2019 HR Main Stream

HR Leaders Toronto is pre-approved for 8.75 CPD hours

HR Main Stream

HR Main Stream is designed for HR Managers and the wider HR team, providing expert insight and practical strategies on the topics at the top of the people management agenda in 2019.

8:00 am

Registration & Networking Breakfast

8:50 am

Conference Welcome Remarks

Colette O’Neill

Chief Talent Strategist and Founder, ADVANCE Human Capital Solutions

9:00 am

Opening Keynote: Leadershifting HR – Working Smarter, Not Harder

Ranked among the Top 30 management gurus world-wide, Dr. Nick Bontis is recognized by the former Editor of Harvard Business Review and Fortune Magazine as “a pioneer and one of the world’s real experts in intellectual capital.” He is also a 3M National Teaching Fellow, an exclusive honour often referred to as the Nobel-prize of teaching! Information bombardment is the single most damaging threat to HR productivity. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Why not leadershift this threat into a sustainable competitive advantage for you and your organization? Let's start to work smarter, instead of harder. During this enlightening and action-packed keynote presentation you will learn how to:

  • Transform your HR strategic acumen
  • Cope with information bombardment
  • Improve your ability to manage change
  • Lift productivity and efficiency
  • Speed up innovation through collaboration
  • Achieve industry leading competitiveness
  • Determine what HR leadership action you can take tomorrow

Dr. Nick Bontis

Award-winning professor of strategy, McMaster University Director, Institute for Intellectual Capital Research 3M National Teaching Fellow

9:30 am

From Wellness to Holistic Wellbeing: Rethinking How Companies Can Help their Employees Thrive in a Chaotic World.

Wellness programs pledge to reduce absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, improve productivity, and increase employee morale, but few companies have realized those promised benefits. To deliver scalable, sustainable results, wellness programs must shift from telling employees what to do to stay healthy to helping them understand at an individual level why they struggle to put those recommendations into place. Moreover, companies can do much outside of their official wellness programs to create the kinds of environments where employees can flourish – personally and professionally.

Jarik Conrad

Senior Director, Human Capital Management (HCM) Innovation, Ultimate Software

10:10 am

Networking Coffee Break & Workshop

For information about our workshop available to attend during the break, please click here hrleaders.ca/schedule-workshops/

11:10 am

Future-proofing Your Organization: Are You Prepared for the Next Generation of Talent?

A new generation is about to graduate and enter the workforce. With 21,000+ co-op students and 7,000+ employers around the world, the University of Waterloo has early access to Gen Z talent and employers willing to share their experiences and expectations in the workplace. Learn how to future-proof your organization by getting an exclusive look at what motivates and matters to the next generation of talent, with input from students and employers who are already working together. In this session, we’ll dive into new data to help you:

  • Understand future of work trends
  • Examine the values gap between your organization and potential candidates
  • Adapt to shifting skill requirements
  • Identify what motivates next gen talent at work

Norah McRae

Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education, University of Waterloo

Ross Johnston

Executive Director, Co-operative Education, University of Waterloo

11:50 am

Change Employee Behaviour & Create Employee Engagement Strategies

In order to create real breakthroughs, build meaningful collaboration, gain new clients and engage the best talent, it’s time to take a closer look at how we interact with our people. In this session we will discuss:

  • What role does HR play in the management of change and supporting employee engagement?
  • The role of communication – what you say and what is heard
  • Coaching employees and reinforcing positive behaviours
  • Creating collective team goals to increase engagement


Joe Facciolo

Co-Founder, Guusto


Kristina Holle

HR Business Lead for Canada and UK, Gap Inc.

Kelly Davis

Chief People Officer, Sunwing

Sandy Scholes

Chief People Officer, Flipp

12:30 pm

Networking Lunch

1:30 pm

Power Talk: Leading Through Adversity & Change

A clear, concise and thought-provoking bite-size talk about a topical subject. Learn something new and take away a powerful message.

The HR team plays an important role in building resilience and supporting the shifts in behaviours and processes required by the organization when faced with adversity or change. How can HR leaders help their teams “put the oxygen masks on first” so that they can better support the team as a whole? In this session, Laura Lee-Blake will share insight into how she and her team supported Campbell Canada through a period of monumental change.

Laura Lee-Blake

Vice President, Human Resources, Campbell Company Canada

1:50 pm

Power Talk: McDonald’s Canada Talent Attraction Approach

A clear, concise and thought-provoking bite-size talk about a topical subject. Learn something new and take away a powerful message.

Are your ‘help wanted’ signs fading? Are your application forms collecting dust?  Technology is quickly changing the face of talent acquisition and so are the new applicants – the Gen Zs.  In a landscape where talent is scarce, HR leaders need to find a way to reach and engage new talent. In this session McDonald’s Canada will discuss evolving their talent attraction approach to ‘out shout’ the competition.

