VIP cocktail reception

VIP Cocktail Reception.

The VIP Cocktail Reception is an exclusive, invite-only event that takes place on the evening prior to the Awards Summit and Gala. Our Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners attend the event, along with a selection of our elite corporate partners and a variety of media outlets.

The Summit.

With over 440 attendees, our Top 100 Speakers inspired and motivated our audience with their wisdom and experiences, sharing their professional and personal successes and challenges. Our thought-provoking keynote speakers, engaging interviews and panel discussions provided valuable perspective and advice for all.

The summit

The Gala.

“Wow Wow Wow! I am incredibly excited to have been part of this two day celebration. Everyone who entered the room was incredibly upbeat, filled with a revival sort of emotion. Being part of the experience for 4 years, this was by far the best event for WXN.”

“By far this was the best WXN event that I have attended. Under your leadership you have propelled WXN to another level. Well done! Congratulations to you and your team for an outstanding day and evening.”

The gala

Meet our 2018 Top 100 Award Winners.

2018 Top 100 Award Winners group picture

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment.

Recognizing women who have shaped Canadian thinking, communications and culture


Crooks, Charmaine portraitCharmaine Crooks
NGU Consultants

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

Charmaine Crooks, C.M, B.A, OLY is a five-time Olympian, Olympic Silver Medalist, Member of the Order of Canada, entrepreneur, corporate director, speaker and leading advocate for sport and Athletes.

Resident of West Vancouver, BC, founder and President of NGU Consultants Inc. (1994), an international business consultancy providing strategic advisory and business development services to a variety of sectors including technology, sports and major events.

Currently a volunteer on the Telus Vancouver Community Board, Big Sisters BCLM Honorary, Canucks Autism Network, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Soccer Association executive committee and a global champion for peace with Peace and Sport. Previous non-profits include Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, University of Northern BC, Canadian Museum of Nature and founding Right to Play International Board.As a long standing champion for bringing communities together through sport, she recently co-founded the 365 International Sport Foundation and the community cycling ride and festival, Our Cityride.

Charmaine was part of the first group to active Olympians elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IOC Athletes Commission. There she served on the founding IOC Ethics Commission and the World Anti-Doping Agency. She continues her global roles sport as a member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions and was recently appointed as the first female FIFA Match Commissioner at the recent FIFA Men's World Cup 2018.

She has helped deliver many major sport events to Canada, including as founding board member of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

A recipient of numerous honours including IOC Women in Sport Trophy, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, Inductee BC Sports Hall of Fame and University of Texas at El Paso Sport Hall Fame, and the Ontario Black History Society UN Decade Award.

She attended University of Texas El Paso on an athletic scholarship, and was recently honoured by the City of El Paso with a street named after her.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: The lessons learned from life as an Olympian continues to resonate in my daily business today-- staying focused, working with great teams and being passionate about what I do.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: Being a role model is an honour and responsibility-- If the word powerful is used to help amplify the contributions I have made and if it impacts others, then OK with it.

SUCCESS IS: Doing one's personal best.


Gaffney, Anita portraitAnita Gaffney-Misener
Executive Director

Stratford Festival of Canada

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

As Executive Director, Anita Gaffney works alongside the Artistic Director in setting the strategic and operational direction for the Stratford Festival. With a budget of $61 million, the Festival earns 95% of its revenue through ticket sales as well as ancillary and fundraising activities, making it one of the most self-sufficient cultural organizations on the continent.

Since being appointed Executive Director, Ms Gaffney has guided the Festival towards financial stability while supporting the introduction of a number of new initiatives including The Forum, The Laboratory, the HD film series and the Stratford Direct bus service. The Festival is in the midst of a $100 million campaign to support the redevelopment of the Tom Patterson Theatre Centre and the activities housed in this new facility. The new Tom Patterson Theatre is set to open in the spring of 2020.

Ms Gaffney joined the Festival in 1991 as a Publicity Assistant, and over the past 27 years has held a variety of positions, including Director of Marketing during the theatre’s years of peak attendance. She designed the Festival’s customer relationship marketing system, which remains in use today and has been emulated by arts organizations around the world.

An active member of the Stratford community, Ms Gaffney is Past Chair of the City of Stratford’s economic development agency, the Stratford Public Library, and in 2011 she served as the Campaign Chair of the United Way Perth-Huron, raising $1.2 million.

In 2008 Ms Gaffney was selected to participate in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference, and in 2006 she received a Business Excellence Award for Personal Achievement from the Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce.

She has an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University and has continued her executive education through Harvard Business School. She resides in Stratford with her husband, Kevin.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE TO MY YOUNGER SELF: Asking for help is a good thing.

POWER SONG: "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera


Ien, Marci portraitMarci Ien
THE SOCIAL, Bell Media

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

Marci Ien (@MarciIen) joined CTV’s THE SOCIAL in 2017 as the newest Co-Host, following a successful tenure as Guest Co-Host in 2016. Prior to joining THE SOCIAL, Marci was the News Anchor and Co-Host on CTV’s CANADA AM for more than 13 years where she received a 2016 Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Host in a Variety, Lifestyle, Reality/Competition, or Talk Program or Series.

A graduate of Ryerson University, Ien was previously appointed distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University’s Radio & Television Arts (RTA) program. In that role, she led guest lectures and participated in workshops and presentations with students and faculty, offering insight on the latest developments in television. In November 2016, Ien was appointed to Ryerson University’s Board of Governors.

In 2014, Ryerson University bestowed upon Ien the distinction of having an award co-named in her honour by the RTA School of Media. The Marci Ien and Dwight Drummond Award celebrates students from under-represented and marginalized communities who show great potential in any three of RTA's programs. In 2013, Ien became one of only five people to be inducted into the RTA Wall of Fame for her significant contributions to the field of media.

Her career in television spans more than three decades and has taken Ien from Halifax, where she joined CTV NATIONAL NEWS as a reporter in 1997, to Vancouver, where she was the News Anchor for CTV’s OLYMPIC MORNING at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Ien’s work in media has been recognized with multiple awards, including a 1995 Canadian Radio and Television News Directors’ Award for News Serial for “Journey To Freedom: A Look at the Underground Railroad”, the 2008 BBPA Harry Jerome Award, a 2014 Planet Africa Award, and the 2016 African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Media.

Ien’s charity work has seen her travel the globe. In 2008, she travelled to Sierra Leone on behalf of Journalists for Human Rights, where she met with reporters and led training workshops. She also works with World Vision for whom she traveled to Sri Lanka to report on the situation following the 2004 Tsunami. She is also a member of Children First Canada’s Council of Champions and is a mentor with Trust15, an afterschool program based in Etobicoke, Ont. that offers mentorship and life skills to young men and women. Ien’s commitment to the advocacy, education, and betterment of children and women is equally evident through her participation in many groups and initiatives over the years including World Vision, Dare Arts, the Children’s Miracle Network, The Hospital for Sick Children, among others.

Before joining CANADA AM, Ien was a reporter based in CTV News’s Atlantic bureau from 2001-2003. In 1995, she began reporting at Queen’s Park, covering daily political news for CHCH-TV's regional newscast, as well as its British Columbia-based evening show CANADA TONIGHT. Ien’s first television job was on the Canadian children’s television series CIRCLE SQUARE at the age of 10.

Ien currently resides in Toronto with her family.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: The power of “no” to propel. I’ve heard it many times throughout my career especially in the early stages. There’s a choice. You either stop what you’re doing or continue to put in the work despite the naysayers.

SUCCESS IS: Falling but always without fail—getting back up and moving forward.

POWER SONG: "Man In The Mirror" - Michael Jackson


Lyons Johnston, Lisa portraitLisa Lyons Johnston
President and Publisher
Kids Can Press

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

Lisa Lyons Johnston is President and Publisher of Canada’s leading, globally recognized children’s book publisher, Kids Can Press, part of the Corus Entertainment (TSX: CJR.B) family. Since 2003, Lisa has held senior leadership positions at Corus Entertainment, first joining the company’s television group as Vice President & General Manger of Content Distribution and of Max Trax Digital Music.

In her current role, Lisa is responsible for all publishing programs and operations, including the stewardship of signature characters and brands such as Franklin the Turtle, Scaredy Squirrel and CitizenKid, the award-winning global issues collection for young readers.  Recently Lisa spearheaded the launch of KCP Loft, a new Young Adult imprint aimed at young women ages 14 to 24.

Lisa has led the company’s diversification beyond traditional publishing into new revenue streams, developing a robust ebook program, cultivating content partnerships with blue-chip brands, and working closely with her Corus colleagues on the development of content from page to screen.

Lisa served two terms on the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre. Currently she sits on the Board of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the Emmy Noether Circle at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Canada-China Creative Industry Advisory Group.  Lisa is also a SheEO Activator investing in female led ventures.

In 2015 Lisa was honoured with a Leadership Award by Women in Communications and Technology, recognizing her efforts in advancing women's representation and achievement in Canada's information, communications and technology sector.  Kids Can Press was awarded the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher, North America, in 2017.

SUCCESS IS: Giving your all to what is important to you in your life, with no regrets, whatever the outcome.

POWER SONG: "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" - McFadden & Whitehead


Maheux, Michèle portraitMichèle Maheux
Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

Michèle Maheux is the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for TIFF and has been with the organization since 1989, holding progressively more senior positions. Maheux’s focus includes organizational effectiveness and structure, leadership development, staff and volunteer resources, special projects and key operational activities at TIFF and for TIFF Bell Lightbox.

With 38 years of experience in the cultural arena for private and governmental organizations, Maheux has accrued a wealth of knowledge and experience in the sector. Maheux has been a member of various industry and arts sector committees and advisories, has served as a juror at film festivals around the world and has been a mentor for arts administrators.

In December 2011 she was recognized by WXN as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada and in September 2012 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Maheux is past Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of Ryerson University and the former Honourary President of the Ryerson Communication and Design Society (RCDS). In December 2014 she was appointed as Director of the Movie Theatre Association of Canada. In February 2017, she joined the Board of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Society and currently sits on the Steering Committee of the annual Arts Summit for Business for the Arts.

Maheux holds the ICD.D designation from the Directors Education Program at the Rotman School of Management and is a Certified Effectiveness Coach. She is currently pursuing certification with Coaches Training Institute in Co-Active Coaching.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Hire people smarter than yourself.

SUCCESS IS: Following my bliss, giving back, helping to create strong teams and dedicated individuals.

POWER SONG: "Let the River Run" - Carly Simon


Price, Janice portraitJanice Price
President and CEO
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

Janice Price has over 30 years of experience as a senior executive in leadership roles in the arts and entertainment sector in Canada and the United States. She was appointed President and CEO of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in March 2015. Prior to her appointment at Banff Centre, Ms. Price served as CEO of the Luminato Festival, Toronto’s annual multi-­‐arts festival, an organization she led since its inception in 2006. As the Festival’s Founding CEO, Janice helped Luminato become one of the world’s largest and most respected annual multi-­‐arts festivals. Previous to Luminato, Janice was President and CEO of The Kimmel Centre for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia from 2002-­‐2006, and prior to that position she was Vice President of Marketing and Communications and then Interim Executive Director at New York’s Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts. Prior to her professional engagements in the United States, Janice held senior positions at a number of Toronto arts organizations, including the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and The Corporation of Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. From 1992–1996, Janice was the Director of Marketing and Special Projects for the Stratford Festival.

Ms. Price has served on numerous national and international arts sector

Boards including ISPA (International Society for the  Performing  Arts),  the  National Board of Culture Days, the Toronto Arts Foundation, and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. She served on the National Executive of the Governor General's Leadership Conference and Chaired the national Festivals and Major Events board. Ms. Price currently serves on the board of Business for the Arts and on the Council of Post-­‐ Secondary Presidents of Alberta.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Stay open to opportunities that may present themselves on the "periphery" of even the most well-thought out career plan. Your next great opportunity might not be one that was in your original playbook!


Roos, Jane portraitJane Roos
Founder and CEO
CAN Fund (Canadian Athletes Now Fund)

Jane Roos Gallery

Living Your Why

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

Jane's mission is to impact people’s lives by supporting them succeed at what they do.  Jane is extremely passionate about empowering people to start living their “why”.   A leader by example, Jane brings this attitude to every one of her presentations by sharing about her life as founder of a multi-million dollar charity, accomplished artist, gallery owner, entrepreneur, wife and mother. A compelling speaker, Jane's stories are engaging and impactful as she takes each audience on an inspirational roller coaster ride.

Jane was a promising track athlete before a devastating car accident ended her athletic career. Jane turned this traumatic life lesson into supporting athletes on their journey to be the best in the world starting CAN Fund – (Canadian Athletes Now Fund) a not-for profit organization.  Athletes from coast to coast apply to CAN Fund for direct financial support.   Top level athletes have significant training, equipment, nutrition and travel expenses;, including team fees of up to $25,000 just to represent Canada.  CAN Fund has raised over $35 million to date.  With every donation to CAN Fund, the donor finds out which athlete has been supported and receives a tax receipt.

Jane has been honoured with the “Live Olympic Award”; a prestige given to only 20 people in the world in 2006.  She has also been recognized by CAAWS as one of the most influential women in Sport.  The Globe & Mail recognized her as one of the most influential People in Sport and, at the 36th Canadian Sports Awards; she was the recipient of the “Leadership in Sport” award.

Jane owns the Jane Roos Gallery in downtown Toronto that turned 10 this year.  As an artist, her paintings are sold worldwide and she has created a number of commission paintings for corporate Canada along with numerous other charity initiatives.  Jane has also painted in collaboration with famous Canadians including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gord Downie, Dr Robert Bondar, Chef Lynn Crawford, Margot Franssen, Georges St-Pierre and many more.  Jane is the proud mom to Ruby and Georgia and has been married to Olympian Conrad Leinemann for 17 years.

"Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible." Cadet Maxim

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: As an athlete I learned the easiest things to do are the easiest things not to do. After my car accident I was left with an extraordinary sense of life.

SUCCESS IS: Living your "why".

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Own your greatness, fail often, always be kind, be unstoppable. Be committed to your passion not attached to your results.


Smith, Tricia portraitTricia Smith
Canadian Olympic Committee

Member of the IOC Board, Member of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport, and Vice-President of the International Rowing Federation

BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment

President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Member of the International Olympic Committee, Board Member of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport and Vice President of the International Rowing Federation, Tricia is a lawyer and businesswoman based in Vancouver. A four-time Olympian, Olympic Silver medallist, World Championship 7-time medallist and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, she is also a Recipient of the Order of Canada.

The vision and leadership Tricia has provided to the sport community come from her belief in the value and power of sport - to youth, to communities and to the world and her belief in the need to fight for the integrity of sport and its positive power to inspire and unite.

Tricia took on the leadership of the Canadian Olympic Committee in 2015 at a time of crisis related to allegations of harassment against the former president. She oversaw the investigation, full governance review and necessary changes, improving the functioning of the organization and the overall culture. She has also been an unwavering voice for clean and ethical sport, with her call to “play by the rules” at a national and international level, speaking out for clean and ethical sport at the International Olympic Committee. In addition to her leadership in ethical sport, Tricia is also a strong supporter of the COC’s inclusivity and diversity initiatives including education and workshops as well as team initiatives at home and at Games.

During her tenure as President of the COC, Canadian athletes have achieved best-ever performances at both Summer and Winer Games. Through COC programs, athletes are now, more than ever, also provided support off the playing field to explore and develop skills for their post competition careers.

Look no further than Tricia’s own words from 2015 – “These are times that call for leadership with integrity, character, heart and respect for all”. These words still ring true, Tricia embodies these attributes and demonstrates leadership that is worthy of recognizing.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: What might seem overwhelming at first just needs a step by step plan to master.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Follow your passions and if you don't know what they are just yet, investigate things that interest you. Education is never a waste of time.

RBC Champions.

Recognizing women who have made a describable difference to the advancement of women in the workplace


Byrne Susko, Shannon portraitShannon Byrne Susko
Serial Entrepreneur/CEO Coach/Best Selling Author/Director
Metronome United

RBC Champions

Shannon has more than twenty years of experience building and leading high-growth technology companies. Her success is grounded on Verne Harnish’s “Scaling Up”. She co-founded and served as CEO, and then led the sale of two companies in less than six years apart: Subserveo Inc. (2008-2011) and Paradata Systems Inc. (1995-2006). Shannon co-founded her third company in 2016 – Metronome Growth Systems – a cloud based business platform for high growth CEOs, Leaders and Business Coaches.

In July 2014, Shannon wrote and released Amazon Bestselling – Entrepreneurship; “The Metronome Effect: The Journey to Predictable Profit”. Verne Harnish coined it the “street version” of his best selling book “Scaling Up”.

In April 2018 – she released her next book – “3HAG Way” the strategic execution system that ensures your strategy is not a wild-ass guess! This book was recognized as an Amazon new release best seller in the first week.

Shannon currently coaches CEOs and their leadership team of companies all over the world from Whistler to Silicon Valley to Australia to rest of USA.  Such as – Intel, Aspen Skiing Company, Milos, Zippy’s, Bluchain. She also spends time keynoting business conferences held around the world.

Shannon was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 in 2000, and was awarded the Sarah Kirke Award for Canada’s Leading Women Entrepreneur in 2006. Shannon was named Deal Maker of the Year in Vancouver in 2011 and was in the top 3 for mid-market company deals on Wall Street the same year. In 2017, was recognized Canada’s 150 Women.

Shannon has a BComm, BSC., MCSC., and ICD.D. She is married with 3 children – 13, 14, and 16 and resides in beautiful Whistler, BC.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Never burn a bridge.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: When I hear the word "powerful" I think of "confidence" and "impact" as these are two things that powerful people or outcomes possess and achieve. My framework i have created helps CEOs gain confidence and as a result, ends up impacting them, their companies, and their communities.


Byrnes, Denise portraitDenise Byrnes
Executive Director / Directrice Générale

RBC Champions

A change maker with over 25 years of experience working for social justice and women’s rights across the globe. Her varied mandates within the international development sector include leading organisations as well as large humanitarian programs, both in Canada and in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Ms. Byrnes is a tireless champion for equality, a challenger of the status quo who works with others to change social norms and practices that limit women’s empowerment. First woman to lead Oxfam-Québec in its 45 year history, she ensured that her senior management team attained parity within one year and promoted and mentored women to take on leadership roles across the organisation.

Ms. Byrnes is the Chair of the Canadian Humanitarian Coalition and was ViceChair of the Canadian Council for international Cooperation from 2014-18. She is also a director on the Executive Board of Oxfam International, a confederation of 20 organizations working in 80 countries worldwide.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Be authentic and follow your passion.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I feel proud - as women, we need to embrace our power and use it to change the world.

POWER SONG: "Respect" by the great Aretha Franklin


Earthy, Jill portraitJill Earthy
Head of Growth
Female Funders, powered by Highline BETA

RBC Champions

Jill Earthy is an entrepreneurially minded leader who believes diversity drives innovation. As Head of Growth for Female Funders and Founders (powered by Highline BETA), she is creating new models to increase the number of female investors, as well as expedited access to capital for female entrepreneurs.

She was formerly the Chief Growth Officer of FrontFundr, an online investment platform, bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and investors. She has successfully built two companies nationally and sold them, and then spent 8 years in leadership roles in the non-profit sector supporting entrepreneurs. She is a community leader and active mentor, currently serving on the Board of Governors for Simon Fraser University (SFU), and as Board Chair of the Women’s Enterprise Centre in BC. She is Co-Founder of the WEB Alliance, a collective of over 25 Women’s Business networks in BC and Co-Chairs the annual We for She Conference in Vancouver supporting the economic advancement of women.

Jill is well recognized for her contributions to the community and has won numerous awards including most recently the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion award as a Community Champion and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Wendy McDonald award as a Community Catalyst.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: We have been taught that "powerful" is connected to ego and has negative connotations. We now have an opportunity to change this to be positive. Power for good. Power for impact. Power together. This new definition resonates with me.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Life is a marathon not a sprint. Take time to enjoy each phase and don't be in a rush to get to the next one.


Iozzo, Veni portraitVeni Iozzo
Executive Vice-President, Communications, Public Affairs & Workplace Transformation

RBC Champions

Working for CIBC, a leading global financial institution, Veni Iozzo is Executive Vice-President, Communications, Public Affairs and Workforce Transformation. In this role, Veni has overall responsibility for providing strategic direction and leadership in the development, implementation and measurement of corporate communications across all of CIBC’s Group of Companies. She is accountable for all internal communications to employees, external communications to shareholders, clients and media including sponsorship and community investment. In addition to overseeing the Communications and Public Affairs team, Veni has the added responsibility of leading CIBC’s Global Workplace Transformation including, the new global headquarters-CIBC Square.

With over 25 years in the Financial Services industry, her experience at the senior executive level spans across a variety of disciplines including marketing, sales leadership, strategy, product development and business banking. Veni is recognized for her ability to facilitate large organizational change and, her determination to achieve the best results. She is competitive, positive and highly engaging and, enjoys opportunities to turn around or accelerate the business performance. These attributes have been hallmarks of Veni’s career.

Veni proudly extends her leadership faculty to supporting women’s issues, having devoted her time to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, where she was awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2013 and now serves as a National Director on the Canadian Cancer Society board. She also serves as a committee member for the Economic Development Fund, Canadian Women’s Foundation. Veni was the 2015/2016 Event Chair of the “Great Jewellery Heist” fundraising luncheon, supporting Bridgepoint Healthcare and Mount Sinai Hospital, and for four years(2012-2016) sat on the advisory board for Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100, Women’s Executive Network. Additionally, she is a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Devoted to lifelong learning, Veni served as a coach for development professionals participating in the Coady International Leadership Institute program, St. Francis Xavier University. The program focused on building women leaders who will strengthen their organizations and communities, and ultimately create transformational and systemic change for women in Canada.

In 2017 and 2018, Veni was recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100, an honour celebrating fearless female leaders whose efforts to succeed continue to inspire others.

Her affinity for giving back to the community stems from her values as she is continuously inspired by platforms that cultivate positive change.

EARLY, LASTING LESSONS: My parents, like many new immigrants, came to Canada for a better life. They were never afraid of hard work and taught me the importance of humility and to receive everything that comes my way as a gift not to be taken for granted. As a result of the example they set, I have always guided myself by a quote from John Ruskin: "The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become of it."

SUCCESS IS: A mindset. It's not about achieving one specific thing. It's about setting goals and objectives based on your personal vision of success, not someone else's, accepting failures, and having the courage to continue to see it through.


Palombo, Grace portraitGrace Palombo
Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
Great West Lifeco

RBC Champions

Grace Palombo is a Human Resource, Corporate Shared Services and Legal Executive who is currently in the role of Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer at Great West Lifeco. Prior to working at Great West Lifeco, Grace served as EVP Human Resources for TD America’s Most Convenient Bank based in the United States and as the Senior Vice President Corporate Human Resources for CanWest Global Communications in Toronto, Ontario. Grace’s expertise is in general executive management which includes corporate reorganizations, transformations and acquisition integration.

Ms. Palombo has held other various executive and director positions in the areas of Human Resources, Legal and Corporate Services with Husky Systems, Canada Life, Westcoast Energy/Union Gas and Bombardier Aerospace.  Grace has also practiced law in Toronto, in the areas of Corporate, Employment, and Labour  Law. Ms. Palombo also served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Union Gas.

Ms. Palombo holds a Law Degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  Grace serves as a Director on the Board of Directors of Enercare Inc and is the Chair of the Compensation & Governance Committee. She has also served on the Board of Student Transportation of America, the Board of Advisors of Catalyst in NYC, the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Association and the Board of Directors of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.  She has served on HR, Compensation, Pension, Corporate Governance, Risk, Innovation and Technology Board Committees. She currently is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Conference Board of Canada, Council of National Human Resource Executives, the Law Society of Upper Canada, The Canadian Bar Association, the Women's Law Association and the Women's Executive Network.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Be less serious, be kinder to others, share more, make time for others and for myself, focus on what is really important.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Trying something new, learning something new, planning travel, being outside/gardening, cooking.

POWER SONG: "I Run for Life" by Melissa Ethridge


Palvetzian, Sevaun portraitSevaun Palvetzian
Chief Executive Officer

RBC Champions

One of Canada’s leading experts on civic engagement, Sevaun Palvetzian has been CEO of CivicAction since January 2014. Under her leadership, CivicAction has focused on building inclusive cities with the launch of the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to change the face of leadership in our region and initiatives focused on youth unemployment and mental health in the workplace which level the playing field of opportunity and access. Throughout her career, Sevaun has advocated for new voices at the tables of influence including championing the next generation of leaders. During a decade of senior executive leadership within the Ontario Government she launched a strategy to attract and retain future generations of leaders which included the award-winning Learn and Work Program for at-risk youth and lead the team responsible for the new Trillium Park at Ontario Place. She has also held positions at the University of Toronto, the World Bank Group, and Presidential Classroom - a civic education organization in Washington DC.

A voice of influence and advocacy on many urban issues, Sevaun is frequently called on for print, radio and TV commentary.  She’s active in a range of community roles including serving as a member of the Premier’s Community Hubs Advisory Group, the Toronto Police Service Board Transformational Task Force, and as a member of Mayor John Tory’s Advisory Panel for International Hosting Opportunities. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, NPower Canada, Waterfront Toronto, and is a member of the Ivey Business School Leadership Council. She has an M.A in history from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed executive programs at the Ivey School of Business and Harvard School of Business.

SUCCESS IS: The ability to manage the multiple priorities around you.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Enjoy the ride. Life's best moments are even better than you can imagine.

