Kathleen Taylor, OC
Kathleen (Katie) Taylor is Chair of the Board of Royal Bank of Canada. She has served on the Board since 2001, where she has chaired the Human Resources and Corporate Governance Committees, and served on the Audit and Risk Committees.
Ms. Taylor is a distinguished business executive with extensive community involvement. She is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and is Chair of the Sick Kids Foundation and a Trustee of the Sick Kids Hospital of Toronto. She is also Vice Chair of The Adecco Group (based in Zurich) and a Director of Air Canada and of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
Ms. Taylor holds an MBA and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the Schulich School of Business, a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Toronto. Her many accolades for business achievement include the Schulich School of Business Award for Outstanding Executive Leadership and the inaugural Medal for Career Achievement from the Hennick Centre for Business and Law at York University.
She has been inducted into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends and was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) in 2011, 2014 and 2016. In 2016, Ms. Taylor was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Victoria is an experienced strategic planner, facilitator, and communicator, and has developed a strong reputation as an effective and charismatic leader. Throughout her career, Victoria has successfully transformed associations and organizations into key drivers of policy, advocating on behalf of memberships, business, industry and consumers.
As the CEO for the Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association, Victoria Belbin is also a Director for two provincial crown corporations, and volunteers with provincial associations, social enterprises and charities demonstrating her care for the community.
With a proven track record building robust governance processes with Boards of Directors/ staff volunteer teams and bringing diverse stakeholders together, she fosters strong relationships that enable action-oriented planning to respond to industry and community needs.
Victoria holds a Masters of Marine Studies from Memorial University of NL and stays on top of governance practices through her commitment to the Institute for Corporate Directors designation, ICD.D. She participated in the 2017 edition of the Conference and served as Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Committee during the 2022 Conference.
Bea Bruske was elected President of the Canadian Labour Congress at the 29th Constitutional Convention in 2021. She is only the second woman to hold the position.
For more than three decades, Bea has served workers and their families as an activist, workers’ advocate, negotiator, community organizer and labour leader. Her experience has served her well as President of CLC in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before her election as President, Bea served as Vice-President of the UFCW Canada National Council, which sets the strategic direction for the national union and its more than 250,000 members across the country. She had previously served as Secretary-Treasurer for UFCW Local 832, where she was responsible for the largest private-sector union local in Manitoba.
Bea’s passion for the rights of working people was ignited in 1987 when she and her UFCW Local 832 co-workers held the line for 125 days to achieve a fair contract at the Westfair grocery chain in Manitoba. Over the next seven years, Bea took on roles as a shop steward, health and safety committee member, and was elected by her fellow members as a vice-president of the Local’s executive board. She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Labour Studies program.
Bea Bruske is an alumni of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.
Barbara Byers, CM
Everything you need to know about former Canadian Labour Congress Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Byers can be summed up in just two words: “Prairie populist”.
From her early years as a social worker to heading first the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union and then the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) before being elected as a CLC Executive Vice-President, Barb’s life has been spent fighting for the underdog. Barb was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC in 2014.
Barb was a social worker for 17 years, addressing issues of poverty, youth unemployment, aboriginal concerns, equality for all and labour rights. Those strong beliefs turned her towards political activism within her union.
Barb led her union through four turbulent years, opposing privatization, the weakening of labour laws for both unionized and non-unionized workers, reductions in social services and attacks on the public sector.
Barb’s inspired leadership led to her being elected President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour in 1988 for the first of 14.
Moving from the SFL to the Canadian Labour Congress in 2002, Barb is responsible for labour education; medicare and health care; workplace training and technology; employment insurance; apprenticeships; and issues of concern to women workers, workers with disabilities and gay, bi-sexual, lesbian and transgender workers.
She also represents Canada as one of 14 worker delegates on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization, the United Nations agency that brings together governments, employers and workers in common action to promote decent work throughout the world.
Barb’s strong community roots led her to become founder of the SFL Summer Camp for Youth in Saskatchewan and co-founder of the Prairie School for Union Women.
