On behalf of Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), we would like you to join us for our Agents of Change: Champions Celebrating Diversity event at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta on November 7th, 2018. This event will encourage, educate and explore the skills needed for becoming a Gender Champion.

Location: Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning Building – Room Ross Glen Hall

As in many technical sectors, women working in our sector represent a much smaller representation than they should, and often continue to face barriers that limit their advancement, or desire, to remain in the industry. Let’s change that!

Let’s make our sector Gender Champions!


7:30-8:30: Registration & Continental Breakfast/Networking

8:30-8:40: Welcome and Introduction

Michelle Branigan, Electricity Human Resources Canada CEO

8:40-8:50: Opening Remarks

The Honourable Danielle Marie Larivee, Minister of Status of Women and Minister of Children’s Services

8:50-9:30: Key Note Address: What is Unconscious Bias?

Tina Varughese, t Works, President

First impressions, positive or negative, are made in seven seconds or less. We all make quick assessments of others without even realizing it. We are not born with bias. Biases are formed by past situations, experiences, background and culture. Unconscious biases typically exist towards gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability (both physical and mental), and weight. Most of us will say “I see people for who they are” but do we? Unconscious biases affect and impact decision making both professionally and personally with real impact. Recognizing, managing and mitigating unconscious bias promotes diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion drives innovation, increased productivity, and stimulates creativity while promoting a healthy, happy engaging workplace culture.

9:30–10:30: Panel #1 Views from the Top

Join this group of senior level executives as they share their inspiring stories, having shattered the glass in a traditionally male dominated industry. Hear about their experiences, their challenges, and be inspired by how they have influenced, initiated, and impacted culture change while at the table.

Moderator: Lisa Nadeau, Vice President Human Resources, Alberta Electricity Systems Operator (AESO)

Panel Members:

  • Michelle Johnston, Executive Vice President, The Society of United Professionals
  • Miranda Keating-Erikson, Vice President of Markets, AESO
  • Jennifer Pierce, SVP, Trading and Marketing, TransAlta 

10:30-10:45: Networking Refreshment Break

10:45-12:00: Panel #2 Agents of Change: Male Industry Champions Talk

In an industry where 75% of the workforce is male, men are key drivers to achieving gender parity. The best leaders let others know where they stand on issues of gender and inclusion. These influential and inspirational male champions share a common commitment to creating equitable and inclusive workplaces. Sharing their personal insights as to why organizations need to support efforts to achieve success, our panelists will speak to the role men play in creating diversity in the workplace, and where the opportunities lie for men to join forces and to become agents of change.

Moderator: Elaina Eifler,  Manager Talent and Systems TransAlta

Panel Members:

  • Mansur Bitar, Director of Technologies EPCOR 
  • Greg Retzer, Vice President, Operations, AESO
  • Troy King, VP, Finance & Business, SaskPower 

12:00-1:00 : Lunch 

1:00 – 2:00: Panel # 3 The Making of  Champions

What can organisations do to bring more men into the work of advancing gender equality? How do we inspire and demonstrate to others that everyone has a role to play in working towards gender equality? What strategies are effective? This panel will speak to the steps that all participants can apply in their organisations and day-to-day lives, providing participants with actionable tools and ideas to become successful Agents of Change.

Moderator: Merertu Mogga Frissa, Program Manager Diversity and Inclusion, EHRC

Panel Members:

  • Joy Brown, Senior Seismic Interpreter, TAQA North, WinSETT
  • Jennifer Ladouceur, President, Women Leadership Nation
  • Robert Millard, Managing Director, Legal, TransAlta 
  • Ashley Mycholuk, Red Seal Journeyman Electrician, IBEW Local 424

2:00-2:30: Keynote Address: From Talk to Action – How One Company is moving the Dial

Kathy Lerette, SVP of Business Transformation, Alectra Utilities

The Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity in the Electricity Industry is a public commitment by employers, educators, unions and governments to promote the values of diversity, equality and inclusion throughout their work. Whether it’s through recruitment, retention, career progression or training and development, signatories are committed to improving opportunities for women in the electricity industry. And, the Accord must be signed by the organisation’s CEO or President to ensure diversity commitments are approved internally, visible to all stakeholders, and incorporated into the organisation’s core business and HR strategy. 

That commitment includes benchmarking current organisational practices and identifying areas for action. Kathy Lerette will share Alectra’s experience and what signing the Accord has meant –in real terms – for their organisation. 

2:30-3:15: Keynote Address: Making the Case – How Building an Inclusive Workplace Impacts the Bottom Line

Laura McGee, Founder and CEO of Diversio | Co-founder of #GoSponsorHer and Summit Leaders | Top 25 Women of Influence

Research shows that increasing the representation of women in the workplace has many advantages – societal, cultural and economic.  A recent report from McKinsey Canada showed that narrowing the gender gap could result in as much as $150 billion to the Canadian economy by 2016. However, while many organisations recognize that diverse organisations perform better, they are more likely to make changes if there is a strong demonstrable business case for doing so.

During this presentation Laura McGee will address the connection between diversity initiatives and the organisation’s business goals, set out the business case and context for diversity, and identify how organisations can measure the return on investment. 

3:15-3:30: Networking and Refreshment Break

3:30-4:20: Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) Speed Networking Opportunity

The event will conclude with a unique networking opportunity for participants.

Join Joanna Osawe, Chair, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) for a speed networking opportunity, where attendees will have the opportunity to connect, share personal experiences and gain knowledge and insights from their peers in the industry. This is an excellent opportunity to network and mingle with top energy sector leaders and seasoned industry professionals.

4:20-4:30: Reflections  and Closing Remarks

Michelle Branigan, CEO Electricity Human Resources Canada


Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary, AB (Visitor Parking is available in the East Gate Parkade for a day rate of $16.50/vehicle)