BMO Arts & Communications
President & General Manager, CABLE PUBLIC AFFAIRS CHANNEL (CPAC)
BIO: Award-winning Catherine Cano brings more than 20 years of executive leadership in broadcasting
across all platforms and internationally to Canada’s only national, commercial-free, not-for-profit,
bilingual television and digital service. She is highly regarded as a digital innovator and this year
was named Innovator of the Year by Women in Communications and Technology. A previous 2012 Top 100 winner,
Cano is also a strong advocate of news and media literacy and writes for Policy magazine.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Very humbled.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Changes start at the top and unless you are committed
to gender equality and diversity, it does not happen.
|PATRICIA KAREN GAGIC
Artist, Author & CFO, HAMILTON VEIN CLINIC
Nominated as: CFO Hamilton Vein Clinic
BIO: Three-time Top 100 winner Patricia Karen Gagic has built a career and life that spans
many passions and areas of expertise. An established contemporary artist, author and champion for social
justice, she has also created an extensive career in finance, banking and property management. Her collection
of professional and philanthropic accolades continues to grow. In 2017, she was presented the Excellence
in the Arts for courage and commitment to human rights, dignity and freedom by the Canadian Civil Liberties
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: To appreciate each moment as a unique experience and be mindful and
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: I love it!
POWER SONG: Karma Police (Radiohead).
Chief Executive Officer, CREATIVE BC
BIO: Longtime champion of Canadian creativity, Prem Gill leads an agency chosen by the British
Columbia government to help unite, sustain and grow the province’s creative industries both at home and
globally. An established player in film and TV, she brings more than 20 years of experience from the
digital media and entertainment industries to her current role. She is vice-chair of the National Screen
Institute and serves on the board of directors at PuSH Festival as well as a director at the AFC.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Make time, respect time. So many people have made time for me over
the years, I always strive to meet or connect over the phone with people who are looking for a career
shift or just starting out.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Developing programs that help all kinds of people
tell their stories to audiences, to each other, across all mediums—this is a priority.
Executive Vice-President, Communications & Public Affairs, CIBC
BIO: Competitive, positive and engaging are the words often used to describe Veni Iozzo. She
has a proven track record over her 25-year career in the financial services industry of accelerating
performance. In her current role, she provides strategic leadership in the development, implementation
and measurement of corporate communications across all of CIBC’s group of companies. She is also an avid
volunteer in support of women’s issues and for four years was a valued member of the Canada’s Most Powerful
Women: Top 100 board.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Setting small personal goals as markers in your life makes it easier
to stay on track and move forward.
POWER SONG: Shout To The Top (The Style Council).
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, CORUS ENTERTAINMENT INC.
BIO: Award-winning Barbara Williams is used to being in prime time. She built her distinguished
career in broadcasting by creating and acquiring content for organizations such as Alliance Atlantis,
Canwest Broadcasting and Shaw Media before joining Corus Entertainment. In her current role, she oversees
all strategic and operational aspects of Corus’ content across conventional and specialty television,
Nelvana, digital, and radio properties. She shares her considerable insight as a board member of the
Canadian Film Centre and Canada’s Walk of Fame.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Just say yes! Give every new opportunity a try – and don’t be afraid
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Confident, excited, valued. That’s power.
|LIEUTENANT COMMANDER KELLY WILLIAMSON
Senior Public Affairs Officer, 5th Canadian Division-Canada’s Army in Atlantic Canada, Canadian
BIO: Lieutenant Commander Kelly Williamson is an accomplished leader with more than 20 years
experience leading and managing diverse teams at the tactical and operational levels in both a deployed
and domestic capacity within the Department of National Defence. Williamson was part of the Canadian
Armed Forces’ disaster response teams sent in to help the people of Haiti and Nepal when violent earthquakes
hit each of those countries. She was promoted to her current rank in 2012.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: 1. Never be afraid to fail; you learn as much from failure as you
do from success. Get up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. 2. Never let others define who you
are or what you’re about: be brave, be yourself. 3. It’s all about the people: listen, care, lead.
President & CEO, DIGITAL NOVA SCOTIA
BIO:In a sector short on skilled talent, three-time Top 100 winner Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia has championed
diversity and inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment and innovation. She has led the charge
on a number of impactful programs aimed at attracting and retaining women, youth and immigrants into
Nova Scotia’s ICT sector. Under her leadership, Digital Nova Scotia (DNS) has attained unprecedented
growth, increased visibility and achieved sustainability.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Attitude is key in all we do. If a challenge presents itself, embrace
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We need strong, vocal and visible leaders in the
ICT sector to discuss and achieve gender equality, close the gaps that exist and actively promote the
importance of diversity in the workplace and on boards.
President & Chief Executive Officer, SURECALL CONTACT CENTERS
BIO: A change-maker and Lean Six Sigma master black belt with a 30-year track record of leading
businesses to success, Desiree Bombenon is a Harvard Fellow and a member of the Advanced Leadership Initiative
cohort working on critical humanitarian issues. Under Bombenon’s leadership her companies have been recognized
with numerous awards for service excellence and ethics. In 2016, she launched a corporate responsibility
program called Good Call that creates a strategic partnership with SureCall, NPOs and Canadian charities.
She also started Hero Girls, which educates females in underserved and disparate communities.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: You can get through life without failing and do well, or you can fail,
learn, and reach your true full potential.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: I associate it with strength and being bold, it’s
important for women to be okay with those characteristics.
Chief Executive Officer, FUTURPRENEUR CANADA
BIO: Two-time Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner, Julia Deans is a civic leader and
champion of diversity and inclusion. As CEO of Futurpreneur Canada, she leads a national non-profit that
has helped almost 10,000 young entrepreneurs (40% of them women) launch start-ups. Prior to joining Futurpreneur
she helped develop Ontario’s first-ever immigration strategy and led CivicAction, which successfully
tackled major social, economic and environmental challenges in the Toronto region.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Passion and hard work are every bit as important as intelligence in
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Great! I love being able to use all of my experiences
and insights to make things happen.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: More and more realistic profiles of female and diverse
General Manager & Vice-President of Business Development, WATERMARK BEACH RESORT
BIO: More than 20 years into a distinguished career spanning roles at high-profile luxury hotels
and lesser-known boutique hotels, Ingrid Jarrett is just as passionate today about the industry as when
she started. She is driven to make a difference and fuel positive change. When she’s not managing Watermark
Beach Resort, Jarrett stays busy serving on multiple boards across the B.C. tourism community and mentoring
the next generation of tourism leaders.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: As women, I believe we can proudly champion family
and contribution at the community level as well as at the corporate level — and we can bring our hearts
to the boardroom. It is our unfair advantage.
POWER SONG: Man! I Feel Like a Woman! (Shania Twain).
Deputy Minister to the Premier of Saskatchewan & Cabinet Secretary, GOVERNMENT OF SASKATCHEWAN
BIO: The first woman to serve as deputy minister to the premier of Saskatchewan and cabinet
secretary, Alanna Koch oversees the Saskatchewan public service, an organization of 11,000 employees
responsible for the design and delivery of government programs and services to Saskatchewan residents.
Prior to joining government, she built a distinguished career in executive leadership roles in the agriculture
industry and was named to the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame for her outstanding achievements
in the sector.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: To always be authentic and accountable. Who you are at home is who
you are in your community and who you are at work.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Proud. Being powerful to me means having a compelling
Chief Executive Officer, ACETECH ONTARIO
BIO: Jodi Kovitz is a transformative growth and revenue strategist. She is also a passionate
connector of people. Through member-based non-profit AceTech Ontario, she supports chief executive officers
and executives of technology companies by providing best-in-class, peer-to-peer learning, roundtables
and education. Kovitz is the founder of #MoveTheDial a movement to transform the face of tech leaders
in Canada, with a mandate of advancing women to help Canada succeed on the global stage.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: You can make anything happen that you can dream if you have a plan
and a great team.
POWER SONG: Roar (Katy Perry).
President & Chief Executive Officer, DNAPOWER INC. & SKINDNA INC.
BIO: Lois Nahirney is a biotech entrepreneur revolutionizing preventative healthcare by providing
state-of-art personal genetic information to people to help them make better every day health decisions.
As a successful global corporate executive, she became passionate about advancing women in business. Lois
is a tireless advocate for women through her work as chair of WXN in BC for 15 years, chair of the BC
Premier’s Women’s Economic Council, co-chair and co-founder of WE for SHE, and director of
a charity that builds schools in Vietnam and supports anti-trafficking for at-risk girls through summer
camps and scholarships. She has been a true champion for thousands of women.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Be the change you want to see in the world.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We all need to be daily champions for gender equality
and diversity. Support our young women to dream big and help remove the barriers to achieve those dreams.
POWER SONG: Eye Of The Tiger (Survivor).
President & Chief Executive Officer, TORONTO FINANCIAL SERVICES ALLIANCE
Nominated as: President & Chief Executive Officer, WOMEN IN CAPITAL MARKETS
BIO: Jennifer Reynolds’ 20-year career in the financial services industry has included senior
roles in investment banking, venture capital and global risk management. Prior to joining TFSA, she was
the president and CEO of Women in Capital Markets (WCM), Canada’s largest industry association and advocacy
group for women in the financial sector. Reynolds holds the Institute of Corporate Directors designation
and serves on the boards of the Canada Development Investment Corporation and the Women’s College Hospital
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Tenacity is the key to success.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Donald Trump. I would permanently disable his twitter
POWER SONG: Clocks (Coldplay).
Owner & President, GLASSSKY
BIO: Robyn Tingley is a performance expert and sought-after speaker and trainer specializing
in advice for women and millennials. She has lived and worked around the world as a corporate executive
for a Fortune 100 company, launched three social enterprises by the age of 40, advises blue chips, start-ups,
and created the 10 Essentials books and workshops to provide practical modern-day career advice. Her
latest venture, GlassSKY, is dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of women.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: That we are bigger than ourselves and have a responsibility to try
to make a positive difference in the world.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Motivated. For me, power is a combination of three
things: having the confidence to act, possessing the understanding of how to influence, and having the
reputation as a leader.
|Dr. MIYO YAMASHITA
Managing Partner, Talent & Workplace & Chief Transformation Officer, DELOITTE CANADA
BIO: Miyo Yamashita is responsible for developing and executing Deloitte Canada’s talent and
national work-place strategies and helping clients deal with risks in major transformation initiatives.
She originally joined Deloitte in 2010 when the firm acquired Anzen, the boutique regulatory risk management
consulting company she founded. Seventy percent of the employees in Yamashita’s firm were women, as were
about 66% of its owners. She is co-chair of the Ascend Canada Chief Inclusion Officer Forum, where she
works to overcome inclusion obstacles and address the shortage of Asian leaders in corporate Canada.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Humbled, but proud.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER AND DIVERSITY: Inclusion is about “all ideas in”, not just ensuring differences
are represented. The future belongs to those who can truly harness the power to participate.
Accenture Corporate Directors
Board Chair, HOME HARDWARE STORES LTD.
BIO: A longtime Home Hardware dealer, Christine Hand was first elected to the board of directors
of Home Hardware Stores Limited in April 2003 and in April 2012 became chair. She is now in her sixth
consecutive term as board chair. She has been awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Award and the Queen’s
Diamond Jubilee Award in recognition of her extensive volunteer efforts.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: The Minister of Justice. I would arrange a roundtable
with the Prime Minister to create a new approach to sexual assault. Our current system is broken and
re-victimizes victims. Special training is desperately needed for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement
POWER SONG: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Wham).
Chair, Board of Directors, PAYMENTS CANADA
BIO: Eileen Mercier is among the first women in Canada to transfer her skills from a highly
successful career in business to a second career in corporate governance. She brings 45 years of leadership
experience in the forest products, financial services, integrated oil and communications industries to
her role as chair of Payments Canada and her many board affiliations. This is her third Canada’s Most
Powerful Women: Top 100 win.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Kim Jong-un of North Korea. I would start talks to
do a deal like Iran’s with inspections by the UN of nuclear facilities in exchange for the lifting of
POWER SONG: I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor).
Board Chair, GREEN SHIELD CANADA & THE GREEN SHIELD CANADA FOUNDATION
BIO: Two-time Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner, Sherry Peister was the first female
chair of both Green Shield Canada and the Green Shield Canada Foundation — positions she has held since
2010. A licensed Ontario pharmacist, she has an impeccable track record serving her industry and community
through active board participation, including serving as president of the Canadian Pharmacists Association
and as a member of its finance, audit and risk management committees.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Queen Elizabeth ll. I would go back to her early
years of reign, break with tradition and the advice given by her advisors, and make decisions that she
felt were right and create a new, modern protocol for the monarchy.
POWER SONG: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Rolling Stones).
HSBC Corporate Executives
Executive Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer, IAMGOLD CORPORATION
BIO: Two-time Top 100 winner Carol Banducci joined IAMGOLD in 2007 after building an impressive
career in the manufacturing sector. She oversees all aspects of finance, information technology and investor
relations and helps drive corporate strategy. Banducci is committed to giving back. In 2016, she partnered
with the University of Toronto’s department of psychiatry to launch a fundraising initiative for the
prevention and early detection of mental illness in young people.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Positive. It means being strong, resilient, self-aware,
willing to empower others, not afraid to ask for help, balanced and committed to following your dreams.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International
Monetary Fund. I would gain a fuller appreciation and understanding of the issues, difficulties and complexities
surrounding the global economic and political landscape.
|NORIE C. CAMPBELL
Group Head & Chief General Counsel, TD BANK GROUP
BIO: Norie Campbell joined TD Bank Group more than 15 years ago, holding a number of high-profile
positions as part of her ascension. She now leads a team of more than 2,300 professionals and chairs
TD’s women in leadership committee. Campbell has been recognized as one Canada’s most influential lawyers.
This is her third time being named a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON:How to disagree respectfully and influence others’ point of view.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.
I would like to take part in the challenging process of deciding the major legal issues of our land.
Chief Marketing Officer, CERIDIAN
BIO: Kristina Cleary leads Ceridian’s global marketing team, providing strategic direction and
leadership on brand, growth, product positioning, and go-to-market approach. She is active in mentoring
women and is a member of the #MoveTheDial team, a mentor of #GoSponsorHer, and is the executive sponsor
of the Ceridian’s Women’s Summit at Ceridian’s annual customer conference, INSIGHTS. She has also been
recognized as the Marketing Executive of the Year by the American Business Awards and one of the top
“300 Women in HR to Watch.”
|CHRISTINE M. COOPER
Head, Canadian Corporate Finance Division, North American Commercial Banking, BMO FINANCIAL GROUP
BIO: With 25 years of experience in finance, Christine M. Cooper has a proven record of success.
In her current role, as Head of Canadian Corporate Finance Division at BMO Financial Group, she is responsible
for strategic growth and leading the regional teams in the delivery of trusted advice, products and solutions
for BMO’s commercial banking clients. She is also a passionate advocate for building strong communities
and provides her support as a speaker, fundraiser and board member to a number of community organizations.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: 1) seek regular feedback; 2) be open to moving outside your comfort
zone, and 3) do the right thing, not the easy thing.
Executive Vice-President, Human Resources, TD BANK GROUP
BIO: Sue Cummings’ journey moving up the ranks at TD Bank began in 2005. In her current role
as executive vice-president of human resources, Cummings oversees a diverse portfolio of strategic HR
activities for TD globally. In addition to her HR responsibilities, she is involved in the Bank’s inclusion
& diversity and corporate citizenship initiatives and is a board director of TD Insurance.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: A continued focus on understanding role constructs
and environments that create the best conditions for success, regardless of gender.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL:Not so comfortable. I prefer descriptors such as role
model or influencer.
POWER SONG:Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Elton John).
Executive Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer, CANADIAN WESTERN BANK
BIO: Carolyn Graham joined Canadian Western Bank in 2000, moving through roles of increasing
responsibility. As executive vice-president and chief financial officer, she is responsible for finance,
treasury, capital management, investor relations, internal audit, group risk management, legal services
and regulatory compliance. She is also public member of the Board of Governors and chair of the audit
committee for Grant MacEwan University.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Commit and then keep your promises.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Recognize unconscious bias so that we can talk about
it, think about it and then take action.
POWER SONG: Cuts Like A Knife (Bryan Adams).
Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, AIR CANADA
BIO: Lucie Guillemette began her career at Air Canada in 1987 as a customer service and sales
agent. In January, she took on the role of vice-president and chief commercial officer and is responsible
for all of Air Canada’s commercial business strategies and drive toward sustained profitability. She
has oversight for optimizing all commercial activities for the airline and its regional partners including
network planning and management, revenue performance, marketing, branding, sales and distribution activities
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Be inquisitive, trust your instincts, exercise good judgment, be adaptable,
give it your very best every day and most of all, treat colleagues with respect.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Leading by example and promoting employee programs
POWER SONG: We’re Having a Party (Rod Stewart).
Chief Executive Officer, LINAMAR CORPORATION
BIO: Linda Hasenfratz worked her way up from the shop floor to the C-suite of the auto parts
manufacturing company started by her father, Frank Hasenfratz. Since becoming chief executive officer,
she has grown the company from an $800 million enterprise to over a $6 billion company. In 2014, she
received the Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was named to Fortunes 50 Most
Powerful Women International list in 2016. Hasenfratz and her father have both been inducted into the
Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: My Dad says the only job you start at the top is digging a hole. I
started my career at Linamar running a machine. I learned about hard work, attention to detail and the
drive for efficiency and productivity that stay with me today.
President & Chief Executive Officer, AST TRUST COMPANY (CANADA)
BIO: With more than 15 years in senior roles in financial services across finance, sales, relationship
management and product development, Margot Jordan brings significant industry insight to AST Trust Company
(Canada). Most recently she was interim president and chief executive officer, and executive vice-president,
business development and strategy, across all business lines. Jordan is a member of Women in Capital
Markets Association and the STAC Transfer Association of Canada Board of Directors.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Work hard, trust your instincts and be brave.
POWER SONG: Iko Iko (The Belle Stars).
President & Chief Executive Officer, ENMAX CORPORATION
BIO: Gianna Manes has nearly three decades of experience in the energy industry across the United
States, Europe and Canada. Before joining ENMAX, she was the senior vice-president and chief customer
officer for Duke Energy. She has been recognized for her leadership throughout her career, including
being named Electricity Human Resources Canada’s CEO of the Year, one of Alberta Venture’s Top 50 Most
Influential People and is a multiple Top 100 winner.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Failure can be a gift because there are great lessons to be learned
by picking yourself up and trying again.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Leaders need to be more intentional and explicit
about the value that comes from diversity of experience, approach and thought at all levels.
POWER SONG: Confident (Demi Lovato).
|RUTH ANN MCCONKEY
President, GLC ASSET MANAGEMENT GROUP LTD.
BIO: Ruth Ann McConkey brings a straightforward approach and more than 30 years of experience
in portfolio management and executive leadership to her role as president of GLC. She oversees all of
the firm’s investment professionals and has overall responsibility for the investment management and
business operations. In 2016 she championed GLC’s decision to become a signatory to the United Nations-backed
Principles for Responsible Investment.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: During my first leadership experience, my manager told me that you
can’t be successful unless the people on your team are successful. Since then I’ve always focused on
creating an environment where people have the support and resources to be their best.
POWER SONG: Eye Of The Tiger (Survivor).
