also a professional speaker whose presentations and articles have been shared internationally. Fleur's clinical experience in perinatal care combined with her professional and volunteer experiences with educating both families and health care professionals, lend themselves well to her role as Program Director for GOLD.

  • Laurel Wilson
    Education Manager

    Laurel Wilson is a TEDx and international speaker, pregnancy and breastfeeding specialist, consultant, educator, and author. Laurel is the co-author of two books, The Attachment Pregnancy and The Greatest Pregnancy Ever; original editor of The CAPPA Lactation Educator Manual; as well as a contributing author to Round the Circle: Doulas Talk About Themselves. Her passion is blending today's recent scientific findings with the mind/body/spirit wisdom to help professionals and families realize the magnitude and importance of the perinatal period. Spending 17 years as Executive Director for Lactation Programs for the Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association formed the foundation of her inquiry into the science of human milk. She acted as a board director for the United States Breastfeeding Committee from 2016-2019 and currently serves as an advisor for Kindred Media. Laurel has been joyfully married to her husband for three decades and has two wonderful grown sons, whose difficult births led her on a path towards helping emerging families create positive experiences. She believes that the journey into parenthood is a life-changing rite of passage that should be deeply honored and celebrated.

  • Christine Staricka
    Christine Staricka, BS, IBCLC, RLC, CE
    Education Coordinator

    Christine Staricka is a Registered, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant and trained childbirth educator. As the host of The Lactation Training Lab Podcast, her current role focuses on training, supporting, and coaching current and aspiring lactation care providers through a membership community, social media, and her blog on Substack. Christine created and developed The First 100 Hours© concept, an early lactation framework designed to support lactation care providers with the knowledge and mindset they need to help families optimize early lactation. Christine worked as a hospital-based IBCLC for 10 years and has over 21 years experience providing clinical lactation care and support. She provides clinical lactation care to families at Baby Café Bakersfield and serves as its Director. Christine recently completed 6 years of service on the Board of the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA.) She holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Phoenix. She has been married for 28 years, lives in California, and is the proud mother of 3 amazing daughters.

  • Dianne Cassidy
    Dianne Cassidy, MS, IBCLC, ALC, CCE
    GOLD Lactation Academy Education Manager

    Dianne Cassidy is a Lactation Consultant in Rochester, New York with Advanced Lactation Certification and MA in health and wellness/lactation. For over 15 years, Dianne has had experience working in Private Practice, Pediatrician and primary care, and in hospital and community settings supporting parents and babies. She is the co-host of the popular breastfeeding podcast "The Badass Breastfeeding Podcast" which focuses on normalizing breastfeeding and empowering parents. She is dedicated to serving parents and babies, and has the unique ability to identify with the needs and concerns of new mothers. Dianne has worked extensively with women who have survived trauma, babies struggling with tongue-tie, birth trauma, milk supply issues, attachment, identifying latch problems, returning to work and breastfeeding multiples.

    Dianne has 3 biological children, including twins, 3 bonus children, a wonderfully supportive husband and 2 crazy dogs. Dianne is an author and public speaker. She enjoys teaching caregivers how to support new families through breastfeeding struggles.

    Director of Communication & Master of Ceremonies

    Fiona Lang-Sharpe is a Birth Doula and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice in Edmonton, AB, Canada. Fiona has over 20 years of experience attending births, supporting mothers post partum, and offering lactation case management services. Having studied in England under the National Association of Maternal and Child Welfare, Fiona moved to Canada in 1989 and after having her first born son was accredited through La Leche League Canada as a Leader and went onto obtain her certification as an IBCLC. Fiona's experience in perinatal health along with her interest in technology and social media and passion for quality education makes her an excellent fit for GOLD Conferences International. Fiona is one of the first voices you'll hear as one of GOLD's online Master of Ceremonies, and is also often one of the first faces you'll see, online and in person, as she represents GOLD at industry events and via social media. Fiona is highly anticipating an expanding role with GOLD, as GOLD increases it online offerings.

    Master of Ceremonies

    Kristin Schwarz is a licensed midwife, maternal fitness educator, childbirth educator and bereavement doula. Kristin moved to the United States from Europe in 1997 where she worked in marketing and online education. After a peaceful home-water birth of her 2nd daughter, Kristin decided to help other women feel empowered in their birth choices. She trained to become a childbirth educator, received a degree in midwifery and holds a Florida midwifery license. Kristin's experience in perinatal and postpartum health and her background in online education make her a good fit for Gold Conferences International, and she is excited to contribute to GOLD and assist in its online growth. Kristin lives with her family in South Florida where she enjoys snorkeling and yoga on the beach.

