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 20 other regional and special-interest competitions that our editorial team manages.

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd is well known for dexterously starring in both box office hits and for turning in unforgettable performances in fine independent films. From her debut in Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner Ruby In Paradise to Where the Heart Is, Simon Burch, Helen, De-Lovely and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, her films tell very personal stories– which is exactly what Judd does when she is not making movies. But the stories she tells are not about being a Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress or about making People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list three times. As a board member for Population Services International (PSI) and as Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, Judd speaks on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

Judd has traveled the world to do international public health work on all fronts– maternal health, child survival, human rights, family planning, STD and HIV prevention, malaria prevention and treatment. She has experienced firsthand the connection between poverty, illness, and gender inequality, and how that sets up the pain and degradation that is sex and labor slavery (on which she testified before the General Assembly of the United Nations.)

Judd says, “The more we hear their stories, the more motivated we are to heal them and the social systems that victimized them in the first place. I believe with all my soul that the art of compassionate witnessing is at the core of global change and peace building.”

She is also passionate about the environment. An eighth generation Kentuckian, she is an outspoken critic of mountaintop removal coal mining. A proponent of a “green collar” economy, Judd is committed to helping find innovative renewable energy solutions. In May 2010, Judd received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has spoken at many prestigious conferences around the world, including the London School of Economics’ Family Planning Summit sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She also hosted a talk with President Clinton on the work of the Clinton Foundation for the London School of Economics. In 2012, she spoke on the floor of the Democratic National Convention as the delegate from Tennessee asked to cast the ballots for the party’s nominee for president and vice president.

Whether it’s on behalf of a patient dying from a preventable illness a world away or on behalf a family struggling to find clean drinking water in Appalachia, Judd is telling the stories of the vulnerable and the at-risk. Judd says, “I don’t do it because I’m an actor. I do it because I’m a human being.”


David Barnes

David Barnes is Senior Director, Wholesale HR at Agrium Inc.

Josh Blair

Josh Blair is Chief Corporate Officer and Executive Vice-President for TELUS Health & TELUS International. Josh leads a team responsible for all aspects of TELUS’ Human Resources strategy. This includes attracting and retaining the best talent in the communications industry, fostering world-leading team engagement across TELUS and inspiring our more than 40,000 team members globally to put customers first and give back in an unparalleled manner to our communities. Under his leadership, TELUS has earned numerous national and international accolades. For example, TELUS has been recognized as having one of the top 10 HR teams worldwide at the Global HR Leadership Summit, the top philanthropic corporation globally by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and a worldwide leader multiple times over in learning excellence by the American Society for Training and Development. In addition, Josh oversees TELUS Health and Payment Solutions, a Canadian leader in home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, consumer health applications, benefits management and pharmacy management. As well, Josh has oversight of TELUS Sourcing Solutions, a leading provider of innovative human resources and talent management solutions. Josh also oversees TELUS International, the global arm of TELUS with approximately 16,000 team members in North America, Central America, Asia and Europe, providing contact centre and business processing solutions to major corporate clients worldwide.

Josh serves on the Board of Governors and Executive Committee for the Business Council of British Columbia and the Governors Council of i-CANADA. As a strong supporter of TELUS’ commitment to give where we live, he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Sandbox Project and the Board of Advisors for the Cures for Kids Foundation as well as being vice-chair of the TELUS Vancouver Community Board. Josh is a professional engineer and graduated with distinction from the University of Victoria’s Electrical Engineering program. He is also a graduate of the Executive Program at Queen’s School of Business.

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John Bremen

John Bremen is Managing Director and leader of Towers Watson’s Talent & Rewards segment in the Americas. Talent & Rewards includes the firm’s practices in Executive Compensation, broad-based Rewards, Sales Effectiveness & Rewards, Talent Management/Organization Alignment, Communication & Change Management, Global Data Services, HR Technology, HR Service Delivery, and Organization Surveys & Insights. John also leads the firm’s Global Total Rewards team and sits on the Towers Watson Global Talent & Rewards leadership team.
John works with boards and senior executives to align company talent and reward strategies and practices with business strategies in order to drive broad-scale organizational performance. He is an expert in Total Rewards, Sales Effectiveness & Rewards, Executive Compensation and Global Rewards. Before joining the firm, John was a Partner at the Center for Workforce Effectiveness, where he developed performance-based organization and reward systems geared toward attracting, retaining, and motivating high-caliber executives and employees.
John received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management with majors in organizational behaviour and management strategy. He also holds a B.A. from Northwestern, including a special certificate in Business Institutions. He has been a featured speaker at global and industry conferences on compensation and organization change and has published numerous articles.

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Tracie Crook

Tracie Crook is Chief Operating Officer at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

James Dalton

James Dalton currently holds the position of Human Resources Director in LNG Canada, a Shell-PetroChina-Kogas-Mitsubishi Joint Venture, and is accountable for the development and implementation of an integrated people strategy for the company. James studied at University College Oxford, Southampton University and Malardalens Hogskola Vasteras and holds a BSc Honours in Mathematics. He started his career with Shell in London. Prior to being appointed to the role in LNG Canada in 2013, James held the position of HR Manager for Shell Canada supporting a range of upstream and midstream growth opportunities. He has spent the majority of his 8 years with Shell in HR generalist positions working across Shell’s Upstream, Downstream and Projects & Technology divisions. He currently lives in Calgary with his partner Sandra and their one year old daughter Elena.


Jay Gohill

Jay Gohill is Co-Founder and President of Arcurve Inc.

Shauna Grinke

Shauna Grinke is Director of Human Resources, Canada for Nature’s Path Foods Inc.

Lindsay King

Lindsay King is Director, People Commercial at Labatt Breweries of Canada.

Kim Lanyon

Kim Lanyon is the Manager of Recruitment and Diversity at Manitoba Hydro. Manitoba Hydro is the province’s major energy utility, with $2 billion in annual revenue and more than 6,400 employees across Manitoba. Manitoba Hydro maintains a position of being among the lowest cost providers of domestic electricity rates in Canada and is recognized as a leader in promoting energy conservation and efficiency. Kim has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Certificate in Adult Education from the University of Manitoba and over 20 years of experience in the field of human resources. Throughout her career, Kim’s work has spanned several functions including Training & Development, e-Learning, Safety, Health & Wellness, Pay & Benefits, and Recruitment & Diversity. Kim is particularly passionate about Leadership Development, Talent Management and Diversity and Inclusion.

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Kristina Leung

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.

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Ruth Malli

Ruth Malli is the City Manager for the Town of Ladysmith.

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin is Vice President of Human Resources at JOEY Restaurant Group.

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Christina Medland

Christina Medland is Director, Organizational Development & Strategic Initiatives at the City of Vancouver.

Tony Meehan

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.



Baerbel Ostertag

As the head of human resources for SAP Canada, Baerbel Ostertag is a member of the Canadian executive leadership team and the Americas HR leadership team, and she is directly responsible for the integrated HR strategy for SAP Canada as well as global and regional HR strategic initiatives. Baerbel joined SAP in 2006 and has held a variety of senior HR roles supporting a number of global organizations. Most recently, Baerbel was the Global HR Business Partner (HRBP) for the human resources board area, reporting to the Executive Board of SAP AG. She served as the strategic advisor to the chief HR officer of SAP and the senior HR leadership team on all “people agenda” and HR-related topics. Prior to joining SAP, Baerbel held various senior HR positions in technology, fast-moving consumer goods, and recruiting in Germany and Australia, including Kellogg’s Deutschland GmbH, IT@Manpower, ID Media Inc., and Rothmans of Pall Mall.

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Matt Petersen

Matt Petersen is Senior Director, Diversity Strategy & Workplace Inclusion at CIBC.

Valerie Presolly

As Sustainability Manager at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Valerie leads MEC’s accountability reporting efforts, measures progress towards goals, and works cross-functionally across the organization to integrate sustainability in MEC’s operations and supply chain. Previously, Valerie worked in product marketing for Pulse Energy, a Vancouver-based energy monitoring software company, and prior to that spent 4 years working in product management and marketing for a food technology company. Originally from Vienna, Austria, Valerie has an undergraduate degree in International Business from Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. Convinced that businesses have the power to create positive and lasting social and environmental change, Valerie completed her MBA at the University of British Columbia in 2011 with a focus on sustainability and strategy.


Quinn Wilson

Quinn Wilson is Head of Human Resources for Nexen Energy.

Richard Yerema

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.