What makes us who we are? It goes beyond traditional diversity labels.

#WeAreMore than the color of our skin.

#WeAreMore than the country we migrated from.

#WeAreMore than our gender identity and expression …

We are shaped by our background, our culture, our personalities, and our experiences. We are multi-dimensional and complex. We are inherently intersectional.

We don’t experience the world in one dimension, so why design workplaces with only one dimension of diversity in mind? Truly diverse and inclusive workplaces recognize intersectionality’s relevance to new ideas, the bottom line, and positive culture.

This year’s Inclusive Workplace Conference provides a fresh lens on inclusion. Discover how to cultivate a more inclusive mindset by exploring different frameworks. Deepen your inclusive capabilities through meaningful learning, and get effective tools and resources to put lessons learned into practice.

Create an Inclusive Workplace


Jamelle Lindo

Executive Director, Pride at Work/Fierté au Travail

Mona Ghiami

Chief Inclusion Officer, PwC Canada

Ricardo Wagner

Accessibility Lead, Microsoft Canada

Rola Dagher

President, Cisco Systems Canada

H Henriques

VP, Human Resources and Operations

Tania DeSa

CEO, DeSa Global Leadership Inc


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

7:30 a.m.
Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:15 a.m.
Opening and blessing of the conference
8:30 a.m.
Susan Black

Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board of Canada

8:45 a.m.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives that try to group people into such categories as gender, ethnicity, and age provide a narrow view of what shapes our identities. No one is defined by a single category: We are influenced by our experiences, culture, and background. This is a core concept behind intersectionality.

This opening keynote session will set the stage for the day as we seek to expand our inclusion efforts by embracing the rule of “one size does not fit all.”


Keynote Speaker, Workshop Facilitator

9:30 a.m.

Customers and employees with disabilities demand delight, not mere accommodation. To deliver delight, brands must adjust to understand that demand, build it in core experience and measure success for continuous improvement.

Rich Donovan

CEO, The Return on Disability Group

9:45 a.m.

Recognition and understanding of intersectionality—how overlapping identities and experiences impact and sometimes disadvantage people—should be a D&I priority for all organizations. Yet many people, including D&I practitioners and C-suite leaders, find the concept confusing and intimidating. We’ll begin our discussion exploring the most important concepts, and engage panel of inclusion and diversity champions to reflect on intersectionality as it applies to business strategy. They will discuss their personal and organizational journeys, share practical stories and lessons learned, and explore thought-provoking questions such as:

  • How does intersectionality impact your workforce?
  • How do you prioritize intersectionality in a constructive, meaningful way within your workplace?
  • What cultural changes to you need to consider as you integrate intersectionality into your D&I strategy?
Deb Pine


Executive Director of the Center for Women and Business and Executive Education,
Bentley University

Rola Dager

President, Cisco Systems Canada

Rola Dager

Executive Director,
Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)

Rola Dager

VP, Human Resources and Operations

10:30 a.m.
Networking break
11:00 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set A (please select one)

Session A1

The inclusive design framework provides opportunity and space for diverse perspectives to come together and influence business outcomes and decisions. It recognizes humans’ intersectional nature and provides inclusive processes and tools to build a foundation for greater innovation.

This interactive session will provide tangible ways to engage your workforce through strategic collaboration and engagement to ensure that your D&I framework reflects your workforce’s diversity and uniqueness.

Sepideh Shahi

Senior Inclusive Designer, Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University

David Pereyra

Project & Outreach Coordinator at the IDRC

Lisa Liskovoi

Inclusive Designer and Accessibility Specialist at the IDRC

Session A2

A leading Canadian organization will share lessons and good practices for organizations to consider when designing inclusive and accessible products and services.

Ricardo Wagner

Accessibility Lead, Microsoft Canada

12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set B (please select one)

Session B1

When inclusion flourishes, it permeates your whole environment. It impacts innovation, talent attraction and performance, customer relations, and revenues. To seize these opportunities, you need more effective ways to approach inclusion. And new ways to measure inclusion and its impact on business outcomes. In this interactive inclusion lab, we’ll embrace Design Thinking to:

  • Explore a whole new approach to inclusion
  • Design ways to bring inclusion to life in your daily work and in your organization
  • Review and refine elevated inclusion scorecards

Rebekah J. Steele

Principal, Diversity and Inclusion Breakthroughs

Session B2

Despite good intentions and stated commitment, the representation of women and diverse leaders has not progressed as far as we had hoped. We need a new approach—one that goes beyond trying to change mindsets, building awareness and implementing programs with little result. This session will explore how behavioral science and human-centered design can pave a faster way towards inclusion and belonging.

