Carmel Bellamy
Corporate Secretary and Senior Director, Governance, Member & Co-operative Relations
The Co-operators Group Limited

Carmel provides strategic and operational governance leadership to The Co-operators Group Ltd. Board of Directors and the Committees of the Board. In this role, she is accountable for the planning and execution of duties of the Office of the Corporate Secretary and leads the development and delivery of corporate policies, programs and processes to enhance Board/Director performance and effectiveness. She also oversees effective communication, engagement and relations with The Co-operators member organizations and co-operative affiliates. Carmel is a member of the Governance Professionals of Canada (GPC) Board of Directors where she serves as Chairperson of the Membership Committee and on the Finance Committee. Prior to joining the GPC board, Carmel served two terms as a Trustee on The Co-operators Retirement Plan; a defined contribution plan consistently ranked within the top 10 DC plans in Canada with over $1 billion in assets. Carmel is also a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and Society for Corporate Governance. The Co-operators Group Ltd. is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products and is well known for its community involvement and commitment to sustainability.

Rahul Bhardwaj, LLB, ICD.D
President & Chief Executive Officer
Institute of Corporate Directors

As President & CEO of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Rahul Bhardwaj leads an organization of over 13,000 members committed to improving national outcomes by growing the leadership and governance capacities within Canadian businesses, agencies and not-for-profits. 

Mr. Bhardwaj began his career as a corporate lawyer at a leading Canadian law firm. He subsequently served as Vice-President for Toronto's 2008 Olympic bid, and was President & CEO of the Toronto Foundation for nine years.

Mr. Bhardwaj currently serves on the boards of Metrolinx, the Rideau Hall Foundation, the advisory board of 30% Club Canada and the Executive Committee of the Global Network of Director Institutes.

Mr. Bhardwaj was Chair of the 2012 Ontario Summer Games, and the Toronto Jazz Festival. Other past board commitments include Upper Canada College, George Brown College and Stratford Festival of Canada.

Mr. Bhardwaj is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Antoinette Bozac
Chief Legal Officer, Head of Human Resources & Corporate Secretary

York Region Rapid Transit Corporation

Antoinette Bozac has 20+ years of experience in leading diverse teams. In addition to Legal, Compliance and Secretariat functions, she managed Human Resources, Corporate Social Responsibility, Government Relations and Risk Management. She holds a BA (Honours History, Mathematics) degree from Concordia University and BCL and LLB degrees from McGill University. She is fluently trilingual, Lean Six Sigma certified, a synchronized skater, and an Ontario and Québec lawyer.

She received the 2017 R.V.A. Jones Award from Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, presented to counsel whose exemplifies the highest standards. She is Executive-in-Residence of CIC.C Business Leadership Program at University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.

She is: Chief Legal Officer, Head of Human Resources & Corporate Secretary of York Region Rapid Transit Corporation; Trustee on Board of Employee Life & Health Benefits Trust for l’Association des enseignant(e)s francophones d'Ontario; and Governor of Concordia University, its Honorary Degree & Convocation Committee Chair, and member of Real Estate Planning and Governance & Ethics Committees.

She has extensive Board Director experience, including Unisource Canada, Montreal Board of Trade, YMCA, Toronto Philharmonia, York Central Hospital, and Alzheimer Society of Canada. She served as National Conference Sponsorship Chair and Mentorship Co-Chair of International Women's Forum of Canada.

Brian G. Brown, CIA, CPA, CMA, C.Dir, CFE
Chief Audit Executive, Executive Division
Canadian Grain Commission / Government of Canada

Brian Brown is a recognized leader in the internal audit profession with over 29 years of experience including 23 years leading five internal audit functions in the private and public sectors.  He has also provided independent consulting and education services in the areas of internal audit, risk management, and governance. Brian has served the Canadian internal audit profession for the past 18 years at the local, national, and international levels. In 2012, Brian was presented the Arthur Child Distinguished Service in Canada Award for contributions to the profession through participation in the activities of the IIA in Canada. Over the past 15 years, he has focused increasingly on corporate governance, audit committees, and the board director community through ongoing faculty roles in The Directors College and Institute of Corporate Directors in Canada as well as the Caribbean Governance Training Institute.  Brian has been very active in the non-profit sector including serving currently as Vice-chair of the Board and previously Chair of the Audit Committee of The Canadian Centre for Child Protection. This exposure to the governance and director communities combined with internal audit has provided unique insights into board and audit committee members’ perspectives on governance, risk, and internal audit.

Dr. Debra L. Brown, D.Min., M.Div., Pro.Dir.
President and CEO
Governance Solutions Inc.

Debra Brown is founder, President and CEO of Governance Solutions Inc. and Professional Director Inc. Under Debra’s leadership, they have developed and tested a comprehensive, principles-based governance system that has been adopted and adapted by hundreds or organizations across sectors and countries. For over 27 years her organization has been trusted to provide superior, full-service governance solutions, including Canada’s only online Professional Director Education and Certification Program®. Debra has served twice as a CEO, reporting to boards, and as a board member of several organizations, including as Board Chair and Governance Committee Chair, so is able to see governance issues from both sides of the boardroom table. She is an acknowledged and sought-after thought leader in governance, authoring dozens of major research articles published in Canada and internationally, including primary authorship of Women on Boards: Not Just the Right Thing but the Bright Thing, published by The Conference Board of Canada. Debra’s doctoral thesis topic, “Using Governance as a Tool to Transform Organizational Culture”, enabled her to develop proprietary, leading edge Boardroom Culture diagnostic and solutions tools. 

Maria Capozzi, MPA, CGAP, ICD.D
Principal, Corporate Governance & Strategic Initiatives
Office of the Auditor General (Manitoba)

Maria has been with Manitoba’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG) since 1997.  Maria has extensive experience in conducting corporate governance audits and assessments of Boards of Directors in the public sector.  She has authored numerous OAG Reports to the Manitoba Legislature, including a Study of Board Governance in Crown Organizations (2009), which provides an overview of leading practices and common challenges in providing effective governance in the public sector. Maria has also authored several published articles and been invited to speak at numerous local and national conferences about the challenges facing directors in ensuring effective board governance. Maria is an ICD.D and currently serves on the ICD Chapter Executive for Manitoba. Maria also holds a Masters degree in Public Administration and the Institute of Internal Auditors’ CGAP designation (Certified Government Auditing Professional).

