CONFERENCE 2018: Discovering the Catalyst

Event Recap – Written by The Charlatan

The second annual Carleton University Women in Business (CUWIB) conference took place on March 3 at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel. The event, titled “Discovering the Catalyst,” saw about 100 students and professionals of different genders gather to share stories and discuss the challenges facing women in the workplace, as well as possible solutions to gendered barriers. The conference was heavily subsidized by external sponsors which consisted primarily of local companies in Ottawa, and was held ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8. According to Kimberley Filion, CUWIB’s executive director of communications and sponsorship, the conference’s goals were to promote awareness and to facilitate empowerment by providing delegates with opportunities to draw from shared experiences. “CUWIB values woman empowerment. One of the reasons that we’re holding this conference is so that people are aware of the inequalities and discrepancies . . . that exist in companies every day,” Filion said. “We want people to have an awareness of how to overcome those barriers.” The conference began with a keynote address from Captain Josée Rodgers of the Canadian Armed Forces, who delivered an account of her journey in the army. Throughout her speech, Rodgers frequently repeated the phrase, “don’t talk about it, be about it,” urging delegates to take action in raising awareness for gender equality.  The conference featured five panels on topics ranging from finance to fashion, a number of motivational speeches, networking opportunities, and an impromptu yoga session. Some of the key points raised by speakers and attendees were the need for women to support and empower one another. They emphasized the need for the conversation surrounding gender inequality in the workplace to be inclusive of all genders. “Being female, there are innate qualities that we bring to the table that are different from the male perspective, but combined together are awesome,” said Paolina Calabro, an analyst and financial blogger who attended the event.

Roy Sunstrum, an entrepreneurship panelist and vice-president of operations for Shopify Plus, said that while he has seen a great improvement in gender equality in the workplace over the course of his 30 years in management, he still notices barriers opposing female colleagues. “I still see women talked over, I still see women who have to fight a little harder to be heard. . . It’s all dramatically better than it was a decade or two ago, but I still see some of those kinds of struggles,” he said. Almas Jiwani, an international women’s rights advocate, concluded the conference with a powerful speech. She cited the current “laser focus” on Hollywood in the wake of a string of sexual abuse scandals—leading to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements—and criticism over lack of female recognition as having provided the women’s rights movement with an unprecedentedly powerful platform for change. “In many countries, a woman is no longer defined purely by her marital status. By her ability to bear children, or how well she keeps her home. It is now conceivable that a woman can pursue any career she wants,” Jiwani said. But, Jiwani reminded attendees that there is still a great deal of work to be done.“We haven’t achieved gender equality. We are far, far from reaching it . . . in the United States, women remain underrepresented at every level in the corporate world, despite earning more college degrees than men for 30 years and counting,” she said. “Achieving gender parity starts with acknowledging the gaps that we need to bridge.”

Ruming Zhang, a third-year commerce student at Carleton who attended the conference, offered an optimistic perspective on overcoming gendered barriers in the workplace, pointing out that change is catalyzed by collaboration. “That’s the [reason] I’m here . . . a group of people can influence the whole world,” Zhang said.

Event Details

  • Date: March 3rd, 2018
  • Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Location: Marriott Hotel, 100 Kent Street, Ottawa Ontario

Discovering the Catalyst is our second annual conference welcoming over 250 attendees. It is geared towards answering the question as to why gender inequality is prevalent in modern day workplaces. The focus is why the barrier exists for women in the workplace and how this issue can be mitigated. The event features 3 networking sessions, 5 panels covering an array of topics and perspectives from many industries, inspirational keynote speeches, exhibitor booths and more. Please email: for more details.



Kim Coles – Actress, speaker, and author

As a beloved multifaceted actress, comedian, author and speaker, Kim Coles has delighted audiences all over the world for over 32 years including ground-breaking shows like In Living Color and Living Single. A sought after online academy teacher and intuitive strategic coach, Kim also guides women on the incredible healing journey Broadcasting their Brilliance by telling and leveraging their own authentic stories to inspire others to learn, laugh and leave their own powerful legacy. Her 3rd book “Open Your G.I.F.T.S” is an Amazon Bestseller. Kim resides In Los Angeles with her husband, Reggie Mckiver. Website:

Almas Jiwani – President and CEO of Almas Jiwani Foundation – President emeritus of UN Women Canada; Internationally renowned speaker & Philanthropist.

The Audacious Catalyst and Epitome for Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment. She is internationally renowned for her efforts to encourage women’s social, economic, and political empowerment. She spearheads initiatives where corporate growth intersects with humanitarian development.

A model of perseverance and determination, Ms. Jiwani’s efforts to strengthen women’s economic capacity as entrepreneurs and producers have earned her accolades. She plays a crucial role in building networks among charitable institutions and socially responsible businesses.

Ms. Jiwani is a powerful and influential speaker and she continues to travel across the globe to deliver keynote addresses, speeches, and presentations on improving the status of women. She addressed over 400 parliamentarians from 42 countries on the benefits of economically empowering women and the roles and responsibilities of parliamentarians at the International Assembly in the Dominican Republic and Quebec City. More recently, she addressed the Pan Africa Media Conference, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, World Bank, Women in Leadership Forum in Abu Dhabi, African Development Bank conference, and the World Forum alongside Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and holistic health/New Age guru Deepak Chopra.

She is CEO of Frontier Canada, a communications and marketing company based in Toronto, Ontario. In 2013, Ms. Jiwani was appointed as a member of Magna Carta Canada honorary committee alongside with former Country Prime Ministers and high level political dignitaries.She was also appointed as good will Ambassador of the World NGO. In 2012, Ms. Jiwani made history as a state visitor in Pakistan when she addressed one million women on gender inequality. In June 2012, she was appointed as a Global Ambassador of Peace by the Universal Peace Federation. She is a member of the Global Advisory Board of Women in Leadership – NASEBA Corporation in the Middle East and Dean, Faculty of Law at Istanbul University in Turkey, Pamoja Kenya Mentorship Alliance, Enerdynamic and Global Warming Prevention Technologies.

Ms. Jiwani has gained international recognition and commendations from governments and the media:
• In a letter sent to the UN Women Headquarters, Ms. Jiwani received praise from the Prime Minister of Uganda for her contributions to promote gender equality in Africa.
• In April 2012, Ms. Jiwani partnered with the government of Indonesia to help draft a bill and develop and implement gender equitable policies in the country.
• She has been interviewed by Peter Mansbridge, chief correspondent of CBC News, on “One on One” and Steve Paikin of TVOs “The Agenda”. She has also been interviewed on CTV, Rogers TV, and OMNI TV networks.
• Nation Media from Africa has featured Ms. Jiwani’s speeches, interviews, and achievements on several occasions.
• LifeStyles published an extensive interview highlighting Ms. Jiwani’s achievements and passion for global gender equality, R.S.V.P. Magazine published a multiple-page editorial on Ms. Jiwani’s work, and Women’s Post declared Ms. Jiwani a “Woman to Watch”.
• Sync Magazine featured cover story with in-depth interview.

SABINA SAINI– Deputy Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs at Office of the Prime Minister of Canada

Event Moderator

Barbara Balfour – TV Host and Producer, Rogers TV

Barbara Balfour is a television host and producer, award-winning public speaker, and international print journalist. Some of her beats include travel, food, fashion, social trends, business and entrepreneurship, real estate, science, health and medicine, the law, and human-interest stories. Barbara has also worked in media and investor relations, as well as external and internal communications, for industries ranging from commercial real estate and oil and gas to healthcare, education and finance.

In addition to hosting and producing a live talk show in Ottawa, Barbara writes regularly for BBC World News, The Globe and Mail, ELLE, and every major daily newspaper in Canada.

She has published two children’s books, contributed to tourism guidebooks on Iceland and Chile, and co-edited an anthology of essays on Canada-European Union relations.

Her work has taken her to more than 35 countries and provided opportunities such as interpreting for Mikhail Gorbachev’s entourage, writing for the Economist Group, and interviewing Noam Chomsky.

Fashion Panel

Kim Appelt- Personal and Celebrity Stylist

Kim Appelt is one of Canada’s top stylists. A personal and celebrity stylist with years in the fashion industry has become a go-to expert to all fashion related things. Along with dressing hip personal clients, both men and women she also dresses local television personalities, musicians and A-list celebrities for the red carpet.

Kim’s passion to help clients find their own style, ability to see trends & pull together key pieces have led the way to a successful styling career. A passion to help people, and an eye for what works, she will bring new energy into your style.

Kim is a style contributor for many publications, contributes to national style columns, radio and TV shows. Kim sits on the nominating committee for the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards and is committed to helping new artists. Kim and her work have been seen on the Red Carpet, everywhere from the CAFA awards to The Daytime Emmy’s. She is a well respected influencer in the fashion scene.

Dominique Baker – Manager, Program Development, Style Domination

Dominique Baker is a fashion and beauty blogger with a great interest in photography and writing. A diehard fashion enthusiast, Dominique’s blog is her creative outlet offering readers a chance to unwind, be inspired and share a laugh through compelling, readable content. Always, “dom-ifying” her style with classic and trendy pieces alike, Dominique makes it clear that “Style Domination” is simply a play on her name. She doesn’t pretend to dominate anything, and is inspired daily by her readers and Ottawa itself.

Launching Style Domination in January 2015, her success was almost immediate. Through blogging, Dominique has attended Toronto Fashion Week and styled celebrities at the Toronto International Film Festival.

This project manager by day has several accomplishments under her belt including being named an Ambassador for The Ottawa Hospital, being named a “Person 2 Know” by the United Way, was a panelist on the Local Talks: Balancing Your Side Hustle When You Have A 9-5 event and regularly gives speeches on blogging, fashion, beauty and entrepreneuship. Recently, she was nominated for a 2018 blogging award by Faces Magazine. With invitations to Fashion Art Toronto and New York Fashion Week SS2018, Dominique continues to hone her styling skills and keen eye for street style photography.

With major collaborations with Tiffany & Co., Ford Motor Company of Canada, MAC Cosmetics, SoulCycle, Nordstrom, Joe Fresh and more, Style Domination continues to grow and offer readers a fun escape with genuine, down-to-earth and fun content.

Vanessa AnsteadWomenswear Brand Manager for Ted Baker

A lover of all things related to travel, fashion and art, Vanessa is a womenswear brand manager for the British luxury fashion company Ted Baker. Currently based out of Toronto, Vanessa has lived in international cities such as Paris, Shanghai and Madrid.

Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Vanessa came to Ottawa to study at the University of Ottawa, where she graduated from the Telfer School of Management with an Honours Bachelors of Commerce in International Management. After working in both the government and the private sector in operations at a fashion startup in Toronto, she moved abroad to complete an MBA in Luxury Brand Management from the International Fashion Academy (IFA) in Paris, France. She has also lived and studied marketing in Shanghai, China, the world’s emerging luxury capital, and Madrid, Spain.

Vanessa is interested in the influence of location branding in luxury brands, as well as the influence of art and popular culture in Icon Branding. Her interest in art and theatre also pursued her to create Lolita Productions, a theatre company dedicated to performing thought-provoking shows for fringe audiences. Vanessa has published a thesis entitled “Building History : Creating Iconic Luxury Brands.” and is a supporter of women in executive roles in art, fashion and beyond.

Finance & Accounting Panel

Anne-Marie Ethier Audit Partner & Market Leader, Deloitte

Anne-Marie Ethier is an Audit partner and Market leader in the Deloitte Gatineau office. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). Following graduation, she worked in a small accounting firm while completing her Chartered Accounting designation. She worked her way up in several different firms in the Montreal and Maniwaki regions, before accepting a role as Senior Manager at the Deloitte office in Ottawa in 2003. She obtained her Partner title in 2010, and in 2014, she was granted the prestigious Fellow Chartered Professional Accounting designation, a prestigious honorary designation awarded to CPAs who, through their outstanding achievements including community leadership, bring distinction to the accounting profession and serve as a role model to others.

Anne-Marie now holds over 20 years of experience in audit and advisory, with a diverse clientele in the public sector, parapublic and private sectors. She is very much involved in her community, as a business leader and volunteer, having held roles such as United Way-Centraide Fundraising Campaign president, Member of the Outaouais Economic Development and sitting on several boards as treasurer and president for organizations in her community. These roles have lead her to receive several accolades from her peers in the Outaouais region, including the 2006 Outaouais Business and Professional Women Network Professional Woman of the Year award, becoming a finalist in the 2011 Business Women Network (WBN) of Ottawa Professional Category, and becoming the 2015 Chambre de commerce de Gatineau Personality of the Year, to name a few. In her down time, Anne-Marie enjoys spending time with her husband and two grown children, travelling the globe and lending a helping hand to those in need in her community.

Lynette Gillen – Vice-President of Trade Finance for RBC Royal Bank

Lynette Gillen is the Vice-President of Trade Finance for RBC Royal Bank.  She is responsible for leading Trade Finance across all platforms, from Commercial Banking through Capital Markets.  Her team supports Canada’s largest companies in growing outside of Canada and mitigating the risks inherent in global expansion.

Lynette began her career in financial services in the early 1990’s, and has held progressively senior and leadership roles in the areas of Wealth Management, Retail Banking, and most recently Global Services.  Lynette joined RBC in 2011 and has held the roles of Regional Vice-President, Integrated Markets and Regional Vice-President, Commercial Financial Services for Ontario North and East prior to her current National role. Lynette is passionate about improving access to resources for people experiencing mental health issues.  She sits on the Board of Governors of the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Center, and has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Hospitals of Regina Foundation and the Advisory Board for the Levene Graduate School of Business at the University of Regina.

Lynette holds an MBA from Dalhousie University.

Susan Richards – Co-Founder and Managing Partner of NumberCrunch and Co-Founder and CEO of Givopoly

Susan Richards is a CPA with 20 years of accounting experience in the Ottawa tech sector having served the last 12 years as CFO to over 30 companies in a part-time, full-time or contract basis.  In 2010 Susan we granted the prestigious Fellowship designation by the Society of Management Accountants of Canada.

In 2014 Susan co-founded NumberCrunch, a company that provides full stop back end financial support services for startups to mid-sized companies.  In 2017 NumberCrunch won ‘Best New Business’ at the Best Ottawa Business Awards (BOBs).  In 2017 Susan was also a finalist for the Business Woman of the Year awards presented by the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa.  Previously Susan was the recipient of the Canadian Business Leadership Award for ‘Business Intuition’ from CMA Ontario.

An entrepreneur at heart, in 2012 Susan is also Co-Founder and CEO of an online marketplace for gifting found at  Givopoly has expanded to Toronto and Vancouver with more cities to come.

Susan is a great Ottawa ambassador and serves on the Board of Directors of Invest Ottawa and the Board of Advisors at AmbiSHEous.  Susan was previously the one of the youngest to be elected to the Board of Governors of CMA Ontario, and served on the Algonquin College Presidents Advisory Council.

Human Resources panel

Heidi Hauver – The CHRO & Managing Partner of Keynote HR

Heidi Hauver is a self-proclaimed ‘HR evangelist’ who champions the strategic value of the human resources function within organizations. She is the CHRO & Managing Partner of Keynote HR. Keynote Group helps organizations with their talent management and HR business critical needs. Keynote’s services include HR consulting services, executive search, and outsourced recruitment. She also serves as an entrepreneur in residence and growth coach with Invest Ottawa.

Focused on transformational HR, since 2007, she founded an HR practice and built two HR departments for technology companies from the ground up—most recently for Pythian, the global database services company where she served as Vice President of Human Resources.

Heidi’s energetic leadership and constant innovation have earned her several awards, including a 2017 Top 25 HR Professional Nod, a 2012 Ottawa Business Journal/Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Forty Under 40 Award, a 2012 CATA Information Technology Strategic HR Leadership Award, the 2011 VOscars Best Volunteer in a Professional Field Award and the 2010 Carswell HR Rising Star Award. Team awards included a 2014 Randstad Canada Vision Award, Innovation in Talent Acquisition award and the 2013 Ottawa Business Achievement Awards – HR Initiative of the Year.

A dedicated volunteer and advocate, Heidi gives her time, expertise and mentorship to support a variety of industry organizations such as the Ottawa Montessori School, the Ottawa Labour Market Planning Committee, IT Sector Working Group with Hire Immigrants Ottawa, is a mentor with Women in Communications & Technology, and she recently Chaired the National Advisory Committee For Women In Technology with the Information and Communications Technology Council.

Megan Paterson – Vice President Human Resources for Kinaxis

Megan is a Carleton alum, and the Vice-President, Human Resources for Kinaxis, a publicly traded, international software company. In her role she oversees all aspects of HR for 13 countries for a company that is growing 25% year over year. Megan also has strong experience with startups…. she never shies away from fast pace and unparalleled growth. She has helped ensure Kinaxis continues to be a Top Employer, every year winning 3-5 national and local awards in the past four years. Under her leadership, this year her team won Top Performing HR Team at the BoB awards. In her spare time, Megan sits on the Board of Directors for Interval House of Ottawa, a shelter for women and children fleeing violence. She is actively involved in public speaking and fundraising for the shelter; it’s the only shelter in the city not fully funded by the government. Megan has been nominated for a Vision Award, won Top 40 Under 40, won Amazing People in 2015, and currently holds her CHRL.

Bonnie Seidman – Executive Director and Chief People Officer

Bonnie Seidman is Executive Director and Chief People Officer for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The Royal College sets the highest standards for specialty medical education in Canada. They also support lifelong learning for specialist physicians and promote sound health policy.

Currently, Bonnie is leading the implementation of “One Royal College” – the people strategy built with commitment to develop, energize, inspire and value employees. With accountability for the people, she champions the employee being the focus of any institution’s development through the implementation of a robust multi-phased, multi–year transformation.

Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University and an Executive Management Certificate from Queens University. She also holds an advanced level certification in Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation from the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law; Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) and Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) from Human Resources Professional Association; and Human Capital Strategist (HCS) from the Human Capital Institute.

As one who always believes in giving back to her field, Bonnie serves as a volunteer on the Board of Directors of the Human Resources Professional Association, including the Human Resources and Compensation Committee, Governance and Nominating Committee and the Finance and Audit Committee.

Sandra Saric  Vice President, Talent Innovation, Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Sandra Saric is Vice President, Talent Innovation at the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) where she leads initiatives that promote diversity, inclusion, and collaboration with industry, government and education on strategies and actions to leverage talent in Canada’s digital economy, with a focus on initiatives that involve the recruitment, integration and advancement of global talent, women and youth in ICT. In this capacity, in 2015, Sandra received a Women in Communications and Technology Leadership Excellence Award for Diversity and frequently speaks on topics that address inclusiveness, digital skills and education, and the digital labour market and in 2017 was named as one of 150 Canadian women in STEM. At ICTC, she has been instrumental in launching a Canadian Cyber Security Youth and Education initiative – CyberTitan – to prepare youth with cyber security skills. Sandra also serves as an advisor on the Planning for Canada Advisory Group; Hire Immigrants Ottawa Employer Council of Champions, and the IOE Global Forum for Migration and Development Business Mechanism.


