Stephanie is a retail and supplier diversity professional with extensive experience in operations, merchandising, and inclusive sourcing. With a decade of experience in the grocery industry, Stephanie has a deep understanding and perspective on the opportunities for diverse suppliers in retail. As the Supplier Diversity Manager for Sobeys, Stephanie is passionate about creating equal opportunities for small and diverse businesses to succeed and is committed to expanding a culture and mindset for supplier diversity in Canada.
Steph Braid (she/her/hers) is the Director of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity with KPMG in Canada. In this role, she leads the inclusion, diversity, equity and mental health strategy and portfolio for Canada, contributing at both a national and global level.
Steph brings 15 years of diverse leadership experience in equity, inclusion & diversity, talent management, strategy & operations, leadership, mental health and well-being, data & analytics, employee engagement and more. She has worked in both the professional services and retail sectors, and obtained her Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) and Certified Compensation Professional designations.
A passionate advocate for building people-centric cultures and the advancement of equity-deserving groups, Steph’s purpose in life has always been centered around people. She wakes up every morning energized by her vision to make a positive impact on creating the right environment for everyone to reach their full potential – specifically those who all too often face bias and barriers in society, the workplace, and in advancing to senior leadership roles.
Steph sits on KPMG Global’s Inclusion & Diversity Steering Group. She is a part of the KPMG Foundation, Ascend Canada’s Chief Inclusion Officer Forum, and ACCES Employment Board of Advisors for their Human Resources bridging program for Newcomers to Canada. As a Board Member of the YW of Kitchener-Waterloo, one of the region’s largest not-for-profits, she supports their mission to empower women, girls, and non-binary people in key areas such as homelessness, employment, and leadership.
She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, with her partner, human baby Olivia and fur baby Bowie. In her spare time, she can be found spending time with friends and family, mentoring other professionals and Newcomers to Canada, cooking up new vegetarian meals, and engaging in some epic outdoor hiking adventures.
With an unyielding commitment to fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the realm of talent acquisition, Tenesha stands as a beacon of innovation and progress. With a distinguished career in human resources spanning 10 years, she has carved out a niche as a trailblazer in redefining how organizations approach talent acquisition through a DEI lens.
As a seasoned talent leader, Tenesha has consistently pushed boundaries and challenged traditional norms, recognizing that a diverse workforce isn’t just a matter of representation—it’s a strategic imperative that drives innovation and success. She has masterfully blended her passion for equitable practices with her profound industry knowledge, becoming a driving force in reimagining recruitment processes from the ground up.
Throughout her journey, Tenesha has been instrumental in designing and implementing cutting-edge strategies that attract, assess, and retain a diverse range of top-tier talent. She firmly believes that building a truly inclusive workforce requires dismantling systemic barriers and fostering an environment where every individual’s unique background and perspective are valued.
Tenesha has recently added to her passion for creating equitable hiring processes and has taken on the additional responsibility of managing the ERG program at Culture Amp. In this capacity as a DEI advocate, Tenesha has nurtured partnerships and relationships to create a more inclusive and equitable work environment for employees of marginalized groups, empowering them to be culture creators rather than culture consumers. She understands that true change happens when efforts extend beyond the boardroom, which is why she dedicates her time to mentorship, workshops, and initiatives that empower marginalized individuals to excel in their careers.
Join Tenesha in her journey to revolutionize recruitment by infusing DEI principles into every step of the process. With a proven track record of driving change, she invites you to be a part of a paradigm shift that not only transforms workplaces but empowers individuals to thrive irrespective of their background or identity.
Dr. Wendy Cukier is the Diversity Institute Founder, Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre. The Diversity Institute is one of the ecosystem partners supporting the 50-30 Challenge in advancing gender parity and increased diversity on boards and/or in senior management. 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 more than 130 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 with hubs across the country. Harnessing the power of innovation, it promotes the advancement of underrepresented groups. Wendy has been recognized with the Harry Jerome Diversity Award, the Bob Marley Award, 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.
Dana J. Campbell-Stevens is a Team Lead – Workplace Investigations, 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 leads a team of investigators and also 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 and the public on workplace issues such as conducting race-based investigations and workplace restorations.
