Each year at the Top Employer Summit, we present a spectacular line-up of world-class speakers, thought-leaders and the best case studies from our annual competition — each hand-picked by our editors to bring you the latest thinking on becoming an employer of choice. Case studies are drawn from current winners of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, as well as the 18 other regional and special-interest competitions that our editorial team manages.
We will be posting our full list of speakers for this year’s event in the coming months, but in the meantime you can read about our keynote speakers from previous years here.
With a career spanning five decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But George Takei’s story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII, to becoming one of the country’s leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality—George Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture.
Takei, who is openly gay, has long been a passionate advocate for social justice. He has served as the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign “Coming Out Project,” and was Cultural Affairs Chairman of the Japanese American Citizens League. He is also chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. He was appointed to the Japan-US Friendship Commission by former President Clinton and the government of Japan awarded Takei the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his contribution to US-Japanese relations. The decoration was conferred by His Majesty, Emperor Akihito, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. In 2007, Asteroid 7307 Takei—located between Mars and Jupiter—was named in the performer’s honor in appreciation for his social work. In 2012, Mashable.com named Takei the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, currently with nearly 10 million likes and more than 1.81 million followers on Twitter.
Well known as a film critic and broadcaster in Toronto and across Canada, Jesse was the first nationally syndicated Indigenous columnist for the CBC, covering film and pop culture for 20 local CBC Radio programs. He has also been a regular guest on CBC Newsworld’s News Morning and Weekend Edition, as well as Q. Jesse is Ojibwe, and his family comes from Chicago and the Serpent River First Nation in Ontario. He is an advocate for Aboriginal Arts, most notably on screen. He draws attention to the imagery used by Hollywood in portrayals of indigenous peoples and stresses the need for a culture to have influence on their own depiction. His pieces on The Revenant, Beyonce and sports mascots were among the most shared on CBC.ca
As the Director of Film Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Jesse oversees New Releases, series and TIFF Cinematheque programming and scheduling. Some of his contributions to TIFF Bell Lightbox in programming include retrospectives on Roman Polanski, Paul Verhoeven, Ousmane Sembène, Oscar Micheaux, Studio Ghibli and Robert Altman. His first major curatorial project at TIFF Bell Lightbox was the landmark film programme First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition and its accompanying gallery exhibition, Home on Native Land. In the summer of 2013 he curated TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy, which brought cast and crew members of Animal House together for an onstage reunion. Prior to his appointment as Director of Film Programmes, Jesse served as one of the Canadian features programmers for the Toronto International Film Festival, and also programmed for the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival.
As National Senior Director for Human Resources at McCarthy Tétrault, Rita Apa is the chief steward responsible for overall strategic direction and implementation of all aspects of the firm’s human resources function. With over 35 years of experience, her mandate to cultivate a collaborative and innovative culture while attracting and retaining top professional talent is all-encompassing; covering recruitment, performance management, compensation and benefits, reward and recognition programs, staffing as well as training. She leads development of the firm’s human resources vision, values and goals for staff and develops and maintains oversight of firm-wide policies, practices and procedures. Rita is a regular guest lecturer at the HEC Business School’s MBA program in Montreal on the establishment of strategic corporate reward plans including the role of the people leaders in making those plans a success. She has also served as President of the Québec Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. Rita’s professional contributions go beyond her leadership role at Canada’s leading law firm. For 15 years, she was a volunteer member of the YMCA Advisory Committee on Community Issues whose goal in particular was to support the homeless. During that time, she also ran a physical education program for those suffering with multiple sclerosis. Rita has also served on the Ethics Committee at the Lakeshore General Hospital establishing guidelines for advanced directives for patients.
Brad Badelt is currently the acting assistant director for sustainability with the City of Vancouver. He has worked in local government for nearly 15 years on a variety of sustainability related projects, including green infrastructure, waste reduction, and climate adaptation. He is a professional engineer by training and has a master degree in water resources engineering from the University of Guelph.
Nora Beatty is an HR Business Partner at FreshBooks. She joined FreshBooks two years ago, after searching for a company that believed in the correlation between employee happiness and company success. Since joining, she has learned and lived that principle first hand, been part of exciting projects around employee engagement and satisfaction, and seen the impact of those programs on business results.
Margaret is currently the Director of Recruitment for the City of Edmonton and leads a passionate team that is accountable for developing community outreach programs, operating an internal temporary staffing agency, attracting diverse candidates that mirror the working population of the City, advancing their social media presence, and providing HR strategic advice to the our business partners. Under her leadership the City has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People, a leader in social media recruitment, and most recently won an award for having the “Most Welcoming Workplace”. Prior to joining the City, Margaret had the privilege of leading diverse teams and/or participating on HR leaderships teams at Bank of Montreal, Exult/AonHewitt, CIBC and TELUS Sourcing Solutions.
