2019 speakers

Anca Preda

Anca Preda

Vice President of Information Technology, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd.

Anca’s career has been focused on using technology and integrating systems to enable business decisions and gain strategic advantage.

Aside from a broad IT exposure including Application Development, Data Management, DataCentre and Security Operations, Anca has always been heavily involved with the business side of the operation. Over the years, she held leadership roles in Supply Chain, Marketing & Inside Sales, Lean Six Sigma, Business Coaching. 

Anca has built a reputation for developing business strategies and aligning technology with business objectives, as well as selling those strategies to the appropriate stakeholders. 







Anna Foat

Anna Foat

Director - Global Digital Transformation Office

Anna Foat loves the power of possibility and the passion of entrepreneurs. She’s worked at a start up, grown with one of the countries most famous scale ups Research in Motion (BlackBerry) and now works in the Digital Transformation Office at SunLife Financial.

She also is the co-chair for the Digital Working Group for the Southwest Ontario Health Team after years of health care advocacy with her husband Kirk Foat. She proudly earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Waterloo and she teaches Design Thinking at the University of Western Ontario. 


Charlie	Atkinson

Charlie Atkinson

President, The Winning Practice

Charlie established his company, The Winning Practice in February of 2018 having retired from his position as President of the Canadian Division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in September of 2017.

With over 35 years of progressive leadership experience Charlie is team builder with a proven track record for growing businesses, merging companies, executing on divestiture plans, optimizing P&L’s, restructuring, building culture and engagement plans and balancing channel management strategy. He is also keen to share his knowledge and expertise through his new consultancy, The Winning Practice by providing results inspired strategic excellence focusing on four key areas: people, partnerships, productivity and profitability. 

Debora	Inouye

Debora Inouye

Partner and Educational Technology Director, Happy Code

Debora Noemi Inouye has been working with Educational Technology for 15 years, having coordinated projects in partnership with large companies such as Microsoft, Intel and the British Council.

As a partner of Happy Code, a global reference in teaching Computer Science to children and teenagers, with over 300 operations in Brazil, Portugal and Spain, Debora is responsible for the Product, Training and Support departments. 

Her educational background includes master’s in Educational Technology at the Technical University of Lisbon / UNED Madrid / University of Poitiers, Francein addition to a degree in Information SystemsShe obtained an Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate at the Stanford University, being the first foreigner to receive a STEM degree at NISE (National Institute for STEM Education – United States). 

One of her main projects was the development of an exclusive and innovative teaching methodology (LET – Lean Education Technology), which has already impacted thousands of students around the world. Additionally, an important initiative was the creation of the Tech4Girls, a program designed to increase girl’s participation in the field of technology, including the ones unable to afford it.    

Ernest Solomon

Ernest Solomon

CIO, LawPro

Ernest Solomon began at LAWPRO as Chief Information Officer in 2019.

He brings nearly two decades of experience directing technology services and business management plans for the financial services, insurance, and healthcare industries. His proficiency in digital transformation, technology innovation, and the development of customer-focused service cultures drives the technology strategy for the company. 

In addition he is part of the CIO Advisory Board and participates actively in sharing challenges, ideas and strategies to help enhance collaboration among IT executives across industries. 

Ernest holds a Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. 

Ferial Sheybani

Ferial Sheybani

Head of Canada, IT Colliers International

An agile leader with unique skillset in technology solution architecture & implementation and Project Portfolio Management as well as IT Operation with recognized track record of leading very large and complex IT Transformation implementations in Healthcare, Telecommunications, Banking, Energy, Engineering & Construction, Public Sector and Professional Services.

She recently Led large team of Solution Delivery and Operation at SNC. Managing business enablement ecosystem consisting of ERP and integrated applications for Operation & Maintenance Sector as well as multi-billion, multi-year Construction Joint Venture projects such as REM and Trillium. 

Ferial continues her journey in technology leadership and is starting a new role at Colliers International as Director, Head of Canada IT.   

