Each year at the Performance Excellence Summit & Canada Awards for Excellence, we line-up dynamic speakers and thought-leaders that deliver powerful messages that inspire.

Rahul Bhardwaj, LLB, ICD.D

President & Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Corporate Directors

Rahul Bhardwaj leads an organization of more than 12,000 members committed to improving national outcomes by growing the leadership and governance capacities within Canadian businesses, agencies and not-for-profits.

He began his career as a corporate lawyer at a leading Canadian law firm. He subsequently served as Vice-President for Toronto’s 2008 Olympic Bid, and was President & CEO of the Toronto Foundation for nine years. He also chaired the 2012 Ontario Summer Games and the Toronto Jazz Festival.

Dr. Lance Secretan’s bestselling books, inspirational talks and life-changing retreats have touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. He is ranked 17th in the world by Leadership Gurus and among the Top Five Leadership speakers by Speakers in America. He has authored 21 books about leadership, inspiration, corporate culture and entrepreneurship, the latest of which is The Bellwether Effect: Stop Following. Start Inspiring!

He coaches and advises leaders globally and guides leadership teams who wish to transform their culture into the most inspirational in their industries.

Lance is the recipient of many awards, including the International Caring Award, and is the former Chair of the Advisory Board of the Special Olympics World Winter Games. Currently he chairs the Pay it Forward Foundation.

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Radio Host

Ajay K. Agrawal

Geoffrey Taber Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto and NBER

Ajay is an economist and professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts; an academic advisory council member at the Center on Regulation and markets at Brookings in Washington, DC; an advisory board member at Carnegie Mellon University’s Block Center for Technology and Society in Pittsburgh; and a faculty affiliate at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Toronto. Ajay conducts research on the economics of innovation and serves on the editorial board of the scholarly journal Management Science. He is coauthor of two best-selling books on the economics of artificial intelligence: “Prediction Machines” and “Power & Prediction,” both published by Harvard Business Review Press.

Ajay is the founder of the Creative Destruction Lab, a not-for-profit program with a mission to enhance the commercialization of science for the betterment of humankind. Startup graduates of the program have created over $28B in equity value to date. He is also co-founder of NEXT Canada, a not-for-profit program focused on the development of young founders.

Ajay is a co-founder of Sanctuary, an AI/robotics company that has a mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence in general purpose robots. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2022.

Professor David R. Beatty C.M., O.B.E., F.ICD, CFA

The David & Sharon Johnston Center for Corporate Governance Innovation
Professor of Strategy, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

 Professor David R. Beatty has served on 39 different public Boards of Directors in Canada, America, Mexico, and Australia and been chairman of 9 publicly traded companies. In 2002 he was the founding MD of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, an organization that today represents 50 institutional investors with ~C$3 trillion of AUMs.

In 1984, he became the COO of Weston Foods a multi-billion dollar food processing company owned by the Weston family. He joined the Weston Board and for 10 years ran Weston Foods, next to W. Galen Weston, the owner and CEO. In 1994 he became the CEO of Old Canada Investment Corporation Limited a publicly traded closed end investment trust which was sold in 1998.

He created and still teaches in the Canadian Directors’ Education Program. In 2022 David helped develop and then lead the Deloitte partners “Board Preparedness” course. In 2022 David developed and delivered to a 10 person Black North Initiative Academy group from across Canada a combination ExecMBA/DEP course.As a Professor of Strategy at the he teaches a top-rated 2nd year elective called Top Managers’ Perspective.

In 1994 he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by HRH Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for his services to Papua New Guinea. In 2012 awarded a Queens’ Diamond Jubilee medal. In 2013 he was inducted into the Order of Canada (the C.M. above). On June 26, 2018 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Corporate Governance Network, a group of global asset managers with AUMs ~$75 trillion.