Nominated as: Chief Operating Officer, COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS CREDIT UNION
BIO: Kathy McGarrigle is a visionary business strategist, leading transformative change and
delivering exceptional performance in retail banking and wealth management. She is former chief operating
officer of Coast Capital Savings, Canada’s largest credit union by membership. Currently she consults
to companies and non-profits in key business areas related to strategy, execution, operations and human
resources. She has been a member of the Canadian Board Diversity Council Diversity 50 Initiative and
her business excellence has been recognized with numerous awards, including twice being named a Top 100
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Never fear adversity or change. There’s always something to learn
from the experience that will position you well for the next opportunity or adventure.
POWER SONG: I Gotta Feeling (The Black Eyed Peas).
Vice-President, General Counsel & Chief Communications Officer, L’ORÉAL CANADA
BIO: Nadia Petrolito joined L’Oréal Canada in July 2006 as a legal counsel and within a year
she was leading the department. In her current role, she is in charge of the legal affairs and corporate
communications departments and heads the corporate social responsibility program, Sharing Beauty With
All. She is part of the group’s worldwide network of ethics correspondents and is a member of L’Oréal
Canada’s executive committee.
EARLY LESSON LEARNED: Perseverance is as important if not more important than intelligence and
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Strange. For me, it is more about the power of influence.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: My daughter. I would like to understand what she sees
and thinks. But I would particularly love to recapture that feeling of complete and unabashed freedom
President & Chief Executive Officer, TANGERINE
BIO: Brenda Rideout joined Tangerine (formerly ING DIRECT Canada) in 1999 as director of software
development and quickly moved up the ranks to senior executive leadership positions. She was instrumental
in growing the bank’s Canadian presence and led its brand transition to Tangerine. In 2007, she was awarded
the Most Innovative CIO award from Bank Systems and Technology magazine and in 2008 she was the recipient
of the CIO of the Year award from the Canadian Alliance Technology Association.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Take responsibility for your career, don’t be afraid to take risks
and ask for help when you need it.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Oprah Winfrey. To have the opportunity to use her
platform to support leaders, inspire and empower women would be an amazing experience.
POWER SONG: Roar (Katy Perry).
President & Chief Executive Officer, B2B BANK
Executive Vice President, Intermediary Banking, & Chief Information Officer, LAURENTIAN BANK OF
BIO: Deborah Rose’s career in financial services spans more than 20 years, including having
operated her own financial services consulting firm. She joined B2B Bank, which provides banking products
to financial advisers and mortgage brokers, in 2011 as senior vice-president, where she had oversight
for all aspects of business operations, technology and projects. In 2015, she was named Chief Information
Officer at Laurentian Bank of Canada.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Able to reject the status quo and find my voice as
a leader and a mentor. This hasn’t always come naturally for me.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Empowerment comes in all shapes and sizes. We must
be active about championing each other in order to successfully drive change.
POWER SONG: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell).
Group Head, BMO Wealth Management, BMO FINANCIAL GROUP
BIO: Joanna Rotenberg credits her combined JD/MBA degree as a catalyst for her success. Having
realized she wanted to invent deals rather than execute them, she’s built a career doing just that. She
joined BMO Financial Group in 2010 and set about helping shape its strategy, and was named Group Head
of BMO Wealth Management in November of 2016. She is an active board member with several organizations
in Toronto and also serves on Ontario’s Panel on Economic Growth and Prosperity.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON:Everything happens for a reason — you just don’t know the reason yet.
Some of my best career and personal outcomes started as setbacks.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Stop treating diversity as a standalone initiative,
and start treating it as just how we do business.
President & Chief Executive Officer, ACL
BIO: Multiple Top 100 winner Laurie Schultz is leading the transformation of ACL’s global business
by mobilizing talent toward category disruption and double-digit growth. With more than 25 years of experience
in the software and technology sectors, Schultz has led 12 multi-million-dollar software P&Ls and
has a proven track record of both doubling revenues and doubling profits. Since becoming chief executive
officer in 2011, she has pivoted ACL to a software-as-a-service model and to accolades as one of Canada’s
EARLY LESSON LEARNED: Follow your value system and always do the right thing, even if you feel
it could cost you your job. Never compromise.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Women can fast-forward the agenda by taking more
calculated risks and putting themselves out there versus being “gated by self-prescribed perfection.”
POWER SONG: We’re Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time) (Trooper).
Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Human Resources & Communications Officer, CIBC
BIO: Sandy Sharman began her career in banking more than 25 years ago as a branch manager. Today,
she is responsible for developing and delivering CIBC’s talent and people strategies to 43,000 employees
across Canada and around the world. She is clearly focused on creating a diverse and inclusive team.
Sharman is also an active member of the CIBC World Markets Inc. board of directors, providing governance
and oversight for this business.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Embrace change and make the most of it for your development and learning.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: (I have) the ability to influence and help shape
other people’s lives, both men and women.
POWER SONG: Firework (Katy Perry).
|PATTI PERRAS SHUGART
Managing Director & Global Head, Corporate Banking & Global Credit, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS
BIO: Patti Perras Shugart oversees more than 500 professionals in Canada, the United States,
Europe and Australia who specialize in lending, trading credit and loan portfolio management for corporate
and institutional clients. Named a Champion of Change by Women in Capital Markets and a recipient of
their Leadership Award in 2010, she plays a key role in advancing women, diversity and inclusion both
at RBC and in the industry. Patti is the RBC Executive Champion for United Way’s Women United and the
RBC Race for the Kids. She is also a board governor at Branksome Hall and sits on the advisory board
for the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. This is her second time on the Canada’s Most
Powerful Women: Top 100.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Put your hand up as career opportunities arise, ask for stretch assignments
and solicit feedback.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Angela Merkel, to see her leadership style in action
at this turbulent political time.
Managing Director, EBAY CANADA
BIO: Andrea Stairs leads the Canadian strategy and operations of one of the world’s largest
online marketplaces and Canada’s second largest e-commerce business. She is responsible for cultivating
eBay’s community of Canadian users and for overseeing all of eBay’s Canadian functions. Stairs sits on
several boards, including The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), Ontario’s Panel for
Economic Growth & Prosperity and the Rotman School of Management’s equity, diversity and inclusion
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Trust my instincts and accept that my path will not look like others.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Increased female participation in STEM education
will help, but we also need to demystify careers in tech. Tech companies need professionals of all kinds
and are great places to build careers.
POWER SONG: Empire State Of Mind (Jay-Z).
Chief Corporate Officer, TELUS INTERNATIONAL
BIO: Since joining Telus Communications in 2007, Marilyn Tyfting has helped grow what was then
a regional outsourcing provider into a competitive international player valued at US$1 billion. She is
a key member of the senior leadership team and, together with her global team of nearly 900 employees,
is focused on fostering a world-leading corporate culture and leading strategic growth initiatives. Tyfting
is also a champion of diversity and supports several employee resource groups within Telus International
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: To embrace challenges that are outside of my comfort zone because
being a little scared, or experiencing failure can teach us invaluable lessons along the way.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Invest in development and mentoring programs for
women, as well as leadership education that shows all leaders the value of diversity and how they can
take steps every day to demonstrate behaviour that is intentionally inclusive.
|Dr. HALINA VON DEM HAGEN
Executive Vice-President, Treasury & Capital Management, Group Finance, MANULIFE
BIO: Halina von dem Hagen is a globally recognized industry expert on regulatory capital.
She’s established and runs a world-class capital function at Manulife, overseeing and managing the capital
position of the company’s global operations. Being Manulife’s treasurer, she develops and executes
global funding programs and is in charge of liquidity management and treasury operations. She successfully
diversified Manulife’s funding, particularly in Asia capital markets, in alignment with the company’s
expansion in the region.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Focus and determination can move mountains.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Promote meritocracy and continuous innovation, advance
the best talent and use technology to create flexible working environments.
POWER SONG: Felicità (Al Bano & Romina Power).
Senior Vice-President & Head of Online Brokerage, Digital Advice, Insurance Products and Marketing,
QTRADE FINANCIAL GROUP, PART OF THE DESJARDINS GROUP
BIO: Catherine Wood has earned a reputation as a strategic, client-focused, people-centred leader/motivator
— all attributes that serve her well as a member of Qtrade’s senior executive team, setting strategies
to strengthen the brand and business. Before joining Qtrade, she worked in senior management for leading
national financial institutions and founded her own company, which helped firms digitally brand their
businesses. Wood is a trustee for the Institute for Advanced Financial Education and a multiple Top 100
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Spend time reading, listening and thinking about how the world is
changing. Doing that helps me anticipate what lies around the corner, so I can identify areas to concentrate
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Coaching and mentoring are keys to increasing gender
equality. Executive sponsorship is vital to ensuring that leadership development is embedded in the culture.
Partner & National Litigation Practice Group Leader, MCCARTHY TÉTRAULT LLP
BIO: Caroline Zayid is recognized as a leading lawyer in the areas of product liability litigation,
class actions, public law litigation and professional liability. She acted on behalf of the Canadian
Human Rights Commission in the first successful prosecution of a case concerning promotion of hatred
on the internet. Zayid is a contributing author to Defending Class Actions in Canada and Doing Business
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Serena Williams. She has incredible intensity and rises
above negativity by being superb at what she does.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND EQUALITY: We need constant focus to ensure that implicit biases
don’t prevent us from recognizing that talent comes in many forms.
POWER SONG: Not Ready To Make Nice (Dixie Chicks).
Co-Founder & Co-President, GROUP GERMAIN HOTELS
BIO: Raised in an entrepreneurial family, Christiane Germain and her brother and co-founder
Jean-Yves Germain pioneered the boutique hotel concept in Canada with two hotel banners: Le Germain Hotels
and Alt Hotels. Group Germain Hotels’ unique business model is based on a vertical integration strategy
sustained by organic growth. Germain’s approach is straightforward and has proven to be a winning strategy:
build on global best practices while staying true to local warmth and hospitality.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: The hospitality industry is demanding in terms of
schedules. I believe that managers could benefit from further applying their emotional intelligence in
decisions concerning human resources. For instance, offering a flexible work environment would convey
a concern for employees’ personal lives and impact gender equality in the industry.