Logistics & Management:

  • ANDREW DERGOUSOFF - Managing Partner

    With a background in technology start-ups, Andrew has been working within the educational meetings industry for more than ten years now. He was involved in bringing the GOLD brand from her original owners in Australia to Canada and building a new team of professionals to further nurture the company into the online education leader it is today. Andrew is focused on seeing new education and continual technological improvements added to GOLD in order to bring our unique style of accessible and affordable education to an ever-widening health care audience. His favourite part of the job is hearing from Delegates who were able to utilize education they learned through GOLD into their daily practices.

    If he is not busy working on his latest pie chart or drumming up a great deal for your group to come to a conference, he's likely travelling far-flung lands to extol the virtues of online learning or training to be a ninja.

  • DAVID VENUS - Director of Marketing & Online Development

    Originally from Vancouver Island, David moved to Vancouver in 1998 to attended The University of British Columbia, Majoring in Biology. He successfully operated an online marketing & web development company, catering to over 100 Clients internationally. David managed the technical operations of the GOLD Lactation Conference in 2012 and in 2013, joined the GOLD Learning Team.

    David is very passionate about customer service and ensuring that conference Participants are able to navigate the websites without a hitch. If you ever are experiencing a technical problem, He'll be there to rescue you!

    Apart from being the go-to guy for Technical Support, he has been responsible for managing the GOLD Brand, as well as re-developing the GOLD Conference Websites. He strives to further develop the GOLD Learning format into an interactive and globally accessible system, helping the valuable education reach all parts of our planet

    During his off time, you will catch him back on the beautiful Vancouver Island where he squeezes into wetsuit to surf the icy waves of the Pacific North West.

  • ISABEL DA COSTA - Senior Digital Projects Manager

    Isabel's background revolves around Event Production, Management, and Marketing. She has experience running a variety of events from webinars to outdoor festivals which gives her a particular insight into what quality customer service looks like. Her most recent work has been in the web development/B2B SaaS sphere which lends itself to her current role with GOLD Learning as their Virtual Events Manager. She considers the GOLD Learning platform to be an innovative vehicle to ensure maternal and infant healthcare professionals of all walks of life have the ability to learn and grow to better support their community.

    Isabel was born and raised in Vancouver and holds a BA from the University of Victoria. In her spare time you can find her checking out concerts at local venues, flexing her retention of useless facts at a trivia night or catching up on her endlessly backlogged reading list.

  • Melissa Egger
    MELISSA EGGER - Senior Product Manager

    Melissa Egger is a Senior Product Manager at GOLD Learning. She joined the team in 2015 and now works with International Associations creating new engaging ways to offer online education to a broad audience. Melissa works on making cutting-edge education more virtually accessible to healthcare professionals around the world.

    Melissa has a Master of Science in Business from the University of Joenkoeping, Sweden. Certified as a Digital Event Strategist, she uses her knowledge to effectively plan and execute virtual events to enhance the user's experience. She values the great environment GOLD Learning offers its team members, as well as the wonderful network it connects her to within the field.

    Currently living in Vancouver, Canada, Melissa pursues new cultural adventures, loves all kinds of outdoor activities and maintains a balanced lifestyle with yoga and good food.

  • NINA ADRIANNA - Speaker Manager

    Nina's educational background is in International Affairs. She worked in the public sector for five years, promoting innovation in government. After that, she was self-employed for three years; involved with various inspiring projects. Now, Nina is excited to be part of developing a niche for online conferences, as they are an efficient, green and accessible means for people to connect globally. She enjoys her bicycle commute to work and fuels herself with vibrant foods and lovely friends.

  • Kavya Babu Hegde
    KAVYA BABU HEGDE - Digital Projects Manager

    Driven by determination, innovation, and technology, Kavya is extremely passionate to contribute her skills and experiences as a Digital Projects coordinator here at GOLD Learning and Online Education. She has spent most of her career in the events industry gaining experience in areas such as event curation, execution, and management. Her interest in technology further led her to advance her career in Virtual Events. Kavya is inspired by GOLD and is grateful for the opportunity to be able to make a difference in women's healthcare and development.

    Born in India and moved to Canada to pursue her further education, Kavya has a Master's in Global Management from Royal Roads University. During her free time, you would find Kavya traveling around the world exploring different cultures and places.