Brigitte Catellier
Vice-President, Corporate Governance

Meridian Credit Union

In January 2018, Brigitte joined Meridian Credit Union as Vice-President, Corporate Governance. Prior to Meridian, Brigitte held positions at Sun Life Financial as Vice-President, Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary as well as Corporate Secretary and Head of Governance of HSBC Bank Canada. Prior thereto, Brigitte spent close to a decade as Vice-President, Legal and Corporate Secretary of Astral Media Inc. and prior thereto, she was Associate General Counsel and Associate Secretary of Canadian National Railway Company.

Brigitte obtained her BCL/LLB degrees from McGill University (National Program) in 1988 and was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1989. She began her legal career at Norton Rose Fulbright where she was named Partner in Business Law. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, and also obtained the designation of Certified In-House Counsel –Canada (CIC.C).

Christopher Chen
Senior Client Partner and Canada Practice Leader, Executive Pay and Governance
Korn Ferry

Christopher is a Senior Client Partner for Korn Ferry, based in the firm’s Toronto office. Christopher advises clients on supporting stakeholder value through effectively aligning organizational strategy to executive pay. Christopher has worked extensively with private and public sector clients across Canada in all aspects of executive pay and governance including compensation strategy, competitive benchmarking and incentive design. As a former lawyer and in-house advisor, he brings deep technical and industry expertise to his clients. Christopher previously chaired the Governance Committee of the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, organizer of the annual Dragon Ball fundraising gala. Christopher is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and has completed the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants In-depth Tax Course. Christopher obtained the Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation from The Directors College (a joint venture between The Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University), and is a faculty member of The Directors College.

Caroline Codsi, ICD.D  
Women in Governance

A passionate and strategic leader, Caroline Codsi has had a successful career in the corporate world of over 25 years including the past decade in VP and SVP roles within major organizations.

Caroline founded Women in Governance in 2010, a non-profit with mission to encourage the access of women to executive roles and board positions in corporate Canada. She created in 2017 the very first Parity Certification in Canada.

Born in Beirut, Caroline was only 7 years old when the war started and 22 when it ended. A Citizen of the world she lived on three continents and is fluent in four languages.

A highly sought-after speaker, Caroline is a multiple award winner including from the Quebec Business Women Network, the United Nations’ Women National Committee and the Quebec Chambers of Commerce Federation. She was recognized as a Top 20 Diversity Leading Figures in Quebec, Top 75 Canadian Immigrants and Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada and was named Leader of the Decade for Diversity & Inclusion by the Women Economic Forum of New Delhi, India.

Caroline has conducted dozens of major interviews with some of the world’s top leaders from the political, corporate or social arenas such as Hillary Clinton, Justin Trudeau, Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, Winnie Byanyima, Dr. Joanne Liu, Aldo Bensadoun, François Jean Coutu, Monique F. Leroux, etc.

Cathy Conlon
Vice President, Issuer Product Management and Strategy

Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.

Cathy is Vice President and head of Corporate Issuer Product and Strategy for Broadridge’s Investor Communications Solutions (ICS) division. In this role, Cathy leads the development, implementation, and delivery of a comprehensive product and market strategy to achieve Broadridge’s Corporate Issuer revenue and EBIT targets. Cathy is also responsible for the development and execution of the Corporate Issuer Strategy, ensuring alignment with Broadridge’s leadership position in proxy communications and in continuing to gain the support of companies for Broadridge’s role in the proxy process. She spearheads the Corporate Issuer product organization to drive product development, product execution and results and identifies and drives growth through acquisition.

Elisabeth Cooke, BA, JD Law
Managing Director, Inclusivity

Elisabeth Cooke is the Managing Director of Inclusivity. She provides diversity management and advice to organizations, corporations and government.

After earning her B.A. in Child and Youth at the University of Victoria, Elisabeth went on to spearhead ground breaking programs developing vocational opportunities for disadvantaged and disabled youth. She then went on to earn her Juris Doctor of Law from the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Law School. She combines her expertise in law, governance, policy and planning, corporate communication, emerging media, and strategy, with her expertise in working with vulnerable communities, including those with issues related to gender identity, sexual orientation, and mental health. She brings over 20 years’ experience, carved out across Canada, the United States, Australia and South East Asia.

Anne C. Corbett
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Anne Corbett is a partner with the law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto where she specializes in the areas of corporate commercial law and health law with a special emphasis on corporate governance. Anne is involved in providing advice to boards of hospitals and hospital foundations.

Anne is the co-author of the Ontario Hospital Association's Guide to Good Governance, Hospital edition and the Guide to Good Governance for Charities and Not-for-Profit Organizations and is a frequent speaker on topics related to directors, fiduciary duties, governance and accountability.

Anne is currently a director of William Osler Health System Foundation and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and is a former director of Humber River Regional Hospital Foundation, Cardiac Care Network and St. John’s Rehab Foundation.

Anne Corbett received her B.A. from the University of Windsor in 1976, her LL.B from the University of Toronto in 1979 and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1981.

Jennifer Coulson ICD.D
Senior Manager, ESG Integration
Public Market

Jennifer Coulson has worked in the financial services industry for 16 years.   She began her career in the mutual fund business working for a national firm that specializes in responsible investing solutions. As a senior member of the Public Markets Department at British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) she now oversees Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risk analysis for portfolio companies; engages with management and Boards to manage ESG risk; develops public policy submissions on ESG matters of broad relevance to the investment industry; and oversees the proxy voting program. Jennifer has an undergraduate degree in Environment & Resource Management from the University of Western Ontario as well as a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University. She has obtained the Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D) designation, serves on the local ICD Chapter Executive in Victoria; the PIAC Investor Stewardship Committee and the 30% Club of Canada Steering Committee.

Geoffrey D. Creighton
CEO, In-House Counsel Worldwide,
Member, BlackRock Canada IRC

Geoffrey D. Creighton is CEO of In-House Counsel Worldwide (ICW), the international network of in-house bar associations. A Chartered Director (C.Dir.) and Certified In-House Counsel (CIC.C), he is a member of the Independent Review Committee of BlackRock Canada, and a ‘public member’ of the Board of TFAAC (“Advocis”) the national body which represents financial advisors. Geoff was formerly SVP, General Counsel of IGM Financial Inc, a public financial institution in the Power Corporation group of companies. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the legal, compliance and corporate secretarial functions of Investors Group and Mackenzie Investments. Prior to joining IGM in 2008, Geoff was a partner with Torys LLP, focused on M&A, complex corporate finance and corporate governance. Currently the Chair of the judging panel for the GPC’s Excellence in Governance Awards, he is a frequent speaker on governance and legal matters. Geoff is a Past-Chair of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, has chaired and served on several committees of the CBA and its Council, and is the recipient of both the Douglas Miller Award and the Robert V.A. Jones Award, for his contributions to the CBA and CCCA respectively.

Gigi Dawe, LL.M
Director, Corporate Oversight & Governance
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)

Gigi Dawe leads the Corporate Oversight and Governance department at the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). As such, she oversees CPA Canada's development of influential, thought leading resources and events that improve board performance. Gigi launched the governance discipline at CPA Canada to facilitate enhanced board and executive response to market demands. Her history includes consulting in organizational development in a variety of industries.

Gigi is a board member of Youthdale Treatment Centres. She is also on the International Corporate Governance Network’s Corporate Board Governance Committee, sits on the advisory board of Women Get on Board and of Simon Fraser University's Next Generation Governance Project. She is a past board member of Active Healthy Kids Canada and Family Daycare Services Toronto. Gigi is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Institute of Corporate Directors, and the International Corporate Governance Network. Gigi obtained a Master of Laws at Osgoode Hall Law School. She teaches Corporate Responsibility and Ethics in the Masters of Financial Accountability program at York University.

Michelle de Cordova
Director, Corporate Engagement & Public Policy
NEI Investments

For the past seven years Michelle has been responsible for the Corporate Engagement program within the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) team at NEI Investments. NEI’s Corporate Engagement program integrates targeted, in-depth dialogues with companies; engaged proxy voting according to guidelines promoting sustainability and good governance; responding to proactive requests from leading companies and industry associations for an investor perspective on ESG issues; public policy engagement on corporate regulations and standards to create sector and economy-wide change; and participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives to find practical solutions to ESG challenges. She has authored and co-authored a variety of publications on responsible investment topics ranging from oil sands to executive compensation, and participates in many Canadian and global responsible investment industry leadership initiatives, including the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance Environmental and Social Committee. Before joining NEI Investments, Michelle served as a diplomat and worked as a staff member and consultant for environment and social development organizations in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

John Dinner
John T. Dinner Board Governance Services

John Dinner is President of John T. Dinner Board Governance Services, a leading Canadian consulting firm focused on corporate governance and board effectiveness. For more than 20 years, John Dinner has been helping boards across sectors and across Canada improve their performance and contribute in tangible ways to the success of the organizations they oversee. Board members and organizational leaders value John’s depth of experience, relevant insights, practical approach and his ability to facilitate needed governance change. John’s hands-on, board work focuses on helping clients develop and benefit from leading-edge governance practices, including board, committee and director effectiveness evaluations, director recruitment, board education, meeting effectiveness and best practices, information management and decision-making. He knows and understands the needs of directors and other organizational leaders first-hand. John Dinner is: 

  • a founding member of The Directors College faculty (McMaster University);
  • a regular conference presenter and workshop leader; 
  • a recipient of the National Award in Governance;
  • a contributor to the Joint Committee on Corporate Governance; and,
  • a widely published author and media spokesperson on board topics.

Lara Donaldson
Director, Regulatory and Industry Affairs

As Director, Regulatory and Industry Affairs, Lara advocates on behalf of Computershare to influence key industry, legislative and regulatory developments that have the potential to impact Computershare clients and business strategy.

Lara is the President of the Securities Transfer Association of Canada (STAC), is past Chair of the STAC Legal and Regulatory Working Group, and is also on the board of the Securities Transfer Association (STA) in the United States. She is often called upon to speak at industry events on topics including Notice and Access, Transfer Agent Proxy Processes and Proxy Reform.

Lara is a member of the Governance Professionals of Canada (GPC), the Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI), the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), and the Women’s Executive Network (WXN). She is also an affiliate member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and successfully completed the ICSA Canada Directors’ Education and Accreditation Program (DEAP) in June, 2017.

She began her career in the transfer agency industry more than 22 years ago, and has progressed through various roles, most recently holding the position of General Manager of Client Services, Central Region for Computershare Canada.

Paul Dubal,
Head of Corporate Governance
First Abu Dhabi Bank, United Arab Emirates

Paul has almost 20 years of corporate secretarial, corporate governance and regulatory experience both in house and as a professional services consultant in the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean. He has served in senior in-house roles for several financial services companies listed on the UK Stock Exchange and in Europe. He has also provided governance services to listed companies in Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean region. Paul has worked extensively with a diverse range of boards and senior management teams on governance matters, including the transition from a stakeholder to an independent board. In his previous role, he acted as Corporate Secretary and Governance Advisor to the Bank of Montreal’s OSFI regulated subsidiaries. Paul has recently taken up a position as Head of Corporate Governance at the First Abu Dhabi Bank where he is responsible for the Bank's corporate governance framework domestically and across its international subsidiaries. Paul is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and holds a LLB from Middlesex University (UK). He is currently a speaker on the Governance Module ICSA Director Education and Accreditation Program (DEAP). 

Julia Eastman
University governance researcher/consultant
Adjunct Professor, Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria

Dr. Julia Eastman is a university governance researcher and consultant and an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.  From 2005 to June 2018, she was University Secretary at the University of Victoria.  Prior to that, she held various administrative positions at Dalhousie University from 1982 to 2003 and was seconded in 2004 to the position of Senior Director (Universities and Colleges) at the Nova Scotia Department of Education.  Previously, she worked at the Council of Maritime Premiers in Halifax and the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen’s University.

She has a BA in Political Economy from the University of Toronto, a MA in Political Studies from Queen’s University and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Toronto.  She co-authored a book on mergers in higher education (with Daniel Lang) and has written about university governance and revenue generation.  She is currently engaged in a comparative case study of the governance of major universities in Canada.

Denise Ferreira
Director, Shareholder Services,
Corporate Secretary’s Department
Sun Life Financial Inc.

Denise Ferreira has 20 years of experience in different financial institutions. For the last 10, she has held leadership roles on both the service provider and public issuer sides. This has given her in-depth understanding and knowledge of a wide range of shareholder related topics. Currently, Denise is Director of Shareholder Services at Sun Life Financial Inc. Denise is considered a subject matter expert in the management of annual general meetings. 

Amanda R. Finch, LLB, BA
Senior Counsel & Assistant Corporate Secretary
Manulife Bank of Canada

Amanda is accountable for providing and coordinating practical, timely, and cost-effective legal services and support for Manulife Bank. She provides counsel to the Leadership team and Board of Directors regarding complex legal, regulatory, governance, contractual and compliance matters. She is also the Assistant Corporate Secretary for Manulife Bank and oversees compliance with corporate governance standards and best practices.

Amanda has 10 years of experience in law and financial services. Prior to working at Manulife, she worked at Miller Thomson LLP in Waterloo and Torys LLP in Toronto as an associate in their corporate departments.

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo and a Law Degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Jane Halford
BOLT Transition Inc.    

