Our Team

The core curriculum is delivered by a lead facilitator backed up by a team. Our team members all have extensive customer service experience. Our facilitators are experienced teachers from diverse professional backgrounds, including arts and culture, psychology, fitness and well-being, and business.

Barbara Ackerman is the founder of The Art of Customer Service and one of our lead facilitators. Barbara opened and operated a successful retail store for fourteen years. She has honed her customer service and teaching skills through previous employment in computer consulting, property management, and school administration as well as other activities including counselling and improvisation. She has a diploma from George Brown College in Adult Instruction as well as a BSc from the University of Toronto. 


Joanne Knowlton believes that enhanced confidence is a natural effect of practicing public speaking, and that students carry this confidence into their personal and professional lives. She is valued for her positive energy and creative, fun learning environment where students develop new skills by challenging their limits and taking risks. Joanne has a degree in business, is a Certified Trainer in Adult Education, and has 5 years experience teaching Public Speaking SkillsWith over 20 years experience in the corporate world, Joanne knows how essential strong communication skills are in the workplace.


Sharon Singer is a writing mentor and poet. She founded The Moving Pen creative writing programs in Toronto in 2001. Sharon has a passion for writing discovery and she facilitates several ongoing weekly writing groups, monthly workshops, and writing retreats. Having established and participated in writing groups for over 20 years, Sharon’s work has been published in literary magazines and journals in both Canada and the U.S. including Fireweed (Toronto), Canadian Woman Studies (Toronto), Herizons (Winnipeg), The Prairie Journal (Calgary), Canadian Literature (Vancouver), and A Magazine of Ideas (Chapel Hill, N.C). Sharon has brought her intuitive and empathetic heart to a range of work including artistic direction and counseling individuals and families in crisis. Learn more about Sharon’s work at sharonsinger.ca.


Dorothy LeBaron is a faculty member of Arscura School for Art in Toronto. She is an adult educator who has been teaching and facilitating arts-based learning in workshops and courses for the past fifteen years in both Canada and the U.S.A. For the last two decades Dorothy has owned and managed her own retail business. Learn more about Dorothy’s work at biographycoach.ca.


Jan Caruana is an actor, writer, teacher and director. A graduate of the University of Toronto and Sheridan College Theatre Program, she is a multiple Canadian Comedy Award winner and has performed across North America in a variety of comedy shows. She has written and performed in two shows for the venerable Second City to critical acclaim. Jan has appeared in films and television shows including Being Erica, I, Martin Short Goes Home and Mean Girls. Jan is a Gemini/Canadian Screen Nominated writer for her work with the YTV youth sketch show That’s So Weird. Jan has taught all over North America and provided corporate training to companies including Suncor, Deloitte, Bell, Rogers and School Boards across Canada. Learn more about Jan’s work at jancaruana.com.


Mike MacConnell is an educator who founded SOLA (School of Liberal Arts) a private high school, which operated in central Toronto from 1989 to 2010, assisting bright underachievers to prepare for postsecondary education. His experience as an educator plus the negotiation of his own peaceful divorce inspired Mike to become a professional mediator and conflict management coach. In his own life, and in the lives of his clients, he utilizes a wide range of stress reduction practices to overcome challenges. In 2013 he founded Reflective Mediation to help families, schools and businesses reduce conflict and enhance interpersonal relationships. His book The Yoga of Divorce was published by Friesen Press in 2016. He resides with his second wife and standard poodle in Yoga Junction, a live-work studio in Toronto’s west end. reflectivemediation.ca