Register Now

RSVP today to save your spot

Register

About the Diversity Inclusion Now Conference

The Diversity Institute is pleased to host the Diversity Inclusion Now conference, a conference that will explore how to drive systemic change, enable equitable and fully inclusive environments for women and diverse groups in the workplace.

Canada is known for its diversity and shared commitment to advancing equal opportunities for all, including women, racialized minorities, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Despite considerable efforts to advance diversity in workplaces across all sectors of Canada’s economy, a gap between intention and action persists. The Diversity Inclusion Now conference will convene thought leaders to present best practices on how Canada can create the equitable and inclusive workplace we want, now.

Agenda

Monday,November 18

Oakham House,Courtyard Lounge

Welcome Reception

Join Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and distinguished guests including the Honourable Senator Ratna Omidvar to celebrate 20 years of evidence driven change ranging from improving inclusion for newcomers through changing corporate comply or exchange legislation.


5:00

Arrival & Reception Registration

5:30

Remarks

Hon. Ratna Omidvar

Senator for Ontario
Senate of Canada

Dr. Wendy Cukier

Founder and Academic Director
Diversity Institute, Ryerson University

6:15

Networking

Tuesday,November 19

Oakham House,Thomas Lounge

Driving Systems Change for Workplace Inclusion

We will discuss challenges and progress in creating inclusive workplaces. Share practical strategies for implementing corporate action to drive change from industry leaders such Blackrock Canada, British Columbia Institute of Technology, United Way and academic experts from across Canada. Hear from a distinguished panel about the importance of advocacy for policy change.

Our speakers include Hon. Senator Marilou McPhedran whose lifetime of activism includes helping ensure gender was included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Hon. Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected to Parliament who  championed the motion for the creation of black history month in Canada, Dr. Pamela Palmater, whose relentless evidence informed activism has helped right historic wrongs against indigenous women, Svend Robinson who sponsored legislation in parliament to include sexual orientation in federal hate crimes legislation.

Learn more about the importance of an intersectional lens and the particular challenges for Muslim women, persons with disabilities and transgendered people.


8:30-9:00

Registration

9:00-9:10

Welcome

Julie Cafley
Executive Vice President, Programs and Partnerships
Public Policy Forum

9:10-9:30

Opening Remarks: Why Gender Data and Analysis Matters for the Future Of Work

Rachel Wernick
Senior Assistant Deputy Minister
Employment Social Development Canada

9:30-10:00

Driving Systems Change

Dr. Wendy Cukier
Founder and Academic Director
Diversity Institute at Ryerson University

10:00-10:15

Break

10:15-11:15

Organizational Diversity Strategies

Vinita Jajware
President
Toronto Insurance Women’s Association

Rahima Mamdani
Vice President, People and Culture
United Way

Eleanor McIntyre
Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer
BlackRock Canada

Additional Panelists TBA

11:15-12:15

Tools and techniques for “Moving the Dial”

Denise Shortt
Vice President, Industry Development and Diversity and Inclusion
Information Technology Association of Canada

Dr. Abby Goodrum
Professor and Program Coordinator, User Experience Design
Wilfrid Laurier University

Additional Panelists TBA

12:15-2:00

Lunch: Trailblazing Legislative Change

Senator, The Honourable Marilou McPhedran
Senate of Canada

Dr. Pamela Palmater
Chair in Indigenous Governance
Ryerson University

The Honourable Jean Augustine
Queen’s Privy Council, Companion of the Order of Canada

Svend Robinson
Former Member of Parliament

2:00-3:00

Intersectionality: “Miles to go before we Sleep”

Kory Wilson
Executive Director, Indigineous Partnerships and Initiatives
British Columbia Institute of Technology

Ruby Latif
Research Associate
Ryerson University

Additional Panelists TBA

3:00-3:15

Break

3:15-4:15

Data Driven Action: Next Steps

Dr. Rupa Banerjee
Associate Professor
Ryerson University

Dr. Malinda Smith
Professor
University of Alberta

Dr. Eddy Ng
Professor and James and Elizabeth Freeman Chair in Management
Bucknell University

Dr. Tania Saba
BMO Chaired Professor in Diversity and Governance
Université de Montréal

4:15-4:30

Closing Remarks

Wednesday,November 20

Oakham House,Thomas Lounge

Words Into Actions: Building an Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem to Support Diverse Entrepreneurs

We will have a series of interactive discussions that look at research driven analysis of the opportunities and challenges within inclusive entrepreneurship including insights from the Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. We will hear insights from thought leaders such as Dr. Wendy Cukier, Dr. Suzanne Gagnon and Dr. Sarah Kaplan. Day 3 will also feature a Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub Action Planning session that you do not want to miss.

Learn more about small actions that can drive big changes including specific tools and techniques such as procurement from the Canadian Aboriginal Business Council and Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council and hear from Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam on inclusive entrepreneurship.