POWER SONG: "Be Mine" by Ofenbach. Best. Beat. Ever...


Robinson, Gail Erlick portraitDr. Gail Erlick Robinson, MD, FRCPC, C.M, O.Ont
Professor of Psychiatry
University of Toronto / Sunnybrook

RBC Champions

Dr. Gail Erlick Robinson is a Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynaecology at the University of Toronto and Co-founder of the Women’s Mental Health Program at the University of Toronto. She has a special interest in the psychological impact of various aspects of women’s reproductive life. She was President of the YWCA of Toronto, a Board Trustee of the American Psychiatric Association, and is immediate past-president of the American College of Psychiatrists. She won the YWCA Women of Distinction Award and the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Award in the Champion category for her work in the field of women’s mental health. She received the Alexandra Symond’s Award from the American Psychiatric Association for outstanding and sustained contributions to women’s mental health and the advancement of women.  In 2013, she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal and was appointed to the Order of Ontario for her advocacy work re violence against women.  In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her work concerning the mental and physical health of women and regulation of the health professions.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Don't waste time worrying about what everyone thinks of you. Some people will like/respect you and some will not.



Telford, Katie portraitKatie Telford
Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister of Canada

RBC Champions

Katie Telford is the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.

She previously served as the National Campaign Co-Chair and National Campaign Director for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada's successful 2015 federal election campaign. Her leadership spearheaded a new focus on grassroots organizing and innovative campaign technologies that contributed to the election of the first Liberal majority mandate from Canadians in 15 years.

She has lead and advised on multiple campaigns including her role as National Campaign Director on Justin Trudeau's Leadership Campaign in 2013. Over her career Katie has provided senior counsel on a wide range of federal and provincial issues to non-profit organizations, the private and public sectors, and political parties. Katie was ranked in the 50 Most Powerful People in Canadian Business, and Canada’s Top 40  Under 40.  She and her husband Rob Silver are proud parents of their son George and dog Biko!

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Track the numbers. Numbers tell stories and provide evidence that is difficult to refute. From the number of Canadians a policy or program benefits, to the number of women around a boardroom or cabinet table, to the number of volunteers on the campaign trail, keeping track of the numbers is a practice I live by and learn from.


Vachon, Ruth portraitRuth Vachon
Réseau des Femmes d'affaires du Québec

RBC Champions

A savvy business woman with a great sense of vision, Ms. Ruth Vachon is the President and CEO of the Quebec Women’s Business Network.

She cumulates more than 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, she has traveled the world to give lectures and conduct trade missions in Canada, the United States, Europe and Africa. For her, individual, collective and business prosperity combines with the feminine.

From 2010, when she became the owner of the RFAQ, she brought together, stimulated and engaged her 2,000 members, active in thirteen (13) regions of Quebec, with projects that have mobilized economic development, entrepreneurship and women's management. She has implemented the 50+ one Advisory Committee and the « Table de la relève », which is respectivly at the origin of the Women's  Economic  Development  program  (the  WEConnect  International  certification)  and the «Réseau des jeunes femmes d'affaires du Québec».

She believes in the strength of alliances and therefore has established many partnerships in order for the effectiveness of her networking to bear fruits. Contracts for its members have grown, be they small or very large, thanks to the unique initiatives of the RFAQ.

Mutual assistance, collaboration, inclusion and prosperity are the four most appropriate words to represent her deepest values.

Committed to the inclusion of women and minorities in the business community, she is the recipient of many distinctions awarded by WEConnect International:

  • Female most committed to women's inclusion in supply chains for large enterprises - 2016
  • Champion for the diversity of suppliers - 2014, 2015 and 2016
  • RFAQ, Canadian partner of the year - 2014

McInturff, Kate portraitKate McInturff
Senior Researcher
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

RBC Champions
*Honourary posthumous award

Kate McInturff was a nationally acclaimed feminist scholar, activist, and trailblazer in gender equality. She was born in 1968 in Seattle, and received her PhD from the University of British Columbia. She joined the faculty of the American University of Cairo, three years later she returned to Canada as an assistant professor at McMaster University. In 2004 Kate took a position at the University of Ottawa, and in 2007 became a Canadian citizen. She left academia and held leadership positions at Peacebuild, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, and Amnesty International. In 2013 she  joined the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) as a Senior Researcher. She directed CCPA's initiative on gender equality, Making Women Count, and was a contributor to the Alternative Federal Budget. Kate sat on the United Nations Advisory Group on Inequalities and the Coordinating Committee of SocialWatch. She was instrumental in the Up for Debate campaign, a coalition that came together to ignite a pan-Canadian conversation on gender justice and equality in the 2015 election. Kate achieved national acclaim for producing CCPA’s annual report “The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada:  The Gender Gap in Canada’s 25 Biggest Cities”.

Kate passed away of colon cancer on July 27, 2018. In her last blog, written a few day before she died and published in the Ottawa Citizen, Kate wrote, “I have struggled to love my neighbor as I love myself. I have struggled harder to work in a way that creates a platform for my neighbor, for those in distress to speak their truth to power.” Kate leaves behind a legacy of love, equality, and spreadsheets. She is survived by her son Rowan Salter and in a very real sense, the women of Canada.

To honor Kate’s legacy, CCPA has established a fellowship in her name.

Accenture Corporate Directors.

Recognizing women who serve as a director or governor of a private or public company, Crown corporation, hospital or university


Laberge, Alice portraitAlice Laberge
Corporate Director
Royal Bank of Canada
Nutrien and Russel Metals

Accenture Corporate Directors

Alice Laberge is currently a corporate director of the Royal Bank of Canada, Nutrien Ltd., Russel Metals and the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB). She previously was chair of SilverBirch Holdings Inc. and a director of Delta Hotels, BC Hydro, Catalyst Paper and Fincentric Corporation.

Alice has served in a number of capacities with various local professional and charitable organizations and is currently a director of the BC Cancer Foundation and on the advisory committee of the Institute of Corporate Directors (BC Chapter).  Alice was a member of the University of British Columbia board of governors and a director of UBC Investment Management Trust, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation and the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Alice was President and Chief Executive Officer of Fincentric Corporation until 2005 and prior to this appointment she was its Chief Financial Officer.  Prior to joining Fincentric in 2000, Alice was Senior Vice-President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer at MacMillan Bloedel Limited.

Alice received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alberta and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of British Columbia.  In 2001 Alice was honoured with the PEAK Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Association of Women in Finance and in 2006 she received the Influential Women in Business Award.  In 2015 Alice was presented with the Institute of Corporate Directors ICD Fellowship Award.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Don't stress about the small things and go with your gut. If you're ambitious, consider what industry you're going into, not just the job.


McLeod, Patricia portraitPatricia McLeod, QC
Board Chair and Corporate Director
Calgary Cooperative Association

Accenture Corporate Directors

Patricia McLeod, Q.C. is a lawyer and corporate director with extensive legal and governance experience in the areas of corporate/commercial, compliance and securities law, corporate strategy, privacy, ethics, sustainability and social responsibility and board governance.

Patricia McLeod provides strategic legal counsel, sound business advice and solutions to executive teams and boards of directors in complex regulated and deregulated industries. Patricia has held vice president and general counsel legal leadership and management roles in energy utilities and deregulated retail electricity, property development, mortgage brokerage and insurance and financial services companies.

Patricia has an MBA from Queen’s University, has received Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional accreditation, and is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors accredited director program. Patricia currently volunteers on the Calgary Chapter Executive of the Institute of Corporate Directors. She was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in Alberta in January 2014.

She is currently the Chair of the board of directors of Calgary Co-op and is also a board director of Bradley Air Services Ltd. (operating as First Air), Air Inuit, Alberta Innovates and the Beverage Container Management Board. Patricia is also passionate about community building and serving in the not-for-profit sector of Calgary. She is also the Chair of the board of directors of the Calgary Film Centre and a past Chair of the boards of the YWCA of Calgary and cSPACE Projects and past Vice Chair of the board of Calgary Economic Development.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: A great sense of responsibility - with power comes the responsibility to influence positive change and to support others in their journeys.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Nothing is going to turn out like you planned, and that is okay, because it will be even better.



Morgan-Silvester, Sarah portraitSarah Morgan-Silvester
Corporate Director
CWB Financial Group
Canadian Western Bank

Accenture Corporate Directors

Sarah Morgan-Silvester is a corporate director serving on a number of boards including: CWB Financial Group, Grosvenor Americas, Grant Thornton LLP and BC Ferry Services Inc. She is Board Chair for Grosvenor Americas, Risk Committee Chair for CWB and incoming Audit & Finance Committee Chair for BC Ferry Services. She is past Chair of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and chaired the committee responsible for overseeing the merger of the three ports in the Lower Mainland to form Canada's largest port. Sarah has a background in financial services and was past Executive Vice President, Personal Financial Services and Wealth Management for HSBC Bank Canada and President and CEO of HSBC Trust Company (Canada).

An active volunteer, Sarah’s charitable involvement spans organizations focusing on health, education and the economy. She has a deep connection with the University of British Columbia having served as Chancellor, a member of the Board of Governors and a member of the Alumni Association Board from 2008 - 2014. She is the past Chair of BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre Foundation and has served on the boards of the C.D. Howe Institute, and Family Services of the North Shore. She currently serves on the board of the Vancouver Foundation.

Sarah has received a number of awards in recognition of her community service and business leadership including: the Order of British Columbia, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Association of Women in Finance Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Influential Women in Business Award.

Sarah and her husband live in Vancouver, British Columbia. They have four adult children.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I hope I’m helping redefine what “power” looks like - and I feel perfectly comfortable doing just that.

SUCCESS IS: Leaving something better than I found it.


Stevenson, Kate portraitKate Stevenson
Director (Member of the Board)
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Accenture Corporate Directors

Ms. Stevenson is a Corporate Director who serves on a variety of corporate and not-for-profit boards. She has 25 years of experience as a senior financial executive in Canada and the United States.

Kate is a member of the Board of Directors of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Open Text Corporation, CAE Inc., and Capital Power Corporation, all publicly traded companies. She currently serves as Chair of the CIBC Corporate Governance Committee, as well as on various committees of each of her boards.

Kate’s not-for-profit experience has been focused on education. She was Chair of the Board of Governors of The Bishop Strachan School, a leading independent school for girls, and continues to serve on the Head Advisory Council. At the University of Guelph, she was formerly Vice- Chair of the Board of Governors and Chair of the Finance Committee. Currently she is co-Chair of the Parent Committee at Duke University.

More recently, Kate joined the board of St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation and serves on its Audit and Finance Committee, as well as the St. Michael’s Hospital Research Innovation Council. Kate is also is an Advisor for Lucky Iron Fish, a social impact company seeking to alleviate iron deficiency around the world.

Kate was formerly a senior executive at Nortel Networks where she was global Treasurer, and prior to Nortel, Kate was an executive at JP Morgan.

She graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude and holds the professional designation ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors. She recently completed a 3-year term on the ICD Fellowship Selection Committee.

Kate is a citizen of both the United States and Canada. She and her husband, John, have 2 grown children, and live in Toronto.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: The word powerful is all about the ability to influence and inspire and sponsor others to help them achieve or exceed their goals.

SUCCESS IS: Not about power or money or title. It’s ultimately about happiness and relationships and being able to make a difference in the lives of those around you – in a personal, professional and global context.

HSBC Corporate Executives.

Recognizing women who hold senior positions in Canadian companies, pension funds and co-operatives


Allard, Jacqui portraitJacqui Allard
Senior Vice-President Strategy, Performance and Marketing, Personal & Commercial Banking

HSBC Corporate Executives

Jacqui Allard is Senior Vice President of Strategy, Performance and Marketing with RBC Personal & Commercial Banking. She leads teams responsible for developing business and marketing strategies that support and integrate lines of business while ensuring the alignment of the P&CB project portfolio across the enterprise.

Jacqui was previously SVP, Wealth Management Solutions & Client Experience where she led a program of initiatives while providing functional leadership of product management, digital, analytics and regulatory management in support of delivering a superior client experience to RBC’s affluent and high networth Wealth Management clients globally.

Prior to joining RBC in 2014, Jacqui was head of operations and chief information officer of the investment division of Manulife Financial, responsible for investment operations and information technology functions globally.  She was previously President of Manulife Asset Management Canada & Global Chief Operations Officer. Her prior experience, with State Street and Bank of Ireland, included positions in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK.

Jacqui is a member of the Board of Directors of Next Canada, which is focused on providing Canada’s most promising young innovators and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to create impact. She serves on the Board of Directors of Up with Women, a not for profit providing career coaching and support for formerly homeless women. She has served on a number of boards of directors, including Portfolio Management Association of Canada, the UCC Pension Board, Serve Canada, White Ribbon Campaign and the Advisory Council of Women in Capital Markets. Jacqui was recognized in December 2014 by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. She holds an Master in Business Administration in Management from Bentley Graduate School of Business in Massachusetts and an Honours Bachelor of Arts(BA) in Economics and History from Queen’s University in Ontario.

SUCCESS IS: achieving my goals while creating an environment for others to achieve theirs.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: I would encourage myself not to sweat the small stuff and to be focused on the big picture.


Banducci, Carol portraitCarol Banducci
Executive Vice President &  Chief Financial Officer
IAMGOLD Corporation

HSBC Corporate Executives

Carol Banducci is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of IAMGOLD Corporation. She joined IAMGOLD in July 2007, and currently oversees all aspects of finance, information technology and investor relations. From 2011 to 2015, Carol was also Chair of Niobec Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IAMGOLD, prior to orchestrating the sale of the business in early 2015.

Prior to joining IAMGOLD, Carol was Vice President, Financial Operations of Royal Group Technologies, where she led comprehensive integration, restructuring and cost improvement initiatives. Previous executive finance roles include Chief Financial Officer of Canadian General-Tower Limited and Chief Financial Officer of Orica Explosives North America and ICI Explosives Canada & Latin America. Carol has extensive finance experience in capital markets, statutory and management reporting, audit, budgeting, capital programs, treasury, tax, acquisitions and divestments, pension fund management, insurance and information technology. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto. She currently serves on the Board of HudBay Minerals Inc. and Euro Ressources S.A, and was previously a director of Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.

Carol’s career has also been notable for her dedication to helping others in the community. In 2016, she founded the Miner’s Lamp Award Campaign, creating a partnership with the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry to raise funds for research into the detection and early prevention of mental illness in youth and young adults. Now in its third year, the campaign has garnered strong support from the business and academic communities, reaching $2 million in three years.

In 2015, Carol was Co-Chair of the Grad Ball for Pathways to Education, a non-profit organization committed to helping disadvantaged youth across Canada graduate from high school and transition to post-secondary education.

In 2015, and 2017, Carol was recognized twice by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and in 2016 she was a recipient of the University of Toronto, University College Alumni of Influence Awards.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: The importance of being curious.

POWER SONG: "Feeling Good" by Michael Bublé


Chenette, Madeleine portraitMadeleine Chenette
Montreal Products Industry Lead and Office Managing Director, Montreal

HSBC Corporate Executives

Madeleine Chenette was born and received her early schooling in Montreal. As the youngest in a family of eight children, she was forced early in life to find her own path and develop creative ways to be heard and have influence.

She earned her undergraduate university degree at Concordia University, a Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies in 1985. As she pursued her early consulting career, she earned a Master’s of Science in Administration (MSc) with a Major in Management, from École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC), Montreal, in 1993. In 2011 she earned a Certified Corporate Director diploma from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

She spent her first few years in the workforce helping improve the lives of the elderly, first offering advanced geriatric mental health services at the Douglas Institute in Montreal and then developing and implementing a new concept for care of the elderly. This experience demonstrated her drive for innovation and to do things differently in a better way. It also shaped her desire to help others and gave her a deep understanding of the value of treating people well, of working collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams and of being creative and innovative in all spheres of activity.

She took those learnings – as well as her willingness to be a leader and challenge the status quo – into business consulting in 1992 with a small Montreal consulting firm before joining SECOR Inc. as a consultant in 1994. Over the next 22 years she contributed greatly to the firm’s growth and success as she rose quickly through the ranks, leading to becoming Chair of the Board in 2009. In 2012, she guided the acquisition of SECOR by KPMG and continued to head SECOR-KPMG Canada until 2016 when she became an Associate Partner of KPMG Canada. In February 2017, she was named Office Managing Director in Montreal for Accenture, a leading global professional services company active in more than 120 countries.

Madeleine Chenette has contributed immensely to the success of her consulting firms as well as that of her many clients. She oversaw great growth of SECOR, including its best year ever in sales and profitability in 2011-12. In her short time with Accenture, she has already applied her vision, innovation and leadership to achieve significant growth in revenue and clients for the Montreal office.

While being successful in business, she has made impressive contributions to the community, most of which have furthered the cause of women in society. She has been recognized twice by the Association of Quebec Women in Finance and in 2012 with the Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award in the professional category.

Madeleine Chenette has a son and very much enjoys her family life with him, her partner and his daughters. She enjoys participating in many different sports and is passionate about music.



Dunn, Melanie portraitMélanie Dunn
President and Chief Executive Officer

HSBC Corporate Executives

A highly accomplished businesswoman, Mélanie has over 20 years of experience in business management and marketing communications. She is the President and CEO of Cossette and a member of the executive management team of Vision7 International, a holding company with an extensive portfolio of Communications firms in North America, Europe and Asia.

Mélanie is actively involved in several professional and community organizations. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Canada Post Corporation and the Health Standards Organization (HSO). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.

Mélanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Marketing Certificate from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Build and nurture your networks from a young age. I was very active in student associations at my university and always sought out internships. This gave me access to many different people and companies early in my career, and it was really the beginning of my business network. In fact, many of the people I met in school are still in that network today.


Gagnon, Françoise portraitFrançoise Gagnon
Chief Executive Officer
ADGA Group

HSBC Corporate Executives

Françoise Gagnon is the Chief Executive Officer of ADGA Group, a top 75 Defence company in Canada. Ms. Gagnon leads an exceptional team of more than 800 employees and consultants who deliver tailored solutions to the Defence, Security, and Enterprise Computing sectors.  Since 2014, she has successfully stewarded the company through a change of ownership. She has made strategic acquisitions that have accelerated the growth, with increased revenues and profitability for the company.

Ms. Gagnon is a passionate advocate for gender equality and is dedicated to having the first Canadian-owned company specializing in Defence, Security, and Enterprise Computing with equal gender representation at senior and executive management levels.

She holds a B.A. from Carleton University and is active on the boards of CADSI, DIAG, CDA Institute and Cognascent Inc..

EARLY, LASTING LESSONS: Punctuality is the politeness of kings - be respectful of others and their time.

SUCCESS IS: Our company does not sell widgets, we sell professional expertise. I define success by our ability to attract, retain and empower our people.

POWER SONG: "A Lovely Day" by Bill Withers (sung at the top of my lungs)


Hansen, Cynthia portraitCynthia Hansen
Executive Vice President, Utilities & Power Operations
Enbridge Inc.

HSBC Corporate Executives

Cynthia Hansen was appointed Executive Vice President, Utilities and Power Operations, on February 27, 2017.

Cynthia is responsible for the overall leadership and operations of Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas, two of Canada’s largest natural gas utilities, as well as Enbridge Gas New Brunswick, Gazifère and St. Lawrence Gas. She also holds responsibility for the operations of Enbridge’s power generating assets, which currently include renewable energy investments in wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric, as well as waste heat recovery facilities and power transmission lines owned in whole or in part by Enbridge.

Cynthia has more than 19 years of experience working in operational, financial and safety leadership roles within Enbridge including President, Enbridge Gas Distribution and Senior Vice President, Operations within Liquids Pipelines. Prior to joining Enbridge, she worked as a Principal for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Cynthia is a member of Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.’s Executive Leadership Team.

Cynthia is Chair of the Ontario Energy Association, and serves on the boards of Energir Inc. and the Energy Council of Canada. She is also a member of the University of Alberta School of Business Advisory Council. In the past, she served on the boards of the Canadian Gas Association, the Canadian Energy Pipelines Association (CEPA), the Alberta Chamber of Resources, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and NorQuest College, among others.

Cynthia was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 by the Women’s Executive Network and was recognized as a Canadian Business Leader by Catalyst Canada. Cynthia lives in Toronto with her husband.

EARLY, LASTING LESSONS: All I can control in life is my behaviour and my attitude.

SUCCESS IS: Living by your values and making valued contributions.

POWER SONG: "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves


Hess, Judi portraitJudi Hess
Chief Executive Officer

HSBC Corporate Executives

Judi Hess is the CEO of Copperleaf, a Vancouver-based software company that provides decision analytics to companies managing critical infrastructure. Under Judi’s leadership, Copperleaf has become one of the top 20 biggest software companies in BC, and one of the Fastest-Growing Software Companies in Canada.

Judi began her career as a software developer at MDA and spent 14 years there before joining Creo Inc. in 1995. She rose to become president in 2002, a position she held until Creo was acquired by Eastman Kodak for just under $1 Billion USD in 2005. During her 4 year tenure at Kodak, Judi was a general manager and vice president within the graphic communications group, a corporate officer and vice president of Eastman Kodak, and head of Kodak Canada.

Judi is currently a member of the Federal Economic Strategy Clean Technology Table, and on the board of directors of Pason Systems Inc. (TSX: PSI) and Neurio. In 2018, Judi was recognized by the BC Tech Association as Person of the Year, and in 2017 as an Influential Women in Business, an award celebrating B.C.’s most outstanding business women.

Originally from Toronto, Judi and her family live in Vancouver. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics Degree With Distinction – Dean’s Honours List from the University of Waterloo, and is an avid downhill skier.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: The power of a genuine THANK YOU was an early lesson. People just want to be appreciated for their contributions.


POWER SONG: "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads


Hooper, Barbara portraitBarbara Hooper
Executive Vice President, Treasury and Corporate Development
TD Bank Group

HSBC Corporate Executives

Barbara Hooper is Executive Vice President, Treasury and Balance Sheet Management (TBSM), TD Bank Group.  In this capacity, Ms. Hooper is responsible for Corporate Development and for TD's treasury and balance sheet management activities including liquidity, funding, investments, funds transfer pricing, capital management, asset-liability management and treasury operations.

Ms. Hooper joined TD in 1994.  She spent the first twelve years in various roles in Fixed Income in the Wholesale Banking segment including in the areas of securitization and credit products.  In 2006 she joined the Corporate Development team and led the group beginning in 2011. Ms. Hooper assumed responsibility for TBSM in 2015. Prior to joining TD, Ms. Hooper worked in the securitization group at another Canadian bank.  She began her career in the treasury department of a Canadian specialty finance company.

Ms. Hooper holds an MBA from York University and a BA in economics from University of Toronto.  She volunteers with United Way, a charity working to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our city. Pelletier Youth in Transition, a registered charity supporting Toronto youth exiting the child welfare system, and Eva's Initiatives, an organization providing shelter and services to Toronto's homeless and at-risk youth.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: When they say "yes", stop talking.

SUCCESS IS: Looking forward to every day.


POWER SONG: "Respect" by Aretha Franklin


Martin, Shelley portraitShelley Martin
President & Chief Executive Officer
Nestlé Canada Inc.

HSBC Corporate Executives

Shelley Martin is President and CEO of Nestlé Canada Inc., a leading company that produces some of the world’s most recognized and trusted foods and beverages.

In this role, Shelley has executive responsibility for Nestlé in Canada, which includes the following divisions: Beverages, Confectionery, Frozen Meals & Pizza, Ice Cream, Nestlé Professional, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Nestlé Waters, Nestlé Health Science, Nestlé Nutrition, Nespresso and Nestlé Skin Health. Nestlé in Canada businesses employ approximately 3,500 people in over 20 facilities, including manufacturing sites, sales offices and distribution centres nationally.

Shelley joined Nestlé Canada in 1990 working on the PetCare Business in Marketing and in 1997, was promoted to Vice President of Confectionery. In 2000, she became the Leader of PetCare, and for 2001/2002, led the Canadian acquisition and transition to Nestlé Purina. She became the Head of Nescafé and Beverages in 2002 and was promoted to President, Ice Cream in 2008. In 2012, Shelley became the Division Executive Manager of the Frozen Foods Business. In January 2013, Shelley was appointed President and CEO of Nestlé Canada. Prior to joining Nestlé Canada, Shelley worked at General Mills.

Shelley actively participates in industry initiatives and serves on the board of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the Government of Canada’s Agri-Food Table. She also serves on the Board of the Grocery Innovation Foundation, which has raised over $75 million to provide a better life for challenged children and to answer many other community needs. From 2007 to 2013, Shelley was an active member on the Board of Directors for Kids Help Phone, of which Nestlé Canada is a founding partner. In both 2015 and 2016, Shelley was named a Top 100 Award Winner for Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. Most recently, Shelley was named the recipient of the Food Industry of Canada’s 2017 Golden Pencil Award for her significant contributions to the Canadian food industry and its communities.

Shelley resides in Toronto with her two daughters, and apart from spending time with her family, she enjoys travelling and boating at her nearby cottage. Born and raised in Elmvale, Ontario, Shelley graduated from the Business Program at Wilfrid Laurier University.


Pezzente, Laurie portraitLaurie Pezzente
Senior Vice President & Chief Security Officer, Global Cyber Security
Royal Bank of Canada

HSBC Corporate Executives

Laurie Pezzente leads the Global Cyber Security team as SVP and CSO. In partnership with the organization’s executive leadership teams, she directs the development of effective cyber strategies to assess and mitigate risk globally, manage crises and incidents, maintain continuity of operations, and safeguard the organization. She is responsible for deploying state-of-the-art technology solutions and innovative security management techniques to protect RBC, employee and client data, while ensuring appropriate protections are in place to maintain compliance with regulatory and policy requirements.

Laurie represents the bank’s position on cyber security and risk management to the Board, senior executives, customers, external partners, and government agencies. She is accountable for information security risk and global security operations, including incident response, and operational risk management across the technology & operations portfolio, and ultimately, for building RBC’s resiliency and protection against cyber-attacks.

Laurie Pezzente is an IT professional with over 25 years of IT experience, managing budgets in excess of $500 MM, with a solid track record of building strong relationships, encouraging creativity and excellence. Laurie has extensive experience in IT application development, Information Security, IT GRC and process improvement.

As a former CISO at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Laurie was responsible for IT risk, policy and standard design, implementation and governance for Enterprise IT security. As a senior executive, Laurie represented the banks security position to the Board, senior executive leaders and external government agencies on issues regarding IT security and overall IT risk management. She was responsible for assessing overall security risk, developing strategies and leading programs to mitigate specific areas of vulnerability, and providing risk assessment of 3rd party activities with significant IT components. Laurie is recognized as a thought leader in IT GRC with execution expertise in Information Security, SOX, Disaster Recovery, IT Governance and Technology standards.

Laurie lives in Oakville with her husband and two sons.

EARLY, LASTING LESSONS: Never shy away from a challenge and ask for help when you need it.

SUCCESS IS: Self satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best you are capable of.


Roche, Catherine portraitCatherine Roche
Head, Marketing and Strategy
BMO Financial Group

HSBC Corporate Executives

As the Head of Marketing and Strategy, Catherine Roche oversees the bank’s strategic positioning relative to emerging business opportunities, with a view to challenging our business models and pointing the way to strengthened cost-efficiency and enriched customer relationships. As a key member of the bank’s Executive Committee, Catherine is accountable for setting the overall strategic direction for the enterprise and operating groups. She is responsible for developing enterprise brand, customer acquisition and loyalty strategies to create the right external presence for BMO. Catherine develops, communicates and provides oversight on enterprise brand direction, positioning, promise, attributes and architecture and ensures consistent global application. In addition, she is responsible for the bank’s centres of expertise in digital marketing, customer growth and retention analytics and customer insights. In partnership with all lines of business, Catherine helps BMO move forward with clear actionable plans and pace.

Prior to joining BMO, Catherine spent 20 years working with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), most recently as Partner and Managing Director. She founded and led BCG’s global Center for Consumer and Customer Insight – a functional area of expertise on customer experience and knowledge that crosses all sectors. Adding to this broad and impressive background, Catherine is a published expert in fields such as consumer analytics, data and customer experience.

Catherine sits on the boards of Futurpreneur Canada and Toronto Global. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar and graduated with distinction.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I feel incredibly proud to be described as a powerful woman. As a society in general, I think it needs to feel much more natural than it does to us today to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women. There are so many stories that deserve to be told at center stage, and I feel fortunate to have mine be among them.


Shultz, Laurie portraitLaurie Schultz
President and CEO

HSBC Corporate Executives

Laurie Schultz is responsible for leading the transformation of ACL's global business by mobilizing talent toward category disruption and double-digit growth.

With over 25 years of experience in software and technology sectors, Laurie has led 12 multimillion-dollar software P&Ls spanning the personal finance, small business accounting, SaaS, ERP, business intelligence, and GRC categories. Holding prior leadership positions with Sage, Intuit, KPMG, and TELUS, Laurie has both doubled revenues and doubled profits by empowering change and relentlessly focusing on the "right critical few."

Since being appointed CEO of ACL in 2011, Laurie has successfully pivoted the company from hard sales of software to a software-as-a-service model with over 300 employees and to accolades as one of Canada’s top employers, one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures and BC Tech Association Company of the Year in 2018.  In November 2017 for the first time in its 30+ year bootstrapped history, ACL accepted a strategic minority investment of $50M USD, representing a 9x increase in valuation from when Laurie joined. Laurie transformed ACL on a relentless, threefold focus on 1) Mobilizing Talent, 2) Disrupting the category, and 3) Transforming the business model.

Laurie is a strong advocate for technology and serves as the board chair of the BC Tech Association. Her voice is an important contributor to the Canadian technology landscape and she is a preeminent thought leader published in media outlets such as the Huffington Post and the Globe and Mail.

She has received multiple leadership awards, including being named to the WXN

Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 in both 2016 and 2017, the 2015 Gold Stevie® Award for Female Executive of the Year, the YWCA's 2015 "Women of Distinction" award, Business in Vancouver's 2014 "Women of Influence" award, and the Minerva Foundation's 2013 "Excellence in Leadership" award. Laurie has also been featured as one of Canada's Top 20 Women in IT Channel (2011) and in the Top 100 Women in the North America Channel (2012).

Laurie holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, both from University of Alberta. She proudly makes her home in Vancouver with her husband, two children and their dog, Stripe.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Be the same person 9-5 as you are 5-9.

SUCCESS IS: Synchronized performance that envelops all three of employee engagement, customer engagement and financial performance.

POWER SONG: "We're Here For a Good Time" by Trooper


Sharman, Sandy portraitSandy Sharman
Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer

HSBC Corporate Executives

Sandy Sharman leads Human Resources and Communications at CIBC, which is focused on creating a diverse, inclusive and engaged team that is enabling CIBC to build a relationship-focused bank for a modern world.

Her areas of accountabilities include compensation and benefits, employee relations, policy and governance, talent management, and all aspects of internal and external communications and public affairs. Sandy and her team are also responsible for developing and implementing the Human Capital Strategy across the bank.

Sandy began her career in financial services as a branch manager. Over her 30 years of experience, she has had progressively more senior roles, both at CIBC and at other major financial institutions. She assumed the leadership of Human Resources at CIBC in 2014.

Sandy earned her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Dalhousie University.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Everything happens for a reason. Embrace change and make the most of it for your development and learning.

SUCCESS IS: Being in a position where l have achieved what I set out to do and am now able to help others achieve their goals.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE TO MY YOUNGER SELF: Life is not always a straight road…enjoy all the twists and turns--embrace what makes you so unique!


Tsui, Sophia portraitSophia Tsui
Senior Vice President & Chief Auditor
HSBC Bank Canada

HSBC Corporate Executives

Sophia is a risk and internal control professional with extensive experience in global financial services in Vancouver and London. She excels in leadership roles under intense and rapidly changing environments that require outstanding analytical ability and professional judgment. She is passionate about people development that inspires them to become stronger and more valuable contributors to the organization. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, establishing governance and control boundaries, Sophia earns a seat at the table wherever she serves.

Currently, Senior Vice President and Chief Auditor for HSBC Bank Canada, Sophia is accountable to the Audit & Risk Committee and local regulator to oversee the development of the audit approach and plan, providing independent and objective assurance, and add value to the organization’s risk management and control framework, and underlying operations. She is also the Chair of the Global Internal Audit Management Committee, a leadership role within the Global function, providing stewardship and guidance to promote consistency in the application of methodology and execution of strategic priorities among her global peers with accountability to Senior Global Audit Management. She believes in delivering fair outcomes for stakeholders, ensuring that recommendations support management to implement sustainable solutions.

Sophia started her career at HSBC in 1994 in Commercial Banking before joining Global Risk. She spent 17 years in risk management, which provided a view across all businesses and functions within the bank, and developed extensive experience in risk appetite, risk governance, stress testing, economic capital, wholesale and retail portfolio management, reporting, and internal controls and policies. She moved to London, England in 2014 to become the Global Head of Risk Governance and Risk Appetite where she led the strategic transformation of risk governance and risk appetite globally, and developed a clear articulation of the HSBC's Enterprise Risk Management Framework. She enjoys leading new practices and championing a culture of innovation for risk management.

Before joining HSBC, Sophia articled with KPMG where she developed her core risk and control skillset and became a qualified auditor in 1994.

Sophia is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University. Outside of HSBC, she serves as the Treasurer of Crofton House School’s Foundation Board of Directors.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: As a child I faced conflicts that were unresolved and being an only child this was particularly challenging. Those experiences have shaped my approach to face conflicts head on; being mindful to be empathetic and open to different perspectives are the first steps to ensuring resolutions are fair and equitable and that we land in a better place.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Be more confident in yourself and your abilities. We often put up barriers in our own mind where they don’t actually exist, so my advice would be to get comfortable being uncomfortable as in my experience that’s where all my personal development has come from.


Tyfting, Marilyn portraitMarilyn Tyfting
Chief Corporate Officer
TELUS International

HSBC Corporate Executives

As the Chief Corporate Officer of TELUS International, Marilyn is committed to creating and fostering a world-leading corporate culture and leading strategic growth initiatives to enable service excellence for their global business process (BPO), contact center and IT outsourcing clients. From marketing and branding, to facilities and real estate, to talent acquisition, retention and development, to corporate social responsibility, to overall strategic support, she is privileged to serve our growing global team every day and to be part of an innovative organization where amazing team member experiences create equally amazing customer experiences.

Since joining TELUS Communications in 2007, Marilyn has delivered strong business outcomes through senior positions across TELUS and their global arm, TELUS International. As the Human Resources leader for TELUS Consumer Solutions, Marilyn provided strategic support for more than 6,000 employees over a span of two years. In 2009, she joined the TELUS International organization, and over the past nine-plus years, has been focused on growing what was then a regional outsourcing provider to what is now a competitive international player valued at over US$1 billion with over 30,000 inspiring team members from locations in Asia, Europe, Central America and North America.

Marilyn is a key member of the senior leadership team, and her global team of more than 1,300 employees brings together the key parts of TELUS International’s business that touch its people every day. Her goal is to build the best overall employee experience by bringing their unique and caring culture to life as a key differentiator in the competitive BPO marketplace.

Prior to joining TELUS, Marilyn was employed by Rogers Cable and Rogers Wireless for more than a decade. During her tenure with the Rogers organization, she held positions as a Regional and a National Director of Human Resources before undertaking the role of Vice President, Human Resources with Rogers Wireless. As a member of the Rogers Wireless senior leadership team, she was responsible for leading a diverse national team providing human resources and labour relations programs across National Sales and Sales Support, Marketing, Network Operations and Engineering, FIDO,  and Rogers Business Solutions. Marilyn began her career with the University of British Columbia and BC Transit.

Marilyn is invested in bringing to fruition a vision for British Columbia to become the most progressive jurisdiction in Canada for people with disabilities. As a member of the Minister’s Council on Disability and Employment and on the President’s Group for Inclusion and Employment, she is committed to increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and creating a more accessible consumer marketplace. Marilyn is also a champion of diversity, supporting the development of several employee resource groups within TELUS International locations, including Connections, the TELUS Women’s Network in both Central America and the Philippines and our LGBT resource group, Spectrum, in Manila.

Marilyn obtained her Bachelor of Commerce and her Masters of Science in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of British Columbia and has completed executive development programs with both the Rotman School of Business and INSEAD. She has also completed the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s Governance Education Program.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Embrace being different; and as a leader strive to thoughtfully and purposefully embrace diversity. The multitude of perspectives, skills and knowledge will help ensure you are constantly innovating, improving and growing as a team and an organization.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: Humbled, as my accomplishments have never been mine alone, they have been realized through collaboration and teamwork with my incredible colleagues. To me, being powerful means I have the opportunity to continue to learn and grow, and to help others do the same.

POWER SONG: "Roar" by Katy Perry

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders.

Recognizing women between the ages of 30 to 40 years, who have been targeted for successive leadership positions within their organizations and have a proven passion for learning and innovation


Anderson, Marcia portraitDr. Marcia Anderson
Executive Director
Indigenous Academic Affairs
Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Manitoba

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Dr. Marcia Anderson grew up in the North End of Winnipeg, and is Cree-Anishinaabe with roots going to Peguis First Nation and Norway House Cree Nation. She graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 2002, and obtained her Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2007. She currently practices internal medicine at the Adult Medical Clinic of Grace Hospital and is a Medical Officer of Health for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. In addition she holds an academic role as the Executive Director of Indigenous Academic Affairs in the Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.

Dr. Anderson served as the President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada from 2006-2009. During her term she oversaw several key initiatives in Indigenous medical education including the development of Core Competencies in First Nations, Metis and Inuit Health for Undergraduate Medical Education, and learning resources for Postgraduate Medical Education. These were developed through formal partnerships with the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

In 2011 Dr. Anderson became the Head of the Section of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Health.  Working in close partnership with the Senior Director, Ms. Melanie MacKinnon, Dr. Anderson has had significant accomplishments as the Section Head. The physician vacancy rate in the Northern Medical Unit has gone from roughly 50% to approximately 5%, and program expansion has led to primary care services in several new communities. The Centre for Aboriginal Health Education has increased its presence in medical education from roughly ten hours of teaching time within the first two years of medical school to a seventy hour longitudinal course across the four year program. Dr. Anderson was part of the leadership team that developed the Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr. Anderson led the development of Action Plans in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action in both the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. She continues to chair the implementation of the action plan within the Faculty.

As a Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Anderson has built strong relationships with Indigenous community organizations in Winnipeg including Ka Ni Kanichihk and Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. This has led to partnership-based work focused on the development of a culturally safe model for prevention and treatment of sexually-transmitted and blood borne infections, and a culture-based program designed at prevention and reduction of harms related to substance use in the North End. Dr. Anderson has developed a medical student elective in Indigenous Health Policy and Programs, and since its inception 5-8 students participate in the elective annually. This allows intensive mentorship in her community-based approaches to Indigenous health. Dr. Anderson has also participated on the committees of multiple Master’s-level students. She will serve as the Honorary Senior Stick of the Manitoba Medical Students Association for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Dr. Anderson has been recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in Indigenous health. She has served as the Chair of the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress. She is a member of the International Indigenous Academic Health Network. She was recently named the inaugural Chair of the Association of Faculties of Medicine’s Indigenous Health Network. She sits on the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle. In 2011 she received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her contributions to Indigenous peoples’ health.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: My favorite definition of power sees it as the relationship between influence and resources. An opportunity or recognition like this can help build my own influence or build connections with people of influence, which is vital to the complex social change work that I do. Reconciliation and closing Indigenous health gaps are the biggest challenges our country faces. The passion and purpose that I have to contribute to this work are powerful.


Ebrahim, Zahra portraitZahra Ebrahim
Co-leader, Doblin

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Zahra is the co-Leader of Doblin, Monitor Deloitte’s innovation and design thinking practice in Canada. In the past three years she has scaled it to the largest Human-Centered Design practice in the country, now amongst the most inclusive and sought after employers for innovators, designers, researchers, and strategists. In her role, she  leads teams through design-driven, user-centred transformation projects across the public and private sectors. She leverages her deep knowledge in bringing together diverse teams of integrated thinkers  to help organizations find strategic opportunities to better understand their users. She is among a small cohort of leaders in this country who have effectively brought design-led approaches to Canada’s most established institutions.

A public interest designer with a background in architecture, her focus is on engaging diverse sets of stakeholders to use human-centred design and disciplined innovation approaches to address complex organizational and industry challenges, largely focused on public sector and urban innovation.

Ten years ago, Zahra founded and led one of Canada’s first design-led innovation firms, focused exclusively on doing deep research with end-users to co-design towards better social outcomes. Through this, she worked with Canada’s largest charities, philanthropic organizations, and governing bodies to help them understand how to better engage the people they’re trying to serve. She has been deeply engaged in using participatory processes to engaged communities in the design of policies, services, and infrastructure that directly affects their day-to-day lives.

Zahra taught for six years at the Ontario College of Art and Design, the Museum of Modern Art, and currently teaches at the University of Toronto.

She has served as Innovator in Residence at Canada’s National Design Museum, was recently featured in Toronto Life’s “50 Most Influential People in the City” issue as one of “Tomorrow’s Titans”, is a Next City’s Vanguard “40 under 40 Civic Leader”, and was named a United Way "Changemaker to Watch in 2016.”

In her spare time, Zahra actively serves on boards and as an advisor to a broad range of city building and social justice initiatives. She chairs the board of Jane’s Walk, serves as Vice-Chair of the board of St. Stephen’s Community House, and is an advisor for Toronto Public Library, Centre for Connected Communities, Progress Toronto, and Resilient TO. Zahra is an expert advisor and sought after speaker on the topics of user-centered design, innovation, urban equity, city building, policy innovation, and institutional transformation.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: I would let her know that she is not just a young voice at the table, but an important, trusted, and thoughtful contributor. So often, I would dismiss my own contributions, finding myself self-conscious of my age, stage, and experience, when it was precisely those things that enabled me to generate innovative, precise, relevant ideas and approaches. And also, trust your gut, it works.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Designing, making, ANYTHING. Specifically things that have no intended use/transaction. When I find myself in emotional, professional, or intellectual transitions, I make, I design, I get out of my head and back into my hands.


Everett, Breanne portraitDr. Breanne Everett
CEO & President
Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Dr. Breanne Everett is the CEO, President and Co-Founder of Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc. (“Orpyx®”), as well as a medical doctor and resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Calgary. Seeing the burden that diabetic foot complications pose on both patients and the healthcare system, and with the goal of addressing these issues, she founded Orpyx to create meaningful, life-changing impacts with medical-grade wearable technologies. Orpyx has developed a proprietary, pressure sensor platform designed to empower patients to optimize the medical care of certain conditions, such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Beyond these immediate applications in diabetic foot monitoring and amputation prevention, the platform technology that Orpyx has developed can be leveraged to multiple applications in pressure sore prevention, athletic performance optimization, and injury prevention.

Dr. Everett was one of six national winners awarded with the Governor General’s Innovation Award in 2016. She was named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2012, and the University of Calgary’s Graduate of the Last Decade in 2014. She is a Loran National Scholar, who serves as an active member of the Loran Alumni Community, and is a member of the scientific review board of the Pedorthic Research Association of Canada and the Canadian Medical Association’s Joule Innovation Council. Her pride and joy is her family, and when not working, she loves spending time with her two small sons.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: When life gets overwhelming, I usually ground myself with a tactic they taught us in med school. They always told us to take your pulse before before entering the trauma bay or an emergency situation. This grounds you. It reminds me that you don’t have control over everything and that you don’t know everything, but you can do the best with what you know.


Greening, Genesa portraitGenesa Greening
President & CEO
BC Women’s Hospital Foundation (BCWHF)

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

In her twenty years as a senior non-profit professional, Genesa Greening has delivered a diverse range of global impacts. She has led and advised more than 20 charitable causes and raised over $250M to address some of our most pressing social issues in British Columbia, the United States and abroad.  She has done it all as a staunch advocate for gender equality, racial justice, and marginalized communities.

She has worked on the ground in Swaziland as a community enterprise strategist to help stimulate an economy decimated by the HIV- AIDS epidemic.  Genesa has merged charitable entities in the United States that are now leading the conversation on criminal justice reform, climate change and diversity in the tech sector.  She developed community engagement programs to foster collaborative economic and advocacy initiatives in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.  She has brought several multi-million dollar capital projects to fruition, all of which included multiple levels of government, environmental considerations, community consultation, and unique funding models.

Genesa is a rarity in that she has achieved so much and developed an abundance of diverse skills at a relatively young age without the benefit of post-secondary education. Instead of framed degrees, Genesa has earned her success and quickly risen through the ranks with unwavering tenacity, unparalleled brilliance in seeing opportunities and partnerships that others don’t. She has an unrelenting motor that drives her beyond the limits of what most people are capable of - or even think is possible. She has led several highly complex institutions through significant organizational change, leadership transitions, rebranding’s, mandate overhauls and restructuring.  She has extensive experience in evaluating, building and managing sophisticated, multi-million dollar budgets with a high level of responsibility and accountability for the financial health, monitoring, and reporting of organizations.

Genesa’s life-long community involvement is multi-faceted. She has served as a mentor to Downtown Eastside girls while founding the programs at Union Gospel Mission's Women’s and Children’s Centre. She served for years as a volunteer Advisory Board Member to the Lipstick Project, a registered charity that works with hospitals and hospices to bring dignity and beauty into the last days of patient’s lives. Genesa was an instrumental volunteer in the formation of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Coalition in British Columbia and also volunteered as a strategic advisor to PACE Society, a registered charity that promotes safer working conditions for sex workers by reducing harm and isolation through education and support. Recognized for her expertise and leadership in our city, Genesa was appointed by Mayor Gregor Robertson and City of Vancouver Council as a member to both the Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health & Addiction as well as the Women’s Advisory Committee where she served as the Chair of the Social Inclusion and Security Sub-Committee.

Over the course of Genesa’s career, she has translated her leadership into being a brilliant fundraiser and steward of donor dollars. She has led organizations with operating budgets up to $15 million while meeting annual fundraising targets of over $25 million. Genesa's managed capital campaigns ranging from $3 to $31 million and worn the hats of Development Director, Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer, and President + CEO in leading organizations employing up to 85 staff, and teams across multiple U.S. states.

Upon accepting the position of the BC Women’s Hospital Foundation President + CEO, Genesa rapidly grew the team from a staff of 11 to its current composition of 28. She did so without negatively impacting the Foundation’s administrative and fundraising bottom lines while obliterating all previous high-water marks for charitable dollars earned at BCWHF. Under her leadership, she quickly secured the three largest gifts in the Foundation’s history and set a new fundraising standard for her team to aspire to.

Today, she continues to inspire change and the Foundation no longer plans for deficits, but rather how to disperse more charitable dollars to the women's health organizations it funds, such as BC Women’s Hospital and the Women’s Health Research Institute, both of which received record-high contributions from the Foundation under Genesa.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: That people will listen to you when you speak provocatively with purpose.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: Power is a word rarely attributed to women. And one that brings a guttural reaction. I am powerful because I am a woman. My ability to inspire, process complexity, institute creative solutions, move the needle on entrenched attitudes, and execute with lasting impact through healthy engaged teams is a direct result of my ability to engage my femininity. To be comfortable leading as a woman.


Hallwood, Kim portraitKim Hallwood
Head of Corporate Sustainability
HSBC Bank Canada

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Kim Hallwood is a sustainability professional who is passionate about using business as a catalyst for positive, long-lasting change. As the youngest member of HSBC Bank Canada’s Executive Committee, she is responsible for leading the bank’s global sustainable finance and community investment strategies in Canada. Under her leadership, the bank has been consistently recognized as one of Canada’s best corporate citizens and is actively managing the risks and opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. Kim was named one of Canada’s Clean50 Emerging Leaders in 2016.

SUCCESS IS: Being excited by what you do, knowing you are making a difference and finding alignment between your values at work and at home.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Believe in yourself, you are stronger than you think.

POWER SONG: "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten


Kesserwan, Karina portraitKarina Kesserwan
Founder & Partner
Kesserwan Arteau Inc.

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Karina Kesserwan is a lawyer, strategic advisor, teacher, and social entrepreneur.  She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Coming from a multicultural background and having resided on three continents, she developed a keen interest in the rapprochement of cultures from an early age.

Ms. Kesserwan launched her firm, Kesserwan, in 2013 and joined with Jean-François Arteau in 2016.   Kesserwan Arteau Inc’s services include strategic analysis and advice, development of governance structures and internal policies, consultations with communities, negotiation of agreements, establishment of partnerships between businesses, conflict resolution, and training.

Karina Kesserwan holds a Bachelor of Civil Law and Common Law degree from McGill University and a certificate in mining law from Osgoode Hall Law School. She has also pursued graduate studies in ethics and sociology with a master’s thesis on indigenous governance in the context of mining development.

Ms. Kesserwan began her career at a boutique firm specializing in Aboriginal law. She then served as a policy advisor to two Quebec ministers of Aboriginal affairs. This experience allowed her to travel to throughout northern Quebec and build a solid understanding of the issues facing Indigenous communities. She is also familiar with Northern Ontario, having resided in Sudbury, where she lectured at Laurentian University’s Department of Law and Justice.

Karina Kesserwan continues to teach at both the college and university levels. She is also an Arctic correspondent for the World Policy Institute, based in New York and a sough-after speaker.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: You always have to keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Slow down and enjoy the present moment.

POWER SONG: "No No Keshagesh" by Buffy Sainte Marie


Mills, Emily portraitEmily Mills
How She Hustles

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Emily Mills is the award-winning founder of How She Hustles, a network that connects diverse women through social media and special events. For eight years, she has produced buzz-worthy events from women’s entrepreneur panels to networking brunches with up to 400 guests from Olympians to CEOs. Just this year, Emily took the bold leap into full-time entrepreneurship to lead this vibrant community.

Previously, she was a senior communications officer at CBC, one of Canada’s largest media companies. In 2017, she created HERstory in Black, a digital photo series featuring 150 inspiring black women that became a signature project for CBC during Canada’s 150th anniversary and Black History Month. The project earned the attention of the Prime Minister on social media, national press coverage, became a 1-hour TV documentary and lead to an unprecedented celebration. HERstory in Black won the CBC President’s Award.

Emily was recently featured in the book, 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women and was named a 2017 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow. A frequent public speaker, Emily has lead conversations for United Nations Association in Canada, Economic Club of Canada, Twitter Canada, YWCA Canada, Lean in Canada and more. She holds degrees in journalism and music, and has studied public relations.

Beyond the hustle, she is a proud wife and mom of two boys in kindergarten.

