Speakers

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer

Executive Director

BlackNorth Initiative

Ms. Ahmed, has accumulated a wealth of experience and accomplishments in the performance measurement, policy development, HR planning analysis and employment equity and diversity sectors. Ms. Ahmed has been the recipient of notable awards over the years including the exceptional service within the Federal Public Service, the Canada150 Community Builder Award, The Hope Academy community contribution award, the Ottawa Black History Community Leadership Award and most recently the top 100 under 40 Most Influential Person of African descent in support of United Nations decade.

Ms. Ahmed is a founding member of the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition, which advocates securing justice for the late Abdirahman Abdi and his family. A previous member of the Black Agenda Noir organization, a Circle of United Black Citizens whose goal is to cement Black presence on the national radar. Ms. Ahmed is also the Chair of the Federation of Black Canadians, which is a national non-profit organization that is driven by Black organizations across Canada, which advances the social, economic and cultural interests of Canadians of African descent.

In the professional realm, Ms. Ahmed was recently appointed as the Executive Director of the BlackNorth Initiative. In her previous role Ms. Ahmed was the Human Resources Specialist within the Public Sector and primarily responsible for the Visible Minority Advisory Steering Committee of the Agency and working in the agency-wide Employment Equity Action Plan and Anti-racism Strategy.

Among the many other organizations of which she has been a part of, Ms. Ahmed has played an instrumental leadership role in the Ottawa Mayor’s taskforce combatting anti-black racism. Ms. Ahmed was a lead researcher for Justice for Abdirahman for its submission to the Justice Tulloch Independent Police Oversight Review and street check review.

Ms. Ahmed has also played an integral role in the roll out of the new Ottawa Police Service’s recruitment strategy, as well as being a lead member of Black Agenda Noir. Her crucial role in the Nyansapo Wisdom, which promotes equity and inclusion for African, Caribbean, Black Canadians (ACBC) students in education, has seen Dahabo make deputations at the School Board to address series challenges facing children and teens of African descent within the Ottawa school Board.

Ms. Ahmed stands as a strong role model particularly to members of all Black communities, and has played a transformative role in improving the quality of life of Canadians of African descent and the community at large.

Deon Blyan

Deon Blyan

Director, Global Talent Development

Sunwing Travel Group

Driven to help people thrive in dynamic organizational cultures, Deon spent 17 years in corporate retail operations in roles focused within learning, development and people initiatives. After completing his Masters of Arts in Leadership in 2015, Deon aligned his career focus by officially joining the People & Culture side of business through a relocation from Calgary Alberta to Toronto Ontario.

Now within North America’s largest vertically integrated travel group, Deon oversees a unique portfolio that brings talent acquisition, training, development and engagement teams under one umbrella within the People & Culture department. With one lens and a global view to a complex and diverse multi-divisional, multi-national company, Deon is responsible for bringing aligned methods of support and a collaborative approach while maintaining divisional uniqueness where necessary.

Dana J. Campbell-Stevens

Dana J. Campbell-Stevens

Workplace Investigator, Trainer & Mediator

Rubin Thomlinson

Dana J. Campbell-Stevens is a Workplace Investigator, Trainer & Mediator at Rubin Thomlinson LLP, a law firm specializing in workplace and institutional investigations and assessments, tactical training for HR professionals, and consulting. Dana has over 10 years combined experience in Ontario and the Caribbean and has been called to the Bar of Ontario, Anguilla and Jamaica. At Rubin Thomlinson, Dana investigates diverse issues, including bullying, verbal and psychological harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct. Dana also conducts workplace assessments, workplace policy reviews, supports clients in workplace restoration processes and she is a Qualified Mediator with the ADR Institute of Canada. In addition, Dana conducts training sessions to educate clients on workplace issues.

Jill Chesley

Jill Chesley

Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Respect in the Workplace, Employee Services

City of Edmonton

Jill Chesley is the Diversity & Inclusion Lead at the City of Edmonton and guides the implementation of Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and anti-racism activities, as well as leading Employee Resource Networks. Jill is the Founding Chair of the Edmonton Business Diversity Network, and founded the National Municipal Network of D&I Professionals. Jill brings domestic and international experience and over 20 years of experience in the non-profit, private and public sectors, including working in the USA, Japan, Trinidad & Tobago, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Afghanistan. Jill has subject-matter expertise in the fields of intercultural competence, equity, diversity and inclusion, particularly in large, complex organizations. Jill has an MA in Intercultural Relations, is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory, and a Senior Facilitator in Personal Leadership.