President & Owner, BASKITS INC.
BIO: How do you build Canada’s go-to gift delivery service? For Robin Kovitz, you transfer the
skills honed throughout a distinguished career in private equity and investment banking orchestrating
mergers and acquisitions to your own acquisition. Since purchasing Baskits in 2014, Kovitz has focused
on making corporate and personal gifting easy by stocking unique, luxurious items and letting consumers
shop the way they like: in-store, online or via catalog. She also serves as a consultant to the admissions
marketing team at the Harvard Business School and on the board of the Harvard Business School Club of
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Honoured. My dream is to influence more young women
to aspire toward becoming powerful.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Melinda Gates, because she has used business to
change the world.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, EMTERRA GROUP
BIO: Emmie Leung has been a driving force for recycling and waste management across Canada for
more than four decades. Always a conservationist, in 1976 she launched International Paper Industries,
one of Canada’s first successful municipal curbside recycling efforts. She has grown Emterra Group into
a national leader in the waste resources management industry, with more than 1,000 employees and a network
of 25 recycling and other waste management facilities.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Trust appropriately. Be bullish on yourself. Don’t over-extend yourself
and conduct yourself with integrity.
WHO I WOULD LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Barack Obama. I’d like to experience how
he exudes optimism and has the tenacity to keep walking down the path he chose.
|RENEE MERRIFIELD WASYLYK
President & Chief Executive Officer, TROIKA GROUP
BIO: Jobs were scarce when Renee Merrifield Wasylyk moved to the Okanagan Valley in the 1990s,
so she built her own business. She launched Troika as a development and property management consulting
firm and has grown it into a progressive organization with its own commercial and residential development
projects and construction companies. The company now has developments in four provinces.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Emboldened to make a positive impact while humbled
by the responsibility and acknowledgement.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: As a society we need to shift gender roles and responsibilities
at home and at work. We also need champions (both male and female) to help high-performing females rise
POWER SONG: Rise (Katy Perry).
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, HILLBERG & BERK ACCESSORIES
BIO: Rachel Mielke is a Saskatchewan-born entrepreneur and mother of three on a mission to empower
women. Since starting her jewelry company in 2007, her ambition and drive has created opportunities for
Hillberg & Berk with the Academy Awards, Dragon’s Den, the Olympics and even with Queen Elizabeth
II, who has worn a custom Hillberg & Berk design. Mielke has grown the company to more than 130 employees,
five stores and more than 80 wholesale stores across Canada.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We are seeing exciting shifts in our industry away
from traditional establishments, which is opening the door for innovative and female-led companies to
really scale rapidly.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Justin Trudeau. I would tell the story of the importance
of entrepreneurs to the growth and stability of the Canadian economy.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, FRESHCO
BIO: Mandy Rennehan left her hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia at the age 18 with nothing but
a suitcase, a smile and belief in herself. In 1995, she founded Freshco, the first full-service, 24/7,
on-call, retail maintenance provider with full coverage across Canada and the eastern United States.
Today, Freshco is the most successful retail maintenance and construction company in the country, with
an impressive client list of Fortune 500 retail giants. This is her third time on the Canada’s Most Powerful
Women: Top 100 list.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Stop apologizing! And it’s OK (and often welcomed) to speak up to
your clients or superiors (respectfully) when you’ve done your homework and have serious value to add.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Every private sector leader needs the confidence
to undo biased hiring processes and truly hire the best person for the job whether they’re male or female
and pay them fairly!
President & Chief Executive Officer, MORAI LOGISTICS
BIO: Getting the right product to the right place at just the right time is a complicated business.
Kelli Saunders, a 30-year veteran of the supply chain and logistics industries, understands the complexities
and nuances involved in long-term sustainability in the logistics industry. She has put this knowledge
to good effect, helping Morai Logistics become the multimillion dollar, multinational business it is
today. Saunders strives to inspire women by sharing her lessons at talks to support fellow female entrepreneurs.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. It’s not only the
clothes we wear, it’s how we carry ourselves … our confidence, knowledge, desire and presence.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Warren Buffett. His philanthropy work, success and desire
to learn is incredible.
President & Co-Chief Investment Officer, SIONNA INVESTMENT MANAGERS
BIO: Award-winning fund manager and entrepreneur Kim Shannon founded Sionna in 2002 and has
more than 30 years of investment management experience, including holding senior executive leadership
roles at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers Canada and the CFA Society Toronto. She currently serves on
the boards of the CFA Institute Board of Regents and Brandes Institute. She is a multiple Top 100 winner.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Quotas on hiring entry level positions, once exposed
to the benefits of diversity much can happen.
POWER SONG: Rise Up (Parachute Club).
President & Co-Founder, NATIONAL BROKERS INSURANCE SERVICES
BIO: Two-time Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner, Joyce Usher-Mesiano has established
a reputation for challenging the status quo. In 2016, she along with her team at National Brokers Insurance
Services introduced BLOOM, a women-in-business insurance program to provide women-owned companies and
executives with insurance that will help them win contracts. She is also an active volunteer and co-founded
theBEfund, in memory of her sister Siobhan, to promote lung cancer awareness and care.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Never be afraid to ask for help, be bold and champion your challenges.
POWER SONG: Imagine (John Lennon).
TELUS Future Leaders
Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President, ANDY TRANSPORT
BIO: Visionary, bold and driven. These are some of the traits that have put Andreea Crisan on
the fast-track to the C-suite. She was a lawyer and named to her current position at Andy Transport by
age 25. Two years later, she is accelerating the company’s growth with plans to open a driving school
for professional drivers, an American operating entity and a European satellite office.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: No one owes you anything in life. If you want something, you work
hard and go get it.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: In trucking, role models to inspire women and companies/employers
that are ready to change and adapt.
WHO I WOULD LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: “My father Ilie Crisan, the most inspiring
entrepreneur on this planet, to experience his wisdom, business acumen and vision.
Director, Strategy Integration, CIBC
BIO: Since joining CIBC in 2009, Christina Hatziioannou has been on the fast track, assuming
increasing responsibility with each advancement. She moved into her current position in 2014 and is responsible
for establishing and driving an innovative digital roadmap across CIBC that will drive digital sales.
She and her team provide expertise in mobile and online innovation strategies that aim to disrupt the
traditional retail banking model.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: The importance of building relationships. I attribute much of my success
to the strength and number of relationships I have built over the years.
WHO I WOULD LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Sheryl Sandberg. I would spend the day learning
how the team at Facebook makes decisions and develops culture.
|JENNA KELLNER IZRAELSKI
Senior Manager, Marketing Re-Imagine, RBC
Nominated as: Marketing Manager, Architech
BIO:A natural leader and passionate visionary with the ability to deliver results. This is how
mentors and colleagues describe Jenna Kellner Izraelski. As the Senior Manager, Marketing Re-Imagine
at RBC, she plays an important role in new innovative products, programs, and campaigns for RBC. Prior
to joining RBC, Jenna worked at Architech and CIBC where she drove business growth and influenced significant
change for the teams she worked with. Jenna currently sits on the board of the Jewish National Fund and
was co-chair of JEDx2017.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Explore and consider every opportunity. Be open to where your network,
experiences and life will take you. Be kind to everyone.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Golda Meir, the only female prime minister of Israel.
She showed that leading a nation takes a woman’s perspective to succeed.
Founder, VANCOUVER OUTREACH
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, SORA
BIO: Jacquoline Martin is an award-winning social entrepreneur who has turned personal challenges
— epilepsy and poverty — into the fuel to help others. Martin is the founder of Vancouver Outreach, a
bi-weekly distribution program to the less fortunate. Since its inception in October 2016, Vancouver
Outreach has delivered more than 20,000 items to those in need. Martin is also the founder of SORA, North
America’s first charitable subscription box.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Take weird as a compliment, not an insult.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Lady Gaga, who is consistently shedding light into
the darkest corners of our world. I would spend time connecting with youth at her Born This Way Foundation.
Senior Business Manager, CAPITAL ONE
BIO: Becca Mintz is Capital One Canada’s youngest senior business manager and leads a team of
20-plus associates responsible for end-to-end program delivery. This team is one of the largest contributors
to Capital One Canada’s P&L. Mintz is also a design thinking coach, leads Capital One’s McGill recruiting
efforts, and is an active mentor to associates across the business.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Being successful and having fun aren’t mutually exclusive; the magic
is in finding something that allows you to do both.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: As a woman, I think it’s important for me to recognize
when I’m allowing myself to get comfortable as an outsider rather than pushing for a seat at the table.
For men, I think proudly owning the feminist mindset is a great start.
Senior Creative Producer, MASTERCLASS.COM
BIO: An award-winning creator, entrepreneur and leader, Jasmeet Sidhu has worked on journalism,
social activism, entertainment and technology projects around the globe. Her career has spanned making
music videos for Taylor Swift and Jay-Z to covering the AIDS crisis in Africa and UN climate change negotiations
in Europe for the Toronto Star. In her current role at MasterClass.com, an online educational platform,
she is helping redefine digital learning. This is her second time being recognized as a Canada’s Most
Powerful Women: Top 100 winner.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Excited. To me, power represents not only career
accomplishments but barriers broken, a sense of poise and mission, and a sense of impact.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Women already within the company need the proper
training and opportunities for growth so they can advance internally.