You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @howshehustles.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: I lost a beloved family member in a tragic car accident just days before a major milestone in her young life. Her passing continues to remind me that we need to pursue our passions and be proud of our successes along the way - rather that wait for the perfect moment to do what matters. Tomorrow is never promised.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I feel very responsible for the "power" people attribute to me. I am very aware that I am walking in the footsteps of women - especially black Canadian women - who couldn't always embrace and exercise their full power. So to me it isn't so much about labels but about how to truly leverage "power" to leave a legacy where more women like me can have a seat at the table. Or, build their own.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: You know who you are. Seek wisdom from others but trust yourself. You got this.


Pinto, Genevieve portraitGenevieve Pinto
Renewal Funds

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

As an investment partner at Renewal Funds, a sustainability-focused venture capital fund, Genevieve brings her transactional expertise to support Renewal Funds’ mission of proving that venture capital can make a positive environmental and social impact while also generating strong financial returns.

Prior to joining Renewal Funds, Genevieve was a Partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, where her legal practice included start-ups, venture capital, M&A transactions, public capital markets and corporate governance. Genevieve holds a BA and LL.B from the University of British Columbia and was called to the British Columbia bar in 2006.

Genevieve has served on the board of directors of the YWCA Metro Vancouver since 2013 including as chair of its Governance and Nominating Committee. The YWCA Metro Vancouver is a leading non-profit dedicated to women’s equality, with over $50million in assets and a $30 million annual operating budget, supporting vulnerable women and their children to achieve economic independence and wellness, through programming, housing, childcare and advocacy.

Genevieve is also a co-founder of the Raise Collective, an organization on a mission to increase gender balance and diversity in funding and innovation, through the development of women investors and entrepreneurs.

Genevieve has embraced a career path combining her expertise and personal passions, allowing her to be meaningful part of the solution to achieving diversity and inclusion of women in business, innovation and funding. In her personal life, Genevieve spends her time with her young family & friends on Vancouver’s North Shore and the Sunshine Coast of BC.

EARLY, LASTING LESSONS: Treat others the way you would like to be treated - treating everyone, regardless of role, respectfully and building a team where everyone feels valued will result in far greater success overall.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Trust your instincts, know your self-worth, and take more risks big and small. As a great mentor once told me "don't overthink it, just go for it!"


Quenneville, Julie portraitJulie Quenneville
McGill University Health Centre Foundation

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Julie Quenneville is President of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation, which supports patient care, teaching and research at the MUHC, one of Canada’s top three research hospitals.

Since assuming the leadership of the MUHC Foundation in October 2015, Julie has spearheaded a transformation of the charitable organization resulting in a 60 per cent increase in annual revenue and a drop in the cost ratio from 22 per cent to 16 per cent. Last year alone, the Foundation’s donor community grew by one quarter.

Prior to her career in philanthropy, Julie joined the political cabinet of Quebec’s then Minister of Health and Social Services, Philippe Couillard. Within a year, she was promoted to Associate Chief of Staff. She ran Couillard’s Montreal office, and was responsible for steering key health legislation such as the new national policy for mental health services, the ban on smoking in all public spaces, access to services for English-speaking and cultural communities and the public health portfolio.

Julie’s most sensitive dossier was the provincial government’s campaign to save the Shriners Hospital of Canada. Shriners announced its intention to move the country’s only hospital from Quebec to Ontario in 2003. For two years, Julie coordinated the campaign to save the Shriners which involved high profile decision makers including the Premier of Quebec, the Mayor of Montreal, and the some of the city’s leading institutions, including the MUHC, McGill University, and Montreal’s Chamber of Commerce as well as many business leaders. The victory, which was deemed impossible two years prior, was announced in 2005.

Julie proudly serves on the Board of the Banff Forum and the University Club of Montreal. She was previously on the Boards of Lakeshore General Hospital and Cheerleading Quebec. For over a decade, she volunteered for AMCAL Family Services, the YMCA and The Becket Players, a federally chartered, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the performing arts in Montreal’s West Island.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Always bring passion and strategy.

SUCCESS IS: Having had a positive impact on my community.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Be proud of your ambitions.

POWER SONG: "Respect" by Aretha Franklin


Shatzko, Amanda portraitAmanda Shatzko
AS Consulting

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Award-winning director and champion for creativity, Amanda Shatzko was named a young global cultural leader due to her dedication and support to the Canadian creative industry.  With experience working with multinational companies and organizations, she has held leadership positions both internationally and domestically with small NGO’s to large privately-owned companies; overseeing multi-million-dollar sales and acquisitions.

Amanda has worked with senior executives on public and global advisory engagements. She offers a track record of providing creative leadership and guidance on complex and strategic governance, cultural diplomacy, sales growth, intercultural communications, creative intelligence skills, and public engagement projects.

Amanda was recruited as President of the Arts Council of the North Okanagan and elected as Board Director for the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture, and co-Vice Chair of the Vancouver branch of the United Nations Association in Canada.

As a consultant, Amanda supports organizational leadership and governments to improve their creative economy and gain healthy and innovative communities.  Shatzko administers educational research and workshops; regularly speaking at national and international symposiums and conferences.

Born in the Okanagan, BC, Amanda Shatzko has lived and worked across Canada and in over 25 countries around the world. She has a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, is an MA in Intercultural and International Communications graduate candidate at Royal Roads University, and holds certificates from Sotheby’s Institute NYC, MIT, and Berkley.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: That diversity and inclusion are important. Those two concepts can bridge divergent ideas to create innovation, or build collaborations that can solve problems.


Umadat, Nirvani portraitDr. Nirvani Umadat

Doctor, Founder, President
Dr. Nirvani Umadat Dental Corporation


Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Dr. Nirvani Umadat is driven to make an impact on healthcare and biological sciences. Recognized as a leader in the dental industry, her career includes clinical practice, consulting, and dental product development. Over the last nine years, Dr. Umadat has provided care to remote communities in Northern Canada, Southeast Asia, South America, and Central America. She has also used her scientific knowledge to inform dental protocols for space science as a citizen-scientist astronaut. Her entrepreneurial goals are focused around leveraging technology to improve health. Additionally, she is the co-founder of BDIN, a healthcare analytics company aimed at improving health systems using intelligent technology.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: Humbled. To be powerful is to recognize your potential is not set. It grows based on your mindset.

SUCCESS IS: A few years ago, I would have defined success completely differently. Today, I believe success is making an attempt to know myself better each day. It's making an effort to be better than I was the day before, and day by day work towards something bigger than myself.

POWER SONG: "Power" by Kanye West


Wong, Maili portraitMaili Wong
First Vice President, Investment Advisor & Portfolio Manager,
CIBC Wood Gundy

Author of ‘Smart Risk’

Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Maili Wong is a powerful business leader, best-selling published author, mother of two young children, active board member, mentor and community leader whose life’s work has been driven by a purpose for creating exponential impact. In many ways, she represents the attributes of a WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award winner in the Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders category.

From a young age, Maili was identified as a leader.  She started her first business teaching piano at age 13, and graduated high school as class president and valedictorian.  While  attending the University of British Columbia (UBC), she was one of six top finance students, and the only woman, selected to manage a multi-million dollar university endowment fund, the Portfolio Management Foundation. She simultaneously served as an elected student representative on the UBC Board of Governors, overseeing the institution’s strategic direction.

Maili graduated from UBC as “Most Outstanding Female Graduate” in 2001 and was offered the job of her dreams at a major investment bank on Wall Street in New York city. On the second  day of her new job – September 11, 2001 – two planes struck the World Trade Center,  connected to the building she was in. Despite pleas from her family to move back home, she chose to stay and work in New York for another five years, overcoming her fear of uncertainty and pursuing her passion for understanding the complexities of risk and financial decision- making. After being promoted to vice president at the male-dominated investment firm, Maili made the difficult decision to leave the prestige and glamour of Manhattan and move back to Vancouver, BC, to be closer to her family while continuing her professional impact for  Canadians.

Today, Maili is married with two young children, leads a top-ranked wealth management team at CIBC Wood Gundy, holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA)  designations,  and manages  discretionary investment portfolios her high-net-worth clients across Canada. Her goal is to empower Canadians to take control of their finances, so they can lead healthy, productive lives.

For the past seven years at CIBC Wood Gundy, Maili has risen through the ranks, becoming the top-producing advisor in her branch. In 2017, she ranked in the top 20 highest producing  advisors in the country, out of over 1000 advisors. In 2017 alone, she grew her team’s assets under management by 22% and increased gross revenue by 19%. Maili’s powerful business model and connected relationship with her clients has helped her accelerate the growth of her business, one of the fastest growing in the firm. As a result, she was recognized with  membership on the Chairman’s Council, the top honour for investment advisors at CIBC Wood Gundy.

Maili is passionate about creating exponential impact. Her life-changing experience on 9/11 and her decisions since then have taught her that life may be filled with challenges that require changing one’s mindset, in order to achieve our life’s purpose.  To empower more people with this idea, Maili wrote and published a book, “Smart Risk: Invest Like the Wealthy to Achieve a Work-Optional Life”, which launched in Times Square, New York in March 2016 and became a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Her book teaches Canadians to embrace “smart risks” in order to think differently – and then act differently when facing tough decisions – to achieve their goals.

Maili delivered a powerful TEDx Talk in October 2016 about her story of risk-taking and empowerment that has inspired viewers to start the conversation about risk. In 2017, Maili was honoured to be featured in a commemorative book highlighting 150 influential female leaders and luminaries across Canada, Canada 150 Women.

Maili is an active leader in her community and believes in the importance of mentorship for the next generation. She serves on the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, appointed by the Minister of Finance in 2016, to regulate more than 25,000 licensed realtors and to protect the public interest, and also serves as a professional board member of the UBC Portfolio Management Foundation. She co-chairs the “Up the Down Market” annual fundraiser to benefit the Down Syndrome Research Foundation, and also chairs her children’s school Parish Education Committee. In 2016, Maili created and funded the Maili Wong Scholarship in  Finance, awarded annually by UBC to a female undergraduate student in finance, to receive   both a bursary and mentorship.

Maili has been featured in the media as a leader and innovator, including as a winner of the Top Forty Under 40 Award by Business in Vancouver, a nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award, a contributor to the CFA Global Expert Panel, and as a keynote speaker at numerous business conferences across Canada.

Maili believes that true power  is highlighted in times of  challenge. It’s the unexpected challenges that shape us, stretch us and ultimately show us what we’re really made of. Maili’s contributions thus far are only the beginning of the exponential positive impact she intends to create, and hopes that as a WXN Top 100 Award winner, she can inspire more women and men to turn challenges into a source of strength, and find courage in their vulnerability to achieve their goals.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: I was 21 yrs old when I moved to New York City to pursue my career, but on the second day of my new job, September 11, 2001 – two planes struck the World Trade Center, connected to the building I was in. The shock of this unexpected tragedy taught me how to dig deep and find the courage to move forward, despite the fear. It also helped me realize that life can be filled with challenges that require a change in mindset, in order to achieve our life’s purpose. This experience shaped me into who I am today, and years later led me to write the book, “Smart Risk”, to inspire other to think differently, then act differently when facing tough decisions, to achieve their goals.


Recognizing women who own and operate thriving businesses


Angotti, Clara portraitClara Angotti
Next Pathway Inc.


Clara Angotti is a technology entrepreneur. Her ability to anticipate market trends and deliver with quality and excellence has allowed her to build and sell two technology businesses.

Most recently she founded Next Pathway, a technology consulting and engineering firm specializing in Big Data and Digital Transformation.  Next Pathway is a leading provider of software that prepares Big Data for AI and analytics.  In her role as President, Clara executes the firm’s strategy from an operational perspective.

Among her accomplishments, Clara was previously recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2011.   In 2012, she was awarded the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award, which is given to an individual who has launched one or more successful companies, has a proven track record of growth and profitability, and who is a role model to other entrepreneurs.

Clara and her husband have established a foundation to provide pediatric care to children and support to the families of the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Hawaii.   Clara is a current member of the board of trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children.  She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  Clara is also passionate for the arts and her beloved city; she and her husband were founding members of the international arts festival, Luminato.

Clara received her Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto in 1988.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: People only do business with people that they like.

SUCCESS IS: Being paid for something that you love doing and are good at.


POWER SONG: "We are the Champions" by Queen


Germain, Christiane portraitChristiane Germain
Co-Founder and Co-President
Group Germain Hotels


Christiane Germain is co-founder and co-president of Group Germain Hotels, a family business that currently owns and operates Le Germain Hotels, Alt and Alt+ Hotels across Canada. She oversees operations and marketing for all of the company’s 16 properties.

Raised in a family of entrepreneurs from Quebec City, Christiane Germain became familiar with the realities of the business world at a young age, giving her the business sense to take the family restaurant business into the hotel industry with the opening of Group Germain’s first hotel in 1988.

Under her collaboration with Jean-Yves Germain, her brother and co-president, Group Germain’s two hotel banners, Le Germain Hotels and Alt Hotels, have experienced exceptional growth over the past 30 years. Having recently introduced a third hotel banner on the market by opening their first Alt+ Hotel on Montreal’s South Shore, the co-presidents are getting closer to reaching their goal of offering travelers a network of 20 hotels across Canada by 2020.

Pioneer of the boutique hotel concept in Canada, Group Germain Hotels is distinguished by the impeccable hospitality and style it brings to its properties. Its unique business model is based on a vertical integration strategy sustained by an organic growth that allows the company to maintain full control over the future of the business and full command of the exceptional product that the hotelier seeks to offer its guests.

Christiane Germain’s approach: build on the best refinements offered across the globe, while staying true to Quebec’s style of warmth and hospitality, draw inspiration from the chic and harmony found in Europe and effectively meet the needs and expectations of customers the North American way.

Thanks to her tremendous sense of entrepreneurship, her sense of innovation and her ability to anticipate trends and consumer tastes, Christiane Germain has managed to instill an unusual dynamism into the company, shared by hundreds of employees whose quality of service is essential to the success of the hotel group. After 30 years in the industry, Christiane is especially proud to be able to offer career opportunities to people who share the values of the Group Germain Hotels family.

Committed to the economic vitality of the country, Christiane attaches great importance to the development of Canadian talent, which she supports particularly through the local procurement policy implemented by the Group. Whether it be companies that provide a service or a product, or local artists and artisans, she takes particular satisfaction in contributing directly or indirectly to their success.

In addition to presiding over a growing business, Christiane Germain is chair of the board of directors of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and is involved in supporting numerous charities. Being one of the investors on “Dans l’oeil du dragon”, the Quebec adaptation of the popular TV series Dragon’s Den, allows her to share her knowledge and expertise with local entrepreneurs.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: My father often told me that if you want to move forward, you have to keep reinvesting in your business. This is exactly what we did and it paid off!

SUCCESS IS: A decision. ''If you don't run your own life, someone else will'' - John Atkinson


Liddon, Angela portraitAngela Liddon
Oh She Glows


Ten years ago, Angela Liddon founded Oh She Glows—a destination for energizing plant-based recipes, stunning food photography, and inspiration for healthy living. Since then, she’s become the award-winning author behind The New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling cookbooks The Oh She Glows Cookbook and Oh She Glows Every Day. In 2014, The Oh She Glows Cookbook was selected as Indigo’s Book of the Year. Most recently, Oh She Glows Every Day took home gold at the 2017 Taste Canada Awards for Health and Special Diet Cookbook of the year. Building on the success of her wildly popular cookbooks, Angela launched The Oh She Glows Recipe App in 2016. It has been downloaded over 200,000 times globally, is regularly selected as Apple’s App of the Day, and is continually lauded for its beautiful design and Angela’s mouthwatering food photography.

In 2009, Angela founded to share her love of vibrant, wholesome, and delicious cooking with the world. Her blog continues to receive millions of visitors each month, readers around the globe praising Angela’s ability to create recipes beloved by vegans and omnivores alike. Angela’s work has been featured in local and international publications such as VegNews, O: The Oprah Magazine, Fitness, The Kitchn, Self, Shape, The National Post, The Guardian, Glamour, The Telegraph, barre3, T.O.F.U., and Best Health, among others. She has also won several major writing and blogging awards, including VegNews’s Best Vegan Blog 2012, 2014, and 2015; Taste Canada's Health & Special Diet Food Blog 2017; Chatelaine’s Hot 20 under 30 award; and Food Buzz’s Best Veg Blog and Best Overall Blog.

Angela lives in Oakville, Ontario with her husband Eric and their two children.

SUCCESS IS: All comes back to love. Do I feel love deep in my soul for what I’m doing? Are my kids and my husband happy and loved? Am I taking time to enjoy the process rather than allowing perfectionist thinking to take hold? My definition of success has grown so much since starting the blog, writing my two cookbooks, and becoming a mother. Today, success is knowing that I have the power to push through challenges while taking the time I need for myself to balance and stay healthy. After struggling with illness this past year, one of my biggest wake-up calls was realizing that it’s okay to take a break even if that means letting go of a professional goal for the time being.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: I’ve struggled with negative thoughts about myself and my body throughout my life, but the biggest advice I would give my younger self is to treat myself with compassion, nourish my body with foods that make me feel good, and surround myself with other women who are healthy role models inside and out. As for my career, becoming a mother has reminded me that life isn’t just about professional success, and I know that some areas of my life will ebb and flow as I continue to grow as both a parent and business-owner. I would tell my younger self that it’s impossible to go “full throttle” in every aspect of life simultaneously, and to accept that some things need to give to continue pushing forward.

POWER SONG: "Courage" by The Tragically Hip


McGregor, Ellen portraitEllen McGregor
President and Chief Executive Officer
Fielding Environmental


Fielding Environmental is an award winning clean-tech company specializing in chemical and refrigerant recovery to produce high quality recycled chemicals.  Committed to serving the peak of the waste management hierarchy, Ellen trade marked the phrase Cradle to Cradle® long before the words had market meaning.  She is a champion for innovation believing that Canada can and should be the world’s leader in resource recovery. Believing that credentials are pivotal to sustainability, Ellen led Fielding to acquire internationally recognized credentials including ISO 9001, ISO 14001 - significant differentiators from the competition. Ellen is a vocal advocate for changes in legislation that will incent the growth of the recycling industry.  She has been featured on TV and radio to discuss how to turn triple bottom line management philosophy into action to generate shareholder returns.

Recognized for her accomplishments in business and for business, Ellen was named Business Person of the Year by the Mississauga Board of Trade and by Heritage Mississauga. She is profiled in the book “Extraordinary Lives: Inspiring Women of Peel” written to pay tribute to women who have made outstanding community contributions over the past 200 years. She is also a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award and has won several awards for leadership in environmental excellence including the Clean16 Award, an award bestowed on people who have made significant contributions to sustainability in Canada. Over the years Ellen has held many board positions to help guide business associations, academia, start-ups and charities.

Ellen lives with her husband and youngest daughter on a hobby farm north of Waterdown.  She writes music and lyrics, loves to be outdoors and to travel.

 Current Directorships and Roles

  • CEO, principal owner and Chair Fielding Environmental Director STDC
  • Member, Mississauga Economic Development Advisory Council
  • Director, Council for Canadian Innovators
  • Director, Credit Valley Conservation Foundation
  • Co-founder and director LINCit

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: The need to focus on social license as a key element of corporate sustainability.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Writing music - dancing to the music I have written.

POWER SONG: One of the songs I wrote, called "Dare to Dream"


Merrifield Wasylyk, Renee portraitRenee Merrifield Wasylyk
Chief Executive Officer
Troika Management Corp


Renee Merrifield Wasylyk, CEO of Troika Group, leads a Western Canadian organization including commercial and residential development projects and construction companies. Troika has projects in four provinces including commercial buildings, residential developments, and master-planned communities on over a thousand acres.

Renee’s tenacity, determination, intellect, and ambition were represented by her graduating as Valedictorian from her first Master’s degree program at the age of 21. Her second Master’s Degree in Business Administration was from the University of Liverpool (2011), where her dissertation was on Self- Awareness in Leaders and its Contribution to Corporate Profitability. Renee is a leader on issues of urban planning, health, leadership, water conservation and use, women in leadership, and eradicating child poverty cycles and is a frequent speaker.

Life as an entrepreneur had humble beginnings for Renee. Moving to the Okanagan Valley in the late 90s was difficult as jobs in BC were scarce, so she harnessed her entrepreneurial energy to create not only a job, but a community-minded business that would become an anchor during the recession of 2008-2010. Renee’s business, Troika Management Corp., was germinated from a development and property management consulting business. She initially contracted to others to while building her business plan for the launch of her own real estate and land Development Company. Despite choosing a non-traditional career path for a woman, Renee overcame the odds and not only started a company that developed into a community leader but also built a reputation of being an industry trailblazer.

Renee was recognized as WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2017, EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year (Pacific) in Real Estate (2015), Business in Vancouver’s Most Influential Woman in Business in 2015, was 2012`s Maureen Enser Future Leader Award winner, was recognized as one of CHBA Canada`s Top 20 Most Influential People in Residential Development and by Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 award. Additionally, Renee was 2008s Business Excellence Award recipient for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

In addition to her day job, Renée is the Chair of the Breakfast Club of Canada’s National Board, a board member for the First West Credit Union, and on the External Advisory Committee for UBCO. She was a delegate of the Canadian Government to the United Nations in 2015. She was the Vice-Chair of the Premier’s Women’s Economic Council of BC, was a director for the Interior Health Board, was the Past- Chair of the Urban Development Institute (Okanagan), and the Past-Chair of the Economic Development Commission.

In addition to being a CEO and board member, Renee also enjoys speaking and has a radio show once a month.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Bravery is an action, not a feeling. Don't wait for the feeling before the world needs you to act bravely. Just do it!

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Be more confident in who you are and in your position in the world's destiny. Don't try to be loud, but influential. It's not always those that achieve the most attention that will achieve the greatest results.


Mielke, Rachel portraitRachel Mielke
Chief Executive Officer
Hillberg & Berk Accessories Inc.


Rachel Mielke, CEO and founder of Hillberg & Berk, is passionate about creating beautiful jewellery, and empowering women in the process. Her Regina-based  luxury jewellery company’s success story is about more than making money; it’s focused on helping make a difference in the world – one sparkle at a time.

Through determination, hard work and business savvy, the Saskatchewan-born entrepreneur was able to take a few beads and a dream and transform them from a one-woman, kitchen-table-based operation into a multi-million-dollar company, with a large staff, housed in a spacious, world-class facility. Along the way, Rachel has inspired, supported and encouraged women to also find their sparkle.

Her company now has retail locations in Saskatchewan and Alberta, wholesale stores across Canada, and an online store serving customers globally.

A successful pitch on CBC’s Dragon’s Den helped Rachel grow her business. And showcasing the brand on The Shopping Channel has significantly boosted online sales.

Rachel is proud to have created a global supply chain, based in Regina, that sets Hillberg & Berk apart from other companies in the jewellery industry.

Her company has been commissioned to design custom jewellery for the Queen. It has made Canadian Olympic athletes sparkle. And the brand has been showcased at the Oscars.

While being recognized both locally and globally for her many impressive accomplishments, Rachel has remained humble. She continues to  lead with her heart, and inspire by example. A true gem, Rachel sparkles as a CEO!

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: I learned many lessons from my first job as a paper girl; build relationships, be reliable, and do a good job even when things get tough.

SUCCESS IS: Having the freedom to choose.



Minhas, Manjit portraitManjit Minhas
CEO and Co-founder
Minhas Breweries and Distilleries


Manjit Minhas is 38 years old and was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta.  This Petroleum Engineering student turned beer baroness is a Dragon on the hit TV show  Dragons' Den on CBC in its 13th season (for which she has been on for 4 seasons).

Manjit is the co-founder and co-owner of the Minhas Breweries,  Distilleries and Wineries.  She started her companies at the ripe age of 19 in Alberta, she launched her first beer in Alberta in 2002 with her business partner and brother, Ravinder Minhas, making her the youngest brewery owner in the world. Together, they gave the big boys a run for their money, thereby becoming the first successful company to enter the Canadian beer industry in many decades. Currently, she has over 90 brands of beers, spirits, liqueurs and wines.  Her products are sold in 5 provinces ( Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan , Manitoba and British Columbia), as well as 45 states throughout the USA and 16 other countries .

To date, her breweries have sold over 7 billion pints of beer!  Making the Minhas Breweries the 9th largest brewery. beer drinkers in Canada and USA have welcomed her style of beer as a tasty alternative to the higher priced mediocre beers that dominate the market place.

Manjit takes Social Responsibility very seriously.  Manjit Minhas is the 1st brewer in Canada to voluntarily put a Management Warning on all her beer cans. The Management Warning on the cans reads " MANAGEMENT WARNING: Please do not drink and drive - ever.  Expectant mothers should avoid drinking alcoholic products. Enjoy this product responsibly - Respect yourself and others".   She puts this on all her products because she believes as a responsible brewer and citizen of this country, it is important she does her part to educate Canadians.

Manjit created and manufactures a special 48 can pack of Kirkland Light beers for Costco sold around the world which has the least amount of packaging materials compared to any other product in Canada or USA.  It uses no plastic hi-cone rings and needs least amount of box material.  This product alone will save millions of pounds of packaging materials ending up in the already over-filled landfills.  Similarly, Manjit has sold millions of cases of other brands of her beers such as Boxer Lager with minimum packaging materials using sound engineering principles in protecting the environment.

Manjit believes that effective use of science and engineering can do a lot of good in people's lives.  She has used her engineering background in producing beer using least amount of cleaning and water treatment chemicals, gas, electricity and water.  Canadian and American consumers suffering from the Celiac disease have also been beneficiary of her innovative method of making best tasting Gluten Free beer from Sorghum and sold at half the price of the competition.

In 2017 Manjit’s companies had revenues in excess of $187 million.