  • Joan Umeh
    Joan Umeh - Junior Events Digital Manager

    Joan Umeh is the Junior Digital Events Manager at GOLD Learning. She has spent most of her career in the events industry, her goals include delivering well-coordinated memorable events, meeting clients' expectations and ensuring optimal communication and organization. While planning and organization of events is her primary responsibility, Joan Umeh also excels in decision making, creative thinking and time management. In her spare time, Joan likes fine dining, music concerts and loves to travel to scenic destinations.

  • MEENA RAJANALA - Marketing & Communications Junior Manager

    Meena Rajanala joined the GOLD family after completing her Bachelor's Degree in Communication at Simon Fraser University in 2018. Moving to Vancouver to pursue higher education and career opportunities, she has interned in the field of marketing and communications with valuable experience in event, project and marketing coordination.

    Seeking new challenges, Meena is thrilled to contribute to making maternal health education globally accessible to this unique group of healthcare professionals. She is enthusiastic about forwarding her experiences and exploring possibilities for GOLD Conferences with communications and marketing initiatives in the years to come.

  • Sarah Wong
    SARAH WONG - Digital Marketing Specialist

    Sarah is a marketing and project management professional originally from Hong Kong. Her professional background as a brand executive for global brands and labels has given her extensive exposure to the world of branding, omnichannel marketing and e-commerce. While career took her to the project management field earning her PMP certificate, life led her to Canada and later to her current role here with GOLD Learning. She is thrilled to leverage her expertise and insights to contribute to the positive impact that GOLD Learning has always been creating.

    Outside of work, you may find her enjoying quality moments with friends, biking through the city, or hiking exploring the beauty of nature with a film camera in hand.

  • JESSICA WONG - Education Administrator

    Jessica grew up in the Okanagan and moved to Vancouver in 2011. Her professional background as a Community Support Worker with mothers in Vancouver's DTES has given her a great appreciation for the positive impact maternal healthcare workers and consultants have on individuals and their parenting experience. Jessica holds an Advanced Diploma in Business Management from BCIT and an Associate's Degree in Women's Studies from Langara College. Jessica is passionate about women's health issues and she loves that the GOLD online learning platform delivers innovative, world-class continued education options made easily accessible for maternal healthcare professionals around the globe. Jessica is a hobby naturalist and spends her free time hiking, bird watching and organizing around environmental justice.

  • Manjit Sandhu
    MANJIT SANDHU - Education Administrator

    Manjit holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and has an Award of Achievement in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. She is known for her amazing Excel skills and making any data look good! Manjit is a great communicator, and she loves being organized and working effectively and efficiently with her colleagues.

    Manjit's background includes 15+ years in customer service, project, and training management. Her career opportunities have allowed her to work in a variety of industries which include, natural gas, municipal & provincial government, emergency services, transportation, electronic tolling, e-commerce, financial processing, and in joining GOLD Learning, maternal health, and education services.

    Manjit was born in Squamish, BC and now resides in Surrey with her family. Manjit enjoys sports and staying active with her family going boating and enjoying the local lakes and beaches during the beautiful summers in BC. She is often found playing street hockey and tennis or shooting hoops with her kids, while also playing field hockey with the Surrey Sharks Field Hockey Club and playing on a women's ball hockey team. Manjit looks forward to more opportunities of travelling abroad and exploring new places!

  • Bola Gbadamosi
    BOLA GBADAMOSI - Customer Service Associate

    Bola is a a Customer Service Associate at GOLD and has worked in customer service roles for 5 years in other fields such as Hospitality. She is passionate about helping others. In her spare time, Bola loves travelling and taking photos. Aside from travelling and photography she also enjoys being a homebody.

  • Nicole Schneider
    NICOLE SCHNEIDER - Customer Service Associate

    Nicole has worked passionately and intentionally in customer facing positions for 15 years. Her background includes many different industries: alarm operations and emergency dispatch, office administration, health care billing, and food services, but GOLD is by far the most purposeful and fulfilling. In 2014, Nicole's oldest son, Tucker, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Undergoing many surgeries and procedures at BC Children's Hospital and lots of follow up care from Tucker's amazing team at Victoria General Hospital, he is now doing incredible! Working with the amazing speakers and staff here at GOLD feels like a full circle moment of sorts and a way to stay involved with the medical community that so heavily plays a part in her and her family's life. Since coming on board with GOLD, Nicole has really enjoyed working with our speakers to facilitate their incredibly engaging presentations and connecting with attendees from around the world.