Virginie Bronsard is a Senior Director Human Resources at CN, a transportation company with over 21,000 employees that offers integrated transportation services: rail, intermodal, trucking, freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution. She has over 20 years of experience, having played operational and strategic roles in organizations such as Sodexo, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Yellow Pages Group. In addition to being a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP), Virginie was formally the acting Treasurer at the CHRP Foundation Board. She has a Master in Business Administration and a Bachelor in Industrial Relations.
Wade Domries is Vice President – Home Solutions Marketing & Executive Sponsor of the Abilities ERG at TELUS. With over 20 years of experience, Wade currently leads the national Marketing team responsible for architecting and engineering TELUS’ Consumer Wireline strategy to realize our brand purpose in Western Canada. This diverse team oversees the development of customer and competitive insights, unique value propositions, product and pricing strategy, and customer marketing strategy, to deliver superior home solutions in British Columbia and Alberta. These wireline services include: TV, Internet, Home Phone and Connected Home. Previous to Wade’s current position, he spent nine years as Vice President, Customer Experience where he led all strategy, enablement and executions teams, as well as frontline organizations spanning both wireless and wireline. He transformed TELUS’ Customer Experience by embedding our customer first culture across all call centres, including TELUS International. Wade also spent five years leading multiple teams within the Channel environment through initiatives such as: TELUS’ Independent Dealer channel expansion in Eastern Canada, channel rationalization in Western Canada, and an enhanced national, in-store brand experience. As a former TELUS Vancouver Board member, Wade currently serves as Executive Sponsor for the TELUS Abilities Network, which fosters inclusiveness, support and personal empowerment for the varying abilities within the TELUS team and across our communities. Previous to that, Wade was President of the ArtStarts Board of Directors, a not-for-profit organization that provides innovative arts programs for young people and practical resources for teachers and artists in education.
Richard Eyram is Area Vice President, Canada at Salesforce.
Adele Aberin Galupe
Adele Aberin Galupe is the Deputy Store Manager at IKEA Richmond. Adele caught the IKEA bug very early on in her career, early enough to influence her decision to take the leap with IKEA and forego a career in accounting and finance. Her investment absolutely paid off – the last 20 years have been filled with exciting opportunities in Sales, Controlling & Operations, Customer Relations, project management, and so on. More significantly, she has had the opportunity to work with amazing teams, to fuel her entrepreneurial spirit, and to coach and mentor leaders of today and tomorrow. Adele is a true blue-and-yellow IKEA co-worker and leader, passionate about leading Business and People together. In her current role, she oversees Sales, Logistics, Communication & Interior Design, and Human Resources.
Diana Godfrey is a senior HR professional with over twenty years experience in both HR and financial roles. She is currently VP, HR for Fidelity Investments Canada ULC. In this role Diana oversees Compensation & Benefits, Corporate Staffing, Employment Relations and Policy for all Fidelity organizations operating in Canada. Prior to joining Fidelity Diana held HR and Finance roles at Sandvik Canada Inc and SKF – both Swedish multinationals. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Milton Community Resource Centre, a not–for-profit, multi-service organization that provides services to children and families in Milton and the surrounding communities. In the past Diana worked with the Toronto Financial Services Alliance on creating a Centre of Excellence in learning and is a past member of the HRPA’s Academic Standards Committee and Sheridan College’s Program Advisory Committees (Co-operative Education and Human Resources).
Nicholas Greschner is Accenture’s Human Resources Director responsible for Canada. His primary responsibilities include leading Canada’s talent strategy, resource management processes and inclusion and diversity programs. Nick is accountable for stewarding the employee experience and is passionate about creating programs that maximize each individual’s fulfillment at work to drive superior business results. He joined Accenture in 1998 after graduating from HEC Montréal’s business administration program. An avid runner, Nick competes in multiple marathons and half-marathons each year. Nick trains and lives in Montréal.