Liz Ellwood: Co-Founder, Fertility Match Canada

After being diagnosed with cancer at age 24 and realizing that other young cancer patients needed accessibility to information and funding about fertility preservation, Liz founded the national charity, Fertile Future. The organization has funded the fertility preservation of over 500 Canadian cancer patients to date, and provided information, counseling and education to countless more. For Liz, the worst part of having cancer was that the treatment left her infertile. With a tarnished medical history, adoption was not an option, so she pursued having a child via Egg Donation and Surrogacy. The journey had many ups and downs: “I found the journey of having a child with so many factors involved was actually far more stressful than having cancer, if you can believe it. I began to dream of starting an agency in Canada that was known for making the journey of Egg Donation and/or Surrogacy a positive and exciting one for prospective parents, rather than stressful and disappointing”.

Liz had a strong vision of what an agency in Canada needed to deliver to all of it’s clients: Respect, Support, Trust and Integrity. After years of discussion and planning with her business partner Lisa Casselman, Fertility Match opened its doors as Canada’s first full service fertility consulting agency in May 2017. Liz feels incredibly blessed to have the privilege to work with amazing Intended Parents, Surrogates, Egg Donors to build families through third party reproduction across Canada.

Roy Sunstrum – Vice President Operations for Shopify Plus

With over two decades of senior leadership in enterprises including Nortel, JDS Uniphase, Sunstrum Hanel & Associates, DNA Genotek, and Shopify, my career has been extremely diverse.  In that time my roles have focused in areas including component engineering, manufacturing, supply chain & outsource management, quality systems, R&D, intellectual property, customer support & success.  Industry verticals have been as diverse, covering telecom equipment, semiconductors, optical components, biotech devices, and SAAS.

For many years I have moved between senior roles without being experienced in the front line work, but always focused on defining success, transparent leadership, aligning around a compelling vision and building a strong team and culture.  It’s amazing how portable those leadership principles really are.

In 1996 I wrote a personal mission statement that begins with “I will endeavour to be respected as a successful and caring leader at home and in the workplace, making both fun places to be.”  It touches other topics such as “show my children a world of opportunity”.  I have been extremely fortunate in both my career & family life.  Married 34 years, my wife and I have 4 adult children, and 1 grandson.

Educationally I have half of an Architecture degree (1979-1981) from Carleton and an Executive MBA (1994) from Queen’s.  I have held many volunteer roles (Ottawa Manufacturers Network, Richmond Munster Minor Hockey, and Wolfe Lake Association), and enjoy varied hobbies including outdoors, classic cars, hockey, and music, having released an album in 2013.

Lorella “Lo” Ciccone is a fashion stylist and the owner of, an online fast-fashion maternity boutique. Her love for all things fashion and her keen eye for detail have allowed her to maintain a consistent and loyal client base of both men and women from all walks of life. She offers an easy, stress-free outlook on building an exciting wardrobe and makes the burden of shopping, a fun and enjoyable pastime.

A fashion industry professional for the past twenty years, Lo has overseen the opening of over seven retail stores for major companies such as Aldo, American Apparel, Winners, Zara and Nordstrom. In 2014, she was hired by Seattle’s leading fashion retailer, Nordstrom and launched a successful pilot sales program for the second brick and mortar Nordstrom store opening in Ottawa. The program taught salespeople to approach selling in a more human and less intimidating way. Her vision to create an environment of “stylists” as opposed to “clerks” was recognized by the Nordstrom’s owners . This new and innovative approach was then implemented company-wide across North America.

During the creation of her online boutique, Gabi+Zoe, Lo discovered that she was expecting her second child. Many years before, she had begun seeking out maternity designs that served multiple purposes. Frustrated with the lack of stylish, high-quality yet affordable options for pregnant women, Lo decided to try her hand at designing on-trend maternity wear. After sourcing a line of flattering pieces to build the foundation of a great maternity wardrobe, she managed to sell out her entire collection in its inaugural season making Gabi + Zoe an overnight success. Lo foresees a great Spring/Summer 2018 collection encompassing current sought-after styles.

Clary Chambers: Inspirational Speaker, Spark Clarity & Remote Customer Success Guru, Shopify

Inspirational speaker, car accident survivor, self-care expert, recent Carleton University Graduate and very funny human, Clary Chambers has made her mark on the wellness community. In the summer of  2017 she launched Spark Clarity, a business with a simple but powerful intention; empowering women to live their most authentic lives. As a mental health advocate she has given over 11 engaging and humorous talks in 2017 alone. Speaking to a wide range of audiences, working with venues and organizations such as City of Om Yoga Festival, Pure Yoga Ottawa, Happiness Habits 613, Do It For Daron, Feminist Twins, Carleton University Student Association and The Pursuit Of Yoginess, to name a few.

With a speaking series launching in March 2018 with stops in Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal and Toronto, Clary is constantly grateful that Spark Clarity allows her to share her experiences living with chronic pain with people all over the world.

In January 2018, Clary took on a new role on the Support Team at Shopify as a Remote Customer Service Success Guru! Clary has loved working for such a supportive and diverse company while helping business owners all over the world achieve their e-commerce goals.
You can find this queer woman of colour on all social media, spreading positivity and sharing resources at @sparkclarity and on the web at



EMMA JANE DONLIN- Manager Project Management, Configuration & Data Management & Offshore Management

Emma Jane Donlin is an Engineering Manager at Bombardier Aerospace with almost 3 decades of business experience.

In 1997 Emma joined the Engineering team at Bombardier Aerospace to certify the Q400 aircraft. Over the years she has overseen a wide variety of departments including Project Management, Data & Configuration Management, Engineering Flight Test, Experimental Ground Test, Customer Engineering & Material Technology.  In addition Emma has been responsible for managing a yearly multi-million dollar budget.

Prior to moving to Canada Emma started her career in Great Britain completing a Hydro Apprenticeship Program, she then trained and studied in Business & Finance and was fast pathed into the Management Training Program.

Emma is passionate about developing people, she is a Certified Coach for Bombardier Aerospace and has supported School Programs, hiring Students, Interns and New Graduates. She has worked with local government to provide work experience opportunities for recent immigrants and over the years has launched the careers of many employees.

Captain Josée Rodgers

Capt. Josée Rodgers enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in Hamilton, Ontario, on June 21st of 2004, under the Non-commissioned Member Subsidized Education Entry Plan (NCMSEP) as a Land Communication Information Technician.  She completed her studies at Mohawk College in 2006 and joined the Telecommunications and Information Services Unit at CFB Borden Ontario, in the Telecommunication Section. In 2008, she was selected to join the Training Development Branch under the University Training Plan Non-Commissioned Member (UTPNCM) program, as a Training Development Officer (TDO). She then when on to completed her Bachelors of Education through Brock University, the TDO Basic Qualification Course (BQC) at the Canadian Forces Training and Education Center (CFTDC), and was qualified as a TDO in 2011.

From 2011 to 2015, Capt. Rodgers was posted to the Combat Training Centre, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in Gagetown, New Brunswick. While at CTC, she had the honour of working with both the Infantry School and the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps School, as their school TDO. While working in Gagetown, she was able to complete her Master in Education at the University of New Brunswick. Since 2015, Capt. Rodgers has been a member of CFTDC at CFB Borden; first as the Standards Officer for all Personnel Selection Officer Qualification (PSEL) and Canadian Forces Recruiting Group (CFRG) training, and for the last two years, as part of the instructional team for the TDO BQC. Capt. Rodgers is married and lives in Angus, Ontario with her husband and stepdaughter.

 Solona Armstrong – Front End Developer in Core Foundations at Shopify

Solona has been working as a Web Developer since Y2K. Her very first position as a Web Designer was at an online gambling company, followed by a job designing websites in the fashion industry, neither of which represented what she stands for in life. She soon decided to focus her career on projects that aligned more with her values. She ran her own business for eight years, developing websites for environmental non-profit organizations such as Living Oceans Society, David Suzuki Foundation, and GreenLearning Canada Foundation, as well as small, independent entrepreneurs who contribute to their community in a positive way, such as Nutrition for Life and Samadhi Thai Massage. She currently works as a Front End Developer at Shopify for their design system Polaris.



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