Nadir Ebrahim is WorkTango’s Chief Product Officer. Nadir is passionate about helping organizations put their people first and building equitable workplaces. He has spent the last 17 years building HR technology and advisory companies that enable organizations to improve their employee experiences. Nadir co-founded legacy WorkTango in 2015 – a solution that makes it easy to collect authentic employee feedback, instantly gain insight about people and culture, and inspire leaders to take proactive action. He is an avid basketball player and fan, cyclist, and loves spending vacations immersed in nature.
Mohamed is the Executive Director of the Diversity Institute. The Diversity Institute conducts and coordinates multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research to address the needs of diverse Canadians, the changing nature of skills and competencies, and the policies, processes and tools that advance economic inclusion and success. Mohamed holds a PhD in Information Systems at University of Cape Town. Prior to this, Mohamed completed his thesis Masters of Arts in International Development Studies at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and an Honour Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of New Brunswick.
Ogho Ikhalo (she/her) is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) specialist, a human rights and strategic communications professional, and a social justice community advocate with more than 15 years of professional experience. Currently settled on the Ancestral Traditional Territories of the Ojibway, the Anishinaabe and the Mississaugas of the Credit, a territory covered by the Upper Canada Treaty, in Turtle Island, Ogho currently serves as a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with Hydro One. Ogho was previously the youngest and third women of colour to serve as Director of Women’s and Human Rights with the Ontario Federation of Labour.
Tabassum is a Human Resources Programs and Policy Advisor in the Federal Government of Canada, formerly, Culture, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor. Tabassum is a Canadian Muslim woman of South Asian heritage, she has experience leading and implementing various DEI initiatives in her organization as the co-chair of the Multiculturalism Stream and a member of the Inclusion Network (i.e., launching 3 affinity groups – Black, Indigenous, Pan-Asian, Can We Talk employee authored blogs, Mentorship and Sponsorship programs, etc.). She has moderated GC-wide events and publicly spoken on panel discussions related to Muslim Canadians in her former role as the Outreach and Events Director of the Muslim Federal Employees Network (i.e., allyship, impacts of Islamophobia, microaggressions, micro affirmations, intersectionality, unconscious bias, and more). She was featured in a Treasury Board Secretariat social media video speaking on microaggressions, her testimony was later shared for Women’s History Month and Canadian Islamic History Month. Her layers include woman, mother, partner, daughter, sister, and immigrant. Tabassum is an active mentor in the GC Mentorship Community. She is certified in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University, Project Management Certified, and holds a Joint Honours Degree in Criminology and Women’s Studies. Due to her lived experiences, she has always been vocal about social justice, actively partakes in organizing committees, provides strategic advice, demonstrates inclusive leadership, and is involved in various extracurricular initiatives (i.e. NCR Regional Chair for GCWCC, President – UNICEF uOttawa). Her passion and dedication to bringing sustainable positive changes have reinforced her commitment to creating an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for all public servants.
Mackenzie is passionate about working in 2SLGBTQI advocacy and education. Her previous role was as the Manager of Program Innovation at Big Brothers Big Sisters, co-developing Manitoba’s first Queer Lens Mental Health Training and overseeing their 2SLGBTQI department and staff. In addition, Mackenzie has worked with The Get REAL Movement for six years as their MB Program Coordinator and as a Team Lead Speaker, reaching over 150,000 students, educators, parents/guardians, and corporate businesses across the country. Through this, Mackenzie has a deep understanding of 2SLGBTQI curriculum and how to integrate inclusivity and diversity into a variety of spaces. As a Queer woman, Mackenzie is dedicated to working in collaboration with communities to build innovative programming and curriculum to address intersectional challenges. Mackenzie was awarded CBC’s Proud to Shine award in 2020 and 2021 to honour her work in advocacy and was named in the “Top 100 Fascinating Manitobans” in 2022.
Jennifer Laidlaw is a transformational leader, advisor, and coach who works with CEOs and senior executives to develop and deliver on bold, unprecedented change initiatives that result in powerful legacies aligned with strategy, people and purpose.