8:30-9:00

Registration

9:00-9:20

Opening Remarks

Dr. Suzanne Gagnon
Chair in Leadership Education and Professor
University of Manitoba

9:20-9:40

Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam
Toronto City Council

9:40-10:20

Definitions and Data: Measuring Impact

Dr. Wendy Cukier
Founder and Academic Director
Diversity Institute at Ryerson University

Dr. Suzanne Gagnon
Chair in Leadership Education and Professor
University of Manitoba

Ashley Walker
Vice President, Operations
The Evidence Network

Sadaf Parvaiz
Director, Americas Diversity and Inclusiveness Office
EY

10:20-10:50

Gender Lens on Entrepreneurship

Dr. Sarah Kaplan
Director Institute for Gender and the Economy, Professor
University of Toronto

10:50-11:00

Break

11:00-12:00

Matching Discourse with Dollars: Procurement Strategies to Support Diverse Entrepreneurs

Max Skudra
Director of Research and Government Relations
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Cassandra Dorrington
President
Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council

Stephanie Fontaine
Country Director
WeConnect International

Additional Panelists TBA

12:00-1:00

LunchSponsored by Canadian Council of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

1:00-2:00

Networks to Support Diverse Entrepreneurs

Elise Ahenkorah
Programs and Partnership Lead
UCalgary Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking ’s WELab
Founder
#shemeets

Dr. Mary Kilfoil
President
Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE)
Founder
Innovate Atlantic Inc

Dr. Mai Thi Thanh Thai
Editor in Chief
Journal for Small Business Entrepreneurship (JSBE)
Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
HEC, Montreal

Paulina Cameron
CEO
Forum for Women Entrepreneurs

Megann Willson
Partner and CEO
PANOPTIKA and CCSBE Board Member

Despina Zanganas
Co-Eounder
Lean in Canada

2:00-3:00

Unlocking Resources Women Need

Brian DePratto
Senior Economist
TD Bank

Brooke Gordon
Senior Advisor, Women Entrepreneurs
Business Development Bank of Canada

Danielle Graham
Principal
Dream Maker Ventures

Shannon MacDonald
Managing Director
Accenture

Amanda Munday
CEO
The Workaround

3:00-3:30

Diversity Inclusion Now Closing Remarks

3:30-5:00

Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub Action Planning

Speakers

Elise Ahenkorah

Programs and Partnership Lead
UCalgary Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking ’s WELab
Founder
#shemeets

Elise is the founder of #shemeets, a non profit that supports women of colour and Indigenous females entrepreneurs through mentorship and resource sharing. She joined the Hunter Hub in June 2018 as a Marketing and Communications Specialist. In her new role, she is leading the University of Calgary’s first women in entrepreneurship program — WELab. Elise brings extensive experience in program development, fundraising, change management, institutional-wide strategic planning, public speaking and communications. She is also an award-winning entrepreneur as the inclusion strategist and founder of inclusion FACTOR, a data-driven inclusion and equity strategic planning firm. Her work has taken her across North America to speak about the power of inclusion and inclusive innovation in various sectors. In 2019, she received the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) Community Contributor award.

The Honourable Jean Augustine

Queen’s Privy Council
Companion of the Order of Canada

Born in St. George’s, Grenada in 1937, Jean lost her father at a young age, but blossomed into an outstanding young student raised by a wise grandmother.

In 1960, already a qualified teacher, Jean immigrated to Canada through the Canada-Caribbean Domestic Program. With focus, she attended Toronto Teachers College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto.

Jean earned her Master’s in Education degree while working as an elementary school teacher with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto. She would later become principal/supervisory officer while remaining deeply involved in grassroots efforts in the community.

Jean’s contributions extended to many social causes. She was an active member on boards including York University Board of Trustees, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Donwood Institute, Harbourfront; and served as Chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority. She was the National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. Her capacities were recognized by government leaders who requested her assistance when undertaking important initiatives — the development and launch of Canada’s official multiculturalism policy in 1971; member of the Ontario Judicial Council; the Toronto Crime Inquiry; and the training of teachers in Equity and Diversity.

In 1993, Jean Augustine made history. She became the first African Canadian woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons. She served as the Member of Parliament for the Toronto-area riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, winning four consecutive elections until her retirement from politics in 2006.

Jean’s work as a parliamentarian included service as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Minister and Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Chair of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee and Chair of the National Women’s Caucus. In her final year, Jean was elected Deputy Speaker by her peers.

Dr. Rupa Banerjee

Associate Professor
Ryerson University

Dr. Rupa Banerjee is an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour in the Ted Rogers School of Management. Her research investigates the integration of immigrants and racial minorities into the Canadian labour market and society. Funded by SSHRC and the CIHR, her recent work has resulted in the adoption of fairer hiring practices (e.g. by the federal government) and in the development of a digital app that facilitates newcomer access to information and resources vital to successful settlement in Canada. Her research has significant implications for policymakers, employers, jobseekers and the immigrant-serving sector.

Julie Cafley

Executive Vice President, Programs and Partnerships
Public Policy Forum

Julie is an accomplished leader and academic with expertise in higher education leadership and governance. As Executive Vice-President, Julie builds bridges and enhances the profile and visibility of the PPF while directing its research, external partnership and membership teams. She takes a lead role in projects about democracy and governance, reconciliation, innovation and growth.

In her previous role as Chief of Staff to two presidents at the University of Ottawa, Julie worked closely with the senior executive team to develop and advance strategic initiatives. She also played a key role in profile-raising, fundraising and internal communications. Before her time in the president’s office, Julie led the student recruitment and liaison portfolio.

Julie was chosen as one of the delegates for the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference in 2012, and was honoured in 2010 as one of Ottawa’s top 40 under 40. The Canadian Council for the Advancement in Education chose her as one of Canada’s rising stars in higher education in 2000.

Julie is very passionate about diversity and the promotion of women in leadership roles. She is the inspiration behind cafleycommittee.org, an initiative designed to encourage the nomination and promotion of female leaders. Deeply committed to her community and to the world around her, Julie also lends her support to initiatives tackling poverty and literacy. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Parkinson Canada.

