Opening Keynote

Date: Tuesday, September 29

Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Opening Keynote

Tina Varughese

Opening Keynote Presenter: Tina Varughese

For fifteen years Tina Varughese worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office as well as running her own successful relocation and settlement firm. She has been profiled in Alberta Venture Magazine as well as the Calgary Herald and is a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute of Alberta’s Network magazine, Calgary Real Estate News, and Home to Home magazine. In 2018 she was named one of Canada’s 10 Notable Speakers in Ignite Magazine. She is the President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (Calgary) chapter. Her interactive approach is insightful and her delivery is highly entertaining. She breaks down barriers to create a comfortable and fun space where people ask the questions they might otherwise be afraid to ask. Tina has been the face of diversity, literally, when she was chosen to be in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty representing beauty in diversity. With two kids, five fish and one husband, she resides in Calgary where she recently began hip hop classes.

Topic: 50 Shades of Beige: Communicate with the Cross-Cultural Advantage


Literacy and learning specialists need to establish immediate cognitive and affective trust to successfully work with learners. When 20% of Canada’s population is foreign-born, communicating with the cross-cultural advantage is arguably one of the most important skills to develop. Being able to communicate cross-culturally leads to enhanced productivity, positivity, and enhanced performance. Managing and mitigating cultural differences fosters learner engagement and promotes an inspiring inclusive culture. In a fun, highly entertaining and thought-provoking manner Tina Varughese will offer insights and strategies to communicate more effectively cross-culturally.

Key takeaways:

•  Cultural differences in communication: Indirect vs. direct speaking styles

•  Individualistic and collective cultures: How values change the way we communicate

•  Effective day-to-day communication when English is a second language

•  Non-verbal communication: Why the “unspoken” word is the most important of all