Janet Lin

Janet Lin

Head of Customer Engagement Technology, Loblaw Companies Ltd.

With a background in Engineering, Computer Science and Business Management, Janet has spent much of her career leading digital transformation, technology strategy, delivery and operations in the Canadian retail sector and payment industry.

She is passionate about enhancing the customer experience with the latest digital technologies in banking, gift cards, loyalty, subscriptions and via customer digital enablement platforms (customer digital identity, customer relationship management, digital content). She has launched multiple innovative, industry-breaking initiatives in North America; including recognition for the award winning PCID program.

A leader in diversity and inclusion, Janet leads Loblaw’s Women in Technology committee, which promotes a diverse, flexible and inclusive environment for women across all levels of technology. She also sits on the corporate gender diversity committee, Go Further Women.

Kim	Benedict

Kim Benedict

CEO & Co-Founder, TalentMinded

For more than 20 years Kim has worked with clients in every industry, of all sizes including from Fortune 500 firms to start-ups and high growth tech companies.

Kim is a senior executive and business operator with extensive experience that includes a track record of growing businesses in emerging markets, managing organizational change and delivering talent acquisition strategies that drive growth.

As the CEO of TalentMinded, the first subscription based, full-service talent acquisition company in Canada, Kim’s mission is to help companies meet their business goals by improving their approach to acquiring the right talent. 

Marie Wiese

Marie Wiese

Strategic Marketer & Founder, CoPilot

She is a Growth Advisor with start-ups at innovation centers in Ontario, host of the podcast Women Talk Tech and the author of the award-winning business book, You Can’t Be Everywhere: A Common-Sense Approach to Digital Marketing for Any Business.

Marie has worked in the technology sector for over 25 years and focuses today on the digital transformation of the sales and marketing function. She is a frequent speaker on this and the topic of advancing women in the tech sector at conferences across North America. Marie lives just outside Toronto, Canada and enjoys travelling around the countryside in her 1978 Westfalia campervan with her granddaughter. 

Nasheen Liu

Nasheen Liu

Partner & SVP, CIO Program Strategy, The IT Media Group

Ms. Liu’s strong reputation in the technology community is built upon her proven track record as a leader who practices what she preaches.

A seasoned and sought-after executive, Ms. Liu has two decades of success in strategy development, software marketing, and executive engagement.  

As a founding partner and SVP, CIO Program Strategy of the IT Media Group, Ms. Liu oversees the planning and implementation of the company’s strategic initiatives that impact the Canadian IT executive community. She chairs a cross-industry CIO Advisory Board that provides guidance on compelling issues and topics for CIOs and the IT vendors that serve them 

Prior to the IT Media Group, Ms. Liu was with Oracle (Sun Microsystems), heading up the company’s software marketing efforts in Canada. Previously, Ms. Liu held key marketing positions at leading technology companies such as Infor (Workbrain) and IBM (Platform Computing).  

Ms. Liu lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter. She gives back by providing pro bono coaching, mentoring and sponsorship to her network and referralsfrom new grad to senior execs. 

Sylvie Beauchamp

Sylvie Beauchamp

IT Director, OACIQ

Sylvie is an IT Director at the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ), the authority of real estate brokerage in Quebec.

 She leads the OACIQ’s IT team comprised of PM, BAs, developers, help desk, network and security specialists, providing support to internal and external clients.

Ms. Beauchamp began her IT career 25 years ago as a business analyst. She became project and program director and was then promoted to IT director. From telecom, correctional management to professional order, from Virginia to Australia and from Tennessee to Montreal.

Sylvie is a wife, a mother of two young adults and likes to travel anywhere where 18 holes exist!

Victoria	Pelletier

Victoria Pelletier

Super Activator, Author and VP and Lead Account Partner SheEO, Unstoppable, IBM

Bio to follow
Angela Copeland

Angela Copeland

Director Digital Strategy & CIO, Toronto Public Library

Angela is passionate about accelerating business transformation by leveraging data, analytics and technology.