Julie holds a PhD in education leadership from the University of Ottawa. Her thesis focused on higher education leadership and governance through the lens of unfinished terms of Canadian university presidents. She also holds a MEd, which examined organizational change in the higher education sector, a BEd and a BA.

Dr. Wendy Cukier

Founder and Academic Director
Diversity Institute at Ryerson University

Dr. Wendy Cukier is one of Canada’s leading experts in disruptive technologies, innovation processes and diversity. She has written more than 200 papers on technology, innovation and management and is coauthor of the bestseller Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park. She is the Founder of Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, which she founded in 1999 and has led projects aimed at promoting the participation and advancement of underrepresented groups. Dr. Cukier has assisted organizations in becoming more inclusive through innovative programs such as DiversityLeads funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which tracks the progress, impediments and evidenced-based strategies for promoting diversity in organizations.

Brian DePratto

Senior Economist
TD Bank

A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Brian began his career with the Bank of Canada before joining TD Bank in 2014. In addition to producing the Canadian economic forecast, Brian also focuses on the day to day issues facing Canadians. He also contributes to a number of TD publications, and his commentary is frequently featured in financial media.

Cassandra Dorrington

President
Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council

Cassandra Dorrington and her team lead the charge of championing business relationships and economic growth of the Canadian supply chain through the inclusion of Aboriginal and Minority suppliers. During her tenure, Cassandra has been focused on in expansion of the CAMSC brand both nationally and internationally resulting in significant growth and impact in the Canadian marketplace.

Known for her involvement in both the business and community environment, Cassandra has been named one of Diversity Canada’s Influential Women in Diversity and HR and sits on the National Advisory Council for the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises for the Government of Canada, the Black Business Enterprise, Dalhousie University Board of Governors as well as a national Departmental Audit Committee.

With approximately 400 certified suppliers, 85 corporate members and more $4 Billion plus in diverse spend, CAMSC is a proud member of both (SDAC) Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada the single voice for supplier in Canada and GSDA promoting supplier diversity across the globe with sister councils in Australia, China, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Stephanie Fontaine

Country Director
WeConnect International

A well-known leader in the supplier diversity community, Stephanie has spent the last 6 years working closely with entrepreneurs, corporations and not for profit organizations and government to increase procurement opportunities for diverse suppliers. As a business owner herself, Stephanie knows the importance a small gesture can make and she has long been committed to empowering others through sharing of knowledge and connections.

Following a decade in the corporate world, where she held operations, sales and procurement roles, Stephanie went on to assist some of North America’s largest corporations to fulfill their objective of a more diversified supply chain. Through building programs and facilitating connections between buyers and suppliers, Stephanie has championed supplier diversity efforts and been a driving force for increased collaboration and innovation in the space.

Suzanne Gagnon

Chair in Leadership Education and Professor
University of Manitoba

Professor Gagnon joined the Asper School in Fall 2018. She holds the Great-West Life Chair in Leadership Education and is the inaugural director of the Institute for Leadership Development in the School. A professor of Organizational Behaviour at McGill University for 14 years, Prof Gagnon’s courses engage the power of active, experiential learning including peer learning and reflection for leadership and management education at all levels. Prof Gagnon’s research focuses on identity dynamics and leadership development in international firms, on emergent and collective leadership and its links to organizational change in both private and public sector organizations, and on social diversity and equality in business organization. She has also published on innovative pedagogy for leadership education. Her work is published in leading management and organization journals. Prof Gagnon has held several competitive grants to support her work including as a co-lead investigator for a five year SSHRC funded Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) entitled DiversityLeads/ DiversitéEnTête (2011‐2017). She is an Editorial Board member of Leadership, the Sage journal, and Organization Studies.

Professor Gagnon holds a PhD in Management from Lancaster University and a Masters degree in Industrial Relations from Oxford University. Earlier in her academic career, she taught at both Oxford and Oxford Brookes Universities in the United Kingdom, and consulted in organizational change for KPMG Management Consulting.

abby

Dr. Abby Goodrum

Professor and Program Co-ordinator, User Experience Design
Wilfrid Laurier University

Abby is a Professor and Program Coordinator for the User Experience Design degree at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus where she teaches courses in Design Thinking, UX/User-Centered Design, Information Architecture, and UX Research Methods. Before this, she was the Vice President for Research at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Prior to her appointment at Laurier, she held the Rogers Research Chair in News, Media, and Technology at Ryerson University where she was also Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Communication and Design. She also held faculty positions at Syracuse and Drexel Universities where she taught courses in Usability, Information Retrieval, Knowledge Management, Information Architecture, and Digital Reference.

Her research bridges multiple disciplines and appears in the journal literature of computer science, humanities, communication studies, information management, and media studies. For more than 20 years, her research has focused on the study of how humans seek, use, share, manipulate, store, retrieve, and organize digital multimedia. She was founding Director for Social Science Research in a $23M Canadian Centre of Excellence (NCE GRANDE) that served as both a research network and commercialization engine in order to address complex issues in digital media, and transform multidisciplinary research into user-centered solutions.

Abby served on a variety of research committees, management boards and boards of directors, and has extensive experience in peer review processes at all levels including: the Ontario Ministry for Research and Innovation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation (U.S.), and the Institute for Museum and Library Studies. She has served on the boards of Canada’s Technology Triangle, the Canadian Digital Media Network, the Accelerator Centre, SHARCNET, the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, and the Ontario Council on University Research.

