Jeanne Beker, journalist, author and fashion entrepreneur, is one of the most iconic and influential women in the fashion industry, both in Canada and around the world.
Host of Canada’s leading fashion series Fashion Television for 27 years, Jeanne is a featured columnist for The Globe and Mail and Post City Magazines, a published author of 5 books, and was guest curator of a recent exhibit at The Design Exchange, “Fashion of Politics”. She is also creative director of a number of lines of clothing, shoes and accessories that bear her name, sold across Canada at The Bay, The Shoe Company, and The Shopping Channel. Jeanne has just been named “Style Editor” for the Shopping Channel, where she launches her new series, entitled “Style Matters with Jeanne Beker” on March 12th.
In 2012, Jeanne was honoured with the prestigious Canadian Award of Distinction at the Banff World Media Festival, and also received a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award in the Arts & Communications category. In 2013, The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television presented her with an Academy Achievement Award for Exceptional Contributions to the Canadian Television Industry. Last year, she was named to the Order of Canada.
Photo credit: Gabor Jurina
Kiki Delaney is President of C.A. Delaney Capital Management Ltd., an investment counselling firm which provides independent investment management services to institutional and private clients.
Kiki began her career in the investment business in Toronto at Guardian Capital Group, where she was an analyst and portfolio manager and finally Executive Vice-President. Prior to founding Delaney Capital Management in 1992, Kiki was a Partner and Executive Vice-President of Gluskin Sheff + Associates for 7 years.
Kiki is a past Director of the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts. In addition, she is a past president of the Ticker Club.
Kiki is the Chancellor of OCAD University. As well, Kiki serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Sick Children, is co-chair of SmART Women for the Art Gallery of Ontario, a member of the Leadership Council of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, co-chair of the Endowment Campaign of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Kiki earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba. In 1977, she gained her Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree (honoris causa) from the University of Manitoba in 2011.
In October, 2006, Governor General Michaëlle Jean appointed Kiki a Member of the Order of Canada.
Arlene Dickinson, owner and CEO of Venture Communications, a company she grew from a small, local firm to one of the largest independent agencies in Canada, is also the CEO of District Ventures and Youinc.com. Companies all aimed at helping market, fund and grow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies. She is a two times best-selling author, accomplished speaker and is best known to Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series¹ Dragons¹ Den.
Arlene¹s leadership has been recognized with honours including Canada¹s Most Powerful Women Top 100, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, as well as PROFIT and Chatelaine¹s Top 100 Women Business Owners and, is a Marketing Hall of Legends inductee.
She is an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy and the recipient of honorary degrees from Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary¹s University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Arlene sits on the Leadership Council of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, several boards including the Omers Venture advisory board, and is the proud recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Janice Fukakusa is Chancellor, Ryerson University. In addition, Janice serves as a corporate director with extensive banking and financial services experience. She previously served as RBC’s Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer and a member of RBC’s Group Executive, from which she retired in January 2017 following a distinguished 31-year career.
Janice currently serves on several boards of corporate and not-for-profit organizations, including Cineplex, and as Chair of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, Chair of the new Crown Corporation, Canada Infrastructure Bank and Chair of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Foundation. In 2007, she was inducted into Canada’s Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame and, in 2016 she was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker magazine for the fourth consecutive year. She was also selected as Canada’s CFO of the Year by Financial Executives Canada, PwC and Robert Half in 2014.
Janice has the professional designations of Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator. She was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (FCPA) in 2011. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts from University of Toronto and holds a Master of Business Administration from Schulich School of Business York University and in 2016 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from York University.
Trampoline champion Rosie MacLennan is a 2-time Olympic Gold Medal winner and the 2015 Pan Am Gold Medal winner. At age 11, Rosie began competing internationally and was the Canadian National Women’s Champion in 2005, 2009 and 2011. At the 2007 World Championships in Quebec City, Rosie earned a spot for Canada at the Beijing Olympics alongside longtime friend, synchronized trampoline partner and fellow Olympian Karen Cockburn. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Rosie qualified for the finals and finished in 7th place. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Rosie received a score of 57.305 for her final routine. With her score, she reached a new personal best and earned Canada’s only gold medal at the Games.
Rosie suffered her first concussion 2 months before the London Olympic Games. She sustained her 3rd concussion 1 month prior to the Toronto Pan Am games, where she still successfully won the gold but had a second impact about 2 weeks after the Pan Am Games, which nearly derailed her chances of competing in the 2016 Olympics. Nonetheless, Rosie made history at Rio 2016 when she became the first trampolinist to ever win back-to-back Olympic gold medals.
Rosie graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health. She is an MSc candidate at the University of Toronto, studying athletes rights and responsibilities. Rosie actively advocates for athlete rights, brain health, Right To Play and Jumpstart.
Heather Reisman is the founder, Chair and CEO of Indigo, Canada’s largest book, lifestyle and specialty toy retailer, and co-founder of Kobo, a leading global eReading company. Ms. Reisman was born in Montreal and educated at McGill University.
For the first 16 years of her career Ms. Reisman was Managing Director of Paradigm Consulting, the strategy and change management firm she co-founded in 1979. Paradigm was the world’s first strategic change consultancy and pioneered many organizational change strategies still in use today.
Heather is a former Governor of McGill University and of the Toronto Stock Exchange. She has served on many North American boards and continues to serve as a Director on the board of Onex Corporation, and as an Officer of Mount Sinai Hospital. She is also a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee, a geo-political think group.
In 2014, Ms. Reisman co-executive produced the feature documentary “Fed-Up,” focussing on the role which the processed food industry is playing in the worldwide obesity crisis.