Stephanie Hardman

SVP & Chief People Officer, McDonald’s Restaurants Canada, Ltd. 

Amelie Duclos

National HR Director, McDonald’s Restaurants Canada, Ltd.

2:20 pm

Breaking Barriers – Creating True Inclusion

Delivering successful D&I programmes has become a strategic priority. What are the latest strategies and technologies that help facilitate long-term inclusivity? And, most importantly, how can you utilize them? During this engaging session, we’ll discuss:

  • Creating bias-free recruitment processes
  • Securing leadership buy-in for diversity programs and measuring their impact on business performance
  • Widening the diversity lens beyond gender issues
  • Creating an inclusive culture where everyone is comfortable being who they are

Tej Singh Hazra

Seasoned Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner

3:00 pm

Networking Coffee Break

4:00 pm

Workshop: #MeToo – The Impact it has had on the Workplace

From disgraced Hollywood moguls to underhanded politicians, the past 18 months have been awash with workplace scandal.

While many organizations updated their policies, training and investigation methods, we are left wondering what impact has the #MeToo movement really had?

In this talk we will:

  • Review research on how the public views the post #MeToo workplace the post
  • Discuss changes to the investigation process
  • Examine how companies are tackling a “macho” mentality
  • Share how we are integrating #MeToo into training programs

Dessalen Wood

Chief People Officer, Thoughtexchange

4:45 pm

Closing Keynote: The Tallest Poppy: The High Price Successful Women Pay For Success

A recent survey found an overwhelming number of Canadian women have experienced Tall Poppy Syndrome in the workplace. Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) occurs when people are attacked, resented, disliked, criticized or cut down because of their achievements or success. The result of this silent systemic syndrome has a direct impact on everything from engagement and satisfaction to productivity and retention. The Tallest Poppy study, led by Dr. Rumeet Billan, looked specifically at working women across Canada from all demographics and professions, and how their psychological health and workplace performance are affected by their interactions with both colleagues and supervisors. The results of this study offer a loud wake-up call for companies and leaders across the country. It revealed that an immediate change is needed to support women in the workplace, to encourage their accomplishments and shift the culture of toxic workplaces. Dr. Billan’s keynote will provide key insights gleaned from the study and share solutions and potential next steps for companies in order to retain top talent and shift workplace culture.

Rumeet Billan

President and CEO, Viewpoint Leadership

5:15 pm

Conference concludes for the day & drinks reception

8:00 am

Registration & Networking Breakfast

8:20 am

Breakfast Workshop: The Disruptive HR Tactics Used by Disruptive Businesses

Disruption is still driven by people. In this session you'll hear the best talent strategies being used by leading global organizations. These HR teams use an emerging technological architecture to drive innovation not just because it's a good idea, but as a strategic necessity. They need HR technology that is as agile as their talent strategy. Discover how a unified platform that engages and adapts is accelerating their digital transformation and providing an outstanding talent experience.

Todd Burns

Director, Avature

8:50 am

Conference Welcome Remarks 

Colette O’Neill

Chief Talent Strategist and Founder, ADVANCE Human Capital Solutions

9:00 am

Opening Keynote – Creating a Culture of Innovation Within Your Organization

The world of HR is institutional and anchored in tradition. Thanks to technology, intricate workforces, social and environmental issues and an influx of new national and international policies at a pace never seen before, HR is shifting and modernizing. In this environment, leaders cannot expect to maintain the same business culture. While respecting core values, leaders must determine how they want their organizations to adapt as well as what they want their organizations to be in the future. Looking beyond processes and technology, leaders must therefore make it a goal to create a new culture of innovation.

  • Show your workforce the possibilities: take a brick out to show them that the building won’t collapse
  • Lead by example and nurture a thought-provoking and idea-based culture: Innovation does not always mean technology
  • Breaking away from tradition and negativity is key to gaining and maintaining momentum
  • Measure your progress and don’t be afraid to shift when needed
  • Reward people not only for their service but also for getting to the right outcomes for both the individual and the organization

Kin Choi

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources, Civilian, Department of National Defence

9:30 am

Workforce Shaping: Nice-to-have, or Necessity?

The last few decades have been defined by disruption - social, technological, political - that has changed the way we live our lives. We have witnessed the impact of many disruptions in our workplaces. Job and task automation, the gig economy, and workforce analytics are just a few of the buzzwords kicking around the corporate world that have become commonplace among organizations' business and people strategies. But are necessary actions being taken as a result of them, or are they just seen as a nice-to-have? Are organizations taking into consideration the risk of not addressing these workforce issues?

