Agents of Change Speakers

Jennifer Ladouceur – Moderator of the Day


Jennifer is President and Co-Founder of Women Leadership Nation, an organization committed to closing the Gender Gap and creating Unified Workplaces. Jennifer is a serial entrepreneur and has held senior leadership positions in the private, public and government sectors where she herself has faced many obstacles and challenges. Jennifer has dedicated the past 2 years to investigating why the Gender Gap is not closing and developing holistic solutions that help organizations attract, develop, engage and retain women leaders by creating more Unified Workplaces.

Jennifer’s Website | LinkedIn | Twitter


Michelle Branigan – Opening and Closing Remarks

Michelle Branigan is CEO of Electricity Human Resources Canada, Canada’s leader in Human Resource and workplace solutions for the Electricity and renewable energy sector. Michelle has been instrumental in supporting the advancement of women and minorities in the Electricity industry. She has spearheaded a number of influential programs including, Connected Women Mentorship Program for Women, The Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity for the Electricity Industry, EnAbling Change online portal and program, to support the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities in the electricity sector, along with a host of other programs that support diversity in the Electricity sector. She is currently an active Board Member with the Energy Council of Canada, the Irish Film Festival Ottawa, and a recipient of Women in Renewable Energy’s (WiRE) 2015 Woman of the Year award, which recognizes and celebrates professional women working in the energy sector who go above and beyond business as usual.

Michelle’s Website | LinkedIn


Hadiya Roderique – Keynote Speaker

As a young, black woman working as a lawyer on Bay Street, Hadiya Roderique delivered a wake-up call to corporate Canada in the form of her Globe and Mail feature essay, “Black on Bay Street.” Shared more than 13,000 times on Facebook, with the accompanying video watched more than 250,000 times, Hadiya’s think piece sparked discussion in boardrooms across Canada. In her thought-provoking talks, she discusses barriers and challenges to diversity and inclusion, and counters those common arguments to show the power behind a diverse and inclusive workplace.

A graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, Hadiya is a researcher, consultant, broadcast commentator, and former podcast host. An award-winning writer, she has bylines in The Globe and MailThe WalrusThe National PostThis Magazine, and Elle. She also holds an M.A. in Criminology, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. As a researcher, she broadly examines how race, gender, and parenthood shape perceptions and relationships in the workplace.

In 2018, Hadiya was named one of Canadian Lawyers’ 25 Most Influential Lawyers, and she was recognized with the Rising Star award from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.

Haidya’s Twitter | LinkedIn


Joanna Osawe – Moderator: Male Allies: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club

Joanna Osawe is the Global Business Development Manager – Major Projects at DMC Power Inc. and Chair & Co-Founder of Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE), a Canadian-based group which encourages and supports women to enter this dynamic field. WiRE is inclusive and educates on all renewable and emerging energy technologies with chapters in St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Windsor, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. WiRE is also expanding internationally with its first WiRE International Launch in Istanbul, Turkey. WiRE regularly organizes educational field trips (open to men and women), monthly networking meetings, an awards recognition program, student mentoring and bursaries, communications and engagement initiatives.

Joanna attended Western University studying Languages, Graduating with an Honours BA, Joanna has used her language skills on a focused, 15+ year management career at leading renewable and energy sector companies in Canada and the United States. By carrying complex projects through many stages she has seen firsthand the vital role renewable energy and emerging technologies serve in moving the Canadian, American and Global energy mix forward.

Joanna’s Website | Twitter | LinkedIn


Brian Bentz – Male Allies: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club

Brian is the President and CEO of Alectra Inc., the largest municipally-owned utility in Canada. Brian played a major role in the creation and growth of Alectra, which involved a  multi-utility merger, and the acquisition of another utility, under the company’s strategic growth strategy.

Brian has been recognized on several occasions for his industry leadership. In 2017, he was presented with the LDC ‘Leader Award’ from the MEARIE Group and was a co-winner of the OEA ‘Leader of the Year’ Award in 2016.  In previous years, he received the ‘Chair’s Citation’ from the EDA, the Electricity Human Resources Canada ‘Leader of the Year’ Award, the ‘Game Changer’ Award from the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), as well as recognition as a ‘Clean50’ and ‘Clean16’ Champion for leadership in sustainability advancement. He holds an MBA (McMaster), an honourary Bachelor of Applied Arts degree (Georgian College) and a Certified Engineering Technologist designation (Electrical/Electronics).

