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Who We Are


Co-Host / Event Speaker


Sarah M. Pennington is a 21-year-old college student attending the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. She is pursuing a BFA in Film & TV with a minor in Business Management and Entrepreneurship with the hopes of becoming a film director. In addition to her academic endeavours, Sarah spends much of her time involved with motivational speaking.

She is a passionate advocate on behalf of mental health and invisible disabilities and enjoys sharing her story of courage and self-love with the hope of inspiring others. Sarah loves to travel with her service dog, Daisy, across the United States and Canada as she speaks to groups of all ages and sizes. One of the highlights of Sarah’s career thus far has been her appearance on the Megyn Kelly Today Show where she discussed breaking barriers as a pageant girl.




Aaron Armstrong has been an Atlantic Canadian radio host for more than 10 years now, with his voice having broadcast across each of the Maritime provinces.


Aaron has assisted and hosted numerous charitable functions over the years and is thrilled for the opportunity to not only co-host WE Believe Saint John, but also see the incredible lineup of speakers and hear their stories.


Let's welcome Aaron to the We Believe stage!


Event Dancer & Speaker


Anastacia is an Indigenous post-secondary student from the Mi’Gmaq community of Listuguj, Quebec. She is twenty years old, and currently in her third year at the University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Nursing program.

Sports are a very important part of Anastacia’s life. She is on the UNB Reds Cheerleading team, and also enjoys weight lifting.

Anastacia is very proud of her Mi’Gmaq culture, and traditional dances at powwows over the summer months. She provides dancing instruction to younger youth. She feels that it is important to pass on the art of jingle and fancy shawl dance, to the next generation.

Anastacia’s future goal is to work at a health centre, in a First Nation’s community. She also hopes to be a role model for youth and inspire them to pursue their dreams.


Singing O-Canada


Alexa Arnold is a 13 year old grade 7 student at Sussex Middle School. A performer since the age of 5, Alexa has acted in many plays and showcased her voice in many concerts and Jamborees over the years.

Alexa enjoys school, basketball, softball, singing and playing the ukulele. Alexa loves her friends, giving back to her community and is excited to be involved in We Believe – Saint John.


Event Speakers


Andrew Holmes (a father of two and a bi-racial man) is at his office in Saint John, New Brunswick. After finishing his lunch, he scrolls through his social media only to discover a video circulating that confirmed the unthinkable… the horrifying effects of the George Floyd-related riots (which originated 2,800 KM to the West) started to spread into his, mostly peaceful, part of the world. Thats when it hit him “If (and when) my children are faced with racism and bullying, what will I tell them?” The answer… "Love Over It"

Husband and wife team, Andrew and Kate-Lynn Holmes, operate Love Over It with the mission of promoting inclusion, unity and positive human relationships. No matter the situation, Love always has been and always will be the answer. Their mission is to share that good news.

We are excited to welcome Andrew and Kate-Lynn to the WE Believe stage as together they empower our youth to BE the change.


Event Speaker


At the age of four, Anthony was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Specialists told his parents that he would barely graduate high school, would never finish college, would never have a shot at being an athlete, and would likely live in a group institution with other Autistic kids for his adult life.

Despite adversity, bullies, and numerous personal challenges Anthony worked hard and never gave up. Not only did he earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Sociology he is the first known athlete with autism to play NCAA Division One College Basketball. Today, Anthony is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the country.


Event Dancers


The Senior Competitive Students of Danceability are honoured to perform at the We Believe event this May!  These dancers come from two troupes within the school.  Our older girls in Kollision are Ashlyn, Jeana, Ciara, and Brooklynn.  Looking up to them is Rhythmix.  Julianna, Kayla, Taylor, Delia, Taryn, Emma, and Katey all have been members of this troupe since its first year.   


These women have spent their lives dancing. Through good times and bad, dance has been the outlet in which these artists express their emotions, as well as burn fuel after a hard day at school.  They travel to at least four competitions every year and perform in multiple shows.  They spend hours in their studio each week, not just with their own class but assisting with the younger classes too.     


Currently these dancers are prepping for their first show in March.  From now until then, the girls are giving all their routines one last deep clean before hitting the stage this spring.  They will compete here in Saint John, Fredericton, and Moncton.   


When you watch these girls dance you can expect to see JOY, passion, excitement, energy, and so much love!


Highlighted Speaker


Emma Jeapes is a 21-year-old Carleton University student who is double majoring in French and History. Emma loves sports and working out. She has participated in several varsity teams in high school including Cross Country Running, Track and Field, Downhill and Nordic Skiing, and swimming.

Emma is passionate about her community and giving back. She continues to spend much of her free time volunteering with any activity that involves her passion, children. Once completed school, Emma plans to teach children in less fortunate communities giving them opportunities that they may not otherwise have!


Event Speaker


My name is Isaac Groom, and I am from St. Stephen, NB. I am a first-year student at the University of New Brunswick and am in the health program. I enjoy curling, running, kayaking, and reading.


I also spend much of my time volunteering with anything that needs my help. This includes tutoring, volunteering at my local church, Lincourt Manor, and volunteering for We Got Your Back.


Also, I recently signed up for the Global Medical Brigades chapter at my school as we are fundraising for a medical relief trip to Honduras and the Best Buddies program where you get the opportunity to form connections with neuro-diverse people in the community. My future career goal is to become a paediatrician.


Event Speaker


It all started with peanut butter balls and a desire to help a little girl.

Kinsley Stoodley is a 14 year old, grade 9 student, at Kennebecasis Valley High School  who enjoys spending time with her friends, being on the softball field, and playing piano, but most importantly finding creative ways to help others.

