The TEDx Thunder Bay core organizing committee is made up of a group of passionate volunteers from a variety of disciplines who have come together to further the TED mission of giving voice to ideas worth spreading in our community.

Learn more about the team behind TEDx Thunder Bay below.

  • Mike Wrenshall

    Mike Wrenshall - Organizer

    Mike is a creator and builder. Be it in his business for the last 35 years, or in the community, he is passionate about bringing people together and helping them realize their full potential. After graduating from RMC, Mike has spent 35 years building three separate companies which are all involved in his succession plan. He is married to Dawn for the last 43 years and considers it a privilege to help bring Tedx to Thunder Bay.

  • Samantha Plavins

    Samantha Plavins

    Growing up with a passion for music and dance, Samantha pursued an Honours Bachelor of Music at Lakehead University, graduating in 1998 with a performance piano degree. Fresh out of school, her creative tendencies and love for the stage led her to work at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa as a Development Officer for 6 years.

    In 2003 following the birth of her first daughter, “Sam” felt the pull to return home and plant roots in Thunder Bay. Today, she runs a family-owned full-service financial advisory firm, having spent the last 11 years working alongside her father, Mike, and more recently her brother, Jonathan. She is a seasoned professional specializing in risk management and retirement financial planning.

    Even more cherished ‘hats’ worn by Sam: mom (a.k.a. chauffeur) to two active daughters, chief dog-walker in the family, and wife to her self-employed photographer husband, Alvis. Sam has stood on top a 20,000 foot mountain and subscribes to the theory that “anything is possible when you set no limits to your thinking.”

  • Lori Kruse

    Lori Kruse

    Lori was born and raised on a farm just outside of Thunder Bay. Her upbringing sparked a passion for animals and the outdoors as well as instilling a strong work ethic. After graduating from Lakehead University (HBA in Political Science) in 2001, she moved to Winnipeg to pursue her legal studies. She proudly returned home to practice law after receiving her licence in 2005. She currently practices as a civil litigator with the law firm of Buset and Partners LLP, in Thunder Bay. Lori’s love for the law and, in particular, for advocacy in the courtroom, is undeniable. Outside of the office, Lori is married, has 2 daughters (1.5 and 3 years old) and lives on a self-described “rural retreat” with 2 lovable bulldogs. She describes her husband as her perfect mate and loves to entertain others with their comical stories arising from everyday life. Lori is personally driven by a passion for learning, sharing knowledge and continued personal growth. She continues to live her life by her father’s sage advice: “you get back from this world what you put out” and considers her family to be her greatest achievement.

  • Alan Auld

    Alan Auld

    A life long resident of Thunder Bay, Alan started his professional career as a radio broadcaster at 580CKPR.  Over the years he’s moved from in front the camera to behind the camera as a local commercial film maker.  Currently, Alan the owner of the commercial video company Imagine Films .  With a degree in Business, and a strong background in Information Technology the decision to be a part of a local TEDx event took seconds to decide.

  • Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

    Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

    Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux is the Vice Provost (Aboriginal Initiatives) at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay & Orillia. She also serves as an Adjunct Asst. Professor for the Faculty of Anthropology and as a Research Affiliate of the Centre for Health Care Ethics. Her research and academic writing is directed towards understanding the continuing transmission of historic intergenerational trauma and unresolved grief primarily within the Aboriginal community. Interested in environmental and humanitarian causes she is actively engaged in a variety of initiatives across Canada, and is an active and engaging media representative. Cynthia is a member of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, and has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding between people. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives and is deeply committed to public education and active youth engagement.

    Jonathan Wrenshall

    Jonathan Wrenshall

    Born in Halifax, but raised in Thunder Bay. Married my wife, Shalem, 6 years ago. I take a great interest in culture, travel and people. I’ve lived abroad in the past in Guatemala, Honduras, and Ireland working as an English teacher and a banker. I love the city of Thunder Bay and the surrounding area for what it has to offer in the way of natural beauty and activities.







John Covello

TEDx 1



I am an entrepreneur that has 25years experience in real estate development, Tourism and the financial Industry. I am married with two girls, and enjoy hunting fishing and snowmobiling.



Carol Cline

TEDx 3



Born and raised right here in Thunder Bay, Carol is thrilled to be a part of our upcoming TEDx. As the current manager of Upgrading at confederation college  she utilizes her extensive experience in mental health to lead the team in providing Accessible education for a variety of learners.  Carol holds a Masters of Counselling degree in Applied Psychology and certification in Medication. Also engaged in busy family life as a wife and mother of her young son, Carol still finds time for regular participation in the community and has served as a volunteer for Special Olympics Ontario, Thunder Bay Shelter House 24-Hour Relay along with the Cancer Society Garden Tour.


Jim Garriock




Jim is an entrepreneurial spirit. Specialty coffee in the 80’s, hot tubs in the 90’s and farmers markets in last decade. Retired from full time work although still involved in preserving the environment by promoting renewable energy. He’s helped make Thunder Bay the #1 city in Ontario for residential solar. Areas of interest are sustainable affordable housing and helping Thunder Bay to be a leader in the green economy. “I think Thunder Bay is by default the best place in the world to be living at this time and as a true entrepreneur I believe we can make the most of our amazing opportunity!” Thunder Bay is our idea worth sharing!






Lisa Steadwell


Lisa Steadwell has spent her career in the field of child development, with a current focus on mental health and parental relationships for Dilico Anishinabek Family Care. A level 3 Reiki Practitioner, she is also passionate about healing others using energy modalities. Lisa has a natural ability to engage and connect with people and is excited to bring her enthusiasm to TEDx Thunder Bay as Volunteer Coordinator. Lisa takes great joy in raising her three children and considers motherhood her most important role in life. She is presently on maternity leave, dividing her time between community involvement, practising yoga and all the demands that a newborn baby brings.

Adam Krupper

TEDx-8When I moved to Thunder Bay in 2000, I realized that I’d come to a place with tremendous natural gifts and possibilities. This knowledge has driven me as a student activist, a writer, President of the Lakehead University Student Union, community member, and professional. Since being hired as Thunder Bay’s first Mobility Coordinator, I have focused my energy on making the city a safer, nicer, and more equitable place for people to walk, cycle, and get around. When not working, I revel in the area’s natural treasures by cycling, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and shoveling!






Erin Beagle

IMG_4405.JPG – Version 2Erin is a non-profit leader, passionate about making lasting, positive community change. A transplant to Thunder Bay, Erin grew up in Prince George, B.C. and for many years spent the warmer seasons in 100 Mile House, BC as Executive Director of a small (and wonderful!) outdoor school. During cooler weather Erin went between university and travelling abroad, and after completing a B.Sc at the University of Victoria, Erin moved to Thunder Bay to enroll at Lakehead University’s OE3 program (Outdoor Ecological and Experiential Education). In 2005 she completed her B.Ed, and in 2006 she moved to Thunder Bay permanently. Since 2007, Erin has run the innovative program ‘Roots to Harvest’, building it into a nationally recognized youth and food focused not-for-profit organization. Erin has an active young family and can usually be found with dirt under her fingernails, wearing rubber boots under the boardroom tables, living by words of Marge Piercy, “I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along…”