With almost 20 years of experience that spans multiple sectors, including the corporate, regulatory, public and non-profit sectors, Jennifer is a highly effective mobilizer of internal and external partnerships, strategic stakeholder alliances, and broad networks that produce extraordinary outcomes.
Jennifer is currently the Country Head of the 30% Club Canada. In this role, she is engaging leaders in corporate Canada to drive inclusive innovation across sectors and reinforce their commitment to advancing all women and non-binary folks. In addition, she is engaging 30% Club members to join the 50:30 Challenge and aspire to broader diversity in leadership as a competitive advantage.
When Jennifer joined CIBC in 2014, she led the development of a progressive, global gender-balanced leadership strategy, designed to change talent composition at the executive level across the enterprise through engaging men, creating awareness of privilege and shifting from “fixing women” to fixing the workplace.
Jennifer then spent several years working directly with the CEO, to lead the development and coordination of the 30% Club Canada, including a national Advisory Committee of Chairs and CEOs. In addition, she provided leadership and coordination for the CEO’s role as the Chair of the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board. This work resulted in significant progress on the boards and c-suites of corporate Canada, including the achievement of the goal of 30% women on boards listed on the TSX composite.
More recently, Jennifer developed a five-year legacy building strategy for CIBC’s CEO focused on strengthening the Canadian economy through broader inclusion and diversity, significantly increasing the CEO’s visibility and influence across and beyond Canada and aligning it with CIBC’s sponsorship and giving strategies.
In a key leadership role at the Ontario Securities Commission, Jennifer worked with the Chair and CEO as well as the Board of Directors to architect its transformation into a 21st -century regulator. In addition, she built a multi-year and first of its kind people strategy to guide the human capital transformation that was required to achieve its vision and mission.
Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she earned an MA and completed her undergraduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She holds a Certificate in Managing in a Regulatory & Enforcement Environment from the Harvard Kennedy School of Management. She is also a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) and an Adler Trained Coach.
She currently serves as Board Director and as an Advisory Committee member for several national non-profit organizations, universities and businesses.
Stephanie’s experience in group insurance spans 24 years, the majority of which has been in the area of disability management, health and wellness. Previous roles include Organizational Health Consultant, Rehabilitation Consultant and a Disability Case Manager. Her current role as a Principal in Mercer’s Total Health Management team and Leader of Mercer’s Health DEI Task Force, brings skills and knowledge to support the development of strategic disability management practices, and (mental) health and wellness programs supported through a DEI philosophy. Skills include conducting disability program gap analysis, disability audits, creating and supporting health and wellness strategies and programs, delivering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training and Mental Health training. Recent accomplishments include the development of the Human Resources Professional Association’s (HRPA) Health and Wellness curriculum offered through McMaster University’s continuing education program and delivery of Disability Management education sessions through the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute (CPBI).
Education includes a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Sociology at McMaster University, GBA (Group Benefit Associate) and various certifications in the health and fitness industry.
Trina is a member of Mattagami First Nation and grew up in northern Ontario. She was raised in the duality of Ojibwe and French cultures, which has offered her a lifetime of exploring cross cultural nuances and navigating different worldviews. Since 1999 she has worked with corporations and other agencies educating teams to construct Indigenous workforce development strategies that support meaningful employment and positive community engagement opportunities. Her clients range from post-secondary institutes, environmental, mining, and construction to financial services, national non-profit organizations, technology, aerospace, and federal government contractors.
Trina is an Adult Educator through her studies at Brock University and holds an international designation of Classroom Technical Trainer by CompTIA, among other professional development facilitation certifications. She is an Advisor for the Canadian Aboriginal Human Resource Management Association, and a member of the National Native American HR Association. Trina is a member of the National Advisory Council, supporting the creation of Canada’s Career Development Practitioner Centre.
