Informed Opinions is extremely fortunate to benefit from the engagement and guidance of a number of distinguished Canadians in varying capacities.
Sally Armstrong is an Amnesty International award winner, a member of the Order of Canada, journalist, teacher, author and human rights activist. She was appointed to the International Women’s Commission at the UN in 2010.
While working as the editor-in-chief of Homemaker’s Magazine from 1988-1999 and then as editor-at-large for Chatelaine from 1999-2004 she has covered stories about women and girls in zones of conflict all over the world. Ms. Armstrong holds an impressive list of honours and awards for her humanitarian and women’s rights achievements, and has been awarded six honorary degrees. Most recently, Armstrong became the fourth recipient of the 2010 Calgary Peace Prize. Her published literary works include: Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan, 2002; The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor, 2007; and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: the Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan’s Women, 2008.
The Right Honourable Kim Campbell was the nineteenth and first female Prime Minister of Canada. As a Member of Parliament, she held the positions of Minister of State for Indian Affairs, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Minister of National Defence and Veterans’ Affairs. She has served as Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles, taught at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Chaired the Council of Women World Leaders as well as served as President of the International Women’s Forum and Secretary General of the Club of Madrid.
Today, Ms. Campbell serves as the founding principal of the new Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta, and chairs the steering committee for the World Movement for Democracy. She also serves on the boards and advisory committees of several international organizations and corporations as well as consulting in the field of leadership and governance. Learn more about Kim Campbell at KimCampbell.com and follow her on Twitter @AKimCampbell.
Denise Donlon has been a leader in the Canadian cultural landscape for over 30 years as GM of CBC English Radio, President of Sony Music Canada, and various executive and on air positions at ChumTelevision, The NewMusic and MuchMusic. A Member of the Order of Canada, Denise devotes her volunteer efforts to positively affect environmental and social justice issues through organizations such as Waterkeeper, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, Soulpepper Theatre, MusiCounts and WarChild Canada. Her book: Fearless As Possible (under the circumstances) debuted in November 2016 to extraordinary reviews, and was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writers’ Prize.
Shirley Greenberg has been a trail-blazer in the Canadian women’s movement for most of her adult life. She helped found the Ottawa Women’s Centre, from which subsequently developed the Rape Crisis Centre, the Women’s Career Counseling Centre and Interval House, a refuge for battered women. She entered the University of Ottawa’s law school in the 1970s, while still busy raising three children. After obtaining her law degree, Greenberg went on to create the first all-female law practice in Ottawa. Many of the most successful women lawyers in Ontario today began their careers in the law office of Shirley Greenberg. Throughout her career, she fought systemic discrimination against women in laws and legal documents. Greenberg has since retired from the practice of the law, but her commitment to improving the lives of women continues.
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D. served as the 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada from 2005 to 2010, in which capacity she made inclusive dialogue a key element of her mandate and lead forty missions and State visits abroad. From 2010-2014, she acted as UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti as well as served as Chancellor of the University of Ottawa until 2015. Currently, she is the Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie while overseeing the Michaëlle Jean Foundation with her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, empowering underserved Canadian youth to use the arts for change.
Fluent in five languages, Ms. Jean has graduate degrees from universities in Canada and Italy, and has been recognized with honorary doctorates from 11 post-secondary institutions. Her career highlights include contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters for battered women throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, and receiving prestigious investigative reporting awards while a journalist and anchor at Radio-Canada and CBC Newsworld. Named to the Ordre des Chevaliers de La Pléiade, by the Assemblée internationale des parlementaires de langue française, her accomplishments in communications and on behalf of women and other vulnerable populations have also earned her recognition from the City of Montréal, the Province of Quebec, UNIFEM, and the National Quality Institute.
Retired Senator Nancy Ruth was born in Toronto, and holds a B.A. in Political Science, and an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences, as well as a diploma in Theology. Throughout her life, she has been active in various religious, professional, political, educational and non-profit organizations in Canada, Britain and the United States of America. She is an advocate of social change for women and girls in Canada and has co-founded many organizations to this end (including the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Toronto’s The Linden School, section15.ca, the Women’s Future Fund and the Charter of Rights Coalition). Senator Nancy Ruth’s passion lies within a myriad of issues concerning women’s rights, poverty, politics and economics.
Bonnie Sherr-Klein directed award-winning documentary films in the National Film Board’s innovative Challenge for Change Programme and the historic feminist Studio D, including the provocative and galvanizing Not a Love Story: A Film about Pornography. After surviving a brainstem stroke, she wrote Slow Dance – A Story of Stroke, Love and Disability, and co-founded KickstART Festivals of Disability Arts and Culture. Her most recent film, Shameless: The ART of Disability features funny and intimate portraits of five surprising artist/activists with diverse abilities.
Constance L. Sugiyama, is the Vice Chair of Canada Health Infoway and was the first woman Chair of the world renowned Hospital for Sick Children. Recognized over her 35 year career on Bay Street as a trailblazer and a leading Canadian corporate and mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Ms Sugiyama has held leadership positions in several major law firms, most recently as Deputy Chair and partner of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP. She has also been recognized for professional excellence and leadership by Women in Capital Markets, the International Alliance for Women and the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Ms Sugiyama is an experienced board counselor and director, having served on many public and private sector boards and advisory committees, including, among others: the Hospital for Sick Children, Canada Health Infoway, The Toronto International Film Festival Group, SickKids Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, The Nikko Securities Co. Canada, Ltd., the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation and Women in Capital Markets, of which she was a founding director and currently serves on its Advisory Council. Ms Sugiyama has recently joined Ryerson University as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Ryerson Law Research Centre.
Carole Taylor, O.C. is the incoming Chancellor of Victoria University in Toronto, and a special advisor to the BC Premier. From 2011 to 2014, she served as Chancellor of Simon Fraser University, and prior to that, as the Chair of the Federal Finance Minister’s Economic Advisory Council for four years. Elected in 2005 as the provincial MLA for the riding of Vancouver-Langara, she served as the BC Minister of Finance. In that capacity, she introduced BC’s successful, revenue-neutral carbon tax and secured labour peace for the province leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. During her extensive career, she has also been a journalist for both CTV and CBC, an alderman for Vancouver City Council, Chair of the Vancouver Port Authority and the Vancouver Board of Trade, and Chair of CBC/Radio-Canada. Ms. Taylor was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2001. She also served as Chair of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and has been Director of TD, HSBC, BC’s Children’s Hospital, CP Rail, Bell Canada Inc. and BCE Inc. Ms. Taylor has a BA in English from the University of Toronto and honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Open University, and BCIT.
Named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, Dr. Vianne Timmons is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in inclusive education and literacy research. She is the President of Memorial University of Newfoundland and former President of the University of Regina. As the first female university president in the history of the province of Saskatchewan, she has been a strong advocate for the development of women leaders both in her home province and beyond. She was the driving force behind the Inspiring Leadership forum, which annually attracted more than 600 participants from across Canada to the University of Regina for a day-long symposium on women and leadership.
Dr. Timmons was recognized in 2014 with the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada’s Recognition Award for promoting and supporting diversity within academic institutions. In 2015, she received the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education’s “Leadership and Influence” award for promoting policies that enhance gender equity. She currently serves as co-chair of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
Jennifer Ditchburn is the President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) and the editor-in-chief of Policy Options, its award-winning online magazine. A longtime journalist, she spent more than two decades covering national and parliamentary affairs for The Canadian Press and for CBC Television. She is a three-time winner of a National Newspaper Award, and the recipient of the prestigious Charles Lynch Award for outstanding coverage of national issues. Jennifer is a frequent contributor to television and radio public affairs programs, including CBC’s At Issue panel on The National. Jennifer holds a bachelor of arts from Concordia University, and a master of journalism from Carleton University, where she is a fellow with the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management. She has been inducted into the Hall of Distinction at CEGEP John Abbott College. Jennifer is the co-editor with Graham Fox of the 2016 book The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy (McGill-Queen’s University Press). Jennifer’s research on the history of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery appeared in the 2016 book Sharp Wits & Busy Pens (Hill-Times Publishing).
Mona Ghiami is a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging leader. Previously, she was the Chief Inclusion Officer (CIO) at PwC Canada and a member of the Extended Leadership Team. Mona also represented Canada as its Territory Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Leader in PwC’s Global Network. She has more than 15 years of leadership and speaking experience and is often sought after for her extensive expertise and insight in inclusion. She works closely with clients, assisting them with implementing inclusive workplace strategies connected to their business priorities. Mona holds a CPA, CA and is a Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of British Columbia. She is on the Board of Directors of the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation and is the former Chair of the Board of Directors at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ontario.
Jane Griffith is the Managing Partner and the Founder of the Griffith Group Executive Search. A veteran search leader, she focuses on the recruitment of senior leaders in the not-for-profit, academic and broader public sectors. Prior to founding the Griffith Group, Jane has been a Partner and National Diversity Leader with three national and global search firms. She also founded Griffith Research which serves clients in Australia, Dubai, Canada and the United States. Prior to executive search, Jane worked in the fundraising departments of the United Way of Greater Toronto, York University Foundation and with the not-for-profit consulting form KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Legal History from the University of Calgary and a Master of Arts in Legal History from the University of Toronto. An active volunteer, she has supported many organizations including the 30% Club Canada, as Chair of Congress 2017 with AFP Toronto and as the Founder of The Council of Women Executives. On behalf of the firm, she is also a member of the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and a signatory of the BlackNorth Initiative and of the Federal Government’s 50-30 Challenge.
Evelyne Guindon is a sought-after consultant and senior advisor with over 25 years of experience. She most recently served as the Director, External Relations of Women Deliver and, prior to that, was the CEO of CUSO International, one of Canada’s largest international development organizations. She has also served on the leadership teams of Right To Play International, CARE Canada and the Micronutrient Initiative, helping to navigate these organizations through significant change and growth. Evelyne has a solid track record of ensuring important initiatives have the resources required to deliver sustained impact. She has led programs and operations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America. Working to ensure girls and women reach their full potential has been a strong thread throughout Evelyne’s career and volunteer life. She launched her career in sexual and reproductive rights in Canada and was subsequently part of this important movement for several years in Southern Africa. Her experience has led her to be a steadfast champion of the potential that partnerships hold.
Jennifer Laidlaw is a transformational leader, executive and business coach, advisor and community builder. She previously led CIBC’s external strategic partnerships with the 30% Club and Catalyst, evolving CIBC’s position as a leader in promoting the economic imperative of better gender diversity on Canadian boards and c-suites. Previously, Jennifer was the Chief Human Resources Officer at the Ontario Securities Commission, where she developed a People Strategy that enabled its evolution as a modern, 21st Century regulator. She has an extensive background in both business operations and human resources, having held executive roles in the public and broader public sectors.
Julie Miville-Dechêne was a journalist and TV correspondent for Radio-Canada domestically and in the United States from 1980 to 2007 before becoming its ombudsman. In 2011, she was named chair of the Quebec Council of the Status of Women, and in 2016 she became a diplomat for Québec: first as Québec representative in the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO, and then as envoy for human rights and freedoms. In 2018, she was appointed senator (independent) for Québec.
Emilie Nicolas is an anthropologist, consultant, and frequent media commentator, analyst, and public speaker on equity, human rights, international cooperation, race, public policy, and gender issues. She writes a regular column at Le Devoir, and her work has been published in several journals, magazines and newspapers, both in French and English. Emilie sat on the boards of the Broadbent Institute, an important progressive think-tank, and the Quebec Women’s Federation, one of the largest feminist organizations in Canada. An active bridge-builder, Emilie co-founded Québec inclusif (2013), a movement that actively unites citizens against racism and social exclusion. She also initiated a coalition campaigning for equality and against systemic racism in Quebec (2016). As a Vanier Scholar and Ph.D candidate in Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Toronto, Emilie focuses her research on the role of a shared language in the connections between Quebec and Haiti. She is the recipient of a Harry Jerome Award for leadership along with a Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. She completed the Action Canada Fellowship (2015) as well as the Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Fellowship (2019).
Dugan O’Neil is the Vice President Research and International, and Professor of Physics at Simon Fraser University. As a particle physicist working at the energy frontier, he has been contributing to furthering our knowledge of the nature of matter and its interactions for more than 20 years. He has been part of a team that has discovered several new processes and one very important new particle. Along the way, he has made seminal contributions to understanding complex datasets. This included bringing new machine learning techniques into his field in the mid-2000s, and working to build an advanced research computing platform to serve all Canadian academic researchers. Dugan served as Compute Canada’s first Chief Science Officer for three years, has served on and chaired major peer review committees in his discipline, and has served in many other administrative roles in Canada and abroad. He currently serves on the board or scientific advisory bodies of several research organizations and institutes.
Karyn Pugliese, aka Pabàmàdiz, is best known for her work as a Parliament Hill reporter and as the Executive Director of News and Current Affairs at APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network), where she ran the news department for seven years. She joined Ryerson’s faculty in the Spring of 2020 while completing a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. Karyn has worked in both daily news and on long-form investigations at a variety of outlets including ichannel, VisionTV, CBC and CTV. She was president of the Canadian Association of Journalists from 2018-2020 and still sits on the national Board of Directors. She is also a board member of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and a Journalists for Human Rights Ambassador, having worked as an expert trainer for the program in South Sudan in 2018. Karyn is a citizen of the Pikwàkanagàn First Nation in Ontario, and is of mixed Algonquin and Italian descent. When she is not engaged in acts of journalism, you’ll find her paddling a canoe, shooting photos and eating frybread. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Combined Honours for Journalism and History and a Masters of Arts with a specialization in Indigenous History.
Scott White is CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada. Previously, he was Editor-in-Chief of The Canadian Press and Vice-President, Content Strategy and Business Development at Postmedia Network. He is currently the Canadian media representative on the International Olympic Committee’s Press Committee and a board member of the Canadian Journalism Foundation. Previously he served as the Chair of the National Newspaper Awards. Scott has an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the journalism program at Ryerson University. Ryerson honoured him with an Alumni Award of Distinction in 2010.
A long-time Vancouver resident, Barbara has 30 years’ experience as a successful senior executive and consultant in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors across BC and nationally. Prior to her current role as President and CEO Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hosptial Foundation, she held executive positions with the Vancouver Foundation, Streetohome Foundation, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Barbara also has extensive experience as a senior consultant, excelling in strategic planning, organizational assessment, project management, board governance, financial sustainability, and public policy issues. Barbara is a proud member of the Board of Directors of YMCA of Greater Vancouver, the largest ‘on the ground’ social service organization in BC, and the Board of jack.org, a national organization working to revolutionize the conversation for Canada’s young people around mental health. She lives in Vancouver with her family and their loyal golden lab Rosie.
Naila Keleta-Mae is black and free. She holds a PhD and is a Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Waterloo with research and teaching expertise in race, gender and performance. In the past two years, Naila has written eight articles for the media – one was a top-trending-worldwide article for VICE Network and another was a record-breaking op-ed for The Globe and Mail. She has also appeared as a pop culture critic for the BBC, CBC, CTV, The Canadian Press, The National Post, The Toronto Star, and The Fader.
A leading expert on Beyoncé, Naila has written a book on the pop star’s art and influence (forthcoming, Between the Lines Press, 2018). In addition, she is currently working on a book on female blackness in Canada (forthcoming, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2019). A singer/songwriter and recording artist with two full-length albums (bloom, 2009 and free dome: south africa, 2002) she is also a published poet and playwright.
Naila’s scholarship appears in a variety of academic journals and books, and she has received a number of awards including the Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Award (University of Waterloo), the New Scholars’ Prize (International Federation for Theatre Research), the Mary McEwan Award for Feminist Scholarship (York University), the Abella Scholarship for Studies in Equity (York University), and a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship. www.nailakeletamae.com
Laura McGee is the founder and CEO of Diversio, a Toronto-based tech company that uses machine learning to help companies overcome diversity challenges. Laura was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence in 2017. Laura spent much of her career at McKinsey & Company where she advised private and public sector clients on talent strategy, including Diversity & Inclusion. She led the Firm’s support for the Canada-US Council for Advancement of Women, the Economic Advisory Council, and multiple private sector clients. She also co-authored diversity research in partnership with Lean In and the Wall Street Journal. Outside of work, Laura co-founded the #GoSponsorHer movement (which was picked up by 200+ CEOs in 8 countries) and Summit Leaders (a non-profit that inspires low-income students to build the next billion dollar business). She is a frequent contributor to publications like the Globe & Mail and Macleans magazine.
David J. Mitchell is the President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations. He has a broad professional background, spanning the private, public and education sectors. Most recently, he was Vice President, College Advancement & Chief External Relations Officer with Bow Valley College. From 2009 to 2015 he led Canada’s, an NGO dedicated to improving the quality of government through multi-sectoral dialogue.
Before that he served as vice president at three universities: Queen’s, Ottawa, and Simon Fraser, directing fundraising and external relations at each. David served as a Member of the BC Legislature from 1991-1996, where he was Opposition House Leader and a watchdog on a broad range of issues. He also gained experience in parliamentary procedure and legislative processes as Deputy Clerk of the Saskatchewan Legislature, and heldexecutive positions within Western Canadian resource industries. An award-winning writer and author, he is a Governor and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and previously served on the boards of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, the Parliamentary Centre, the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Centre, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Isabelle is a business transformation and marketing executive with 20 years of experience. She has spent her career helping business leaders understand technological disruption and what they can do to survive and thrive in this new era of exponential change.
Isabelle is President and Founder of Differly, a boutique Digital Transformation consultancy based in Ottawa. Prior to that she launched and led one of the first Digital Transformation Practices in Canada with Stratford Managers and was head of Digital Strategy and Director of Marketing for the Ottawa Senators, NHL Hockey Club.
She is a Board Member of the Ottawa Youth Services Bureau Foundation as well as Boxing Canada and a past President of the International Association of Business Communicators, Ottawa Chapter. She is a member of Women in Communications and Technology and a Certified ScrumMaster®, member of the Scrum Alliance. Isabelle is also the mother of three young girls and a champion for women in tech and sports.
A multiple award winning non-profit professional with expertise in fundraising and nonprofit governance, Ann’s experience includes work in both Canada and the US. She has taught nonprofit strategic planning, fundraising, and volunteer management at Georgian College for 8 years, and is one of only four people in Canada certified as a Master Trainer by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Sought after as conference speaker, Ann has spoken on philanthropy across Canada and internationally. She serves as a Mentor through the Association of Fundraising Professionals Inclusive Giving initiative. She has a strong understanding of the governance, financial, and legal regulatory requirements for running a charity.
Ann’s MBA focused on NonProfit Management and she has completed the Institute for Corporate Directors Not For Profit Governance Program. She is also an active volunteer for Endeavour Volunteer Consulting, is the 2018 Chair for Association of Fundraising Professionals Congress, the largest fundraising conference in Canada, and recently served as Board Secretary for Rainbow Railroad. Currently Principal for Charitably Speaking, she’s overseen major gifts, and personal and corporate giving for large organizations like CNIB, and small groups like the WoodGreen Foundation. She also serves as Editor for Hilborn Charity eNews, Canada’s largest weekly charity sector professional publication.
Her work has won awards in five fundraising domains and she is proud to have led the acquisition of more than $100M in ongoing giving by networking, partnering, and building high-performance teams. In her spare time, she is a Supreme Gleaner for local fruit charity Not Far From The Tree.
Heather Scoffield is an Ottawa-based economics columnist for the Star. She previously worked at The Canadian Press, where she spent almost 10 years as a social policy reporter and Ottawa bureau chief, and The Globe and Mail. Over the course of her 25-year career in journalism, she has covered monetary and fiscal policy, economics, trade policy, social policy, aboriginal affairs, environment and energy, and several different political parties. Heather has a Master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a BA in international relations from York University. She lives in Gatineau, QC.
John Simpson holds a PhD (Alberta 2010) in philosophy based on research into rational behaviour using agent-based simulations. He is currently the Humanities & Social Sciences Specialist for Compute Canada and is leading development of a national strategy to engage these communities in High-Performance and Advanced Research Computing.
Relatedly, he is the Canadian Coordinator for Software Carpentry, a regular instructor at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and ex officio member of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities Executive. Outside of academia he is a manipulator of strings on screens, in hands, and on ukulele and banjo fret boards.
As a PhD prepared sociologist, June Webber has focused her professional life on national and global policy, practice and leadership issues committed to values of social justice, equity and women’s rightful place in society. She has over 35 years of experience in global health, development and leadership, many of those as a successful senior executive, researcher and consultant in education, health and development sectors in Canada and around the world. As a researcher and senior consultant, June works with a range of civil society, government and multilateral agencies to support program development and management, social and public policy development, strategic leadership and planning. June is passionate about supporting the next generation of young women, who she recognizes are well-placed to bring transformative socio-political change that establishes equitable leadership paradigms and strong voices in Canada and around the world.
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