The story of her making an impact started when she was 9 years old, and she hasn’t stopped.


Highlighted Speaker


My name is Laura Groom, and I live in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. I am a grade 11
student at St. Stephen High School where I participate in leadership club, green group, and drama. I also play on my school’s soccer and basketball teams, but I enjoy playing pretty much all sports.

I have been taking dance classes for the past 10 years. I enjoy all things art, like
drawing, painting, colouring, and decorating. Also doing anything outside makes me happy. Biking, swimming, hiking, and running are all such fun things that I do. My future career of choice is to pursue dentistry.


Event Speaker


Maddison is an international motivational speaker, health advocate and change maker.
She advocates for youth to help them find their voices and works with advisory boards and advocacy platforms to push for a healthcare system that looks past diagnosis and symptoms and treats the whole person. Maddison jokes that her biggest accomplishment to date is becoming a HUG dealer and founder of her own social enterprise called HUGS, a program committed to improving kids mental health and quality of life during their hospital stays through experiences, funds and support. She is determined to make a difference through volunteering, fundraising and spreading positivity one HUG at a time.

She is the author of the charity children’s empowerment book called “Your Secret Superpower: Ignite your SPARK”, inspiring youth to take action. In addition, she is a Special Olympics Coach, volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house, and board member on the Alberta Children’s Hospital Child and Youth Advisory Council, the Alberta Children's Hospital Youth Philanthropy Council, and the Transition Youth Advisory Council.

Maddison is continuing her work in health sciences by studying at the University of Calgary, focussing on a career as a medical researcher, physician/ cardiologist, and hospital administrator.


Musical Performer


Canadian East Coast country/pop/rock artist Melissa Marshall is forging a path into the country music scene. She has opened for Aaron Goodvin, Chris Cummings, Frankie Ballard, Brooke Eden, performed alongside Chris Buck Band and more. She has been a Music NB award nominee, recognized for her previous releases including 'Highway 83' charting on the Canadian Country Billboard chart.

Following her further delve into the craft of song writing and artist development, Melissa is ready to debut her fresh new sound and single, 'Missin’ U', releasing June 16th to all country radio and streaming platforms. This edgy, fun and upbeat song is the first release from her illuminating debut EP album, 'Phoenix In The Fire', set to release this upcoming Fall.

'Missin’ U' tells a story of being single, happy, confident and not looking for love and then that special person walks into your life when you least expect it. “I wasn’t looking for anything when he walked into my life, but we hit it off right away. We fell in love and became best friends; my ride or die. It didn’t take long for me to realize that he was that missing puzzle piece I didn’t know I didn’t have until we met.”

Melissa can be heard this summer on her East Coast radio tour, performing ticketed live shows campaigning 'Missin’ U' where you will hear her talk about her current single, what to expect from her next and when as well as the making of 'Phoenix In The Fire' and more.

Melissa is honoured to be on the We Believe stage, along with many other speakers and performers impacting our youth to Be The Change.


Event Speaker


Obstacles don’t scare Sarah Wells. As a 400m hurdler, this Olympian’s reputation was forged through overcoming challenges and achieving the incredible. Take her debut at the London Olympics in 2012, which came despite an injury that had sidelined her for months just the year before. Outside of competitive sports, this athlete is coaching people to pursue their goals through the Believe Initiative, an organization founded on—fittingly—a message of resilience.

Most recently you would have seen Sarah pushing her limits on the latest season of the Amazing Race Canada, where she got to push her boundaries in a whole new kind of way! Evidently, someone who understands the importance of self-belief and the power of purpose, you'll want to listen up when this Olympic semi-finalist and Pan Am Games silver medallist takes the stage. We welcome Sarah to the We Believe stage on May 26, 2022, at TD Station in Saint John, New Brunswick.


Event Speaker


Starting his PowerPlay journey in the fall of 2021, Thomas Hallihan quickly evolved "Knuckle Puck Hockey" into an established brand within his area.


At first, Thomas only sold T-Shirts and masks, but when he noticed a gap in the market, he quickly expanded to hoodies and hats, even getting the Premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs's stamp of approval. Following the success of Knuckle Puck Hockey, Thomas took a leap of faith and began the "Lighting the Lamp" Podcast.


So far, he has had the opportunity to interview players in the QMJHL and share some exciting stories with his fanbase. Thomas hopes to yet again expand with a video creation company.


Thomas has become well-established in the young entrepreneur community, and he hopes others will be inspired by him and follow in his footsteps.


Event Speaker


Ella is a grade 8 student at Gretna Green School. Ella has been able to take the skills she learned through participating in the PowerPlay Young Entrepreneur program at school to help create a school business – Gator Designs. She loves all aspects of being involved with Gator Designs – from creating, manufacturing, marketing, selling products and working as a team.

Outside of school, Ella has part-time jobs such as babysitting, timekeeping, and working in the canteens. She is also a contributing member of The Miramichi Reader.

In her spare time, Ella enjoys playing softball, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


Event Speaker


Shelley Doucet is a professor in nursing at the University of New Brunswick. Despite being early in her career, she is recognized as a leader in health care research within Canada. Shelley is also a mother of two, an active community volunteer, and an avid runner.


Event Speaker


Sandra Bell is a professor of English Literature at UNB Saint John and is very involved in theatre in the city.


She has developed classes in partnership with the Saint John Theatre Company, and takes her students into local high schools to teach and perform Shakespeare.


Sandra believes that arts and culture can inspire students to explore their passions, expand important skills, and connect to their community.


Event Speaker


Professor of Marketing at University of New Brunswick Saint John, Father and Husband, 3M National Teaching Fellow, Multiculturalism Advocate, Community Volunteer.

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