She brings 20+ years of experience in IM/IT strategic planning, implementation, and operations. She is currently the CIO at the Toronto Public Library where she is leading the development of the Digital Strategy, creating a culture of inclusiveness and promoting access to library materials, technology, lifelong learning and diverse cultural and leisure experiences.  Previously, Angela was the Director, Data & Analytics Strategy, Projects & Governance at Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), where she spearheaded the development and implementation of the inaugural Data & Analytics Strategy. She has also held a number of progressive positions including the CIO & Chief Privacy Officer in a Toronto hospital.  Angela is currently the elected Vice President on the Board of Directors at Digital Health Canada.  She is committed to creating a culture of inclusiveness, promoting access and helping emerging women leaders to “lead, climb, and thrive”.  







Chandana Unnithan

Chandana Unnithan

CIO/CTO, Lifeguard Health

Dr Chandana Unnithan is Chief Technology and Informatics Officer (CTO/CIO) for Lifeguard Health, BC, a smart technology firm that has been successfully building geo-spatial solutions to reverse the Opioid crisis and save lives.

She is an expert in permissioned blockchain, IoT, and health informatics. She is a member of WHO Digital Health Group of Experts. She is an expert in digital health within Space and Global Health (WG-SGH) that reports to the United Nations (UN) Committee of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), UNOOSA – a group that intersect space agencies (NASA, ASA, etc) and health agencies across the globe.

Claude	Reeves

Claude Reeves

Country Manager, Red Hat

Claude Reeves is Canadian Country Manager for Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source enterprise IT software solutions and services.

 Together with his direct and extended teams, he is guiding Fortune 500 leaders as they navigate the new hybrid cloud-first world of open source applications and technology powering digital transformation. He believes bringing value to every conversation and creating win/win relationships are foundational to having great customer relationships and sustainable growth. A passionate advocate of gender diversity, he hosts an annual Women and Leadership event for female IT executives and partners with clients on regular workshops to examine issues critical to closing the gender gap. 

Dionne Schmidt

Dionne Schmidt

Head of Technology Agility, Thomson Reuters

Dionne is a passionate advocate for increasing organizational agility through empowered, self-organizing teams.

 She is currently the Head of technology agility at Thomson Reuters, where she’s responsible for leading transformation efforts towards increased organizational agility, so that teams can rapidly respond to changes in the market and deliver high value customer outcomes. A graduate from Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Dionne is interested in how the human and technological systems around us interact and affect how we operate. Dionne is a board game fanatic, and you can almost always find her with a coffee in hand.  

Fariba	Anderson

Fariba Anderson

Executive Partner, Gartner

As an Executive Partner at Gartner Inc. (Toronto office), Fariba supports C-Level executives to receive contextualized advice and guidance to execute business strategies that rely on technology assets.

 With over 20 years of experience driving value and resiliency across public, private and entrepreneurial sectors as CIO, CEO and Board MemberFariba has mastered the leadership disposition as a strategic advisor. Her achievements span Canada, U.S. and the International markets and rooted in value for money, corporate governance, strategy, risk management, stakeholder management, partnership, intellectual property, licensing and contract management.  

Most recently, Fariba concluded a 4-year turnaround CEO mandate at AcuteNet – pioneering sharing economy for the healthcare industry for over 3 million patients. Prior to AcuteNetFariba held CIO position with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, Allstream and Bell Nexxia 

Fariba has served on 15 boards and advisory committees since 2000, including Seneca College, St Joseph’s Health Centre, YMCA of Greater Toronto, Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario, Dell Software, Tera Data, University of Toronto College of Electors and a number of venture funded investments. In 2018, Fariba was appointed by Treasury Board of Canada to the Audit Committee of the Board of Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

Gina Cherkowski

Gina Cherkowski

Chief Education Officer, STEM Learning Lab Inc.

Dr. Gina Cherkowski is an educational game changer seeking to ensure all students have access to high quality, hands-on, engaging, fun and meaningful learning experiences so they are equipped with the skills, tools and mindsets they need for our dynamic, technology fuelled world.

