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 has been President of the University of Regina since 2008. 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 is the driving force behind the Inspiring Leadership forum, which annually attracts 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 editor-in-chief of Policy Options, the award-winning online magazine of the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP). 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).
Kathy English is the Toronto Star’s Public Editor, the paper’s reader advocate and guarantor of accuracy. She has reported and edited for the Hamilton Spectator, London Free Press, Toronto Sun, and the Globe and Mail.
Kathy taught newspaper journalism at Ryerson School of Journalism for 10 years and launched websites for two Canadian media companies. She served five years on the board of the National Newspaper Awards. She holds a Masters degree in Canadian history.
Jane Griffith is Partner at Odgers Berndtson. With more than a decade of experience gained in executive search, Jane has worked with a broad range of clients across diverse industries, including: Academia, Not for Profit, Environmental, and both the broader public and private sectors. Previously, Jane was Partner and Practice Leader of the Academic and Not For Profit Sector at Four Corners Group and founded Griffith Research, where she worked with a series of executive search companies located in Canada, the United States, Dubai and Australia.
Jane has also worked in fundraising for the United Way of Greater Toronto, York University Foundation, and with not for profit consulting firm KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.). An active volunteer both locally and nationally, Jane is a member of the Steering Committee for the 30 Percent Club Canada, the Founder of The Council of Women Executives, Vice-Chair of Clean Air Champions, a Founding Director of the Board of Directors for the Association for Professional Researchers for Advancement-Canada (APRA-Canada), former Chair of Perth Children’s House Montessori, and former Board Member of the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce.
A frequent public speaker, Jane has presented sessions with AFP at Congress in Toronto and Ottawa. She holds a BA, Honours in Legal History from the University of Calgary, a MA in Legal History from the University of Toronto, and she completed the course work for a Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) at York, focusing on the role of Emotional Intelligence and Lifelong Learning. Jane holds the “Certified Researcher/Associate” (CRA) designation from the AESC (Association of Executive Search Consultants) and serves as an Examiner for the Certified Researcher/Associate exams.
Evelyne Guindon is the Director, External relations of Women Deliver, a leading global advocate for the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women engagement. In this capacity she works to enhance the relationships and resources that power the organization’s work for girls and women around the world. With over 25 years of experience, Evelyne was most recently with CUSO International, one of Canada’s largest international development organizations, where she served as Chief Executive Officer. 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.
Over the years, Evelyne 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 the sturdy thread woven throughout her career and volunteer life. Evelyne 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 leads 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. Jennifer joined CIBC in 2014 to build an enterprise wide, global gender inclusion and diversity strategy. 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.
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.
Julie Miville-Dechêne was appointed senator for Québec in June 2018. She was a journalist and correspondent for Radio-Canada domestically and in the United States before becoming its ombudsman in 2007. 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.
Dugan O’Neil is the Associate VP Research and Professor of Physics at Simon Fraser University. As a particle physicist working at the energy frontier, he has been working for more than 20 years to further our knowledge of the nature of matter and its interactions. 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. Previous to taking on the role of Associate VP Research at SFU, 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.
Nobina Robinson recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnics Canada after over nine years of leadership for the national association that represents the leading Canadian polytechnics and colleges in Canada. Her longstanding commitment to inclusive innovation has led to significant increase in federal funding for polytechnic and college applied research and inclusion of students from these institutions for innovation internships. Since her retirement in July 2018, she has been appointed as Executive Fellow of the School of Public Policy of the University of Calgary, and a Senior Fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute. She was recently awarded an Honorary Degree in Applied Science by Algonquin College, in Ottawa. She has written numerous media commentaries about Canada’s innovation and talent challenges and opportunities for modernizing Canada’s skills and research ecosystems.
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 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.
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
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.
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