Thank You For Coming.

It’s Tetra’s 35th anniversary, can you believe it? 

The Tetra Society of North America has connected people with disabilities to technically skilled volunteers who have built devices that address environmental barriers at work, home, school, and play for thirty-five years! 

This year’s TetraCon was all about Innovation & Inclusion and celebrated the progress Tetra has made to support people with disabilities to live life how they wish to from Coast to Coast.

Watch 2022’s TetraCon

Staff Speaker Bios

David Fong from the shoulders up. Black and white.

David Fong

Executive Director’s Opening

David Fong joined the Disability Foundation in 2017 as Director of Operations.

David’s background is in Information Technology with a Bachelor of Technology degree (Management focus) from BCIT and a Master of Science in Non-Profit Administration from Louisiana State University.

David has accreditation for TOGAF, Six Sigma, Project Management, and ITIL. David worked in IT at WorkSafeBC in project management, led the office systems function, and managed the enterprise architecture group.

Today, David states this is the best time of his career as the executive director, helping the boards, staff, and volunteers provide impactful programs and services locally and across Canada.

Sylvia Baliko.

Sylvia Baliko

National Coordinator

Sylvia got involved with Tetra in the early 2000s when she took over as the Hamilton Chapter Coordinator from her brother Ron.

She has been there throughout the growth of Tetra, her passion having her taking on many different roles over the years.

She is now the National Coordinator, overseeing the other regional coordinators while maintaining her role as Central Regional Coordinator, managing the many chapter coordinators in Ontario.

Additionally, she continues her outstanding work on fundraising and volunteers her time. 

Eric Molendyk.

Eric Molendyk

Program Manager

Eric first became involved with Tetra in 2001 when he took the role of provincial coordinator assistant.

Throughout the years, Eric’s career grew alongside Tetra, and after multiple promotions, he now holds the title of Program Manager while maintaining his role of BC Regional Coordinator.

He is honoured to continue his work with all the staff, clients and volunteers from coast to coast and is often in awe of their ingenuity and brilliance.

Andrew Jantzen

Andrew has been involved in advocacy and community around accessibility and disability for several years.

They have coordinated forums for folks with disabilities in Nova Scotia, spoken in the media, and currently sit on the Accessibility Advisory Board for the Nova Scotia Provincial Government.

He now works as the Atlantic Region Coordinator for the Tetra Society of North America.

Crystal Leochko Johnston

Crystal joined Tetra as the Winnipeg Chapter Coordinator in 2019 and, in 2021, became the Prairies Regional Coordinator.

She is also the President and a Prospect Researcher at Eclipse Research Group, the company she founded in 2015 to provide non-profits with the research they need to find and connect with suitable donors for their organization.

She has always had a passion for research and a desire to change the world. Crystal has been a member of AFP Manitoba since 2015. She is currently in the third year of her term as Co-Chair of National Philanthropy Day and is also involved with AFP as a member of the National Scholarship Committee.

Crystal has also been the Fundraising Coordinator for Rossdale Ukrainian Dance School since 2018. She enjoys reading, writing and travelling with her family in her spare time.

Joshua Cabecinha-Alati

Josh is a graduate from the University of Toronto with a double major in Political Science and Disability Studies and has worked to support at risk youth and community members in the political sector.

Passionate about disability equity and social rights activism, Josh is now a Coordinator with the Youth Leadership Initiative to provide engaging opportunities for youth with disabilities in Canada.

Jessica is smiling at the camera. Her long brown hair is pushed to one side and she is wearing a bright pink shirt with a chunky silver necklace.

Jessica Micheline

Jessica joined Tetra as the communications lead at the beginning of 2022 and is excited to continue to grow Tetra’s name and brand from Coast to Coast.

Jess has fibromyalgia and several comorbidities and knows that disability can hit any person at any time and wants Tetra’s services to be known and available to every person in every corner of North America.

Born and raised in Ontario, she always knew she was a west coaster at heart and moved to beautiful British Columbia with her fiancé in 2020.

When she’s not head down in a book or head up in the clouds planning her book (preferably out in the sun), she’s usually playing a game or watching a fantasy TV show; unless football is on and she’s cheering for her NY Jets.

Guest Speaker Bios

Alex Carey

Alex is a self-professed nerd who loves all games (video, board or otherwise) and works as a game designer and an accessibility consultant. His goal is to keep creating games that try to foster empathy and make the world better in some small way. He founded PlayAbility Consultancy, offering game developers accessibility assessments for their games.

Alex uses a power wheelchair for mobility, but he has never let this disability stop him from achieving his goals and doing what he wants to. He has a unique lens into the world as a person with a disability because,

“When nothing is made with you in mind, you do a lot of thinking about how things are made.”

Alex Carey

Alex also believes living with a disability has taught him valuable life skills because clear communication and meticulous planning are part of his daily life.

