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Speakers

Michele Romanow

Dragon, CBC Dragons' Den | Co-Founder, Snap By Groupon

Tech titan Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started three companies before her 28th birthday. The newest (and youngest ever) entrepreneur to join CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Michele is the co-founder of e-commerce platforms Buytopia.ca and Snap By Groupon, which have saved millions of users hundreds of millions of dollars. She is also the co-founder of clearbanc.com, an online financial service for freelancers, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs. Ranked in WXN’s “100 Most Powerful in Canada” and listed as the only Canadian on Forbes’ “Millennial on a Mission” list, Michele brings her youthful energy and incredible entrepreneurial savvy to every stage.

In addition to starring on Dragons’ Den, Michele was previously a panellist on the show’s web series, Next Gen Den. Snap by Groupon (previously called SnapSaves) was acquired by Groupon in 2014, and Buytopia.ca, who accelerated their growth by acquiring seven smaller competitors, ranked #3 on the “Profit Hot 50” list of the fastest growing Canadian companies, and #1 on Chatelaine’s W100 list of fastest growing companies. Michele has worked driving new digital solutions to many of the world’s leading brands, including P&G, Netflix, Starbucks, and Cirque du Soleil, and she was also the Director of Strategy for Sears, where she led apparel growth strategies at the company — a $2.5 billion category. Michele was a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award; the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards; and was a Cartier Women’s Initiative Award global finalist. She is also the winner of the Toronto Board of Trade Award for entrepreneurs under 30, among many other honours.

In the media, Michele’s work has been profiled in Forbes, Canadian Business, The New York Times, INC, The Globe and Mail, and Chatelaine.

During her Civil Engineering undergrad at Queen’s University, Michele founded The Tea Room, the first zero-consumer-waste coffee shop. At Queen’s, she was given the Queen’s Tricolour — the highest honour awarded by the university — and, after completing her Queen’s MBA, she founded Evandale Caviar, a vertically integrated commercial fishery.

Michele is a director for Whistler Blackcomb and Shad Valley, a transformational program that develops the entrepreneurial potential of exceptional Canadian youth.

Tamara Beatty

Voice Coach Consultant on NBC's TV Show

Tamara is entering her 9th season as a Consultant on the NBC Emmy Award winning reality TV show “The Voice”, has two decades of experience as a Voice and Performance coach and is highly respected in the industry as an expert in her field. In addition to being a sought after coach for singers and performers, Tamara also has 12 years experience in the area of educational methodology as an instructional designer. Her work in this area has helped some of Canada’s biggest oil and gas, telecommunications, and HR companies create compelling education in line with their values and brand. In her corporate consulting, Tamara draws on these two seemingly opposite worlds and provides unique insight on how businesses and individuals can use voice and performance techniques to be more effective and authentic with their communication and leadership whether it be presentations, sales, public speaking, or connecting with clients and people in general. Her over two decades of work coaching multiple voices combined with her own personal experience come together to create a compelling message on the power of the physical voice, and the bigger voice behind it that fuels everything we do.

Eric Termuende

Co-Founder, NoW Innovations

Eric Termuende is on a mission to change the way we talk about work and get fulfillment from it. An author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Eric is co-founder of Now Innovations and Head of Content Strategy for True Calling Canada. Eric has been featured in Forbes, Thrive Global, Huffington Post, and Inc. Magazine in the last few months, and in 2015, Eric was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 globally by American Express. Eric sat as Community Integration Chair for Global Shapers Calgary, a community that functions under the World Economic Forum. He is a former Canadian G20 YEA Delegate, representing Canada in Sydney in 2014. Eric is currently signed by the National Speakers Bureau and travels the world talking about the future of work and multiple generations in the workplace. In 2016, Eric spoke at TEDxBCIT in Vancouver giving his presentation entitled ‘Bigger than Work’. Eric has worked and spoken with clients across the world. His new book, Rethink Work is now available on Amazon.

Shari Graydon

Founder & Catalyst, Informed Opinions

Shari Graydon is the founder and catalyst of Informed Opinions, and an award-winning author, educator and women’s advocate with more than 25 years of experience on both sides of the microphone. Since 2010, she has helped amplify the voices of more than a thousand women across Canada, supporting them in sharing their insights and analysis with a broader public. A former newspaper columnist, TV producer and commentator for CBC radio and TV, she also served as press secretary to a provincial premier, and as president of MediaWatch. She has published two best-selling media literacy books for youth, received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons’ Case in 2007, and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN the previous year. Royalties from her edited collection, I Feel Great About My Hands – And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging, benefit Informed Opinions. Her newest book, OMG! What if I really AM the best person? offers purse-size inspiration for smart women whose voices deserve to be amplified.

Doug Bolger

Founder & CEO, Learn2

Doug Bolger wants to change the way the world works. As Founder & CEO of Learn2, Doug believes that every team can achieve inspired results by unlearning, optimizing and creating best practices. At the heart of his award-winning approach to facilitation and design lies Doug’s commitment to participant-centred and experiential Live Sessions. Teams transform and bottom lines grow when leaders and teams get committed to “doing differently”. This results-driven approach to learning has benefitted clients such as Amex, J&J, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and the Canadian Olympic Team. His business acumen, sizzling insights and creative approach earned the Learn2 team over a dozen industry awards and recognitions. Doug’s conviction that anything is possible releases the power and energy inside participants and inspires them to lead differently.

Jennine Profeta

Improv Performer, Facilitator & Instructor at Second City

Sometimes at a conference we spend the first day getting comfortable with meeting new people, and we think you deserve better than that! Kick off your WILB conference with a high energy, action packed, informative 90-minute improv workshop that will help you to get connected right away. Laugh and learn as you meet conference participants, work on leadership and confidence-building skills, and get comfortable with the uncomfortable (all while kicking it’s butt!) Join performer and Second City improv facilitator Jennine Profeta for this inaugural event that will get your conference off to a fantastic start!

Jalyn Anderson

Jalyn Anderson

Leadership Communications Expert & Principal, LHH Knightsbridge

Jalyn Anderson is a Leadership Communications expert and Principal with LHH Knightsbridge Talent & Leadership Development. She provides oversight for global leadership development programs and actively promotes leadership accountability through productive communication.

Over 25 years Jalyn has held key human capital marketing roles with Kelly Services (NASDAQ: KELYA), PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada, MDS (NYSE: MDS) and Vlaad and Company in the Capital Markets. Prior to joining LHH Knightsbridge, Jalyn was Chief Operating Officer at the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) in Canada responsible for the financial operations, overall admissions to four director education programs and ICD.D accrediation. Jalyn has an MBA in Public Relations Management (Royal Roads) and is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.

Jalyn has enabled the publication of a number of research studies including: Talk with Me! Galvanizing Career Management through Career Coaching Conversations (HCI, 2013), Canadian Capital Markets Compensation Survey (GGA, 2010, 2011, 2012), ICD Blue Ribbon Commission on the Governance of Executive Compensation (ICD, 2008) and The National Study of Board Governance Practices in the Non-profit and Voluntary Sector in Canada (2006).

Tracy Cocivera

Tracy Cocivera

Tracy Cocivera, Ph.D., CPCC, C,Psych. - Master Coach, LHH Knightsbridge

Dr. Cocivera is a Master Coach and leads the Executive Coaching Practice at LHH Knightsbridge. As a licensed psychologist, Dr. Cocivera has worked as an Executive and Team Coach for over 15 years. Her business career has evolved through the disciplines of retail, psychology, and management consulting. After co-founding a leadership development firm in Texas, she joined Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge in 2007. As an astute, insightful and trusted leadership advisor, Dr. Cocivera has contributed to the success of many executives and their teams in Fortune 500 companies across most sectors. Her work involves long-term collaborations with senior executives, high potential leaders, and human resources professionals on issues of leadership and team effectiveness.

Dr. Cocivera combines her business experience with her business psychology training to create practical applications of psychology in business. Her clients will tell you that they benefit from her deep expertise in human and organizational behaviour. She engages executives to become more masterfully effective in business by applying her research into the art of power and influence. Dr. Cocivera helps executives and teams better understand interpersonal dynamics and be more influential with stakeholders.

As a trusted leadership advisor, executives value her challenging and supportive approach to meaningful and sustainable behavior change. Dr. Cocivera helps executives and their teams integrate strong analytical capabilities with interpersonal skills, becoming better at how they lead others. As a result, her clients are more fully equipped and resilient executives and teams.

Dr. Cocivera holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Guelph. She is also a Licensed Psychologist in the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Her publications focus on best practices and methodological considerations in executive coaching, as well as on the art of influencing and developing authentic followership as a critical dimension of leadership effectiveness. Dr. Cocivera is member of the following professional associations: Canadian and American Psychological Associations, Institute of Coaching, International Coach Federation, Canadian Society of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Maria Gamb

CEO NMS Communications LLC

Maria Gamb is Founder and CEO of the coaching and training company NMS Communications focusing on creating powerful leadership and happy, healthy organizations that thrive.

As a former Executive, she spent more than twenty years in corporate America directing and managing successful businesses valued in excess of $100 million. Her global experiences lead her to write the Amazon best selling book “Healing the Corporate World”, one of the few women to rank in the top 10 of the business leadership category.

Direct, to the point with a healthy dose of humor: Maria is a sought after speaker on the topics of value-based leadership, gender communication and team communication dynamics. She has worked with executives and groups from Capital One, Oppenheimer Funds, the Jamaican Government, Raymond James, Astra Zeneca, Mid-Atlantic Permanente, Kronos Incorporated, Women’s Health Business Association and Women’s MBA International. Additionally, she has partnered with Colonial Voluntary Benefits as a Development Partner to help bring much needed critical illness benefits to corporations in the USA. She considers this a personal mission to help families secure their financial security during illness and injury.

Maria Gamb has been a regular contributor for Forbes magazine addressing leadership. She has also been featured in Inc Magazine, Time Magazine, Wall Street Radio Network. She is a member of the Women’s MBA International (WMBAI) association and the United Nations Association of New York (UNA – NY).

Carolyn Ellis

Award-Winning Coach and Leadership Trainer, Brilliance Mastery

Carolyn Ellis is the founder of BrillianceMastery.com and a graphic recorder, leadership trainer, transformational expert, and speaker. Combining her deep intuitive abilities with her Harvard-trained brain and a life-long love of colorful markers, Carolyn creates real-time captivating infodoodles, sketch notes, and large-scale visual murals for her clients. Carolyn specializes in helping decision-makers and organizations access creativity, improve engagement, clarify communication and strategic vision, and develop high-performing teams. For more information or to learn how Brilliance Mastery can support your business or organization, please visit www.BrillianceMastery.com.

Deborah Rosati

Deborah Rosati

FCPA, FCA, ICD.D - Corporate Director & Co-founder, Women Get On Board

Deborah Rosati is an accomplished corporate director, entrepreneur, Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA) and certified Corporate Director (ICD.D) with more than 30 years of experience in technology, consumer, retail, private equity and ven- ture capital. An experienced Audit Committee and Nominating & Corporate Gover- nance Committee chair, Deborah provides extensive knowledge as a Corporate Direc- tor in the areas of financial and enterprise risk management, corporate strategy, transformational changes, M&A, corporate governance and CEO and board succession planning.

Currently, Deborah’s corporate engagements are as a leading and serving Corporate Director and Chair of the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee for Sears Canada (TSX: SCC), as a Corporate Director and Chair of the Audit Committee for NexJ Systems (TSX: NXJ), a member of the Department Audit Committee for Correctional Services Canada. She is also a Co-Founder of Women Get On Board, a leading member- based company that connects, promotes and empowers women to corporate boards. Deborah’s community engagements include serving as a member of her alma mater’s Goodman’s School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and she launched the school’s Deborah E. Rosati Entrepreneurship Award.

Deborah is a frequent speaker on corporate governance, board diversity and entre- preneurship. Selected as a Diversity 50 2014 candidate, she was also recognized in 2012 as one of WXN’s Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women in the corporate direc- tor award category. She was Chair of the Nomination Committee and the Chair of the Board for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, and also the Chair of the Fi- nance and Audit Committee for Canada’s National Ballet School. In addition, Deborah was also the Co-chair for the Ottawa Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors and is a former member of CPA Canada Risk Oversight Governance Board.

Jeff Chesebrough

Chief Executive Officer, Innovate Niagara

As the CEO of Innovate Niagara, Jeff lives at the intersection of public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Known for his ability to build relationships and foster collaboration amongst stakeholders, Jeff has led the evolution of Innovate Niagara, a one-stop resource for entrepreneurs in high growth sectors that includes a network of business incubators and service providers. Innovate Niagara evolved from nGen – Niagara Interactive Media Generator and now includes the Generator at one, Brock University’s BioLinc and the District School Board of Niagara’s iHub incubators as well as a Regional Innovation Centre. His previous work experience includes VP Operations/Partner at Innivity Marketing group which was named as one of the HOT 50 Emerging Growth Companies in Canada by PROFIT magazine during his time there. After years of running a business outside the region, Jeff made a conscious decision to return to his roots and has become entrenched in the Niagara community. Jeff currently serves on the Niagara Economic Development Advisory Committee, is a Director on the Meridian Credit Union Board of Directors and recently finished serving 4 years on the CAA Niagara Board of Directors. Winner of several business achievement and volunteer recognition awards, Jeff is particularly proud of being named as a Senator with the Jaycee International organization, the highest honour bestowed by JCI, his Brock University Alumni of Distinction Award and in 2016 obtained his Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation.

Susan Varty

Managing Partner, HeadStart Copywriting and Co-founder, Women Get On Board

Susan Varty is known for go-to-market and digital strategies that help people get ahead in their careers or win business. A corporate writer who specializes in transitioning thought-leadership to online channels, Susan’s background includes technical expertise in enterprise IT and operations, as well as recruitment and career advancement.
Susan is Managing Partner of HeadStart Copywriting, a copywriting agency serving corporations and individual executives across North America. She is also Co-founder of Women Get On Board, a member-based company that connects, promotes and empowers women to corporate boards.