Ms. Reisman is the recipient of Honorary Doctorates from Ryerson University (2006), Wilfred Laurier University (2009), Mount Allison University (2010), and St. Francis Xavier University (2013), as well as several awards including The Order of Canada, The WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Financial Times of London Top 50 Women in World Business, Waterloo Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, University of Waterloo; International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, University of Manitoba; and the John Molson School of Business Award of Distinction, Concordia University. In January 2015, Ms. Reisman received the Desautels Management Achievement Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Canadian business and society. In May 2015, Ms. Reisman was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
Ms. Reisman is married to Gerald Schwartz, Chair and CEO of Onex Corporation. She has four children and nine grandchildren.
Fran Sonshine has been a prominent leader in the Toronto community for many years. Fran is currently the National Chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, whose mission is to promote awareness of the Holocaust and its universal lessons through education and commemorative programming in Canada.
Fran was the 2009 Annual Campaign Co-Chair of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, raising $65 million for that year’s campaign. In addition, Fran has served as Chair of Baycrest, as well as Chair of Baycrest Foundation. As the first female Chair, she initiated its inaugural Annual Campaign.
Fran is an accomplished and inspiring fundraiser. She was the 2005 Chair of UJA Federation Women’s Campaign and Advocacy as is a past member of the National Women’s Philanthropy Board, the umbrella organization for North American Federations. Throughout her volunteer career, Fran has chaired major events, including the Toronto Hadassah Bazaar, the largest one-day sale of its kind and the 1999 Brazilian Ball which raised substantial funds for Baycrest.
In 1996, Fran received Hadassah-WIZO’s Volunteer of Distinction award; in 2003 UJA Federation’s Shem Tov Award, its 2010 prestigious International Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award; in 2011 the Ben Sadowski Award of Merit and in 2012, the Golda Meir Leadership Award. As a couple, Fran and her husband Ed have been honoured in 2003 by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem; were the 2003 recipients of the International Spirit of Jerusalem Award; the 2006 Jewish National Fund Negev Dinner honourees and were one of five couples honoured by Baycrest at its 2008 Tribute Gala.
Kirstine Stewart is Head, Shaping for Future of Media, Entertainment and Information, Executive Committee World Economic Forum. Prior, Kirstine was President and CRO at TribalScale and TribalScale Venture Studios, VP Media for @Twitter’s TV, Sports, Music, Talent, Entertainment, News & Government Partnerships, NYC, SF, LA, DC, TO, airplanes. Previously Kirstine was Managing Director of Twitter Canada, challenged with expanding the brand of the already well-known social network to Canadians.
Formerly the head of English language services at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Kirstine was appointed to the role of Executive Vice-President of CBC’s English Services, CBC/Radio-Canada in January 2011. She was responsible for overseeing CBC’s English radio and audio, television and digital operations across the country. Her role had been to revolutionize the CBC as the modern public broadcaster, providing a new generation of programming and content to inform, educate and entertain.
Kirstine’s vision resulted in record breaking viewership, continual ratings success for CBC Television, as well as achieving the highest share for the network for CBC Radio One. It is also under Kirstine’s leadership that multiple program apps for sports, news and entertainment, and a new digitally based music distribution service, CBC Music, were launched. She is known for her strong leadership abilities, her broad industry knowledge and her vision of CBC.
Prior to joining CBC, Kirstine was Senior Vice-President, Programming, Alliance Atlantis. She has also been General Manager and Vice-President, Programming Trio/Newsworld International.
Kirstine is a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, selected to advise the World Economic Forum. She was named Canadian Women in Communications (CWC) 2010 Woman of the Year, has been recognized by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, and in 2006 was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. Marketing Magazine has also recognized Kirstine’s role in naming CBC Media Player of the Year, 2009.
She is a founding board member of Culture Days, sits on the Banff Television and Film Festival board and on the boards of White Knights and Amfar. Kirstine is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Global Leadership in the 21st Century program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Vivien Brown MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP is a family physician in Toronto, the North American VP for the Medical Women’s International Association, and an Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto.
Educated at McGill University, she currently is appointed to the Department of Family & Community Medicine at both the University of Toronto and at McMaster University. She teaches medical students, residents and is highly respected for her work in continuing medical education for family doctors.
As a NAMS certified Menopause Practitioner, Vivien is the Chair of the Consumer Education Committee for NAMS. As an expert in Menopause, she is influential in numerous advisory boards, helping to edit teaching modules for the SOGC aimed at both practicing physicians and the public at large.
An award winner for teaching on many levels, Vivien’s major interests are in the area of health promotion and prevention for women, and continuing medical education. She is particularly focused in the area of Adult Immunization and Vaccine Preventable Illness. In 2009, she won the prestigious Enid Johnson MacLeod Award from the Federation of Medical Women of Canada for teaching in women’s health and has just been bestowed a great honour by the College of Family Physicians by being awarded “Physician of the Year” for the region of Toronto.
Vivien has lectured locally, nationally and internationally on preventative medicine and implementation issues around vaccination. She currently is the Toronto Branch President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, serving on their Board of Directors, linking female physicians, students and residents throughout the country.
Brenda Dee is President of Brenda Dee & Associates Inc. Brenda is a seasoned Certified Executive Management Consultant (CMC). Equipped with strong business transformational and technology management experience combined with solid professional acumen, interpersonal skills and enthusiasm for directing change, Brenda has a reputation to provide lift to stagnant or stalled enterprise initiatives.
Growing up in rural Ontario, Brenda developed an early appreciation for the importance of serving her community and that has continued to be evident throughout her professional and personal life. She believes everyday should be about learning and making a difference.
