The speaker

Mary-Jo Dionne, speaker
“Mary-Jo is one of those people who just seems to have ‘something’. She is a remarkably good television presence.”
Peter Purves, BBC host, and guest on BBC’s The Office, on working with Mary-Jo at the London Academy of Media, Film, and Television.

When other kids in the 80s were rushing home from school to watch Three’s Company, Mary-Jo was cultivating her love for the podium, taking part in Toastmasters events and competitive public speaking. All told, she’s been a podium addict most of her life. Be it emceeing a charitable gala for 100 animal lovers, or a software conference for 800 techies, she’s happiest at the mic.

A frequent on-air guest in the realm of melanoma awareness, animal welfare, and philanthropic endeavours overall, she has appeared on CBC’s The Stephen and Chris Show and Global TV with Jill Krop, and has been a repeat guest on Vancouver’s Breakfast Television, Shaw’s Urban Rush, CKNW’s The Shift with Mike Eckford, and Vancouver’s Roundhouse Radio. She was the creator and host of DogBytes, a segment dedicated to animal issues, on Vancouver’s Shore 104.3 FM.

Mary-Jo trained formally in the UK at the London School of Media, Film, and Television in both radio and TV broadcast.

All that breaks isn’t necessarily broken | TEDxBrentwood College School

A tiny overview of MJ’s speaking career

  • TEDx: Ideas worth spreading
    Topic: All that breaks isn’t necessarily broken
    Role: Presenter
  • Glowing: A Reproduction Production
    One-women show performed in Vancouver and Winnipeg
    Role: Writer, producer, performer
  • Performed stand-up comedy in Vancouver, NYC, Toronto, and LA
  • LOTUS Talks
    A day of TED-inspired talks in the advertising and marketing arena
    Role: Emcee and moderator
  • Cossette Empo(we)r
    An evening Q and A among top women executives
    Role: Moderator
  • Gala of Grace
    Event aimed at raising funds for Vancouver-area women’s shelters
    Role: Keynote speaker
  • TractionForce
    Full-day conference of tech- and marketing-related presenters to 800 attendees
    Role: Emcee
  • Wine, Women, and Sports
    An evening Q and A among top women athletes
    Role: Moderator
  • PinkTank’s NextGen Speaker Series
    The topic: “If I knew then what I know now” delivered to audience of young women professionals
    Role: Keynote
  • She Says: The Global Creative Network for Women
    The topic: “The balancing act” delivered to audience of women professionals
    Role: Keynote
  • SAINTS: Senior Animals in Need Today Society
    Gala aimed at raising funds for Vancouver-area animals in need
    Role: Emcee
  • Lemonade: One heckuva juicy speaker series
    Event aimed to remind attendees that “when life gives you lemons, squeeze the heck out of them.”
    Role: Organizer, speaker, and emcee
  • The UnBeach Party
    Gala aimed at raising funds for melanoma research and awareness
    Role: Emcee


Mary-Jo’s knowledge, empathy, and passion made her a vibrant addition to our TEDx event. Undoubtedly, she was an audience favourite, connecting with them on multiple levels and delivering a strong message of hope and positivity. Her use of humour and emotion to reinforce underlying themes created easily identifiable connections and clear takeaways. She gets it… full stop. I have no hesitation in recommending Mary-Jo as a keynote speaker for any event.”

Ian McPherson, TEDx organizer and Director of Communications, Brentwood College School, on Mary-Jo’s TEDx talk

“I have never felt so much emotion in 20 short minutes as I did when Mary-Jo delivered the keynote at our gala. Along with the 300 other women in the room, she made us laugh, cry and even sing. And then she made us laugh some more. The delivery was so heartfelt, real and raw. She has this unique ability to connect with an audience that I have never witnessed before. I could watch and listen to her for hours.”

Patricia Kelly, Gala of Grace co-chair on Mary-Jo’s role as keynote at event aimed at raising funds for Vancouver-area women’s shelters

“I was blown away by Mary-Jo’s amazing ability to connect with an audience and, at the same time, keep the show moving and making all participants feel comfortable and cared for. Mary-Jo’s irresistible combination of humour and charm will lift any occasion whose organizers are lucky enough to engage her.

Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide and Top 100 most influential people in advertising on Mary-Jo’s role as emcee of LOTUS Talks

MJ exceeded all expectations. She is not only funny, bright and a talented speaker but she also took the time and created a meaningful presentation completely on topic that resonated with the crowd. She was a pleasure to work with, organized, helpful and her response time was amazing. So many people came up to me afterwards asking about MJ and saying how much they loved her. A dream speaker to work with.”

Reagan Burwash, founder NextGen Speaker Series by PinkTank

“Mary-Jo’s ability to infuse humour while effectively weaving in life lessons and tidbits of wisdom were a huge asset to our event.”

Kim Ridgewell, Event Organizer, SheSays: The Global Creative Network for Women on Mary-Jo’s role as SheSays Vancouver keynote

“Our guests were enchanted by Mary-Jo’s grace, humour, and the gentle ease with which she was able to pull everyone together to step up and assist our organization in continuing to be able to do the work we do. We are very grateful to Mary-Jo for helping us raise funds.”

Carol Hine, founder of SAINTS (Senior Animals in Need Today Society) on Mary-Jo’s role as charity gala emcee

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Mary-Jo on a number of events, most notably TractionForce, a cloud conference that attracts the attention of about 500 technology and business professionals annually. Mary-Jo was perfect; never taking too much of the stage, never stealing the show from the speakers, always staying fully connected to the audience – all with just the right amount of humour. I give her 5-stars without a moment’s hesitation.”

Greg Malpass, Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 and CEO of Traction On Demand on Mary-Jo’s role as emcee at TractionForce.

“It takes a really gifted storyteller and speaker to bring an audience to tears, belly laughter, the edge of their seat and then back to nodding and smiling.”

Fawn Mulcahy, Principal of TheFawnz Creative Communications, on being an audience member at The Lemonade Speaker Series.