Kristine Emmett VP, HR – Media, Network and IT Bell Canada
Kristine Emmett is a business and HR professional with over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience.
Kristine is currently VP Human Resources at Bell, supporting over 13,000 employees in the Bell Media, Network and IT business units. With her team, she develops and executes the people strategy to enable the business to meet its objectives.
Previously, as VP of Organizational Development, she was accountable for attracting, developing and retaining highly engaged, agile, and diverse talent to meet the company’s current and future needs. In that role, she led recruitment, performance & talent management, learning and development, diversity, and engagement.
Before joining Bell, Kristine spent 7 years leading Inspiring Leader Inc; working with clients internationally from mid-level managers to CEOs in corporations, government, and NGOs. Her forte was working with executives and high potential leaders, propelling their careers and team’s performance to exponential levels.
Kristine previously held executive sales and marketing roles.
Amy Coupal CEO Learnography
Amy is a passionate educator and champion of innovation in learning and development. Amy joined Curriculum Services Canada (CSC) in 2006 as the Director of Professional Learning Services and became the CEO of Learnography and its charitable affiliate, My Class Needs Foundation, in 2009. Previously, Amy oversaw the development and implementation of multiple training programs (both online and face-to-face) while simultaneously completing her Masters of Education in Workplace and Adult Learning. Amy applies her broad education background, which includes teaching in Canada and Japan, to ensure Learnography’s high standards are upheld in all its service areas. Her work takes her across Canada and around the world, speaking on innovation in education and more.
Allan Stewart President and CEO Human Synergistics Canada
Allan Stewart has been the president of Human Synergistics Canada since 1996. His unique background combines a successful general management career with extensive workshop training experience and a varied academic career.
Allan has conducted training programs for organizations in retail, finance, mining, manufacturing, energy, athletics, education, health care and various sectors of the government. He was a senior executive with Sears Canada Inc. and has been a professor at McMaster University and Sheridan College. He received his B.Com. from Queen’s University and his M.B.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Allan has over 30 years’ experience in organizational behaviour and development. His past clients have included some of the largest and most successful organizations in Canada. He has trained executives, first-line supervisors, trainers, sales-people and line workers. He has been a key-note speaker on television and at a number of professional conferences. He is considered a leading expert on organizational culture and development.
As a workshop facilitator, Allan has helped people throughout Canada, United States, Europe, the Middle East and South Africa develop and hone their skills. He has written self-development guides and workbooks on a variety of subjects, and has recently published a book on leadership. His blog on Leadership and Culture (http://hscanada.wordpress.com) is very popular among Managers, HR Professionals and OD Specialists.
Yves Lermusi CEO & Founder Checkster
Yves Lermusi (aka Lermusiaux) is CEO & founder of Checkster. Checkster is a Career and Talent Checkup tool. Mr. Lermusi founded Checkster after 7 years at Taleo (TLEO) as President of Taleo Research. Prior to Taleo, Mr. Lermusi founded iLogos (acquired by Taleo) and held several positions in research and consulting organizations in Europe. Mr. Lermusi is a well known public speaker and a Career and Talent industry commentator. He is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, and Time Magazine. His articles and commentary are published regularly in online publications and business magazines. Mr. Lermusi was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the Recruiting Industry” and his blog has been recognized as the best third party blog. Mr. Lermusi earned a degree in Physics and Philosophy, and has a diploma in Economics from the University of Brussels and from the University of London.
Girish Ganesan VP, HR Solutions and Enablement TD Bank
Girish Ganesan is a human resources (HR) executive with 15 years of global experience. In his current role, he is responsible for a multifunctional shared services portfolio focused on evolving and optimizing Manulife’s front line HR services including manager and employee self-service, HR contact centre services, and HR data administration & transactional activities, globally. His mandate includes strategizing the use of global HR technology, processes, policies, defined performance metrics and service management framework to embed an efficient, effective and client centric focus in HR.
An international professional, Girish was recognized for his HR vision and business acumen when he was named HR Professional of the Year in 2013 by Human Resources magazine in Asia. Most recently, he was also awarded the Golden Globe Tiger Award for Excellence in HR Leadership endorsed by Asian Confederation of Businesses.