Brooke Gordon

Senior Advisor, Women Entrepreneurs
Business Development Bank of Canada

Brooke Gordon was recently appointed to the new position of Senior Advisor, Women Entrepreneur (WE) for BDC in Ontario where she assumes the responsibility of helping majority women owned businesses accelerate their growth and scale up — and ensuring women thrive through every step of their business journey with the help of dedicated partner organizations and regional hubs from across the WE ecosystem.

Brooke joined BDC in 2017 with the High Impact Firms (HIF), Advisory Services where she led a team of Business Advisors and Analysts that support the Growth Driver Program as the HIF Service Delivery Manager for Ontario. Prior to joining our organization, Brooke served as a trusted businesses advisor and consultant for over 19 years in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development and operations.

Brooke is a weight lifting enthusiast and certified Health Coach who is passionate about nutrition and implementing plans that are developed with a focus on sustaining a work life balance for the whole team. She is a proud volunteer with Soroptimist International, an organization that provides financial support for women enrolled in training (Live Your Dream) and career counseling for girls in high school (Dream It Be It).

Brooke is certified in ITIL and holds a Master’s in commercialization (MEEi), in addition to both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, where she was awarded a patent in semiconductor manufacturing processes. She currently teaches the Engineering and Management final capstone project.

Vinita Jajware

President
Toronto Insurance Women’s Association

Vinita Jajware is President of the Toronto Insurance Women’s Association (TIWA), a not-for-profit trade association. Established in 1960, TIWA has a rich history within the insurance industry of producing compelling educational events and unparalleled networking opportunities. Vinita was elected President in 2016 after serving several years on the Board of Directors in senior positions. Under her leadership she has modernized the organization’s goals and has successfully reinvigorated a celebrated staple of the insurance industry. As President of TIWA, Vinita acts as a resource for the entire insurance community, including brokers; underwriters; claims; and risk management professionals.

Along with her work with TIWA, Vinita is also the Vice President, Operations & Business Development with the Brosz Group of Companies, an engineering firm with operations rooted in the Construction and Insurance Industry. Vinita is responsible for the management and financial oversight of the entire organization, including Enterprise Risk Management. Originally a small, family run firm, Vinita has guided Brosz to year over year growth without losing its small-business and customer-first roots.

A graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelors of Commerce, Vinita has since earned her Certificate in Risk Management from the University of Toronto and is a designated Canadian Risk Manager through the Global Risk Management Institute. Vinita also holds a Certificate in Construction Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Danielle Graham

Principal
Dream Maker Ventures

Danielle Graham, founder of Communitech’s Fierce Founders program, joined Dream Maker Ventures as a principal to help the VC firm to raise a $75 million Diversity Fund.

Dream Maker Ventures is the investment arm of Dream Maker Corp., the first Canadian venture capital fund founded by persons of colour and women, focused on investing in diverse, underrepresented, and underestimated entrepreneurs. The firm is currently working to secure LPs, with the target of launching a $75 million fund, named Diversity Fund I. Danielle brings to Dream Maker Ventures experience fighting to bring women’s equality to the Canadian entrepreneur and investment world. She founded Communitech’s women entrepreneurs bootcamp, Fierce Founders, in 2016, which has since grown into two bootcamps a year, as well as an accelerator providing $500,000 annually to early-stage female-led startups.

Danielle started her own company, Crio Water, focused on a patented water purification device that offered a sustainable impact because of its high recovery rate while completing her MBA at Laurier University in Kitchener. With her experience at Communitech, and as an entrepreneur herself, Graham started to notice she was often the only female founder in the room. When the Fierce Founders program was launched at Communitech, about eight percent of startups had one female founder and it is now up to 29 percent.

Sarah Kaplan

Director Institute for Gender and the Economy, Professor
University of Toronto

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguish Professor, Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy, and Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. She is a co-author of the bestselling business book, Creative Destruction as well as Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Business. Her latest book, The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation appeared in 2019. Her research has covered how organizations participate in and respond to the emergence of new fields and technologies in biotechnology, fiber optics, financial services, nanotechnology and most recently, the field emerging at the nexus of gender and finance. She recently authored “Gender Equality as an Innovation Challenge” (2017) in the Rotman Management Magazine, “The Risky Rhetoric of Female Risk Aversion” (2016) in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Meritocracy: From Myth to Reality” in the Rotman Management Magazine (2015), and “The Rise of Gender Capitalism,” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (2014). Her current work focuses on applying an innovation lens to understanding the challenges for achieving gender equality.

Formerly a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (where she remains a Senior Fellow), and a consultant and innovation specialist for nearly a decade at McKinsey & Company in New York, she completed her doctoral research at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has a BA with honors in Political Science from UCLA and an MA in International Relations and International Economics from the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Mary Kilfoil

President
Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Founder and CEO
Innovate Atlantic Inc.

Dr. Mary Kilfoil, President of the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Founder and CEO of Innovate Atlantic Inc. Over the past six years, Dr. Kilfoil has reshaped entrepreneurship teaching and programming at Dalhousie University. She designed and launched the campus-wide, award-winning immersive Launch Dal program based on lean entrepreneurship and design thinking methodologies. She has received numerous teaching awards and in 2014, Mary received the national Entrepreneurship Educator award from Startup Canada.