Brenda travelled extensively throughout her corporate career reshaping the international telecom landscape through various mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing negotiations. Although she was constantly embroiled in business, the need to serve her community was never far from her mind. Continuing her parents’ legacy, Brenda felt the need to instil a sense of community in her two children Emily and Taylor and assumed a board position with Family Transition Place (FTP). Within a year, Brenda was invited to consider the Chair role and served in that capacity for an additional 6 years. FTP provides emergency shelter, counselling support and second stage housing to abused women and their children across the Headwaters community.
Brenda continued to serve on other boards in the sports sector as well as provides governance advisory where boards may be floundering. When Brenda embraces a challenge, she is all in. Creativity has no limits and she will stop at nothing to ensure expectations are met. Brenda often refers to her role as one of a commercial matchmaker which she quite enjoys.
Serving not-for-profits continues to be of interest to Brenda providing, there is room to make a difference, the organization leads with integrity and her board colleagues are open minded progressive leaders. Never lose sight of a good sense of humor!
Terrie-Lynne Devonish is currently Chief Legal Officer at Altus Group Limited, and was formerly General Counsel at Staples Canada. Prior, Terrie-Lynne served as Chief Operating Officer for Aon’s Canadian Commercial Risk Solutions business.
After completing a B.A. from Collège Glendon, York University in 1992, Terrie-Lynne obtained an LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1995. She was called to the Ontario bar in Canada in 1997 and was licensed in the state of Illinois in 2018. Terrie-Lynne is a Director of the National Theatre School of Canada, and is a member of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, the Ontario Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers. She volunteers with the Cabrini-Green Legal Aid Clinic in Chicago. Terrie-Lynne and her team were one of the finalists in the ZSA/Financial Post’s Canadian General Counsel Awards in the Social Responsibility category in 2015, and Terrie-Lynne was chosen as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™ in 2007.
Mark Girard is a Chartered Accountant and Chief Financial Officer of Cedarpoint Investments Inc., a private equity and alternative investments management firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Mark is also CFO of Tanurb, a commercial real estate partnership with assets in the US and Canada.
Mark holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Windsor (1980), and earned his CA designation in 1983. Mark has spent 8 years in public practice with Deloitte LLP, and has extensive audit and tax experience in real estate, investments, foodservice, franchising and non-profit organizations.
Since leaving Deloitte in 1988 to pursue a career in industry, Mark has held CFO roles at Pizza Pizza Limited, Stephenson’s Rent-All, Retirement Life Communities and Cedarpoint Investments Inc and Tanurb.
Mark is an avid photographer and golfer.
Susan Hodkinson is the Chief Operating Officer at Crowe Soberman, where she has management responsibility for the operations of the firm, including finance, information technology, human resources, facilities and marketing. Susan also heads the firm’s
HR Consulting Group. In this capacity, Susan provides advice on all aspects of Human Resources, and demonstrates how strong HR practices can assist small to medium sized business owners to manage, grow and secure their businesses.
Susan is a frequent writer, speaker and facilitator on a variety of HR, operational and general business topics. Her background includes over twenty years of senior management experience in professional services firms, as well as five years acting as Senior Vice President, Operations, for ClubLink Corporation, Canada’s largest owner, operator and developer of private and resort golf courses.
Susan is very active in community activities, and is particularly committed to groups that focus on creating opportunities for women to work together to achieve greater levels of business and personal success. Included in Susan’s community activities are the Board of Directors of the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation, an agency of the government of Ontario under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. She is the Chair of the Toronto Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, Toronto and sits on the National Board of this organization.
Susan is also Chair of the Board of Directors for Nightwood Theatre, the oldest professional women’s theatre company in Canada. Nightwood Theatre forges creative alliances among women artists from diverse backgrounds while advocating for women, providing a training ground for emerging talent and engaging artists in play development and theatre production. Susan is also an Honorary Chair of One Walk to Conquer Cancer.
Susan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. She has completed Executive Education at Queen’s University, Chicago Booth University, McGill University and the Anderson School of Business at UCLA.
JoAnne Korten, a dynamic fundraiser and marketing executive with over 30 years of experience, specializes in the health, social services and service club sectors. JoAnne is adept at developing high-value relationships to secure the mission-oriented work for not-for-profits. An effective communicator, skilled negotiator and analytical thinker, JoAnne develops long and short-term strategies for organizations of varying sizes, and puts them into action.
JoAnne’s vast experience includes Executive Director of The Giving Tree Foundation of Canada, Director, Startegic Partnerships at Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health, Director of Development and Marketing at Delisle Youth Services, Director of Philanthropy at Hospice Muskoka, National sales & Key Accounts at Newville Classic Candles, and Director of Development at Hospice Toronto, Project Management at Niagara Gateway Project.
Highlights of her career include the development of ‘Pillars of Discovery, Recovery & Hope’ for Ontario Shoes Foundation for Mental Health, Strategic Fund Development for Delisle Youth Services, Hospice Toronto and Hospice Muskoka, Delisle Rocks, Delisle Youth Services signature fundraising event and Tree of Lights holiday celebration for Hospice Toronto, to name just a few.
Volunteer activities include Out of the Cold, Rotary Club of Toronto-Eglinton and Toronto-Sunrise, Aspin Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and CNIB.
Mark Lash is one of Canada’s most prominent, well-loved and respected jewelry designers, whose name is synonymous with innovative design, quality workmanship and personalized customer service. Established almost thirty years ago, Mark Lash Fine Jewelry currently has two locations, a flagship showroom and factory in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and a retail store in mid-town Toronto.
Mark’s keen eye, incredible talent and determination drove his passion into the successful business it is today. The world is Mark’s canvas and through his extensive travels he continues to be inspired by the world of art, architecture, fashion and entertainment. With a flare for selecting and designing stunning pieces of jewelry that are versatile and timeless, Mark Lash designs, current or traditional are inspired by eras past and current trends today.
