Live Wisdom is a group of people who are committed to learning from and with each other. This page introduces those who hold leadership roles in our community. We are the ones who will be responsible for guiding the journey and shaping the culture of our community. While we serve as mentors and teachers, even more importantly we offer ourselves as your companions on the Way.
David G. Benner, Ph.D.
David is an internationally known depth psychologist, author and wisdom teacher whose life’s work has been directed toward facilitating not merely healing and growth but the unfolding of the self associated with a journey of awakening, transformation and living wisdom. He serves as the principal mentor and teacher within Cascadia and works alongside Sylvie in the leadership of Live Wisdom, guiding the community and its participants as we make our passage toward wholeness, alignment with the Spirit of Wisdom, and engagement with the world.
After completing his Honours B.A. at McMaster University and M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at York University, David completed post-doctoral training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis. Subsequently he held faculty appointments at York University, University of Toronto, McMaster University Divinity College, Redeemer University College, Wheaton College, Psychological Studies Institute (Richmont Graduate University), and the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society (University of Victoria). He has also served as Chief or Senior Psychologist in a number of clinics and hospitals in Canada and USA. He has authored or edited more than 30 books that have been translated into 24 foreign languages, and has lectured and offered consulting services in more than 30 countries around the world.
Beyond his academic and clinical work, David has had longstanding involvement in the promotion of social healing and reconciliation through dialogue. Working within the Children in War Zones Program of the Centre for International Health (McMaster University), he and two colleagues developed a program for social healing and prejudice reduction in children in the war zones of Sri Lanka and Israel’s West Bank. He also served as a delegate at the Truth and Reconciliation hearings around the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools in Canada and worked with peace volunteers during the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa.
His citations and honours include being named in International Men of Achievement, The Directory of Distinguished Americans, The International Book of Honour, Dictionary of International Biography, International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, Who’s Who Among Human Service Professionals, and Who’s Who in Theology and Science.
Beyond his work with Live Wisdom and Cascadia, David’s other current passions are sailing, cycling, walking, jazz, good food and soulful conversation.
Sylvie Vidaillac, M.A., M.B.A., CPHR
Sylvie is a professor and an artist who focuses on nurturing and serving the human soul. Her life has been dedicated to deepening the capacity of both herself and others to live with wisdom and benevolence. Sylvie co-directs and works alongside David in the leadership of Live Wisdom and Cascadia, and serves as a mentor within both communities. She has taught in post-secondary education since 2004. Her holistic philosophy and practice reflect and support her conviction that the journey of transformation toward wholeness is both a personal and a communal one.
Sylvie holds a M.B.A from the University of Montreal as well as a M.A in Psychology from the University of Toulouse II (France). She has held faculty appointments at the University of British Columbia, the University of Montreal, and the University of Quebec. For many years she was involved in the administration of entrepreneurial ventures and corporations in Europe and North America. In 2000, she shifted toward a career in change management, leadership and organizational development, subsequently, she trained and coached executives, leaders and teams in their personal and professional development for 15 years. Over these years she also worked in the fields of social work, mental health and school counselling, serving youth and their caretakers and educators in various settings. She organized and led formative adventure camps, developed educational plans and collaborated in strategic initiatives for enhancement of safety and wellbeing in schools.
Sylvie is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources and currently a professor of human resources management at Okanagan College in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is also pursuing Doctoral studies in Ministry at St Stephens College, University of Alberta, focusing on the topic of interspirituality, community and spiritual friendship.
She is also an artist and a creative writer, an exuberant and enthusiastic musicophile, and an aficionado of art, architecture and of the wonders of nature. When not in silence or reading a book, you will often find her singing, exalting Life and celebrating precious relationships with intensity, authenticity and deep gratitude. Friends know her for her high spirits and contagious joy. She thinks of herself as much like the Laughing Buddha as she seeks to live as a “monk in the world.”
Associate Mentors (Cascadia)
We have also been blessed to have elders, wise teachers and others with specialized expertise join us as associate mentors in Cascadia. Participating in whatever ways have worked for them and best served the community, this has included the following individuals whom we thank for sharing their wisdom and gifts with us for a season:
- Martin Brokenleg, Ed.D, M.Div, OSBC 2017 – 2019
- Juliet Benner, B.A. 2017 – 2018
- Brenda Stephenson, M.A., Ph.D. (ABD) 2018 – 2019
- Jeanne Chua, B.A. 2018
- Donald Woodside, M.D. 2018