Founder, THE LADYBUG FOUNDATION
BIO: Hannah Taylor founded The Ladybug Foundation to help raise money and awareness for Canada’s
homeless when she was just eight years old. The foundation has gone on to raise millions of dollars and
Taylor has become a sought-after youth empowerment speaker around the globe. In 2016, Taylor was the
youngest Canadian to be awarded the Meritorious Service Cross. She is currently a third-year student
at McGill University studying politics and women’s issues. She was first recognized as a Canada’s Most
Powerful Women: Top 100 Future Leader in 2007.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: The ultimate duty of a change making leader is creating hope in the
lives of others.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Incredibly grateful for the countless individuals
that have helped me achieve my goals, because I definitely have not done it alone.
|MAIKE VAN NIEKERK
Chief Executive Officer, KATRIN’S KAREPACKAGE
BIO: After losing her mother to breast cancer at age 15, Maike van Niekerk developed a charitable
program, Katrin’s Karepackage (KK) and raised more than $110,000 to offset travel costs for cancer patients
living in rural communities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. She is a recent graduate of Dalhousie University’s
nursing program, where she was awarded the Governor-General’s Silver Medal for achieving the highest
academic standing amongst graduates of baccalaureate programs. van Niekerk was also awarded the Rhodes
Scholarship and will be studying a PhD in Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Losing my mother at 15 taught me that adversity can be one of the
most powerful catalysts for developing resilience, undergoing self-growth, and developing an unparalleled
determination to create change.
POWER SONG: Keep Your Head Up (Ben Howard).
Co-head of Private Markets Group, Global Head of Private Equity, OPTRUST PRIVATE MARKETS GROUP
BIO: Sandra Bosela has been recognized as a pioneering woman in private equity. She is a sought-after
expert in the field and further leverages her finance and business acumen through her board work, including
chairing the Business Development Bank of Canada’s investment committee. This is in addition to her day
job, where she jointly manages the private markets group and oversees OPSEU Pension Trust’s global private
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Work hard, have a passion for what you do and believe in yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get out of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to fail.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Honoured. It comes with a responsibility to influence
Partner & Canadian Real Estate & Construction Leader, DELOITTE CANADA
BIO:Renowned for her knowledge of commercial real estate and proven ability to accelerate growth,
Sheila Botting is responsible for Deloitte’s full-service offering to the real estate industry, and real
estate services for all clients across Canada. She also led the transformation of the firm’s office portfolio
across the country, including Deloitte’s new Bay Adelaide head office in downtown Toronto. Prior to Deloitte,
Botting was Executive Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield, one of Canada’s leading real estate
full services operations.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Believe in yourself, go beyond your comfort zone to embrace all opportunities.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: it’s hard work.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: I’m working with RealPac (Real Property Association
of Canada) to educate our executives and transform the industry.
Senior Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer, SUN LIFE FINANCIAL
BIO:Kathy Cunningham is focused on accelerating the growth and momentum of Sun Life Financial’s
Canadian business groups. She joined Sun Life Financial as senior vice-president and chief auditor in
October 2014, where she was responsible for the company’s global internal audit team, assisting management
in continually improving Sun Life’s risk management and control environment. She was formerly a partner
at KPMG and currently serves as Director on the Macaulay Child Development Centre in Toronto.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Each of us must be bold, take risks and put up
our hands so our voices are heard. Managers need to insist on diverse candidate slates and ensure their
interviews focus on skills and competencies vs. “fit.” We should also be prepared to put diversity goals
|SHARON C. GERAGHTY
Partner, TORYS LLP
BIO: Sharon Geraghty is a leading practitioner in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate
governance and securities law. She has led domestic and cross-border acquisitions, takeover bids and
amalgamations in both public and private markets and regularly acts for multinational corporations in
a wide range of industries. Her clients include two of Canada’s leading financial institutions, Canada’s
largest stock exchange and one of Canada’s largest communications and media companies.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS:To work hard, care about what you do, work with great people and be
resilient when things do not go your way.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: I love that we are developing strong women in business
who have the power to influence the world around them, and who hopefully use that power to give the next
generation of women opportunities to learn and develop (the way so many of my mentors, male and female,
Managing Partner, NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT
BIO: Part scientist, business person and lawyer, Janet Grove helps clients in the technology
and health-care sectors and has advised on some of British Columbia’s most significant technology transactions.
She is sought out for her expertise and business approach to structuring and negotiating complex commercial
relationships to develop or commercialize technology and to establish relationships designed to improve
health care. Her client base ranges from early-stage technology and biotechnology clients to large public
and private companies, educational institutions, healthcare authorities, hospitals and research institutions.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We must find ways to bring increased support, mentorship
and professional development programming to women in all industries and at all levels, most particularly
finding ways to be flexible during the years while our young women professionals are juggling career
and young children.
|CLAIRE M.C. KENNEDY
Partner, Corporate Tax & Transfer Pricing Lawyer, BENNETT JONES
BIO: Recognized as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in tax and transfer pricing, Claire Kennedy
provides corporate tax and transfer pricing advice and represents large taxpayers during tax and transfer
pricing audits and disputes with the Canada Revenue Agency. A seasoned board director, she serves on
the executive of the International Fiscal Association’s Canadian branch and is an officer of the International
Bar Association’s taxes committee. She is also a professional engineer and in 2015 received the Citizenship
Award from the Professional Engineers of Ontario.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Humble – given the company I am in – and proud that I may be able
to serve as a role model.
POWER SONG: I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor).
Nominated as: Managing Director, British Columbia, ACCENTURE
BIO: Two-time Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner Petra Kuret began her career in
the political arena first in Canada and later in the U.K. before applying her skills at Accenture, where
she has developed a reputation as a dynamic, passionate leader. Throughout her 24-year career at Accenture,
she has worked to significantly grow the number of clients Accenture serves in B.C. and build employee
engagement. Kuret is also passionately involved with several organizations, including BC Women’s Hospital
and Free the Children.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Stand up for what you believe in and take risks.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: I am OWNING it with pride! I had to make some difficult
decisions this year. When all was said and done, one recognizes that power comes from within alongside
support from those closest to you.
Partner, LAWSON LUNDELL LLP
BIO: Recognized as one of the best lawyers in Canada in the areas of mergers and acquisitions,
technology and corporate law, Valerie Mann is the chair of the firm’s technology law group and co-chair
of its mergers and acquisitions practice group. Her practice includes acting for entrepreneurs and early-stage
companies through to public companies as well as for those who finance technology ventures including
venture capital companies. She is a three-time Top 100 winner.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Get involved. Say yes to opportunities.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Positive, enthusiastic and successful.
POWER SONG: Jump (Van Halen).
Founder & President, MCCURDY FINANCIAL PLANNING INC.
BIO: Diane McCurdy is a visionary, innovator, educator, speaker, bestselling author of How Much
is Enough? and one of the top financial advisers in North America. She is founder and president of McCurdy
Financial Planning Inc. and is frequently tapped as a financial expert by media outlets in Canada and
the U.S. McCurdy is also heavily invested in community development and serves as a honourary colonel
with the Royal Canadian Air Force, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Do your personal best and let go.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Women mentoring other women and introducing them
to opportunities that take them to the next level.
WHO I WOULD LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Julie Payette. I admire her ability and discipline
to become an astronaut, and I would love a day in space.
Executive Committee Member & Managing Partner, LERNERS TORONTO LLP
BIO: The sole female member of the firm’s four-person executive committee, Lisa Munro is recognized
as one of Canada’s leading lawyers and is a sought-after panelist and speaker. In her role on the executive
committee, she is responsible for reviewing and approving an annual multi-million dollar budget for the
firm, setting compensation for associates and partners, implementing firm-wide initiatives and setting
annual performance goals. During her tenure, the Toronto office achieved gender parity among its partners,
a goal to which many professional services firms still aspire.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Resist following the herd. You can never influence an outcome if you
do not share your views. In my experience, better decisions are made when people are free to express
their opinions – particularly when they diverge.
POWER SONG: Rapture (Blondie).
Senior Partner, DAVIES WARD PHILLIPS AND VINEBERG LLP
BIO: With more than three decades of experience, Patricia Olasker is repeatedly recognized as
a leading lawyer and is one of the highest-profile merger and acquisition lawyers in Canada, leading
the country’s most prominent, transformative and innovative M&A and shareholder activism transactions,
including acting for McKesson Corporation in its $3 billion acquisition of Rexall and Rexall Pharma Plus.
Dedicated to community service, Olasker is the founder of AIDSbeat, the Toronto legal community’s largest
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Be resilient and be selfreliant. Listen more than talk.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: I am now comfortable with the term as it applies
to me. But I also understand that it is a relative, not absolute, notion.
WHO I WOULD LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Donald Trump. I would resign.
Partner and Chair of the Board, BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS LLP (BLG) (CALGARY OFFICE)
BIO: Melinda Park is a senior member of firm management as chair of BLG’s partnership board
and as the chair of BLG’s audit committee. In addition, she acts as the regional group representative
for the general business practice area in the Calgary office. She has practised securities and corporate
law for more than 20 years and primarily represents corporate clients on securities and corporate matters,
including mergers and acquisitions, going public in Canada, and financings by way of prospectus and private
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Don’t be afraid to say “yes.” as you never know what those opportunities
can lead to. Taking the risk on several small steps (seemingly unrelated) along the way can lead to wonderful
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Humbled and strong.
Managing Partner, Tax, PWC CANADA
BIO: In her current role as Canadian National Tax Leader, Lana Paton specializes in taxation
issues related to companies in the utilities sector (including renewable energy) and the mining sector.
She has over 20 years of experience in the tax industry, which includes working on tax issues related
to cross-border tax planning, acquisitions, divestitures, corporate reorganizations, accounting for taxes,
payments in lieu of tax, and dealing with taxation authorities in all levels of the government. In addition
to her role at PwC, Paton sits on the National Board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Appreciate differences and be open to learning about different perspectives,
ideas, cultures, disciplines, etc.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Empowered, with the realization of the impact and
influence that I can have on others in a bigger way.
|CHERYL V. REICIN
Partner & Co-head of Life Science Practise, TORYS LLP
BIO: Cheryl Reicin’s practice focuses on biotechnology, medical device, health information
and other technology-based companies, and representation of private equity/venture capital funds and
investment banks that fund such companies. She also represents academic medical centres and universities.