She has more than 20 years’ experience in the private sector and held the position of Senior Economist at Gardner Pinfold Consultants, with over 80 major reports and publications related to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development to her credit, including research examining issues and challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the advanced technology sectors. Mary’s non-profit organization, Innovate Atlantic Inc., focusses on assisting early stage companies establish market traction.

Ruby Latif

Research Associate
Ryerson University

Ruby Latif has more than 15 years of experience building strategic partnerships and advancing community-centered initiatives. She is the founder and principal consultant of Milieu Strategy and Consulting Inc., an organization working to create meaningful community partnerships across the public, private and non-profit sectors. Through her consultancy work and her time working in the offices of former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and City of Toronto Mayor John Tory, Latif has worked with more than 1,000 community groups across Ontario, engaged with more than 500 ethnic media outlets and facilitated more than 400 community focused events. Her research and published journal articles focus on reducing barriers for underrepresented groups in leadership positions, on media representations of women and racialized minorities, and creating partnerships to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Latif is a former Young Women of Distinction recipient, a Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award recipient and was named one of the most influential South Asian Canadians by South Asian Generation Next magazine.

Shannon MacDonald

Managing Director
Accenture

Shannon MacDonald, MHSc, BBA, FCA, CPA, ICD.D is a Managing Director for Accenture Canada. As the lead for the health practice, she brings her experience to a new and rapidly modernizing health and public-sector environment. Accenture’s strategic focus on Artificial Intelligence, Digital and Security services makes it a very strong advisor in the current Canadian (and global) health care environment.

Leveraging this strategy, Shannon applies her experience to enable change in areas that she has long been passionate about. She leads the innovation agenda for Accenture’s Canadian Health and Public-Sector practice, building on her strengths of identifying innovations for acquisition and implementation. She also leads the Provincial Government practices and is very adept at understanding the workings of governments and how they support the provision of health care. Shannon is an Associate at the Creative Destruction Labs in Atlantic Canada and also sits on the Board of the University of Prince Edward Island and is the Chair of the Governance Committee.

Rahima Mamdani

Vice President, People and Culture
United Way

Rahima is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership on organizational culture, talent management, human resources, and Diversity & Inclusion. Rahima began her career at Bell Canada and has worked for Saville Systems, Rogers iMedia and Buy Buddy Inc. Her most recent volunteer work includes participation on the Talent Advisory Council for United Way Worldwide, the Steering Committee of the Common Good Retirement Plan, and committees supporting diversity and inclusion at the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Sidewalk Labs. Rahima holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology and a Masters of Library Sciences from the University of Toronto and is a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE).

Eleanor McIntyre

Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer
BlackRock Canada

Eleanor McIntyre is Canada’s Chief Operating Officer for BlackRock, a global investment management and technology solutions firm that manages approximately US$6 trillion in assets on behalf of investors worldwide.

Through its institutional client and iShares businesses, and growing technology and advisory services, BlackRock Canada helps a wide range of investors build better financial futures. The BlackRock Canada team is focused on sharing the very best of our firm’s global capabilities and local expertise with our Canadian clients. Eleanor has held her current position since October 2013 and is responsible for strategy, business analytics and project management for the Canadian region.

Eleanor has been with BlackRock since 2006 and has held a number of positions within the Human Resources team prior to moving to the Canadian COO role. Prior to joining the firm, Eleanor was Managing Director of Human Resources for a Canadian mutual fund company.

Senator, The Honourable Marilou McPhedran

Senate of Canada

Marilou McPhedran is a human rights lawyer, professor and activist, appointed as an independent senator in the Parliament of Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November 2016. Marilou was one of the most influential leaders of the 1981 Ad Hoc Committee of Canadian Women on the Constitution conference- the grass roots social movement of women across Canada resulting in stronger equality rights in the constitution. She co-founded several internationally recognized non-profit Canadian organizations such as the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF); the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC); and the Gerstein Crisis Centre for homeless discharged psychiatric patients.

She was the founding Principal of the University of Winnipeg Global College and has facilitated student access to UN sessions for more than 20 years to provide practical skill building by providing rapporteur services to NGO presentations. She is a founding board member of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (Young Women for Peace and Leadership) and has given extensive voluntary support to civil society organizations that focus on peacebuilding and women’s rights, including the Afghan Women’s Organization, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, and Manitoba Women for Women of South Sudan.

Amanda Munday

CEO
The Workaround

Amanda is the Founder and CEO of The Workaround, a parent-friendly workspace with childcare in Toronto. She is also the author of Day Nine: A Postpartum Depression Memoir. She has received international media coverage, including being named an Inspirational Speaker in Forbes Magazine, and is a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail. Her work has been showcased by The Toronto Star, CP24 Breakfast, CBC, The Associated Press, Toronto Life and more. Amanda is an active advocate for universal childcare. In November 2017, she secured a federal petition on universal childcare which was tabled in the House of Commons and sponsored by MP Julie Dabrusin. Amanda has served as President of the Board of Directors for Creative Preschool of East Toronto since 2017 and serves on the Board of Directors for the Danforth Mosaic Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Dr. Eddy Ng

Professor and James and Elizabeth Freeman Chair in Management
Bucknell University

Eddy Ng is a Professor and the James and Elizabeth Freeman Chair in Management at Bucknell University. Prior to that, he held the F.C. Manning Chair in Economics and Business at Dalhousie University. His research focuses on managing diversity for organizational competitiveness, the changing nature of work and organizations, and managing across generations. His work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants. He has published 4 books and more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and an Associate Editor of Personnel Review. He is also the Program Chair-Elect for the Gender and Diversity in Organizations division of the Academy of Management (2019-2024).