Michelle is St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation’s President and CEO, as well as St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Vice President of Fund Development.
With almost two decades of fund development knowledge, she specializes in annual giving, board development, strategic planning, corporate partnerships and donor stewardship. Michelle developed and co-instructed the first educational program for fundraising at the University of Western Ontario and later helped to launch Fanshawe College’s first postgraduate program in philanthropy and fund development. In 1999, Michelle was the eighth person in Canada to achieve Fellows status (FAHP) with the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the highest form of certification possible in the profession.
Since 2001, she has served as a Faculty member for the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s Fund Development Leadership program. In 2005, she won the prestigious Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s international Professional Papers competition for research work in the area of hospital-foundation relations. That same year, she was named an Honorary Member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia in recognition of her leadership efforts in advancing professional education in Australia.
In 2008, she was one of only 230 delegates selected nationwide to participate in the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. In her community, Michelle has served as President of both the Advertising & Sales Club and the London & Region Fundraising Executives. Michelle has served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Christian Association, the Jewish Community Foundation, Covent Garden Market and currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Western Fair District.
Michelle served as Chair of the Southwestern Ontario region, planning for the 2012 and 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.
Denis Carignan is a father of four and member of the Pasqua First Nation in Treaty Four (Saskatchewan). Denis is currently President of PLATO Testing (ProfessionaL Aboriginal Testing Organization) and Kiya Mâka Consultants Inc, two companies founded to help address Canada’s technology talent shortage through creating meaningful training and career opportunities for Indigenous Canadians. PLATO Testing has quickly grown since commencing operations in 2016 and has become one of the largest employers of Indigenous IT professionals in Canada.
Denis has over 20 years’ experience in executive management with the Government of Canada and has worked extensively with Indigenous communities, organizations in western and Atlantic Canada. Denis served as 2015 Quebec One Study Group Co-Chair and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the GGCLC.
Jennifer Chiasson has held senior positions in both industry and government and has an extensive background in international business development, economic policy and strategy development and currently manages a national team charged with developing Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy. Prior to joining the federal service, Jennifer held senior positions with the Nova Scotia Community College, the Province of Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotia Business Inc. She has led and contributed to several key federal, provincial, and municipal strategies including The Atlantic Growth Strategy, Nova Scotia’s International Trade Strategy and Productivity and Innovation Strategy, and Halifax’s Economic Strategy. Jennifer also played a key role in advancing Nova Scotia’s Oceans value proposition and was instrumental in the development of the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE).
Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University and is a graduate of the Strategic Planning & Implementation Executive Program from Queens University. An active community builder, she recently served as Chair of the Nova Scotia Board for Junior Achievement and is proud to currently serve as Vice Chair and Director of Government Relations at Prudentia Institute. Jennifer is an alumnus of the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (GGCLC) and went on to Chair the Nova Scotia study tour in 2017 and Co-Chair the 2022 tour.
David MacKenzie is GM of Red Shores – Prince Edward Island, a division of Atlantic Lottery. David has served in leadership in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors. He was Regional President (PEI) for Saltwire Network, Deputy Minister of PEI’s Department of Tourism, Parks & Culture, CEO of Confederation Centre of the Arts, President and Chair of PEI 2014 Inc., CEO of Atlantic Canada House at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, Executive Director of the Capital Commission of Prince Edward Island, and a partner in Landfest Inc., a private real-estate development company.
David currently serves on the campaign team for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Board of Governors of Junior Achievement PEI, and is an honorary lifetime member of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
David is an alumnus of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (2004) where he Co-Chaired the Quebec North Study Group. He has served on the GGCLC PEI Regional Steering Committee since 2008 and was Regional Chair (PEI) for the 2008 and 2022 Conferences.
Michael has been employed by British Columbia’s Provincial Government for the majority of his career. In this time he has accepted progressively higher roles and responsibilities throughout the BC Government, including assignments at the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy and Mines’ Natural Resource Transformation Sector. He is currently the Director of Fiscal Arrangements and Climate Action for the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, where Michael is responsible for the financial aspects of treaty arrangements and other non-treaty agreements. Additionally, he is also involved with First Nation climate action initiatives.
