Speakers

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

Marc Andrews

Deputy Chief, Peel Regional Police

Deputy Chief Marc Andrews is a long-time resident of Brampton, who grew up in and attended high school in Mississauga. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has a Masters degree in Business Administration.

While attending the University of Toronto he had short professional stints in the CFL with Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Prior to joining Peel Regional Police in 1990, Deputy Chief Andrews was a commissioned officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, serving with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry for five years and involved a United Nations peacekeeping tour in the Middle East.

On February 23rd, 2018 Marc Andrews was appointed Deputy Chief of Police.  His current role is Community Policing Command that is responsible for all frontline Policing in the region.

Deputy Chief Andrews is married to his wife Tina, for 36 years and has two sons Ryan and Tyler.

Tabatha Bull

CEO Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Tabatha is Anishinaabe, a proud member of Nipissing First Nation. As CCAB’s president and CEO she is committed to help rebuild and strengthen the path towards reconciliation and a prosperous Indigenous economy to benefit all Canadians.

Serving the Indigenous community through CCAB’s commitment to support the Indigenous economy, Tabatha works with government, notably through her roles with the federal government’s recent COVID-19 Supply Council and the Deputy Minister of International Trade at Global Affairs Canada and through her work with various organizations, committees, and boards on Indigenous economic development.

An electrical engineer, Tabatha informs Canada’s energy sector by participating on many boards including Ontario’s electricity system operator IESO, and the Positive Energy Advisory Council, the MARS Energy Advisory Council, and the C.D. Howe Institute’s Energy Policy program.

Tabatha is dedicated to diversity and removing systematic barriers to improve opportunities and business competitiveness across all industry sectors.

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.

Mary Deacon

Founder and Chair, Bell Let’s Talk Day on Mental Health

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.

Mitch Fairrais

President and Founder of On The Mark, The Learning Experience Company Inc.

Is a Founding Board Member of Socks 4 Souls Canada and President and Founder of On The Mark, The Learning Experience Company Inc.

Socks 4 Souls Canada was founded by a group of friends in 2015 to provide warmth, comfort, mobility, and foot health to Canada’s homeless communities by distributing new socks. Socks 4 Souls Canada distributes socks to more than 150 shelters and organizations that serve homeless communities in Canada.

Through the efforts of corporate, school and sports team sock drives, hundreds of volunteers, plus corporate and individual monetary donations, Socks 4 Souls Canada is now approaching 1,000,000 pairs of socks collected and distributed. Socks 4 Souls Canada is also the beneficiary of radio station Indie88’s The Josie Dye Show annual ‘Socks for the Streets’ campaign.

The Socks 4 Souls Canada vision is that every homeless person in Canada has everyday access to new socks.

Lt. Col. Stephane Grenier

CEO, Mental Health Innovations

Stéphane Grenier CM, MSC, CD, LLD

When it comes to mental health, Stéphane Grenier walks the talk.
He was appointed to the Order of Canada and awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Guelph and Humber College for his contributions to the field of workplace mental health.

Stéphane’s riveting keynotes are not only thought-provoking, but also lead to tangible action and sustainable change for those leaders who are prepared to rethink how they support their people.

His autobiography, After the War: Surviving PTSD and Changing Mental Health Culture, tells his story from the day he landed in the midst of the Rwandan genocide, through his journey of changing mental health culture in the Canadian military, developing national Guidelines for Peer Support with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, all the way to creating Mental Health Innovations (MHI); a consultancy that leads innovation and sustainable change in organizations to enhance the mental health of their people.

Claudia Harvey

Global Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist

Post her successful corporate career, Claudia Harvey began Dig It Apparel® Inc. and struck a deal with famous venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary.
The purchase of Suncayr™ in 2020 added another patented product, SpotMyUV®, to Dig Its product line.

While raising a family of 3, she expanded her company portfolio;
she is the President and Founding Partner of BG Wealth Group Inc, and 2020’s recent addition of Flame ‘N Bricks Pizzeria Franchise and Coach’s Burger Joint Franchise.
Claudia and her team help others emulate her success, grow their businesses, and expand their wealth.

Claudia is an international keynote speaker and best-selling author.
She was awarded the 2019 Top Female Business Leader Award from The International Association of Top Professionals. In 2019 she joined Oprah Winfrey and other outstanding influencers as a contributing author of America’s Leading Ladies.
Philanthropy is paramount to her, and she sits on the Boards of Sonas.org (Cambodia).

Ruth Mojeed Ramirez

Chief Equity Officer, The Inclusion Project

Ruth Mojeed Ramirez is the Founder & Chief Equity Officer of The Inclusion Project of Employment Equity Co-lab. She brings extensive lived experience and grounded expertise to her work in racial equity, diversity and inclusion (REDI). Her research and solutions design focus on an intersectional and inter-generational approach to complex issues of racial equity, decolonization and gender equality. She leads organizational EDI strategy development, readiness assessment and coaching among multi-level stakeholders in public and private sectors.  

Ruth is indigenous to the Yoruba tribe from western Nigeria. She migrated to Canada to pursue a master’s degree in Intercultural & International Communication at Royal Roads University. She is a director on the national board of the Canadian International Council where she leads efforts on inclusive policy development; advisor to the board of the Vancouver Foundation on community granting initiatives; director on the boards of Excellence Canada and Camosun College.  

Nicole Sandow

Peak Performance Trainers, Dale Carnegie

Nicole Sandow is a Certified Trainer & Performance Coach with Dale Carnegie.  She is passionate and enthusiastic about Personal and Professional Development, Leadership, Effective Communications & Human Relations.  It is Nicole’s belief that everyone has inherent potential to become a greater, more productive and happier version of their highest self.  Using proven time-tested methodologies for performance change and growth, Nicole has helped thousands of individuals and organizations build their competencies, mindset and attitudes in the 5 Drivers of Success:  Confidence, Communication, Human Relations, Leadership & Stress Management.  She helps people with the ‘hard stuff’…the things that intimidate you, that you hold you back, the skills that really matter.   Nicole helps people change how they see themselves, so they can change how the world sees them, and that changes the impact they have on the world.  Her life mantra is one that she lives by and uses to help others build greater confidence and achieve success in their personal and professional lives:  Growth and Comfort Cannot Coexist! 

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.

Phyllis Webstad

Founder and Chair, Orange Shirt Day & Society

As founder of Orange Shirt Day and ambassador for Orange Shirt Society, Phyllis Webstad facilitates dialogue around the Indian Residential School system and creates space for healing. Orange Shirt Day, recognized annually on September 30, is a day for people to reflect, educate themselves and commit to Truth and Reconciliation.

The Orange Shirt Society was created as a legacy to Phyllis’ Orange Shirt Day. The society works to further the message of Indian Residential School survivors. A published author, Phyllis has three books that share her story in her own words – Orange Shirt Story; Phyllis’ Orange Shirt; and Beyond the Orange Shirt Story. Due to Phyllis’ work, a simple orange shirt has become a conversation starter for all aspects of Indian Residential Schools across the country and beyond its borders.

Phyllis is Northern Secwépemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band), and she currently resides in Williams Lake, British Columbia with her husband. Finding comfort in the outdoors, Phyllis can often be found in nature or going for walks outside as it allows her to feel grounded and connected to the land.

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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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