Hon. Ratna Omidvar

Senator for Ontario, Senate of Canada

Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. She came to Canada from Iran in 1981 and her own experiences of displacement, integration and citizen engagement have been the foundation of her work. In April 2016, Ms. Omidvar was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an independent senator representing Ontario. As a member of the Senate’s Independent Senators Group she holds a leadership position as Scroll Manager. Senator Omidvar also served as Deputy Chair of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector.

Senator Omidvar is a Councillor on the World Refugee Council, a Director at the Samara Centre for Democracy and Chair Emerita for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

Previously at Ryerson University, Senator Omidvar was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and founded the Global Diversity Exchange, a think-and-do tank on diversity, migration and inclusion. Prior to her appointments at Ryerson, Senator Omidvar was the President of Maytree, where she played a lead role in local, national and international efforts to promote the integration of immigrants.

Senator Omidvar is co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (2015), an Open Book Toronto best book of 2015 and one of the Toronto Star‘s top five good reads from Word on the Street. She is also a contributor to The Harper Factor (2016) and co-editor of Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success (2011). Senator Omidvar received a Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, from Ryerson University in 2018 and from York University in 2012.

Senator Omidvar was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, she received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.

Senator Omidvar has also been recognized by Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, by being named as its Nation Builder of the Decade for Citizenship in 2010. She was named to the inaugural Global Diversity List sponsored by The Economist magazine in 2015, as one of the Top 10 Diversity Champions worldwide. In 2016, she also received Lifetime Achievement Awards from CivicAction and the Canadian Urban Institute, honouring her strong commitment to civic leadership and city building. In 2018, Senator Omidvar was named as one of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners and in 2019 she received the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University.

Dr. Pamela Palmater

Chair in Indigenous Governance
Ryerson University

Dr. Pam Palmater is a Mi’kmaw lawyer, professor, author, and social justice activist from Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She has four university degrees, including a BA from St. Thomas in Native Studies; an LLB from University of New Brunswick, and her Masters and Doctorate in Law from Dalhousie University specializing in Indigenous law. She currently holds the position of Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

A practicing lawyer for 20 years, Pam has been volunteering and working in First Nation issues for over 25 years on a wide range of issues like socio-economic conditions, Aboriginal and treaty rights, and legislation impacting First Nations. Her books, Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens and Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity, and her other publications focus on Indigenous law, politics, and governance and the importance of native sovereignty and nation-building.

Pam was one of the spokespeople and public educators for the Idle No More movement and advocates alongside other movements focusing on social justice and human rights. She is frequently called as a legal expert before Parliamentary and United Nations committees dealing with laws and policies impacting Indigenous peoples. Her current research focuses on police racism, abuse and sexualized violence against Indigenous women and girls and its contribution to the crisis of murdered, missing, traded, and exploited Indigenous women and girls.

Pam is a well-known public speaker and media commentator – considered one of Canada’s Top 25 Influential Movers and Shakers by the Financial Post and the Top 5 Most Influential Lawyer in Human Rights by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. She has been recognized with many awards for her social justice advocacy on behalf of First Nations generally, and Indigenous women and children specifically, including the 2012 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Social Justice, 2012 Women’s Courage Award in Social Justice, and the Margaret Mead Award in Social Justice 2016, to name a few.

Mark Patterson

Executive Director, Magnet, Ryerson University

Mark Patterson is a changemaker pioneering new approaches in career development, inclusive recruitment and contextualized labour market information to drive social and economic change. For more than a decade, he has focused on providing opportunities for diverse job seekers and addressing the needs of employers.

As Executive Director, Mark leads Magnet, a technology enabled social innovation project based at Ryerson University. A first-of-its-kind in North America, Magnet harnesses intelligent matching technology, data and analytics to effectively connect people, businesses, and organizations to opportunity; with the singular goal of helping regions and communities collaborate and grow. Magnet provides the digital infrastructure for Canada’s new Future Skills Centre, a forward-thinking research centre with a focus on how to best prepare Canadians today for workforce opportunities of the future.

 

Mark serves on the following boards:

  • Founding Member of the Future Skills Centre Advisory Board
  • National Stakeholder Advisory for the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC)
  • Advisory Board member on the “Employers’ Partnership Table” in support of Ontario’s Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities
  • Advisory Board for Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner, which overseas regulated professions in the province of Ontario
  • Advisory Board member for Compute Ontario’s Industry Engagement Committee

Sadaf Parvaiz

Director, Americas Diversity and Inclusiveness Office
EY

As Director – Americas Inclusiveness Office at EY, Sadaf Parvaiz is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and initiatives supporting the firm’s efforts to create an inclusive workplace in Canada, the US and South America. She serves as a consultant to help EY leadership teams drive and execute the D&I strategy across the Americas. Sadaf has led and facilitated several high-profile leadership development programs and training internationally. As a thought leader in the D&I space Sadaf is highly sought after to share her perspective at conferences, on external panels and with EY clients. Prior to her role in the Americas Inclusiveness Office, Sadaf worked in the assurance and audit practice of EY in Toronto.

Sadaf received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University (Canada). She has a Chartered Professional Accountant designation from CPA Ontario and holds a Certified Public Accounting designation in the US. She has also completed a Certificate in Intercultural Studies from the University of British Columbia and provides internal coaching and consulting to leadership teams across the Americas.

