Let's Talk: Courageous First Days

Courageous First Days…

Whether it’s a new job, back to work or university from summer holidays, or meeting a new boss, colleague or client, September is a time of “first day” experiences. For a lot of us who stutter, first days take courage.

Join filmmaker Cody Packer and Canadian Stuttering Association (CSA) Board Member John Kenney, who will co-host an interactive panel of people who stutter, sharing their first day experiences on the job and elsewhere, what happened, how they handled it, and what they learned. Come learn and share with us!

Meet the panelists

Alexandra D’Agostino, Registered Nurse & CSA Board Member

AlexandraAlexandra D’Agostino lives in Ottawa (ON), is 28 and a Registered Nurse. She has stuttered since the age of 7, and is part of the CSA Board of Directors in the role of Family and Youth Programming Coordinator. Alexandra has been involved with the CSA since 2014, and with the National Stuttering Association since 2011, volunteering in different programs and running workshops. Peer support has made a big difference in her life, and in how she relates to stuttering. She is eager “to give back” to the CSA and NSA. When time allows, Alexandra is an avid musician and baker. 

David Liu, University Student

David LiuYou may remember David from a recent article in the CSA newsletter in which he shares one particular experience — his first day of high school and how he stuttered on his name during the dreaded, "Why don't we go around the room to introduce ourselves?" David will have completed his first week at Western University in early September, and he is eager to share that experience and how it may have affected his perspective. 

Lucas Cognigni, Educator

LucasLucas Cognigni is 40 and a Grade 7 and 8 Math and Science teacher in Hamilton (ON). He has stuttered since the age of 6. For 15 years, Lucas has faced that first day of school each year, along with his students and teaching colleagues. Lucas claims to have OCD, which he defines as “Obsessive Coffee Disorder”. He looks forward to sharing the experiences and insights gained over the years.


Lisa Wilder, Writer and Graphic Designer & CSA Board Member

Lisa WilderLisa Wilder is an artist, writer and graphic designer living in Toronto. She has attended CSA conferences since 1993 and been involved in stuttering associations in Vancouver in the 1990s and Toronto since 2007. She spends her spare time writing, reading, drawing, taking dance lessons and doing yoga.  


Meet the Hosts

The event will be co-hosted by Cody Parker and John Kenney:

Cody Packer, Director and Film-maker

CodyCody Packer is a New Zealand director who lives in Los Angeles. He believes that film-making has the power to bring people together and create empathetic understanding beyond words. Cody’s short film, ‘First Day’, a National Stuttering Awareness Day Public Service Announcement, inspired the theme of this Let’s Talk event! You can find him most days either writing or watching movies with herbal tea and chocolate nearby.

John Kenney, Federal Public Servant & CSA Board Member

KenneyJohn is a Senior Policy Advisor in the federal public service living and working in Ottawa. Passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, John is the CSA’s Employment Advocacy Coordinator and 50 Million Voices representative. His aim is to help create a world where everyone who stutters can bring their whole selves to work, enjoy fulfilling employment, and where more organisations across all sectors benefit from the talents and strengths of people who stutter. 

Join the conversation on Saturday, September 18th from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT (12 to 2 p.m. PDT) for another lively discussion with our panelists, online.

PLUS! For every $20 you donate to the CSA through the registration form, you will be entered in a draw to win a $100 gift card of your choice! Deadline to enter the draw is 12 p.m. EDT on Saturday, September 18th.


All prices in CAD.

Virtual $10.00
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 3:00 PM (EDT) - Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

Online via Zoom