Kevin Penny

Kevin Penny is an accessible travel and accessibility influencer from Hantsport, Nova Scotia, now living in Halifax, on the beautiful east coast of Canada.

Kevin sustained a spinal cord injury in 1991, resulting in C4 complete quadriplegia; however, he has not let the paralysis slow him down!

During the last five years, Kevin and his former partner, Dee, vlogged about their everyday life and travelling as an interabled couple on multiple social media platforms.

Now, Kevin posts about his travels, accessibility, and inclusion on Facebook, Instagram, and occasionally YouTube under the handle Accessible Adventurers (soon to be Accessible Adventuring, so stay tuned.) 

Lisa Franks

Lisa grew up in an active family and loved sports from an early age. After a spinal cord injury at fourteen years old, she took up wheelchair sports and attended three Paralympic Games (two in wheelchair racing and one in wheelchair basketball).

Throughout her career, Lisa won six gold and one silver medal and broke seven world records. A severe shoulder injury ended her competitive sports career, and she thought she would never be active again, but several years later, she discovered adaptive mountain biking and surfing. She could see the beautiful outdoors and be active in a way that did not aggravate her shoulder injury!

Lisa designed a wheelchair-accessible campervan so she could have the ability to travel comfortably to the mountains and coast. But, to pack her bike and surfboard, she needed the ability to adjust the van layout. Using linear actuators for the van bed and adjacent bench, Kelly Nickel brought Lisa’s vision together. Thanks to the efforts of Kelly and the Tetra Society, she spent the last winter travelling the West Coast with her van, mountain bike, and surfboard. Follow her travels and accessible #VanLife fun on Instagram!

Marco Pasqua

Marco Pasqua was born on July 4, 1985, weighing only 2 pounds 10 ounces and was three months premature; he would later be diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Marco has been involved with several organizations as a spokesperson, helping to spread advocacy for persons with disabilities across Canada.

As an Accessibility and Inclusion Consultant, he has worked with some of BC’s most prominent change-driven business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces. Through these experiences, Marco is helping to pave the way for all Canadians to have universal access to the programs, services and places where they live, work and play.

He uses humour and real-world examples of how he’s overcome challenges, with topics focused on his personal stories of overcoming obstacles and how to manage major life transitions.

Joe Robichaud

In 1963, at the age of 12, Joseph Robichaud was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, same cancer as Terry Fox. After several unsuccessful surgeries, his left leg was amputated at the hip, and Joe would now grow up as a person with a disability.

When he was a kid, he just wanted to go back to hanging out with his friends, but they were usually out riding their bicycles, a past-time that Joe enjoyed before the cancer diagnosis and leg amputation. Many years went by; Joe got married, raised two beautiful daughters, had a long career as a photographer, found new hobbies and lived a meaningful life, but he never could scratch that itch of wanting to ride a bike.

That’s when Joe finally learned of adaptive hand cycles and how prohibitively expensive they are. So, instead of looking to buy himself one immediately, Joe started a fundraiser with the IWK Foundation, The CycleAbility Challenge, to purchase these adaptive bikes for kids with disabilities. The fundraiser successfully purchased three handcycles before the COVID19 pandemic, and Joe has since resumed efforts.

Eventually, Joe could purchase a bike for himself, but he didn’t feel safe riding it on city streets and had no way to get it to the trails of beautiful Nova Scotia. Enter Tetra and our volunteer and engineering student, Nick Gosse. Nick designed and built a custom trailer for the handcycle, and now Joe is happily riding through nature, finally on a bike again after decades of longing.

Schedule for the Day

Event Subject
8:30 9:3011:3012:30Greetings
8:359:3511:3512:35Executive Director’s Opening 
8:409:4011:4012:40TetraNation 2022 Winner Showcase
8:559:5511:5512:55Door Prize – Draw 1
9:0010:0012:001:00From Request to Completion: A Client’s Journey
9:3010:3012:301:30Tools for Travelling with a Disability: The Accessible Adventurer
9:5510:5512:551:55Tetra & Sports: Projects to Enable Your Athletic Journey
10:3011:301:302:30Door Prize – Draw 2
10:3511:351:352:35NetClé: Bringing Affordability into Computer Accessibility
10:5511:551:552:55Adaptive Video Games: Alex Carey
11:1512:152:153:15Door Prize: Draw 3
11:2012:202:203:20YLI: Addressing Employment Barriers
11:3512:352:353:35 Wrap-Up: This is the end of the day for the Community; thank you for joining us!
12:151:153:154:15Five-Year Plan: Reflecting on the Past
12:351:353:354:35Door Prize: Draw 4
12:401:403:404:40Communications: An Update on Social Media Plans
12:551:553:554:55Door Prize: Draw 5
1:152:154:155:15Team Building: Get to Know Your Tetra Community
2:153:155:156:15Closing Remarks

Watch 2021’s TetraCon

Supported by Tetra Society of North America media sponsors: