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.

Jill Chesley

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

City of Edmonton

Wendy Cukier

Wendy Cukier

Founder & Academic Director

Diversity Institute

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

Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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.

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. Kimberley currently serves on the Executive Board of You Can Play. She lives in Toronto with her wife Kirsten and two children.

Michael Milanese

Michael Milanese

CEO

Milanese Advisory Services

As founder of Indigenous Link, I have dedicated the last two decades developing ‘Bridge Building’ strategies to enhance communication to Indigenous communities. Commitment, understanding, community support, respect, trust, and then nurturing those relationships has been at the forefront of my philosophy. This ‘Bridge Building’ approach has resulted in driving positive change by helping our partners design and deliver culturally sensitive and relevant information to Indigenous leaders, decision-makers, and community members across Canada.

During my 21 years with Indigenous Link, I have been directly involved in designing custom inclusion strategies for hundreds of Canada’s largest corporations, organizations, and Government departments. These inclusion strategies have been applied to a wide range of disciplines including employment, education, training, scholarships, events, surveys, studies, and focus groups.

Since 1999, Indigenous Link has evolved, however, the underlying principle remains the same. Organizations need to make connections on many levels before people will accept your message. It’s all about building trust and telling your inclusion story, it must relevant, authentic, compelling, and consistent. A well told story will lead to long-term Indigenous relationships that will add value across all areas of your business.

I received post-secondary education in Ontario (CAN) and in Minnesota (USA) and majored in marketing and advertising and have multiple certifications in both professional and personal development areas.

As a life-long student, I continue to focus on expanding my skills in leadership, communications, public speaking, sales, marketing, human resources, diversity & inclusion, customer service, social media, and analytics.

As a teacher, I deliver daily personal development workshops designed to help individuals build ‘High Performance’ Habits.

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 the 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.

Natalia Eileen Villarman

Natalia Eileen Villarman

Founder and CEO

Seen@Work

As Founder and CEO of Seen@Work (seenatwork.com), a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm, Natalia Eileen leverages the team she manages to support her clients with all their DEI needs. She develops and facilitates workshops, coaches senior leaders, and builds DEI initiatives related to employee resource groups, executive scorecards, inclusion councils, taskforces, diversity reporting, metrics planning, and more. Prior to founding Seen@Work, Natalia worked as a diversity and inclusion strategist and human capital consultant for over nine years through organizations including Deloitte, Facebook, and Teach For America. Natalia graduated from University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School with an MBA in Organizational Effectiveness with an emphasis in Inclusion in the Workplace and from New York University with a BA in History, which included courses in critical race theory and oppressive political structures.

Tina Walter

Director

Employment and Social Development Canada