Manjit currently serves as a Board of Director for ATB Financial, United Way, 2026 Olympic Bid Co and has served on The TransCanada Trail and West Island College and was the 2017 United Way Campaign co-chair raising $60 Million plus for this charity that is close to her heart. Manjit donates her time and money to many philanthropic endeavours that benefits youth and and help educate girls in STEM.

Manjit still calls Calgary home with her husband and two young daughters.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I feel honored because I want to inspire as many women as I can to become powerful in their personal lives, businesses and careers.

SUCCESS IS: Having a job that you enjoy and enables you financially, a spouse and family that loves and cares for you, children that make you proud by who they are and what they do, having the freedom to do what you want.


Moss, Jacqueline portraitJacqueline Moss
CEO & Founder


After holding a variety of senior corporate and legal positions and enjoying being a member of various boards since 2000, a personal experience inspired Jacqueline Moss to launch Giftgowns in 2016. Giftgowns are fun and stylish hospital gowns meant to boost morale and bring a smile to those who find themselves in the hospital. She is also currently a corporate board director at IMCO and at Minto REI T and chairs the human resources and nominations and governance committees, respectively, on those boards. This is her third Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Hard work is key.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Don’t sweat the small stuff.


TELUS Future Leaders.

Recognizing women under the age of 30 who have distinguished themselves early in their careers


Couldrey, Jen portraitJennifer Couldrey
Executive Director
The Upside Foundation of Canada

TELUS Future Leaders

Jen Couldrey is widely known and respected as a ‘tech + philanthropy’ champion in Canada.   As the Executive Director of The Upside Foundation of Canada, Jen is leading the movement to embed giving back into the Canadian tech and innovation community. Through The Upside Foundation, early-stage, high-growth companies donate equity (typically stock options), which, upon a liquidity event, convert to cash for their charity of choice. Through her leadership, Jen has grown The Upside Foundation from 50 companies pledged to over 200, to have a strong brand and reputation, receiving regular media coverage, and driving the conversation to help the tech community be more conscious and purposeful about its social impact.

Prior to Upside, Jen worked in corporate social responsibility (CSR) consulting, helping Canada’s largest companies to measure and report on the social and business impact of their community investments. Prior to this, Jen worked on the Managerial Design team in Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting practice, designing and facilitating meetings for senior leadership teams to improve their operational effectiveness through structured business/strategic planning processes. She has also worked with a local  women's group in Kenya to establish a sustainable business model for a health focused entrepreneurial venture.

Jen comments frequently in the press and at industry events about technology and giving back, appearing in industry publications such as The Globe and Mail, Betakit, and Strategy Online. She volunteers in the community extensively, including serving on the Board of Directors for Future Possibilities for Kids and on the SickKids Tech & Innovation Advisory Council. Jen has been recognized as one of the Top 30 Women Making a Difference in Tech by Ryerson DMZ and as a Corporate Knights Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leader.

EARLY, LAST LESSON: Pay attention to your gut. Always look for opportunities to learn new things. Say yes to that which excites you. Be kind.

SUCCESS IS: Continuous learning and growth, finding joy in daily life, and having a deeper purpose than yourself.


Doria, Nicole portraitNicole Doria
Research Manager
Dalhousie University

TELUS Future Leaders

Nicole Doria is a dynamic researcher, award-winning advocate, and change-maker in the areas of Indigenous health and sexualized violence. Nicole holds leadership positions with the Indigenous Health Interest Group at Dalhousie University and the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre Board of Directors in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Within these organizations she works towards improving Indigenous health and wellness, advancing Indigenous curriculum, implementing affirmative action policies, preventing sexual assault/abuse, and changing the current socio-political culture that facilitates sexualized violence. In 2017, Nicole received the Dr. Burnley Allan “Rocky” Jones Individual Award, an individual award of excellence from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. Nicole has also been recognized by Dalhousie University with two prestigious awards: Governor General’s Gold Medal Award for the most outstanding Master’s Graduate in the Humanities and Social Sciences (2018), and Board of Governors’ Award for exceptional leadership on and off campus (2017). Nicole will be continuing health research at the doctoral level that investigates women’s experiences of technology-facilitated sexualized violence.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: It is a privilege to work fearlessly towards influencing change that I believe in.

SUCCESS IS: Loving what you do and doing it your utmost potential.


Ng, Selena portraitSelena Ng
Director, HR Business Partner, Canadian Operations
Sun Life Financial

TELUS Future Leaders

Selena is passionate about the employee experience and partnering with client groups to develop and grow their talent by balancing the advocacy of both employees and the business. As Director, HR Business Partner for Sun Life’s Canadian Operations, Selena uses her dynamic leadership skills to attract, engage and grow employees – and foster a collaborative and inclusive culture.  She is known as an effective critical thinker and a fast and avid learner who drives progress and change within the organization, all while effectively managing employees’ needs.

In her role, Selena is responsible for shaping the talent strategy and accompanying programs for 1,600 employees within Sun Life’s Canadian Operations. Partnering with senior leaders, she gets to the root cause of opportunities and challenges by leveraging and analyzing talent metrics, and then strategically plans talent priorities for the business by considering the big picture. Selena leverages a mix of HR best practices and creative solutions to oversee and manage annual processes, including performance management, compensation program reviews, succession planning and engagement.

Selena joined Sun Life in 2012 as part of its Rotational Leadership Development Program. During the three-year program, she gained valuable business experience by being in a different role and business each year, including the Project Management Office, Group Benefits and HR. After graduating from the program, Selena joined the Sun Life Canadian Human Resources team as a Senior HR Business Consultant and has held increasingly senior positions, a testament to her leadership capabilities. Selena was asked to lead the Rotational Leadership Development Program, only a few years after finishing the program herself. Following this, Selena was promoted into her current role, Director, HR Business Partner for Canadian Operations.

A firm believer in being vested in the community, Selena volunteers with the United Way Greater Toronto as a GenNext Cabinet Member where she helps build United Way awareness among young professionals within Sun Life and is a mentor and advisor to new immigrants to Canada with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

Selena has a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University and she achieved the Human Resources Management Certification from Ryerson University. She is currently working towards her CHRL designation.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Always be honest with those around you and bring your genuine self. This builds the transparency needed to have trustworthy, strong relationships in both your personal and professional life.

POWER SONG: "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift


Nuth, Alexandra portraitAlexandra Nuth
Managing Director, Challenger Bank Initiative
ATB Financial

TELUS Future Leaders

Alexandra Nuth is a Managing Director at ATB Financial where she leads the team responsible for standing up a new digital venture for the organization.  Responsible for a large (multi-million) capital expenditure budget, Alex drives the strategy and activities across a wide range of work streams including Strategy, Risk/Governance/Compliance, Product Management/Development, Consumer Research, Marketing, Customer Support/Sales and more.

In her previous role, she was Director of the Strategic Coordination Office at ATB Financial where she led strategic initiatives, strategic planning, competitive intelligence for the organization.  Prior to that, she worked at ATB in the innovation group.

Prior to ATB,  she started her career in Accenture's Strategy Consulting practice where she worked on consulting engagements focused on Corporate Strategy, Corporate Innovation, and Operational Strategy (Workforce, Finance, and Supply Chain).

Alex is active in her community, She serves on the Calgary Homeless Foundation board, is past-chair and current general board director of the Alberta Science Network, is on an Industry Advisory Council for technology curriculum at the Haskayne School of Business and volunteers with the Calgary Stampede on their Next Generation Committee.

She holds a MBA with the Queen's school of business and an undergraduate degree in commerce from the Haskayne school of business at the University of Calgary.

Outside of work, you can find her in the mountains hiking, biking or snowboarding.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Nothing is beneath you.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Take risks - often and always. If you are uncomfortable, its probably the right thing to do.

POWER SONG: "Started from the Bottom" by Drake


Ziv, Maayan portraitMaayan Ziv
Founder & CEO

TELUS Future Leaders

Maayan Ziv is an activist, a photographer and an entrepreneur. Living with Muscular Dystrophy, Maayan is a passionate and relentless advocate for creating a more accessible and inclusive world. In 2015, Maayan founded AccessNow, a digital platform that is mobilizing communities by mapping the accessibility of places and experiences worldwide. As the founder and CEO of AccessNow, Maayan is a regular in the media on topics such as accessibility, diversity and inclusion. Maayan is the proud recipient of the City of Toronto Access Award, the Startup Canada National Resilient Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the David C. Onley Leadership in Accessibility Award in recognition of her innovative solutions and commitment to improving the lives of people of all abilities.

Maayan also acts as an advisor to the Government of Canada on disability and inclusion initiatives and sits on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council and the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto.

She earned a Bachelor's degree in Radio and Television Arts and a Master's degree in Digital Media at Ryerson University.

KPMG Professionals.

Recognizing women who are professionals in practice who play a leadership role within their organizations


Blair, Linda portraitLinda Blair
Managing Partner, Ontario Region

KPMG Professionals

Linda Blair’s career journey is far from traditional. With a BSc in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario, she spent the first years of her career applying her education in the field of Oncology. Four years later, Linda decided to leave the nursing profession to enter the corporate arena, where she pursued an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Today, she is known as a leader in transforming Canada’s health care system and a member of Deloitte Canada’s Executive team.

With over 20 years of consulting experience, Linda is currently the Managing Partner for Deloitte in Ontario. Responsible for leading marketplace activities, strategy and operations for the Ontario practice, Linda enables a high-performing team to deliver exceptional client service and results.

Throughout her career, Linda has gained extensive project experience, particularly in large-scale critical transformational projects and IT integration in the health sector, in both Canada and the United States. She has applied that experience to the various roles and responsibilities she’s held at Deloitte over the last several years. Before leading Ontario, Linda successfully led Deloitte’s Toronto Consulting practice—of over 1300 professionals—to embrace innovative services and grow market share, while also helping them develop a cadre of extraordinary talent.

Her passion for health care though goes beyond her work at Deloitte. An avid community builder, Linda has dedicated her time over the years to various causes focused on improving the lives of children. Linda previously held a position on the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario fundraising board, and led a charity curling event with a group of friends that raised $1 million in support of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Additionally, Linda has been actively involved with the Rotman School of Management as a Member of the Health and Life Sciences Advisory Board, and she was formerly an Adjunct Professor where she developed and taught a highly regarded consulting course. She also served four years as a Director on the board of Digital Health Canada; Canada’s Health Informatics Association.

In her free time, Linda enjoys traveling, skiing, golfing, and spending time at the cottage with her 10 year old daughter, Olivia.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Lead with empathy, humility and fun. Relentllessly invest in people and relationships and build a diverse team that supports each other.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: To me, power is strength. The strength to have the courage to stand up for what you believe in and make difficult decisions.

POWER SONG: "Girl is on Fire" by Alicia Keys


Boisvert, Sonia portraitSonia Boisvert
Partner and Leader, Assurance, Greater Montréal

KPMG Professionals

Sonia is a partner and the leader, Assurance, Greater Montreal at PwC. She has more than 25 years of experience in Audit and Assurance. Until July 2018, she led the PwC’s National Retail and Consumer practice.

Her clients include some of Canada’s leading corporations.  She is currently the lead engagement partner on Alimentation Couche Tard, Stella-Jones, Group MTY, White Birch Paper, among others. She has also worked with major international clients including WSP, Agropur, Garda World Corporation and Cascades. Sonia is highly experienced in leading worldwide audit teams and in dealing with companies growing internationally through acquisitions.

Sonia also leads PwC’s Family Inc. group, which is dedicated to serving family businesses in different industries with a focus on successful transition between generations.

Education & Career Achievements:

Sonia finished first in all of Quebec in the final exams to obtain her CPA designation in 1993.

She joined PwC the same year and worked in PwC New Zealand in 1998 as a senior auditor. She was admitted to partnership in 2003.

Sonia serve on the executive committee of PwC in Quebec and was a member of the Canadian Extended Leadership group. She has been identified as part of the PwC G500, a world-wide group of leaders who demonstrate the potential to lead in mission critical network roles.

In 2017, Sonia was designated as Fellow of the Quebec CPA Order an honour granted to less than 2% of members. She also serves on the Order’s Board and Executive Committee.

Sonia has served on the Canadian partnership Board of PwC since 2015, and has been part of the Governance committee since 2017.

Sonia is active in the community, serving on the Board of Théâtre du Nouveau Monde from 2014 to 2017. Since 2018, she serve on the Board of Youth in Mind Foundation. She is also involved with the CHU Sainte-Justine and the Mélio Foundation.

In 2016, she received the young leader award from the University of Sherbrooke School of Management.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Be fair with everyone around me. And always remain open to opportunities that can bring me forward (in my professional and personal life).

SUCCESS IS: When, as a team, we feel we did great work and exceeded our, and others’ expectations.

ADVICE I SHOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Be yourself. Take your career in hand, don’t wait for others. And do what you enjoy in life. Have fun!


Fijalkowski, Dagmara portraitDagmara Fijalkowski
Head, Global Fixed Income & Currencies, Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager
RBC Global Asset Management Inc.

KPMG Professionals

As Head of Global Fixed Income and Currencies at RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM), Dagmara leads a team of more than 40 investment professionals in Canada, the UK, and the US, with approximately C$100 billion in assets under management. Among the investment solutions managed by the team is the RBC Bond Fund, the largest fixed income mutual fund in Canada that has delivered top quartile performance for clients in the past 5 and 10 years. In addition, Dagmara’s team manages a range of other high performing mutual funds covering the entire spectrum of fixed income investment offerings. In her duties as portfolio manager, Dagmara also leads the management of active currency overlay programs and foreign exchange hedging for the firm. Dagmara has built this area from the ground up over the past 20 years and it has been one of the differentiating factors for RBC GAM. In addition to her fixed income responsibilities, Dagmara is a key member of the Investment Policy Committee, which determines the tactical asset mix for a suite of balanced funds managed by RBC GAM. In 2016 she was appointed to the RBC GAM Executive Committee. She is passionate about the development of investment professionals and is constantly reinforcing foundations of the investment management business to ensure its long term success. Dagmara, who immigrated to Canada in 1989, began her investment career in 1994, holds an MBA degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the Western University in Canada and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lodz in Poland. She has been a CFA charter-holder since 1997. She serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Masters of Financial Economics Program and a member of the Canadian Foreign Exchange Committee. Dagmara is a member of the International Women’s Forum.

EARLY, LASTING ADVICE: "Think for yourself" - I grew up in socialist Poland and my parents taught me to question dogma, evaluate the information and make my own decisions.

SUCCESS IS: Loving what you do for a living.


Gibson, Catherine portraitCatherine Gibson
Managing Partner, Vancouver Office
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

KPMG Professionals

Catherine Gibson is a nationally recognized business lawyer with a practice that focusses on corporate/commercial and real estate matters. Catherine has over 20 years’ experience providing strategic advice to her clients in a broad range of commercial matters, including mergers and acquisitions; office, retail and industrial leasing; real estate development; corporate finance and lending; and corporate structuring. As the Managing Partner of the DLA Piper Vancouver office and a former member of the firm’s National Executive Committee, she is an exemplary leader and change maker who is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within the firm.


  • Member, Urban Development Institute
  • Member of the Advisory Board, Western Canada General Counsel Awards, 2015 and 2017
  • Former Director, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs BC
  • Member, Law Society of British Columbia
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association (Real Property, Banking and Health Subsections)


  • Best Lawyers in Canada (Real Estate Law), 2015-2019
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (Property Leasing), 2017-2018


  • Member, Editorial Board of Commercial Leasing Annotated Precedents (The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia), 2005-2018
  • Author of Annual Updates to Law Society of BC Practice Checklist Manual for Commercial Lease Drafting and Commercial Lease Procedure

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Be true to yourself - and speak up!

SUCCESS IS: Feeling good about yourself.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Walking and running; travel.

POWER SONG: "Heartlines" by Florence + the Machine


Giesbrecht, Tina portraitTina Giesbrecht
General Counsel, Legal & Privacy
Alberta Health Services

KPMG Professionals

Tina Giesbrecht has been a lawyer for over 20 years, practicing for most of her career in private practice in the complex and always interesting area of Labour & Employment law.  She has been a strong advocate for diversity policies and programs, respectful workplaces, human rights, and effective labour relations.  She has primarily represented employers and has developed long lasting relationships with her clients as a trusted advisor.

Tina commenced her career in 1993 at Pitblado LLP in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  In 2001 she relocated to Calgary, Alberta where she worked as an Associate at Field LLP.  In 2004 she joined the national law firm of McCarthy Tetrault LLP where she achieved partnership in the Labour & Employment Department.

Driven by her desire to provide service to her community, Tina joined Alberta Health Services (AHS) in 2012.  After providing her leadership in an Acting capacity, Tina accepted the role of General Counsel of AHS in early 2016.  Her Labour & Employment law expertise provided her an excellent background to ensure her success in this complex role.  Her experience in private practice included: leading negotiations, drafting agreements, developing policy, conducting investigations, advocating in the courts and before tribunals, and the overall awareness of human resource issues in the workplace.

Recent Accomplishments:

Under Tina’s leadership, the Legal & Privacy department has supported the organization through some significant legal and privacy matters including:

  • The development of AHS’ procedures to address the Medical Assistance in Dying legislation, and providing ongoing legal guidance to the clinical staff and physicians, with recognition for the sensitivity and compassion required to address these matters. This work has placed Alberta as a leader in this area of the law;
  • the successful development of a case management process to manage the significant number of labour arbitrations that arise in an organization of 110,000+ employees (where 90% are working under a labour agreement);
  • the amendments required to allow for Safe Injection Sites in Alberta to address the Opioid crisis which required the team to move swiftly and collaboratively with various levels of government and departments within AHS;
  • the commercial negotiation with a software vendor to develop “Connect Care” which will be a clinical information system for the entire AHS infrastructure allowing for one patient one record in the province.
  • the negotiation of the commercial agreements required to build the new Cancer Centre in Calgary, and the new hospitals in both Grande Prairie and Edmonton.
  • the restructuring of Alberta laboratories services into one wholly owned subsidiary of AHS – and the development of the corresponding governance for such an enterprise; and
  • the development of an improved privacy culture at AHS to ensure improved mitigation of privacy matters following two significant privacy breaches that received unfavourable media attention about AHS.

Director on Corporate and Not- for-Profit Boards:

  • ISN Canada Ltd. – as the Canadian Director of an International company
  • Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta Liability & Property Insurance Plan (LPIP); and
  • Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP)

Hudson, Lynne portraitLynne Hudson
President & Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Cancer Society

KPMG Professionals

Lynne Hudson is President & CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada and a leading provider of cancer information and invaluable support services for those affected by the disease. Prior to joining CCS in October 2016, she served as CEO of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF).

Lynne’s visionary leadership was instrumental in the success of the historic merger between CBCF and CCS in February 2017. Her results-oriented approach helped guide CCS through tremendous transformational change to achieve an incredible 28% year-over-year reduction in fundraising expenses in its first fiscal year post-merger.

An accomplished leader with extensive experience in change management, strategic planning, fundraising and development, Lynne has worked in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors both domestically and internationally. She held an executive leadership role at Plan International Canada for 8 years. During her time there, Lynne helped drive revenues from $75 million to over $200 million, and championed programs promoting girls’ rights and gender equality around the world. She has also worked with Ernst & Young in their Financial Management Group and with Nortel Networks in a variety of roles in Toronto and Miami.

Lynne is a member of the Board of Directors of the Health Charities Coalition of Canada (HCCC), and Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC). She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from the University of Miami.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: You can’t possibly have all the answers yourself. If you are lucky enough to find true mentors and trusted colleagues, learn from them and truly value them to bring shared success.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: What happens this year is not forever – so don’t get hung up on missteps. Stay focused on the big picture. Trust your instincts – if you’re feeling mostly positive then keep going even if the going is tough and if not, change direction sooner rather than later and get on with it.


Montefiore, Silvia portraitSilvia Montefiore
Canadian Managing Partner, Business Enablement and Operations (Chief Operating Officer)

KPMG Professionals

Silvia is the Canadian Managing Partner, Business Enablement and Operations for KPMG Canada, and is a key member of the firm’s Management Committee.  In this role, Silvia is responsible for Finance, Human Resources, Procurement & Real Estate, Information Technology, and Office of the Partner. She is a past Vice-Chair and past Member of the Board of Directors for KPMG Canada and also served as Business Leader of the GTA’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Audit Practice and as GTA HR Partner.

As a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 25 years of experience, Silvia has been the Lead Audit Partner or Engagement Quality Control Reviewing Partner for some of KPMG’s largest clients in the TMT sector. She also has extensive experience advising large clients on initial and secondary public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and complex accounting and compliance issues relating to public company requirements in Canada and the U.S.

Silvia’s community involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors of William Osler Health Systems, which operates hospitals in Etobicoke and the Region of Peel, Ontario. She is a founding sponsor of Women Get On Board, which aims to get more women involved in board work; member of Women United, an organization of professional women committed to helping women in poverty gain economic self-sufficiency; and past co-chair of KPMG’s United Way Employee Campaign for the GTA for four years.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Stay focused on what's really important and don't sweat the small stuff.

SUCCESS IS: Helping others achieve their full potential.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Always be open to new opportunities and challenges that take you outside your comfort zone.

POWER SONG: "Brave" by Sara Bareilles


Roome, Catherine portraitCatherine Roome
President & CEO
Technical Safety BC

KPMG Professionals

Catherine is a courageous, visionary leader who is relentlessly driven to change the world.  She believes that people have an extraordinary ability to bring a shared vision into reality, and her passion and commitment to growing the next generation of leaders inspires the modern, diverse people practice at Technical Safety BC.

As a ‘futurist’, Catherine is building Technical Safety BC’s place in the algorithmic economy, where predictive insights create long-term value, towards our vision of Safe Technical Systems. Everywhere.

An electrical engineer, and one of BC’s senior leaders in the engineering and technology sector, she has consistently delivered game changing strategies that use technology innovation for public good.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Once, when stressing over an outcome, I was told to "hold it lightly" ... and for ever after I have tried to focus much, much more on building leadership strengths in others as a way to reach a goal, and far less on the goal itself. time and again, this has lead to an even stronger outcome despite the fact I was "holding it lightly".

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Practice compassion. starting with yourself.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: On the weekend you can often find me underneath a rhododendron...I am a passionate gardener and try to bring a little bit of the Himalayas into my north Vancouver back yard!


Stavridis, Georgia portraitGeorgia Stavridis
SVP Head of Financial Crime Compliance
HSBC Bank Canada

KPMG Professionals

Georgia Stavridis was appointed Head of Financial Crime Compliance for HSBC Bank Canada in September 2014.

Ms Stavridis joined HSBC in 2001, and has held a variety of senior compliance roles in the bank. Previous roles include: Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer, Chief Compliance Officer of the Trust and Mutual Fund businesses, Head of Compliance for the Retail Banking business, Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Senior Legal Counsel. Before joining HSBC, Ms Stavridis practiced law at a Canadian law firm and held a client facing role in corporate trust.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I feel very honoured. It reinforces my sense of responsibility and aspiration to be a role model, a mentor and sponsor to future female leaders, ensuring they too have the opportunity to achieve all they are capable of.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: I love to travel with my husband, daughter, other family and friends, and read. I am also working exercise back into my life, having completed triathlons in the past (including Ironman Canada in 2005).


Steedman, Olivia portraitOlivia Steedman
Managing Director, Infrastructure and Natural Resources
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

KPMG Professionals

Olivia Steedman has over 20 years’ experience of private equity investing in the infrastructure and natural resources (INR) sectors.  While at OTPP she has held various roles as it relates to the INR portfolio including leading the Asset Management function; heading the Greenfield and Renewables Group which focuses on investments in the development and construction phases; serving on multiple portfolio company boards; and overseeing the portfolio construction function.  A Professional Engineer and Chartered Professional Accountant, Steedman also has an ICD.D certification from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Take risks. Embrace change. Always be learning.

SUCCESS IS: Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it - Maya Angelou


Thomas, Joy portraitJoy Thomas
President and CEO
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

KPMG Professionals

Joy Thomas, MBA, FCPA, FCMA, C. Dir., is President and CEO of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), one of the largest national accounting organizations in the world representing more than 210,000 members. CPA Canada, created through the unification of three legacy accounting designations, is a respected voice in the business, government, education and non-profit sectors and champions sustainable economic growth and social development. The unified organization is celebrating five years of serving the profession, advocating for the public interest and supporting the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards. CPA Canada develops leading-edge thought leadership, research, guidance and educational programs to ensure its members are equipped to drive success and shape the future.

Prior to joining CPA Canada, Joy was president and chief executive officer of The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada), a position she assumed in June 2009.  In this position, Joy played a key role in the historic unification of Canada’s three legacy designations under the CPA banner.

In 2005, Joy was named a fellow of CMA Canada, a prestigious award that recognized CMAs who bring distinction to the profession and serve as role models.

Joy currently serves as a board director and member of the Planning and Finance committee of the International Federation of Accountants, which represents over three million professional accountants world-wide.  In 2018, she was elected Chair of the Board on the Global Accounting Alliance.  She is also a member of Canada’s National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Have the confidence to go after the next job, stretch yourself – you do not need to have 100% of the required skills to take on a new role. Have faith in your ability and value your strengths.


Wilson, Beth portraitBeth Wilson
Canada Chief Executive Officer
Dentons Canada LLP

KPMG Professionals

A respected senior strategic business leader, Beth Wilson joined Dentons in July 2017, bringing extensive professional services experience following a 26-year career at KPMG, where she most recently led KPMG Canada's Toronto office, its largest business unit. For many years, Beth served as a member of KPMG's Management Committee and in various leadership positions, including Canadian Managing Partner Community Leadership, Canadian Managing Partner Regions & Enterprise (with responsibility for 24 regional offices across Canada), and Chief Human Resources Officer. She also held leadership roles globally.

