Check out the line up of incredible speakers we had for the 2018 conference! Read their bios below:

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Professor Alice B. Aiken, CD, PhD, MSc, BScPT, BSc

Dr. Alice Aiken is the Vice President – Research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.  She was the Dean of the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie.  She is a co-founder and the former Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, a unique consortium of over 41 Canadian and 7 international universities dedicated to researching the health needs of military personnel, Veterans and their families.  She does health services / health policy research and has a unique focus on Veterans and their families in her work.

She received her PhD and Master’s from Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; her Physical Therapy degree from Dalhousie University and a BSc in Kinesiology from the University of Ottawa.   She also proudly served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 14 years, first as a ship’s navigator in the Royal Canadian Navy, then as a physiotherapist.

She is currently the Honorary Commander of 33 Health Services for the Royal Canadian Medical Group.  For her commitment to the health and well-being of military personnel, Veterans, and their families, she has received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion (USA), and most recently she was made a Dame of the Order of St. George. She is elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada.


Patricia Bradshaw, Ph.D.

Pat Bradshaw is the Dean of the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University and a Professor of Management. The Sobey School of Business has over 80 full-time faculty and an enrollment of approximately 3,400 students in Bachelor of Commerce, MBA, Executive MBA, Master of Finance, Master of Management (Cooperatives and Credit Unions), Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Master of Applied Economics and PhD (management) programs. It is the largest and most comprehensive business school in Atlantic Canada.

Pat Bradshaw previously worked at the Schulich School of Business at York University and while there was the Director of the MBA Program and Chair of the Senate.  Her research interests include the study of organizational power and politics, gender and nonprofit boards of directors.

She has consulted with numerous nonprofits and her consulting projects include governance workshops, strategic planning, team building and training programs on change management and critical thinking skills. She has served on the board of the Association of Researchers in Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Associations as well as serving as the chair of the board of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs. She is a member of the Community Sector Council Board in Nova Scotia, the Enactus Canada board and the board of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.


Chantal Brine

Chantal Brine is a builder- of people and businesses.  In particular, she is passionate about supporting the growth of and working with emerging professionals. At the heart of her work is the belief that when people can connect their purpose and passion to making a living, they are more productive, motivated citizens and leaders. 

Chantal’s interest in the psychology behind human interaction is what brought her to Saint Mary’s University from Bermuda, where she focused on Psychology and Human Resources. Following graduation, she made Nova Scotia her home and began supporting leaders in the private and public sector as a Consultant. This work led to her role with North American technology company, Unique Solutions Design Ltd., where she led the development and execution of their human capital strategy.

Currently, Chantal leads a venture, En Point, focused on helping young adults connect their passion to a meaningful career.  Working with clients such as the Halifax Mooseheads, Edunova, NSCAD, and the Schulich School of Law, she helps students and alumni figure out their passion, and build the necessary skills, confidence, and connections to connect that to a career.  Over the past two years she has applied her experience in organizational strategy, human resources, community engagement and technology to helping over 1,500 post-secondary students and graduates transition from student to professional.  

Chantal is a believer in experiential learning and an active advocate for women, particularly those working in fields where they are underrepresented.  In the community, she: Chairs the Atlantic Regional Advisory Board for the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers and the Mentorship Committee for Women in Communications and Technology, serves on the Halifax Chamber of Commerce WorkForce Taskforce, and sits on the Program Advisory Council for Techsploration.

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Dr. Deborah MacLatchy

Dr. Deborah MacLatchy was appointed president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University on July 1, 2017. Since joining Laurier in 2007 as dean of the Faculty of Science, Dr. Deborah MacLatchy has played a lead role in many of the university’s significant initiatives. Some highlights include: the development of a new strategic academic plan; the establishment of innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees; the advancement of the university’s research agenda; the launch of the Laurier Institute for Water Science; and the creation and expansion of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

In addition to her role as a senior administrator, MacLatchy is an active researcher and graduate-student supervisor with a focus on ecotoxicology and comparative endocrinology. She began her academic career at the University of Winnipeg and University of New Brunswick (UNB) and served in a number of senior roles at UNB including dean of Science, Applied Science and Engineering and director of the International Office.

MacLatchy holds an honours BSc in biology from Acadia University, a PhD in zoology from the University of Manitoba and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Guelph.

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Dr. Bessma Momani is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, a Senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and a Non-resident Fellow of the Washington-based Stimson Center. She was previously a Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Bookings Institution in Washington, DC. She has been a visiting scholar at Georgetown University’s Mortara Center, a 2015 Fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, a Fulbright Scholar, and a consultant at the International Monetary Fund.

She has authored and co-edited more than eight books and over 65 scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters that have examined the IMF, the World Bank, petrodollars, the Middle East, and Arab youth. She is a current recipient of a research grant funded by Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to study IMF and World Bank cooperation. She was also the past recipient of two previous SSHRC grants on the reform of the IMF executive board and on Middle East urbanization. Dr. Momani is a regular contributor to national and international media on the Arab Spring and on global economic governance issues. She has written editorials for the New York Times, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, and many other reputable international newspapers.


Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation

Roseann O’Reilly Runte is President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation and has previously served as President of Université Sainte-Anne, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, Old Dominion University and Carleton University as well as Principal of Glendon College.

Author of scholarly works on French and Comparative Literature and the impact of universities she is also a creative writer and received a prize from the Académie française.  She has served on many boards and received numerous awards including membership in the Royal Society, the Order of Canada, the French Order of Merit and the Palmes Académiques as well as the Belgian Order of Leopold.


Rosalind Penfound, VP Organizational Development, Nova Scotia Community College

Rosalind Penfound is the Vice President Organizational Development with Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). She also served as NSCC’s Vice President Academic and, before that, briefly as Principal for the Akerley and IT Campuses.

She received both her Bachelor of Physical Education and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Dalhousie University. After graduation, she practiced law in the private sector before joining the Land Registration and Information Service, Council of Maritime Premiers where she worked as a solicitor between 1981 and 1989. Ms. Penfound became the first, full-time Executive Director of the Association of Nova Scotia Land Surveyors in 1989.

In 1992, she joined the government of the Province of Nova Scotia and began what would become a distinguished career in public service. During her time with the provincial government, Ms. Penfound served as Deputy Minister of Nova Scotia's Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Environment and Labour, Immigration, Seniors, Status of Women, and Education as well as Commissioner of the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission.

In 2015, Ms. Penfound was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Administration.

Ms. Penfound was also a member of the part-time faculty of Dalhousie Law School for almost 20 years.

She serves on the Board of Directors of FEED Nova Scotia, is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and is Vice Chair of the Nova Scotia Accessibility Advisory Board.

She lives in Dartmouth with her husband, Mark. They have two grown children and two perfect grandchildren

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Alice Pitt, Vice-Provost Academic

Dr. Alice Pitt assumed the role of Vice-Provost Academic at York University in December 2012.  Prior to this appointment, she served as Dean of York’s Faculty of Education from 2008 to 2012. As the Faculty’s Associate Dean, Pre-Service from 2002 to 2007, she led curriculum renewal efforts that included the design of experiential components, with expanded partnerships with schools and community organizations. Dr. Pitt received her PhD in education from the University of Toronto specializing in curriculum theory, critical/feminist pedagogy, and cultural studies in education; and she has published widely in these fields, as well as teacher education. She has been a colleague at York since 1995, becoming a Full Professor in 2009.

As the Vice-Provost Academic, Alice plays a lead role in planning, implementing and monitoring several key academic initiatives and priorities within the University.  Working closely with colleagues in Senate and across Divisions/Faculties, She has responsibility for a range of core activities including quality assurance (including program reviews and new program development) and faculty affairs.  She provides senior management leadership to advance the University’s activities related to community engagement, access to post-secondary education, and collaborations with other post-secondary institutions and change management.


Erin Sargeant Greenwood, CFRE, Vice-President, Advancement

Erin Sargeant Greenwood joined Saint Mary’s University in 2017 as the University’s first Vice-President, Advancement. Erin and the Advancement team provide leadership to the entire university community in deepening the university’s focus on strengthening relationships, encouraging and enabling people to connect and partner with the university.

Erin’s portfolio at the University includes Alumni Engagement, Development & Principal Gifts, Advancement Services and External Affairs. Together, these teams work to engage Saint Mary’s local and global community in philanthropic action to invest, share and celebrate in the success of the University’s students and faculty.

Erin came to Saint Mary’s from the University of Waterloo where she spent eight years in leadership Advancement roles, including two years as Vice-President, Advancement. At Waterloo, Erin was responsible for strategic fundraising and alumni relations programs across the university raising more than $50 million per year for university priorities.

Previously, Erin held leadership roles at York University, Nipissing University and Branksome Hall and as a consultant at KCI Philanthropy where she successfully led two hospital campaigns and worked with more than 15 not-for-profits across every sector as Associate Vice-President of the firm.



Anna’s consultative style and pragmatic approach have delivered exceptional results to organizations and leaders across Canada. Anna is a Managing Partner with Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette and leads the firm's national academic executive search practice and our Atlantic Canadian executive search practice.

An experienced professional consultant, Anna has led executive searches and provided strategic advice to universities and colleges, government, not-for-profit, family-owned and private sector organizations across Canada. Her commitment to understanding organizations and individuals has established her as a trusted advisor on strategy, governance, leadership development, operational effectiveness and organization design. Whether working with a board or search committee, meeting with a candidate or coaching a leader, Anna is committed to providing strategic leadership and talent counsel to our clients. Her past experience as a senior leader within the public service, and as an advisor to senior leaders within the academic, public and private sectors, has given her first-hand insight into the rewards and challenges of leadership in broadly-accountable organizations.

A thoughtful connector and facilitator, Anna has contributed insightful articles, seminars and workshops for clients in the academic, public and corporate sectors as well as professional groups and industry associations.