Erin Davis

Broadcaster, Author, Sleep Enthusiast

Our MC has had the honour of waking up Torontonians for 30 years as host of the morning show on 98.1 CHFI and was recently inducted into the Canadian and Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame. Erin now resides in Victoria, BC where she host the CREA podcast Real Time, a podcast for seniors’ residences called Elder Wisdom and her dream project: Drift with Erin Davis, sleep stories on Apple and Frequency. Erin loves to emcee and to share her keynote message of hope after tragedy, based on her Globe & Mail bestselling memoir Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy (HarperCollins Canada). Erin is delighted to be sharing in this event celebrating Excellence in all its forms.

Kate Davis

Speaker, Comedienne and Writer

Now, a twelve-time nominee at the Canadian Comedy Awards for Best Female Standup and the prestigious Phil Hartman Award. Kate is also the star of her own hour-long comedy special on CTV and the Comedy Network, “Comedy Now.” Kate Headlines across the country and has performed at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, The Hubcap Comedy Festival, The Kitchener-Waterloo Comedy Festival and LOL. Kate has also shared the stage with Lewis Black and Seth Meyers and is a favorite at corporate events. Kate’s corporate career has allowed her the opportunity to host events for the former President, Bill Clinton, Barbara Walters and many others. You might have heard Kate on CBC Radio “The Debaters” as well as Sirius XM radio. Kate made it to the final round in Toronto for “Last Comic Standing” 2008 season and 2011 in Toronto for NBC’s Stand up for Diversity. Kate has 2 comedy albums out “House Arrest” and her newest album “Tested Positive.”

Mary Deacon, C.M.

Chair, Bell Let’s Talk

Mary Deacon is Chair of Bell Let’s Talk, a national mental health initiative that supports improved access to care, workplace best practices, research, and anti-stigma programs.

Mary’s long and successful career in the philanthropic sector includes almost a decade as the inaugural President of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation – supporting Canada’s largest mental health hospital. A passionate advocate in the mental health community, Mary is respected and known for bringing people and ideas together to create positive change.

A graduate of the University of Guelph, Mary has received honourary doctorates from her alma mater, Wilfrid Laurier University and Dalhousie University for her pivotal leadership role in Canadian mental health and philanthropy. She is a Member of the Board of Governors of the Stratford Festival.

Mary received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and in 2019 was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Allan N. Ebedes

President & CEO, Excellence Canada

Since 2005, Allan Ebedes has led Excellence Canada, formerly known as the National Quality Institute. Working with the Board of Directors, he is responsible for setting the strategic direction of Excellence Canada and delivering on its business plan and mission.

Allan began his business career as a Chartered Accountant (CA) at Coopers & Lybrand, now PWC. He then became a partner at a small furniture and appliance chain, which grew significantly during his ownership, and was subsequently sold to The Brick. In 1979, he started a private career college called the Toronto School of Business, a division of International Business Schools, which grew to become the largest career college in Canada, with 50 locations coast to coast. Allan took the company public on the BASDAQ exchange.

In 2002, Allan founded Management Mentors International, a company dedicated to corporate training and development, coaching and mentoring. He was also appointed as President of the Academy of Learning, a chain of 100 computer learning centres across Canada.

Allan is a CA, CPA and earned an MBA from the University of Toronto (now Rotman School of Management) and an LLM law degree in Global Business through an evening program at the Faculty of Law. Allan is an ICD.D with the Institute of Corporate Directors and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and a group leader with the CEO Global Business Network.

Jeffrey B. Moat

Chief Executive Officer, Pallium Canada

Jeff joined Pallium Canada as Chief Executive Officer in 2017 where he brings 30 years of experience in creating organizational excellence, compelling social change programs and increasing consumer engagement within the not-for-profit, private sector and NGO industries.

Previous to this, Jeff joined the Mental Health Commission of Canada where he established Partners for Mental Health, the country’s first non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating a social movement to transform the way people think about mental health, and act towards people living with a mental health problem or illness.

Jeff also enjoyed an eight-year tenure as National Director of Marketing for Canadian Blood Services. He spent the first half of his career in the financial services as Assistant Vice President for Citibank Canada and Bank One International and later Vice President of Marketing for Alterna Bank.

Jeff is a graduate of McGill University where he received his Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Management Policy. Jeff also holds a certificate in Finance and Accounting from McGill University and has earned professional certificates in Direct Marketing and Database Marketing from York University. Jeff also has his Chartered Marketer professional designation.

Linda Nazareth

Future of Work Expert, Future Trends, Economist and Author

Linda Nazareth is an economist, a futurist and a respected authority on the future of work.

As a newspaper columnist and an author, she knows how to frame things in ways that both educate and entertain, and as the Senior Fellow for Economics and Population Change think-tank at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, she knows what she is talking about.

In 2023 she released her new book ” Working it Out: How to Be Ready for the Redefined Future of Work”

She is also the host of Work and the Future, a new podcast that explores trends around the labour force and the workplace.

Linda’s career has taken some non-traditional turns for someone in her field. Her first jobs was as a government economist where she specialized in labour market planning, which was followed by a stint at a major financial institution where she spent years as a Senior Economist. Wanting to change things up while she could, she lobbied to have a job created for her on Business News Network BNN, and during her time at BNN, Linda started writing books and giving keynote presentations, and eventually left daily broadcasting to give those passions her full-time attention.

Lance Secretan

Spiritual Thought Leader, Author, Advisor and Expert on Corporate Culture

Dr. Lance Secretan is a spiritual thought leader and the world’s top authority on creating inspiring lives and organizations whose bestselling books, inspirational talks, and life-changing retreats have touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. He is a riveting speaker, trailblazing teacher, mentor, advisor and coach (ranked 4th. in the world) He is the author of 24 books about inspiration, corporate culture and leadership as well as a personal memoir, A Love Story. Lance is acknowledged globally as one of our most insightful and original leadership teachers. A former CEO of a Fortune 100 company, university professor, award-winning columnist, author and outdoor athlete, he has received numerous teaching, writing and humanitarian awards, including the International Caring Award. He is Chairman of the Pay it Forward Foundation.

Lance is an expert skier, kayaker and mountainbiker, and divides his time between Ontario and Colorado.

Shirlee Sharkey

Chair of Excellence Canada
Former President & CEO, SE Health

Shirlee Sharkey, ICD.D, CHE, MHSc, BScN, BA, Reg.N. LLD (honoris causa)

Shirlee Sharkey is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost experts on home care and healthy aging. As a registered nurse and the longtime CEO of SE Health, a unique not-for-profit social enterprise, she has dedicated her career to empowering people, championing compassion, and advancing social innovation to forever impact how people live and age at home. In May 2022, Shirlee stepped down from SE Health following 30 years of breakthrough leadership.

Shirlee shares her passion and expertise as a thought leader, speaker, author, and mentor. In 2020, she collaborated with a range of experts to co-author The Future of Aging, a book that has been described as “a brilliant and powerful challenge to locked-in ageist mindsets, policies and service models.

Dr. Samir K. Sinha MD, DPhil, FRCPC, AGSF

Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health System and the University Health
Network in Toronto, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Director of Health Policy Research at Toronto Metropolitan University’s National Institute on Ageing

Dr. Samir Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Director of Health Policy Research at Toronto Metropolitan University’s National Institute on Ageing.

A Rhodes Scholar, Samir is a highly regarded clinician and international expert in the care of older adults. In 2021, he was appointed to serve as a member of the Government of Canada’s National Seniors Council in 2021, and also recently led the development of Canada’s new National Long-Term Care Services Standard.

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Each year, the ​Performance ​Excellence ​Summit ​& ​Canada ​Awards ​for ​Excellence ​attracts ​500+ ​leaders ​and ​decision-makers ​from ​all ​sectors ​and ​includes ​a ​line-up ​of ​high ​profile ​speakers, ​presentation ​of ​the ​Canada ​Awards ​for ​Excellence ​and ​Board ​of ​Governors’ ​Special ​Recognition ​of ​Achievement ​Award. Don’t miss out!

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