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.
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.
Louis Brill has long been a leader within the not-for-profit and sport sectors in Nova Scotia. He was the first President and CEO of Special Olympics Nova Scotia highlighted by that organization being named Provincial Sport Organization of the Year. He represented Canada as Sport Manger, Team Canada at the 1995 World Special Olympics Games. A long-time leader within the running community, Mr. Brill has coached national champions at the Canada Games and Canadian University level. He has served as the Provincial Chairman of Athletics Nova Scotia.
Between 2007-2017, Louis served as the President and CEO of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and was a driving force to improve lung health in Nova Scotia. Mr. Brill is the current Executive Director of the Prescott Group, the largest training center in Nova Scotia serving the needs of adults who have an intellectual disability.
Mr. Brill was selected as a participant in the 2004 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference during which he was a member of the North West Territories study tour. Having benefited a great deal from this experience he has given back by serving as Regional Chair for Nova Scotia during the 2012 and 2015 conferences. He now serves as a member of the National Board of Directors of the GGCLC.
In October 2012 Louis was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal celebrating his work on behalf of the Special Olympic movement.
Mr. Brill is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick. He has two children and lives in Halifax with his wife Dr. Yvette Scattolon.
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.
Sophie-Emmanuelle Chebin, LL.L, MBA, ICD.D, has supported management teams and boards of directors for 20 years in developing and deploying their business strategies. She is a partner at Arsenal conseils, an independent consulting firm in business strategy and corporate governance. Over the years, she has developed solid expertise in the areas of growth strategies, governance and stakeholder management.
Before founding Arsenal conseils, Mtre Chebin worked for KPMG-SECOR in strategy and for CN in a wide range of assignments dealing with governance, strategy, human resources and mergers and acquisitions. She is a lawyer and has an MBA from HEC Montréal and a Master’s in Health Law and Bioethics from Université de Bordeaux I. She also has a diploma in governance from the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). Mtre Chebin is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of La Tablée des chefs and serves as a director of the Association des professionnels en gestion philanthropique (APGP).
Ms. Chebin was a member of the 2008 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and co-chaired the Quebec Regional Committee for the 2012 Conference.
Director, École technique et professionnelle, Université de Saint-Boniface
Mélanie Cwikla is, since August 2016, the director of the technical and professional school within Université de Saint-Boniface. She is also an active member on various boards of administration within the Francophone community in Manitoba. Prior to her current position, Mélanie was responsible for advising the government of Manitoba on measures to foster the enhancement of the vitality of Manitoba’s Francophone community and was lead the work that saw the enacting of The Francophone and Community Support and Enhancement Act (Manitoba). Ms. Cwikla grew up in Sherbrooke (Québec), spent a year as an exchange student in Salford (United Kingdom) and another year in Kushiro (Japan). She moved to Manitoba in 1999 to start a career as an English-French translator. She quickly became a manager and between 2003 and 2016, held various positions within the Government of Manitoba: Director, Translation Services; Acting Executive Director, Provincial Services Division, Executive Director, Francophone Affairs Secretariat.
Ms. Cwikla is an alumnus of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. She is a certified translator and a graduate of Université de Montréal with a Bachelor and a Master of Arts in Translation Studies, and of the University of Manitoba with a Master of Business Administration. She is currently pursuing a Ph. D. in education policy and administration at Université Laval.
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, academic and francophone affairs and associate professor of history at Laurentian University, in Sudbury, Ontario. 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 Laurentian University, he was 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.
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.