Her practice centers on assisting U.S., Canadian and Israeli entities in formulating domestic and international
growth strategies and in sourcing capital. She also coordinates domestic and international structuring,
intellectual property planning and regulatory strategy.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Don’t be afraid to ask the “dumb” questions; if you don’t understand,
probably the others don’t either.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Individualized career paths. The more we allow lawyers
to play to their strengths, the more diversity will be accepted and valued.
|JEANETTE M. SOUTHWOOD
Vice-President, Strategy & Partnerships, ENGINEERS CANADA
BIO: Award-winning engineer Jeanette Southwood has demonstrated strategic vision and the ability
to drive performance throughout her career in senior leadership at the global, national, provincial and
local levels. Prior to joining Engineers Canada in November 2015, she was the first female visible minority
principal at Golder Associates, a global firm of more than 8,000 around the world. This is her second
time being named a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Every failure is a step to success. You have to know where you came
from in order to know where you’re going.
POWER SONG: One of my son’s compositions.
|KIM A. VAN DER ZON
Managing Partner, Global Board Practice, EGON ZEHNDER
BIO: Kim Van Der Zon has wide-ranging executive experience, having served in functional and
operational roles across the professional services, financial services and consumer sectors, plus her
consulting experience has given her extensive exposure to most other sectors. She currently leads the
global board practice at Egon Zehnder, serving as a trusted adviser to large-cap chairmen, boards and
chief executive officers on all facets of maximizing human capital, including talent management, board
and CEO succession planning and governance.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: That any power I may have comes from my actions.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Donald Trump. To change the tone and actions to reflect
the stature and vital importance of the Office of the President.
POWER SONG: Thriller (Michael Jackson).
PWC Public Sector Leaders
President & Chief Executive Officer, FUNDSERV
BIO: Karen Adams is a results-driven leader with global experience in both the public and private
sectors, including financial technology, pensions and international banking. During her tenure at Alberta
Pensions Services, she improved employee engagement from 37% to 73% and delivered an award-winning $60
million business transformation project. She moved into her current role at Fundserv in July 2017.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: More and better communication is the key to success.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Women supporting women. That’s the key to all of
us getting a shot at the top.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Michelle Obama. She has it all: intelligence, confidence,
public speaking skills, a cool husband, and those beautiful arms!
POWER SONG: Pump it Up (Elvis Costello).
President, BRITISH COLUMBIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (BCIT)
Nominated as: Managing Director, Health Innovation & Ventures, MaRS Discovery District
BIO: Kathy Kinloch is recognized for leading organizational renewal in complex environments.
Through a number of senior leadership and executive roles, she has spearheaded change initiatives in
the post-secondary as well as government and healthcare sectors. At BCIT, she is focusing on broadening
and deepening BCIT’s partnerships with business, industry and community in British Columbia, across Canada
and globally. She also serves on a number of boards, including Business Council of BC; Polytechnics Canada;
Surrey Hospital Foundation; Trades Training BC and TELUS. This is her third time being named a Top 100
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Honoured. Yet … aware there are many who contribute
to a leader’s success who are equally influential. It’s not a solo journey.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Salim Ismail, founding executive director, Singularity
University. To learn about emerging innovations and garner counsel for opportunities for BCIT.
Vice-President, Government Relations & Policy, CANADA POST
BIO: Susan Margles is the key adviser to the CEO and board of directors on government and regulatory
affairs, is a member of several senior management committees and plays a critical role in setting Canada
Post’s strategic direction. Prior to joining Canada Post in 2005 she worked in the federal government,
where she held increasingly senior positions in the Department of Finance, Transport Canada, Industry
Canada and Health Canada.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Listen and show respect for those who have gone before you.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Bring more women in at the entry level in operations
and help them build a career there.
POWER SONG: We Will Rock You (Queen).
President & Chief Executive Officer, Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité
du travail, (CNESST)
BIO: CNESST, which ensures the occupational safety and rights of 3.7 million workers in Quebec,
is one of the largest public sector organizations in the province. It is also the only one of this size
headed by a woman. Manuelle Oudar has 30 years of experience in the public sector, first as a lawyer,
then as a director of litigation and a deputy minister. She has played a pivotal role in the implementation
of a number of legal reforms in the areas of pay equity and rights and freedoms, as well as the reform
that led to the creation of the CNESST. She is the 2017 recipient of the Leadership Award from the Association
of Quebec Women in Financeand profoundly believes in women working together to break through the glass
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Very humbled. It brings with it a duty to keep helping
women and girls who are starting out in their professional lives.
Provost and Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, YORK UNIVERSITY
BIO: Lisa Philipps provides leadership to the senior academic administrative team in the areas
of academic planning, institutional change management, the alignment of academic priorities and resources,
and strategic enrolment and complement planning. On faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School since 1996, Professor
Philipps is also an active volunteer. She serves as director of research policy on the board of the Federation
for the Humanities and Social Sciences, a national non-profit organization. She is also a member of the
Provincial Judges Pension Board.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS:Be persistent, learn from your mistakes, try again.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Humbled.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Encourage talented people who might lack the self-confidence
to see their own potential or to ask for more responsibility.
|COMMANDER MICHELE A. TESSIER
Commanding Officer, HMCS Margaret Brooke, CANADIAN ARMED FORCES
Nominated as: Commander Coastal Forces Pacific. Canadian Armed Forces
BIO: Over the course of her military career, Michele Tessier has traveled to Australia, Japan,
Singapore and the Middle East. She has participated in numerous joint and international coastal and mine
warfare exercises in Canada and the United States, as well as NATO exercises and courses in Croatia,
Germany and Norway. She was appointed to the position of Commander Coastal Forces Pacific in 2016, and
was recently announced as Commanding Officer (desig) of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel HMCS MARGARET
BROOKE, currently under construction in Halifax, Nova Scotia
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, do something else.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: If we want to encourage young women to join our
ranks and make a career of it, we need to engage them face-to-face with someone they can relate to, someone
with whom they can form an open, honest mentoring relationship.
|LESLIE E. WOO
Chief Planning Officer, METROLINX
BIO: A champion for driving sustainability, innovation and design excellence, award-winning
leader Leslie Woo is a key member of Metrolinx’s executive management team and has delivered a comprehensive
$35 billion transportation plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Her expertise in addressing
complex urban challenges has made her a sought-after public speaker and media go-to expert. Woo is committed
to giving back. She holds several community volunteer roles, including board director with the Womens’
College Hospital and YMCA for the Greater Toronto Area.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: UN Secretary-General António Guterres to convince
him to move defence spending into urban development and education in order to address the root of much
of our global inequality.
POWER SONG: Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani).
CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters
|NORMA K. BILN
Chief Executive Officer, AUGUREX LIFE SCIENCES CORP.
BIO: Norma Biln is a leader in the Canadian biotechnology sector, having risen up the ranks
and winning several national awards while building her career at Pfizer, Amgen and Abbott Laboratories.
As chief executive officer of Augurex, she is transforming patient management to improve outcomes by
developing novel biomarker blood tests. Its first test, JOINTstat, is now in use worldwide and many arthritis
specialists state they rarely make a patient treatment change without checking the JOINTstat results
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Vision, organization, laser focus and tenacity are sure to get you
where you are going.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY: It is often up to each person to decide what they are willing
to do to get there.
|LAUREL C. BROTEN
President & Chief Executive Officer, NOVA SCOTIA BUSINESS INC.
BIO: A seasoned executive, public policy expert, former senior Ontario cabinet minister, lawyer,
legislator and advocate, Laurel Broten leads a crown corporation responsible for export development,
business and film financing and investment attraction for the province of Nova Scotia. She has a demonstrated
track record developing and implementing a number of transformative strategies to ensure evidence-based
decision-making, to modernize regulatory and funding regimes as well as to establish stronger and more
robust accountability measures.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: That every person can play a leadership role within an organization,
regardless of their position.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Digital transformation and increased digital access
could play a vital role in improving gender equality by providing flexibility and greater economic inclusion
for female business leaders and global entrepreneurs alike.
Vice-President, Global Loyalty & Rewards, RBC
BIO: Jacquelina Calisto has overall responsibility for leading RBC’s rewards and loyalty business,
from setting strategic vision and direction to managing overall business performance. She is accountable
for creating partnerships and business opportunities, leading the digital transformation and creating
unique and differentiated value propositions to continue to drive customer loyalty. She received the
2015 Woman in Payments Award in recognition of her leadership in shaping RBC’s future.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: By actively promoting and encouraging our daughters,
nieces, sisters, etc. at every age, to be bold and take chances on unconventional career paths.
POWER SONG: I Feel Good (James Brown).
|LAURIE M. CLARK
President & Chief Executive Officer, SMARTEN UP INSTITUTE
BIO: Laurie Clark’s reputation extends beyond respected corporate leader to business visionary,
with a demonstrated track record of innovating and growing businesses in the fintech and capital markets
industries. She has more than 17 years of direct systems and information management experience, both
in custom development and package implementation, and has delivered solutions for clients in Canada and
internationally. She currently serves on the board of Ability Online.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Laugh really hard once a day!
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Help both men and women to understand their biases,
break the mold of the ‘old boys’ club and see the talent possessed by those with whom they may have previously
|DR. CATHERINE L. COOK
Vice Dean, Indigenous Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and Head, Ongomiizwin – Indigenous Institute
of Health and Healing, UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA
Vice-president, Population & Aboriginal Health, WINNIPEG REGIONAL HEALTH AUTHORITY
BIO: Dr. Catherine Cook is indigenous (Metis) and grew up in northern Manitoba. She practised
as a family physician in remote northern nursing stations for several years before focusing on public
health practice, and more recently health administration and management. She has held numerous positions
in health and academic administration and has actively engaged in board and committee membership throughout
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: Organize well, plan time efficiently, work and play hard, enjoy learning
and what you do every day.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: It doesn’t seem to fit. It’s more about working hard
… to influence positive change and achieve equity in health and well-being.