As Vice President of Human Resources at Cisco Canada, David Heather has responsibility for one of the largest international subsidiaries for Cisco. He is responsible for over 1,600 employees across Canada and covers all facets of human resources. He drives the Human Capital Strategy with the president, and ensures that his team drives a strong employee engagement strategy leveraging innovative and compelling interventions, which has resulted in Cisco being named among Canada’s Top 100 Employers ranking in 2015 and 2016. David also is responsible for designing and developing Global Learning Strategies for the senior leaders of Cisco’s worldwide sales teams. David also leads Global Learning Strategies for the senior leaders of Cisco’s World Wide Sales teams leveraging experiential learning to connect strategy with action. Prior to moving to Toronto, David had roles at Cisco Corporate Headquarters in San Jose driving HR strategy for World Wide Sales and he was also based in London in senior HR roles for the European Operation for Cisco. David is also experienced with acquisition integration, having played a lead role in a number of key acquisitions for Cisco. David has also worked in the Utility, Oil and Gas and Mining sectors prior to joining Cisco and holds a degree in Human Resources from the Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England. David was awarded Canadian HR Leader of the Year in 2015 by HRM Magazine’s Canadian HR Awards.
Doug Jeoffroy has served as the Vice President, Corporate Real Estate for Rogers Communications since 2014. For the Rogers corporate office and retail portfolio, he is responsible for all facilities, project and energy management, workplace transformation strategies, leasing transactions, lease administration and employee experience initiatives. With more than 25 years in Corporate Real Estate and a passion for design and the employee experience, Doug is leading an aggressive multi-year Workplace Transformation initiative to drive a more agile and collaborative environment. In the first year of the program, more than 330,000 square feet of the company’s Real Estate footprint was transformed. Doug has extensive experience managing and leading large real estate portfolios in Canada and internationally including at CIBC and Brookfield Johnson Controls. He was recently recognized as CoreNet’s Canadian Chapter Executive of the Year for 2016. Doug holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Business.
Kimberlea Kozachenko is Senior Leader, Talent Attraction & Acquisition with ATB Financial. With 10 years experience in Canadian financial, healthcare and government industries, she is a catalyst to reimagining the status quo of employer and candidate experiences. She has successfully led strategic initiatives including the development of ATB 101: ATB’s first enterprise-wide post-secondary recruitment strategy and student development program, led the implementation of a screening tool that measures fit to organizational culture in candidates, developed enterprise-wide talent acquisition fundamentals: a set of smart, simple and helpful tools that encourage consistent and intentional hiring practices across ATB, and conceptualized myCareer: centralized enterprise talent development resource that empowers team members to become self-accountable for career growth through self-discovery, inspiration, connections and action plans. Recognized for strong strategic vision, leadership and creative abilities, Kimberlea is changing the conversation around talent through her aspiration to deliver results, drive continuous learning, and set compelling objectives for effective talent initiatives. She carries the belief that relentless innovation, transparency and genuine connections will transform global talent practices for the better.
Kristina Leung is the Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project at Mediacorp Canada Inc. In addition to working on selections for the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition, Kristina also is active on the editorial work for the 19 regional and special-interest “top employer” competitions that are affiliated with the national project. Kristina received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Toronto and, prior to her current role, was an Editor on the Eluta.ca project at Mediacorp. Originally from Oakville, Ontario, Kristina currently resides in Toronto.
Tracey Malcolm is the North America Practice Leader for Talent Management & Organization Effectiveness, as well as the global Human Capital Strategy offering lead at Willis Towers Watson. Tracey has over 25 years’ experience working with organizations on their talent strategy, organization alignment and design and HR strategy.
Some of Tracey’s recent global experience includes designing the organization, governance model and talent strategy for a new business development bank, defining and implementing a new employee value proposition and HR strategy for a global technology and services company, leading business transformation change management for a global financial services company, and building HR business partner and manager skills in leading change for a global media company, and a global insurance company.
Tracey is certified in leadership assessment and development and frequently works with management teams collectively and individually. She has completed the High Performance Leadership Programme at Oxford University. In addition, Tracey holds an Honours BA in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa and a Certificate in Personnel and Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto.
Dave Mammoliti is the Manager of the Executive MBA in Digital Transformation at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business. He is responsible for overseeing department operations, corporate partnerships, domestic and international student recruitment and maintaining relationships with community organizations. Dave has worked at McMaster University for the past 8 years and has previously held positions within DeGroote Executive Education, Faculty of Engineering Alumni Relations and the Faculty of Health Sciences Marketing department. He has recently completed a Master of Education degree with a specialization in Administration and Leadership in Education and teaches Public Relations and Communications part-time at Brock University.
Wanda McKenna is the Assistant Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer at McMaster University. With 25 years of experience in human resources in the post-secondary environment, her career progression has included responsibility for all aspects of HR, including organizational effectiveness and development, equity, employee/labour relations, total rewards, HRIS, pay processing, health, safety and wellness programming. She leads many programs and initiatives which attract, retain and develop exceptional faculty and staff who in turn make McMaster one of the Top 100 Universities in the world. Wanda is currently Chair of the Council of Senior Human Resources Officers serving in a leadership capacity in issues impacting the 20 Ontario Universities. Her background also includes both a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University and Masters of Human Resource Management from York University.