Brian’s Website | LinkedIn


Angelo Gravina, P.Eng. – Male Allies: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club

Angelo is the President of S&C Electric Canada Ltd. With over 27 years of global industry experience spanning three continents, Angelo draws on his international experience to drive innovation at S&C.

Angelo has been at the helm of S&C Electric Canada Ltd. since January 1, 2016. His enthusiasm for innovation, problem solving and creative thinking are evident in the company’s new product releases and rapid growth. With a talent for spotting industry trends, coupled with Angelo’s passion for solving the challenges facing the future electrical grid, S&C continues pushing ahead of the competition with innovative solutions solving the customer’s problems today and safeguarding against the challenges of tomorrow. Angelo is presently on both the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) Commercial Members Steering Committee, and the EDIST Committee where he works with other leaders helping share knowledge across the industry.

Angelo’s Website | LinkedIn


Geoff Denstedt – Male Allies: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club

Geoff Denstedt is the current President of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW). He has been a member since 2013 and has participated in various roles in the organization, including Recruitment and Joint Electrical Training Committees. He is a member of the Apprenticeship Governance Council which was established to bring CUSW and Industry partners together to create a highly skilled and reliable Apprenticeship program. As a graduate of the Apprenticeship program at Conestoga College and with 30 years of experience in the Electrical Industry, he has gained a firm understanding of the value that diversity and inclusion brings to the workplace. With great pride in 2018, he signed the Electricity Human Resource Canada Gender Diversity Accord, on behalf of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers.

Geoff’s Website | LinkedIn


Jason Fitzsimmons – Male Allies: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club

Jason Fitzsimmons was promoted to Chief Corporate Affairs and Customer Care Officer with Hydro One in August 2018, with oversight of the customer service, corporate affairs, marketing and Indigenous relations functions.

With more than 25 years of experience in the electricity sector, Mr. Fitzsimmons is a highly-regarded leader with a proven track record for successfully executing large-scale transformations and building strong relationships with key stakeholders. In his previous role as Vice President, Labour Relations at Hydro One, Mr. Fitzsimmons played an instrumental role in bringing the company’s 400-employee Customer Contact Centre in-house as the company continuously strives to deliver best-in-class customer service.

Prior to joining the company, Mr. Fitzsimmons was the Chief Negotiations Officer at the Ontario Hospital Association and also held a number of executive roles at Ontario Power Generation, including Vice President of Human Resources for the Nuclear division. He is a Certified Human Resource Executive known for his broad experience in labour management as well as his passion for health and safety in the workplace.

He was a prior member of the Advisory Board for Ryerson University’s Centre for Labour Management Relations and has served on the Board of Directors for the Electrical Power Sector Construction Association

Jason’s Website | LinkedIn


Denise McLean, Ph.D. – Our Numbers Tell A Story & Diversity Starts With You

Denise McLean is a senior leader with a broad range of experience in diversity and inclusiveness, leadership development, and organizational change.  Her focus on women’s careers and gender diversity in organizations has spanned more than thirty years and included several publications and conference presentations. She has conducted research and designed strategic, actionable approaches for advancing women within a range of contexts – including senior leadership roles, mining occupations, trucking, skilled trades, public sector, aviation and others. Denise has worked closely with the electricity sector over the past decade on various initiatives to increase workforce and supplier diversity, including fostering Indigenous participation and integrating internationally trained talent.  Most recently, Denise has been the lead consultant on the EHRC’s Women in Leadership initiative – a multi-method national research project to support the greater integration of women in leadership in the electricity and renewables sector.

Denise’s LinkedIn


Merertu Mogga Frissa – Our Numbers Tell A Story & Diversity Starts With You

Merertu Mogga Frissa is the Program Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at EHRC, and has over a decade’s experience in developing strategies and tools for organizations in the private, public and not-for profit sectors to create inclusive workplaces. She has authored and co-authored various articles for HR and people managers on bias-awareness and bias-reduction strategies to help improve decision making that affect organizations and employees.  In her spare time, Merertu mentors internationally trained professionals, providing support and guidance to help them achieve their career goals in Canada.