    Originally from the small town of Sooke, BC, Nicole is now raising her 3 kids in Calgary, Alberta with her husband. In her spare time (who has that with 3 kids?), Nicole enjoys spending days at the lake with her family, discovering new restaurants, attending wine tastings with friends, going to the zoo, exploring Calgary in general and just relaxing in her sunny backyard with a cup of tea or an iced coffee.

    Social Media

    Kim Johnstone has been working in the health field since 2000 and has a passion for supporting educated and empowered wellness. She first graduated from the British Columbia College of Equine Therapy then went on to continue her education at Grant MacEwan University with the Holistic Health Practitioner program. She focused her career on families, and furthered her attention to breastfeeding support through her work as a La Leche League Leader and then through certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Kim currently works in private practice in the area of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she assists families through their breastfeeding relationships. She has participated in the GOLD conferences for several years and is happy to have joined the team as Social Media Personnel.

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    GABRIELLE NG - Web & Graphic Designer

    Gabrielle Ng is a Vancouver-based designer specializing in graphic design, front-end web development, and 2D animation. Her artistic journey began during her early childhood, when her love of storytelling led her to illustrate and bind her own comic books. Her naturally inquisitive personality, passion for design, and need to express herself is what drives her to pursue her career in new media.

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    KRISTIINA OSVATH - Executive Administrative Assistant

    Kristiina is an administrative professional with 15+ years of experience across a broad range of industries (Events, gaming, retail, food service & film). She joined GOLD in 2019 bringing her knowledge and skills in problem solving, resourcefulness & HR to the team. She is proud to have had a hand in recruiting a few of the smiling faces on the current team and is happily adjusting to remote work collaborating with colleagues in a fun & cooperative work environment from afar.

    Working for a company that supports & promotes women's healthcare & development through evidence-based education with a team that encourages each other in continual learning about diversity, equity & inclusion is something that she is grateful for.

    Kristiina is a big fan of roller-skating, yoga, bike rides, adventures & is currently learning to speak Spanish.


  • Anne Eglash
    Anne Eglash - MD, IBCLC, FABM
    Physician Reviewer

    Dr. Eglash is a clinical professor with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in the Department of Family Medicine. In addition to practicing family medicine, she has been a board certified lactation consultant since 1994.

    In 2013 she developed the Outpatient Breastfeeding Champion training program to teach breastfeeding knowledge and support to the primary care medical offices in the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation System in Madison, Wisconsin.
    Anne is a cofounder of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and is the co-medical director and cofounder of the Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.

    She is the medical director of the outpatient lactation program at Meriter Hospital, and the medical director of the University of Wisconsin Lactation Services. She has published many peer-reviewed articles on breastfeeding medicine and sits on the editorial board for Breastfeeding Medicine Journal.
    She co-hosts and produces a free breastfeeding medicine podcast series, The Breastfeeding Medicine Podcast, which can also be found on iTunes.

  • Annette Leary
    Annette Leary - RN, BSN, IBCLC
    Nurse Planner

    Annette Leary is a registered nurse with over 35 years of experience working in Maternal Child Health (pediatrics, postpartum, home health care and level 2 nicu). She became an IBCLC in 1995. Annette owns a private practice providing home,office, and virtual visits: Orlando Lactation and Wellness Services. She formed a collaboration company Baby B.L.I.S.S. Central Florida Feeding Collaborative, with an occupational therapist and IBCLC. They help families prenatally, antepartum and post partum navigate the growth, development and feeding journey of their children. Annette began her Upledger Craniosacral therapy training in 2015, taking advanced maternal and pediatric specialty classes. She finds great improvement incorporating craniosacral therapy techniques with lactation consulting. Helping Families Latch onto Parenting has always been Annette's mantra.

  • Stephanie Pitman
    Stephanie Pitman, BScN, RN, PNC (C)
    Nurse Planner

    Stephanie Pitman lives in a small rural community in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is a Registered Nurse who has a passion and a love for Maternal Child services and a passion for continued education! She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing as well as her Perinatal Certification through the Canadian Nurses Association. She currently work as a Clinical Nurses Educator for a unit a Maternal Child unit that encompasses a mix of labour and delivery, antenatal, post-partum, pediatrics, special care nursery and a pre-natal clinic. She has worked for this unit, first as a staff nurse, then as an educator for 18 years. She is a NRP instructor, ACORN instructor and has completed many courses some of which include ALSO, NCAST, ENPC, PALS, STABLE, RTS Bereavement training, Step 2 breastfeeding, and MaD breastfeeding course for Health Professionals. She is a bilingual Acadian who speaks French and English.