Girish has been with Manulife Financial for the past 8 years, with 5 years in North America and little over 3 years in Asia. He has held a range of senior positions at both global and regional levels in Total Rewards, Operations and HR advisory. He has worked in Canada and Singapore with exposure to over 30 jurisdictions across Asia, Canada and the U.S.
During his career, he has led both generalist and specialist human resources functions in the financial services, high technology, retail and consulting fields. Prior to Manulife, Girish worked for other well-known multinationals including Accenture, Primus Telecommunications and Gap Inc.
Born in New Delhi and educated in Canada and India, Girish has an honours degree in Political Science and Economics, and a post-graduate degree in Human Resources Management. He holds the Canadian Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation
Yvonne Chan President Oncidium
Yvonne Chan is a registered physiotherapist, holds a master’s degree in science (community based rehabilitation) from Queen’s and a master’s degree in business from Ivey. She has been a guest lecturer at Queen’s University School of Rehabilitation Therapy since 1997. In 2015, she was awarded Queen’s University’s Distinguished Alumni Award for her exceptional contributions to her profession, field and community. As a recognized expert in disability management, she combines her clinical, research, and business backgrounds to analyze, improve, and risk manage occupational health services and programs for employers across Canada. She provides expertise on the analysis, design, implementation, ongoing sustainability and enterprise service delivery of employee health programs which include: short term disability management, casual absence management, accommodation advice and consultation, preventative health monitoring, ergonomics, medical surveillance, fitness for duty and medical evaluations; all with the goal of early, safe and sustainable return to work. She is the trusted health advisor and national manager of occupational health programs for employers, federal government agencies and Canadian chartered banks. She is the President of Oncidium, one of Canada’s leading disability management companies (www.oncidium.ca). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alana Free VP, People & Culture GoodLife Fitness
Alana Free leads GoodLife Fitness’ culture of caring, oversees a team of 13,300 Associates and isan expert in staff engagement, retention, development. She is a firm believer in creating a culture of caring, where employees are a vital part of decision making and feel valued and rewarded in their jobs. As VP, People & Culture, Alana is focused on acquiring the best talent, keeping them engaged in their jobs and growing GoodLife’s people and business through learning and succession planning.
During two decades with GoodLife Fitness, Alana has held positions ranging from front desk reception, to club manager, to manager of learning and development. She has been responsible for opening new club locations across Canada and knows what it takes to get, keep and grow a team of more than 13,300 GoodLife Associates.
Before working in the fitness business, Alana worked for a non-profit company called Up with People, an international, non-profit, non-religious group in which youth travel the world for a year, living with host families, doing community service and entertaining audiences with a musical show.
Alana has a bachelor’s degree in geography and international development from University of Guelph.
When she’s not working, you can find Alana mountain biking, water skiing, participating in any winter sport and spending time with her two daughters.
Catherine Finley Vice President, Human Resources American Express Canada
A dynamic change management expert with a passion for diversity and inclusion initiatives, Catherine Finley is helping to define HR policy for American Express both in Canada and around the world. Throughout her career at Amex, Catherine has earned a reputation for seamlessly fusing cultures and integrating complex teams in post-M&A environments.
As head of HR for American Express Canada, Catherine is responsible for approximately 2,000 individuals, overseeing the end-to-end employee experience - from talent acquisition to workforce retention. She also manages the development and execution of human capital plans for 26 markets in the Global Commercial Payments line. In this role, her responsibilities include talent planning and development, organization effectiveness, change management, and leadership effectiveness.
Prior to assuming her current role, Catherine served as HR Director within American Express’ Global Network and International Card Services organization, where she worked to consolidate two global entities, identified opportunities for synergy realization and created a strategic resource plan.
She sits on the HR Committee for the Board of the Amex Bank of Canada and is a participant of the Board. She also sits on the Board for the Children’s Breakfast Club
David Neilly Global Director, HR Hatch Associates
David Neilly leads Hatch’s Human Resources team. He is a Human Resources specialist with over 25 years of progressive experience across multiple industry sectors, in both senior HR and consulting roles.
David has spent his career working with knowledge intensive companies and clients, starting with Bell-Northern Research in Ottawa and Atlanta, followed by Glaxo Smithkline in Mississauga and the UK. Prior to joining Hatch in 2012, he had consulted with what is now Willis Towers Watson and then with his own firm for ten years.