Merertu holds an M.A. in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa. She has also earned a BA in joint Specialization in Anthropology & Sociology from the University of Concordia in Montreal. Merertu is a Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP).

Merertu’s LinkedIn


Michelle Johnston – Views from the Top

Michelle Johnston is the Secretary-Treasurer/Chief Administration Officer for the Society of United Professionals, IFPTE Local 160. The Society is the union of choice for more than 8,000 professional employees in Ontario, including engineers, scientists, supervisors and lawyers. Ms. Johnston also serves on the Board of Directors of the Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), and actively participates on the Canadian Labour Congress’ Human Rights Advisory Committee and their Indigenous Rights Working Group as well as the Society of United Professionals’ Women’s Committee. Ms. Johnston has been involved in Ontario’s electricity industry for more than 30 years. Prior to her election, Ms. Johnston was a Senior Business Process Specialist at Hydro One.

Ms. Johnston holds an Honours BA from Laurentian University. In her spare time she dedicates her efforts to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada and the CIBC Run for the Cure.

Michelle’s Website | LinkedIn


Cathy Sprague – Views from the Top

Cathy Sprague is the Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Bruce Power. Her role is to oversee Bruce Power’s Human Resources function including Labour Relations, Recruitment, Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Code of Conduct, Wellness and Total Rewards.

Prior to Bruce Power, Cathy  served as the Corporate Vice President of Human Resources with J.D. Irving Ltd. (Irving Group of Companies)  as well she was the Canadian Vice President of Human Resources for Coca-Cola Enterprises in Toronto. Previously Cathy was the was Executive Director of Human Resources at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with overall responsibility for CBC Radio, CBC Television and digital platforms.

Cathy graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University, holds a Bachelor of Commerce from St. Mary’s University and a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University. In addition, she is a graduate of the ICD Program from the Rotman School of Business and holds the ICD.D designation through the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Cathy’s Website | LinkedIn


Alex Hosselet – The Future Gender Champions (Moderator)

As EHRC’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Alex is a diverse marketing professional with over 10 years of experience working in non-profits, education, and technology. He has worked leading marketing teams, managing accounts and strategies at agencies, and as an independent marketing, communications, and business strategy consultant. Taking a digital-first approach, Alex builds and implements holistic marketing strategies that deliver results. Alex is also an active member of the community and serves on the boards and committees of several local charities.

Alex is a proud graduate of Algonquin College’s Small and Medium Enterprise Management and Business Marketing programs.

Alex’s LinkedIn


Natalie Tleel – The Future Gender Champions

Natalie Tleel is a fourth year Chemical Engineering student with minors in Business and Sustainable Energy at the University of Toronto. Working in the nuclear industry has allowed her to explore the potential one can implement in the clean energy industry. There’s a lot to invest in that area and she plans to tackle challenges in the energy sector upon entering the workforce.

Natalie’s LinkedIn


Linda Chigbo – The Future Gender Champions

Linda is an engineer in training at Alectra Utilities supporting various projects within the Network Operations business unit. Her main focus is on key harmonization projects and bringing new operations initiatives to life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2018 from York University, and is the very first female engineer in her family. Linda was part of an all-female university team that created a platform ParaElle, to foster a safe space for women working/studying in STEM by helping to bridge the gap through peer-to-peer support network and mentorship. She believes in the power of giving back to the society and making meaningful contributions that effect change in a number of ways. She is really excited about the future and hopes to achieve remarkable success within the energy sector.

Linda’s LinkedIn


Chris Cirullo – The Future Gender Champions

Details to come.


Chendi Ren – The Future Gender Champions

Chendi currently works at the Alberta Electric System Operator as an Engineer, where she focuses on supporting the EMS (Energy Management System) critical applications to ensure system controllers have the effective tools for maintaining the reliability of the Alberta Interconnected Electric System. She is also responsible for delivering system controller trainings and the Provincial Restoration Drill as per required by North America Electric Reliability Corporation using Dispatch Training Simulator. She started her career at the AESO as an Engineer in Training with the New Graduate Rotational Program experiencing in Power System Modeling, Power Flow studies, Customer Connection Projects, and Operations Planning.