Prior to joining Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette, Anna was a consulting partner and principal with two large public accounting firms, and held senior leadership roles within the Nova Scotia public sector. Anna is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, a Fellow Certified Management Consultant, and has a Master's of Business Administration Degree in Health Administration.

Anna’s passion for people, public and community service is demonstrated through her active involvement with many community and professional groups.  Anna is a Director on the Nova Scotia Health Authority Board, the Chair of the Sacred Heart School of Halifax Board of Governors, a former Chair of Brigadoon Children’s Camp, and Chair of the International Women's Forum (Atlantic Chapter). 

Anna and her husband are proud parents of two inspiring daughters. In her spare time, Anna is a slow but steady runner, a tenacious new golfer and a recreational skier.


Professor Dianne Taylor-Gearing, FRSA, President of NSCAD University

Leading with international experience, wisdom and vision with the ability to execute to achieve transformational and impactful change, resulting in raised expectations, higher standards, outcomes and institutional acclaim Professor Dianne Taylor-Gearing has taken a dynamic and strategic leadership role at several international prestigious arts institutions.

Student achievement and success are at the heart of her passionate commitment to creative arts education, research and practice through a collaborative and inclusive approach to provide opportunities for all to ignite their curiosity and reach their creative potential.

She serves as Chair of the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents (CONSUP); EduNova Board Chair; Director and Secretary to the Board of the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT); Universities Canada Board Governance  Committee; and a member of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) Board. Internationally she serves as Treasurer to the Board of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (IACAD).

A graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art and Harvard Business School Dianne was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London in 1990.

She was appointed President at NSCAD University in April 2014.


Jacqueline Throop-Robinson, Founder of Spark Engagement Inc.

Jacqueline Throop-Robinson is the founder of Spark Engagement Inc. (www.sparkengagementindex.com), a global analytics company in HR technology solutions focusing on employee engagement. Her work focuses on inspiring individuals and groups to achieve those goals that matter most by connecting people to meaning and a sense of progress.

Represented by the National Speakers Bureau, Jacqueline shares thought-provoking insights, research and actionable advice on creating passionately engaged workplaces. Jacqueline has also published an Amazon best seller, Fire Up Your Team: 50 Ways for Leaders to Connect, Collaborate and Create with their Teams (2013).

Jacqueline holds a BA, BFA, and MA as well as qualifications in adult education from StFX. Jacqueline has worked in the learning and development field as well as corporate management for 30 years. Her clients have included a wide-range of industries around the world from Australia to Singapore to Bermuda to Romania. Her clients describe her as a “superb facilitator” who is “trustworthy”, “energetic”, and “creative”.

Outside of her work, Jacqueline has co-founded Inspiring Women Nova Scotia (http://www.inspiringwomenns.ca/), a network of professional women, who speak with high school girls to help them move beyond occupational stereotypes, to ignite aspirations, and to set a course of self-determination.


Dr. Vianne Timmons, O.C. President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Regina

Named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, Dr. Vianne Timmons is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in inclusive education and literacy research.

Dr. Timmons has been President of the University of Regina since 2008.  As the first female university president in the history of the province of Saskatchewan, she has been a strong advocate for the development of women leaders both in her home province and beyond. 

Dr. Timmons was recognized in 2014 with the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada’s Recognition Award for promoting and supporting diversity within academic institutions.  In 2015, she received the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education’s “Leadership and Influence” award for promoting policies that enhance gender equity.

She currently serves as co-chair of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.


Carolyn Watters, PhD

Dr. Watters is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University specializing in human computer engagement in information spaces from documents to social media. Her interdisciplinary and collaborative work has spanned all three tri-council areas, NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR.  She has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles and supervised many PhD and Masters students. Dr. Watters was President of CALDO, has been a member of a NSERC Discovery Grant committee, the NSERC Discovery Grant Process Review Panel, and the initial Chair of the NSERC Create Competition Committee.  Dr. Watters is also the Provost and Vice President Academic for Dalhousie University, one of Canada’s oldest universities and a member of the U15 group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

Gerri Woodford, Partner and Co-Lead, National Academic Practice, Odgers Berndtson Canada Inc.

With decades of experience in higher education, Gerri has a deep understanding of the search process in an academic setting. She brings a balanced perspective to every assignment, having worked on the client side for a number of years (at Memorial University of Newfoundland, York University, and the Council of Ontario Universities) and then as an executive search consultant for the last 20 years. As a result, she has led many very successful, senior level searches for clients at universities, colleges, hospitals and social service organizations.

Gerri’s professional practice is informed by her passion for learning organizations, her strong belief in collegial decision-making, and the experience she brings from time spent working in organizations similar to the clients she now serves. She holds a B.A. in French from Memorial University, and an M.Ed. in Higher Education from the University of Toronto.

Gerri sees herself as an ambassador for both clients and candidates, assisting them in ensuring they are making the best decisions for their future. People who have worked with her say she has a strong commitment to respectful engagement with stakeholders, she communicates in a timely fashion, and she delivers high-quality results.


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