Nadine Spencer is the Founder and CEO of BrandEQ Group Inc., Canada’s most prominent Black- and female-owned marketing consultancy, specializing in social change marketing, communications, and public relations. Under her fearless and dynamic leadership, the firm has accelerated strategic growth and brand visibility for a diverse client portfolio that includes major national brands, government entities, banks, and prominent non-profit organizations. Nadine has also pioneered innovative, industry-leading proprietary strategies that have raised the standard for agencies across industries while simultaneously making the field more equitable for the nation’s marginalized and underrepresented populations.
At the helm of BrandEQ since 2011, Nadine’s tenure with the firm represents the culmination of a storied career marked by notable achievements and passionate advocacy. She has led her team in global marketing excellence, establishing and driving results-driven best practices in marketing campaigns, communication tactics, and brand positioning that have become a gold standard. And all along, her in-house “People Matter” strategy has grabbed attention, demanded interaction, and generated long-term value for clients. That value, however, extends beyond market performance and revenue generation.
After recognizing a dearth of diverse leaders in decision-making roles, Nadine created BrandEQ Black, the firm’s cultural sensitivity arm, to examine and address racial biases in advertising and marketing across sectors, to ensure that messaging and opportunities were equitable for all. She has since used her platform to reach those in power beyond marketing, becoming a trusted advisor to municipal, provincial, and federal governments on the most effective ways to prevent anti-Black racism and design effective corporate policy around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Prior to leading BrandEQ, and across various roles, Nadine developed her marketing repertoire working on several highly visible and successful projects. Among them, she founded and ran Q Gourmet, Inc., a Toronto-based gourmet specialty foods company, growing sales to over $5 million, launching strong brands throughout North America, and securing editorials in O Magazine, LCBO Food & Drink, and Chocolate. As Director of Food Network’s Delicious Food Show, she created and oversaw multi-tiered engagement strategies and directed advertising campaigns in conjunction with major clients like GE, Brevelle, and Whole Foods Market. And as Communications Director for Jamaica 50 Celebration, Inc., she developed comprehensive marketing and branding strategies for all branches of the organization to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th year of independence. From the earliest stages of her career, Nadine has innovated with prowess, led with assuredness, and effectively balanced commerce with cause.
Her connection to social justice and corporate responsibility plays a large role in her time beyond BrandEQ. In addition to her work advising government officials, she’s a dynamic corporate trainer on a range of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and an in-demand public speaker, covering everything from niche market branding and marketing to racial and ethnic sensitivity in the workplace.
Also, as an activist and dedicated Black community champion, she has devoted her life to fighting discrimination, battling poverty, advancing women’s education, and advocating for equality for women and girls of colour. Her work was acknowledged in the anthology, 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women, and she has received numerous accolades, including the Harry Jerome Business Award and The Dale Carnegie Highest Award in Public Speaking.
In everything she does, from streamlining and diversifying Canada’s marketing and advertising to advocating for the underrepresented, Nadine is an unmatched leader and expert with a clear vision who brings passion, skill, mastery, and achievement to every organization and initiative she touches.
Faelyne is a change catalyst and inclusion champion who has been with the Bank of Montreal for 13 years. An experienced leader, adult education professional and accredited Life Coach, Faelyne’s career at the bank has included a variety of roles at BMO’s Institute for Learning, including as a facilitator focused on training new CSRs and FSMs, Learning Operations Program Delivery Manager, as well as Senior Manager, Design where she led a team of exceptional learning design specialists. Currently on the Diversity Equity & Inclusion team as a Senior Manager, Faelyne’s mandate includes both governance and career advancement programming for equity-deserving communities.
Karen Wensley is a frequent speaker on the topics of ethics, DEI and personal branding, all of which require difficult conversations. She is passionate about mentoring, with a particular focus on women and recent immigrants. She is the author of the book The Power of Personal Branding for Career Success.
Karen is a member of the board of directors and chair of the audit committees of Partners Community Health, Gore Mutual Insurance and Amref Health Canada. Karen provides consulting services to businesses in the areas of HR strategy, executive coaching and team effectiveness.
Karen retired as a partner of EY in 2010, where she spent most of her career as a tax partner and then became the Managing Partner – People. In that role, she led a number of DEI initiatives. She was a special lecturer in business ethics at the University of Waterloo from 2010 – 2019 and authored a white paper prepared 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”