Mark Lash has gained international notoriety by dressing many celebrities at red carpet events. His jewelry has been worn by Cee Lo Green, Freda Pinto, Shania Twain, Naya Rivera and Celine Dion to name a few. Mark’s celebrity following includes Cheryl Hines, Cameron Manheim, Julia Ormon, Eva La Rue, Taylor Hicks, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Connor Cruise and Dianna Agron. People magazine featured Mark’s jewelry on Melody Scott Thomas and In Style magazine sported Rachel Bilson’s Mark Lash designed engagement ring.
Mark is contributing editor to Revive magazine and has made guest appearances on Entertainment Tonight Canada, eTalk, CTV and Breakfast Television, and has been interviewed on XM Sirius Radio, and Just.Jared.com. Mark is a genuine philanthropist, generously donating exclusive pieces for auction in support of a wide variety of charities, and supporting The Blue Jay care Foundation, Children’s Wish Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Kids Foundation, Music Counts, The Aids Project of Los Angeles and Elton John’s Fashion Cares.
A resident of Vancouver, Nancy Laughton is a Career Transition Executive with a broad operations and human resources background, including 22 years consulting with LHH Knightsbridge (formerly KPMG Career Consulting and Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions). Possessing a proven track record and significant expertise in the areas of career management, executive career transition, training and development, and human resource management.
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Women’s Brain Health Initiative, Nancy’s other Board positions include, or have included The Vancouver Club, IWF British Columbia Board, most recently as Past president, and IWF Global Board.
Nancy has a lifelong interest in health and wellness for her family’s well being. Both of her grandmothers suffered from forms of dementia in their later years and recently she has seen an increasing number of friends and colleagues having to deal with brain health issues in themselves and their loved ones. WBHI is committed to making a difference in this area and she wants to help the organization however she can.
Lynn Posluns is Founder, President & Board Chair of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative, the global foundation raising money for research and education to combat women’s aging brain disorders. While serving as Founder and Chair of Women of Baycrest, Lynn recognized the need to raise awareness and funds beyond Toronto to help women stay brain healthy longer. Lynn’s passion and commitment for the cause now continues on a worldwide basis supporting worthy institutions that want to combat this impending crisis.
Since graduating from the University of Toronto with an undergraduate degree in Commerce & Finance, and a Masters degree in Business Administration, Lynn has held a number of positions within the Retail and Fashion industries, including President of Fairweather and Managing Partner of Canadian clothing designer Joeffer Caoc. Lynn is currently Managing Director of Cedarpoint Investments Inc., a private equity and alternative investments firm based in Toronto.
Lynn’s other community involvements have included Director, Baycrest Centre Foundation, Director, Toronto Fashion Incubator, Trusteeship Council, Koffler Centre of the Arts and Founding Member, Invest in Research Program, Princess Margaret Hospital. Fundraising campaigns include Baycrest, University of Western Ontario, Toronto Fashion Incubator, Princess Margaret Hospital, Israel Cancer Research Fund, and United Jewish Appeal, raising millions of dollars for these and other worthy causes. In 2010 Lynn won the Baycrest Award for Foundation Leadership and in 2012 received an ICRF Women of Action award for Philanthropy. Lynn also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding leadership at Baycrest and her vision for launching the Women’s Brain Health Initiative. Lynn was the recipient of WXN’s prestigious “Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women” Award, which celebrates the professional achievements of women across the country in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in 2012. In 2015 Lynn received the Top 10 High Achieving Women award for Social Impact from the Rotman School of Management, in 2017 she was recognized with a Paul Harris Fellow award from Rotary International, and in 2018 Lynn was the recipient of the Kurt and Edith Rothschild Humanitarian Award. Recognized as a visionary who could affect change, Lynn was awarded an honorary doctorate by York University in 2019.
Ellen Rachlin was a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan, and previously was the Lead Portfolio Manager for the Fund of Funds products at Mariner Investment Group. Prior to joining Mariner in 2002, she was a Director and founding member of Deerfield International Administrative Services, Ltd. Her responsibilities included overseeing sales, marketing and product development.
Prior to her time with Deerfield, Ellen was Co-Head of the IBJI Agent Department at both New Japan Securities International and Aubrey G. Lanston & Co., Inc. overseeing sales and trading of international fixed income products into the Americas. Ellen has also served as a Managing Director and a Director at S. G. Warburg and Co., Inc. and S.G. Warburg, plc. in the Fixed Income department and traded Fixed-Income arbitrage for five years at Citibank, N.A. and Government Arbitrage Co.
Ellen has written several chapters for financial textbooks edited by Frank J. Fabozzi on economics and investment management, as well as other articles for finance journals. She holds an A.B. economics degree cum laude from Cornell University, an M.B.A. specializing in Finance from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in creative writing from Antioch University McGregor. Ellen serves as Board Member and Treasurer of the Poetry Society of America and is a member of Cornell University’s Investment Committee: Hedge Fund Sub-Committee.
Will Stewart is a senior strategic executive with over 20 years’ experience who has driven project teams on complex files in a broad array of sectors for a wide variety of corporations, not-for-profits, start-ups, and member driven associations.
Will is currently a Senior Vice-President of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, where is also leads the National Public Affairs + Advocacy practice for Canada and is Chair of the Energy + Industrials Sector in addition to being part of the Canadian leadership team. Will leads a national team of practitioners focused on achieving real outcomes to further the business interests of his clients where the media, politics, and the population intersect. Will specializes in using communications tactics, media relations, social media activism and public persuasion to change minds and influence political action.
Prior to joining H+K Strategies, Will served in a variety of executive roles within the newly legal medical and adult use cannabis market in Canada. Will was focused on developing, launching, and managing cannabis assets around the world where and how legal. With teams and brands in multiple countries around the world from retail and health and beauty to cultivation and experiential culinary concepts, Will’s was focused on the promotion of these start-ups within the medical, recreational, and investor audiences.
A regular speaker and strategist on public policy, Will was previously Managing Principal of Navigator. He has provided strategic planning, research and communication advice to many of the leading firms, associations, and companies in Canada, as well as governments, trade associations and not-for-profit clients. Will was named by the Hill Times as one of the Top 100 Lobbyists in the country for seven straight years and has spent hundreds of hours in front of TV cameras, radio microphones, and featured in written publications as a strategist and commentator.
Will served as Chief of Staff in several portfolios to Ontario ministers responsible for energy, social services, and children, as well as the Government Whip and House Leader. Will is a respected media commentator on politics, public policy and social media. In 2013, Will was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian public policy.
Sarah Widmeyer is currently Director and Head, Wealth Strategies and Chief Marketing Officer at Richardson Wealth, and formerly was Managing Director, Head Wealth Advisory Services at CIBC, supporting the growth of CIBC’s Wealth Management businesses through the delivery of customized financial solutions to High Net Worth Clients.
Prior to CIBC, Sarah was Executive Director, National Office, Private Wealth Management and was responsible for the day to day operations, product, marketing, strategy and business management of our High and Ultra High Net Worth businesses at CIBC. Sarah was also Senior Vice President and Managing Director, BMO Nesbitt Burns, where she oversaw the fee based and managed account solutions group, financial planning, wealth advisory, high net worth offer, and global inter-business collaboration initiatives. Prior to BMO Nesbitt Burns, Sarah also worked at Spectrum United Mutual Funds as a Regional Wholesaler in addition to SunLife Assurance Company of Canada as a Sales Manager, Representative and Financial Planner.
Sarah is a graduate of the University of Toronto and received her CIMA designation from the Investment Management Consultants Association and The Wharton School, at University of Pennsylvania in 1999. She is actively involved in the community through the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the United Way and her daughters’ independent school, Kingsway College School. Sarah is married to a Financial Consultant and the busy mother of two very busy daughters.
Christy Abraham is a communications professional with over a decade of experience in public relations, advertising, and journalism. She is an avid reader and writer, who enjoys telling the stories that matter. Christy arrived in Canada in October 2018. She immigrated from Dubai, where she was born and raised, and where she built a long-spanning career servicing some of the world’s leading companies, Fortune 500 firms and local conglomerates. While her expertise lies in corporate and financial communications, she has also worked with government entities and non-profits. Most recently, Christy worked in the project management office of a leading financial services company based in Toronto, where she supported the project control and communications functions. In her free time, Christy dabbles in DIY projects, accompanied by a podcast or audio book playing in the background. Currently, she also devotes her time and skills to the Isolation Run for Health Care Workers, a grassroots fundraising campaign launched in April 2020, in response to COVID-19.
Christy Abraham is a communications professional with over a decade of experience in public relations, advertising, and journalism. She is an avid reader and writer, who enjoys telling the stories that matter. Christy arrived in Canada in October 2018. She immigrated from Dubai, where she was born and raised, and where she built a long-spanning career servicing some of the world’s leading companies, Fortune 500 firms and local conglomerates. While her expertise lies in corporate and financial communications, she has also worked with government entities and non-profits. Most recently, Christy worked in the project management office of a leading financial services company based in Toronto, where she supported the project control and communications functions.
In her free time, Christy dabbles in DIY projects, accompanied by a podcast or audio book playing in the background. Currently, she also devotes her time and skills to the Isolation Run for Health Care Workers, a grassroots fundraising campaign launched in April 2020, in response to COVID-19.
Laura Best is a young neuroscientist working both in the Research Imaging Centre at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and at Lululemon. She is currently completing her PhD in Medical Science at the University of Toronto after graduating from McGill University with her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology. Laura has also completed research in the Emergency Department at Sick Kids Hospital, and has been actively involved in a global health project in rural Dominican Republic for the past 3 years. As an aspiring physician, Laura values a preventative, holistic approach to medicine and health care. After retiring as the Captain of the McGill Varsity Cheerleading Team, she began to use running, yoga and meditation to condition her mind and body, and hopes to incorporate these elements into her future practice. She currently leads the Lululemon Midtown Run Club, and in the coming year, hopes to complete her first marathon and obtain her yoga teacher certification. Laura has a deeply-rooted passion for mental health, and is excited to be working with the Women’s Brain Health Initiative to encourage millennials to take care of their brains.
Laura Best, Vice-Chair
Laura Best is a young neuroscientist working both in the Research Imaging Centre at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and at Lululemon. She is currently completing her PhD in Medical Science at the University of Toronto after graduating from McGill University with her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology. Laura has also completed research in the Emergency Department at Sick Kids Hospital, and has been actively involved in a global health project in rural Dominican Republic for the past 3 years.
As an aspiring physician, Laura values a preventative, holistic approach to medicine and health care. After retiring as the Captain of the McGill Varsity Cheerleading Team, she began to use running, yoga and meditation to condition her mind and body, and hopes to incorporate these elements into her future practice. She currently leads the Lululemon Midtown Run Club, and in the coming year, hopes to complete her first marathon and obtain her yoga teacher certification.
Laura has a deeply-rooted passion for mental health, and is excited to be working with the Women’s Brain Health Initiative to encourage millennials to take care of their brains.
Alvin Chauhan is a consultant with Promontory Financial Group, an IBM Company and a graduate of McGill University. Promontory is a leading strategy, risk management, and regulatory compliance consulting firm focusing primarily on the financial services industry. Alvin provides advice to banks and financial institutions seeking to navigate complex regulatory regimes and adopt best practices in managing risk and insolvency crises. As an undergraduate student, Alvin served as the VP Finance for the Montreal World Health Organization conference. His experience with the organization allowed him to gain insight into the deluge of challenges facing the medical sector. Among them: access to health care, fixing the misalignment of incentives for medical professionals, and raising the profile of mental health issues. This sparked an enduring interest in him for examining the various controversies surrounding big pharma and the efficacy of highly profitable psychiatric drugs. He is also interested in the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in transforming medicine and healthcare. Alvin is an avid reader and writer and runs a personal blog where he publishes a variety of commentary pieces on issues related to politics and business. He enjoys golf, squash, and is active in various charitable causes across Toronto.
Alvin Chauhan is a consultant with Promontory Financial Group, an IBM Company and a graduate of McGill University. Promontory is a leading strategy, risk management, and regulatory compliance consulting firm focusing primarily on the financial services industry. Alvin provides advice to banks and financial institutions seeking to navigate complex regulatory regimes and adopt best practices in managing risk and insolvency crises.
As an undergraduate student, Alvin served as the VP Finance for the Montreal World Health Organization conference. His experience with the organization allowed him to gain insight into the deluge of challenges facing the medical sector. Among them: access to health care, fixing the misalignment of incentives for medical professionals, and raising the profile of mental health issues. This sparked an enduring interest in him for examining the various controversies surrounding big pharma and the efficacy of highly profitable psychiatric drugs. He is also interested in the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in transforming medicine and healthcare.
Alvin is an avid reader and writer and runs a personal blog where he publishes a variety of commentary pieces on issues related to politics and business. He enjoys golf, squash, and is active in various charitable causes across Toronto.
Elizabeth Chertkow, MDCM, CCFP, NCMP is a family physician in Toronto with a special interest in Women’s Health. She did her medical training at McGill University followed by a residency in Family and Community Medicine at University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital. Elizabeth’s interest is in understanding how gender influences our experience of health and wellness, from primary care and dementia to sexual and reproductive health. Elizabeth has done additional training in menopause health and is certified menopause practitioner, accredited by the North American Menopause Society. She was recently awarded the TEVA/NAMS Women’s Health Award, recognizing her commitment to women’s health and excellence in the field of menopause. She subsequently completed a Fellowship in Sexual Medicine at Women’s College Hospital and works as a consultant at the Sexual Medicine Counseling Centre where she sees men, women and couples for their sexual concerns. In addition to her family practice and sexual medicine consulting, Elizabeth is also on staff at the Bay Centre for Birth Control at Women’s College Hospital.
Dr. Elizabeth Chertkow
Elizabeth Chertkow, MDCM, CCFP, NCMP is a family physician in Toronto with a special interest in Women’s Health. She did her medical training at McGill University followed by a residency in Family and Community Medicine at University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital. Elizabeth’s interest is in understanding how gender influences our experience of health and wellness, from primary care and dementia to sexual and reproductive health.
Elizabeth has done additional training in menopause health and is certified menopause practitioner, accredited by the North American Menopause Society. She was recently awarded the TEVA/NAMS Women’s Health Award, recognizing her commitment to women’s health and excellence in the field of menopause. She subsequently completed a Fellowship in Sexual Medicine at Women’s College Hospital and works as a consultant at the Sexual Medicine Counseling Centre where she sees men, women and couples for their sexual concerns. In addition to her family practice and sexual medicine consulting, Elizabeth is also on staff at the Bay Centre for Birth Control at Women’s College Hospital.
Jade Crystal is the Program Director of Brainable, a Women’s Brain Health Initiative created to teach students the best ways to protect their brain health. Previously, Jade was a French Immersion teacher with the York Region District School Board. She has always been enthralled by the French language and continued to develop this passion by completing her Bachelor’s Degree in French Studies, followed by a Master’s degree in French Linguistics, both at Western University. After teaching French at the university level for four years, she completed her Masters of Science in Education and began her elementary school teaching career. Jade attended her first Women’s Brain Health Initiative event with a friend several years ago and was amazed by their commitment to educating people of all ages about what they can do to protect their brains. As a teacher, Jade strives to create lessons that are both engaging and pertinent to her students and wanted to be able to share that same love of teaching with those interested in protecting their brains and spreading awareness about gender inequality in Alzheimer’s research. Jade currently lives in the suburbs of Toronto with her family. When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, baking, and spending time with family. Jade is excited and honoured to be a part of the Young Person’s Cabinet where she can continue to learn about women’s brain health and utilize her knowledge of and experience in teaching to educate others.
Jade Crystal is the Program Director of Brainable, a Women’s Brain Health Initiative created to teach students the best ways to protect their brain health.
Previously, Jade was a French Immersion teacher with the York Region District School Board. She has always been enthralled by the French language and continued to develop this passion by completing her Bachelor’s Degree in French Studies, followed by a Master’s degree in French Linguistics, both at Western University. After teaching French at the university level for four years, she completed her Masters of Science in Education and began her elementary school teaching career.
Jade attended her first Women’s Brain Health Initiative event with a friend several years ago and was amazed by their commitment to educating people of all ages about what they can do to protect their brains. As a teacher, Jade strives to create lessons that are both engaging and pertinent to her students and wanted to be able to share that same love of teaching with those interested in protecting their brains and spreading awareness about gender inequality in Alzheimer’s research.
Jade currently lives in the suburbs of Toronto with her family. When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, baking, and spending time with family. Jade is excited and honoured to be a part of the Young Person’s Cabinet where she can continue to learn about women’s brain health and utilize her knowledge of and experience in teaching to educate others.
Matthew Earl is a Financial Planner with RBC, where he applies his experiences to understand his clients so that he may develop comprehensive financial plans and investment strategies, tailored to help them manage their wealth and reach both their personal and financial goals. He has held several roles within the financial services sector and has been employed as both a Financial Advisor and Business Analyst with a leading financial institution. Matthew has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Ryerson University and Business Management Diploma from George Brown College. In addition, he holds the Certified Financial Planner Designation (CFP) and the Chartered Investment Manager Designation (CIM). Matthew has experienced first-hand the impact of age-related brain diseases and mental health on the women in his family. He is dedicated to helping spread awareness and increasing funding to further research and help those with similar experiences.
Matthew Earl is a Financial Planner with RBC, where he applies his experiences to understand his clients so that he may develop comprehensive financial plans and investment strategies, tailored to help them manage their wealth and reach both their personal and financial goals. He has held several roles within the financial services sector and has been employed as both a Financial Advisor and Business Analyst with a leading financial institution.
Matthew has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Ryerson University and Business Management Diploma from George Brown College. In addition, he holds the Certified Financial Planner Designation (CFP) and the Chartered Investment Manager Designation (CIM).
Matthew has experienced first-hand the impact of age-related brain diseases and mental health on the women in his family. He is dedicated to helping spread awareness and increasing funding to further research and help those with similar experiences.
Caroline Faulds is a Human Resources professional at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Toronto; BCG is a global management consulting firm; they partner with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. She holds a Bachelor of Art’s degree from Queen’s University in Psychology and Gender Studies; as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in HR Management from George Brown College.
Caroline holds the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation and is an active member with the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA). During her time at Queen’s and early in her career, she developed a passionate about health and wellness, diversity and inclusion, and women’s issues in relation to the workplace.
With Dementia affecting close family and loved ones, Caroline is passionate about learning more about the impact of the gender gap of brain-related disorders on women and their caregivers.
In her spare time, Caroline enjoys swimming, reading, listening to podcasts, finding hidden restaurant gems in the Toronto area with friends, and spending time with family.
Madeline Grant is a member of the Professional Practice team with Crowe Soberman LLP, a Toronto-based public accounting and advisory firm that provides audit, tax, advisory and risk services to small or medium-sized businesses, individuals, not-for profit organizations and public companies.
Madeline was introduced to Women’s Brain Heath Initiative (WBHI) four years ago through Crowe Soberman, and over the last few years has had the opportunity to volunteer at various women-centred events, which inspired her further involvement in WBHI.
While studying at Dalhousie University, Madeline developed a strong interest in gender and women’s studies classes, sparking her passion for women’s issues and empowerment. Having experienced first-hand how age-related brain health issues have affected close family members, Madeline is a strong advocate for the importance of bringing awareness to brain health at a young age.
Molly Hanson is a Senior Data Analyst at theScore, a sports media and betting technology company based in downtown Toronto. In this role, she combines her passion for data and background in quantitative analysis to help internal stakeholders make data-driven decisions. Previously, Molly has experience in other industries including internet privacy and digital media.
Molly holds a Masters of Science in Data Science from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from McGill University.
Molly is passionate about sharing her interest in wellness and mindfulness with family, friends and colleagues. She practices transcendental meditation and often attends sound meditations as a way to be more present and de-stress the mind. With age-related brain diseases and mental health affecting female family members, Molly is pleased to join the Young Person’s Cabinet to inspire other millennials to start focusing on their brain health.
Shaylyn Joseph is a researcher working at the Geriatric Mental Health Department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), with a special interest in Alzheimer’s Disease. She is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, where she obtained her Master of Medical Science and completed a Bachelor of Science specializing in neuroscience and mental health.
Shaylyn has also completed research at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto Western Hospital and The Scarborough Hospital Outpatient Clinic where she curated a mental health digital library service featuring free applications designed to help improve mental health and mindfulness. Aside from her professional pursuits, Shaylyn works as an Educator at Lululemon and has been actively involved in promoting autism awareness and fundraising for accessible programming in her community.
Shaylyn is passionate about mental health and works to promote holistic health for all. She is committed to making mental health and access a priority in her endeavours. Moving forward she aims to further her work by connecting with like-minded individuals to help educate and encourage younger generations on the importance of overall health and wellness, to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Erin Kenzie is a biomedical communication specialist working in the Toronto area as a Senior Account Manager for a medical communications agency. She works closely with pharmaceutical clients and leading medical experts to develop educational programs that support healthcare practitioners and patients. She draws on her unique background in education (BEd) and medical illustration (MScBMC) to address the unmet educational needs in emerging therapeutic areas, such as medical cannabis, and rare diseases, including hemophilia and cystic fibrosis.
Erin has a deep interest and curiosity in the role that mindfulness can play in supporting mental health and wellbeing. She is currently pursuing continuing education certification with McMaster University to develop tangible skills to integrate a variety of mindfulness practices into her personal and professional life. She has been personally touched by dementia in her family and is encouraged by the science around the neuroprotective effects of mindfulness and other proactive brain health measures on decreasing the risk of developing dementia. She is excited to support the YPC and its mission to encourage young adults to prioritize taking care of their brains, starting now.
She lives in Mississauga with her husband, two young daughters, and poodle, Yoda. Whenever she can, she gets outside to explore the trails along the Credit River and soak in the natural beauty in her backyard.
Leah Mersky is a Toronto-based activist who loves to uplift people with creative and community-forward projects. She has helped plant a forest at a rural school in Tamil Nadu, India; facilitated a youth-led parade in Cape Dorset, Nunavut; and co-developed a PPE employment program in response to Covid-19 in Toronto.
Leah joined Women’s Brain Health Initiative’s Young Person’s Cabinet because she is passionate about gender equality in scientific research. She also wants to amplify awareness of WBHI’s initiatives to get more people involved!
As someone who is in recovery from mental illness, she loves Women’s Brain Health Initiative’s approach of educating people about positive and healthy choices they can make to promote better brain health.
Carly Picov is a recent graduate from Dalhousie University and holds a Business Management degree. She is currently working on obtaining her Ontario Real Estate Association license looking to focus in luxury residential sales and her passion for interior design and staging.
Carly’s introduction to Women’s Brain Health started four years ago during a summer job position where she played an administrative and creative role at the Women’s Brain Health Initiative head office. Her time at WBHI allowed her to work on some of WBHI main projects such as Memory Morsels, Mind/Matter Magazine and monthly charitable events. Throughout the next couple of years her role developed into a creative position, focusing on the MillennialMinds social media page, which she created to draw in likeminded individuals to help educate and inspire ways to take care of their brains.
With Dementia affecting a close member of her family, Carly is dedicated to devoting her time as a member of WBHI to get others involved in the cause and aware of the importance of looking after your brain starting at a young age.
Laurie Piltz is a counselor at the Wharton Medical Clinic where she applies her knowledge as a Nutritionist and understanding of consumer behaviour to develop solutions for patient’s needs that will align with their lifestyle and goals. With a background in marketing and communications, she pursued a career in healthcare to be able to make an impact on people’s lives which includes developing strategies that best fit their needs.
Laurie holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and a bachelor of Applied Science degree from Ryerson University.
Laurie’s passion for optimal health includes focusing on mental health and brain health in hopes to educate and encourage millennials on how they can improve their lifestyles to live a healthier life.
Sarah Plummer is a Senior Marketing Manager with a globally recognized international education and technology company. Her professional mission is to strategically build creative solutions to complex problems with teams that care.
With more than a decade working in Marketing & Communications, Sarah has a proven track record of using research and data to improve results and drive ROI through forward-thinking, integrated plans. Her work has led her to conceptualize, lead, and develop marketing strategies and narratives for some of North America’s largest brands, including All-State, Cinemark, RBC, and Telus. Sarah is an expert at branding, strategic marketing, and creative communications.
After living through a close family member’s battle with Alzheimer’s, Sarah sees the YPC as an opportunity to lend her skills and expertise to ensuring that all young people know they have more power than they think over the future of their mental health; that the choices we make today DO have an impact on who we are tomorrow.
Jordan Rasberry is a Managing Partner and Sales Representative at Core Assets Real Estate. Core Assets is a premier, Toronto-based real estate brokerage with a primary focus on residential transactions. As one of Toronto premiere sales reps, Jordan consistently ranks in the top 2% among Toronto Real Estate Board members year over year. He has sold almost $50M. in real estate, ranging from luxury single family homes to large multi-family investment properties.
Outside of his sales role, Jordan’s primary focus involves recruiting new agents looking for a boutique, team-focused brokerage. He also acts as a mentor to younger agents helping them to become high-producing Realtors who have a very clear mandate to collaborate, listen and learn together. This uncompromising commitment and dedication to higher standards has given the team a reputation as elite Brokers and is evident in their past results.
Jordan’s assiduous personality and strong leadership skills have been a key asset in helping Core Assets grow to a team of 13. Jordan is a graduate of the University of Guelph and holds an Honors, Bachelor or Arts degree. He continues to refine his skills and education and is currently working towards his Broker designation.
Kayla Ross works as a Strategy and Operations Consultant at Deloitte, specializing in helping small and medium-sized businesses develop winning strategies and operational improvement plans that create long-lasting impact. Kayla’s work has focused on strategic planning, organizational transformation, customer experience strategy, governance strategy, and target operating models.
Previous to Deloitte, Kayla worked as a Client & Strategy Lead for a Toronto-based social impact consulting and marketing firm, Public Inc., for five years. During this time, many of her clients were focused in the mental and physical health spaces, across non-profit, public sector, and private organizations.
Kayla holds degrees in Psychology from McGill University and an MBA from Ivey Business School. With a focus on living and promoting a healthy lifestyle, Kayla combines her passion for wellness and her business expertise to support the mission of Women’s Brain Health Initiative and the Young Person’s Cabinet.
Rohan is currently a Marketing Manager at Google where he focuses on helping small and medium businesses thrive online and succeed within Canada and abroad. Before joining Google, he was a Senior Associate Brand Manager at Johnson & Johnson where he worked across some of Canada’s most beloved health care brands.
He is a graduate from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. While attending Queen’s, he was a member of the men’s varsity soccer team.
Rohan cares deeply about encouraging millennials to apply the same rigour to caring for their mental health as they do their physical health. He is excited about the opportunity to leverage his professional experience and extend his passion for overall health & wellness to support the mission of the YPC and WBHI.
Matteo is an Investment Counsellor with RBC PH&N Investment Counsel, where he applies his diverse experience in portfolio management, investment counselling and financial planning to provide discretionary investment management services to help his high-net-worth clients achieve their long-term goals and aspirations.
He has been featured on the Business News Network (BNN) television channel as a commentator on markets, economics and investment products on several occasions. Matteo is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder and holds the Canadian Investment Manager (CIM) designation. He is a member of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) and was recently named as a finalist for the 2020 Wealth Professional Advisor of the Year – Responsible Investments award.
Matteo is an advocate for health and wellness and enjoys educating millennials on the steps they can take today to protect their brain health in the future. He believes everyone should benefit from the available research and resources to battle age related brain diseases.
Alison Walters is a Fundraiser at Trillium Health Partners Foundation in Mississauga. Her background in health in conjunction with her passion for supporting health-focused nonprofits drives her in her role supporting fund development for the hospital.
Alison holds a Bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University in Health Studies as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate from Humber College in Fundraising Management. Previous to her fundraising career, Alison worked at both Lululemon and F45 Training. She is also a member of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. These experiences were very unique in helping build her passion for health and wellness.
Alison has first-hand experience of how age-related brain health issues affect women and their families. She is excited to promote awareness of the importance of brain health at a young age.