Sadaf has served as a board member on the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and previously served on Board of Directors of the United Way of Peel Region as the Secretary and Chair of the Nominations Committee.

Sadaf lives in Oakville, is married to a fellow CPA and has three daughters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, working out and watching her daughters play hockey.

Svend Robinson

Former Member of Parliament

After graduating from high school in north Burnaby, BC, Svend went on to study science and law at UBC, graduating with the top scholarship, the Sherwood Lett Memorial Scholarship. Svend also served as a labourer-teacher with Frontier College in northern Ontario. He did post graduate study at London School of Economics, and was called to the BC Bar as a lawyer. Svend was a federal New Democrat MP for over 25 years representing Burnaby and Vancouver, from 1979-2004. He was widely recognized as one of the most outstanding backbench MPs, and had a legendary reputation for serving his constituents. Svend was particularly active on justice, human rights, environment and international issues, and was the first openly gay MP in Canada. He has received many awards and honours for his work. For the past decade Svend served in a senior humanitarian diplomatic post with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, based in Switzerland, in charge of Parliamentary engagement for resource mobilization, access to medicines, human rights and gender equality. Recently he was the federal NDP candidate in the BC riding of Burnaby North – Seymour, finishing a strong second in that race. Svend lives with his partner of 25 years, Max Riveron.

Dr. Tania Saba

BMO Chaired Professor in Diversity and Governance
Université de Montréal

Tania SABA is the founder and holder of the BMO Chair in Diversity and Governance and is a Full Professor at the School of Industrial Relations at the Université de Montréal.

Tania is an expert on issues of diversity management, workforce aging, intergenerational value differences, knowledge transfer, future skills, transformation of employment relations and work organization. Over the course of her career, she has contributed to more than sixty book chapters and scientific articles. Her publications were awarded on many occasions. She collaborates on major research projects with public and private organizations on issues of employment integration and adaptation of disadvantaged groups. Tania oversees the Quebec and Canada Francophone chapter for the Ryerson-led Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) project. She is a member of CRIMT (Interuniversity Centre on Globalization and Work), CERIUM (the Montreal Centre for International Studies) and OBVIA (International Observatory on the Social Impacts of AI and Digital technologies).

In addition to her academic career, Tania Saba has held several leadership positions at the Université de Montréal; first female Chair of the School of Industrial Relations (2008-2010); Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies (2010-2012) and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and External Affairs at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (2012-2015). She acted as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science from 2015 to 2017.

Dr. Mai Thi Thanh Thai

Editor in Chief
Journal for Small Business Entrepreneurship (JSBE)
Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
HEC, Montreal

Editor in Chief for the Journal for Small Business Entrepreneurship (JSBE), Associate Professor, at the International Business Department, HEC Montreal and a CCSBE Board Member. In addition to her work at HEC Montreal, she is an associate researcher at the Asia Research Centre of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. She is also an editorial board member of Reflective Practice and Journal for International Business and Entrepreneurship Development as well as a guest editor of Journal of Enterprising Communities, International Journal of Business Globalization, and Journal of Innovation Economics. Throughout her career, Mai has won several awards: As an entrepreneur (First Prize and Social Enterprise Award for her birding business), as an educator (Alma- Lepage Award for the best case on business women and Pedagocial Innovation for the design of International Graduate Competition, a coopetition aimed at better teaching masters’ student and knowledge transfer to business communities) and as a researcher (Distinguished Scholar, Best Paper, Best Presenter, Matson Prize for the quality of her research).  Dr. Thai has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, contributed several book chapters, and has published two books.

Denise Shortt

Vice President Industry Development and Diversity and Inclusion
Information Technology Association of Canada

Denise Shortt is an internationally respected writer, researcher and speaker specializing in information technology, gender issues, entrepreneurship and innovation. Denise co-authored Technology with Curves: Women Reshaping the Digital Landscape (HarperCollins, 2000) and Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park (Wiley & Sons, 2002).

Denise is also a former faculty member of Ryerson University’s School of Information Technology Management and helped to found Ryerson’s Diversity Institute which specializes in gender research. She also founded SwingThink, a marketing and communications company focused on online community building, social media and gender research. Denise was co-founder and President of Wired Woman Toronto (launched in 1996) and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Women in Communications and Technology (WCT). She has a Masters in Technology from Harvard University and studied gender and technology at MIT. Denise was recently awarded a CWC Leadership Award for her life-time of work as a champion for the advancement of women.

Max Skudra

Director of Research and Government Relations
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Max has a background in Human Rights, business development and finance. He began his career working for Human Rights Watch in Toronto and New York. He later worked in the financial services industry, performing derivatives administration and valuations analysis in Toronto. Max went on to organize micro-finance and community savings programs in marginalized areas of Bogota, Colombia.

Since 2011 Max has been working for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, conducting research on the Aboriginal economy. His research has led to reports on Aboriginal entrepreneurs, Community owned corporations, and Aboriginal business relationships, as well as conferences and roundtables on these topics across the country. This work has informed the Government of Ontario’s $25 million Aboriginal Economic Development Fund, federal and provincial policy, corporate strategy and academic research. Max took a year off to undertake a Master’s degree in Global Development, focusing on Indigenous business development, at Queen’s University. He has since returned to the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and is currently working on developing the business case for local Aboriginal procurement in the mining sector. He is also organizing a series of roundtables and conferences funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Dr. Malinda Smith

Professor
University of Alberta

Dr. Malinda Smith is a full professor in the Department of Political Science, a 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow in the Faculty of Arts and a Provost Fellow in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy at the University of Alberta. She is also the President of the International Studies Association (ISA)-Canada. Her research and engaged scholarship draws on critical theoretical perspectives in the social sciences and the humanities to explore questions of equity, human rights and social justice, African political economy and security studies, and diversity and decoloniality in higher education. Her recent published research traverses four main areas: first, diversity in theory and practice; second, critical African security studies including the temporality and spatiality of terrorism; third, the genealogy of poverty and inequality, and, fourth, gender, critical race and intersectionality in higher education.

Ashley Walker

Vice President, Operations
The Evidence Network

Ashley Walker is Vice President of Operations at The Evidence Network (TEN), a boutique consulting firm located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  Her work focuses on measuring the impact of entrepreneurship and research support programs delivered through incubators, accelerators, economic development organizations, and research institutes.  Recent projects include a Canada-wide study to demonstrate the impacts of Indigenous Economic Development Officers, an evaluation of Business Finland’s six health and wellbeing SME support programs, and an assessment of the impact of SME support programs in Vietnam and Cambodia.  Throughout her work, Ashley is a passionate advocate for the use of evidence-based metrics in informing programming decisions for entrepreneur support programs.  She holds a Bachelor of Economics and Society from the University of Calgary, and an MBA from the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.

Rachel Wernick

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister
Employment Social Development, Government of Canada

Rachel Wernick is Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch (SEB) at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Early in her career, Rachel held a variety of policy and program positions within former versions of the Department (HRDC, HRSDC) including Employment Insurance policy and Literacy and Essential Skills programming.

Before joining ESDC, Rachel was Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, Planning and Corporate Affairs at Canadian Heritage. Prior to this, Rachel held executive positions with the Privy Council Office, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and created and led the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat within Public Works and Government Services Canada. Rachel is Co-Champion of the Clerk’s Policy Community initiative, which aims to enhance supports for policy professionals across the Government of Canada.

Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Joint Honours in Political Science and History from McGill University and a Graduate Diploma in International Development and Cooperation from the University of Ottawa. Following her graduate studies, Rachel worked with several international development organizations, including two years working in a Vietnamese refugee camp in Malaysia.

Kory Wilson

Executive Director Indigineous Partnerships and Initiatives
British Columbia Institute of Technology

Kory Wilson, BSc. JD, is the Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships for British Columbia Institute of Technology. She is Kwakwaka’wakw. Kory is Chair of the National Indigenous Education Committee of Colleges and Institutions Canada and she has over 20 years of experience in post-secondary education, community development, and the legal profession. She has a deep commitment to education and has dedicated her working life to ensuring that under-represented learners succeed, both within learning institutions and the larger community. Good governance and supporting communities to move towards self-government is a specialty and passion. Innovative and creative solutions are needed to move Reconciliation into ReconciliACTION. Education is the key and access to knowledge is vital to move everyone forward.

Megann Willson

Partner and CEO
PANOPTIKA
CCSBE Board member

Megann is currently CEO and Partner at PANOPTIKA, a boutique consultancy she co-founded in 2001 serving B2B clients in Biotech, Pharma, Healthcare, Technology, and Industrial Spaces. Megann holds an MBA from Queen’s University with a specialization in Marketing Strategy, and is the former Director of Strategy and Marketing at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management. Megann loves challenging and interesting projects where she can help Business Developers, Marketers, and Founders – especially those in their second career, to find, understand, and keep customers.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam

Toronto City Council

Kristyn Wong-Tam was elected to Toronto City Council in 2010 and has an extensive career investing in the city through both the public and private sectors. She was an accomplished human rights advocate, entrepreneur, and supporter of the arts. Recognized for her focused advancement of diverse cultural and urban economic renewal, Kristyn was appointed to Mayor David Miller’s Economic Competitiveness Advisory Committee which produced Toronto’s Agenda for Prosperity in 2008. Kristyn was also the co-founder of Asian Canadians for Equal Marriage, and the past president of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter that successfully lobbied the federal government for the Chinese head tax apology and redress.

Kristyn is currently working in partnership with numerous Indigenous organizations including the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business to create the world’s largest Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Toronto’s Downtown East. She is vice-Chair of the Toronto Board of Health and Chair of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, which provides advice to City Council on the identification, prevention, and elimination of barriers faced by people with disabilities with the goal of achieving social, cultural and economic well-being. Kristyn is a founding board member of the Toronto Biennial of Art and was voted Toronto’s Best City Councillor by NOW magazine readers four years in a row (2015-2018).

Despina Zanganas

Co-founder
Lean in Canada

Despina spent 20 years in the digital design space, co-founding companies, winning awards, and killing it as creative director. In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg’s book inspired her to co-found an organization called Lean In Canada. A strong proponent of empowering women. Despina’s passion for providing networking opportunities, building communities and empowering women to be financially independent has led her to become a public speaker, advisor, mentor, coach and realtor. Despina has been featured on CBC Radio, the National Post, Sun News Network, Livabl and in Flare Magazine discussing issues that are pertinent to women.

Location

Oakham House,Ryerson University

63 Gould St,Toronto, ONM5B 1E9
63 Gould St, Toronto, ON M5B 1E9

Parking

More parking info on the Oakham House website here.

Partners

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.