Chief Technology & Information Officer, QUESTRADE
BIO: Christine Day is a performance-driven technology and business leader known for disruption
in the financial services industry. An entrepreneur by nature, an innovator and a visionary, she has
defined Questrade’s technology posture for 11 years, steering it from a small start-up to one of Canada’s
top and fastest-growing online financial services firms. She is also an advisor on the Ontario Securities
Commission Launchpad and many other industry working groups guiding efforts to accelerate disruption
in financial services.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: As Uncle Ben wisely told Spider-Man: “With great
power comes great responsibility.”
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Gender equality within the (technology) industry
can be improved by celebrating women technologists as role models. Young women need to see what is possible.
Partner (Toronto office) & National Leader, Derivatives Group, BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS LLP (BLG)
BIO: Carol Derk is a senior partner in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)
and formed the firm’s derivatives group which has achieved global recognition. Derk works closely with
clients, regulators and other market participants to find ways to bring new investment products to the
Canadian marketplace, providing Canadian investors with a greater choice of investment products. She
is also involved with the Canadian chapters of Women in Listed Derivatives and Women in ETFs and is a
founding member of The Toronto New School.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Try to learn something new every day, as curiosity and knowledge keep
us feeling engaged and young.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: The increasing involvement of women in the management
of law firms and as general counsel of major corporations.
POWER SONG: A Tisket A Tasket (Ella Fitzgerald).
Founding Partner, HILL & SCHUMACHER PROFESSIONAL CORP.
BIO: A distinguished professional engineer, lawyer, patent agent, trademark agent and founding
partner of an award-winning patent and trademark firm, for more than 25 years Nancy Hill has been managing
intellectual property rights for clients worldwide. She is a sought-after speaker, a leading expert in
her field and an avid volunteer in the engineering profession. Her efforts helped make sexual harassment
part of the definition of professional miscon-duct in the Ontario Professional Engineers Act. For her
trailblazing advocacy, Hill was invested as a companion in the Professional Engineers Ontario Order of
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Increasing the number of women studying engineering
in university. One only has to look at the professions of law and medicine to see the results when more
women graduate from a profession.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Roberta Bondar. I would want to part of the space
team, it would be magical to see the earth from space.
Founder & President, NKPR
BIO: Two-time Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner Natasha Koifman created NKPR in 2002
to combine her two passions: shining a spotlight on stories of substance and supporting causes that make
a difference. Under her leadership, NKPR has established itself as an industry-leading full-service public
relations, artist management and digital agency, with offices in Toronto and New York. Koifman is chair
of the board for Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) Canada and serves on the advisory board for APJ
in the U.S.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: It’s often the things you are most afraid of that allow you to grow
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKE ME FEEL: Deeply grateful. I have a job that I love, and the
great fortune to work with clients and a team who inspire and challenge me to be the best version of
myself every day.
|DR. DANIELLE MARTIN
Vice-President, Medical Affairs & Health System Solutions Senior Fellow, WCH Institute for Health
System Solutions and Virtual Care Family Physician, WOMEN’S COLLEGE HOSPITAL (WCH)
BIO: As a national health policy leader, Dr. Danielle Martin is a strong advocate for removing
barriers to care and improving equity. From a national pharmacare program dedicated to ensuring that
all Canadians can access necessary medications to a basic income to protect the health of low-income
Canadians, her policy work, research and advocacy focus is on closing the health gaps that vulnerable
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We need to challenge the trump card of “fit” in
recruitment processes and re-imagine our internal and problematic images of successful leaders.
POWER SONG: My Shot (from the Hamilton Soundtrack).
Executive Director, FOOD STARTER
Chief Executive Officer, BLUE UNICORN INNOVATION
BIO: Dana McCauley is a seasoned front-end marketing executive with extensive experience in
the food business and a track record of taking ideas from concept to kitchen to commercialization. Before
joining business incubator Food Starter, she was vice-president of marketing for frozen-food company
Plats du Chef and an on-air judge of Canadian reality TV show Recipe to Riches. As chief executive officer
of Blue Unicorn Innovation, she shares industry insights on her widely viewed YouTube channel: Food Trends
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Be prepared and finished well before deadline.
WHO I WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Roberta Bondar. To be an astronaut, a photographer
and trailblazer of her ilk would be exciting.
POWER SONG: Bohemian Like You (The Dandy Warhols).
President & Chief Executive Officer, PLAN INTERNATIONAL CANADA
BIO: Caroline Riseboro is passionate about engaging Canadians in tackling society’s most pressing
issues, and is credited with launching numerous ground-breaking and award-winning campaigns. Prior to
joining Plan Canada, she was senior vice-president, marketing and development at the Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, where she played an instrumental role in expanding CAMH’s reach
and reducing the stigma of mental illness.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: You can only achieve it if you dream it first!
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We have to start challenging harmful gender norms
— these norms don’t just harm women, they harm us all.
POWER SONG: Don’t Stop Believing (Journey).
BIO: Tech titan Michele Romanow is a serial entrepreneur who started three companies before
her 28th birthday. The youngest-ever entrepreneur to join CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Romanow is the
co-founder of e-commerce platforms Buytopia.ca and SnapSaves (acquired by Groupon). Her latest venture,
Clearbanc, provides financial services to freelancers and independent contractors. She is a two-time
Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Society rewards great ideas no matter what background, age or gender
they come from.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We need more female entrepreneurs to be role models.
In a large study by the Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative, people were asked to name the top Canadian
entrepreneurs. Not a single female featured in the top 10.
POWER SONG: Thriller (Michael Jackson).
|DR. SAMAR SAFI-HARB
Canada Research Chair in Supernova Remnants Astrophysics, Department of Physics & Astronomy, UNIVERSITY
BIO: Physics and astronomy professor Samar Safi-Harb left a long-term space-astrophysics NASA
grant at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland to start a world-class graduate research program
in astrophysics and develop the astronomy curriculum at the University of Manitoba. She is an expert
in the field of supernova remnants (SNRs) and under her leadership, she and her team have made significant
breakthroughs, including discovering some of the most magnetic stars in the universe and finding evidence
that the most massive stars do not always form black holes.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Follow one’s passion, work hard, be kind, and keep the big picture
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: We need sustained support and programs especially
for early career researchers, and mentorship for the more established ones.
|DR. SARAH SASKA
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, FEMINUITY
BIO: Dr. Sarah Saska is driven by her desire to challenge the status quo and her love for people
and possibilities. She paused her Ph.D. research into how diversity can be leveraged to advance innovation
to dive into a fellowship at MaRS Discovery District and put her research into practice. Feminuity has
quickly become a global leader at the intersection of diversity, inclusion and innovation. Saska is a
mentor with MentorU and a two-time Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Winner.
EARLY AND LASTING LIFE LESSON: When you do work that challenges the status quo you will receive
a lot of pushback; get used to it.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: The day that we’re able to shift the hearts and
minds of executives in the tech industry to meaningfully invest in and value diversity will be the start
of a better future for all of us.
Owner, President & Chief Executive Officer, THE ECONOMIC CLUB OF CANADA
BIO: Change-maker and business influencer, Rhiannon Traill has successfully expanded The Economic
Club of Canada’s operations across the country, hosting more than 100 events per year with world leaders
from politics, industry, the arts and culture. Traill founded the Jr. Economic Club of Canada to inspire
Canadian youth to become financially literate, civically engaged and socially responsible. She also launched
the annual Voice of Hope awards in Ottawa to recognize outstanding humanitarians working to achieve equality
for women and children. She is a three-time Top 100 winner.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Amazing, because we are all powerful beings and it’s
our job to find out true gifts and use them to make the world a better place.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: More female representation at all levels, especially
indigenous and other racialized women.
Hall of Fame
|SARA L. AUSTIN
Founder & Lead Director, CHILDREN FIRST CANADA
Chief Executive Officer, SHELDON KENNEDY CHILD ADVOCACY CENTRE
BIO: A passionate champion for women and children and an established senior leader with 20 years
of experience in the non-profit/charitable sector, Sara L. Austin has led global advocacy campaigns and
shaped major public policy efforts. Her advocacy on behalf of children resulted in the UN General Assembly
adopting groundbreaking legislation. Through Children First, a national non-profit, Austin is on a mission
to protect and empower Canada’s children. She was recently appointed CEO of the Sheldon Kennedy Child
Advocacy Centre and also serves on the Board of Dalhousie University’s Alumni Association.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Don’t be afraid to take big risks.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: The charitable/non-profit sector has been fairly
progressive in supporting gender equality and diversity in principle, through adopting progressive policies
and procedures. There is still a lot of room for improvement in implementing and enforcing these principles
and ensuring that words are matched with action and resources.
POWER SONG: Today’s the Day (P!nk).
Chief Executive Officer, OVARIAN CANCER CANADA
BIO: Elisabeth Baugh’s achievements over 19 years as CEO at Ovarian Cancer Canada include merging
two charities to create one voice for ovarian cancer, raising the organization to a national presence,
development of education and awareness programs and mission oversight. Today, Ovarian Cancer Canada is
focused on a government relations advocacy campaign directed at ensuring women have access to treatments
and increasing funding. Baugh chaired the first-ever World Ovarian Cancer Day on May 8, 2013. This event,
which she continues to lead, now boasts more than 100 organizational participants in 28 countries, and
has formally become the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Baugh has received the Order of Ontario and Queen’s
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: The power of leading with compassion.
WHO I WOULD LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Melinda Gates, because of her ability to
influence and impact change. I would set up a health fund to improve outcomes for neglected women’s health
POWER SONG: I Am Woman (Helen Reddy).
Partner, STIKEMAN ELLIOTT LLP (TORONTO OFFICE)
BIO: Recognized as one of the country’s leading lawyers in the corporate, commercial, mergers
and acquisitions and private equity practice areas, Samantha Horn is a member of the Toronto office’s
management committee and formerly served as co-head of the mergers and acquisitions and private equity
group. Her efforts to promote the advancement of women in law contributed to the firm receiving the Profiles
in Diversity Journal’s Award of Excellence. She is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a founding
and executive member of the Canadian Women in Private Equity committee of the Canadian Venture Capital
and Private Equity Association and a member of the Women in Capital Markets and the U.S. Women’s Association
of Venture and Equity.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Work hard, use your strengths, and embrace opportunities.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Empowered to empower others.