Tony Meehan is the Publisher of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, now in its 15th annual edition. The Top 100 project, which started as a best-selling paperback, now reaches millions of Canadians every year through numerous newspaper and magazine partners as well as online through the popular Eluta.ca job search engine. Mr. Meehan also serves as President of Mediacorp Canada Inc., the nation’s largest publisher of employment periodicals, and is Founder of the Eluta.ca job search engine. Since its inception, Mediacorp’s employment guides have sold more than one million copies in 17 countries and, last year, the Eluta.ca search engine was used by over 5 million Canadians. Originally trained as a lawyer, Mr. Meehan holds degrees from Harvard University, the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario. He also holds a Certificat from the Université de Paris IV (Sorbonne). Raised in Nova Scotia, Mr. Meehan currently resides in Toronto.
Karen O’Leonard joined Willis Towers Watson in 2015 as the Global Leader of Client Solutions. In this role, Karen works closely with the firm’s business units and geographies to identify topics of future importance and to bring new products to market. Prior to joining Willis Towers Watson, Karen served as Vice President of Talent Analytics at Deloitte, where her focus was helping HR organizations build their capabilities for data-driven decision making. Earlier in her career, Karen held senior roles in product management, research, and M&A at Silicon Valley firms Apple, Sun Microsystems, and eBay. Karen holds a BS degree in business administration and an MBA with a concentration in quantitative methods. With this background, and 20+ years of experience, Karen brings expertise in product development, analytics, and a keen understanding of business issues to her work at Willis Towers Watson.
Vanessa Perdue is Senior Director, Global Workplace at RBC. Vanessa has over 20 years of experience in the Corporate Real Estate industry. She joined RBC Corporate Real Estate in 2013 as Director, Supplier Strategy and Operations where her primary focus was to lead the Real Estate Outsourcing Strategy. This initiative resulted in the development of an innovative service delivery model and the selection of three new outsourced service partners for RBC. In her current role, Vanessa is responsible for the newly formed Global Workplace team, ensuring the effectiveness of RBC’s workplaces. Prior to joining RBC, Vanessa held various positions at CIBC Corporate Real Estate. Vanessa holds both a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Kelly Pollack is the CEO of the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia (IEC-BC). Kelly is a Canadian leader in strategic initiatives supporting employers to recruit and develop internationally trained talent. She has a keen understanding of the economic and demographic drivers associated with global talent shortages, having worked at the intersection of immigration, labour markets and the economy for more than 20 years. Kelly is an expert on employer best practices for hiring and retaining immigrant talent. Her leadership and consultation with hundreds of employers across the province has enabled her organization, IEC-BC, to develop innovative and practical solutions for organizations to tap into international talent. Kelly has worked with most major industry sectors in BC, including construction, hospitality and tourism, mining, LNG, manufacturing, oil and gas, post-secondary education, public administration, and technology. She advises on the implications of international mobility, migration and talent development as a top human-capital concern for most sectors and occupations.
Shelley Ralston is Director, Talent and Culture at Xerox Canada. Shelley has worked large corporate structures, such as Xerox and TELUS in areas of sales, marketing, operations & general management as well as an entrepreneur, owning her own business for several years. She currently sits on the board of Fortis Alberta and chairs the board of governors for Red Deer College. Shelley’s primary role is the Director of Talent & Culture for Xerox Canada and she is part of a global community of practice for Xerox Corporation for key talent practice areas including Diversity & Inclusion. Xerox has been a recipient of the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers award for the last 7 years in a row. In her role at Xerox, Shelley has the privilege of weaving the ‘active golden thread’ of equity, diversity and inclusion through all the talent practices of hiring, developing and promoting people at Xerox as well into their engagement strategies. This personal commitment and responsibility to inclusion is further extended into other organizations through the boards she sits on.
Tom Redl is President & CEO of CHANDOS Construction Ltd., a role he has held since 2001. He is responsible for guiding the successful operation and development of CHANDOS, a market leader in the provision of value-added construction solutions. Tom truly believes in giving back to the community. He is this year’s Co-Chair of the Alberta Capital Region United Way Campaign Cabinet, a role he shares with Edmonton’s First Lady, Sarah Chan. In 2015, he personally created a scholarship fund at CHANDOS entitled the “Amisk Award”, a scholarship to advance the education or community interests of the award recipients. A lover of the City’s arts, Tom currently serves as Secretary on the Citadel Theatre’s Board of Governors, where he has also served as President & Chair of the Board of Directors in years prior. In 2015, Tom completed a full 8-year term on the Board of the Edmonton International Airport, serving three years as Board Chair. Tom also sits on the Board of the Edmonton Construction Association and is Chair of their Governance & Human Resources Committee. Tom is an instructor at the UofA’s Alberta School of Business in the Small and Medium Enterprise Governance program and is a frequent speaker and panelist on the topics of governance, employee ownership and corporate social responsibility.
