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September 2015
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Ahead of the Curve: Building One of Canada’s Top Agencies
Mia Pearson, Co-Founder, North Strategic
Topic: Entrepreneurship

Many people have a ‘big idea’ for a business yet most are unsure how to get it off the ground - or furthermore, turn it into a success. Who better to turn to for expert insight than last year’s Deloitte Start-Up winner of the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, Mia Pearson, who took home the win with the fascinating story of how she grew her latest venture from a novel idea to one of the most competitive communications agencies in Toronto.

A force within the Canadian marketing scene, Mia is known as an innovator, corporate strategist and social pioneer. Always ahead of the curve, in 1996 Mia created the first technology boutique PR agency in Canada and grew it to 120+ people across the country and San Francisco before selling it to Fleishman-Hillard in 2008.

Her next mission was to set the standard in how agencies integrated social media with traditional PR - the result is North Strategic, a disruptive company that quickly established itself as an industry leader and has earned Mia and her team countless accolades including 2013 Top Marketers in Canada, 2014 Small Business of the Year, and Strategy Magazine’s 2014 Agency of the Year.

Join us on September 15th for this unique opportunity to tap into Mia’s award-winning insights and infectious enthusiasm for entrepreneurism. Get inspired to take the next step in your professional journey!
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Meet the Change Maker: Setting the New Standard for Corporate Culture
Marianne Harrison, President & CEO, Manulife Canada
Marianne Harrison is on a mission. As President and CEO of Manulife Canada, she’s tasked not only with running the Canadian arm of one of the largest financial services companies in the world, but also with implementing a bold, new strategy and dramatically shifting the employee culture.

Marianne joined Manulife in 2003 as Executive Vice President and Controller. She then served five years in Boston as President and General Manager for Long-Term Care Insurance for John Hancock Financial, Manulife’s U.S. Division. In 2013, she returned home to lead Manulife Canada. Prior to Manulife, Marianne had been Chief Financial Officer of Wealth Management at TD Bank Group after holding various senior positions there. Over the course of her career, she has accumulated deep industry insights along with a strong desire to drive change.

Today, Marianne is driving a shift in Manulife Canada from a product-focused climate to a customer-centric one, with a goal of putting the customer at the centre of everything the company does – both operationally and culturally. This involves a number of all-encompassing changes including a complete redesign of the organization, the launch of multiple new initiatives and the evolution of how employees think and work.

Join us on September 16th to get inspired by Marianne’s journey to the top and hear more about how she is leading the charge to reinvent a large organization to keep it competitive and successful well into the future.
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Making a Difference: Meet a Non-profit Leader with Global Clout
Sara L. Austin, Champion for Women and Children
Topic: Career Management

With nearly 20 years of senior leadership experience in the non-profit sector, Sara L. Austin has built a legacy as a champion for the rights of women and children. Her work has taken her into the top circles of power at the United Nations as well as government corridors around the world. You’ll find her name on “most powerful women” lists, including our own prestigious Women of Influence Top 25 ranking – and for good reason. An expert in international human rights law, she has led global advocacy campaigns, shaped major public policy efforts, and is fluent in the parlance of diplomacy.

In her former role as the Director of the President’s Office at World Vision Canada, Sara not only acted as chief advisor to the President and Board of Directors, she also drove strategic changes in workplace diversity and inclusion. The passion that she brought to the role was sparked at the age of four, when her parents fostered a family of refugees from Laos. She now teaches at Mount Royal University and is launching a new advocacy campaign for the well-being of children in Canada. In essence, the global concerns that were presented to her as a very young girl became a commitment that has spanned decades.

Join us on September 23rd to tap into Sara’s expertise in leading global change and hear the inspiring anecdotes she’s collected along the way.
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What It Takes: Leading Canada’s Most Ambitious New Energy Program
Susannah Pierce, Vice President, Shell Canada & External Affairs Director, LNG Canada
By now you will have heard of LNG Canada, BC’s most ambitious new energy program. What you may not know is that the driving force behind the project is Susannah Pierce. A Calgary native, Susannah embarked on a whirlwind international career before returning home to play a prominent role in what is set to be a key milestone in Canadian history.

Susannah’s story is fascinating in itself and a testament to the kind of fearless leader the LNG project needs. With a triple-A education and multiple languages backing her, Susannah has worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC, been recruited by the CIA, and spent time in New York City as a Business Analyst and Saleswoman in the dot-com era, making (and losing) millions. After 9/11 Susannah felt it was time to reconsider the course of her career and returned her core interests to energy and international affairs.

Her rise in the energy industry escalated quickly while proving her leadership on controversial projects with TransCanada and Shell, ranked No.2 in the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies. In 2013, she was tapped to sit at the helm of LNG Canada, which many predict will be transformational for B.C’s economy.

Learn more about this fearless leader on September 24th, as she shares key anecdotes from her journey to the top and find out how, despite her demanding responsibilities, she manages to incorporate personal balance into her professional life.
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Global Perspective: Meet The Woman Leading Cisco Canada into the Future
Bernadette Wightman, President, Cisco Canada
Ranked as one of the top 10 most influential women working in IT today, Bernadette Wightman is a force to be reckoned with. Quick to be recognized for her leadership prowess during in her 15 year tenure at Cisco, she most recently served as the General Manager for Cisco in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and is most notably credited for driving Channel and Commercial sales across 84 countries and 10,000 partners.

In 2014, it was Canada that came calling with the hopes of leveraging Bernadette’s distinctly global perspective to continue to create high-performing teams here at home. Now one year into her new role, Bernadette joins us to share her unique insights on how to best integrate into new cultures, drive success in foreign markets, and impart key lessons from her global experiences - all leading to the big question of what’s in line for the next stage of the Internet and if Canada is really ready for it.

Join us for the Season Premiere of the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series for this unprecedented access to Cisco Canada’s new President.
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October 2015
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The View from the Anchor Chair
Tamara Taggart, Co-Anchor, CTV NEWS AT SIX
Tamara Taggart co-anchors the weeknight CTV NEWS AT SIX, delivering the most important stories of the day to viewers across the region. Selected as Broadcaster of the Year by the B.C. Association of Broadcasters in 2014, on October 27th, the multi award-winning television personality will turn the spotlight on herself and share the personal side of her professional journey to the anchor chair.

As a veteran broadcaster and third generation Vancouverite, Tamara has a deep understanding of what matters most to Metro Vancouver residents. But as a busy working mother, Cancer survivor and Chair of the BC Women’s Hospital “Hope Starts Here” campaign, she also has critical insights to share on how to expertly balance countless demands while maintaining a high profile public career.

Join us to get up close and personal with one of Vancouver’s most beloved personalities and be inspired by a true story of strength and resilience.
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The Hostage Who Learned To Forgive: Amanda Lindhout’s Story
Kidnap Survivor, Bestselling Author & Humanitarian
This event is sold out at this time.
Tickets may become available closer to the event. Please send your contact information to info@womenofinfluence.ca if you would like to be added to a waitlist.


Topic: Inspiration

As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, she began to travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Afghanistan and in war-torn Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter.

And then, in August 2008, she travelled to Somalia - "the most dangerous place on earth." On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road. Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converted to Islam as a survival tactic, received "wife lessons" from one of her captors, and risked a daring escape.

Amazingly, Lindhout emerged after 15 months as a hostage with a vision of how she could create sustainable change in the world’s poorest country, the place where she had lost her freedom. Quickly gaining a name for herself as a humanitarian, Amanda now works tirelessly on women’s rights issues and empowers women in Somalia through educational and micro finance programs she founded.

On October 29th, Amanda will join us to share the harrowing story of her capture and survival and widen the lens to impart the stories of several extraordinary women — women who represent the future leaders of their countries — to bring us to the heart of a new global wave of women’s empowerment and social entrepreneurship.
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November 2015
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A Career Rebound: Lessons from the President of a Global Fashion Brand
Carrie Kirkman, President of Jones Group Canada
For over 25 years Carrie Kirkman climbed the ranks of the fashion industry in various sales, merchandising and management positions at iconic fashion houses including Alfred Sung, Liz Claiborne, DKNY and Kenneth Cole. Her passion and strong vision for rebuilding brands continually propelled her forward until she was ultimately recognized with the prestige position of President of Jones Group Canada in 2010.

During her tenure, Carrie grew the business line to exceptional heights, including record-breaking sales performance and a high-energy team who thrived under her leadership. By all accounts, Jones Group Canada was destined for unprecedented future growth.

In January 2015, that vision changed when it was announced that the Jones Group would be dismantled and the Canadian division would be closed. Overnight, Carrie’s career trajectory shifted beyond her control and now like many others in the current economy, she now sits at the pinnacle of change. Join us on November 10th for a one-on-one account from this former President on what she learned during her tenure and how she plans to rebound to the next phase of her executive career.
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Global Senior Executive Dinner: Calgary
Rush Ocean Prime Restaurant
This elegant, by invitation-only, dinner is designed to recognize and elevate women at the CEO, Board and Senior Executive level and provide the opportunity to share invaluable insights, best practices, and survival tools amongst their peers. The goal of the evening is to tap into the solutions for women’s professional advancement in order to impact the global community at large.
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Taking the Top: How to Become the Leader of a Successful Corporate Brand
Senior Vice President, Marketing, Shoppers Drug Mart
Topic: Personal Branding

Over 25 years in the marketing and advertising industry, Shelagh Stoneham has held a series of increasingly impressive senior titles at top firms, including executive managing director at BBDO and senior vice president at Rogers Communications.

In 2014, she became the senior vice president of marketing for national chain Shoppers Drug Mart, guiding a brand that has 98% consumer awareness and 1.2 million customers daily. Her success was no accident: Shelagh didn’t just write down her goals, she made strategies to achieve them. She’s made smart career moves to continually build on her experience, and evolved with the industry as its needs and demands have shifted. As for career failures: those are learning moments that she won’t be repeating.

Join us on November 12 for an insightful Q&A led by a local media personality. Shelagh will not only be sharing the details of her strategies for success, but also how they can be applied to your own career and personal brand.
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RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Gala
Dinner and Awards Gala

Join us on November 18th, as we celebrate the achievements of the Finalists and Award Winners at our signature Red-Carpet Gala at the prestigious Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

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Strategies for Success in a Changing Industry Landscape
Annalisa King, CFO and SVP of Best Buy Canada Inc.
You’ll find Annalisa King at the top of the “Most Powerful Women” lists for good reason.

As Best Buy Canada’s Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Annalisa is a driving force behind the success of the company. And this is no small feat; on the heels of a significant transformation, Best Buy is carving out a leadership position in Multi-Channel Retail. King has shown dedication to mentorship throughout her professional journey, which has included senior positions at Maple Leaf Foods, Kraft, and Pillsbury Canada. With a reputation as a dynamic thought-leader in the areas of corporate finance and business transformation.

Annalisa is also a Director of three Boards; Saputo Inc., The North West Company and the Vancouver Airport Authority; lending her Strategic and Financial Skills to the oversight of these organizations.

Join us on November 24th to tap into Annalisa’s experience — not only as an expert in strategic growth in a volatile retail landscape, but as a mentor for women aspiring to lead.
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December 2015
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Selling Joy and the Strategy of Reinvention
Heather Reisman, Chair and CEO of Indigo
As one of Canada’s most recognized businesswomen, Heather Reisman has already created her personal legacy as master strategist of reinvention.

During the first 16 years of her career, Heather led the world’s first strategic change consultancy, pioneering organizational change strategies that are still in use today. By 1996, she was leveraging this knowledge to bring about significant change in Canadian bookselling.

With the founding of Indigo Books & Music, Heather brought a unique high-touch and joyful experience to Canadian booklovers. When, in 2001, Indigo acquired their incumbent competitor, Chapters, her philosophy for “adding joy” to customers’ lives impacted the majority of the country’s book selling business. Over a decade later, Heather seized yet another opportunity for change — a move into the digital reading space. In founding Kobo, a global eReading company based in Toronto, she not only helped propel eReading as a viable option for millions of readers around the world, she also netted Indigo a $165-million gain with Kobo’s eventual sale. At the same time, she responded to evolving in-store buying habits with another retail renaissance: creating a ‘cultural department store’ offering gifts, housewares, and other non-book items.

A true industry titan, Heather has been recognized for her impact with countless awards and accolades, including her appointment as a Member of The Order of Canada and Honorary Doctorates from Ryerson University (2006), Wilfred Laurier University (2009), Mount Allison University (2010), and St. Francis Xavier University (2013). She has also wielded her influence on multiple boards including J. Crew, Magna International, Williams-Sonoma and Rogers Communications. In May 2015, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

Join us on December 3rd for the season finale of the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon series and hear the first-hand account of how Heather Reisman built an international empire on a vision for change.
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Leading Ontario: 35 Years in Public Service
Elizabeth Witmer, Chair, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board
Currently holding the position of Chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and with 35 years of public service, Elizabeth Witmer has been an influential figure in Ontario politics. During this time Elizabeth has been responsible for making decisions that have positively impacted the citizens of Ontario.

Formerly the Deputy Premier and longest serving female MPP in Ontario’s history, Elizabeth has also made her mark as a respected Minister of Labour, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Minister of the Environment and Minister of Education. Her exceptional leadership and progressive action have been recognized with countless awards and accolades along the way. Join us on December 9th to get one-on-one with this influential leader and find out how she has been able to overcome the barriers to success and stay the course in a demanding public career while also leave a defining impact.
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How to Break the Rules & Win: Lessons from the Advertising Industry’s Most Infamous Trailblazers
Best-Selling Authors and Co-Founders of Swim
Topic: Career Management

Janet Kestin & Nancy Vonk [the two masterminds behind the DOVE Campaign for Real Beauty and former co-chief creative officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto] will join us to unveil the behind-the-scenes story of how they unwittingly shattered the glass ceiling by challenging convention in the cut-throat advertising industry, and as a result became two of the most prolific forces in the field.

Backed by a collective wealth of experience that includes major industry accolades [Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends; 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising, etc.] and best-selling books ["Pick Me", a staple in ad schools from Texas to Turkey; "Darling You Can’t Do Both", a recent 2014 release], Janet and Nancy will inspire you to learn from their instinct to challenge the status quo and apply the same tactics to fuel your own career.

Their honesty, humour and no holds-barred insights into overcoming common challenges women face while navigating the workforce will have you laughing, crying, and most importantly, ready to take on a new professional year with a fresh perspective.
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