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

Iva Grbesic


Iva is a firm believer that life’s problems are easier to deal with when you’re wearing great jeans, red lipstick and an amazing pair of shoes. This stylist and mother of four has worn sizes 4 to 14 and believes that celebrating your body at every size is important.

Iva is a style expert bringing you the latest trends in fashion. She offers tips for real women by a real woman and shows you how easy it is to look your best and feel confident. Known for her transformations during Cityline’s Makeover Madness episodes Iva always brings the style and wow factor to every transformation.

She educates her viewers with tips and tricks on how to dress their bodies to their fullest potential and acts as an age and body positivity activist encouraging women to love and embrace every part of themselves.

Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon

President and Vice-Chancellor, Carleton University

Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon started his five-year mandate as President of Carleton University on July 1, 2018. He joined Carleton from Queen’s University where he was Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic).

He previously served as Provost and Vice-President (Academic Affairs) at Concordia University in his hometown of Montreal where he was recognized with an award as Concordia University’s Sustainability Champion. His first academic appointment was at Bishop’s University, where he served in a number of leadership roles. He is a three-time recipient of Bishop’s Merit Award for exceptional performance in teaching and research.

Benoit-Antoine holds a PhD in neuropsychology from the University of Montreal. His research focuses on the links between brain activity and perception in the visual and auditory systems, as well as on multisensory integration. He remains associated with the Montreal-based Neuropsychology and Cognition Research Center.

Dan Cockerell

Keynote Speaker, Virtual COO, Executive Coach
Owner, Dan Cockerell LLC, Former Vice President of Disney Corporation.

Dan Cockerell has held various management and executive operations roles at the Walt Disney World Resort, both in the theme parks and resort hotels. In a story that seems written by Walt Disney himself, Dan rose, literally, from the parking lot to the castle, working as a front desk host while participating in the company’s college program, then parking cars following his graduation from Boston University. Transferred to Disneyland Paris in 1992, he got his first management role, and rose through the ranks to become Vice President of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

His experience leading a team of 12,000 cast members, who entertain millions of guests every year, solidified his belief that building relationships is critical for leadership success. He now brings his wealth of Disney knowledge and experience to organizations around the world to help them create world-class customer experiences and operational excellence.

Erin Davis

Broadcaster, Author, Sleep Enthusiast

Erin Davis is truly delighted to be back with her friends at CAE again this year. Since leaving Toronto radio after 30+ years of hosting mornings on 98.1 CHFI, Erin has enjoyed traveling this vast country from her new home in Victoria, BC, emceeing events, keynote speaking and, as always, writing. In addition to the daily journal she has written for 15 years at www.erindavis.com, she now awaits publication in February 2019 of Mourning Has Broken (HarperCollins) on surviving loss through love and laughter.

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.

Feridun Hamdullahpur

President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo

Throughout his 35-year career, Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur has been an active researcher in thermo-fluids and energy engineering, a passionate teacher of mechanical engineering and an academic administrator.

His tenure in his current role has been devoted to fostering excellence in academics and research and developing an innovative culture committed to experiential education. He is a leading advocate for basic research and its value to academic excellence, economic prosperity and societal development.

In 2015, Feridun was appointed chair of a new council that is building a world-leading digital infrastructure ecosystem for Canada. He is also one of 10 global university presidents appointed to a United Nations campaign that is engaging boys and men in the cause of gender equity.

Feridun has a PhD in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Istanbul.

Shirlee Sharkey

President & CEO, Saint Elizabeth
Chair of Excellence Canada

Shirlee Sharkey is the President and Chief Executive Officer of SE Health. Under Ms. Sharkey’s leadership, the social enterprise has enjoyed exponential growth and expansion, and facilitated transformative solutions in areas such as Indigenous health, end of life care, and caregiver wellness and support. Today, SE Health delivers 20,000 care exchanges daily through its team of 9,000 leaders and professionals.

Active in public service, Ms. Sharkey is the current Chair of Excellence Canada, and a board member of the C.D. Howe Institute and the Canadian Frailty Network. Academically, she is cross-appointed to the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation as an adjunct professor. Committed to global influence, she has gained and shared health system insights through her experiences in the Middle East, Australia and northern Europe.

In 2017, Ms. Sharkey was presented with an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology for her breakthrough leadership in community-based health care.

Dr. Adam Stoehr

Vice President, Education and Research, Excellence Canada

Dr. Adam Stoehr has overall responsibility for Excellence Canada’s educational services, including the development and deployment of training and certification. He is one of Excellence Canada’s primary facilitators and speakers. He researches and typically speaks about strategy, employee happiness, organizational excellence, customer experience, leadership, process improvement and all forms of quality management.

Adam has delivered talks for more than 25,000 adults and has conducted more than 20 Canada Awards for Excellence award verifications since 2000.

He has a PhD in Business Strategy from the University of the West of England, Bristol Business School. His published thesis explores the relationship between a strategic approach to quality and employee happiness. He also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and French degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.

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Excellence Canada gratefully acknowledges the support of the following sponsors of Canadian Excellence.

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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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