Speakers

Robert Catalano

Robert Catalano

Chief Engagement Officer

WorkTango

Rob is the Chief Engagement Officer at WorkTango, and has spent the last 17 years consulting companies on building phenomenal employee experiences while building HR technology and advisory companies. He is the Canadian Chairperson for The Enterprise Engagement Alliance, with a mandate to lead and help educate corporate, government and not-for-profit management on a formal process for implementing engagement across the enterprise community.  He is active in the Engage for Success movement, focused on raising the profile of the impact of employee engagement on employee and business success, and he was named one of the 100 Top Global Employee Engagement Influencers in 2020.

He is an avid hockey and volleyball player, traveler, used to play guitar in a metal band, and in his own terms a ‘pointaholic’ – he collects loyalty points  for everything and anything! You can reach him at rob@worktango.com or @RobCatalano on twitter.

Wendy Cukier

Wendy Cukier

Founder & Academic Director

Diversity Institute

Academic Director

Women Entrepreneurship Hub

Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre

Toronto Metropolitan University (Formerly 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 100 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.

Ray Edwards

Ray Edwards

Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Ray Edwards is ISED’s Chief and Inclusion Officer He provides advice to the Deputy Ministers on the state of diversity, antiracism, equity, inclusion and accessibility within the department. He also supports departmental efforts to break down systemic barriers to the full representation and participation of equity-seeking communities, both inside the department and in the Canadian marketplace.

Previously he was the DG of Corporations Canada.

His career has encompassed executive leadership roles in seven different departments working both in areas of social and economic policy development and coordination. He holds a BSc in Biology and Genetics and is a certified executive coach.

Michelle Gorea

Michelle Gorea

Senior Research Associate, Education and Skills

The Conference Board of Canada

Dr. Michelle Gorea is a sociologist and Senior Research Associate in the Education and Skills focus area at the Conference Board of Canada. She has an active research publication record and is leading a multi-year study conducted by the Conference Board of Canada on behalf of the Future Skills Centre that explores Black Canadians’ Social and Emotional Skills Strengths. As an experienced instructor, Dr. Gorea is also well versed in adult education and skill development.

Jeff Robert

Human Resources Advisor

Independent First Nations

Jeff launched ‘Workplace Ki’ as a model to better understand common threads leading to success. Workplace Ki blends thinking from business leaders, traditional practices, and academic research to create inclusive working cultures.

Jeff is a proud member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek with several family ties to the Fort William First Nation Community. As a seasoned workplace harassment prevention advisor, Jeff has a passion for supporting national Indigenous communities from coast to coast. Jeff has worked on a multitude of initiatives within his community of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek. Over the last 5 years, Jeff has worked alongside Northern Ontario Indigenous organizations in an HR capacity with a focus on compensation, benefits, performance management and employee relations.

Jeff actively demonstrates his commitment to building strong, healthy, and sustainable First Nation Communities. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Lakehead University and a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources from Confederation College.

Nicole Kaniki

Nicole Kaniki

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation

University of Toronto

Dr. Nicole Kaniki is the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation at the University of Toronto. In her role, she examines, advocates and advances EDI in all aspects of U of T research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Dr. Kaniki is the former Special Advisor on Anti-racism to the President of Western University and has over seven years of experience in research administration and EDI roles in academia. Dr. Kaniki has a passion for social justice and uses an anti-racism and decolonization framework in her EDI work.

Sacha de Klerk

Sacha de Klerk

Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Canada

Norton Rose Fulbright

Sacha de Klerk is the Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Norton Rose Fulbright. Before moving to Canada in 2016, she led the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy across Europe, Middle East and Asia for six years from their London office. She specializes in establishing, implementing and integrating regional and international programs and initiatives in complex organisations. She enjoys unpicking the layered issues related to achieving equity, increasing diversity and creating inclusion and then working across all levels of leadership to effect institutional and individual change.

Kimberley Messer

Kimberley Messer

VP, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

IGM Financial

Kimberley Messer is the VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for IGM Financial including IG Wealth Management, Mackenzie Investments and Investment Planning Counsel. Her mandate is to expand and implement the DE&I strategy across IGM, integrating DE&I with all business and people practices to deliver programs and initiatives that help drive an inclusive employee experience and enable business success. Prior to joining IGM, Kimberley spent 21 years with IBM, where she advised clients worldwide on how to address LGBTQ2S+/diversity and human capital as a strategic business driver. In 2018, Kimberley was awarded the  Leaders to be Proud of Advocate Award for significant contributions in the area of LGBT workplace advocacy. In 2019, she won the Business Leader of the Year Award from the CGLCC. She lives in Toronto with her wife Kirsten and two children.

Anthony Morgan

Anthony Morgan

Manager, Social Development, Finance & Administration

City of Toronto

Anthony is a racial justice analyst & strategist, educator and lawyer. He is the Manager of the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) Unit. The CABR Unit is responsible for the implementation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism.

Prior to joining the City, Anthony was an Associate at Falconers LLP, specializing in the areas of civil, constitutional and criminal state accountability litigation. He has a special interest in anti-racist human rights advocacy, particularly in the area of anti-Black racism. He has appeared at various levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has also represented the interests of African Canadians before United Nations human rights treaty bodies. In both 2016 and 2017, Anthony was nominated as one of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

Anthony is a frequent legal, social and public affairs commentator on issues concerning race and racism, critical multiculturalism and critical race theory in Canada. His comments on these issues have been featured in the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Ricochet, Huffington Post Canada, and other major newspapers and broadcast outlets, including CNN.

Also a freelance columnist, Anthony’s column, Colour-Coded Justice, appears regularly in The Monitor. The Monitor is the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ bimonthly policy and current affairs magazine. Anthony’s column explores racial justice issues in Canadian life, law and policy.

While based in Toronto, Anthony is completing a Masters of Studies in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. In addition to holding an LL.B. and B.C.L. from McGill University, Faculty of Law, he holds an Hons. B.A. from the University of Toronto in Ethics, Society & Law.

Thushyanthi (Thushy) Muruges

Thushyanthi (Thushy) Muruges

Equitable Design Lead, People and Experience

Culture Amp

Thushyanthi (Thushy) Muruges is the Equitable Design Lead, People & Experience at Culture Amp, a life coach, and advisor. She designs equitable people programs and practices that allow anyone to grow and thrive. She is passionate about helping others find non-linear paths to career happiness, and coaches non-traditional candidates to pivot into tech. At Culture Amp, she has formalized their employee resource group (ERG) program, ensuring that the groups are able to set ambitious goals and help their communities to thrive. She has significant experience in DEI data and reporting, ERG governance and management, and organizational accessibility and compliance.

Jennifer Popkey

Jennifer Popkey

Diversity & Inclusion Talent Partner – People with Disabilities

TD Bank Group

Jen Popkey is a member of TD Bank’s Diversity Sourcing team, focused on meeting and supporting great candidates with disabilities from across Canada grow their careers with TD.  She is also a qualified Sign Language Interpreter and has worked and volunteered in the PWD space for the past 20 years.

Tina Walter

Tina Walter

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant, Former Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant

Employment and Social Development Canada

Tina Walter is a recently retired executive federal public servant. She has always been passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), influenced early in her life when she was an international athlete and growing up in Jamaica. This passion continued throughout her life journey as reflected in her subject matter master’s thesis at Western University, her continuing education at Cornell University, her work with the City of Ottawa to increase the representation of Visible Minorities and women in the Police Force and among Firefighters, as well as her work on DEI in various federal government departments. Tina has been a presenter and panelist on DEI for many organizations within the Canadian public and not-for-profit sectors and at the international level. Topics included: the development of an inclusive organizational culture; facts about diversity, equity, and inclusion in Canada; modern forms of racism and anti-Black racism in particular; 2SLGBTQ+ lived experiences; intersectionality; and servant/character leadership. In addition, Tina has supported the National Arts Centre to gain greater knowledge about the perspectives of 2SLGBTQ+ community members engaged in the arts to inform greater inclusive programming, led the development of the first ever All Employee Organizational Inclusive Culture Survey and Black-Centric Lens for Employment and Social Development Canada and is currently a member of the City of Ottawa Anti-Racism Advisory Table, which has been instrumental in developing and gaining approval of the first ever city-wide Anti-Racism Strategy.

“Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice.”