David holds a Bachelors Engineering Science degree from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from what is now the Ivey School of Business.
James Ayres Talent Acquisition Leader Intuit Canada
James has been in Global Talent Acquisition for the past 16 years with major stops working in Australia, Singapore, England, India, United States and Canada with a number of the top companies in the world.
He is a passionate, innovative and a strategic leader with experience from both agency and corporate recruitment across many industries but with a keen eye for the software industry.
James is very enthusiastic about driving business results through hiring the best people in the market who are highly engaged, passionate and smart, and bring with them a learning mindset.
James has a University Degree from the University of Ottawa in Social Sciences and has been the Talent Acquisition Leader at Intuit for the past 8 years.
Mark Dreschel SVP, Organizational Excellence Bird Construction
Mark obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in history from Brock University. Following a too short stint backpacking in the Middle East he then returned to Canada and completed a Master of Arts degree in American Foreign Policy at Queen’s.
A twenty year career in the Ontario Public Service that included project management, business process improvement, and strategic planning roles culminated in his role as vice president of the prevention division at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), where he was responsible for overseeing management and funding of the province’s workplace health and safety system.
In 2011 Mark joined Bird to build their national safety program. A change agent, his role eventuallyexpanded to include responsibility for human resources and corporate social responsibility. Working closely with the senior executive team, operations leadership, and front-line management and workers, Mark is committed to driving continuous improvement and the pursuit of organizational excellence in all facets of the business.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Work and Health
Nicole Lichowit Global VP, People and Culture Celestica
Nicole joined Celestica in 2016 where she leads People + Culture. Her experience in Human Resources spans 20 years in diverse industries including Technology, Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare and Retail. Nicole has progressive experience leading Business Partner and Center of Excellence functions within Human Resources including: Talent Strategy, Culture transformation, innovative Leadership Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Total Rewards, Change Management, Talent Attraction, Employee and Labor Relations and Outsourcing. A business driven HR Executive she has defined and executed people strategy, designed and launched integrated leadership development and total rewards programs, led divestitures and cultural integration strategies, driving change and mobilizing teams to enable business results.
Nicole holds a Master of Business Administration, Master of Social Work and two Bachelor Degrees in addition to certificates in Labor Relations from Queens, Executive Compensation from Global Governance Advisors and the H.R.C.C.C designation from McMaster University.
She is currently Board Director and Chair of the Human Resources Committee for Eva’s, Board Director and Vice-Chair for White Ribbon, and Board Director for Parker P Consulting.
Nicole is married with one son and lives in Toronto.
Sandy Scholes EVP, HR Entertainment One
Sandy has 20+ years of diverse human resources and management experience that spans high growth mid-size and established organizations. She has extensive hands-on experience leading HR initiatives including performance Management, learning and development programs, compensation, talent acquisition, Benefits administration, organizational design, and employee engagement. Sandy has worked for various Industry leading organizations spanning across technology, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, medical devices such as Softchoice, CARA Foods, GlaxoSmithKline, and Becton Dickinson.
Sandy has a passion for Building great HR Teams, aligning HR Programs that create and drive organizational strategy. Sandy has also been instrumental in initiating and implementing best in class Engagement and Development Programs for several organizations and has been an active member of global HR Committees and local Executive teams.
Sandy holds a Bachelor of Administration and Information Management degree from Ryerson University as well as a Certificate in Human Resources Management.
Tammi Jones Director, Human Resources, Organizational Change Alcoa Corporation
In her current role, Tammi is Director, Human Resources, Organizational Change for the Alcoa Corporation responsible for leading the global business transformation initiatives and building a culture of competence around change. In addition she leads the Company’s efforts to define and prepare the workforce of the future related to automation, technology and organizational design.
Most recently, she was HR Director for the Aluminium business unit leading a global HR team where she was instrumental in the transformation of the business portfolio.
Tammi has vast international experience and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and holds a Global MBA from Manchester Business School and earned her Masters in HR Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Michael Arblaster Partner Windley Ely
Mike is a Partner at Windley Ely and oversees the Appeals division and general claims management operations for several of Windley Ely’s largest clients. Additionally, he is Head of Business Development and Partnerships, responsible for company growth across Canada.