Beth is widely known and respected in the Canadian business community, and is an accomplished and dedicated community leader. She exemplifies this through her extensive board and community involvement, and her commitment to the advancement of women in business. As a testament to her ongoing dedication, Beth has been recognized by leading organizations such as YWCA Toronto, Canadian Women of Influence and WXN.

The legal profession, similar to the auditing and consulting professions, is undergoing significant disruption and transformation. Beth's extensive experience and leadership is playing an important role in shaping how Dentons responds to this disruption. As Dentons Canada Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Global Board and Global Management Committee, Beth is leading the Firm in Canada through an aggressive and targeted focus on exceeding clients' expectations of value and results. With a commitment to an inclusive culture that empowers diverse teams, and supports an entrepreneurial spirit and performance-based culture, Beth is focused on ensuring that Dentons continues to be a workplace of choice for exceptional talent in Canada and around the world.

Dentons Canada’s decision to appoint an outside leader, a “non-lawyer”, as CEO, was in and of itself, a bold and innovative move in the legal profession – one which is resonating with clients. It is a reflection of clients' increasing view that their legal advisors should be more than just a traditional law firm, and should offer broader perspectives, insights and understanding of their business and industry.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Lifelong learning is key to personal growth - I grew up the daughter of two teachers.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Be have so many years and opportunities in front of you so don't be afraid to veer off the beaten path to explore options along the way.

POWER SONG: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye

PwC Public Sector Leaders.

Recognizing women who hold senior positions in Canada’s pubic sector organizations, not currently in public office


Abbott, Dr. Jodi L portraitDr. Jodi L. Abbott
President & CEO
NorQuest College

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Dr. Jodi L. Abbott is the President and CEO of NorQuest College. Since joining the college in 2010, Dr. Abbott has more than doubled NorQuest’s student population through expanded credit and non-credit programming; unveiled innovative partnerships including the Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centre, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Hospitality Institute, the NorQuest College ATB Agency, and the Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership; and enhanced NorQuest’s brand recognition. Under Dr. Abbott’s leadership, NorQuest College opened a stunning new campus addition, the Singhmar Centre for Learning, for fall term classes in 2017.

Dr. Abbott is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and currently chairs the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board. She was recently the Chair of Edmonton’s Health City and served as a trustee of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. In addition, she has a longstanding involvement with figure skating, including as an Olympic judge in 2010 and 2014. In 2011, Dr. Abbott was included in the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity’s list of Canada's top-20 most influential women in sport. In 2013, she received the University of Alberta Alumni Honour Award in recognition of her international work with figure skating and for championing improved health-care services. In 2015, she was named as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), receiving the Trailblazers and Trendsetters Award for women who are either the first in their field or have made a major impact on it. In 2016, Dr. Abbott was named among the Top 50 Most Influential People in Alberta by Alberta Venture magazine, and she received the first-ever District 99 Toastmaster Award in Leadership and Communication. Most recently, she was named a Global Woman of Vision.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: My mother taught me that you can do anything if you set your mind to it and persevere.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Take risks early, work hard and don't under sell yourself. Outcomes will tell your story.


Condon, Mary portraitDean Mary Condon
Dean (Interim)
Osgoode Hall Law School
York University

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Dean Mary Condon joined the Osgoode faculty in 1992. She served as Associate Dean (Academic) from July 2016 to April 2018, and is currently appointed the Dean (Interim).  Between 2008 and 2016 she was appointed by the Ontario government as a Commissioner and Board Member of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). For three of those years (2011-2014) she served as one of two full-time Vice-Chairs of the OSC. In that capacity she was executive sponsor of a number of policy initiatives. She also issued numerous adjudicative decisions as a member of the OSC’s tribunal. In early 2018, she was appointed a member of the board of the Capital Markets Authority Implementation Organization (CMAIO), an interim body set up to assist with the establishment of a Capital Markets Regulatory Authority for co-operating jurisdictions in Canada.

Dean Condon teaches Securities Regulation and Advanced Securities in Osgoode’s JD program and also directs and teaches in the Professional LLM in Securities Law program. In the 2009 winter term, she was awarded the Walter S. Owen Chair in Business Law at the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, where she was also the co-director of the National Centre for Business Law.

Dean Condon’s research interests are focused primarily on the regulation of securities markets, investment funds, online investing, and pensions. She is co-author of Business Organizations: Practice, Theory and Emerging Challenges (with Robert Yalden, Janis Sarra, Paul Paton, Mark Gillen, Carol Liao, Michael Deturbide, Mohamed Khimji, Bradley Bryan and Gary Campo). She is co-author of Securities Law in Canada: Cases and Commentary (with Anita Anand, Janis Sarra and Sarah Bradley), [3rd edition, 2017]. She is the author of Making Disclosure: Ideas and Interests in Ontario Securities Regulation (UTP). She has also written articles, book chapters and policy papers on topics related to securities regulation and pensions policy and has given invited lectures on these topics in Canada and internationally.

Between 2014 and 2016 she served as a member of Canada’s National Steering Committee for Financial Literacy. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the York University Pension Fund between 2005 and 2014.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Don't be afraid to break from the accepted path if it seems to be the right thing for you to do.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Focus more on seeing challenges as learning opportunities and less on worrying about the possibility of failing.


Dasent, Darlene portraitDarlene Dasent
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
University Health Network (UHN)

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Darlene Dasent is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for University Health Network (UHN).  UHN is an integrated healthcare, research, and education network of four hospitals: Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, as well as a college of applied health sciences, The Michener Institute of Education at UHN.  UHN is world-renowned for its technically advanced clinical services, extraordinary research programs, and superb educational experiences. UHN has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. UHN’s leading clinical care is coupled with a compassionate, patient-centred approach to delivery of services at each of its 19 sites of care in Toronto and across Ontario.  UHN has approximately $2.2 Billion in annual revenues and expenditures; and $2 Billion in assets.

As the Vice president and Chief Financial Officer, Darlene plays a critical role in the hospital through aligning strategic and financial initiatives with patient and hospital priorities.  As a key member of the Senior Leadership Team, she provides strategic leadership and is a key business enabler for UHN to meet its organizational goals. Darlene’s main focus is in the overall financial management of the organization and has the primary responsibility for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities throughout UHN.

During her tenure at UHN, Darlene has held progressively senior leadership roles providing strategic financial advice to support hospital operations.  Darlene currently oversees Finance including Treasury & Cash Management, Capital, Planning & Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Operations, Audit & Compliance, Ministry and Activity Reporting, Case Costing, Research Financial Services, Procurement and Supply Chain management.

Darlene has over 20 years of leadership experience.  She is currently leading UHN’s Finance Transformation and has been instrumental in developing financial governance models.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Everyone has something to offer. Put in the extra effort to make people feel comfortable being around you and encourage them to be themselves – this helps amazing ideas and perspectives come forth.

POWER SONG: "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack


Hanigsberg, Julia portraitJulia Hanigsberg
President and CEO
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Julia Hanigsberg joined Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital as its President and CEO on January 12, 2015.

Holland Bloorview is Canada’s largest paediatric rehabilitation hospital serving children and youth with disabilities and complex medical needs. It’s vision is the most meaningful and health futures for all children, youth and families. A top 40 Canadian research hospital, it is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care and is the only hospital to ever achieve 100% in two successive quality surveys by Accreditation Canada. As a workplace it has garnered recognition as a Greater Toronto’s Top Employer, Canada’s Top Employers for Young People and Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture.

The hospital is currently in the midst of a $25M campaign to expand its research institute and is in the second year of its disability stigma-busting campaign Dear Everybody (

Prior to joining Holland Bloorview Julia spent 9 years at Ryerson University, first as the University’s inaugural General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Governors and then as Vice-President, Administration and Finance where among other things she oversaw a $500M building program including the award winning Mattamy Athletic Centre (former Maple Leaf Gardens), the Ryerson Image Centre and the Student Learning Centre on Yonge Street.

In Julia’s early career she rose through the ranks in the Ontario government including Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, Counsel and Special Advisor to two Secretaries of Cabinet and Chief of Staff to the Attorney General of Ontario.

Julia has law degrees from McGill University and the Columbia Law School, where she held Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Fulbright Fellowships. She clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Julia has served on numerous volunteer boards and currently sits on the CEO Committee of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network, is Vice Chair of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, a director on the boards of the Kids Health Alliance, the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, the Canadian Association of Pediatric Heath Centres, and Kids Brain Health Network. An advocate for the advancement of women and girls in STEM and health sciences, she is a member of the Executive Advisory Boards of FIRSTRobotics Canada and FIRSTRobotics Girls in STEM. In addition she serves on the Executive Committee of the Toronto Chapter of the International Women’s Forum and McGill University’s Women, Leadership and Philanthropy committee.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Don't be afraid to take on a challenge. Big problems teach big lessons and help you make a big impact.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I think more about how I empower people around me than about exerting power. Every accomplishment personal and professional has been alongside great people and teams.


Hobson, Amanda portraitAmanda Hobson
Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services
BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC)

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Amanda is a senior finance professional with more than 20 years of diverse experience in large and international private, public and public sector organizations. Recognized as 2017 BC CFO of the Year in the Emerging Leader category by Business in Vancouver and CPABC, Amanda is passionate about inspiring and motivating others to achieve strategic objectives and organizational excellence.  Amanda currently serves on the boards of the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation and the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: It is important to treat everyone with respect, whether it is the janitor or the board chair.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: It makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Passion, patience and perseverance get you everywhere.


Jensen, Maureen portraitMaureen Jensen
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Ontario Securities Commission

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Maureen Jensen is the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), which administers and enforces securities law in the capital markets of the province of Ontario.

Prior to her appointment as Chair and CEO, Ms. Jensen was the Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer of the OSC from 2011 - 2016. As the senior member of staff, she was responsible for coordinating and managing the organization’s day-to-day operations, including its enforcement, market regulation and compliance functions. In addition, she provided leadership and direction on policy development and implementation, as well as strategic securities, regulatory and enforcement policy and program analysis. Ms. Jensen was also an executive sponsor of various regulatory policy initiatives.

Before joining the OSC, Ms. Jensen was Senior Vice-President, Surveillance and Compliance at the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) from 2008 - 2011, the national self-regulatory organization that oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on debt and equity marketplaces in Canada. At IIROC, she was responsible for all of its compliance and market surveillance functions, including market surveillance and prudential and business conduct regulation of all registered dealers and registrants.

Prior to the formation of IIROC in 2008, Ms. Jensen was President and CEO of Market Regulation Services Inc. (RS), the independent national market regulation services provider for Canadian equity markets. At RS, she was responsible for overseeing all of its corporate and regulatory functions and the development of strategic initiatives that promote market integrity. During her tenure, Ms. Jensen also held the positions of Vice President, Market Surveillance, and later Vice President, Market Regulation Eastern Region.

Ms. Jensen has also held senior positions in regulatory and business portfolios at the Toronto Stock Exchange and had a 20-year career in the mining business, holding both executive and technical management positions with several resource companies. Ms. Jensen is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Centre for Global Leadership in Financial Supervision. She is also a Trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Ms. Jensen is a Registered Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo) and holds the ICD.D designation.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Work hard and do the right thing.

SUCCESS IS: Making a difference though my actions.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Don't believe people when they say that gender equality in business is just around the corner.


Langley, Laura Lee portraitLaura Lee Langley
Deputy Minister, Office of the Premier; CEO Communications NS; Public Service Commissioner
Province of Nova Scotia

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Laura Lee Langley is the Deputy Minister of the Office of the Nova Scotia Premier, Deputy Minister of Treasury and Policy Board, Clerk of the Nova Scotia Executive Council, Head of the NS Public Service, Chief Executive Officer of Communications Nova Scotia, and the NS Public Service Commissioner.

She began her career as a journalist in the early 1980’s and worked in both radio and television as a reporter, anchor and producer until the late 1990’s when she began her public service career in strategic communications.

She was first appointed Deputy Minister in 2010.  She has a Master of Public Administration Degree from Dalhousie University (2002) and a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University (2015).

Laura Lee has served as a board member for various professional and community organizations and is known as a champion for diversity and inclusiveness. She has been recognized by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission as a Champion of the Workplace for her work in this area. She is also passionate about employee engagement and revitalising the public service and is actively leading a campaign called ‘Be the Change’ encouraging innovation and pride in the NS public service.

Laura Lee lives in Oakfield, Nova Scotia with her husband Sean Carson. They have two grown children Parker and Ashley.

SUCCESS IS: Be kind and respectful to all around you because you never know what other’s are dealing with.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Listen more, talk less; everybody has a story; and everybody brings gifts to the table. If you work for the success of others, it will come back to you ten fold.


McPherson, Heather portraitHeather McPherson
Executive Vice President, Patient Care & Ambulatory Innovation
Women's College Hospital

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Heather McPherson has been transforming health leadership and driving innovation in patient care for over 20 years. Since 2008, she has served on the Senior Executive Team of Women’s College Hospital (WCH), revolutionizing health care for women and helping to build the hospital of the future. As Executive Vice-President, Patient Care & Ambulatory Innovation, Heather works tirelessly to rethink our systems of clinical care delivery and redefine what it means to be a patient: engaged, empowered, and understood.

An occupational therapist by trade, Heather is a passionate advocate for a multifaceted and comprehensive approach to health. Advancing to a leadership role early on in her career, Heather continued to have several progressive and diverse roles that have shaped her unique approach to innovation in health care that spans strategy, operations, academics and professional practice.  As an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, Heather has been supporting greater collaboration between disciplines and aligning health human resources.

Heather is currently the Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood Toronto and is committed to the recruitment of diverse youth on the Board. She holds a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Toronto and has pursued executive education at the Rotman School of Management, Harvard Business School and a fellowship at Canadian Health Services Research Foundation.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Say yes to new never know where they might lead.


SUCCESS IS: Achieving outcomes with respect and integrity.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Explore every avenue of opportunity - regardless of how big or small.


Wilkins, Carolyn portraitCarolyn Wilkins
Senior Deputy Governor
Bank of Canada

PwC Public Sector Leaders

Carolyn Wilkins was appointed Senior Deputy Governor for a term of seven years beginning 2 May 2014. In this capacity, she oversees the Bank’s strategic planning and economic and financial research. As a member of the Bank’s Governing Council, she shares responsibility for decisions with respect to monetary policy and financial system stability. Ms. Wilkins also oversees the Bank’s analysis of international economic developments in support of monetary policy decisions. She is a member of the Bank’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Wilkins is the Bank of Canada’s G20 and G7 Deputy. She represents the Bank on the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Plenary and is a member of the FSB’s Standing Committee on Assessment of Vulnerabilities. She is also a member of the IMF’s High Level Advisory Group on FinTech. She previously represented Canada on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and co-chaired the BCBS Working Group on Liquidity.

Prior to her appointment as Senior Deputy Governor, Ms. Wilkins was Advisor to the Governor, with a focus on the Canadian economy, its interaction with the financial system, and monetary policy. From 2011 until 2013, Ms. Wilkins was Managing Director of the Bank’s Financial Stability Department. In this role, she led the Bank’s research and analysis of financial system issues in Canada and abroad, including the ongoing assessment of risks to financial system stability. She was also responsible for oversight of systemically important payment, clearing and settlement systems.

Previously, as Deputy Managing Director of the Financial Markets Department, she led the development and implementation of extraordinary liquidity tools and collateral policy deployed during the financial crisis.

Prior to joining the Bank in 2001, Ms. Wilkins held senior analytical roles related to economic forecasting and fiscal policy development, at both the Department of Finance Canada and the Privy Council Office.

Ms. Wilkins was born in Peterborough, Ontario. She holds an Honours BA in Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MA in Economics from the University of Western Ontario. In 2016, she was named by Women’s Executive Network as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Be bold and take the road less travelled if that’s where your heart tells you to go. It’s where you’ll find yourself, and those who matter most to you.

SUCCESS IS: As a central banker, success means taking tough decisions, whether about monetary policy or other financial policies, that stand the test of time - even if they are not initially popular.

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters.

Recognizing women who are first in their field and have made a great contribution to Canadian society


Adhami, Melody portraitMelody Adhami
Chief Operating Officer
Havas Canada

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Melody Adhami started her career working at the billion dollar company, Unilever, on brands like Dove, Hellmann's and Lipton. Then, she reached a fork in the road. Deep inside the row of cubicles at Unilever, she watched the first signs of a new mobile age appear. Steve Jobs launched the iPhone, unleashing a world where mobile phones can do more than make calls. Melody made up her mind.

She quit her steady job to launch a company that would focus on the emerging world of mobile apps, Plastic Mobile.

Today, Plastic Mobile is a top player in the world of mobile. Its clients are some of the biggest names in the business. Rogers, RBC, Cineplex, Ontario Lottery, Realtor, Pizza Pizza among others. The work was recognized by Forrester Research as being the “poster child” for apps. The Globe and Mail even dubbed Melody as the “Queen of Apps”. In 2015, Plastic was acquired by the 6th largest global communications company, Havas, where she’s recently been named COO, being tasked with helping reinvigorate and reposition the Toronto Havas office.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Not being afraid to fail - as many times as it takes - before getting it right. Life isn’t a science. We have to live through and appreciate the trial and error to get things right. In a 2016 Ted talk, Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, spoke on the importance on raising girls to be brave, not perfect. On how girls are taught from a young age to avoid risk and failure, but instead to smile pretty, play it safe, and earn all A’s. Quite frankly, life isn’t like that. You can’t seek out the perfect job, and live the perfect life. Perfection doesn’t exist. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we succeed. Appreciate and value both.

SUCCESS IS: My definition of success is always evolving, but the core of it never changes; never settle. Continue striving for what you believe you’re capable of and what you truly deserve.


Faten Alshazly
Principal and Chief Creative Officer
WeUsThem Inc.

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Faten is the Principal and Chief Creative Officer of WeUsThem Inc., a full service ad agency with a client roster that boasts the likes of Telus, Kaplan International, Global Affairs Canada, The Kempinski Group, Cambridge University and the Sinai Health System to name a few.

Faten is Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Arts and Communications (a first in the east coast), named 1 of 5 Women of Inspiration by the Canadian Immigrant Magazine and a Woman of Excellence by the Canadian Progress Club. Her leadership has brought home a Webby, multiple Gold Davey, a CANNES Lions, multiple W3’s, an Hermes, and an Advertising Age nod for WeUsThem, all firsts for in the east coast.

As part of her work in the community, Faten has been a director on the board for the Canadian Cancer Society and currently serves on the boards of the Mental Health Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce and is a governor at NSCAD University. Additionally she has been championing Women in the STEM fields by speaking and mentoring young women graduating from the various fields from post-secondary institutions. Faten has also been a vocal advocate for Women returning to the workforce supported by the former Women’s Employment Outreach by providing work placements, mentorship and career advice. Recently, Faten was invited by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt to address the World Youth Forum attended by over 6000 delegates from over 40 nations, alongside the United Nations on topics concerning Women and their roles in Leadership positions globally and what the gaps continue to remain in the developing world.

Additionally, she continues to mentor and speak for Women in the Marketing and Communications professions, has been an advisor for businesses through the Entrepreneurs Forum and has been mentoring women nationally through the Women’s Executive Network (WXN).

Faten occasionally teaches at the graduate schools of Management and Design at Dalhousie University and NSCAD University respectively, along with mentoring students through to professional careers post graduation.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Become entrepreneurial early. The risks certainly exist and the work will be tough, but do it early so you can chart your path and your destiny the way you see fit. This doesn’t mean only being an entrepreneur simply by building a business, this also means being entrepreneurial in the work you do as that will set you apart from the rest, through your creativity that you will bring to bear in building a true legacy over the years.


Heather Christie-Burns
President and CEO
High Ground Energy Inc.

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Ms. Christie-Burns is President and Chief Executive officer and a founder of High Ground Energy Inc., a private equity backed upstream E&P company with assets in eastern Alberta in the Viking light oil play. High Ground is one of a very few ‘blind pool’ (building from no assets) private company start-ups in Alberta in the last 4 years, with a $230 million equity backing in July 2014 from Pine Brook and Camcor Partners. The Company purchased assets from Penn West Petroleum in April 2016 and has since transformed the asset from a liability-weighted legacy gas base without cash flow into a healthy going-concern light oil project with 3,300 boe/d of production and approximately $33 million of cash flow from operations. High Ground has 15 employees in Calgary and 15 contractors managing its field operations in Consort, Alberta.

Prior to founding High Ground Energy in 2014, Heather co-founded and was President and Chief Operating Officer of Angle Energy Inc., an Alberta based, TSX- listed upstream E&P Company with an enterprise value upon sale in December 2013 of $576 million. Angle Energy was grown through the drill bit as a Canadian controlled private company, blind pool start up. The Company went public in June 2008 and was the last IPO that year on the TSX. Upon its sale, Angle Energy had 48 employees, 11,000 boe/d of production, and approximately $100 million of cash flow from operations.

Ms. Christie-Burns is a successful entrepreneur, building companies for the past fourteen years. Additionally, in Heather’s twenty-four year career as a professional engineer she has developed expertise in petroleum exploitation, M&A, corporate and property evaluations, joint venture negotiations, reservoir engineering and production operations. Previous to her executive roles at Angle, Ms. Christie-Burns was the Senior Reservoir Engineer at Bear Creek Energy Ltd. from January 2002 through March 2004. From February 1999 to January 2002, she was Senior Reservoir Engineer and later Senior Exploitation Engineer with Encal Energy Ltd. Prior roles include Fekete Associates Inc. and a field engineering role at Norcen Energy.

Ms. Christie-Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary. She is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). She was recognized in 2011 by Calgary’s Avenue Magazine as one of the top 40 under 40, and was also awarded recognition in Oilweek’s Class of Rising Stars of 2011. Heather has presented to a variety of audiences including the Oil and Gas Council, Women’s Executive Network (WXN), WinSETT, the SPE, the Calgary CFA Society and Calgary Women in Energy and participated as a mentor over the past four years in the Lilith Professional Organization.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Curiousity, sharpened by focus, added to the willingness to work hard, will take you far.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Spend more time listening, and define the problem well before hunting for the solution.


Christyn Cianfarani
President & CEO
Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI)

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Christyn Cianfarani is President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) where her role is to lead an organization that represents the business interests of more than 900 member companies employing more than 63,000 Canadians and generating $10 billion in annual revenues.

Ms. Cianfarani holds a master’s degree from the University of Toronto and a bachelor’s degree from the Royal Military College of Canada. Her time at RMC also included a stint in the Royal Canadian Navy.

The next stage of her career brought her to Canada's aerospace, defence and security industries, where for two decades Ms. Cianfarani has blazed a trail for women in the sector. After starting as a proposal specialist at CAE Inc., a large Canadian aerospace company, she rose through the ranks, eventually holding leadership positions in strategy, R&D and business solutions.

In 2013, Ms. Cianfarani was the only woman to participate in the Government of Canada-commissioned “Jenkins panel on military procurement,” which has played a significant role in shaping modern Canadian defence procurement policy.

In 2014, she became the first woman to lead CADSI in its 35-year history. At the time, perceptions of the defence industry as being solely focused on arms manufacturing prevailed, and the sector was grappling with procurement-related issues as Canada’s Armed Forces looked to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of equipment.

Ms. Cianfarani saw huge potential, and with the help of her team developed a bold plan to debunk myths and change perceptions. The association focused on the strategic significance of the sector, linking it to Ottawa’s broader innovation agenda. That hard work paid off when Ottawa released Canada’s 2017 defence policy, which recognized an innovative defence sector as a top five domestic priority. More than ever, the industry is now associated with high-tech innovation that benefits all Canadian society.

Ms. Cianfarani is also increasingly becoming an influencer in the wider business community on gender issues. Under her leadership CADSI has seen female representation on its Board of Directors rise from zero to 30 per cent.

In support of continuing education for officers and bureaucrats, she also lectures at Canada’s Armed Forces academic institutions.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Don't be upset when the boys move in on the baseball pitch because they think that you can't hit; knock it over their heads.



Natalie Dakers
President & CEO
Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator Society

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Natalie Dakers is a leading figure in the Canadian biopharmaceutical industry and one of B.C.’s most influential women. With four successful start-up companies to her credit, she’s regarded as a Life Science industry visionary with an ability to get things done.

Ms. Dakers is currently President and CEO of Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator Society, an organization that identifies and supports promising early-stage companies by providing seed stage capital and expertise.  Ms. Dakers was also founding President and CEO of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research of biopharmaceutical products.  She subsequently went on to create and run CDRD Ventures Inc., the commercial arm that supported company creation at CDRD, before creating Accel-Rx.  Prior to establishing CDRD, Ms. Dakers co-founded Neuromed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and cardiovascular diseases where she successfully raised $70 million in three rounds of venture financing.

Ms. Dakers has served on many local, national, and private company boards and advisory panels and has garnered numerous honours including Startup Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2015), WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2016) and Business in Vancouver’s Most Influential Woman Award (2017).

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: All you have is your reputation so guard it well.

SUCCESS IS: Whatever you do, do it well, with integrity, have fun and share it!

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Breathe! If you follow your passions things will unfold as they should.


Jennifer Flanagan
President and CEO

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Jennifer Flanagan is a social entrepreneur and national thought-leader focused on youth, innovation, STEM, digital literacy and inclusion. She is the co-founder, President and CEO of Actua, a national charitable organization that engages Canadian youth in building skills and confidence in STEM.