POWER SONG: Can’t Stop the Feeling! (Justin Timberlake).
Chair of the Board, TRANSCONTINENTAL INC.
BIO: In 2017, Isabelle Marcoux became the first Canadian to win the Visionary Award for Strategic
Leadership from the WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) Foundation, a global organization. The award is a testament
to Marcoux’s proven leadership in making strategic decisions to ensure long-term growth. In 2016, she
was awarded the prestigious Medal of the National Assembly of Quebec, in recognition of her significant
community impact. In addition to leading Transcontinental’s board, Marcoux is also a member of the boards
of George Weston Ltd., Rogers Communications, Power Corp. and Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Aim high, work really hard, stretch yourself.
WHO I WOULD CHANGE PLACES WITH FOR ONE DAY: Angela Merkel. Leading a country is a great expression
of power. I would use my influence to keep the EU together.
POWER SONG: I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor).
Executive Vice-President, People and Culture, & Chief Human Resources Officer, TELUS
BIO: Sandy McIntosh leads a team that drives the company’s innovative people and culture strategy
for 47,000 team members around the globe. She joined TELUS in 2007 and has been championing the growth
and development of the company team ever since, transcending traditional HR accountabilities and challenging
the status quo. With her leadership, TELUS has been named one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures
three times, as recognized by Waterstone Human Capital, and one of only six companies nationally to be
inducted into its Top 10 Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame. McIntosh has also contributed to TELUS being
recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp for seven consecutive years.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Ask “How good could I make this?” to reframe a situation for yourself
and others around you.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: When you can bring people together who have a purpose
and passion for the work they do, your ability to influence and drive real change is incredible. That
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Women can start by working together and helping
each other in a more supportive way than ever. Men need to be enablers, ambassadors and champions who
help shine a spotlight on the incredible contributions of women.
|ELLEN J. MOORE
President, CHUBB INSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA AND CHUBB LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA
BIO: During her career with Chubb, Ellen Moore has held several senior leadership positions
in the U.S. and Canada. Her proven track record, business acumen and commitment to championing women
in business have earned her recognition as one of the insurance industry’s top women executives by both
Business Insurance and Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazines. She is a board member of the Insurance
Bureau of Canada and sits on the advisory boards of the Royal Ontario Museum and Catalyst, Inc. She is
the incoming president of the International Women’s Forum for Canada and is co-chair of Women in Insurance
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Show gratitude, recognize and thank those who have helped you achieve
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Direct and consistent talent identification for
women throughout their careers to plan for advancement.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: My daughters – it would be to see the world through their
POWER SONG: Don’t Stop Believing (Journey).
Corporate Director, FINNING INTERNATIONAL INC., ARC RESOURCES LIMITED, INVESCO CANADA, ONTARIO TEACHERS’
BIO: A CPA by training, Kathleen O’Neill has successfully transitioned from executive vice-president
and partner at BMO Bank of Montreal and PwC respectively to experienced corporate director. A fellow
of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, she is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate
Directors (ICD) education program for directors, an institute-certified director, serves on the Ontario
Advisory Council for the institute and is a frequent instructor/examiner. She is a member of the accounting
advisory committee for the ICD and a member of the CPA Canada’s corporate oversight and governance board.
She was on the steering committee on audit quality jointly sponsored by the CICA/CPA and CPAB.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: The importance of developing relationships and listening and learning
from others. Being linked in before LinkedIn existed.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: There should be a corporate priority around talent
management. CEOs, investors and boards need to be more proactive about diversity and inclusion.
Managing Partner & Chief Executive Officer, OSLER, HOSKIN & HARCOURT LLP
BIO: Recognized as a leading corporate and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) lawyer, Dale Ponder
has represented Canadian market leaders in various industry sectors with cross-border and international
business interests, including the financial services, mining, consumer and pension plan sectors. She
serves on the firm’s executive committee and is a senior member of the firm’s mergers and acquisitions
practice. Ponder has spoken extensively on leadership in professional services, is a member of The Learning
Partnership advisory board, the governors’ council of St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation and the CGCA
EARLY AND LASTING LESSONS: I believe that some of the best life lessons come from failure, and
that some degree of early adversity or challenge serves us well.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: There was a time I would have been uncomfortable
with that adjective; today I believe that if a woman accomplishes something powerful, there’s no cause
to dodge that word.
POWER SONG: Mack The Knife (Ella Fitzgerald).
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, BROADBANDTV (BBTV)
BIO: Shahrzad Rafati started BBTV with a singular mission: to empower creators and inspire audiences.
Recognized by Fast Company as one of the 100 most creative people in business and by The Hollywood Reporter
as one of the most powerful women in global television, among many other accolades, Rafati is credited
with pioneering both the technology and business model that have allowed entertainment entities such
as the NBA and its fans to collaborate by creating and sharing videos online. Today, BBTV is the third-largest
video property in the world in terms of unique viewers, following only Google and Facebook. A sought-after
speaker and thought leader, Rafati actively pursues ways to encourage social change.
HOW TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY AND DIVERSITY: Require public companies as part of their continuous
disclosure requirements to denote their gender pay stats in the same way they are required to provide
visibility and transparency on financial reporting and KPIs.
President & Chief Legal Officer, GLOBAL RELAY
BIO: Shannon Rogers has received numerous awards in recognition of her entrepreneurship, business
and legal acumen. Having started her career as a business and securities lawyer, she joined Global Relay,
a global pioneer in cloud technology and acknowledged leader in enterprise information archiving, compliance
messaging and eDiscovery, in 2003. She quickly began making her mark in the technology and finance industries.
Global Relay remains the only company of its kind in Canada, storing petabytes of mission-critical messaging
data for more than 20,000 customers in 90 countries, including 22 of the top 25 global banks, 70% of
SEC-registered hedge funds, and 60% of FINRA broker-dealers.
Co-Founder & President, GRAFTON ASSET MANAGEMENT INC.
BIO: An international thought leader, unrelenting advocate for women’s equality and a committed
philanthropist, Geeta Sankappanavar is responsible for strategy and oversight of all Grafton’s business
and operating units. In less than five years, Grafton became Canada’s third-largest energy investment
firm, with more than $1 billion in assets under management and is on a growth trajectory to be one of
the largest energy investment firms in Canada. She is an equally high-impact activist for social improvement.
She serves on the board of UNICEF Canada and is a member of UNICEF’s 25th Team, a group of 60 powerful
women promoting maternal and child health care.
BEING DESCRIBED AS POWERFUL MAKES ME FEEL: Humbled. The next generation of women will dream
what they can see and this celebration of so many different paths to leadership will show them that they
can not only achieve what our generation did, but surpass it.
Chair of the Board, RBC
BIO: Kathleen Taylor is the first woman to lead the board of a major Canadian bank. Prior to
transition to corporate director, she built her career at the iconic Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts,
where she moved through several senior leadership roles to become president and CEO. Along the way, her
business acumen and leadership earned her several prestigious awards, including being inducted into the
Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends. In addition to serving as chair of RBC, she is also chair of the
board of the SickKids Foundation, a director of Air Canada, Adecco Group and the Canada Pension Plan
Investment Board. She is a 2017 Institute of Corporate Directors fellow.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: The best leaders relentlessly invest in people and relationships.
They are courageous and values-driven in the face of adversity, thoughtful and decisive in the face of
uncertainty, and completely authentic in how they show up.
I WOULD TRADE PLACES FOR ONE DAY WITH: Angela Merkel. To see firsthand the complexities of running
a huge country and economy, and learn how she balances so many competing priorities and strong personalities.
Chief Administrative Officer, RBC
BIO: In her latest advancement at RBC, Jennifer Tory has responsibility for brand, citizenship,
communications, procurement and real estate functions globally. She also provides oversight and alignment
of transformational initiatives cross-enterprise with a focus on enhancing the way people work. As a
member of the group executive, she is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of RBC.
Awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012, Tory has a long history of supporting numerous community causes.
She sits on the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation board and is chair, Toronto International Film Festival
board and is a fundraiser for several other charitable organizations including WE, (formerly Free the
Children) and United Way.
EARLY AND LASTING LESSON: Find your passion and then follow your passion. At university, I took
a wide variety of courses so I could explore the unfamiliar and discover where my true interests lay.
It’s something I’ve continued to do in my career – go wide to develop an experience base and then, when
you find what you love, go deep.
Inclusion Vanguard Award
Canada President, ACCENTURE
BIO: Bill Morris is the President of Accenture in Canada. Under his leadership, Accenture has
been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, Greater Toronto’s Top
Employers, Canada’s Top Employers for Young People and is ranked second on Pride at Work Canada’s LGBT
Inclusion Index. Bill champions Accenture’s diverse leaders, successfully sponsoring two of Accenture’s
female executives to become Canada’s Top 100 winners.Bill co-chairs Accenture’s Canadian Diversity Council,
which is comprised of senior Canadian leaders who drive inclusion and diversity accountability, including
modelling inclusive behavior, and setting diversity targets. In the spirit of creating discussion around
diversity, Bill began implementing “diversity moments” at the beginning of his leadership meetings where
Accenture leaders raise topics and questions around diversity with the goal of starting conversations—sometimes
difficult ones—to ensure Accenture is the most diverse and inclusive company in Canada.Bill is leading
Accenture’s efforts to reach and sustain overall gender parity in Canada by the year 2025.Bill has been
on Accenture’s Global Leadership Council for 15 years. He also held North American and global roles in
Accenture’s Resources operating group earlier in his career.On a personal note, Bill grew up in Halifax
and is an avid outdoorsman and has a passion for music. He lives in Toronto with his wife Sally, and
has three grown-up children.