Dr. Marla Shapiro

Photography by Jeremy Kohm


Canada AM’s Health and Medical Expert


Marla has been medical consultant for CTV National News since 2003

Founding editor of ParentsCanada Magazine

Lectures given: 100


Wendy Freeman, President, CTV News

From Wendy Freeman

As told to Kate Daley

I first met Marla in 2001. At the time I was the executive producer of the CTV national news and anchor Sandie Rinaldo called me and said they were bringing in this doctor to do a segment on the show about flesh eating dis­ease. I remember watching that first night and thinking ‘Wow, she’s good.’ She was an amazing communicator and really connected with view­ers, taking those big medical terms and telling us how to understand them. Since then we’ve used her more and more—she’s the go-to doctor for Canadians across the country. We hear from our viewers all the time that they love her. She gets the message across.

Whenever a door closes for her she finds a way of opening a new one. Her very first appearance on Canada AM was because she lost a son at five and a half months to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She was telling people about the Back to Sleep Campaign because she wanted people to learn from her heartbreak. She takes these tragedies and turns them into learning experiences for others.

I always say she’s all the “b” adjec­tives—she’s beyond brilliant, balanced, brassy, beautiful and the best, because she really is. We sometimes also joke that she’s breastless because she had both breasts re­moved after having breast cancer. She wrote a book about her breast cancer struggle, entitled Life in the Balance, which became a best seller. She shared really intimate stories in her book. She gave personal details about how she felt about deciding to have surgery to remove both of her breasts and how she and her family coped. Not many people would do that. She also did a documentary on her breast cancer for W5 called Run Your Own Race, which won some big awards in the United States, such as the Columbus International Film and Video Award and an award at the New York Film Festival. She always talks about how she’s not a survivor, she’s a thriver. I love that she says that and it’s so true—she’s a thriver.

What you see is what you get, even on TV. People see her as warm and friendly and smart and she’s like that in person. She’s an amazing multi-tasker. She runs a practice, she writes for the ctvnews.ca blog, she ap­pears on TV on Dr. Marla & Friends, she sits on multiple boards, including the Canadian Foundation for Women and Health. I don’t know how she does it. She can be writing the blog for ctvnews.ca while she’s between patients, while she’s writing a book.

What makes her different? She’s very driven and caring. A lot of the women I know are driven, but they are not as caring as her. When it comes to friends, family and col­leagues in need or crisis, she drops anything and everything.

Arianna Huffington – Defining Success

In just eight years The Huffington Post has become one of the most important and influential news sites on the Internet. Much of the credit is due to its charismatic co-founder and editor-in-chief. Arianna Huffington is at the forefront of the new media revolution, an entrepreneur, author,  syndicated broadcaster and business leader with a unique perspective into the issues that shape our world today: politics, the economy, the media and public policy. Twice named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, Huffington has also been named one of Newsweek’s Ten Top Thought Leaders of the Decade; and one of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes.

On September 11, 2013, Women of Influence was pleased to have Arianna Huffington, Chair, President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, as a guest speaker to the Women of Influence Luncheon Series, Toronto.

Arianna Huffington’s 5 top tips for success

Courtney Shea,  The Globe and Mail | 09/22/2013

Arianna Huffington, the Pulitzer Prize-winning president and editor of the Huffington Post, has risen to the top of her field by questioning the status quo, taking risks and taking naps (eight hours of sleep is a must). Huffington recently shared some of her hard won-business wisdom with a rapt audience at the Women of Influence luncheon series in Toronto. Here, she talks wellness, work/life balance and why life’s too short to sit through a crappy movie. Read full Article>

Arianna Huffington on Why ‘No’ is a Complete Sentence

Zena Olijnyk, Business News Network | 09/11/2013

Did you know that ‘NO’ is a complete sentence? Or that you can finish a project by dropping it?

When Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, said earlier this week at a “Women of Influence” luncheon in Toronto that these are just two simple ways for women – and people in general – to reduce stress in their lives, her words hit me like a bullet.

All the times I said “Well, no because…..” or forced myself to finish a book, watch a movie or agree to do some overtime or special extra project at work even though I felt it would interfere with my family life.

Well Huffington made it clear to me that it IS okay to drop something, or simply say no even to “good things,” if it means it will wear you down and prevent you from getting the proper work-life balance, such as being with your family. Read full Article>

Women will lead ‘third revolution’: Arianna Huffington

Jessica Smith, Metro |09/12/2013

Arianna Huffington told Toronto’s “women of influence” in a luncheon speech Wednesday the next women’s revolution will require taking time for themselves.

Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, was the featured speaker at the series hosted by Women of Influence, an organization dedicated to the advancement of professional women across North America.

She used the speech to promote her “Third Metric” campaign, wherein money and power are two metrics of success and well-being is the third.

“When you think of women’s revolutions, we first had the revolution that gave us the vote, the second women’s revolution was about access and being able to have an equal place at the top of every field and every profession, equal opportunities and equal pay,” she said. Read full article>

Huffington: Women need to redefine today’s workplace because ‘it’s not working’

Gillian Livingston, The Globe and Mail | 09/12/2013

It’s time for women to radically change the way they work and to make it more realistic for people to climb the corporate ladder while still caring for themselves and those they love, says Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.

Women have been through two revolutions: the right to vote and the drive toward workplace equality, she said earlier this week at the Deloitte Women of Influence luncheon series in Toronto.

“The third women’s revolution is about changing the workplace and it is going to be led by women. It’s going to be led by women because you guys designed it and it’s not working,” she said, getting a few laughs from the overwhelmingly female audience. Read full article>

HuffPost founder sees reader engagement as future of media

CBC News |  09/11/2013

Arianna Huffington talks to Amanda Lang about the need for constant innovation

The founder of the Huffington Post says the future of the media is engaging with readers, something that traditional media are taking up as quickly as new media outlets.

Arianna Huffington, who began the Huffington Post as an online blog in 2005 and parlayed it into one of the world’s most-visited news sites, is seen as a trendsetter in the media landscape. She was a guest speaker at a Women of Influence event in Toronto on Wednesday.

“I think the biggest shift we’re seeing is moving from presentation to participation. The old days of  the media gods were telling us how the world is are over and now it’s all about engagement,” she said in an interview with CBC’s The Lang & O’Leary Exchange. Read full article>

Powerful people need balance in their lives: Arianna Huffington

Ashante Infantry, The Toronto Star |  09/11/2013

The quest for money and power isn’t necessarily reckless, but ambitious executives should seek balance in equal measure, says Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington.

The media powerhouse, who is chair, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, was in Toronto Wednesday to deliver the keynote speech at the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series at the Metro Convention Centre.

She urged attendees to join her Third Metric campaign which redefines success “beyond the first two metrics of money and power to include well-being, wisdom, and our ability to wonder and to give back. Read full article>

Arianna Huffington On The Third Metric: You Can Complete A Project By Dropping It

Claire Sibonney, HuffPost Living Canada  |  09/11/2013

If you’ve ever felt burdened by an uncompleted project, one that you know deep down you’ll never get around to, Arianna Huffington has some welcome advice.

“Did you know that you can complete a project by dropping it?” Huffington told a women’s business audience in Toronto on Wednesday. She said that in her case, dropping projects — learning to ski and to speak German, for example – led to feelings of relief, not a sense of failure. And by dropping them, she was free to pursue the things she truly cared about.

“Any project that you’ve started in your mind drains energy,” Huffington said. “One of my favourite sayings is ‘100 per cent is a breeze, 99 per cent is a bitch.’

“That doesn’t mean ignoring my other needs, but it means when I’m in it, I’m really in it. And that means often saying no to good things, to things that you might want to do, but get in the way of sleep, or get in the way of being with your children, or whatever it is that’s also very important to you.”  Read full article >

Arianna Huffington to Headline Women of Influence Luncheon


Arianna Huffington to Headline Women of Influence Luncheon

Topics to include fearless leadership, redefining success, and launch of four new Huffington Post editions

TORONTO, September 9, 2013—Arianna Huffington will be headlining the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series on September 11, 2013. The chair, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and co-founder of The Huffington Post will discuss a wide range of topics including the importance of women’s advancement, redefining success, and the launch of four new editions of the Huffington Post.

Women of Influence is dedicated to the advancement of professional women across North America. Its prestigious Luncheon Series celebrates the accomplishments of extraordinary professional women along their journey to success. Over the last two decades the series has showcased over 200 notable female leaders from all walks of life, including Heather Reisman (Founder and CEO of Indigo Books and Music), Maureen Sabia (Chairman of the Board for Canadian Tire Corporation), Cassie Campbell-Pascall (captain of the Olympic gold medal–winning Canadian women’s ice hockey team), Roberta Bondar (physician, scientist, and astronaut), and Venus Williams (professional tennis player.)

Twice named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, one of Newsweek’s “Ten Top thought Leaders of the Decade”, one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” according to Forbes, Huffington is an entrepreneur, nationally syndicated columnist, author of 13 books, and business leader with a unique perspective into the issues that shape our world today: politics, the economy, the media and public policy.

In May 2005, Huffington launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In just eight years, it has become one of the most important and influential news sites on the Internet and in 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.  Much of the credit is due to Huffington who is at the forefront of the new media revolution.

With welcome remarks from Carolyn Lawrence (president & CEO of Women of Influence) and Huffington’s introduction by Jane Allen (chief diversity officer of Deloitte Canada) the event will last two hours (see details below.) During her keynote address, Huffington will cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Fearless leadership: from politics to the boardroom
  • Redefining success beyond money and power (The Third Metric)
  • Launch of four new global editions of the Huffington Post

Luncheon guests are welcome to participate in an open Q&A with Huffington after her keynote address.

Who: Arianna Huffington, Chair, President and Editor-In-Chief Huffington Post Media Group

What: Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series

When: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where:  Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Constitution Hall 255 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Registration: 11:15am – 12:00pm

Lunch:               12:00pm – 2:00pm

Keynote:            12:25pm – 1:00pm

Q&A:                     1:30pm – 1:50pm

Registration: To attend this event, please contact Sonia Prashar at Broad Reach Communications directly at 416-560-6753 or sprashar@broadreachcommunications.com.

About Women of Influence

Women of Influence Inc. is North America’s leading organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women. It offers solutions to women through corporate consulting on Gender Intelligence, professional coaching, events, and media.  It produces and hosts the renowned Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series, RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards and the Top 25 Women of Influence, in addition to the publishing the Women of Influence quarterly magazine. Women of Influence has a community and reach of 120,000 in nine cities across North American including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, New York City, and Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.womenofinfluence.ca.


For more information, please contact:

Sonia Prashar

Broad Reach Communications



How Betty DeVita, President of MasterCard Canada Found Career Success By Going Global

How Betty DeVita, President of MasterCard Canada, found opportunities through diversification and achieved success.

By Heather Pengelley | Photography By Nick Wong

“I always knew I wanted to run something,” says Betty DeVita. “A key insight for me is to know yourself, understand what you’re good at, and really work that.”

At 20, DeVita started on one career path, but her self-awareness and passion led her to another. While studying hospital administration at St. John’s University in her native New York, she took a part-time job as a Citibank teller.

“My career took off,” she recalls. “I ended up staying with Citibank for more than 25 years, moving from New York to Florida, South America, Asia and then Canada.”

After graduating, she worked her way up the corporate ladder, married and, in 1993, moved to Citibank’s Latin American office in Florida. She started as a regional product manager then oversaw the automation of branch distribution networks, ATMs and call centres. She spent 60 per cent of her time in Latin America and had her first child, a son, in 1995.

Women should always think two or three steps ahead when planning their career, she advises. “You should look at how your next position can align you – from a skills development, networking and experienced-based perspective – for the next opportunity and the next.”

That’s what she did. Early in her second pregnancy, an enticing opportunity came her way. “I had made it very clear to the regional CEO that I was interested in moving to one of our markets to run a business,” she says. “In 2000, I got that opportunity.”

She didn’t tell her CEO that she was pregnant. “There was a continuous slate of candidates, and I thought that it would diminish my chances of getting that role. I did everything I needed to do to get that job.”

She won the position, moved to Venezuela, had a daughter and led Citibank’s consumer business for two years. In 2002, she became Regional Business Executive for the global consumer franchise in North Latin America, overseeing seven countries.

“Going global is an amazingly valuable professional experience for any individual in today’s business environment,” she says. “When people know that you have an understanding of how your business works across geographies, it’s just invaluable. I urge women, and all professionals, to think harder about how those opportunities help you to leapfrog into your third and fourth career objectives.”

DeVita learned to use market-specific strategies to grow Citibank’s business share and encourage customers to adopt new product lines. Ever mindful of her career goals, she honed her leadership skills.

Historic events conspired to give her first-hand experience in crisis management. Hugo Chávez became Venezuelan president in 1999, a year before DeVita landed in Caracas. Two years after her arrival, Argentina’s economy imploded. Political instability rocked the region.

“I dealt with military coups, takeovers, and a complete and total constriction of business,” she states. “From a management standpoint and learning perspective, there was absolutely nothing like it.”

When news reports provided an incomplete or inaccurate picture of what was happening, DeVita had to learn the fundamentals of crisis control – a challenge she rose to meet.

The management of information is critical in a crisis. I dealt with military coups, takeovers, and a complete and total constriction of business. From a management standpoint and business perspective, there was absolutely nothing like it.

Working with the local team, she ensured that Citibank headquarters and the regional office in Miami had the right information to make decisions on key issues, such as government relations, product configuration, and client relationships.

“The management of information is critical in a crisis,” she says. “The ability to ensure both your local team and headquarters know you’re in control – that was a key learning for me.

With business stymied by the Chávez administration, DeVita sought new ways to advance her career and ensure her family’s security. “I was looking for scale, a greater depth of job responsibilities: larger numbers of branches and employees, a bigger balance sheet.” So, when Citibank invested $3 billion (US) in Korea and its CEO was looking for someone to integrate the banking I priceless acquisition into the global business, DeVita jumped at the chance.

This is a woman who plans her career two steps ahead – but in Korea, crisis confronted her again. Dealing with an entrenched union, representing more than 90 per cent of bank employees including branch managers, refined her negotiating skills.

Working through a translator, DeVita explored cultural nuances in the ways that business works in Korea versus the USA. “It’s all about articulating a vision that everyone buys into,” she explains.

One of her strengths is being a chameleon. “You must put yourself in the scenarios. Any leader’s job is to work through what the best options are, considering the local and global mandate. Sometimes you take a hit, because those mandates don’t align.”

She learned to defend her market and convince headquarters to adopt region-specific policies.

In 2007, DeVita became chairman and CEO of Citibank Canada at the onset of the global financial crisis. “It was dark times,” she recalls. The parent company was under severe stress. With her board and regulators, she worked to ensure that the Canadian business thrived.

Becoming president of MasterCard Canada in 2010, DeVita further diversified her business skills from the banking industry to a technology company that happens to be in payments. Skill diversification is a challenging risk that women should take more often to prepare for future opportunities, she advises.

She served on six Citibank boards and developed a passion for corporate governance. She earned ICD.D certification from the Institute for Corporate Directors at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and revamped Citibank Canada’s board of directors. Her career plans lean in this direction.

DeVita currently serves on the board of Cops & Kids, an at-risk youth organization. This year, she aims to join a public board. She’s a passionate supporter of breast cancer research. This cause hits home with her, as her mother is a breast-cancer survivor.

Her passion for fashion, along with market research showing that women are chief purchasing officers in the household, inspired MasterCard Canada to sponsor Toronto’s Fashion Week, offering consumers better access to Canada’s exclusive designers and the runway.

Married for 23 years, she believes in date nights and staying connected with her children, who text all the time. “It’s important to ensure that you have time together as a couple and family,” she says. “That’s what makes life priceless!”

Read more from Betty K. Devita on the challenges of modern leadership at www.womenofinfluence.ca/atthetop.