Actua is a national network of organizations across Canada that annually engage 250,000 youth in 500 communities. Under Jennifer’s leadership, Actua has become the national leader in engaging under-represented youth including First Nations, Inuit and Metis youth, girls and young women, youth living in rural and remote communities and other at-risk youth.

Jennifer’s long-time advocacy work has been focused on the empowerment of girls and young women, reconciliation, and future workforce development. She currently sits on the Board of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Jennifer’s social entrepreneurship model has attracted significant investments from companies like Google, GE, Microsoft, Suncor as well as all levels of government. Her work been recognized with awards including RBC Entrepreneur of the Year, Top 40 Under 40, WXN Most Powerful Women and YWCA Women of Distinction. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Management from McGill University in Montreal.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: I've never liked no. My career has been served very well by never accepting no; there’s always a way.


Éloïse Gratton, Ad. E.
Partner and National Co-Leader, Privacy and Data Protection Practice Group
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Éloïse Gratton is a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and National Co-Leader of the Privacy and Data Protection Practice Group. She advises clients from various industrial sectors on legal and ethical issues relating to information technology, e-commerce, privacy protection, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, providing them with strategic advice on matters of risk management and regulatory compliance, advising as to best business practices and assisting them in crisis management situations.

Éloïse is one of Canada’s foremost experts in the field of privacy and is recognized as the "go to" person, relied upon by privacy commissioners as well as the provincial and the federal governments. On the international scene, she is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Women Leading Privacy Advisory Board.

She has published several books on IT and privacy issues, which have been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in some of its landmark privacy decisions. She authored Internet and Wireless Privacy: A Legal Guide to Global Business Practices, one of the first technology and privacy book in Canada (CCH, 2003). Her recent works include Privacy in the Workplace, 4th edition (LexisNexis, 2017), Practical Guide to e-Commerce and Internet Law (LexisNexis 2015), and Understanding Personal Information: Managing Privacy Risks (LexisNexis, 2013). She holds a doctorate degree in law (University of Paris II and U of M) and she has been teaching privacy and IT law at University of Montreal for several years.

Eloïse is called upon regularly to present keynote speeches and comment on news reports dealing with new media, AI and privacy issues in Canada and the United States (Wall Street Journal, Fast Company). Her IT and privacy blog was recently awarded Clawbies (Canadian Legal Blog Award) and she was also named "one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada" by the Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

SUCCESS IS: Achieving set goals, helping people around us, striking balance between work life and family.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Set your priorities, focus, bring discipline to the table and don’t hesitate to take some risks, they may pay off in the end.

POWER SONG: "Independent Woman" by Destiny's Child


Lynne Groulx, LL.L, J.D.
Executive Director
Native Women's Association of Canada

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Lynne Groulx is the Executive Director for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). Lynne’s passion and expertise on Indigenous women’s rights, gender equality, human rights, and economic development have made her a highly sought after keynote speaker and leader. Lynne’s legal expertise includes both Civil and Common Law with a specialization in Corporate Law, Social Justice and Indigenous Legal Traditions and Customary Laws.

Before NWAC, Lynne worked at the Human Rights Commission of Canada as a Senior Advisor on systemic human rights issues regarding Indigenous peoples, women and federally sentenced prisoners, including those in solitary confinement.

Moving forward, her outstanding achievements are still propelled by an intensive dedication to the empowerment of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people. As a result, in the past two years at NWAC, Lynne has significantly improved the organization’s capacity to address its mission “to advocate for and inspire women and families of many Indigenous nations.”

Notably, Lynne negotiated a historical agreement on behalf of NWAC with the Government of Canada for the political and financial stability of the organization to ensure resources are available for Indigenous women and girls for years to come.

Additionally, Lynne rebuilt the organization’s operations by eliminating chronic deficits through securing all time high levels of core and project funding for NWAC and continuously engaging in high-level negotiations with key government departments and agencies.

Currently, Lynne is in the process of developing a Social and Cultural Innovation Centre. This new building is infusing Indigenous culture throughout, and is specifically designed for service and workshop space to deliver NWAC’s programs and sensitivity training. This will not only serve Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people, but will offer training for private and public sector officials as part of the reconciliation process.

The new building will also launch NWAC’s latest initiative, the Resiliency Centre dedicated to addressing the missing and murdered Indigenous women’s crisis.  It will include a culturally appropriate space for healing, commemoration and honouring.  The space will offer resources, produce ground-breaking research and give support to survivors and family members affected in order to further healing and to break the cycle of violence against Indigenous women.

Lynne Groulx is a paradigm of resolute leadership expressing the full capacity of her knowledge to ensure justice and equality for Indigenous women. Through her visionary efforts, she has embossed the unmistakeable value and power of the many nations of Indigenous women in Canada to further the road to reconciliation and decolonization.


Leann Hackman-Carty
HackmanCarty & Associates

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

For almost thirty years Leann has lead public, private and non-profit organizations through eras of change to new levels of growth and stability. Her specialties are community economic development, business and economic recovery and entrepreneurship. She served as the Mayor of Calgary's Executive Assistant, Community & Economic Development for over a decade; was VP of Calgary’s economic development group; managed several political election campaigns; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade; offered innovative community business and economic recovery services; hosted numerous high level international trade delegations; built peer advisory boards for women entrepreneurs; and initiated greater working relationships with provincial and international economic development groups. Since 2009, she has provided CEO consulting services to Economic Developers Alberta which is Alberta's economic development network. Its 300+ members are involved in economic development activities including industry cluster development, tech-led economic development, business retention, expansion, and attraction, workforce development and business and economic recovery. Leann has a BA (Political Science/Sociology), BSW (Community Development), Professional Management Certificate (Marketing) and a Certificate in Economic Development.

Key Accomplishments:

    In December 2017, Leann released her Master Your Disaster series of readiness, response and recovery guides for families, business and communities which are now available on com both in print, and in Kindle format, audio and Spanish.
    Completed an Economic Disaster Recovery Project with 10 Alberta communities and Treaty 7 Community Futures (Siksika/Stoney); in partnership with BCEDA and IEDC, The Government of Alberta (Innovation & Advanced Education), Shell, RBC Foundation, the Canadian Red Cross and the US Consulate in Calgary. As part of this project, Leann spearheaded the production of a community toolkit to help them prepare and respond to future economic
    Worked with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on their business and economic recovery efforts, including setting up and running the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline; validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief; and leading a 10- member economic development team to complete an economic recovery
    Worked with the International Economic Development Council to bring their community resiliency training to
    Established a partnership with the University of Calgary, Continuing Education to launch and develop a Professional Management Certificate with a specialization in Economic
    Developed strategic plans and annual work plans for various non-profit, and quasi-government
    Organized ten very successful annual community economic development conferences, including significant outreach to elected officials. This brings together approximately 400+ attendees, 50 speakers, 5 concurrent streams, 15
    Spearheaded the “Canadianized” version of IEDC’s Recovery and Resiliency Roadmap: A Toolkit for Economic Preparedness which helps communities prepare for and recover from economic disruptions, whether natural or manmade. Updated the Community Toolkit for Economic Recovery and Resiliency (2017 Canadian Version) with new links, content and case
    Lead the development of a strategic business plan for a U.S.-based, women’s non-profit with global membership
    Crafted a community economic development strategy that provided the framework for future promotional activities, including a major regional cluster development initiative
    Completed comprehensive research into federal, provincial and municipal programs and services related to trade and investment
    Organized several focus groups and community forum to obtain input on specific projects and topics
    Organized a US-Canada, “Save Our Kids” forum and youth rally to bring attention to the growing issue of designer and prescription drug abuse in
    Conceptualized and implemented a CIDA-funded project in partnership with the Trade Facilitation Office of Canada, OWIT, and the APEC Women Leaders Network to bring 15 women delegates from CIDA-priority countries to participate in a Miami conference

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Life is a fantastic journey, with many good and bad experiences. Work hard, but make faith, family and friends a priority. Be gracious. Task risks. Live each day as if it were your last.


Tina Jones
Banville & Jones Group of Companies

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Tina Jones is a highly successful Manitoba entrepreneur, community contributor and philanthropist.  She is owner of Banville & Jones Wine Company and principal of Wine & Drinks College Manitoba (WDCM), which have grown into the largest private wine store and destination wine school in Manitoba. Tina has reached for the highest international standards, creating opportunities for her staff to pursue studies and accreditation at WDCM and through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and the Wine Scholar Guild. She has expanded the impact of wine education to develop the award-winning magazine, The Cellar Door.

Tina is also an active partner in The Rink Training Centre, providing innovative individual skill development to all levels of hockey players.  Tina is also a pioneer in Winnipeg, with the first Canadian Sports School Hockey League teams, The RHA Nationals. These teams bring unparalleled hockey training along with fine schooling to elite players from across Canada and the USA. The Rink’s success is reflected in a major $20 million Center of Excellence construction project, with completion date scheduled for early 2019.

Tina’s work also extends to partnership in Winnipeg’s popular Green Carrot Juice Company, a concept for fresh, cold-pressed juices that has grown exponentially since its inception in 2014.

Tina’s energy and creativity have also made her a tireless community builder. Her fundraising work with dozens of charitable organizations have helped raise tens of millions of dollars on our community.  She currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation Board of Directors. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba has recognized her contributions as Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year 2017, and the University of Manitoba has honoured her with the Distinguished Alumni Award 2018.

Ms Jones inheirited a strong entrepreneurial spirit from her father Pierluigi Tolaini, who immigrated from Italy and built (from one truck) the largest privately held transport company in Canada. Pierluigi fulfilled a lifelong dream to create great Italian wine, and Tina works with him to build the Tolaini wine brand. For Tina, success is built on vision, hard work, building great teams and continually reaching for excellence.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: I grew up knowing that anything worth achieving takes a lot of hard work, determination, perseverance, sacrifice and support. Women have unique challenges, and raising a family at the same time as developing a business or businesses requires all of these!

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Go get it. Create it. It is yours for the making and you are in charge of making it great. Make it happen.


Roxanne Joyal
ME to WE

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

When she first travelled to Kenya as a teenage volunteer, Roxanne was struck by the profound beauty, wretched poverty and the strong and resourceful women she met.

Her task was to start a fair trade program so women in the impoverished communities could sell their beadwork to visitors. Inside their small huts, the mamas showed Roxanne their exquisite handiwork, objects they used in rituals surrounding birth, marriage, warriorhood and death. Thinking of their craft as not art, but necessity, these women could not believe that Roxanne wanted to sell their work and return the profits to them and their families.

In helping to empower these women, Roxanne found her calling.

She went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in international relations, earn a coveted Rhodes scholarship and a law degree at Oxford, and clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada. But rather than pursue a conventional career, she chose to bring her training back to the communities that first inspired her.

As founder of ME to WE Artisans, Roxanne now leads social and economic empowerment initiatives for women in Kenya’s Maasai Mara and in Ecuador. Infusing centuries-old traditions with modern elements, ME to WE collections share the artistry of indigenous cultures with North American consumers looking to make a positive impact through their purchase.

A beading project that started with 25 women now provides fair wages to more than 1,500. By joining Artisans, each woman is able to build her savings to do things that were previously impossible: improve her home, buy food and medicine for her family, send her children to school, and emerge as a leader in her own right.

Roxanne’s continued commitment to the Artisans program has led to widespread retail traction, with ME to WE products now being sold in over 12,000 locations across North America through partnership with influential retailers.

As CEO of ME to WE, Roxanne has led the creation of its unique volunteer offerings, allowing travellers to break free from a touristic experience and find meaningful connections in communities where ME to WE’s charitable partner, WE Charity, puts its 20-year history of sustainable development to work. She established Bogani Cottages and Tented Camp, a first-of-its-kind facility designed as a rejuvenating home base for youth, adults, families and corporate groups volunteering in Kenya. The success of Bogani led Roxanne to expand this niche experience with the creation of Araveli Cottages and Tented Camp in Rajasthan, India, and the Minga Lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

In 2012, Roxanne was awarded an honorary doctorate from Nipissing University and received the Order of Canada in 2017. ME to WE is certified B Corporation, an indication of high social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: If it was easy to do, someone else would have done it already.

SUCCESS IS: Having more women to empower. More communities and kids to serve, whether here in North America or overseas in the field in partnership with the villages with which we work.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: I work out five times a week and practice yoga regularly.


Dawn Madahbee Leach
General Manager
Waubetek Business Development Corporation

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Dawn Madahbee Leach is a proud member of the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario where she has served as a member of her community’s Council.  Since 1988, she has been General Manager of the Waubetek Business Development Corporation, an Aboriginal Financial Institution that provides financing and economic services to Aboriginal entrepreneurs and First Nation communities throughout North-East Ontario.  Waubetek also delivers an Aboriginal business program to Aboriginal people in Southern Ontario and aquaculture services to Aboriginal people in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  Under her leadership, Waubetek has proudly invested $80 million in 3,600 Aboriginal businesses who experience a business success rate of 94%.   A graduate of the University of Waterloo Economic Development Program, Ms. Madahbee Leach also studied at York University and earned a degree in Political Science with a minor in Law from Laurentian University.

Dawn is the first Aboriginal woman in Canada to head up a commercial lending institution.  In 2004, Dawn was recognized as a “Mover and Shaker” for economic development in the Northern Ontario Business newspaper.  She was also celebrated as one of Laurentian University’s 25 Distinguished Alumni during the university’s twenty-fifth anniversary.  She also contributed chapters to two published book compilations:  1) “Changing Lives:  Women of Northern Ontario”; and 2) “Governance in Northern Ontario – Economic Development and Policy-Making” by Segsworth and Conteh with her chapter “First Nations Inclusion:  A Key Requirement to Building the Northern Ontario Economy”.  She is a recipient of the Anishnawbek Nation’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the MNP-AFOA Canada Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award in 2017.  She has been a speaker at international forums in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UN on Indigenous economic development.

Dawn currently serves on various Boards and committees including the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board where she serves as Vice-Chair.  She also serves on the Boards of the Peace Hills Trust Company; the Northern Policy Institute (a northern Ontario think tank) and NioBay Minerals Inc.  She is a former Chairperson of the Northern Ontario Development Corporation, and former Board Member of the Ontario Development Corporation, Innovations Ontario and the North-East Local Health Integrated Network.  Dawn is the owner of Indigenous Business International, a company that provides assistance to Indigenous peoples on sector strategies and corporate partnerships.

Sharing her knowledge on the Aboriginal economy, she was instrumental in the development of the National Aboriginal Economic Benchmark Report (2012) and the follow-up National Aboriginal Economic Progress Report (2015).  She also co-chaired the development of the “Anishnawbek Nation Economic Blueprint” which is used today by several First Nations in Ontario.  She also guided the establishment of the internationally renowned “Great Spirit Circle Trail” Aboriginal tourism organization based on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario.

She believes strongly that economic development, and following the Anishinabek traditional values, are the keys to addressing the challenges that her people face.  She is a northern style traditional dancer on the powwow circuit.  Dawn is happily married to the National Hockey League legend Reggie Leach and is the proud mother of Crystal Madahbee.  Dawn is also deeply honoured to be a Nokomis to 1 granddaughter and 3 grandsons.


Claudette McGowan
CIO, Enterprise Technology Employee Experience
BMO Financial Group

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Claudette McGowan is an award-winning, globally-focused information technology leader with more than 17 years of success leading digital transformation, optimizing infrastructure and designing new approaches that improve service experiences. As a vice president in Technology and Operations at BMO Financial Group, Claudette has led more than 600 IT professionals in the planning, engineering and support of workplace technologies (e-mail, file management, multi-media, mobility) across all BMO branches and office towers. In 2018, Claudette was promoted to Chief Information Officer, BMO Enterprise Technology Employee Experience.

Claudette joined BMO in 2000 as a help desk manager and moved on to progressive leadership roles, including Technology Director for Enterprise Desktop, Messaging and Trading Services and VP, Digital Workspace Services.

Claudette’s achievements at BMO have been numerous. She is credited with developing a multi-year workplace technology strategy that resulted in modernizing the tools and support for all 45,000 employees. In 2017, Claudette designed and launched the first Women in Technology affinity group at BMO.

Claudette began her IT career in healthcare at Wellesley Hospital. She later joined the computing and telecommunications division at the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services. Before joining BMO, Claudette spent four years at Deloitte where she was a key member of the technology management team.

Claudette holds a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Arts from Lakehead University. In addition, she is a Certified Change Management Practitioner (Prosci Canada), Business Coach from CTA-International Coach Federation, has a Masters Certificate in IT Management from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University/Schulich School of Business.

Married and a mother of two, Claudette's commitment to the community is evident in her passion for literacy and everything technological. Claudette has authored five books and in partnership with First Book Canada and other leading corporations, Claudette launched the Black Arts and Innovation Expo (BAIE) as a novel way to celebrate Black History Month. The BAIE promotes diversity and inspires excellence in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics by showcasing the outstanding achievements of current innovators in the arts, entrepreneurship and technology. Her work has played a pivotal role in launching the first innovation centre in Aurora, Ontario.

Claudette is a recipient of a 2014 Green4Good Visionary award and in 2015 she was hailed as a Black Business & Professional Association (BBPA) Exchange – Woman of Honor and among the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada.

SUCCESS IS: About living undefined and without fixed limits. We are multi-dimensional beings that need to live multi-dimensional lives. My belief is - if you want to do it, do it. If you want to be it, be it.

POWER SONG: "I Love My Life" by Demarco


Glori Meldrum
Founder and Chair of the Board
Little Warriors

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Business leader and committed social entrepreneur Glori Meldrum is known for her energy, determination and ‘let’s-get-it-done-and-done-right’ approach to everything she takes on.

Born in Miramichi, New Brunswick, Glori received a bachelor of commerce with a major in marketing from Dalhousie University, and then headed west to Alberta. In 1996 she founded g[squared], a full-service marketing agency based in Edmonton that works with local and national clients in a range of sectors.

As CEO of a successful strategic marketing agency and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Glori saw the opportunity to use her knowledge and influence to create a program in support of child victims of sexual abuse. In 2008 she founded Little Warriors, a national charitable organization dedicated to raising awareness of child sexual abuse and educating adults to recognize and prevent it. Glori was also a champion for the creation of the Be Brave Ranch—Canada’s first long-term, residential treatment program for sexual abuse survivors between the ages of eight and 12. Today Glori proudly serves as Board Chair for Little Warriors.

Glori’s vision and drive to create positive social change have been recognized by various organizations over the years. In 2009 she received Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Social Entrepreneur category. In 2010 she was named one of Caldwell’s Top 40 Canadians Under 40, and in 2011 she received the Canadian Living Me to We Award–Social Action category. In 2013 she was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Glori was also the first female president of the Entrepreneur’s Organization, Edmonton Chapter. As a proud Canadian who thinks globally and acts locally, Glori feels humbled and grateful to be recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for 2018.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: The only way to get through the storms of life is head on through the storm. There are no shortcuts.

SUCCESS IS: Knowing and being who you are and loving yourself.


Denise Pothier
Vice-President Practice Services & Vice-President Indigenous Relations
Stantec Consulting Ltd.

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Denise was born and raised in Nova Scotia, with French Acadian and Mi'kmaw heritage. A Professional Engineer, Denise has more than 25 years' experience in oil and gas, regulatory compliance, quality assurance, process engineering and risk assessment. She is currently employed at Stantec Consulting Ltd., an international engineering firm with 22,000 employees in 400 locations located on six continents. Denise holds the positions of Vice-President Practice Services and Vice-President Indigenous Relations. One of Denise’s most proud professional moments was when she was awarded the ‘Managerial Excellence’ Award of Excellence at Stantec.

Denise is well known as a champion of diversity and inclusion, and has served on Stantec's Diversity and Inclusion Council for the last decade. As Vice-President, Indigenous Relations, her responsibilities include the fostering and building of relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses. Denise is committed to providing opportunities for training, hands-on skill development, employment and business to Indigenous community members.

Over the past few years, Denise has been learning more about her Mi’kmaw heritage. She has participated in the “This Is What I Wish You Knew” project and was integral in bringing the “Walking With Our Sisters” memorial to Halifax. Denise participated in Indspire’s Soaring Career Conference in Ottawa with 900 indigenous youth. Through her session, Denise made engineering relatable and allowed the students to try it by designing and constructing an emergency shelter. Last year she volunteered in Chiapas, Mexico on a Habitat for Humanity international build for an Indigenous community.

Techsploration is a non-profit organization that has been delivering high impact experiences for girls and their schools for the past 20 years. Denise was one of the inaugural volunteers and has continued to be involved as a mentor, guest speaker, and has served on the Board of Directors for a number of years.

Denise has already been well recognized for her passion and leadership as a pioneer for diversity and inclusion. In 2016, she received the Progress Club Women of Excellence Award from the Canadian Progress Club Halifax, in the category of Management and the Professions.  She was recently named one of the top 150 Canadian Women in STEM in celebration of Canada 150 by hErVOLUTION; and was named one of the inaugural Inspiring Fifty Canada, inspirational role models in tech and innovation.

In 2016 Denise accepted an invitation to serve as the incoming Chair of the Engineers Nova Scotia Women in Engineering Committee. Through the Committee she has initiated a mentoring program that brings together female professionals, engineers-in-training, and students. Denise was recently asked to consider serving as an elected Board Member at Engineers Nova Scotia, the regulatory body for the 6,500 professional engineers and engineers-in-training licensed in that province. In 2017, she was appointed to the National Board of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

Because of these accomplishments and her demonstrated leadership in many unique and demanding areas, Denise was selected to be profiled in the book entitled, "Women of Innovation: The Influence of Leading Canadian Women in Engineering". Denise was also profiled by Women In Science and Engineering Atlantic in their diversity poster series of women in Science Technology Engineering and Math careers.

Denise is passionate about learning both for herself and future generations. She recently completed a Master of Business Administration and an Indigenous Partnership Development Program. Learning about Canada’s history with indigenous peoples and finding a path forward is a focus for Denise. She believes the Hon. Senator Sinclair has said it best, “Education has gotten us into this mess, and education will get us out.”

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: There are so many, it is difficult to choose. One that stands out for me is to always be mindful of the well-being of the people and the communities that surround and support you.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Spending time with nature - it could be beachcombing, hiking, or gardening.

POWER SONG: "Learn to Fly" by Foo Fighters


Susan Rimmer
Managing Director & Head, Global Corporate Banking
CIBC Capital Markets

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Susan Rimmer leads CIBC’s Global Corporate Banking team as Managing Director & Head, Global Corporate Banking. In this role, Ms. Rimmer is responsible for CIBC’s corporate banking, cash management and correspondent banking businesses

across Canada, U.S., Europe & Asia.

Most recently, Ms. Rimmer was Managing Director & Global Head of CIBC’s Debt Capital Markets business. Her responsibilities included investment grade, high yield and government finance fixed income origination & syndication across

Canada, U.S. and the U.K. She joined CIBC following a 15 year career in global capital markets and investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, U.K., & Toronto, Canada.

Ms. Rimmer is a member of the CIBC Operating Committee and the Capital Markets Executive Committee. She was appointed to the Board of Directors for CIBC Mellon  in 2016. Ms. Rimmer serves as Co-Chair of the annual CIBC United Way Campaign.

She holds an Honors BA from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

SUCCESS IS: Being empowered to make a difference.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Tenacity & resilience are keys to success.

POWER SONG: "Ahead by a Century" by The Tragically Hip


Caroline Riseboro
President and CEO
PLAN International Canada

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Caroline Riseboro is the President & CEO of Plan International Canada – the leading NGO in Canada advancing the rights of children and equality for girls. As the youngest person to ever lead a major Canadian charity, Caroline is a passionate advocate for gender equality and is well-respected for her commitment to tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues.

She has a proven track record of leading organizations to new heights by challenging the status quo. In 2017, she was recognized as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner and was awarded the Bronze medal in the Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Profit category at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Caroline regularly writes and speaks on the topic of gender equality and under her leadership, Plan International Canada has delivered record- breaking results.

Prior to joining Plan International Canada, Caroline was Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Development at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, and held many senior roles at World Vision Canada, more recently as Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Engagement at World Vision Canada. She was the first and youngest woman in the agency’s history to serve in this senior role. Before joining the non-profit sector, Caroline began her career in advertising and communications.

Caroline’s influence in the sector extends through her voluntary leadership roles. She sits on the Board of the Humanitarian Coalition and CAN-WaCH, is the President-elect for the Association of Fundraising Professionals GTA chapter, and has sat on numerous task forces including with Imagine Canada and the Canadian Marketing Association’s Not-For-Profit Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from McGill University and is pursuing a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership from Carleton University.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Always ask WHY? It's the most important question in life because you can't challenge the status quo without it.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Stop giving so much credibility to harsh criticism; remember, no one beats a dead horse.


Lieutenant Colonel Maureen Wellwood
Commanding Officer, 2 Canadian Division Training Centre
Canadian Armed Forces
Department of National Defence

CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Born in London, Ontario, Maureen Wellwood started her military career at the age of 18 with the 1st Battalion, Royal New-Brunswick Regiment. After attending Royal Roads Military College and graduating from Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean in 1994, she completed infantry officer training in 1995 and joined the Royal 22e Régiment. She served with the 1st and 2nd Battalions between 1995 and 2014, including various staff positions as well as assuming platoon and company command and the role of Deputy Commanding Officer

LCol Wellwood participated in three expeditionary operations overseas. In 1996-1997, she served in ex-Yugoslavia as an infantry platoon commander with the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR). Again in Bosnia in 1999-2000, she was the information operations officer for the 1st Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group with the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR). Finally, she participated in Operation Athena in Kandahar, Afghanistan as the J5 Plans of the Brigade Headquarters of Joint Task Force - Afghanistan from October 2009 to September 2010. LCol Wellwood also participated in two domestic operations, including Operation Recuperation during the1998 ice storm in the Montreal area and Operation Lotus during the flooding near Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 2011.