 Gina believes that play, exploration and connection are critical factors in learning for all students. Dr. Cherkowski holds a PhD in Mathematics and in Culture Studies in Education. She has extensive experience in teaching and learning math as a remediation specialist, a classroom teacher, and as a university professor for both undergraduate and graduate courses in education both in Canada and internationally.


As a Social Justice Math and STEM educator, Dr. Cherkowski understands that math is a gatekeeper for many students. In 2015, Gina founded STEM Learning Lab Inc. to help solve this pervasive issue. Through her entrepreneurial leadership in the STEM education space, Gina has earned various awards including the AWE Emerging Innovator Award in 2018, and the Global Impact Award at the Canadian Women of Inspiration Awards, 2019.


Currently, Dr. Cherkowski is the President of EdgeMakers, a San Francisco-based education company that has global impact. Dr Cherkowski also serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Coded Minds The Americas. In her dual role, Dr. Cherkowski works with international thought leaders around the globe talking about how to best prepare today’s youth to be the global thinkers, problem solvers, and game changers of tomorrow. In her spare time, Dr. Cherkowski proudly serves on on the board of STEAM360 Foundation, a not-for-profit that delivers high quality STEAM experiences to underprivileged, underserved, and underrepresented youth.

Janet Piper

Janet Piper

Director of Corporate Engagement Catalyst

Janet is a Director of Corporate Engagement. In her current role, she provides advice and consultation to Catalyst Supporter Organizations in Central Canada, helping them to leverage Catalyst’s expertise and resources to create inclusive workplaces. Janet is based in Toronto.

She has over 25 years of work experience, much of which she gained in the world of trade and academic publishing in sales and marketing roles.  Janet most recently worked with an asset management firm with responsibility for the annual community investment strategy. She recently completed the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility at St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.

Janet is passionate about our mission to advance women and workplace inclusion and is very keen to work with prospective and current Supporters to deepen our engagement.

Leslie Strong

Leslie Strong

CEO – Chief Equality Officer, Sandboxx Corp

Bio to follow
Michelle Joliat

Michelle Joliat

Managing Director and Head, Wealth Digitization, Robotics and Process Transformation, BMO Financial Group

Michelle Joliat is the Managing Director and Head, Wealth Digitization, Robotics and Process Transformation at BMO. 

Michelle has led the development and launch of Wealth’s new client facing online portal, and she has grown the Digitization program across Nesbitt Burns, InvestorLine, and to both the Canadian and US Private Banks.  In addition, Michelle founded the Robotics team within BMO Wealth Management.  Before she joined BMO Michelle founded and ran the Digitization Program in RBC Wealth Management.  Prior to RBC Michelle was a management consultant at both at Oliver Wyman and running her own firm. 

Prasanna Thallamudi

Prasanna Thallamudi

Director of IT, Freightcom

Prasanna an engineering graduate who started her technology career about 12+ years ago as a Programmer/Analyst and since then never looked back. She worked in various domains Banking, Incentives, Logistics & Ecommerce.

She is currently the Director of IT at Freightcom Inc, who offers an automated shipping solution for small to medium-sized businesses.

She is an agile practitioner leading a team of product managers, developers, designers, network and quality assurance engineers. She is a part of all the IT initiatives for the company from the inception to the release of the product. The recent product launch headed by her, ClickShip is a ground-breaking automated shipping solution for eCommerce store owners has been developed with the latest technologies, which seamlessly integrates with all the major marketplaces (e.g. Shopify).

Her passion for technology constantly drives her to learn more about this industry. She enhances her skills by attending tech meet-ups, webinars and courses. One of her recent courses in AI and Robotics at MIT Sloan School of Management got her interested in AI and Machine Learning and she implements these principles in her projects. Currently, she is also studying AWS Solutions architect principles to get certified in this area.

Her future goal is to build automated solutions, not just for the shipping/Logistics domain, but to get into the SAAS so other industries can also benefit and leverage what technology can offer. She is also very interested in teaching and would like to host tech meetups so there can be a platform for younger generation to collaborate and learn more about the technology.

Vanessa	Vakharia

Vanessa Vakharia

Founder and CEO The Math Guru

Vanessa is the founder and director of The Math Guru, a super cool boutique math & science tutoring studio in Toronto. She is also the author of Math Hacks, a book that makes math fun, stress-free and relatable for everyone - actually.

Her #goals are to be Lady-Gaga-famous and to totally change math culture so that STEM is finally as cool and accessible as every single Taylor Swift song. She failed Grade 11 math twice, which was the best thing that ever happened to her. Sidenote but totally relevant: Vanessa is a founding member of Toronto indie-rock band Goodnight, SunriseMindy Kaling is her idol and Vanessa believes that she should be yours too.  

Vivien Woo

Vivien Woo

Head of IT Engineering, Branch & Contact Center, HSBC Bank

Vivien Woo, graduated with a BEng in Computer Engineering from Imperial College, University of London. In year 2000 immigrated to Canada and started her IT career as a junior software developer.

With over 19 years of IT experience in banking industry, she develops solid technical knowledge and balance with a deep functional business and IT operational knowledge. Today, she is leading the engineering team, transforming technology across Branch and Contact Center.  Passionate about driving innovation and making a difference. Vivien believes in putting people first is an essential pillar of servant leadership and has positive and lasting impact on colleagues and customers.

Anju Virmani

Anju Virmani

Board Member, Ontario Health

Bio to follow
Charles Mongeon

Charles Mongeon

Vice President Data Center and Information Technology Services, Telus

Mr. Charles Mongeon is currently the Vice President of Data Center and Information Technology (DCIT) at TELUS.

He leads a team of over 800 members focused on the operations for the data centers that provide technology infrastructure services for Telus corporate users as well as over 300 Managed IT services customers. His focus is on addressing critical business requirements while maintaining a balance of operational excellence and innovation. Charles brings to TELUS 20+ years of experience in technology and business systems environment across the full range of infrastructure technical services. He possesses a combination of strategic and IT infrastructure execution skills along with a proven track record of designing, developing and delivering cost effective infrastructure solutions via both in-house and outsourced methods. Prior to joining TELUS in 2014, Charles held executive management positions at Capgemini, Hewlett Packard, Excite@Home and AT&T Canada.

Debbie Lewis

Debbie Lewis

CIO, Royal Canadian Mint

Bio to follow.
Edith	Kindrachuk

Edith Kindrachuk

North America Director – Information Management Services, Dentons

Edith Kindrachuk is the North America Information Management Services Director at Dentons, where she leads the Firm’s IT group on the strategic development and implementation of complex, transformational technology programs, with a goal of increasing technological efficiencies throughout the North American Region.

 As a trailblazer in IT for more than 20 years, Edith’s capabilities and passion for collaborative project management and development of high-performance teams, have impacted a number of professional services and high-tech organizations. She is an innovative change agent and trusted business partner, who has dedicated her career to partnering with leaders and IT teams to build technology-enabled companies. To enhance her capabilities as a leader in IT, Edith leverages her experience from her previous career as a psychologist to build teams that are inclusive, highly productive, and motivated to achieve shared goals.

Fawn	Annan

Fawn Annan

IT World Canada & CDN Channel Chiefs Council Executive Leader

Bio to follow.
Helen Wetherley Knight

Helen Wetherley Knight

Director of IT, Calgary Drop In & Rehab Centre Society

Helen Wetherley Knight has over 20 years experience as an IT strategist, leading significant and meaningful business transformation through the application of technology.

Extensive work experience and unending thirst for knowledge (MBA, PMP, Prosci) are the backbone of her ability to influence, design, solve problems and implement effective strategic change. As Director of IT for the Calgary Drop-In Centre, a housing-focused emergency shelter, Helen is delivering a transformation that revolutionizes the vital services provided to vulnerable Calgarians. From implementing solutions to ensure safe and effective operations, to optimizing service delivery for clients, innovation is increasing individuals’ capacity for independence. 