Chendi holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (with distinction) from the University of Alberta, and is currently enrolled in a Masters of Engineering in Electric Power Engineering at University of Waterloo part-time. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in Alberta and a member with IEEE.

Chendi’s LinkedIn


Patricia Butt – Becoming an Agent of Change: From Talk to Action

Details to come.

Patricia’s Website | LinkedIn


Courtnay de Rooy – Becoming an Agent of Change: From Talk to Action

Courtnay is a talent acquisition associate at FortisBC, having joined the organization in 2010 when it was still known as Terasen Gas. Throughout her career she has supported a variety of different business areas, her current focus being operations (gas and electric) and engineering (electric). Courtnay’s approach is to proactively partner with leaders to anticipate resourcing needs and create an inclusive environment for both existing and potential employees. In 2018, Courtnay was recognized as Emerging Leader of the Year by EHRC for her work in developing and promoting women in trades initiatives. She has an honours bachelor degree in social sciences from University of Victoria, and has held a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation since 2013. From 2008 to 2010, prior to joining Terasen Gas, Courtnay was part of The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), working as the chief of race office for bobsleigh and skeleton in Whistler during the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Courntay’s Website | LinkedIn


Nicole Parsons – Becoming an Agent of Change: From Talk to Action

In 2016, Nicole joined Nalcor Energy in corporate services and manages a wide portfolio including diversity, engagement, talent management, compensation, benefits, payroll, and corporate policies. Prior to Nalcor, Nicole spent nearly 15 years in private sector oil and gas industry working for Schlumberger, a global oil field services provider of technical, research and engineering solutions, and Noble Drilling, an international drilling contractor. During this time, Nicole was part of a team to land the first negotiated collective agreement for the Hibernia Platform, and she played a key role in many employment-labour matters through human rights tribunals, arbitrations, and grievance mediations.

Nicole is passionate to advance women in leadership through strategic diversity initiatives.  She keeps a keen eye to and supports women leadership networks, works with managers to unravel unconscious bias, and champions gender equity targets.  Nicole has always been a strong leader in terms of ethics, corporate compliance and anti-harassment endeavours.

Nicole is a proud Board Director with Choices for Youth, a not-for-profit organization working with at-risk youth in Newfoundland and Labrador. She graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and shortly after became a certified PeopleSoft Consultant during a career opportunity to implement human capital management systems.

Nicole’s Website | LinkedIn


Lindsay Amundsen – Becoming an Agent of Change: From Talk to Action

Lindsay is the Director of Workforce Development for Canada’s Building Trades Unions, an umbrella organization that represents over 500,000 working tradeswomen and men across Canada. Her primary focus is on the development and operations of Build Together, a national CBTU program that works to recruit and retain tradespeople from underrepresented portions of the population: Women, Indigenous Peoples, the Next Generation & New Canadians. Lindsay is a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional (CCIP).

Linday’s Website | LinkedIn


Dr. Michael Kaufman – Keynote Speaker

Michael Kaufman, Ph.D., is a speaker and writer focused on engaging men and boys to promote equality between men and women, promote fatherhood, and end violence against women.  Over the past three-and-half decades, he has worked in almost fifty countries, including extensively with the United Nations, numerous governments, NGOs, businesses and universities.

Dr. Kaufman has spoken to diverse corporate audiences, including Unilever, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Accenture, HP, Deloitte, Philips Electronics, and Triumph International. He delivered a keynote talk at the Hangzhou government’s and UN Women’s 2015 conference on gender equality and corporate social responsibility. He is a featured speaker at 2016 UN Global Compact conference in New York.

He is the co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women. He is a Senior Fellow with Instituto Promundo.

Dr. Kaufman is the author or editor of eight books and his articles have been translated into sixteen languages. He is the co-author of the recent State of the World’s Fathers report.

Married with two grown children, he lives in Toronto, Canada.

Michael’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn