the Speakers

Sarah McLachlan
Featured Guest

Sarah McLachlan

With over 30 years in the recording industry, Sarah McLachlan is one of the most celebrated singer songwriters in entertainment with over 40 million albums sold worldwide. Canadian-born, she has received three Grammy Awards and twelve Juno Awards over her career and was recently inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In addition to her personal artistic efforts, McLachlan founded the Lilith Fair tour, which showcased female musicians and raised over $7 million for local and national charities. In 2002 McLachlan founded her non-profit organization, the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, which provides top quality music instruction at no cost, in a safe and nurturing environment, for at-risk and underserved children and youth. From an early age, music provided McLachlan with the tools she needed to navigate the challenges she faced in her life, so she recognizes how important it is for every child to have those same opportunities. In 2015, McLachlan was the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Achievement, which salutes Canadians who have contributed their voice and vision to the country and whose excellence has earned national and international acclaim.


Darby Allen
Guest Speaker

Darby Allen

Known as the face of the Alberta wildfires – and widely celebrated as a national hero – Darby Allen is a native of Birmingham, England, where he worked as a firefighter for the Hampshire Fire Brigade. Allen emigrated to Canada in 1990 and became the Regional Fire Chief of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, an area that encompasses the community of Fort McMurray. Currently, Allen teaches a program in Transformational and Charismatic Leadership at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business.


Jacki Bassani
Guest Speaker

Jacki Bassani

Jacki Bassani serves as the North America Talent & Rewards business leader at Willis Towers Watson. In addition to this leadership role, she advises large global organizations on talent issues, and has extensive experience specializing in organizational transformation and employee research. During her tenure she has worked with organizations in helping them to better understand and improve their organizational cultures using tailored organizational measurement techniques to uncover linkages between corporate culture, engagement, and business performance. Jacki earned her M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and routinely presents at many external conferences.


Raymond G. Bohn
Guest Speaker

Raymond G. Bohn

Raymond Bohn is responsible for the development of a skilled and motivated workforce, the provision of strategic direction in organizational communication and the oversight of corporate planning and performance. His key priority is the ongoing development of a culture that fosters effective leadership, performance, corporate brand and employee engagement. He is responsible for critical human resource functions such as succession and performance management, talent acquisition and workforce planning, total rewards, pensions, health and wellness, operational training, and labour and employee relations. Raymond is responsible for delivering value-added business analysis, strategic guidance and corporate predictive forecasts and insights, as well as defining and reporting meaningful corporate metrics.


Lisa Dymond
Guest Speaker

Lisa Dymond

Lisa Dymond is Head of Talent Strategy and Operations at BCG Canada. Lisa leads BCG Canada’s consulting talent strategy and operations, with a mandate to attract and cultivate the best talent by providing a world-class development experience and career trajectory for our rapidly growing consulting team across our offices in Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary. Lisa has been with BCG Canada since 2006, first leading client engagements and teams across a variety of industries and topics, then serving as a global expert in the firm’s People and Organization practice area, where she focused on the topics of change management, org design, leadership effectiveness, and HR functional excellence. Prior to BCG, Lisa provided public opinion advisory to many of Canada’s leading corporate, government, and political leaders as an Associate Vice President at POLLARA. Lisa holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of business, and was valedictorian of her graduating class. She is the mother of 3 energetic children, and loves cycling, thrifting, and public radio.


Dr. Richard Heinzl
Guest Speaker

Dr. Richard Heinzl

Richard Heinzl is the founder of Doctors Without Borders Canada: the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization that has inspired a movement among medical professionals to help the world’s most vulnerable populations. In 1988, just out of medical school, Richard Heinzl founded the first North American chapter of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. Shortly thereafter he became its first field volunteer, spending an extraordinary year in remote Cambodia. (These experiences are movingly captured in his memoir, Cambodia Calling.) Hundreds of volunteers have since followed in his footsteps, bringing their healing skills to help many of the world’s most vulnerable people. For his work, Heinzl has been named one of Report on Business’s Top 40 Under 40. Today, Dr. Heinzl continues to work with DWB/MSF on technology issues as an advisor on their Telemedicine Advisory Committee. He is also the new Global Medical Director of the Boston-based, Harvard-affiliated WorldCare International: a leader in providing access to quality second opinions from physicians at some of the world’s top academic medical centers.


Heather Lastiwka
Guest Speaker

Heather Lastiwka

Heather Lastiwka is Head of Talent at ATB Financial. As an authentic and passionate leader at ATB, Heather strives to inspire others to do their best work everyday, while proudly providing a differentiated workplace and customer experience. Prior to joining ATB in 2015, Heather was an entrepreneur who specialized in areas of organizational design and development, strategic planning, leadership and succession development. Her past experience includes progressive leadership and executive roles in human resources and talent management, in a variety of industry sectors. Heather is also a certified coach and mentors young women entrepreneurs who strive to become successful business leaders.


Kristina Leung
Guest Speaker

Kristina Leung

Kristina Leung is the Senior 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.


Tony Meehan
Conference Chair

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.


Mike Olsson
Guest Speaker

Mike Olsson

As Vice President of Human Resources and Professional Development for PCL Construction, Mike is responsible for all of the human resources and professional development activities, services and products the team delivers. PCL is the 6th largest contracting organization is the United States and is the largest in Canada. PCL’s 4500+ staff professionals and 10,000+ hourly tradespeople are involved with more than 700 projects at any one time ranging in value from $20,000 to over 1 billion across the civil, heavy industrial and commercial buildings markets. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the leadership, professional development, and human resources fields. He credits ‘terrible handwriting’ as the catalyst to a career with PCL that began in 2005. With a passion for leadership development, Mike became an instructor of PCL’s flagship leadership course in 2010, and in 2012 took over governance of the initiative. The PCL Leadership Academy, which houses multiple leadership and high potential programs for the company, was also launched in 2016 under Mike’s leadership.


Chris Taylor
Guest Speaker

Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Best Buy Canada. In this role, he oversees the wellbeing of more than 12,000 employees across the country, leading the HR teams supporting all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores, distribution centres, and the corporate headquarters in Burnaby, BC. Chris joined the company in 2004 as a Human Resources Manager and has served in a breadth of human resources, talent development and employee relations leadership roles since, most recently as Vice President, Human Resources. A natural innovator and champion of corporate culture and change management, Chris has led the company through key growth and rewards initiatives over the years that have advanced Best Buy Canada to becoming one of the top employers in Canada. Prior to joining Best Buy, Chris held leadership roles with The Home Depot and Office Depot. Chris holds a CPHR designation, along with an MBA from the University of Fredericton.


Tamara Vrooman
Guest Speaker

Tamara Vrooman

As President & Chief Executive Officer of Vancity, Canada's largest community credit union, Tamara Vrooman believes that banking has a vital role in building healthy communities. Under Tamara's leadership, Vancity has gained international recognition for its values-based banking model. This was achieved while growing the assets plus assets under administration of the credit union 61 per cent to $25.6 billion and achieving the highest profits in the organization's 70-year history. Under Tamara's direction, more than one-fifth, or $5.4 billion, of Vancity's assets plus assets under administration are invested in impact. Tamara has been recognized as BC’s CEO of the Year, 2016 and is a Women's Executive Network: Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Famer.


Janet Wood
Guest Speaker

Janet Wood

As Global HR leader for the Office of the CEO, Janet Wood partners with SAP’s CEO and his leadership team to drive and support strategic initiatives including organization design, leadership development, diversity, a continuous feedback culture and attracting and retaining the best talent in the market. In her former roles, Janet was Global Head of Talent & Leadership Development, EVP of Global Strategic Partners and EVP of Global Maintenance GTM. She joined SAP from Business Objects in 2008 where she worked as SVP of Global Partnerships. Prior to joining Business Objects, Janet was VP of Business Development at Crystal Decisions. She has also held various management positions during her 16 years at IBM. Aside from her senior management role at SAP, Janet is active in her community as a partner in BC Social Venture Partners, a not for profit organization that supports children and families at risk in BC. She is a Board member of the Insurance Corporation of BC, BC Tech and Junior Achievement of BC and sits on the University of Alberta Business School Advisory Committee. She has been recognized with a YWCA Women of Distinction Award and is a past recipient of the Canadian Women's Executive Network Top 100 Women Award. Janet holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Alberta, graduating with Distinction.


Richard Yerema
Conference Chair

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.