Sharon Chung

Sharon Chung

Senior Manager, Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Sourcing

TD

Sharon Chung is part of TD’s Diversity and Inclusion team and is proud to lead the LGBTQ2+ Talent Strategy, where her primary focus is to source, attract, and advocate for the hiring of top LGBTQ2+ talent Canada wide.

She also leads TD’s Diversity Sourcing team focused exclusively on sourcing People with Disabilities, Visible Minorities, Indigenous People and Women in Leadership.

Sharon has over 30 years experience at TD holding a variety of roles within the Retail Branch network, Process Improvement, Customer Care, Collections and most recently Human Resources, within Talent Acquisition and the D&I space.

Sharon is a member of TD’s LGBTQ2+ Employee Resource Group, co-leading the Women’s strategy. She is also the Chair of the Women’s strategy on the board of Pride at Work Canada.

Chris Crespo

Inclusiveness Director, Talent Team

Ernst & Young LLP

Chris is a Director at EY who inspires people to lead authentically while connecting people to achieve more together through EY’s Professional Networks, LGBT+ inclusiveness strategy, and supporting EY’s equality advocacy. With 30+ years at EY in Tax and on the Talent team, her efforts have been recognized with the inaugural Americas Chairman’s Values Award at EY and the Trailblazer Award by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.  EY has been a leader recognized on DiversityInc specialty lists for Employee Resource Groups and LGBT+ inclusion since Chris has led these initiatives. Chris resides in New Jersey, uses Chris/she/they pronouns and can be contacted at chris.crespo@ey.com.

Wendy Cukier

Wendy Cukier

Founder

Diversity Institute

Academic Director

Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy

Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University

Dr. Wendy Cukier is the Diversity Institute Founder, Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre. She is the co-author of the bestseller, Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park and former VP of Research and Innovation. The Diversity Institute has 75 research staff, 100 research associates from around the world, 200 industry partners and focuses on dimensions of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, future skills, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Harnessing the power of innovation, it promotes the advancement of underrepresented groups. The Diversity Institute is also a research lead for the $300 million Future Skills Centre and the $8.6 million Women Entrepreneurship Hub. Wendy has been recognized with the Harry Jerome Diversity Award, the Bob Marley Award, the Canada-Pakistan Business Council’s Female Professional of the Year, the Metropolis Research Award, the CATA Alliance, Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN. She has been named a YWCA Woman of Distinction and one of the International Women’s Forum 2020 Women Who Make a Difference, a Woman of Influence and one of the “100 Alumni who shaped the Century” by the University of Toronto. Wendy holds a PhD, an MBA, an MA, and honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia.

Rosie Given

Inclusion and Diversity Recruiting Lead

Accenture

Helen Grantis

Helen Grantis

Specialist in Accessible and Inclusive Staffing and Assessment

Public Service Commission of Canada

Helen Grantis is an employment advisor and analyst with a specialty in staffing and assessment.  She is a senior psychologist at the Personnel Psychology Centre at the Public Service Commission of Canada and has 15 years of experience providing advice and guidance on accommodation and inclusive and accessible staffing and assessment. She has a passion for providing support and outreach to equity deserving Canadians who are looking for work, and provides consultation and volunteer services to organizations supporting the employment of new Canadians and Persons with Disabilities.

Vivian Li

Vivian Li

HR Lead

WinnerMax Capital Inc.

Vivian has 17 years of experience in HR and her areas of expertise include recruitment, diversity and inclusion, performance management, succession planning, leadership development, HR technology and data analytics, employee engagement, training and development, contractor management, etc.

Vivian currently leads the HR team for WinnerMax Capital, a Toronto based investment firm. Prior to this, Vivian is the Senior Manager of Inclusive Recruitment  in RBC.  In this role, Vivian designed and delivered enterprise wide global inclusive recruitment strategy to help RBC build its competitive edge through attracting and attaining an inclusive workforce, with a special focus on talent from diverse communities.  Internally Vivian worked closely with business and HR leaders to empower and drive change; externally Vivian created and employer branding  strategy and go-to-market campaigns to promote RBC as the employer of choice for diverse candidates.

Vivian has been a frequent panelist, workshop fascinator and conference keynote representing RBC for the past several years and has an extensive LinkedIn following base. Over the years, Vivian has mentored many job seekers from diversity communities in their effort to build a successful career in Canada

Cynthia MacFarlane

Cynthia MacFarlane

Principal, Career

Mercer Canada

Cynthia is a Principal in the Ottawa office of Mercer and specializes in total rewards, classification strategy, pay equity, and performance management. She holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations and a B.A. (Honours) degree, both from Queen’s University.