Some questions we will answer include:

  • What is behavioral science and how can we use it to drive inclusion for everyone?
  • How can a small-wins approach bridge differences and produce large, measurable cultural change?
  • How can we design recruitment and talent processes to interrupt bias for more objective people decisions?

Sylvia Apostolidis

President, The Jasmar Group

Jennifer Naschen

Manager, Doblin

Monica Zhang

Senior Service Designer, CIBC

2:00 p.m.
Networking break
2:30 p.m.

In this spotlight session, Rania Younes shares her story and how it’s shaped who she is and influenced the work that she is doing. Draw lessons from her experiences on how you can, in turn, create a workplace environment that welcomes and supports Canadian newcomers with open hearts and minds.

John DeLorey

Founder, WelcomeHome TO

2:45 p.m.

Panelists will share personal and business experiences with developing an organic culture where employees feel safe bringing their authentic selves to work without fear of repercussions. Hear how businesses are prioritizing inclusion and actively seeking greater diversity for a more positive culture and bottom line.

Jamelle Lindo

Emotional Intelligence Leadership Coach,
PARADIGM People Development Inc

Marni Panas

Program Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Alberta Health Services


Chief Inclusion Officer, PwC Canada

3:30 p.m.

Stereotypes and myths about queer and trans people pervade Canadian workplaces. If your inclusion strategy is only about Pride Month you might be part of the problem. Let's talk about the solutions this perpetually underserved community needs to thrive.

Colin Druhan

Executive Director, Pride at Work/Fierté au Travail

3:45 p.m.

In this high energy talk, Tania will demystify the unwritten rules of the workplace, showing you how diversity is the key to getting ahead and offering you practical advice on how you can take action.  You will be inspired to leverage your talents, own your awesomeness and be a role model of intersectionality in order to create a ripple effect in your workplace.

Tania DeSa

CEO, Desa Global Leadership Inc.

4:30 p.m.
Matthew McKean

Inclusion Director

HRPA CPD logoThis event is approved for 5.5 CPD hours by Human Resource Professionals Association.

Please check in regularly for any updates to the proposed agenda.

LIVE SESSION: Champions panel: Inclusion in the workplace

December 4, 2019, at 9:45am EST

Please note - this session will not be recorded.
If you can't attend the conference in person, participate in this unique opportunity to still hear from industry leaders with strategies you can take back to your organization.

Gain a clear understanding of what intersectionality is and how it can impact your employees and your business strategy. Learn from Deborah Pine, Rola Dagher, and Margaret Eaton who will share their personal and organizational journeys on how they ensured intersectionality in the workplace.

Together, they will explore thought-provoking questions such as:

  • How does intersectionality impact your workforce?
  • How do you prioritize intersectionality in a constructive, meaningful way within your workplace?
  • What cultural changes to you need to consider as you integrate intersectionality into your D&I strategy?

Join us, live, from your own office and learn how to lead change in your organization.


We are offering the Safer Spaces—Institutional LGBTQ Inclusion webinar for free to Inclusive Workplace Conference attendees. This webinar features Dale Boyle, Manager of the Safer Spaces Program, who helps organizations provide an inclusive environment for LGBTQ clients and colleagues. Go beyond standard staff training.

The Inclusive Workplaces Conference has been ongoing since 2007. Here are some highlights from the 2018 Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Conference.

  • 175+ attendees
  • 86 business represented
  • Attendee job function:
inclusion_2018-attendees Human resources Policy Communications Education Legal

“Great location; presenters that had relevant and pragmatic content; workshop was valuable and well-designed.”
—2018 Conference Attendee



Coming with a group?
Please contact us for more information and group rates.

Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel


Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
123 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2M9

*Conference fees do not include accommodations. To receive the preferred rate, please use the “book accommodation” link above. The last day to secure your preferred rate is November 12, 2019.



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