In addition to 20 years practicing as a Chartered Accountant and regulator, Jane has significant experience as a board and audit committee chair in public, corporate, and not-for-profit organizations. Currently she chairs the boards of the United Way Alberta Capital Region and Institute of Corporate Directors Edmonton Chapter and she serves on the boards of Farm Credit Canada, Alberta Innovates, Hyduke Energy Services and Delta Genomics. She is a former member of the Board of Governors and former Alumni Council President of the University of Alberta. Jane is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta, holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors, and the Audit Committee Certification from the Directors College. In 2013, Jane stepped out of her role as CEO and Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta to turn her passion into co-founding an innovative business, BOLT Transition Inc. BOLT is transforming how Canadian organizations approach leadership transition in the boardroom and the executive suite.

Karen Hoffmann
Chief Governance Officer & Corporate Secretary

In her role as part of Vancity’s senior leadership group, Karen works collaboratively to establish and implement the strategic direction for Vancity.  As Corporate Secretary to both the credit union and its subsidiary, Vancity Community Investment Bank, her responsibilities include ensuring the organizations' governance frameworks are managed effectively and developed to support organizational health and growth. 

Karen has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ottawa. Called to the Ontario Bar in 1987, she worked in private practice, then joined Royal Trust for a period of 12 years and finally Vancity in 2001.

She has received numerous awards and recognition throughout her career including the Royal Bank “Award of Excellence” in 1996 and 1997 and was a finalist for the Association of Women in Finance’s “Performance and Excellence” award in 2006. She has her directors’ designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and in 2007, Vancity recognized Karen’s business acumen, leadership skills and exceptional contribution by appointing her interim Chief Executive Officer. Karen has held a number of director appointments including the Ethical Fund Company, Credential Financial Inc., the Social Investment Organization, Metro Vancouver YWCA and currently the Vancouver Public Library. 

Dexter John
Executive Vice President
D. F. King Canada

Dexter is an Executive Vice President of D.F.King, an AST Company, located in the Toronto office. Dexter is responsible for the Canadian D.F. King operations where he leads a team of experienced governance and financial professionals. With over 20 years of experience in capital markets, Dexter has a strong knowledge of corporate law and a thorough understanding of financial markets. From his work at a major Canadian law firm as a Securities Associate to his tenure at the Investment Dealers Association, Ontario Securities Commission and the Toronto Stock Exchange, Dexter has a strong public equities market background as well as significant regulatory experience. Prior to joining D. F. King, Dexter held the Executive Vice President & General Counsel position at a national competitor. Having worked on a number of Canada’s largest M&A transactions as well as proxy fights, Dexter has a strong background in corporate governance. Dexter holds the ICD.D designation and is currently a director of Prosper Gold Corp. and Augustine Ventures Inc. and recently was a Chairman of the board and board member of Partners Real Estate Investment Trust.

Sarah Keyes, CPA, CA
Principal – Research, Guidance and Support
Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada)

Sarah Keyes is a Principal at Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). She develops research and thought leadership on climate change issues and the implications for business decision-making, reporting and corporate governance. Prior to CPA Canada, Sarah worked as a Senior Auditor in the mining and extractives sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers and as a Senior Energy Consultant at MNP.  

She is a member of the Energy and Economics Working Groups as part of Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Platform convened by Natural Resources Canada. Sarah is certified in ISO 14064-3: Greenhouse Gas Verification and Validation. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) registered in Ontario. Sarah also holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting with distinction from McGill University.  

Wendy King
Vice President, Legal, Risk & Governance and Corporate Secretary
Capstone Mining Corp.

Wendy King is Vice President, Legal, Risk & Governance and Corporate Secretary for Capstone Mining Corp. In her role, she is responsible for managing the legal function, enterprise risk management, the global insurance program and corporate governance at Capstone Mining Corp. She has been practicing law for more than 20 years, 16 of which were spent as in-house counsel, and four in private practice as an international-tax specialist. She is a certified director with the Institute of Corporate Directors.  She also served on the Board of Via Rail Canada for five years, the Board of the Royal British Columbia Museum and has served on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association for six years. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Vancouver Police Foundation.  She holds a Masters in International Tax Law and a Masters of Business Administration, and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. Wendy joined Capstone following her role as Senior Vice President Government Relations, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary at Central 1 Credit Union. Prior to this role, she served as Senior Legal Counsel with Weyerhaeuser Company Limited for 11 years.  Wendy is also an Adjunct Professor at Allard Hall School of Law teaching Finance and Financial Accounting for law students.

Mary Larson 
L&C Strategic Advisory Consultants

Mary has deep experience as a consultant, an executive and an executive coach. She has worked with clients across the globe from financial institutions to crown corporations, retailers and companies in the transportation, energy, consumer durables, and several other sectors.

With over 30 years of business experience in strategy, culture transformation and organizational design, Mary helps business leaders hone their leadership skills to align their teams and tackle complex interactions with boards, customers, and other stakeholders. 

In addition to founding her own firm, she was a senior partner with A.T. Kearney, Monitor Group and Oliver Wyman. She has also held executive positions at McDonald’s Corporation in the US, and Alcan and Culinar in Canada.

Mary received her BA with honours from Princeton in 1975 and her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1979. She began her career with the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Co. 

Mary is a designated ICD.D graduate from the Rotman School and is a member of the Advisory Board of McGill’s School for Continuing Studies; she has served on the Boards of L’Opéra de Montréal and Action against Hunger and was co-founder of the International Women’s Forum in Canada.

Heather Laxton
Chief Governance Officer & Corporate Secretary
Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd.

Heather has over 21 years of corporate secretarial, corporate governance, and securities regulation experience with a focus on the mining sector in Canada, Europe, Russia and West Africa. She is currently Chief Governance Officer and Corporate Secretary with Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd., and prior to that, she was Corporate Secretary with Kirkland Lake Gold Inc., Chief Governance Officer and Corporate Secretary with Northern Gold Mining Inc., and Governance Manager and Corporate Secretary with European Goldfields Ltd. and High River Gold Mines Ltd. Heather obtained an honours diploma from the Law Clerk Program at Seneca College and began working as a professional law clerk in multi-national law firms including Torys LLP. During her career, she has worked extensively with boards and senior management teams on both simple and complex governance matters, and has led the evaluation, design, implementation and monitoring of governance programs for several junior mining companies. Heather is currently a faculty member of the Governance Professionals of Canada Education Program. 