Susan has built strategic digital products and services for many companies including Deloitte, RBC, KPMG, Workopolis and Global Payments. She is a guest writer for The Globe and Mail and is sought-after for public talks on Personal Branding – speaking at Women in Payments, Women in Capital Markets, the Women in Leadership and Business Conference, Seneca College, and the Digital Strategy Summit in New York. Susan is also a singer with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Valeri Hall Little

Productivity Ninja, intandem

Escape the daily grind and spend more time serving your clients and growing your business. When you work with me, I help you transform messy office processes into effective and efficient operations. I also recommend tech tools and identify what to delegate to keep you focused on your success and working in a highly productive way.
Having spent more than 15 years running my own business and working with a variety of entrepreneurs, I understand the importance of creating a synergy between productivity, process and efficiency. When all of these elements are working in harmony, you can achieve your goals, feel good about doing your important work, and take your business to the next level.

Cher Jones

Social Media Trainer, Socially Active

Cher Jones is a Corporate Social Media Trainer & Personal Branding Coach with the love of technology hardwired into her personality. She leverages over 18 years of PR, marketing and broadcasting experience when teaching entrepreneurs and professionals how to effectively get online and develop powerful personal brands for business. She has worked internationally with a wide variety of organizations including the City of Toronto, Hong Kong Police, PokerStars, NBA TV Canada, Rogers, UK Trade and Investment, Emirates Steel, The Ontario Ministry of Education and CBC to name a few.
 

Cathy Logue

Managing Director, Stanton Chase

Cathy Logue is Managing Director of the Toronto office of Stanton Chase, a global executive search firm with over 70 offices in 45 countries. She derives tremendous satisfaction from her role as a trusted advisor to many long-standing clients, working with companies ranging from mid-market and private equity backed organizations to publicly-traded multinationals, helping them find and attract top leadership talent.

Prior to joining Stanton Chase, she co-founded Ambit Search, a boutique executive search firm, in 2007. Originally from Ottawa, Cathy completed her CA with Ernst & Young prior to taking on financial leadership roles with The Hospital for Sick Children and Loblaw Companies in Toronto.

Cathy is passionate about corporate and board diversity, and is very involved with Stanton Chase Global Diversity initiatives. She has been a driving force in engaging Stanton Chase and other executive search firms to support the 30% Club in Canada.

In 2017, Cathy took on the role of Global Chair of the Stanton Chase CFO & Financial Executives practice. She is also a member of the Americas Council with the Association of Executive Search & Leadership Consultants (AESC) and volunteers as a Board member with local non-profit organizations. But what she enjoys most of all is any opportunity for quality “unplugged” cottage time with her family and friends.

Lisa von Massow

Owner and President; Sandler Training & Endurance Partners Inc.

Lisa von Massow is the Founder and President of Endurance Partners Inc., a Sandler Training Centre. She is a Sales and Leadership coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core challenges and implementing growth strategies, that are transformative in their depth.

Lisa has a client list spanning from small companies to the Fortune 500. As an accomplished Business Leaders and Sales Executive with over 25 years of experience, Lisa helps clients increase productivity and profit by developing high performance behaviors, winning attitudes and superior sales and management techniques.

Drawing upon years of research, extensive curriculum, sales and communication coaching and business strategy development, Lisa creates client-focused solutions that have helped countless professionals achieve heights previously unimagined. A sought-after speaker and facilitator, Lisa is active in local as well as global arenas, having spoken on international stages across North America, Asia, Europe and UAE.

A mom, a wife and self-professed “wellness nut”, Lisa follows the principal that any goal, be it personal or professional, requires a plan, dedicated time, discipline and a level of self-accountability to consistently do the behaviors that ultimately produce desired results.

Shelagh Cummins

Strategic Business Coach & Consultant

Shelagh Cummins is a Strategic Business Coach and Consultant, who helps women entrepreneurs scale a profitable business — without drowning in debt, forfeiting family time, or working in their sleep. Through fluff-free business strategy and hands-on support, she helps you lose the excuses, so you can find the breakthroughs, cash flow, and joy in your business.  She is the creator of Productive, an all-in-one business tool designed to take your days from busy to productive.

Tracy Schmitt

Tracy Schmitt

BRLS, B.Ed, MBA

2016 Thrive magazine cover girl Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt BRLS, BEd, MBA as recently seen on ‘Voice for All’ has climbed mountains in Nepal, captained 110-foot-tall ships in the Eastern Atlantic, won the bronze medal in alpine skiing…oh and did I mention she was born a 4-way amputee? She is an international keynote speaker, trainer, and she’s funny too.  Now she wants to add author to her long list of amazing accomplishments. Her book is titled, ‘Unstoppable You: Exceed uncertainty, embrace change, earn respect.’ 