After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Victoria (UVic), Michael later earned his MBA at UVic, but had the opportunity of completing the program at the École nationale des ponts et chaussées in Paris, France.
While raising two young sons, Michael can be caught playing hockey and coaching Victoria Racquet Club Association’s rep hockey teams. Michael’s other passions include mountain biking, skiing, golf and participating in many other outdoor activities.
Michael is an alumnus of the 2012 Conference.
Yves Y. Pelletier
Dr. Yves Pelletier is the Associate Vice-President, Francophonie, at the University of Ottawa. His professional career has focused almost exclusively on the high education sector in Canada, and has brought him to live in Sudbury, Ottawa, Montreal and Fredericton over the past 25 years.
Before joining the university of Ottawa, he held the position of Associate Vice-President, Academic and Francophone Affairs and Associate Professor of History at Laurentian University, in Sudbury, Ontario. He was also the founder and president of Education Connections, a consulting firm specializing in supporting governments, universities and colleges through program and policy review and indigenization and internationalization activities. He also previously served as the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Post-Secondary Education with the Province of New Brunswick after more than 15 years working at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Many of these positions provided a singular focus: strengthening educational outcomes in Canada.
Dr. Pelletier was selected as a participant and as the Saskatchewan Study Group Chair in the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, an experience which changed the direction of his professional career. Subsequently, he supported the GGCLC as the New Brunswick regional chair for the 2015 and 2017 Conferences.
Dr. Pelletier holds two undergraduate degrees in biology (Laurentian) and history (Ottawa), as well as a Master’s (Ottawa) and PhD (Queen’s) in Canadian History.
Philip Quinlan is Director General of the Chief Service Officer Directorate at the Canada Revenue Agency. He is responsible for helping chart the Agency’s strategic direction with regards to its services, and for articulating solutions to better the experiences of our clients. His team delivers on a number of enterprise-wide mandates, and Philip’s current areas of focus include client feedback, service design, accessibility, change management and client experience expertise.
Prior to this occupying this role, Mr. Quinlan has held a number of executive and management positions within the federal public service, mainly in the fields of research and innovation, program management, digital services, human resources, and governance. He also served as President of the Board of the FC Gatineau and as a director on the Board of Soccer Outaouais.
Mr. Quinlan holds a Bachelor of Arts (Université de Montréal) and a Master’s of Arts History (Université du Québec à Montréal). He is an alumnus of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, and has actively supported Conference activities ever since.
Vikki is the former President of the Yukon Federation of Labour. Her many years as a Union Executive member and activist have strengthened her opinions and resolve with many years of experience in organising and facilitating human rights and labour training classes. She realized if she wanted to see change happen in anything, she would have to step up and take the challenge.
Vikki believes that a person should never quit learning and upgrading any skills. Occasionally taking a variety of courses at Yukon College herself such as Psychology, Accounting, German and French keeps her interest in learning different skills high. She understands and wholly believes in the benefits of lifelong learning, a belief that led her to apply for and gain entry to the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. Networking with Canada’s future leadership from all occupations was an experience she will always use and treasure in her work and home life.
Having been a musician in some local performance groups, Vikki used her stage experience to volunteer with organising the Variety Performance Stage inside the Sourdough Rendezvous Winter Festival Tent. She believes in volunteering for many social awareness groups, including the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition.
Tim Thompson is the Senior Vice President of Transformation at TD Canada Trust. He is responsible for helping set the strategic direction of the business and assisting with the delivery of solutions that will help change how we conduct business for the benefit of our customers. The transformation team includes multiple areas of focus: business architecture, data governance and analytics, customer strategies, regulatory initiatives and financial education.
In addition to his business line responsibilities, Tim is the Chair of TD’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies diversity committee.
Mr. Thompson is an alumnus of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.