She is a human resources professional with a decade of experience in industry where she worked as Director of Total Compensation at Export Development Canada, and Director of Compensation at Canada Post Corporation. Cynthia also worked as a human capital consultant in Ottawa and Western Europe. While with Canada Post and EDC, she was an active member of the Compensation Research Centre at the Conference Board of Canada and regularly provides an overview of the strategic role of compensation to the CHRP class at Carleton University.

Miranda McKie

Miranda McKie

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Analytics Principal

McKie Consultants

Miranda McKie is a People Analytics Consultant that specializes in Inclusion and Diversity. She helps her clients leverage data as a corporate asset through the development of solution architecture and the implementation of advanced analytics that supports organizations’ Inclusion and Diversity strategic objectives.

Miranda has worked at top-tier consulting firms in data architecture, data engineering, data analytics and data strategy. Previously, she also led the People Analytics function for Accenture Applied Intelligence Canada.

Miranda is passionate about advancing women, and women of colour in the workplace. She has worked on various initiatives focused on utilizing artificial intelligence capabilities to gain insights on systemic barriers that impact marginalized groups. Her work has led her to be the 2020 recipient of Catalyst Canada’s Emerging Leader Award.

Miranda believes in giving back to the community.  She currently lectures at Canadian Universities teaching People Analytics. Miranda previously sat on the Toronto Board of Trade’s Young People’s Committee. She has led  various Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) at previous organizations and was also the Co-founder and President of a non-profit, Young Women in Business (YWiB) Toronto, which provides over a thousand Toronto women with a strong and sustainable network of support to enable their professional development.

Brandy Ryan

Brandy Ryan

Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Canada Post

As Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Brandy leads the advancement and execution of all equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategies, activities and projects at Canada Post.

Brandy is a trusted thought leader and senior advisor, with over 11 years of EDI experience providing expertise and ensuring that inclusive practices are met for all employment equity groups. Within Talent, she has served on executive inclusion committees and led EDI recruitment and retention strategies. Her work with several employee resource groups (ERGs) includes leadership, steering committee member or national chair of: black professionals, women, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ2S+ and accessibility.

Brandy has worked with both public and private sector organizations to provide knowledge, create content, facilitate sessions and stay actively engaged in EDI initiatives. Brandy is committed to positive changes intended to provide an inclusive and accessible environment for all people.

Brad Spence

Brad Spence

Indigenous and Community Relations Specialist, Professional Services

ECO Canada

Brad is a proud member of the Saddle Lake Cree First Nation. He has over 15 years experience in the Oil & Gas sector in stakeholder relations. Brad has worked for some of the largest organizations in Canada, including Imperial Oil and Kiewit Corp. Brad has Worked on some of Alberta’s largest Oil Sands Projects including Imperial’s Kearl Oil Sands, and Cold Lake operations where he was an integral part of their Indigenous Relations Team and the Indigenous communities within the Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Brad has extensive experience working with Indigenous communities across Canada focusing on community investment (Philanthropy), consultation, business, and workforce development. He is a relationship driven individual who has a keen ability to build partnerships and collaborate on projects concerning socioeconomic issues.  Brad is an integral part of the ECO Canada team, assisting with stakeholder engagement, program development and project work relating to the BEAHR program.

Karen Wensley

Karen Wensley

Karen N Wensley Consulting

Karen Wensley was the Managing Partner, People at Ernst & Young Canada until her retirement in 2020.  Prior to that role, she led the firm’s tax practice for technology clients. Since her retirement from Ernst & Young, she has had a multi-faceted work life.  She taught professional ethics at the University of Waterloo from 2010 – 2019 and wrote the monthly ethics column for CPA Magazine.  She is the author of the book The Power of Personal Branding for Career Success. She provides executive coaching and team effectiveness consulting services and mentors new immigrants through the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council. She is a frequent speaker of all of these topics.

Karen is a member of the board of directors and chair of the audit committee of Trillium Heath Partners and Gore Mutual Insurance and a member of the board of directors of Amref Health Canada, a charity that focuses on improving the health of women and children in Africa. She also authored a white paper for the Information Technology Association of Canada entitled “Gender diversity of boards of directors of Canadian ICT companies: Where we are, Why it matters, and Overcoming the challenges.”