As Co-founders to one of Vancouver’s largest, and most exciting PR firms Katie Reiach brings a unique blend of experience gained working in the media. In addition to her career in PR which began at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Katie also co-founded the money-mentoring business Smart Cookies. In anticipation of the 2008 economic crisis she was among the first to focus on making financial information engaging and relevant to a female audience. By 2009, Katie was co-hosting her own W Network series and had co-authored the financial best seller Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough. Today, Katie is an enthusiastic leader of Talk Shop Media, an active financial contributor to Global News, CTV, and Best Health Magazine. Katie is also among the youngest women to rank on Business in Vancouver’s 40 under 40 and volunteers with Canuck’s Autism Network and TEDxVancouver.
Christian Reich is Customer Relations Manager at IKEA Richmond.
Carl Roy is President & CEO at Provincial Health Services Authority. Carl is a health care leader and innovator, known for his commitment to values-based leadership, with over 35 years of experience in the health care sector. He has served since 2014 as President and CEO of the 19,000-employee Provincial Health Services Authority of BC and the agencies it oversees, including the BC Cancer Agency, BC Children’s and Women’s Hospitals, BC Centre for Disease Control, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, and BC Emergency Health Services. Carl joined PHSA in 2010 as executive responsible for the Emergency and Health Services Commission (now BC Emergency Health Services), where he successfully led the integration of the BC Ambulance Service into the health sector. He then became Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, providing leadership across PHSA that centred on performance enhancement and service integration. Carl began his career as a nurse, then completed a Master of Health Science Administration from the University of Toronto, and has served as President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Sudbury, President of Caritas Health Group in Edmonton, and President and CEO of Providence Health Care in Vancouver. He has also led private-sector health care companies. He believes in the importance of patient-centred health care, and investing in employees to improve and enable the patient experience.
JoAnn Sheahan is a Senior Human Resources Manager at Procter & Gamble. JoAnn joined Procter & Gamble in 1987 after graduating from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science. JoAnn has extensive human resources experience in both a manufacturing and general office environment, and is currently leading HR for P&G’s Marketing and Product Supply functions. JoAnn has led Procter & Gamble’s Health and Wellness strategy since 2010, most recently creating Procter & Gamble’s Mental Health strategy and policy.
Sarah Stanford is an Associate at Perkins+Will and leads the interior design practice in the Vancouver office, providing design solutions for both integrated architectural and stand-alone interiors projects. Through her work, Sarah has delivered creative and environmentally progressive spaces that have a meaningful impact on clients’ teams, business, and culture. With over a decade of experience across practice areas specializing in workplace, retail and hospitality design, Sarah is particularly passionate about finding opportunities to blend the best practices of these design typologies to deliver innovative solutions to her clients. Her work ranges from tenant improvements and prototypes to large-scale architectural projects in North America and abroad.
Jyoti has a deep-rooted passion for sustainability and organics. As a third generation family member and Sr. Director of Human Resources and Sustainability for Nature’s Path Organic Foods, she is deeply committed to sustainable agriculture and the company’s mission of “leaving the earth better than you found it”. Jyoti leads Nature’s Path’s commitment to sustainability, including initiatives around ethical sourcing, energy efficiency, waste reduction, community engagement and eco-friendly packaging alternatives. She works with cross-departmental teams to help manage sustainability goals and ensure the company is doing its best to create systems that reduce the unnecessary use of resources. She is also in charge of the strategic direction for the human resources and in building a culture that truly lives into the values of the organization. Jyoti has served numerous boards including the Sustainable Food Trade Association. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Victoria and an MBA with a focus on Sustainable Food and Agriculture from Pinchot University.
Richard Yerema is the Managing Editor of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and is this country’s most widely-read career author. Mr. Yerema oversees the editorial team that manages the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which has been called one “of the most prestigious lists” in Canadian business, as well as a series of 20 regional and special-interest competitions. Mr. Yerema is also the author of The Career Directory, now in its 21st edition, which lets young people find great employers that are looking for people with their academic qualifications. His editorial independence and quality of work is one of the most enduring and respected in the Canadian career field. Raised in Southern Ontario, Mr. Yerema is a graduate of the University of Toronto and currently resides north of Toronto.