Nazma Lee
Senior Legal Counsel, Corporate Finance
British Columbia Securities Commission

Nazma Lee is a senior legal counsel in the Corporate Finance department of the British Columbia Securities Commission. Since joining the BCSC in 2009, Nazma has worked on various policy projects, including on capital raising exemptions, corporate governance, proxy voting and takeover bids. Prior to joining the BCSC, Nazma spent two years with an international law firm in London, UK. Before moving to London, Nazma practiced securities law at a large national firm in Vancouver. Nazma has a law degree from the University of Toronto and a B.A. from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Carol Liao
Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law,
UBC Sauder Distinguished Scholar, Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics

University of British Columbia

Dr. Carol Liao is an Assistant Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law and the inaugural UBC Sauder Distinguished Scholar of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, UBC Sauder School of Business. She is an award-winning teacher and widely published scholar. Dr. Liao is a co-author of Business Organizations: Practice, Theory, and Emerging Challenges (2nd ed), and a contributing author to a number of ground-breaking new books in business law for 2018/2019: The Cambridge Handbook for Corporate Law, Corporate Governance, and Sustainability; The Cambridge Handbook for Social Enterprise Law; and Creating Corporate Sustainability: Gender as an Agent for Change.  Dr. Liao is a past Bertram Scholar of the Institute of Corporate Directors and a former senior associate in the New York Mergers and Acquisitions Group of Shearman & Sterling LLP, a global law firm. She is a steering committee member of the Daughters of Themis: International Network of Female Business Scholars, and is currently co-editing a collection on sustainable business models with Dr. Beate Sjåfjell of the University of Oslo. Her work has been cited in multiple media sources including The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Director Journal, and Business in Vancouver.

Ivy Lumia
Corporate Secretary
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Government of Canada

Ivy Lumia is a well-regarded leader and governance expert for over 15 years, specializing in developing governance frameworks.  She is currently the Corporate Secretary for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, Government of Canada. In this role, she manages all aspects of the Council of Governors and its Committees and has been modernizing the governance framework.

Prior to the Government of Canada, Ivy worked internationally for 8 years with high-profile government leaders to develop humanitarian and infrastructure projects and shape corporate and community cultures. Quickly moving into executive leadership, Ivy chaired 4 international Boards and managed 8 offices worldwide. In 2009, Ivy became the Corporate Relations Officer for the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, Crown Corporation for Canada’s lottery organizations, managing its Board of Directors and Committees. She also assumed the role of Program Manager National Communications, managing Canada’s national lottery communications.

 Ivy Lumia has an International Bachelor of Business (I.B.B.A.) Honours and speaks multiple languages. She is an expert cat herder, terrible golfer, Second City comedian alumni and non-profit activist. Having lived, worked and travelled extensively throughout the world, she now resides in Ontario with her two young children and husband.

Fiona L. Macdonald
Corporate Director, GMP Capital; BC Ferry Authority; Royal Canadian Mint,
BC Chapter Chair, Institute of Corporate Directors

Fiona is a Director on the Board of GMP Capital, a publicly traded investment dealer and wealth management company.  She is Chair of the Management Resources & Compensation Committee, and a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee and the Audit Committee.

Fiona is a Director on the BC Ferry Authority, the shareholder of BC Ferry Services, which operates one of the largest ferry fleets in the world with annual revenue above $900 million.

Fiona is the Chair of the BC Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Fiona had a successful career in professional services, building respected and profitable consulting practices in Canada and the US. For the last 20 years as a consultant Fiona was with what is now Willis Towers Watson where she led their Executive Compensation practices for Canada and the Western US.  Fiona has been based in Toronto, Los Angeles, and Vancouver.

Fiona has a BA and MBA, both from the University of British Columbia, and holds the ICD.D designation.

Alvin Madar
Director, Risk Assurance Services

Alvin Madar is a Cyber Security Director in the Risk Assurance Practice in the Vancouver office of PWC specializing in project management and system implementations and deployment of large enterprise scale solutions including Identity and Access Management (IAM), Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM), and Governance, Risks, and Compliance (GRC). Alvin has been involved in strategy development, solution architecture, technical architecture, deployment of many enterprise solutions, and threat and vulnerability management. Alvin has been involved in a number of IT transformation projects. He has also worked as interim CISO’s for a number of organizations and developed their information security programs. In addition, He is also a leading subject matter specialist in cyber incident response advisory, helping clients through breach preparedness, breach response and compromise assessments.

In addition to his project management and implementation experience, Alvin also focuses on business process designs and security threat and risk assessment (STRA). Alvin is a certified project management professional (PMP), a certified management consultant (CMC) as well as a CISSP, CISA, CISM, and CCSK.

Jo-Anne Matear

Manager, Corporate Finance

Ontario Securities Commission

Jo-Anne is a member of the Ontario Securities Commission’s Senior Management Team. She leads a team of lawyers, accountants and geologists in the Corporate Finance Branch that is responsible for the oversight of public companies, including the review of prospectuses, continuous disclosure documents and applications for exemptive relief.

In addition, Jo-Anne has led a number of significant policy initiatives. For example, she led the initiative that resulted in the introduction of disclosure requirements relating to the representation of women on boards and in executive officer positions of TSX-listed companies, and is currently leading the initiative to assess the effectiveness of those disclosure requirements. In addition, she is involved with the consultation on the approach to director and audit committee member independence.

Prior to joining the Commission, Jo-Anne practised corporate and securities law in Toronto, Ontario and London, England. Jo-Anne received her Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Queen’s University and her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto.

Marilyn Loewen Mauritz
Chief Transformation and Legal Officer, Corporate Secretary
Central 1 Credit Union

Throughout Marilyn’s 25-year career, she has consistently demonstrated an ability to deliver exceptional results and make lasting impact.  Bringing the combined strength of legal expertise and business acumen, Marilyn excels at assessing complex issues, formulating creative strategies and delivering solutions. She is a bold and innovative thinker with superior strategic insight and an energetic, engaging style.  She is committed to her team’s development and consistently challenges herself and others to find continuous improvement opportunities. 

Marilyn is a trusted advisor to colleagues on Central 1 Credit Union’s executive leadership team and the Board of Directors.  Based in Vancouver, Marilyn is the Chief Transformation & Legal Officer leading a multidisciplinary team that handles legal and corporate secretary services, strategy, government relations, member relations, corporate technology, procurement and project management.  She is a strong advocate for women championing the Powering Women initiative at Central 1.  From July 2017 to January 2018, she was Interim President & Chief Executive Officer, and from March 2015 to June 2017, SVP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary.   

Marilyn serves on the Board of Directors of The Co-operators, YWCA of Greater Vancouver, and BC College of Registered Nurses.  She previously was a director of Vancouver Opera.