In her extra-Regimental occupations, LCol Wellwood was an instructor and Division Commander at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School from 2000-2003 and the Director of Current and Domestic Operations in the Headquarters of previously-named Secteur du Québec de la Force terrestre/ Force opérationnelle inter-armée (Est) (SQFT/FOI(Est)) in Montreal from 2007 to 2008. From 2014-2017, she worked in direct support to the Ministers and Associate Ministers of National Defence. Promoted to her current rank in January 2016, she is the first woman in the Canadian Infantry to attain the rank of LCol.

Maureen assumed command of the 2 Canadian Division Training Centre in June 2017 where she leads a team dedicated to the individual training of members of 2 Division of the Canadian Army. The team succeeds in qualifying nearly 2500 military members yearly in different areas of technical and leadership skills and is a key component to realizing strategic objectives such as Strengthening the Army Reserves and contributing to the generation of high-quality soldiers for employment on various tasks and missions.

LCol Wellwood is a Bachelor of Military and Strategic Studies from Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, a Master of Defense Studies from Royal Military College, and a Master of Leadership in Education from Yorkville University.

She currently resides in Ottawa with her spouse, Naran Leseigneur from Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Quebec, and their two sons, Aidan and Félix.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Never give up: Failing is an opportunity to learn. I don't recall failing much prior to my military career, but have since learned that many of the best accomplishments are the result of multiple efforts, and compounded successes. Not only does this knowledge encourage me to push my own limits, but it helps me be a better leader, able to relate to those who are dealing with a certain element of failure. Failure itself never defines a person; it's one's reaction to failure that is indicative of one's character.

SUCCESS IS: Individual success is not only completely subjective, but is also incomparable, immeasurable and evolving. Right now, I think success is represented by the positive change one brings to the world.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Learning has become my preferred hobby. There's no end to the possibilities. My family brings a work-life balance: We enjoy camping, sports and reading together.

Deloitte Inclusion Vanguard.

The gender-neutral Inclusion Vanguard category, presented by Deloitte, was first introduced in 2016 and recognizes an individual, male or female, who has made an impact on the diversity and inclusion landscape of our country.


Donovan, Rich portraitRich Donovan
Chairman and CEO
The Return on Disability Group

Deloitte Inclusion Vanguard Award

Rich Donovan is Founder/CEO of The Return on Disability Group and is a globally recognized subject matter expert on the convergence of disability and corporate profitability. He advises global corporations, governments and investors on how to attract and delight People with Disabilities. Rich created the Return on Disability Index which is the basis for an Exchange Traded Note managed by Barclay’s Bank and listed on the NYSE Arca Stock Exchange under the ticker RODI.

Rich founded Lime Connect in 2006 – a new approach to recruiting People with Disabilities – partnering with Google, PepsiCo, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, IBM, Goldman Sachs and TD Bank.

He was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People with Disabilities in the world by UK-based Powerful Media and Shaw Trust in October 2016.

Mr. Donovan was appointed to Chair of Ontario’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council by the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure in January 2016.

Rich has a combined 23 years of experience in portfolio and investment risk management. As a Proprietary Trader and Portfolio Manager at Merrill Lynch, Rich delivered consistent performance results focused on macro strategies with an event-driven overlay, using equity indices as a primary tool.

Unleash Different, a book about Rich’s journey to Wall Street and the financial opportunity embedded in non-traditional markets was released in September 2018.

Rich holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BBA from Schulich School of Business at York University. Rich is an avid sailor and proud father of his son, Maverick, along with his wife, Jenn. He also happens to have cerebral palsy.

For more information, visit our website at

2018 Hall of Fame Inductees.

Recognizing women who have won the Top 100 Award for the fourth time


Bahr-Gedalia, Ulrike portraitUlrike Bahr-Gedalia
President & CEO
Digital Nova Scotia

WXN Hall of Fame

With a career spanning five geographic regions, Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia is a multilingual, award-winning innovator and entrepreneur with over 20 years of combined global experience in the private, public, non-profit and academic sectors. Originally from Germany, she has held senior executive roles at the headquarters of prominent multinational high-tech corporations, SMEs, and startups and is currently the President and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia.

In recognition of her unprecedented leadership with Digital Nova Scotia and lifelong advocacy for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), Ulrike has received numerous awards and features, highlighting her as an inspiring role model for youth, women, immigrants, and under-represented groups in STEAM.

Ulrike self-identifies as a life-long learner with a passion for humanity and an advocate for economic growth, and prosperity for all.

In addition to having been recognized for three consecutive years with the WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award, Ulrike was also honoured with the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award, the WCT “Wavemaker” Leadership Excellence Award, the Atlantic Business Magazine Top 50 CEO Award, and the Progress Women of Excellence Award. Ulrike was named a Top 40 Change-Maker in Canada by Canadian Living, was highlighted in April 2017 by hEr VOLUTION as 1 of 150 Canadian female leaders in STEAM, and featured in the Canada 150 Women: Conversations With Leaders, Champions, and Luminaries book. Ulrike was invited to speak in front of a sold-out crowd at TEDxKelowna in June 2017, was featured in the “Executive Voice Publishing – Best of Canada 150th Anniversary Report” in October 2017, and was highlighted as part of of My Halifax Experience Magazine’s “Top 5 Women Immigrant Leaders/Influencers in Halifax” for their 10th edition in May 2018.

Ulrike is an elected member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), and serves on Industry Advisory Boards with the Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science and the Saint Mary’s University Sobey School of Business. Ulrike is also Board Director with Skills Canada Nova Scotia (SCNS) and with the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) based out of Ottawa, being the first East Coast representative since the Council’s inception in 1992.

With degrees in Political Science (Germany), Film and Philology (United States), and the humbling support of Fulbright, Ulrike is the true “A” in STEAM. Upon immigrating to Israel in the 90’s, also known as the start-up nation, Ulrike transitioned from Film and Philology to Information Technology overnight. She’s never looked back, but still wants to do her Ph.D. one of these days, which she was about to tackle at Rice University (U.S.) prior to moving to Israel.

Married with a son and daughter, Ulrike moved from Israel to Nova Scotia in 2002, and has called Canada her home ever since.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Attitude is key in all we do – if you see an opportunity or a challenge, embrace it! Acknowledge that one’s EQ and IQ are equally important to succeed in life, and don’t underestimate the EQ or overestimate the IQ! Don’t let fear command who you are. The biggest risk is not taking any risk.


Bergevin, Christiane portraitChristiane Bergevin
Past Chair of the Board, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Board Director, Yamana Gold
President, Bergevin Capital

WXN Hall of Fame

An accomplished senior executive with a track record in transformational leadership and governance with a number of key Canadian organizations, Christiane is a savvy trilingual communicator, recognized for her strategic advisory expertise and her extensive business and institutional relationships across Canada and internationally.

As a business leader and strategic adviser to major clients in sectors such as infrastructure, resources, energy telecom, transport and financial services in Canada and abroad for close to 30 years, Christiane is deeply familiar with the global competitive landscape. She brings firsthand experience in structuring large-scale business investments and understands the risks and sustainability challenges to drive innovation and grow market share.

Prior to starting her own consulting firm, she successively served as President of SNC-Lavalin Capital, where she built a multi-country financial advisory business, and as Executive Vice President Strategic Partnerships and Business Development for Desjardins Group. She advised or arranged over $10 B in infrastructure and M&A transactions ranging from the acquisition of the Canadian activities of State Farm to the Euromoney Deal of the Year, $3.1 B acquisition of Highway 407 in Ontario and the Canada Line Light Rail Transit Public-Private Partnership in Vancouver. Christiane started her career in institutional real estate for Standard Life before moving on to the Export Development Canada.

In early 2017, Christiane became the first North American appointed to the Board of Paris-based RATP Dev, a world-class mass transit operator active in 15 countries.  She is also a Director of Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI, NYSE:AUY) and represents Yamana on the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. She chairs the Audit Committee of AGF Group, an industrial group in reinforcing steel and rental equipment. A former Director of Talisman Energy, Fiera Capital, Qtrade, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ), she serves on the Foundation of the Montreal Heart Institute, the advisory Board of the Toronto Global Forum and the McGill President’s International Advisory Board.

A graduate of McGill University (B.Com with distinction Finance/Entrepreneurship) and of the Advanced Management Program of the Wharton School of Business, she has completed the ICD Directors Education program.

In September 2017, Christiane became the fourth woman to chair the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce since its foundation in 1925. She was recognized as a Women Executive Network Top 100 winner and most recently as a 2018 Top 25 Women of Influence.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Be patient and Persevere. Perseverance is not easy but is a beautiful gift, and with it comes many unexpected successes.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: We are not used as women to be called powerful : I am always surprised and I confess prefer strategic, determined, innovative...

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Go and work abroad, build contacts and networks at a younger age, and not be afraid to venture outside your zone of comfort.


Campbell, Norie portraitNorie Campbell
Group Head, Customer and Colleague Experience
TD Bank Group

WXN Hall of Fame

As a member of the senior executive team, Norie is Group Head, Customer and Colleague Experience, TD Bank Group and leads the teams responsible for Human Resources, Marketing, Corporate & Public Affairs, and Enterprise Projects.

Norie joined the bank in 2000, and has held a number of high profile positions, most recently, leading a team of Legal, Compliance, Anti-Money Laundering, Financial Crimes and Fraud Management and Enterprise Project professionals. She became General Counsel in 2011 and was named to the bank's Senior Executive Team in 2013.

Norie has been awarded Canada's "Top 40, Under 40" distinction, has been recognized as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network, and was honoured by the Directors Roundtable with a World Recognition of Distinguished General Counsel award.

Norie is an active supporter of all of TD's diversity initiatives. She was the former chair of the Women in Leadership Council enterprise,  focused on increasing leadership representation of women from all backgrounds, driving success at all stages, and championing forward-thinking programs for all TD employees, and now chairs the enterprise Inclusion and Diveristy Council,  which is committed to advancing our inclusion and diversity goals and ensuring every single colleague and customer feels welcome and included at TD.

Norie has served as co-chair of TD Bank Group's annual United Way Campaign, and outside of TD is part of the Law Cabinet for United Way. She serves on a number of advisory boards, including Stepping Up: Preparing to be a GC.

Prior to joining TD, Norie practiced business law at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. She obtained her LL.B and her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Norie lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two sons.


Clark, Christy portraitChristy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
(2011 - 2017)

WXN Hall of Fame

Christy Clark’s political career is full of firsts for Canadian women. Her hard-won record includes being the longest serving female Premier in Canadian history, the only female Premier ever to be re-elected in Canada, and the first Cabinet Minister in Canada to give birth while holding office. She was also the first Premier in the country to openly discuss personal experiences of sexual assault.

Over her 6 ½ years as Premier, she defied the critics by proving herself as the best economic manager in the country. She balanced 5 consecutive balanced budgets, diversified BC’s economy with a visionary plan and ensured BC led the country in job creation. When she left office in 2017, the province had the strongest economy in Canada for more then one year running – the first time that's happened since before she was born in 1965.

Her success was founded on her ability to create and communicate a bold vision for growth, her gift for building and executing on a detailed plan, and a strong capacity to predict, mitigate and manage risks.

When she retired, BC was on-track to eliminating its operating debt by 2020 - the first time since 1976. BC was also the only remaining Canadian province with a AAA credit rating.

Prior to becoming Premier, she was the host of the Christy Clark Show on CKNW 980, and a columnist for the Vancouver Sun and Province. She used all these platforms to establish a province-wide anti bullying campaign that continues to grow.


Gagic, Patricia portraitPatricia Karen Gagic, DStG
Chief Financial Officer, Hamilton Vein Clinic
President, Patricia Karen Gagic Art Enterprises Inc.

WXN Hall of Fame

Patricia is President of Patricia Karen Gagic Art Enterprises Inc., an accomplished International Contemporary Artist and Author. She is represented by Artworld Fine Art in Toronto, FACEC International in France exhibiting in New York, Italy, Cannes and UK.  She attended with BB International Fine Arts - Art Fairs in Geneva, Berlin, Korea, Austria and Zurich. In 2007 Patricia was an Honorary Commissioner at the Venice Biennale.  The SNBA Jury (Salon de la Societé Nationale des Beaux-Arts du Paris) has chosen her photography work for exhibition at the Carousel du Louvre in December 2018 and accepted by jury to the Paris Grand Palais, February 2019. Patricia will be the recipient of the TOP 60 Masters by ATIM (Art Tour International Magazine) in New York, April 2019. Notably, she has studied under Master Artist Dragan Dragic since 1999 in France. As an author, her first book Karmic Alibi published by Bettie Youngs Books became an Award Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Awards and a Finalist in 2015 International Book Awards.  Karmic Alibi received the 2017 Book Excellence Award. She is the co-author of multiple books including Amazon Best Seller - Voices of Inspiration/ Marlon Smith and RockStar Success stories with Craig Duswalt.

She is the Chief Financial Officer of the Hamilton Vein Clinic located at the Wentworth Limeridge Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. As an entrepreneur Patricia has enjoyed an extensive career in Banking, Finance, Small business, Property and Medical Management and Retirement homes. She is a Certified Meditation Specialist/Facilitator completing her Certification in Applied Mindfulness and Transformative Mindfulness and Mindfulness without Borders from Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto.

In 2013 she was Knighted as a Dame of the International Order of St. George Grand Prior of Canada. Niagara Commandery.  She is Co-founder with Serena Bufalino of Help Heal Humanity created to advance education and empower youth, thru a safe and secure learning environment by creating community spaces in Haiti. Patricia has worked tirelessly since 2006 to support and develop a library, school for orphans and monks in Angkor Wat and Boeng Meala, Cambodia.

Patricia is a recipient of the Excellence in the Arts for Courage and Commitment to Human Rights, Dignity and Freedom by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in 2017.

She has volunteered in her community and abroad since she was 13 starting with the CYO.  Her passions and compassion for humanity have included Junior Achievement, Free the Children and the Colors of Freedom Foundation. Patricia has volunteered for Wellwood Resource, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, The Juravinski Cancer Centre and Hamilton Health Sciences.  A long-time supporter of the John Howard Society she is recipient of the David Lane award.  She served as a member of the Ontario Cabinet for Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and is a member of the Sir Edmund Hilary Foundation Board of Directors and is proud to be a member of the Oakville Rotary D7080 Passport Club South.  She is the recipient of the YMCA Peace Medal, the Award of Excellence by Toronto Women’s Expo and nominated for many other awards. She is recognized by WXN (Women’s Executive Network) as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada awarded the BMO Arts and Communication category in 2015, Royal Bank Champion in 2016 and BMO Arts and Communication in 2017.

Patricia is happily married to Dr. Ned Gagic and they share a loving family with 5 grandchildren. She loves Jeopardy, playing computer chess, attending her grandson’s hockey games, the Toronto Maple Leafs and travelling with Lama Glenn Mullin’s group to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. Her one special moment is life was a HOLE IN ONE at Heron Point!

SUCCESS IS: Taking each second of life to the fullest is success. Paying attention to the small details and enjoying being in the moment accepting circumstances as they are. Being able to find peace and contentment by sharing and valuing with respect and integrity.

ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: Never let one opinion guide you. Seek, search, ask and rip apart everything until you equalize your intuition. Do not let your personal emotions guide you, take a step backward and see beyond that which is being exposed and remember we are not defined by others. This is our gift to ourselves.


Kinloch, Kathy portraitKathy Kinloch
BC Institute of Technology

WXN Hall of Fame

Kathy Kinloch is President of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Canada's premier polytechnic institution serving over 48,000 students annually, a position she has held since January 2014. Her focus is broadening and deepening BCIT’s partnerships with business, industry and community within B.C., across Canada and globally.

Kathy is recognized for leading organizational renewal in complex environments. Through a number of senior leadership and executive roles, she has spearheaded strategic change initiatives in the post-secondary as well as government and health care sectors.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Kathy attended the University of Alberta where she received a Diploma in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science (Nursing, with Distinction).  She began her career as a staff nurse at the University of Alberta Hospitals, later teaching nursing at both the University of Alberta Hospital and the University of British Columbia.  She advanced to increasingly senior administrative roles in B.C. where she led numerous change initiatives.  She also holds a Master of Arts in Leadership (Chancellors Award) and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University.

Acknowledgements of Kathy’s accomplishments include Top 100 Public Sector Leaders, WXN ranking of Canada’s Top 100 Women; Most Influential Women in Business, BC Business magazine; Influential Women in Business Awards, Business in Vancouver magazine; Top 50 Power List, Vancouver Magazine; Woman of Distinction, YWCA Metro Vancouver; and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Royal Roads University.

Kathy’s board positions include the Business Council of BC; Polytechnics Canada; Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation; and Telus Corporation. She is also a member of the Business Council of Canada’s Business Higher Education Roundtable and is currently chairing the provincial Emerging Economy Task Force.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: When I was eight years old, my father was very ill and hospitalized for some time. I was inspired by his healthcare team and all they did for our family. It made me want to ‘make a difference’ in whatever I did. I also wanted to learn through reaching out to leaders I admired. To this day, I enjoy learning from leaders from different sectors and walks of life. I’ve found this to be the best way for me to continue to learn and grow, and - no surprise - people have been remarkably generous. In turn, I’ve made a commitment to do the same for others.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: I would tell myself to be less concerned about the immediacy of achieving a goal, either personal or work related, and recognize that life is a journey and there are learnings all along the way. I’d take time to ‘create space’ to enjoy and savour that journey.


Mann, Valerie portraitValerie Mann
Lawson Lundell LLP

WXN Hall of Fame

Valerie (Val) is the Co-Chair of the firm's Mergers and Acquisitions practice group. Her practice is transactional (mergers and acquisitions / corporate finance) as well as advisory. After obtaining an honours bachelor of commerce degree, Val worked in marketing management with a large US based consumer packaged goods company, prior to obtaining her law degree. Val is the former Managing Partner of Lawson Lundell.

She has been involved in transactions for private and public companies including mergers and acquisitions, financing and corporate reorganizations as well as, strategic alliances and joint ventures.

Her practice includes acting for public and private companies as well as for private equity firms and large institutional investors. She has significant experience in private equity and venture fund formations. Val has been lead counsel on a number of large mid-market transactions including in the resource/commodities, real property (acquisitions and joint ventures for the development of industrial, and other commercial property) and manufacturing sectors in addition to acquisition activity in the technology sector.

Recognition and Ranking

  • Best Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions and Technology law
  • Selected as a Canadian Board Diversity Counsel (CBDC) 2017 Diversity 50 member
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2016: repeatedly recommended as a Leading Practitioner in Technology Transactions
  • 2013 Lexpert Zenith Award: recognized as a leading woman lawyer in Canada
  • Named by BC Business Magazine (June, 2015) as one of BC's most influential women in Business.
  • Named by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100™ (2011, 2016 & 2017)
  • Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory: BV Peer Review rated

Professional Activities

  • YWCA Metro Vancouver, Director & Member of Governance Committee
  • British Columbia Business Council, Board of Governors
  • Queen’s School of Business Advisory Board
  • Association for Corporate Growth, Director and Corporate Secretary; Chair of the 2013 Capital Connections Conference
  • Canadian IT Law Association, Director (2004-2008) and Co-Chair Private Equity Sub-Committee
  • Vancouver Board of Trade, Member – Economic Development Committee (2004-2012)
  • Institute of Corporate Directors, ICD.D & Member
  • C. Law Society’s Bar Admission Program, regular guest lecturer on corporate and commercial law
  • Business in Vancouver’s CFO of the Year Awards, 2011 through 2016, Selection Committee
  • "Women In" Series – Minerva Foundation 2012 through 2014, Selection Committee Member
  • CanWIT, BC Chapter, Director - Finance/Sponsorship (2008-2012)
  • Best Lawyers Advisory Board, Member

Bar Admissions

  • British Columbia (1992)


  • Queen’s University (B.Comm (Hons)., 1986)
  • Osgoode Hall Law School (J.D., 1991)

Mercier, Eileen portraitEileen Mercier
Chair, Board of Directors
Payments Canada

WXN Hall of Fame

Ms. Mercier has been Chair of Payments Canada’s Board of Directors since July 2015 and has played a crucial role in transitioning the organization from a member-controlled organization to a new governance model which now includes seven independent directors and five financial institution directors.

She is a professional director, and was Chair of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board from 2007 to 2014.

Her career encompasses over 40 years of general management experience in the financial services, communications, integrated oil, and paper and forest products sectors. From 1995 to 2003, Ms. Mercier headed her own management consulting firm. Prior to that time, she was Senior Vice-President and CFO of Abitibi-Price Inc.

Ms. Mercier currently serves on the boards of Intact Financial Corporation and the Royal Conservatory of Music. She formerly served on the boards of Teekay Shipping Corporation and the University Health Network. She holds an MBA from York University, and a Master's degree from the University of Alberta.

In 2010, Ms. Mercier received an honorary LLD from York University. In 2011, she was named as one of Canada's Top 25 Women of Influence; and in 2012, 2015 and 2017, she was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women.  In 2013, Ms. Mercier was awarded an honorary LLD from Wilfrid Laurier University and in 2016, she became Chancellor of the University. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada.

She resides in Toronto, Ontario.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Never be afraid.


ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY YOUNGER SELF: If you are offered a chance to do something, say yes, without analyzing it to death.



Rennehan, Mandy portraitMandy Rennehan
Blue-Collar CEO™ & Founder

WXN Hall of Fame

Mandy Rennehan (a.k.a. Bear) is called the Blue-Collar CEO™ for her ability to seamlessly navigate between the white- and blue-collar worlds, and to respectfully 'tell it like it is'. Mandy is a sought-after speaker, multiple award-winning entrepreneur, philanthropist, and trade industry ambassador.

She left her hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, at 18 with a dirty hockey bag and an audacious dream. By 19, she founded Freshco, Canada’s #1, full-service, reconstruction and retail maintenance provider operating across Canada and the eastern United States serving clients like Anthropologie, Apple, Banana Republic, Home Depot, Lululemon, Nike, Restoration Hardware, Sephora, The Gap, Tiffany & Co., plus many more. 

Mandy’s vision goes well beyond building successful businesses. She is redefining the collar, blue™ to help solve the massive skilled trade shortage in North America. It is a profound economic and social issue that affects everyone.  Consumers are paying more and waiting longer for services, companies aren’t able to scale, and important infrastructure projects, like roads, transit and hospitals are being delayed. Mandy is challenging the misconception that white-collar jobs are “better” or “more desirable” than blue-collar ones. Society needs both collars, and if we do not change this, the crippling effects of the skilled labour shortage will only get worse.

Mandy defies labels.  The description she often gets is “refreshing.” Her (respectfully) uncensored honesty is matched by her quick wit, East Coast humour, and big heart. It is impossible to remain unchanged after coming into contact with this authentic, self-taught and self-made powerhouse.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Don't believe one opinion.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I think the word 'powerful' is like the word 'integrity' and I have lots of it to give.

SUCCESS IS: It defines me. Every day I wake up! That is the true meaning of success. The one definition missing in the word 'success' is the consistency of a human being.

HOW I FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Expensive alcohol.

POWER SONG: "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees


Traill, Rhiannon portraitRhiannon Rosalind
President & CEO, Economic Club of Canada
Founder & President, Jr. Economic Club of Canada

WXN Hall of Fame

Rhiannon is Owner, President and CEO of The Economic Club of Canada and recognized as one of the most accomplished business influencers in the country, hosting more than 100 events per year featuring world leaders from politics, industry, the arts and culture discussing the most important issues of the day.

A graduate of Ryerson University, Rhiannon joined The Economic Club in 2008 and became Owner, President and CEO in 2011. In 2014, 2015 and 2017, Rhiannon was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Business by the Women’s Executive Network in the Telus Future Leaders and the Sun Life Trailblazers & Trendsetters categories. In 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Rhiannon was elected to Ryerson University’s Board of Governors, where she was responsible for the governance of the university, control of its property and revenues and the conduct of its business and affairs. In 2016 she was named one of Canada’s Change Agents by Canadian Business Magazine and in 2018 was recognized as a major influence in shaping our society by Bay Street Bull Power 50. Rhiannon has also served on the Toronto committee for the Canadian Blood Services Campaign for All Canadians, and a member of the Council of Champions for the national not for profit, Children First.

She is currently a regular panelist on the “Moore in the Morning” Roundtable segment, offering her opinions on the major news stories of the week, and airing every Thursday morning at 8:50 am on Newstalk 1010 Radio.

Rhiannon is passionate about giving a voice and influence to Canadian youth in major national discussions and decisions. To that end in 2011, she conceived and founded the not for profit Junior Economic Club of Canada, designed to supply the tools and programs to inspire Canadian youth to become financially literate, civically engaged and socially responsible. To date, more than 35,000 students from across Canada have engaged in the Junior Economic Club of Canada’s programming offerings and the Club has granted more than $100,000 in academic scholarships.

Rhiannon also loves to write, meditate and sing in her spare time and is the proud mother of two young boys.

EARLY, LASTING LESSON: Relationships are everything, treat everyone like they are as important as a CEO and watch how wonderful the reward will be.

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL: I think women should own the idea of being powerful. Its not always something we think of when describing ourselves but it should be.

POWER SONG: "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac