2016 Speakers

The Honourable Christy Clark, Premier, Province of B.C.

Christy Clark was sworn in for her second term as British Columbia’s 35th Premier on June 10, 2013 and has become Canada’s longest serving female Premier.

Presiding over a Cabinet of almost 50% women, her focus has been to protect and create jobs and opportunity in B.C. with her plan for a strong economy and secure tomorrow.

Her plan starts by controlling spending today. Her proven commitment has led B.C. back to an era of balanced budgets.

Her plan also includes working to continue growing BC’s diverse economy and markets, fighting for economic development in every corner of our province, expanding international trade, and strengthening skills training to continue putting British Columbians first.

Dr. Miklós Dietz
Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company (Vancouver)

Dr. Miklós Dietz is the Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company’s Vancouver office and leads the company`s Global Banking Strategy and Corporate Finance group. A recognized expert in banking strategy, corporate finance, marketing, sales, and digital transformation, since joining the company in 2001, he had led more than 300 projects in 40 countries.  

As one of the leaders of McKinsey’s work on digital innovation in banking, Dr. Dietz also leads Panorama, a McKinsey Solution Centre that generates insights on the best strategic and investment opportunities in global banking markets.

Dr. Dietz’s experience includes:

  • designing the retail strategy of banks, insurers and telecoms in Europe, Asia and Middle East;
  • developing the long-term digital strategy, new technology infrastructure and national e-commerce platform for the financial and retail sectors of an Asian country; and,
  • helping major global companies develop innovation strategies and roll out pragmatic, high-impact projects and revolutionary, multi-country sales and distribution models.

Dr. Dietz is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds degrees from the University of Cambridge, ELTE University and the Budapest University of Economic Sciences. Prior to joining McKinsey, he worked as a software specialist for Reuters Inc., and as a technology analyst and investment manager for Merrill Lynch in London, Los Angeles and New York.

Jill Earthy
Chief Growth Officer, FrontFundr

Jill Earthy is passionate about the economic advancement of women, and small business. She is currently the Chief Growth Officer of FrontFundr, an online investment platform connecting entrepreneurs and investors.

As a community leader and active mentor, Jill serves as a Director on the Board of Governors for Simon Fraser University (SFU), and as Board Chair of the Women’s Enterprise Centre.

She is a Co-Founder of the WEB Alliance, a collective of over 25 Women’s Business networks in the lower mainland of BC, and was recently recognized as one of 35 Most Influential Women in BC by BC Business Magazine.

Elisabeth Finch
Partner, Tax Services, PwC

Elisabeth is a passionate and creative leader who relishes opportunities to bring alternative perspectives to PwC’s business, and to her clients.

Founded on her education and first career in the fields of metals and materials, in her second career Elisabeth has advised multinational corporations on international tax, and specifically transfer pricing, for 19 years. Her background in technical and commercial roles within the international metals and materials industry before joining PwC UK, means that she brings a very practical and pragmatic approach to her advice to companies.

Elisabeth provides leadership in Diversity and Inclusion for PwC in BC, serves on the Board of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She aims to be a role model in taking care of her mental and physical health, by singing with the internationally renowned Elektra Women’s Choir, running and cycling.

Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick

Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick
Founder, Beehive Holdings

Prior to founding Beehive, Nanon worked in sales and marketing for Playtex International before moving on to become Sr. Vice President of Telemedia Corporation for 10 years.

While at Telemedia, Nanon helped grow the company into Canada’s largest consumer magazine publisher with titles ranging from Elle and TV Guide to Canadian Living. She also helped oversee the building of Telemedia into one of the country’s largest radio operators. Born in Montreal, QC, Nanon graduated with honors from Harvard College and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Nanon is fluent in English, French and Spanish. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Allocadia Software and the de Gaspé Beaubien Family Foundation. She is also an Executive Chair for Monthly Gift and an Advisor to the Board of Directors for Accompany and Ruby Ribbon. Nanon is married with two children and resides in Victoria, B.C. Canada.

Chris Hatton
Chief Operating Officer, Head of Diversity & Inclusion Council, HSBC Bank Canada

Chris Hatton was appointed Chief Operating Officer for HSBC Bank Canada in July 2015. Mr. Hatton joined HSBC in 1996, and has held senior management roles across the bank in both the UK and the US.

Previous roles include: Regional Chief Operating Officer, North American Commercial Banking, HSBC Bank USA, NA; Chief of Staff, Global Commercial Banking, HSBC Holdings plc; Senior Manager, Commercial Banking Europe, HSBC Bank plc; and Manager Development, Commercial Banking, HSBC Bank plc.
Janet Kennedy

Janet Kennedy
President, Microsoft Canada

Janet Kennedy is the President of Microsoft Canada. With over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing of business solutions, she is focused on Microsoft’s mission of helping people and businesses realize their full potential.

Janet joined Microsoft in 2002 with a concentration on helping shape the organization’s Industry approach, specializing in Retail & Hospitality. She spent time in the West and Central regions of the US as the Vice President for Enterprise Customers. During her tenure, the business was able to grow more than $1 billion to over $3 billion and has been instrumental in leading the transformation to the cloud with some of the largest and earliest customers on Office 365.

Prior to Microsoft, she had a long career at IBM in numerous roles. From an educational perspective, Janet first earned a degree in Industrial Management/Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and then went on to achieve her MBA from McColl School of Business, Queens University in Charlotte, N.C.

Originally from Chicago, Janet and her family now live in Toronto. When she isn’t working, the self-proclaimed “device geek” enjoys playing with apps, trying the latest exercise trend, and enjoying movies – both box office and obscure!

Jill Krop

Jill Krop
News Director and Station Manager, Global BC

One of Vancouver’s best known news anchors and sought after MCs, Jill is now the Station Manager/News Director at Global BC. She took on the role after 29 years of reporting and anchoring news right across Canada, from Prince George, to Regina, and Halifax and then back home to Victoria, before arriving at Global (then BCTV).

She’s a co-recipient of the CanPro Gold Award for Breakfast Television in Halifax. She most recently was named one of Vancouver Magazine’s ‘Power 50 – People Who Are Shaping Vancouver’s Future’ and also graced the cover of BC Business’s March 2016 edition as one of the ‘Most Influential (and disruptive) Women in BC’.

Jill has a young son, two step kids, who are almost adults and a Fire Chief for a husband. She’s an avid traveller, who is ridiculously curious about the world around her and she’s known by her travel mates as someone, who will talk to anyone!

Karina LeBlanc

Karina LeBlanc
Retired Canadian Goalkeeper, UNICEF Ambassador

Karina LeBlanc is a recently retired Olympic and professional athlete who has had the honour of being the longest serving soccer player for Canada, playing for nearly 18 years. She has been a part of 5 World Cups and two Olympics, winning a Bronze Medal in London in 2012.

Soccer was her platform to realizing her greater purpose in life. Her energy is contagious and she loves to ensure that everyone around her truly enjoys what they’re doing as she challenges people to LIVE LIFE PURPOSEFULLY and being the best version of themselves daily. A UNICEF ambassador, motivational speaker, broadcaster, on-air personality, host and emcee, she can entertain and motivate any crowd, while including humor. She thrives on bringing the best out of people, getting them excited, and getting them involved in every aspect of what’s going on both on or off the field. This summer she’ll be working with both Yahoo! Canada Sports and CBC Soccer as their Content Media Talent during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Raven Lacerte
Co-Founder, Moose Hide Campaign

Raven Lacerte is a proud member of the Carrier First Nation in northern BC and belongs to the Grizzly Bear Clan.  She is the co-founder and Youth Ambassador for the Moosehide Campaign, a national grass-roots effort to end violence towards Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and children.

Raven is also a member of the National Steering Committee for the 4R’s Youth Movement.  The Goal of 4R’s is to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth together to speak about reconciliation.  She is a hunter and a practitioner of traditional Indigenous cultural and ceremonial activities; and she is in the final semester of the Indigenous studies program at Camosun College.

Fiona Macfarlane
Managing Partner, British Columbia, EY

Fiona Macfarlane is currently EY’s Managing Partner of the British Columbia practice and the firm’s Chief Inclusiveness Officer. Prior to her current role, Fiona was the Canadian Managing Partner, People and Ernst & Young’s Americas Chief Operating Officer, Tax. Before joining Ernst & Young’s South African firm in 1983, Fiona trained as a lawyer in Cape Town, where she was admitted to the bar. Fiona was on the cabinet of Pathways to Education, an organization that provides access to education for youth in disadvantaged areas. Fiona was previously a Director on the Canadian Board of the International Women’s Forum.

Fiona currently co-chairs the IWF Canada Committee on Sponsorship of Women to Leadership roles. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Business Council of British Columbia and serves on the organization’s Executive Committee. Additionally, she had been appointed by the British Columbia Minister of Finance to the province’s Expert Panel on Business Taxation. Fiona was previously a member of the Aboriginal Business Investment Council and currently sits on the Executive Board of the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia. Fiona has been recognized as one of Women of Influence’s 2012 Canadian Diversity Champions, was an award winner as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Fiona also received the “IWF Woman Who Makes a Difference” award in October 2013. She is a winner of the 2015 Influential Women in Business Awards presented by Business in Vancouver and was awarded by the Top 25 Women of Influence, Professional Services, 2015. Additionally, she is Governor of the Board of UBC, as well as Shawnigan Lake School.

Fiona’s efforts in the immigrant community have been recognized with two awards: the TRIEC CBC Business Leader Award in 2008 and York University’s makeMORE Ontario Connections Award for Immigrants in 2010. In 2011, Fiona was awarded an Honorary CA. Fiona holds a Bachelor of Arts, commerce and law degree from the University of Cape Town. She also earned a Master of Law degree from Cambridge University.

Ann Makosinski

Ann Makosinski
Serial Inventor, Google Science Fair Award Winner

UBC student Ann Makosinski is an internationally acclaimed inventor whose creations include the Hollow Flashlight, which runs off the heat of the human hand. Ann has appeared twice on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, has given five TEDx Talks, and was named one of TIME Magazines 30 Under 30

A science fair participant since the age of 6, Ann’s interest in alternative energy harvesting techniques and improving the life of people around the world have made her one of the most sought after inventors and global influencers of her generation.

Her inspiration for the Hollow Flashlight came in Grade 10, when her friend in the Philippines failed her grade because she had no electricity or light to study with at night. Her invention won awards at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, the Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and the 2013 Google Science Fair. She is currently in talks to manufacture and globally distribute her flashlight.

Ann’s next invention also won several awards at ISEF. Recognizing that young students were often waiting too long for their hot coffee to cool down and had phones that were running out of power, she created the eDrink, a cup that converts excess heat from a beverage into electricity that charges a device via a cable.

Her numerous awards and honours include a Quest Climate Change Grant from Shell Canada and Canadian Geographic, selection as one of Teen Vogue’s Global Earth Angels, being names Popular Science’s “Breakout Young Inventor of the Year”, and winning the 2015 Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award Award in Vienna.

Ann is currently a global brand ambassador for Uniqlo fleece and the AAT Project, which provides a platform for young scientists, researchers and inventors to help bring their visions to life.

Dr. Lois Nahirney
President and CEO of dnaPower Inc. and SkinDNA Canada

Dr. Lois Nahirney is President and CEO of dnaPower Inc. and SkinDNA Canada, DNA testing companies that help people make better diet, fitness and health decisions based on their unique genetic makeup.

She is a champion and leader in advancing women in our economy. She is Chair of the Premier’s Women’s Economic Council and Vancouver Women’s Executive Network, Co-Chair of the BC Economic Forum: We for She, board member for Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards, and part of a family charity that builds schools in Vietnam and sends girls at high-risk of being trafficked to summer camps and school on scholarships.

For her work, Lois has been recognized with the BIV Influential Women in Business and YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.

Emily Naing
Co-Founder, Swave

At eighteen years old, Emily is already an accomplished entrepreneur as the co-founder of the startup, Swave. Swave is a device that uses the technology behind a lullaby to transition the user from an awakened state to a stage of restorative sleep. She is also the recipient of the Scrymgeour Scholarships in Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Toronto.

Aside from Swave, Emily in an active member in her community, reaching out to youth all over the lower mainland through Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (Yell Canada’s) extensive alumni network. She is also a youth ambassador for TriCelerate, a Coquitlam innovation hub focused on bettering their community. Specifically, she focuses her work on providing accessible resources to young entrepreneurs looking to innovate and start changing their community.

Emily Naing is a recent graduate from Pinetree Secondary School in Coquitlam, B.C. where she was first exposed to and involved with entrepreneurship. Emily was a part of the Young Entrepreneurship Leadership Launchpad (YELL Canada) program in Coquitlam, where she began working on her first startup, finishing as a finalist in YELL Canada’s Annual Venture Challenge. Since then, she has worked extensively to continue her development as a young entrepreneur.


Professor Santa Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor, UBC

Professor Santa Ono officially stepped into his role as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia on August 15, 2016. As a professor of medicine and biology, Professor Ono has worked at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University College London, and Emory universities.

Last year he was inducted by Johns Hopkins into its Society of Scholars, which honours former faculty who have gained distinction in their fields. Ono’s research encompasses the immune system, eye inflammation and age-related macular degeneration – a leading cause of blindness. He and his research team are working to develop a blood test that could identify biomarkers in people who are progressing towards the disease.

As a university administrator, Ono is also known for his vision beyond the laboratory. He was the first Asian-American president of the University of Cincinnati when he was appointed in 2012. Previously, he served as the University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Ono is deeply committed to diversity and his achievements were recently recognized by the American Council on Education with an award that honours individuals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment on a national level to the advancement of racial and ethnic minorities in higher education. Inside Higher Education named him America’s most notable university president in 2015.

Sue Paish
Chief Executive Officer, LifeLabs

As CEO, Sue leads LifeLabs approximately 5,400 professionally trained employees who deliver over 100 million laboratory tests and results, serving 19 million patient visits annually.

Prior to joining LifeLabs, Sue led Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd., the largest independently owned and operated banner of community pharmacies in Canada.  She assumed this position after a successful career practicing law and managing an international law practice. Sue was the managing partner of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in B.C. (now Fasken Martineau), where she led the growth of the firm from one office to an international presence with nine offices on three continents.

Sue received a Queen’s Counsel designation in 2000 and was awarded the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Law Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003. She has also been recognized as one of Canada’s “Top 25 Women Lawyers” and one of B.C.’s “Most Influential Women in Business”. In 2012, Sue was inducted into the “Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame”—one of only 88 women in Canada to have this honour bestowed on them by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN).

Sue is also a recognized community and business leader. She sits on a number of corporate and community boards including: Director and Human Resources Committee Chair, CORIX group of companies; Board Member, Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership; Director of the Faculty Advisory Board, Sauder School of Business; Chair of the MLA Compensation Task Force; BC Council of British Columbia, member of the Board of Governors and Executive Council; the United Way of the Lower Mainland in BC, Board Member;  and member of the B.C. Pharmaceutical Task Force. She is also past Chair of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research; past Chair and Governor of the Vancouver Board of Trade.

Sue’s family and her love of the outdoors are her prime motivators.  With husband Brad and three daughters sometimes in tow, Sue can often been found camping, fishing or hiking the Grouse Grind.

Ravi Saligram
Chief Executive Officer and director of the board, Ritchie Bros.

Ravi Saligram is the Chief Executive Officer of Ritchie Bros., a global leader in asset management and disposition, and the world’s largest industrial auctioneer with gross auction proceeds of US$4.25 billion in 2015. He was appointed CEO of Ritchie Bros. in July 2014 due to his proven ability to grow businesses, build brands and drive shareholder value.

In his short time with Ritchie Bros., Ravi has been transforming the company through a growth strategy including a multichannel approach, sector diversification and expanding services. He has focused on fostering innovation through greater diversity and inclusion in the workforce and added several female executives to his senior leadership team. Under Ravi’s leadership, the company has returned to being a growth engine and has added over US$1 billion (+40%) in shareholder value in just two years.

Prior to joining Ritchie Bros., Ravi was President and CEO of OfficeMax, where he transformed the company from an office products distributor to an omnichannel provider of workplace products, services and solutions. To accelerate the transformation, he led a historic true merger of equals with Office Depot in November 2013. Under his leadership, OfficeMax was the only office supply company to be named to Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list for two consecutive years. The company was also awarded “Private Sector Business of the Year” in 2013; by the US Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation for its commitment to employing people with disabilities, including veterans.

Ravi also has more than 20 years of senior management experience at ARAMARK, InterContinental Hotels Group, and SC Johnson. He has lived in six countries and worked in many more across five continents. His passion for building diverse, customer-focused teams has followed him everywhere he goes.

Ravi earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University, India and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan. Ravi has been on the Board of Church & Dwight Co. Inc. for the last 10 years and sits on its Governance Committee

Nicole Verkindt
Founder, OMX | “Dragon”, Next Gen Den

A graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business, Nicole Verkindt is one of the Dragons on CBC’s online show Next Gen Den and the founder of OMX (Offset Market Exchange), the only online platform in the world to manage obligations government contractors have to invest in local economies through offsets.  

Nicole launched OMX in 2012, when she was only 27 years old. Today, OMX is a powerful online marketplace that serves thousands of companies around the world, including many in the defence, aerospace and shipbuilding sectors. The platform`s analytics also help governments understand the economic impacts of procurement decisions.

Prior to founding OMX, Nicole launched Tiburon, an offshore manufacturing business, which sold shelter components to government contractors during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. When Haiti experienced its devastating earthquake, Nicole founded the non-profit organization GlassFrog, which provided aid to the torn nation. She eventually integrated Tiburon into a family business, became President and CEO of GMA, and then sold both companies to a private equity firm in 2011.

Ms. Verkindt is a Board member of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a sister organization to BDC and EDC. She is also the technology columnist for Vanguard magazine and a regular commentator on CBC’s The Exchange.

Leigh Wall
Truck & Transport Mechanic Apprentice, Student Recruitment Specialist

A drastic career change from legal administrator to truck and transport mechanic has empowered Leigh and created a passion for encouraging other women to break through barriers in non-traditional roles. Leigh, a female ambassador for the trades, speaks regularly on the importance of diversity in the workplace.

As a natural progression and a love for where she trained, Leigh became a student recruitment specialist with Vancouver Community College where she shares her enthusiasm with others every day. A dedicated volunteer, Leigh enjoys spending time with her senior dog on a therapy team with St. John Ambulance and finding forever homes for rescue cats and kittens as an Adoption Counselor with VOKRA.

Philippa Wilshaw
Partner, Mining Industry Leader, GVA, KPMG LLP

Philippa Wilshaw is the Mining Industry Leader for KPMG’s practice in the Greater Vancouver Area. She began her career in 1993 with KPMG UK, moving first to Toronto for two years and then to Vancouver in 2005. She is a member of KPMG’s GVA Management Committee in the role of Strategic Markets Leader, where she plays a lead role in revenue growth initiatives and works closely with industry teams to drive KPMG’s success in the market.

In her role as lead audit partner, Philippa leads the audits for a number of global companies in the mining and resources sector and is experienced with public entity regulatory requirements including those arising from PCAOB audits, audits of internal controls over financial reporting, SEC and Canadian securities filing requirements, a broad base of IFRS and US GAAP and the public offering process.

Formerly, Philippa was the Develop Leader for KPMG’s GVA Audit Practice where she was responsible for driving the firm’s people strategy. She is a mentor within the firm for managers and senior managers in the resource sector though KPMG Vancouver’s Women in Mining program and initiatives in support of the advancement of women.

Philippa participates in a number of charitable and community bodies. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Resource Works, a non-profit society that helps bring information to the public about the role of the resources sector in British Columbia.

Miyo Yamashita
Managing Partner, Talent, Deloitte

Miyo Yamashita is the Managing Partner of Talent at Deloitte in Toronto and a member of the Deloitte’s global Board of Directors. Prior to joining Deloitte, Ms. Yamashita led TD Bank’s Corporate Women in Leadership program, which supports the advancement of women in the bank’s leadership positions.

Ms. Yamashita is a market driven executive with a superior track record in generating sustainable profitable growth in rapidly changing, highly regulated environments. Accomplished in leading cross-functional, high-performing teams across banking, retail, telecommunications and government industries, she has more than 15 years of experience developing and implementing enterprise-wide transformation strategies, many of which were subject to regulatory approval across multiple jurisdictions.

Her nearly two decades of experience in the financial services sector includes serving as the former Global Chief Privacy Officer and Head of Social and Digital Media Compliance for TD Bank Group. At TD, Miyo led a global team of 100+ compliance and regulatory risk professionals worldwide. She was responsible for designing the enterprise-wide compliance programs in privacy, online channels and social and digital media, including interacting with regulators at all levels, managing compliance and regulatory risk.  Miyo also worked extensively on the development of the bank’s compliance programs on new legislative and regulatory requirements.

Ms. Yamashita is known for developing practical, business-friendly solutions that also meet the highest compliance and regulatory standards, as well as the changing preferences of customers for the management of their personal information. Her education includes a Ph.D. in Communications from McGill University.