You may have seen her on CBC, in the Globe, heard on the radio or online for her controversial role advocating accessible transportation and UBER Assist. Or maybe you recognize her from Oprah when featured in the ‘Raw Beauty’ Campaign and Tracy was one of the models. Her latest adventure was as a Quest for the Gold Athlete where Tracy competed in world cup regattas across North America and around the world embarking on a Paralympic Sailing Campaign for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil! When she didn’t get Rio she became Manager of Planning and Integration creating the largest most successful games ever at the Pan Am and Parapan Am Toronto 2015 events. 

As a dynamic individual Tracy’s other work experiences include Humanitarian International Teacher in Uganda, Jamaica, and Mexico. As well is an educator in Corporate Learning and Development. While at Air Canada and SDM she worked simultaneously with management and unions over the competing demands of airline bankruptcy looming and pharmaceutical reform to implement a restructuring plan that enabled Air Canada and SDM to maintain their high standards. This experience has enabled her to develop strong negotiating skills and insights on how to defy the odds making conflict-ridden teams supportive and looking ahead results focused.

Let her share with you tips about overcoming adversity and putting your best foot forward (pardon the pun) to create the life of your dreams. Like Tracy, you probably have a multitude of stories within you.  Let’s face it, if you are an entrepreneur, you have new ideas popping into your head almost daily…it’s in our dna

Nancy Milton

International Bestselling Author, Executive Coach, Facilitator and Speaker

Nancy Milton isn’t your average coach or facilitator. She’s been told that working with her is somewhere between getting a jolt from a defibrillator and being hit with a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. If you spend a couple of hours in a training session with Nancy, you’ll leave with your perspective challenged and tools to change your life in your back pocket. She helps employees and leaders discover the simple power of communication to connect, engage and boost their productivity and results. She’s passionate about communication and her energy is infectious.

As an accomplished International Facilitator and Keynote Speaker with over 20 years experience and 700+ speaking engagements in just the past 3 years, Nancy has positively impacted teams in financial services, consumer packaged goods, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, technology, recreation and more. She’s a Co-Active Coach accredited by the International Coaches Federation, the world leader in coaching. She is the co-author of an internationally bestselling book (2015) and author of The Happy Place (second edition, 2013), a self-help workbook.

Nancy brings a portfolio of business experience to her sessions through years in the consumer packaged goods industry, where she led national sales teams and held director-level positions in organizational development and client services. Her accreditation includes certification by Langevin Learning as a Training Director and Instructional Design/Developer, certified Canadian Sales Professional through CPSA and certified Behaviour-Based Interviewing Facilitator by DDI.

Nancy’s energy carries through all aspects of her life. She has personally raised over $100,000 for cancer research through several events she independently created, promoted and executed. She’s run one full marathon, 15 half marathons and dabbled in mud racing, though tennis is her love regardless of her skill. Her number one priority is giving her two young sons the best, values-based childhood possible.

Lauren Horton

Lauren Horton

Account Executive, Erie Mutual Insurance

Lauren Horton is a talented insurance professional currently serving clients’ needs as an Account Executive with Erie Mutual Insurance in Dunnville, Ontario. She delights all of her clients through the delivery of a complete and memorable client experience.

In years ahead, Lauren intends to advance her career to a senior management level position at Erie Mutual. She is naturally drawn to take the lead on strategic and tactical business projects and is keenly enthralled when presented with a business problem that requires a creative solution.

Lauren is a highly-accredited insurance professional having graduated from Mohawk College where she obtained her business insurance diploma. She has also earned the coveted Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation.
Lauren and her family are lifelong residents of Dunnville – a community she continues to eagerly contribute to though many local activities and organizations including the Dunnville Rotary Club.

Desiree Crysler

Desiree Crysler

Underwriter, Property & Auto, Erie Mutual

Desiree began her insurance career 6 years ago. She obtained her RIBO license prior to beginning her employment at a local brokerage in Haldimand County. In 2015, Desiree joined the Erie Mutual team in 2015 as a Customer Service Representative and then subsequently moved into the underwriting department, to broaden her insurance knowledge and experience.

Desiree is committed to her continuing professional development and she always pushes herself to optimize her performance and her potential with Erie Mutual. As a keen participant in Toastmasters for the past 10 years, Desiree has worked diligently to improve her business communication skills.
Desiree likes to spend time outside gardening, walking/hiking on trails with her husband.

Jennifer Vanderwoerd

Jennifer Vanderwoerd

Account Executive, Erie Mutual

Jennifer has consistently achieved outstanding customer acquisition and retention results following her graduation from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. Since 2012, she is an Account Executive for Erie Mutual Insurance where she continues to provide objective and valued insurance advice to hundreds of Erie Mutual customers throughout Haldimand County, the Niagara Region and Hamilton.

Jennifer is well respected for her ability to solve complex insurance problems and for her passion and dedication to provide an outstanding insurance experience to all of her customers. Her customer value proposition goes beyond just providing great advice. Jennifer educates each customer on important insurance matters and issues. This is a vital contributor to her exemplary customer retention and loyalty.

Jennifer also expends considerable time and effort to develop Erie Mutual’s commercial business. Working closely with underwriters and senior management to develop and market a new commercial strategy, Jennifer’s vitality, professionalism and warmth allows her to be a strong advocate and advisor to the small and medium business community.

Claudine Chess

Claudine Chess

Senior Human Resources Business Partner, Meridian

Throughout her 15 year career as a strategic HR professional (currently at Meridian), Claudine has developed broad business acumen and partnered with clients in various industries to continually evolve their business. A trusted advisor to executive and senior management, she can be counted on to empower leaders to determine long-term business strategies and plans enabling them to tap into and unleash potential within themselves and others.

Claudine believes that greatness exists in everyone, which is what drew her to coaching and leading with a strengths-based philosophy. Leveraging concepts from her change management certifications and strengths background she integrates components from her university, college, and various certifications with her interpersonal style to help her clients reflect on who they are, what they do best, and how they perform.

Shelly Dix

Shelly Dix

District Vice President, Meridian

Shelley is a District Vice President @ Meridian Credit Union and supports 15 retail branches located in the Niagara region. She is a 30 year veteran in the financial services industry and believes that the secret to being wildly successful is through powerful people engagement.

Shelley believes everyone has the potential to be a “star” and embraces strength based coaching principles to bring out the uniqueness of people’s talents. This results in increased confidence and improved performance. Shelley epitomizes integrity, energy, hard work and creative service in every detail of the people experience.

Carolyn Loy

Carolyn Loy

Director, Learning & Development, Meridian

Carolyn Loy is a senior Organizational Development leader that has developed her expertise in a variety of facilitator and leadership roles over the last 18 years. She is currently the Director, Learning and Development at Meridian Credit Union.

As a facilitator, Carolyn brings a strong business acumen paired with passion for change management, process excellence, coaching and leadership development. She has facilitated thousands of hours across a wide range of industries including retail, healthcare, financial services, telecom and real estate/property management.
Carolyn is frequently invited to speak in workplace and industry conferences and workshops where she brings her energetic and enthusiastic style to deliver dynamic, engaging sessions and programs.

Carolyn holds a Master of Education from University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education from Western and a Bachelor of Arts from University of Waterloo. She also holds certifications in StrengthsFinder (Gallup), Change Management (Prosci), Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), Lean Processes (University of Michigan), and Workplace Coaching (Adler

April Mitchell-Boudreau

April Mitchell-Boudreau

Owner, BeadQueen

April Mitchell-Boudreau is a Niagara-based Indigenous designer, who is on a mission to awaken the creator that lives inside everyone! Together with her husband Doug, April owns and operates BeadQueen, an innovative handmade jewelry company.

Passionate about empowering people’s natural creativity, April is the designer of the Lofttan Strandwear jewelry system, and is constantly challenging herself to create new tools for expression. More recently, April has begun offering Conscious Creation Workshops, where mindfulness is awakened through design, and stringing beads. When people “make” together, magic happens!

Now in it’s 11th year of business, BeadQueen operates as both a retailer and wholesaler out of Niagara; selling online, in museum shops and galleries across the country, and participating in select juried retail environments.

Wanita Fonseka

Wanita Fonseka

Vice-President of Operations, Meridian

As the Vice-President of Operations for Meridian, Wanita Fonseka is described by her peers as the “Back-Office Buddha.” She oversees an effective day-to-day retail banking operation that enables front-line staff. She also drives strategy by spearheading needed changes. Wanita believes that results are achieved by creating a climate of trust, encouraging diversity of thought, and leveraging individual talents.

Wanita is a financial services professional with over 20 years’ retail branch and corporate experience. She has built a solid record of achievement through progressive leadership roles in retail branches and back-office environments including lending, investment and branch support.

Wanita completed her MBA at Dalhousie’s Centre for Advanced Management Education and is also a graduate of the University of Toronto. On a more personal note, Wanita can be described as a “social introvert” based on the time spent with family and friends. She also loves to travel and will do so in groups of 30 or more with her husband and two sons ages 2 and 5 in tow. And yes, she calls that a vacation!

Dilys D'Cruz

Dilys D'Cruz

Vice President Community Banking, Meridian

Dilys is a passionate and inspirational executive leader with 25 + years progressive and diverse success in financial services including Retail & Business Banking, Wealth Management and Human Resources. Dilys has a proven track record in sales and people management for very large, diverse teams and is known for innovative and strategic leadership.

As Vice President Community Banking at Meridian Credit Union, Dilys leads the Ontario South West Region which includes 50 branches and 500+ employees responsible for Retail, Small Business Banking and Wealth Management.

