Andrea Lekushoff President, Broad Reach Communications
A leader in the Canadian public relations industry, Andrea has two decades of experience building strong reputations and driving business results for many of the world’s most respected brands.
With more than a dozen local, national and international PR industry awards, Andrea is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has authored articles in the Ivey Business Journal, PR Week, The Lawyers Weekly and Women of Influence magazine.
Andrea is also committed to giving back to businesswomen around the world. As a result, Broad Reach is a proud sponsor of the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series and provides microfinancing to 10 women entrepreneurs in Tanzania through FINCA Canada.
Before founding Broad Reach, Andrea was a strategy consultant with Deloitte, worked at two Toronto-based PR agencies and was the Press Assistant at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Andrea holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School and a BA in French language and literature from Western University. She is fluent in English and French, sits on the TEC Canada Strategic Council and her love for travel and adventure led her to successfully climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
President, Stratheden Homes
Barbara Hackett President, Stratheden Homes
Barbara’s career in corporate and entrepreneurial pursuits and her experience campaigning for John Tory’s political leadership, contribute greatly to the leadership at Women of Influence Inc. Barbara contributes to the day-to-day management of the firm in addition to her place on the Board, in an effort to help grow the business.
After a fifteen-year corporate financial career, in 1994, Barbara started her own business, Stratheden Homes, designing and building homes to pursue her interests in a more entrepreneurial manner. Her major volunteer activities have included the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), as Treasurer and Board member, The Toronto French School and most recently as Vice Chair of The Canadian Stage Company.
Barbara also holds an MBA in Finance and after graduating started a networking group at the Albany Club for women entering and looking to advance in the workforce.
President & CEO Women of Influence Inc.
Carolyn Lawrence President & CEO Women of Influence Inc.
Carolyn Lawrence is the President & CEO of Women of Influence Inc., Canada’s preeminent organization dedicated to advancing, connecting and celebrating the professional accomplishments of high powered Senior Executive Women and providing both a forum and the programs to support the development of professional women throughout North America.
President & CEO, Closing the Gap Healthcare
Connie Clerici President & CEO, Closing the Gap Healthcare
Connie Clerici is the passionate founder of a group of award-winning Canadian healthcare companies, known as Closing the Gap Healthcare Group, that provide work opportunities for close to 600 individuals across Ontario. Connie’s passion is to help those most in need in society, and to be accountable for doing so. She ensures that ethics and compassion accompany sound business practices, such that her business consistently provides healthcare services of an exceptionally high quality.
A Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nursing, Connie actively embraces change, while making a concerted effort to build and support a high-quality, publicly-funded healthcare system that is sustainable for Canadians. She regularly volunteers, and sits as a chair or board member, for a wide variety of community and provincial boards and committees
While Connie currently specializes in executive leadership, governance, and corporate administration, she has a strong history in cardiology, paediatrics, palliative care, complex care, and home care. Her formal education includes advanced nursing and leadership courses at McMaster University, Western’s Richard Ivey School of Business University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business Management, and York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Editor-At-Large, Financial Post
Diane Francis Editor-At-Large, Financial Post
Diane Francis, Editor-at-Large for the National Post is well known across the country for her newspaper columns. She also blogs on the Huffington Post, is a broadcaster and author of nine best-selling books. In addition she is a sought-after speaker, host of events and participant in conferences around the world. She has been honored with many prestigious awards from associations, publications and universities across the country. In the Fall of 2007, Diane expanded her column online by launching her her blog, which deals with North American political and business issues.
She has been a Media Fellow at the World Economic Forum in Davos for many years and was a Shorenstein Fellow in fall 2006 at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In fall 2007, she became Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University’s Rogers School of Management, Canada’s largest business school. In 2010, she became a member of Ryerson’s cabinet.
In addition to her work as a financial journalist, Diane Francis is the author of: Immigration: The Economic Case; BRE-X: The Inside Story; Fighting for Canada; Underground Nation; A Matter of Survival; The Diane Francis Inside Guide to Canada’s 50 Best Stocks; Contrepreneurs and Controlling Interest – Who Owns Canada and Who Owns Canada Now.
Diane Francis has served on the advisory boards of York University East/West Enterprises and CANFAR, the Canadian Foundation for AIDS research as well as on the board of directors for CARE Canada, the George Brown College Foundation Board and was Chair of the successful $22-million campaign for Ryerson University’s Community Health Centre which was opened in fall 2002.
She is a director of Aurizon Mines of Vancouver, listed on the Toronto and American Stock Exchanges and in November 2009 was named a trustee of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, a world leader in oceanography research.
Senior Marketing Executive
Deirdre Horgan Senior Marketing Executive
Deirdre brings 20 years of experience in strategy, branding and digital marketing. Formerly the EVP, Chief Marketing Officer of Indigo Books & Music, she was most notably responsible for building Indigo and Chapters to become preeminent Canadian brands and for creating plum rewards and irewards loyalty programs with over 7 million members.
Deirdre was also Head of Strategy and EVP Digital, running one of Canada’s largest e-commerce businesses. During her 15-year tenure at Indigo, Deirdre promoted and supported a gender diverse work environment on her teams, creating unique experiences for women in business.
Deirdre started her career at Boston Consulting Group, which is well known for its Women’s Initiative and celebrating women’s leadership.
Outside of work Deirdre has devoted time as a judge in Marketing Hall of Legends, Co-Creating the Marketing Mentorship program, and acting as an advisor at Hospital for Sick Kids Foundation. In 2004, Deirdre created the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, which has raised over $15 million dollars to fund underprivileged school libraries.
Deirdre graduated with distinction with an Honors degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario and qualified for the Dean’s List while studying at U.W.O. Deirdre received Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Honour in 2011.
Chief Operating Officer, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited
Justine Deluce Chief Operating Officer, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited
A bilingual business executive and currently the Chief Operating Officer at Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited in Toronto, Justine has a proven track record in the private sector combined with government policy experience. Recent key achievement includes the successful revamping and expansion of a $1.6B luxury real estate brokerage. Able to effectively bridge the gap between private industry and public service by combining business acumen with strong understanding of government policy and active involvement in politics. Adept at understanding and managing the unique needs of multiple stakeholders through active listening, diplomacy and strong negotiation skills. An effective and inspiring leader and a strong community builder in the arts and in the non-profit sector.
President, Air Rail Metrolink/Go Transit
Kathy Haley President, Air Rail Metrolink/Go Transit
Kathy M. Haley joined Metrolinx as the inaugural President of the Union Pearson Express in July 2011. With a proven track record in customer service and operational excellence, Kathy is charged with delivering the highly anticipated express rail service to link downtown Toronto with Canada’s largest and busiest international airport, Toronto Pearson. Under Kathy’s leadership, and with her customer-focused drive, the project will be delivered on time for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
Kathy’s pedigree in Customer Experience Transformation includes leading enterprise-wide initiatives at Royal Bank of Canada, Canada Post and internationally for Allianz Group AG, headquartered in Munich. At Imperial Oil Ltd., she changed the face of petroleum retailing through the development and launch of Esso Tiger Express and On the Run retail operations.
Kathy’s deep understanding of the customer has provided her with the vision and insight to anticipate market needs and deliver new and innovative services that elevate the entire customer experience.
She is a board member for Women of Influence and is on the advisory group for the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Business Administration from Dalhousie University.
Head of HR Mergers and Acquisitions, Royal Bank of Canada
Rajini McRae Head of HR Mergers and Acquisitions, Royal Bank of Canada
Rajini McRae is Head of HR, Mergers and Acquisitions at RBC with global responsibility for the human resources elements in M&A transactions.
Ms. McRae joined RBC in 2013.
Prior to RBC, Ms. McRae led the finance organization at Tiercon Corp for 8 years. She was part of the executive team that was instrumental in acquiring Tiercon Corp, an automotive company, and growing the business to a successful mid-size company, through the down turn of the automotive industry.
Previous to her time at Tiercon, she worked at IBM Canada for 9 years in many progressive financial roles and was a key member of the senior team that led the turn around of the Canadian PC business and ultimately its sale to Lenovo.
Ms. McRae’s community leadership includes her advisory roles at Women of Influence and Earth Incorporated. She is also an active member of Ascend Canada, participating in their awards committee, mentoring program and fall conference. In addition, Ms. McRae is Co-Chair of RBC’s HR, Brand & Communications diversity leadership council.
Rajini McRae holds a Honours, Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, a Master of Business Administration from Schulich School of Business and leadership training from Harvard University.
She and her husband live in Toronto and have three children.
Founder & President, Belladonna Communications
Victoria Foley Founder & President, Belladonna Communications
Victoria Foley delivers over 25 years of valuable experience and expertise in strategic brand/design. As Founder and President of belladonna communications, Victoria has set the benchmark for delivering nothing short of the best intellectual and creative solutions for building distinctive brands and resolving business challenges—creating desired perception, power and profit. She is also the Founder and CEO of Canadian Greatness® a non-profit platform that is all about Canada—connecting the public with role models, great brands and best practices for nation building and social and economic rewards.
Tax Partner, Ernst & Young
Tony Pampena Tax Partner, Ernst & Young
Tony is a tax Partner at Ernst &Young in Toronto, where he specializes in providing taxation advice to public companies and private companies and acts as a tax co-ordinating partner to deliver value-added solutions to his clients. Tony spent 13 years working in the Tax group at Ernst & Young and has experience in other industries in providing business advice. Tony acts as a tax co-ordinating partner on most of his accounts.