Shona McGlashan
Chief Governance Officer
Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)

The Chief Governance Officer at Canada’s leading outdoor retailer, MEC, Shona McGlashan has over twenty years’ experience in senior governance and policy roles on both sides of the Atlantic. A member of MEC’s executive team, she is responsible for MEC's governance, corporate reporting, privacy, and diversity & inclusion portfolios.  Shona was previously the Executive Director for the Vancouver Police Board and, before emigrating to Canada, served as a clerk in the UK Parliament, providing professional and procedural support for investigative committees of MPs, the Speaker, and the House of Commons Commission.   

Shona is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and Governance Professionals of Canada, and holds a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from Manchester University.  Outside work, Shona reads constantly; geeks out over Shakespeare, Homer, and gender politics; practices yoga; and tries to keep up with her two elementary school-aged kids.

Doug McLean
Executive Director, Insurance and Trust Supervision
Financial Institutions Commission of British Columbia (FICOM)

Mr. McLean is an Executive Director with the Financial Institutions Commission, an agency of the Ministry of Finance. He is directly responsible for overseeing the prudential supervision of insurance and trust companies operating in British Columbia. He represents the province on several market conduct working groups at the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators.

He was a co-author on the Governance Guideline for Credit Unions issued in 2013 (  

Mr. McLean graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce and Masters of Economics degrees and is a member of the Professional Economist Association of British Columbia, Institute of Corporate Directors and Governance Professionals of Canada.

Ann Marie McGovern
Senior Manager Compliance and Senior Counsel
Legal, Corporate & Compliance Group
BMO Financial Group

Ann Marie McGovern is Senior Counsel and Senior Manager Compliance in the Subsidiary Governance Office (“SGO”) of BMO Financial Group. She provides corporate governance support to the Bank’s subsidiaries. She is responsible for ensuring all regulatory and related risks originating from the SGO of the Bank and its Canadian and foreign subsidiaries are properly identified and managed. She is also responsible for managing projects and reviewing transactions to support the responsibilities of the SGO.

Prior to her role in Corporate Affairs, Ms McGovern was the Senior Manager, Taxation - Capital Markets. She partnered with various lines of business in Capital Markets to develop, structure and market innovative trades and funding structures for both domestic and international clients. Ms McGovern is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where she has taught courses on business associations. Prior to joining BMO Financial Group, Ms McGovern practiced law at Torys LLP, Ogilvy Renault LLP and Heenan Blaikie. Ms McGovern holds a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Bachelor of Laws from The University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Arts and Science from McMaster University. Ms McGovern was called to the Ontario Bar in 1995.

Dave Mowat

Past CEO, ATB Financial,
Board Director, TELUS

Dave Mowat was President and CEO of ATB Financial from 2007 to 2018, which, through more than 5000 team members and a branch network in 247 communities, provides a full range of digital, mobile, personal, business, corporate, and investment services to more than 725,000 customers. Under Dave’s leadership, ATB more than doubled its assets to $50 billion and is the largest, provincially based financial institution in Alberta, Canada.

Combining technology with community involvement and support for numerous community causes is a unique hallmark of ATB. As a leader, Mowat brought a strong commitment that growing team member engagement and customer advocacy were the most sustainable and successful ways to a strong bottom line.

Mowat uses his banking, technology and customer expertise to enrich the service he provides to numerous boards, including Telus, STARS, Alberta Blue Cross, Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, and Calgary’s National Music Centre. He’s also involved with Dogs With Wings, and in 2016 was accompanied everywhere by Vaughn, a black lab service puppy who was part of the agency’s program to train service dogs to make life better for blind and autistic children. 

Sarah Neville
Legal Director & Corporate Secretary
Ontario Financing Authority

Sarah Neville was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and practices corporate commercial law.  She holds an Honours BA from McMaster University, an LLB from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law and an LLM in Banking and Financial Services from Osgoode Hall Law School.  She practiced on Bay Street at a national law firm prior to moving into the Ontario Public Service where she has experience as both a senior policy advisor and legal counsel.  She is currently the Legal Director and Corporate Secretary of the Ontario Financing Authority.  In her capacity as Corporate Secretary, Sarah is responsible for overseeing the governance and corporate proceedings of the OFA’s Board of Directors and two of its Committees, the Audit and Risk Management Committee and the Human Resources and Governance Committee.  In her role as Legal Director, Sarah also manages and leads the OFA Legal Services Branch.  She is a member of the Governance Professionals of Canada. 

Margie Parikh, C.Dir. MBA, CFP
Principal, On Governance, & Board Director

On Governance helps organizations get results, tackling specific issues and assesses governance processes and performance: are you adding value?

Margie is the former Chair of MEC, Canada's leading outdoor equipment retailer, seeing the organization though 75% revenue growth, seven new stores, a major IT system upgrade, a rebranding, and re-development of risk governance and strategic planning frameworks. She serves on the boards of the BC Oil and Gas Commission, Oikocredit Canada, and CISV International, and sits as an external member on several other boards’ committees.

A Chartered Director, Margie’s qualifications also include an MBA from Columbia University, the Certified Financial Planner designation, and NFP and Crown governance certifications from the ICD. She brings to the table 25 years’ global experience in international marketing and strategic and financial management and over 20 years’ experience in board governance.

Margie is a Regional Ambassador for Women Get On Board and a member of the 30% Club, both of which support greater representation of women on boards. Boards, finance, volunteering, an active family, the great outdoors, and dark chocolate keep her days filled on the beautiful coast of Vancouver Island.

Erin Poeta
Hugessen Consulting

Erin Poeta is a senior consultant and manager helping boards of directors make right decisions on executive pay and corporate governance, and supports boards as they engage with shareholders to address sensitive issues. Since joining Hugessen 6 years ago, Erin has been involved in all aspects of executive compensation and performance goal setting/evaluation, while specializing in corporate governance and shareholder engagement.

Erin graduated from the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2010 with an Honours Business Administration degree and a certificate of Global Leadership for her academic and professional experiences abroad. 

Throughout her university and professional tenure, Erin also spent time working with organizations within the realm of social finance, impact investing and corporate sustainability. Erin is a founder and director at Local Investing YYC, Calgary’s first impact investment co-operative.

Ryan Resch, MBA, ICD.D
Managing Director, Executive Compensation
Willis Towers Watson

Ryan Resch is a Managing Director, Executive Compensation within the Toronto office of Willis Towers Watson.  He joined the firm’s Vancouver office in 2003 and has been the Business Leader for the Executive Compensation Practices in Vancouver (2010-2013) and Toronto (2013-2017).

Ryan works with boards and senior management on corporate governance issues related to executive and director compensation. 

He works with a variety of publicly-traded, privately-held, joint venture and government organizations across many industries, including financial services, retail, oil and gas, energy marketing, utilities, mining, high technology, and transportation.

Ryan holds a Master of Business Administration specializing in Management and Organizational Studies from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University. Ryan is on the Ontario Chapter Executive for the Institute of Corporate Directors (“ICD”), has completed the ICD-Rotman, Directors Education Program and is an Institute of Corporate Directors, ICD.D.  He is also a Certified Compensation Professional (“CCP”) with WorldatWork and a regular speaker on executive compensation and governance matters.  

Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director, Founder & CEO
Women Get On Board

Deborah Rosati is an accomplished Corporate Director, entrepreneur, Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA) and certified Corporate Director (ICD.D) with more than 30 years of experience in technology, consumer, retail, private equity and venture capital. As an experienced Audit Committee and Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee chair, Deborah provides extensive knowledge as a Corporate Director in the areas of financial and enterprise risk management, corporate strategy, transformational changes, M&A, corporate governance and CEO and board succession planning.

Deborah currently serves as a Corporate Director for Sears Canada (TSX: SCC); for NexJ Systems (TSX: NXJ) and Chair of the Audit Committee; and for MedReleaf (TSX: LEAF) and Chair of the Audit Committee.

Deborah is the Founder & CEO of Women Get On Board, a leading member-based company that connects, promotes and empowers women to corporate boards. She was selected as a Diversity 50 2014 candidate, and also recognized in 2012 as one of WXN’s Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women in the corporate director award category. 

Deborah’s thought leadership on corporate governance, board diversity and entrepreneurship are profiled on her website.

Dottie Schindlinger
VP/Governance Technology Evangelist

Dottie Schindlinger is Vice President and the Governance Technology Evangelist for Diligent Corporation, the leading provider of secure corporate board communication and collaboration software globally. In her role, Dottie provides thought leadership on governance, cybersecurity, and technology topics through presentations to boards and executives dozens of times each year at events around the world. Her work has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and in multiple governance and technology publications including Corporate Board Member, Trustee Magazine, Corporate Secretary Magazine, Execranks, CSO Online, and Dark Reading.

Dottie brings over twenty years’ experience in governance-related roles, including serving as a director, officer, senior executive, governance consultant and trainer for private, public, and nonprofit boards. She was a founding team member of the tech start-up BoardEffect – a board management software provider focused on healthcare and nonprofit boards, acquired by Diligent in 2016. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Sheldon Stener
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL)

Seldon Stener is General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), overseeing the Legal, Compliance and Governance Department. He is also FCL’s Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer. As General Counsel, Sheldon provides legal and strategic advice to the CEO and the Board of Directors. As Corporate Secretary, a role he has held since 2013, Sheldon is responsible for overseeing and providing guidance and direction with respect to the governance of FCL and its subsidiaries.

Sheldon graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies in 1987 and obtained his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 1990. He was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1991.Sheldon has served on a number of boards. He is a former member of the National Executive of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association and is a member of the Governance Professionals of Canada. He served for three years as a shortlisting judge for the Governance Professionals of Canada’s Excellence in Governance Awards.

Christie Stephenson
Executive Director

Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, UBC Sauder School of Business

Christie Stephenson is the Executive Director of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at UBC Sauder School of Business. Prior to joining UBC Sauder in 2016, she spent more than 15 years at leading socially responsible and impact investing firms, including Sustainalytics and NEI Investments (Ethical Funds). She previously worked in politics, government and the non-profit sector.

Christie also has more than two decades of diverse board experience, having served as a director of cooperatives, non-profit organizations and private companies. She is currently a director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice, and a governance committee member at BlueShore Financial.

She is a frequent media commentator and speaker to industry and public audiences on topics related to governance, corporate social responsibility and responsible investing. She has provided training to lawyers, accountants, corporate secretaries, investment managers and pension trustees, and teaches social finance at UBC Sauder School of Business.

Christie has an undergraduate degree from University of Victoria and a graduate degree from McGill University.

Coro Strandberg
Strandberg Consulting

Coro Strandberg is President of Strandberg Consulting. She has over 25 years experience coaching companies, governments and industry associations on strategies to embed sustainability into business. She specializes in integrating sustainability into board governance, business models, corporate strategy, human resources, community investment, procurement and finance. Her 20 years of experience as a corporate director, includes as Director and Chair of the Board of Vancity Credit Union, where she helped establish a sustainability governance system. Coro conducted ground-breaking research for the Conference Board of Canada on the Board’s role in sustainability governance, developed the first national standard for sustainable boards, advises boards and corporate secretaries on sustainability governance and is a faculty member of the Director’s College, training directors on CSR and the role of the board. For the UN Global Compact she developed global guidance for corporate secretaries and governance committees on sustainability governance. Coro is a Faculty Member for the GPC’s Education Program, and moderates the module on “CSR, Sustainability and ESG and the role of the Board”. She is also a judge for GPC’s “Excellence in Sustainability Governance” award. In 2015 Coro was recognized by Canada’s Clean50 as the top sustainability consultant in Canada for her sustainability impacts.

Christine Tabbert
Deputy Director, Operations, Enforcement

Ontario Securities Commission

Christine Tabbert is Deputy Director, Operations in the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission. Her career has focused on delivering strategic advice on complex and diverse legal issues to a wide variety of clients, senior management teams and boards of directors. Prior to joining the OSC, Christine was senior political staff in the federal government, serving as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence. Christine began her professional career with over 14 years in private practice at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, where she was an Associate and Partner with a focus on securities and pension litigation. Additionally, Christine served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Litigation Department where she was responsible for strategic planning for approximately 70 litigators, which included defining the role of litigation technology and litigation support/case management in the region. Following her leadership role in this large national law firm, Christine spent over three years in-house with Manulife Financial and Manulife Securities where she was AVP & Lead Counsel, working primarily in Manulife's investment dealer and mutual fund dealer businesses, and serving as Corporate Secretary to three of Manulife's subsidiary corporations.

Alena Thouin
Deputy Director, Legal Services
Government of Ontario

Alena Thouin is currently a legal leader with the Ontario provincial government where she holds a position of Deputy Director, Legal Services at the Ministry of the Attorney General supporting a cluster of six Ministries including Energy, Infrastructure, Economic Development and Growth. Ms. Thouin is part of a management team overseeing a large multi-disciplinary legal team that supports key government initiatives including managing large commercial transactions, corporate governance, policy initiatives, litigation management and legislative projects. Prior to joining the Province, Ms. Thouin was General Counsel and Corporate Secretary with Alterna Savings and Bank. She provided legal and strategic advice on regulatory matters, corporate commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and capital markets.  As a member of the senior management team Ms. Thouin was responsible for the legal, compliance and governance portfolios across the organization and leads a team of multi-disciplinary professionals.   Prior to joining Alterna Ms. Thouin held progressive positions with another financial institution and with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario where she represented the Superintendent on regulatory enforcement matters before various levels of court.  Ms. Thouin is also active on various industry and practice groups where she provides expert guidance on emerging issue. Ms. Thouin is past Chair of the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, Member of the Women General Counsel Canada, Ontario Bar Association Mentorship Program member, Instructor at the Law Practice Program at Ryerson University, Director on the Board of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and is passionate on supporting initiatives that promote women in leadership positions.

Tanya van Biesen
Executive Director

Tanya van Biesen is Executive Director of Catalyst's operations in Canada. She is responsible for leading Catalyst's growth in Canada and shaping strategies to advance Catalyst’s mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion with Supporters, corporate partners, professional organizations, CEOs, senior leaders, and stakeholders.

A recognized leader and influencer with deep experience in the executive search sector at the most senior levels of corporate Canada, Tanya brings more than two decades of corporate leadership and diversity experience to Catalyst. Most recently, she co-led the Financial Services Practice at Spencer Stuart and was a key member of the Canadian Boards Practice, focusing on executive search assignments at the board, CEO, and general management levels. She also led the firm’s Canadian Diversity Practice, specializing in the placement of chief diversity officers and diverse slates of candidates across all search assignments.

Tanya began her career at Procter & Gamble, working in both Toronto and Calgary in regional and national sales leadership roles. A sought-after speaker on the topic of diversity in the boardroom, Tanya has contributed to several research studies and articles analyzing leadership trends and attributes. She holds an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University, and speaks English, French, and Dutch.

Elizabeth (Liz) Watson, QC
Founder and CEO

Elizabeth Watson, QC (Liz), is the founder and leader of WATSON, whose raison d’être is to strengthen Canadian organizations by building highly effective boards and executive teams. Liz has practiced law for more than 35 years and has spent over half her career advising boards, chairs, directors, committees and CEOs. Liz served for four years on the ICD Fellowship Awards Selection Committee and currently serves on the selection committee for GPC’s Canadian Excellence in Governance Awards. Liz is a director of the Peterson Group and Vice-Chair of SHAD Canada. She previously served on the boards of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Choice School for Gifted Children, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in the Lead Inc., the BC Cancer Foundation and the Vancouver Police Board. Liz has been named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and as one of the inaugural Top 100 Influential Women of BC. Liz holds an LLB from the University of British Columbia and completed executive education in the areas of governance and finance at Harvard University and Ivey Business School respectively. She was named Queen’s Counsel in 2012.

Kevin West

Kevin is a senior corporate and securities lawyer with nearly two decades of experience practicing in Toronto, New York and Australia. Kevin has led numerous corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, financings, initial public offerings and joint ventures. He also has significant experience advising companies on corporate governance, disclosure and compliance issues.

Kevin was a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP for over 5 years where he had a broad corporate practice and represented a number of foreign companies making acquisitions in Canada.  Prior to joining Davies, he practiced with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York and Sydney, Australia and clerked for Justice Binnie at the Supreme Court of Canada. Kevin founded SkyLaw in 2010. 

Kevin has recently advised a variety of cannabis and other companies on corporate governance matters including the listing of Cronos Group Inc. on NASDAQ, the first cannabis company to be listed on a major U.S. stock exchange.  Kevin has also advised several start-up and early stage cannabis companies on their shareholder agreements and private placements.  In May 2018 Kevin lead a US$50 million investment by a New York private equity fund in CSE-listed iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc., the largest single investment in a publicly-traded cannabis company operating in the United States.

Richard Wilson, CISSP
Partner, Cybersecurity & Privacy Consulting

Richard is a Partner in PwC's Cybersecurity & Privacy Consulting practice. He helps boards and management teams understand and strategically defend against the rapidly evolving cybersecurity threats today. By strategically linking risk, performance, cybersecurity, and privacy, Richard equips companies to develop practical approaches to create defense-in-depth.

He has 23 years of professional services experience, including 15 years in a CEO or COO role for publically traded and private companies.  He has more than a decade of experience advising boards and C-Suites on governance, strategy, organizational planning, risk, and risk response. 

Richard has been published in Compliance Week, Canadian Business, and the Globe & Mail and is a keynote speaker on the cybersecurity & risk in Canada, the US, and Mexico. He is Chair of PwC’s Risk Forum, and is an active board member of CPA Canada's Corporate Oversight & Governance Board

Peter Wright
Association Strategist, Association Hub,
President, The Planning Group

Peter Wright is a career strategist and President of The Planning Group. As a respected financial services senior executive and in his current consulting practice, Peter has successfully developed and executed strategy with remarkable results. His practical approach to strategic and operational business planning ensures that plans are not only embraced by management and Boards, but also effectively implemented and measured for the tangible benefit.

As the Director of Strategic Planning at Clarica, Peter Wright led the operational and strategic planning process. In an environment of complex change, his skillful facilitation of planning sessions with the senior management team was instrumental in the determination of key strategic decisions. In his time at Sun Life Financial, Peter became Vice President of Corporate Accounts, before leaving to begin his consulting and training career.

In his consulting practice, Peter Wright advises boards and executives on all matters of strategy and planning across a broad spectrum of organizations. An accomplished facilitator and trainer, he works with boards and senior leadership teams to define and develop strategy, resolve operational issues, and overcome barriers to performance. By providing planning expertise, process advice and facilitation, Peter helps organizations overcome the planning gap. 

William (Bill) Wright
Vice President Risk, General Counsel & Governance Officer

Edmonton Regional Airports Authority

Bill joined Edmonton Airports in 2009, and has provided legal services over a broad range of general corporate and commercial issues for Edmonton Airports, with an emphasis on commercial leasing/licensing and real estate development before moving into the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary role in 2013.   He is a member of the Executive Management Committee and is an officer of the corporation, serving as a key advisor to the President and CEO and the Board of Directors on corporate governance and strategic risk, commercial and regulatory matters from a legal perspective.  Prior to Edmonton Airports, Bill worked in-house for EPCOR Utilities Inc. as Legal Counsel/Assistant Corporate Secretary and practiced for a mid-sized law firm in the areas of securities and general corporate/commercial law.  

Bill earned his law degree from the University of Alberta (2000) and was called to the Alberta bar in 2001.  Before obtaining his law degree, Bill was a flying officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force for approximately 12 years, serving primarily on Canada’s two coasts with both 406 and 443 Squadrons.

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