Julia Blackburn

Julia Blackburn

CEO, Npower Canada

Julia has over 30 years of broad management experience working with small businesses andnon-profit organizations, both in the performing arts and in social services.

She currently servesas the Chief Executive Officer of NPower Canada, a charitable organization which addressesyouth unemployment through a comprehensive workforce development program. As thefounding executive, Julia launched the US-based company in Canada in 2014 and is currentlyimplementing a national scaling initiative.Julia began her career as a management consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Her executiveappointments include serving as executive director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane DanceCompany and of BalletMet Columbus. She was also the founding director of BlackburnManagement Resources, a consulting practice providing business and financial services fornon-profits and small businesses.

Luc	Villeneuve

Luc Villeneuve

President Benchmark Corp.

As president of Benchmark Corp, Luc Villeneuve leads a customer first, value added Canadian reseller with a strong focus on open source offering fully integrated multi-vendor software solutions to the most respected brands in Canada.

He is passionate about gender diversity and inclusion and regularly shares his insight in the Globe and Mail Leadership Lab, discusses issues with his almost 7000 connections on LinkedIn and hosts an annual Women + Leadership event for next generation leaders.  One of his proudest moments was being chosen as a finalist for the Microsoft INSPIRE2018 Women in TechnologyMan of WIT Award which celebrates men who support diversity and inclusion.  


Monique Allen

Monique Allen

EVP – Data and Technology, OMERS

Monique Allen joined OMERS in 2018 and is the EVP, Data & Technology at OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans.

She has overall accountability for technology strategy and execution, and developing a data-rich, digitally enabled, global organization.

Monique brings 20 years of experience in technology, digital transformation, product management and P&L roles in the financial technology industry, including Finastra, HP and P&G.

An advocate for giving back to the community through sponsorship and mentorship, Monique was recently published in “The Collective Wisdom of High Performing Women.”

Rani	Pendse

Rani Pendse

Senior Partner Development Manager Microsoft

Rani works with tech start-ups creating innovative industry focused SaaS applications, to help accelerate their revenue growth through Microsoft programs and initiatives.

Rani has worked across different industries and countries in varied roles. She is a passionate champion for diversity and inclusion, channeling that to help create more inclusive solutions and environments.

Vicki Bradley

Vicki Bradley

Co-Lead, WILempower

Vicki Bradley, Founder and President of the Synergistic Leadership Group and Founder/Co-Leader of WILempower (Women in Leadership Empower), is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and Energy Leadership Index Assessment Master Practitioner (ELI-MP), both certifications having been obtained from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), is a certified coach of Conversational Intelligence, and trained in the CIQ Catalyst Tools.

Vicki is a seasoned executive with 25+ years’ experience in leading high performing teams in the retail industry across North America. She has held progressive roles with iconic retailers including President of the Bombay Furniture Company in Canada while simultaneously leading the store organization as VP Sales and Operations for Bombay US, SVP of Sales and Operations with Marks and Spencer’s, VP of Sales and Operations with Holt Renfrew (Hr2), and progressive roles within the Woolworth Organization across North America. Vicki sat on the Board of Directors for the Retail Council of Canada, Party Packagers, and OSI Tile. Her passion is to support and stretch individuals for optimal performance. Her key strengths include identifying top talent, team/individual development, strategic thinking, and financial acumen.

Today, Vicki is the Founder and executive coach with Synergistic Leadership Group, where she works with a variety of businesses to attract, retain and advance women into senior Leadership roles. Her services include one on one executive coaching, speaking engagements, and facilitates “Women In Leadership” programs. She is also the Founder and Co-Lead for WILempower, which is the only online community offering professional women a program to accelerate their career growth using all four aspects of leadership development: coaching, networking, peer to peer mentorship, and skills development. She supports women in finding their voice and recharging their confidence to ask for what they need and desire.