Dilys is a Certified Executive Coach, and is committed to continuous learning and development. She sits on the Innovation Steering Committee at Meridian and recently completed Queen’s Executive Innovation & Design Thinking course.

Dilys is known for her commitment to developing future talent and is especially passionate about advancing women in leadership.

Dilys is a single mom with three kids, Sheldon, Jordan & Keenan – aged 20, 17 & 12 and a brand new puppy – just to make things more interesting and hectic!

Janice Calverley

Janice Calverley

Director, Treasury, Meridian

Janice believes that every problem has multiple solutions and that by leveraging her ability to ideate and the strengths of her team, the impossible is possible. She lives her life to the mantra of Lucille Ball “The more things you do, the more you can do” which keeps her open to new experiences and challenges. Janice is an authentic person and leader that draws people in with her optimism which contributes to her effectiveness as a leader.

Janice is a Senior Treasury professional responsible for funding and liquidity management. She previously worked for Canadian Tire Financial Services overseeing various funding programs. Janice is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University.

Sarah Jerrom

Sarah Jerrom

Vocalist, Composer and Music Arranger

Sarah Jerrom is a vocalist, composer and arranger specializing in jazz and creative/experimental music. Recently, Sarah composed and arranged pieces for her nine-piece chamber jazz group, “The Yeats Project”, which features music set to the poetry of W.B. Yeats, with Sarah on vocals. “The Yeats Project” will be released as Sarah’s second full-length album in summer 2017. Sarah’s debut album, “Illuminations” (2007), encompassing original compositions, jazz-inspired arrangements of contemporary songs and traditional jazz standards, has received widespread media attention and international radio airplay. Headliner performances at concert venues across Ontario include Brock University’s Centre for the Arts, The Music Gallery, The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Niagara Jazz Festival (2015), the Lakefield Jazz Festival (2012 and 2009), and the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival (2007), as well as many of Toronto’s top jazz clubs and listening rooms. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Music (2005) in jazz voice studies at the University of Toronto. She attended the 2008 Banff International Program for Jazz and Creative Music under the direction of Dave Douglas. Sarah is a passionate music educator and private instructor. She was on the vocal faculty at the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Chennai, India for the 2010 summer semester. Sarah completed Jeanie LoVetri’s Somatic VoiceworkTM certification courses at the 2013 Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University in Virginia, USA. Sarah works as a musical/choir director at Choir Nation. 

Vandana Juneja

Senior Director, Catalyst

As Senior Director with Catalyst, Vandana is a trusted thought partner for Catalyst's supporting companies in Canada. She coaches Canadian companies with respect to their strategies to advance women into leadership and create inclusive work environments where women, men, and all diverse groups can thrive.  Vandana is a frequent speaker on workplace and inclusion-related topics to accelerate progress for women and diverse groups into leadership, and has delivered engagements across Canada, the US, and Australia. Prior to joining Catalyst, Ms. Juneja practiced immigration law, following which she worked in the Global Diversity and Inclusion groups of two Canadian banks. With a passion for empowering women, she has also worked as a Research Associate for the Pay Equity Task Force in Ottawa, and travelled to Vietnam with an NGO in partnership with the University of Toronto to evaluate and report back on a micro-finance project designed to help women living in poverty to understand and enter the mainstream banking system. Ms. Juneja has earned a B.Comm. from McMaster University, an MBA from the University of Windsor, and an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa. You can follow Vandana under the Twitter handle @ms_juneja.

Sue MacDonald

Sue MacDonald

Associate Vice President, Everyday Banking

As Associate Vice President at TD Canada Trust, Sue leads the Everyday Banking Acquisition Business. She is responsible for the overall strategic direction of driving long-term, meaningful customer relationships through chequing account acquisition. In this role, Sue also oversees the innovation and evolution of onboarding capabilities and programs that meet the personalized needs of customers.

Sue began her banking journey at TD Bank 10 years ago and has advanced her career by building a strong and respected track record in several roles ranging from corporate marketing, sales management and product management across various businesses including Retail Banking, Wealth and Asset Management. Prior to joining TD Bank Group, she held sales, product management and development positions in financial services.

Sue received her MBA, from Schulich School of Business, specializing in strategic management. She is passionate about driving the Women in Leadership agenda and making an impact in her community. She and her husband, Rob, have three young children and reside in Toronto. 

Trish Ruebottom

Trish Ruebottom

Trish Ruebottom, PhD is an assistant professor of strategic management at the Goodman School of Business, Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada. Her research interests lie at the intersection of social innovation and strategy, specifically exploring the ways we organize in order to create social change. Trish has extensive consulting experience working with a range of social enterprises and non-profit organizations, focusing on strategy, partnership development and social innovation.

Heater Rea

Heater Rea

Mindfulness Facilitator and Wellcoaches Health & Wellness Coach

Heather Rea MS, WCP, RYT is certified as a Mindfulness Facilitator and Wellcoaches Health & Wellness Coach. She teaches mindful awareness practices to the general public to promote health and well-being. She has co-facilitated mindfulness since 2010 in a variety of settings including hospitals, universities, non-profits, and schools.

Her practice is based on the belief that we all have the innate ability to live a wonderful and meaningful life. Yet sometimes, our life experiences can throw us off balance, disturbing our connections to others and distorting the way we perceive the world around us. At times like this, we may need some help in finding our way, and creating the life we desire.

People seek mindfulness instruction to decrease stress, anxiety and depression, and cope with chronic physical or emotional pain. Mindfulness Meditation is a practice to help you attain greater clarity and focus, increase awareness of the present moment and thus, help you navigate life with a greater sense of ease and flow.

Heather is deeply grateful for the healing she has experienced through the practice of mindfulness. She enjoys encouraging others to live with greater compassion toward themselves and others through this powerful practice.

Karen Grogan

Karen Grogan

Senior Vice President in KPMG's Canadian Advisory Practice, Forensic

Karen is a Partner in KPMG’s Risk Advisory Practice and a Senior Vice President of KPMG Forensic Inc.  With over 20 years of experience, Karen leads the firm’s Forensic Risk Consulting practice in Southwestern Ontario. She has extensive experience in managing forensic reviews and investigations for a variety of clients including insurance companies, financial institutions, private entities, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations. Her experience includes: 

  • Investigations of employee and corporate fraud for purposes of criminal complaints, civil litigation, insurance claims and employment matters
  • Review of Internal Controls to provide policy and procedure recommendations for the purpose of preventing and detecting fraud
  • Tracing of misappropriated funds for evidence and recovery
  • Litigation support including business and personal losses due to breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, business interruption and personal injury
  • Business Valuations for the purposes of tax and estate planning, shareholder disputes, matrimonial disputes, expropriation and business losses
  • Calculations of annual income under the provisions of the Federal Child Support Guidelines in respect of business owners

Karen is designated by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants as a specialist in Investigative and Forensic Accounting.  

As a result of her experience, Karen has been invited to present to various groups, including lawyers, human resource professionals, bankers, business owners, insurance adjusters and accountants on the topics of fraud, forensic accounting, corporate ethics and business valuations. Karen also teaches at a fraud investigation training program for the Ontario Police College to officers in fraud departments across Ontario.

Senani Ratnayake

Senani Ratnayake

Consultant/Speaker/Advocate/Coach, Motivatum Consulting

E.M. Forster is famous for writing “only connect!” at the end of one of his novels, but he likely learned that sentiment from Senani Ratnayake. Senani knows that learning and change come about when people feel attached to the process and joined to each other. Participants often comment that they leave her learning sessions feeling like they have had a personal and transformative experience. As a humanist, Senani believes that every person is equally important, no matter their position or experience, and this viewpoint lies at the core of her success as a Learn2 Leader. Like many trailblazers, Senani has taken her academic background as a Registered Veterinary Technician with a Bachelor of Science and paired it with her natural abilities as a story-teller and solution-oriented collaborator in order to create a very distinctive niche that only she can fulfill. Motivatum Consulting was born out of her desire to unleash her superpower. She has overcome hurdles and stereotypes of all kinds in order to become an accomplished and inspirational facilitator for people from all walks of life and industries. Senani defines her success by the success of those around her and, that level of caring and passion for every person she encounters is what truly makes her memorable; allowing her participants to feel that they have just been a part of something very special.

Michelle Horne

Michelle Horne

Michelle Horne, AICI CIP is an executive presence coach and certified Image Consultant through her professional association of Image Consultants International AICI and a professional member since 1999. Michelle is a professional speaker, International trainer and contributing author. Michelle has been described by clients to dig deep to help her clients define their authentic brand and style and get results. Michelle helps her clients to discovering their Personal Brand statement, define their style identity and use that image to create success in personal and professional situations. Michelle is known for her thoughtful, thorough, but always fun approach to helping clients take ownership of their authentic images. A few things about me that I love: my family, a great cup of coffee, shopping in Italy and a great book!

Vanessa Vidas

Leader, Inclusion - Growth & Markets, Deloitte

Vanessa Vidas is an Associate Partner who is Deloitte’s Leader, Inclusion – Growth & Markets. Her objectives are to advance inclusion within the firm but also more broadly across Canada.  She works closely with the firm’s Chief Inclusion Officer (who also happens to be the CEO), Frank Vettese and the Managing Partner, Talent, Miyo Yamashita, to position Deloitte as the most inclusive leadership development firm in Canada and Chile. Vanessa has ‘grown up’ at the firm, having served for 19 years in a variety of roles – from starting originally in Consulting to today part of our Talent organization. With each successive role she has held, Vanessa focuses on living Deloitte’s purpose – namely making an impact that matters.