Mike is an expert at creating customized claims management solutions for Canada’s largest employers to maximize client productivity while minimizing overall workers’ compensation expenses. In addition, he has worked on several large account management projects involving reclassifications, account restructuring and historical claims audits.
Mike holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Prior to his time at Windley Ely, Mike was an Investment Banker at TD Securities, responsible for advising on mergers and acquisitions of large Canadian public companies.
Dean Sockett VP, People & Culture Keg Restaurants
Dean has lead The Keg’s Human Resources department for the last 18 years, creating, implementing and championing HR strategic initiatives for one of Canada’s most iconic brands. Keg Restaurants Ltd. is a chain of 104 steakhouse and bars located throughout North America employing over 8,000 people. For 15 consecutive years Keg Restaurants has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Employers (Platinum) by Aon Hewitt.
Dean is an integral member of the senior leadership team providing consultation, advice and direction on operational initiatives as well as overall company strategy. Recognized internally as well as externally as an expert on creating and delivering a superior service culture with truly engaged employees, he is a strategic thinker with proven leadership skills that is proud to have contributed to The Keg's success and enviable status in the industry.
Katherine Faichnie Director and HR Leader IBM Canada
Katherine Faichnie is Director of Human Resources for IBM Canada. Based in the GTA she leads the overall HR function for the country with a key focus on talent, employee engagement, innovation and agility.
Katherine has held a variety of executive leadership roles in Human Resources, Finance and Operations within the Financial Services and Technology industries. Her experience spans across highly competitive and fast paced global small and large company environments.
Katherine has been with IBM for 5 years having joined the organization through the acquisition of Algorithmic. She initially led the acquisition integration from the acquired company side. Subsequently she served as the HR Leader for IBM Analytics Group with responsibility for the talent management and organizational capabilities.
Katherine began her career in accounting working several years for KPMG and then for Lincoln Financial before evolving in the Operations and Human Resource arenas.
Katherine earned a Bachelor degree from Indiana University – Kelley School of Business. She was a licensed CPA. She is currently a member of the Conference Board HR Council as well as SHRM and CHRA. A native of Indiana USA, she lives in Toronto, Ontario and is married, has three young adult children and three amazing grandsons.
Chris Taylor CHRO Best Buy Canada
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, B.C.
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.
Emily Pitts Principal, Inclusion & Diversity Edward Jones
Emily Pitts began her Edward Jones career in 1995 as a financial advisor in Atlanta. She was named a principal in 2004, and relocated to the firm’s headquarters to implement marketing of credit cards and mortgage services.
Today Pitts leads the firm’s comprehensive inclusion initiative and diversity, which creates and sustains a work environment that attracts, welcomes, supports and develops a diverse team of outstanding associates and energizes members to achieve their full potential.
Pitts created and helped develop and introduce the firm’s first cross-cultural development program (CCDP), which helps minority financial advisors network and learn best practices to better serve a mutilcultural clientele. She also developed the firm’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Minority Leadership Forum and Home-office Inclusion Mentoring Program. Pitts also oversees the firm’s Inclusion Council and BRGs.
Pitts has a degree in business administration and an executive MBA from Washington University. She is a graduate of Leadership FOCUS St. Louis and serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, the Diversity Awareness Partnership, the St. Louis Urban League and KIPP St. Louis. In addition, she is an active member of and served as the chair of the diversity committee for the National Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).
Pitts is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, an organization of African-American executives from Fortune 500 companies who work to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline and develop African-American corporate leaders.
Pitts received the St. Louis Community Empowerment Foundation’s 2009 Women’s Leadership Award for Corporate Excellence. Savoy Magazine named her one of the 2014 Top Influential Women in Corporate America. Diversity Woman’s Magazine named her one of 50 Diversity Champions in 2013, and in 2012, the St. Louis Business Journal named her to its 25 Most Influential Business Women. In 2016, Pitts received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urban League and the St. Louis Public School signed by Former President Obama
Amy Stern Chief People & Culture Officer ALDO group
Having joined the ALDO Group in May 2015, Amy Stern is the company’s global vice-president of human resources. After her initial meetings with the ALDO Group’s founder and senior team, Stern witnessed the company’s value of Love at work—the uniqueness she sensed within the organization confirmed she was in the right place. Prior to this position, she lived and worked across the United States—Illinois, California, Arizona, New Hampshire and Wisconsin—finally making Montreal, Quebec, her home.
Stern began her human resources career at a start-up educational toy company, and there blossomed her affinity for HR and the business world. During her time there, the business saw rapid expansion, going from 12 stores to 91 throughout 26 states in the US.
She then moved on to work for Vans, which was acquired by VF Corporation, and spent 12 years of her career holding various HR leadership roles within the organization. Other brands she worked with under the corporation included 7 For All Mankind, Splendid, Ella Moss, and Lucy, before moving to New Hampshire to help integrate Timberland into VF Corporation. This latter role offered Stern a new global experience, where she became vice-president of HR for the brand. Having two children and working full time proved to be an exhausting, yet extremely rewarding experience for Stern. She was able to complete her MBA with the continued support of family, friends, co-workers and professors.
Equipped with the strong desire to promote lifelong learning, for Stern, it’s rooted in hands-on experiences and encounters. She believes that new situations, environments and challenges offer some of the best opportunities to learn and move forward. Working as part of a team and contributing to the achievements of others is what makes her happiest at work. Having this philosophy at the heart of how she and her team operate is what leads her to success. At the ALDO Group, she saw how important the company’s corporate culture and values were and instantly knew it was a natural fit.
Along with her husband of almost 20 years, Stern has identical twin boys in their early teenage years. She is passionate about her family, her rescue dog Lucy, and being outdoors. During the holiday season, she is an avid baker, known for her gingerbread cookies. Giving back to the community is also of great importance to Stern and her family. Throughout the years, they’ve participated in many charities that give support to raising awareness, research, education and funds for breast cancer, an unfortunate disease that has touched many women in her life.
Sonia Boyle VP, HR GE Canada
Sonia Boyle is Vice President Human Resources, GE Canada. As Canada’s Senior Human Resources Manager, she develops and leads the Human Resources strategy for the region, as well as providing HR leadership and direct responsibility for the HR function to drive growth objectives.
Sonia joined GE in January 2006 as HR Leader for Capital Solutions – Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) Canada. After leading that business through an integration and cultural change, her role was expanded in 2010 to include the GE Capital Canada Commercial function and the Ontario Site HR leader, in addition to still being the HR Leader for CDF. In February 2011, she was promoted to Senior Human Resources Leader for GE Capital Canada, where she led HR efforts to build business success for the platform and was recognized with a Global HR Leadership Award. She was promoted to her current role in July 2014.
Her career expands over 20 years within progressive, senior Human Resources roles in industries as diverse as healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services. Prior to joining GE, she held senior roles at Maple Leaf Foods Inc., and Deloitte & Touche LLP.
Sonia Boyle holds two bachelor degrees (BA), in Labor Relations and Sociology, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She has also obtained her post-graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management and holds the designation of Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP). She is an active member of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPA). Sonia resides in the Greater Toronto area with her husband and two children.
Fannie Jacques VP, Global HR WSP Global Inc.
Ms. Jacques’ career spans over 20 years of international experience in the engineering, aerospace, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and professional service sectors. She held several progressive leadership roles executive roles with international organizations such as Bombardier, Smith & Nephew and Nortel Networks and ABB before joining in December 2016 WSP as the Vice President, Global Human Resources. WSP is leading enquiring firm headquartered in Montreal with nearly 40,000 employees around the world. I this role Mrs. Jacques is responsible for talent development and management, succession planning, and WSP’s guiding principles with a view to capturing and leveraging synergies among the subsidiaries and building a community of HR practice among HR professionals globally.
Fannie Jacques is a leader who contributes to organizational governance and has invested efforts and energy in promoting women in leadership roles and advancing gender balance within the workplace. She has supported organizations in developing strategies and implementing solutions to attract, develop and retain talent. As a business partner to executive teams, Ms. Jacques has also accompanied organizations through organizational transformations, mergers and acquisitions, facilitated due diligence and integrations. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa (Canada) and continuous education with IMD in Switzerland.