In the past, businesses have taken a reactive approach to workforce planning. With disruption happening more frequently now, businesses need to shift toward becoming more proactive when thinking about their workforce; shaping their workforce according to the skills and capabilities they predict they will need to achieve their future strategic objectives. It’s not just a matter of nice-to-have. In this session, we will discuss how HR Leaders can identify and address workforce matters of necessity. Some key points that we will touch on during this session will include:

  • People analytics
  • Inclusion & Diversity
  • Workforce-enabling technology
  • Employee experience

Stavros Demetriou

Partner and Leader, People Analytics and Future of Work, People & Change Services, KPMG in Canada

Soula Courlas

Partner and National Leader, People & Change Services, KPMG in Canada

10:00 am

Networking Coffee Break and Interactive Workshop

For information about our workshop available to attend during the break, please click here hrleaders.ca/schedule-workshops/

11:00 am

Practical Strategies of Attracting & Retaining Top Talent

Employers are locked in competition to employ the best talent and top performing candidates. What’s the secret to engaging the most sought-after talent while simultaneously facing the new challenges of a global disruptive market? What are the key strategies for retaining talent once its through door? It’s all under discussion from a panel of leading Canadian HR executives. They’ll cover:

  • What are the best apps and tools for sourcing top talent?
  • How do you position your brand to attract top talent and engage employees?
  • How to combat the increasing turnover rate and retain top talent
  • Using technology to deliver a competitive candidate experience - make it smarter, faster and seamless
  • Compensation, total compensation and rewards – how to provide a compelling total package
  • Retain your talent by provide ongoing opportunities and incentives


Skai Dalzel

Co-Founder, Guusto

Lisa Brown

VP Talent, Vidyard

Lana Burton

Director, Talent Acquisition, Maple Leaf Foods

Christine Vigna

VP, People and Culture, Dejero

11:45 am

Happy Teams Build Healthy Business: Developing a Culture of Mental Wealth

Poor mental health is the number one leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, costing the global economy one trillion dollars in lost productivity according to the World Economic Forum. While many organizations have taken initial steps in responding with initiatives that reduce the stigma around mental illness, we now need to focus on developing a culture of mental wealth - the skills, behaviours, and mindsets needed for high performance, working in teams, adaptability and leading with purpose.

This session will demonstrate how mindfulness is the core competency for building a culture of mental wealth, highlighting:

  • Understanding mindfulness-in-action as a basic human resource we all have access to
  • Developing a business case for mental wealth
  • Learnings from key case studies: implementing the MindWell Challenge – an evidence-based training in workplace mindfulness

Plus, we’ll teach you Take 5 – a mindfulness-in-action tool that can be done in the midst of your day with eyes wide open!

Pam August

Former Director Culture Activation, WestJet

Geoffrey Soloway

Founder & Chief Training Officer, MindWell-U

12:15 pm

Networking Lunch 

1:15 pm

Leveraging Technology and AI in HR

It is undoubtedly an exciting time to be in HR and to consider the monumental changes coming to the people function. HR departments are adopting AI technologies and automation to streamline operations and enhance their contribution to overall business goals. This exciting session will cover how executives are approaching this opportunity by:

  • Providing analysis of the latest HR technology and its impact on business strategy
  • Overcoming the challenges of HR technology implementation
  • Training HR teams to focus on higher-value services and successfully managing the transition

Lyne Parent-Garvey

Chief Human Resources Officer, Hydro Ottawa

1:50 pm

Best Practices for Creating Rewards & Recognition Programs

Employee recognition is a crucial part of great workplace cultures. Leading employers today understand the importance of a customized, sustainable program that helps employees feel valued and appreciated and that reflects the needs and preferences of their diverse workforces.

  • Creating a comprehensive recognition strategy
  • Recognizing, inspiring, and connecting employees
  • Sharing and celebrating success across the organization
  • Building recognition into your workplace culture

Kevin Ames

Director, O.C. Tanner Institute

2:20 pm

Networking Coffee Break

3:00 pm

Closing Keynote: Overcoming Adversity through the Lens of Diversity and Inclusion

Imagine struggling to say your own first name. Dealing with a debilitating stutter, Joze Piranian avoided speaking almost entirely. He was afraid of being judged for being different. The mere act of having to introduce himself to others was terrifying.

In this inspiring and humorous keynote, Joze will share his journey of overcoming the adversity of being different by discussing empowerment through self-acceptance, facing fears through repeated exposure to discomfort and the necessity of organizations and HR professionals to develop a more nuanced understanding of the diverse challenges that an employee or prospective hire might be facing. D&I is a tango, it takes two: the empowerment of the individual and the inclusive acceptance from the organization.

Joze Piranian

Transformational Speaker, Stand-up Comedian

3:30 pm

Conference concludes

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