Diane J. Brisebois
President & CEO
Retail Council of Canada
Diane J. Brisebois, CAE, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Retail Council of Canada (RCC). She oversees the largest retail association in Canada serving over 45,000 retail establishments including independent merchants, chain stores, mass merchants, big box and online retailers. RCC’s membership covers all segments of the retail market including general merchandise, grocery and pharmacy. Diane joined RCC as its President and CEO in January 1995. Diane has held CEO positions in the not-for-profit sector representing various industries for the past 35 years. Diane has and continues to serve on a variety of Boards across North America. Ms. Brisebois is Immediate Past Chair of the Fair Factory Clearinghouse (FFC), an organization established to enable collaboration between vendors and retailers in assessing and improving workplace conditions globally. Ms. Brisebois is also the Immediate Past Chair and a member of the Executive Committee of the Forum of International Retail Association Executives (FIRAE) which represents retail associations from more than 30 countries brought together to collaborate on issues affecting the retail sector globally. Ms. Brisebois also served for many years on the Board of Covenant House Toronto, on the Board and as Chairman of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and on the Board and as Chairman of the Canadian Society of Association Executives. She currently serves on: • The Ted Rogers School of Retail Management Advisory Council • The Advisory Board of the University of Alberta’s School of Retailing • The Board of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, and • The Board of Stewardship Ontario (Ontario Blue Box Program) Ms. Brisebois is a native of Montreal, Quebec and now resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Director, Human Resources, Mobility, Retail & Direct Channels
Implementation Specialist, Workplace Mental Health
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Tiana is currently working with the Mental Health Commission of Canada as a workplace implementation specialist helping to develop and deliver services to support employers with implementation of workplace mental health strategies that align with the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Tiana has a strong background in Mental Health, as a Mental Health First Aid Facilitator and trained conflict consultant, which provides a unique perspective to the team. She has a demonstrated history of working in the mental health and judicial systems in Alberta and is passionate about educating people about mental health.
Head of People & Culture
Tanja Fratangeli is Head of People & Culture for IKEA Canada, leading all aspects of IKEA People and Culture practices, policies, processes, linked to all co-workers in the country. IKEA is known for hiring on values, which builds on being inclusive, open and honest culture; Tanja embodies this in her day-to-day role. Tanja brings a wealth of knowledge from her 25 years in the Human Resource industry, where she has led significant change management, organizational and compensation initiatives. She is well known for her curious, collaborative and pragmatic leadership approach, with a passion for home furnishing.
Kevin Graff is the President of Graff Retail, based in Toronto, Ontario. Since 1988, Graff Retail has specialized in working with retailers around the globe to increase their revenue through improved staff performance. Kevin is widely respected as one of North America’s best retail speakers and trainers and was recently chosen as one of the Top 50 Retail Influencers. His principle belief is that retailers are losing too many sales each day in their stores that they should be capturing. Kevin’s approach to store operations and his intense focus on real, bottom-line issues continually produce outstanding results. Kevin is also the creator of Graff Retail TV, the retail community’s leading source of online sales and management training. Since being launched in 2008, Graff Retail TV has provided thousands of sales associates and store management teams with the skills they need to succeed.
Senior Manager, Head of Talent Management, Diversity & Inclusion, Organizational Effectiveness
Josephine Ho is a human resources professional with experience in the non-profit developmental services and healthcare sectors before transitioning to a global diversity role at a professional services firm. Josephine joined The Home Depot in 2012 and leads talent management, organizational effectiveness and diversity and inclusion for the Canadian division. She holds a B.Sc.(Hons) in behavioural biology from the University of Toronto and the Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation. Currently, Josephine volunteers with the Human Resources Professional Association’s experience assessment committee for CHRL candidates. Josephine previously supported the community through: Chair for Springtide Resources, Board Vice-Chair for Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter, member of the Province of Ontario’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, and a founding member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s young professionals initiative, Impresario’s Club.
Senior Solutions Manager
Tiana is the Senior Solutions Manager for GaiaDigits, with over 10 years of experience with Sales, Leadership, Finance, Marketing and Business Development in the Automotive Industry. Experience living in different cities bringing in the ability to understand a variety of different cultures and personalities. She is determined to provide an exceptional experience understanding the benefits of GaiaDigits innovation to many businesses in all industries. With her experience in Management, she's identified the right solution is necessary for an optimal business. Tiana is committed to the delivery of productive WFM solution and creative insight for customers.
Manager, Workplace Mental Health
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Liz currently leads the Workplace Mental Health program at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where she helps organizations implement workplace mental health strategies that align with the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. For nearly 25 years, Liz has helped numerous organizations achieve better business outcomes by keeping workers healthy, safe and productive. Known for her expertise in health, safety and wellbeing, management systems integration and her interpersonal skills, Liz has empowered people with varied interests to achieve important goals.
Chief People Officer
Katya Laviolette is chief people officer at SSENSE. Katya leads a growing team of HR Operations, Talent Attraction, Talent Management, and Real Estate experts to shape and enhance people focused programs at SSENSE. Katya holds over 25 years of senior leadership experience in human resources, industrial relations, and organizational development, including executive positions with companies such as TC Transcontinental, CBC/Radio-Canada, and Bombardier Aerospace. In addition, Katya is a Board Administrator with Gecko Alliance (Desjardins Capital) and FX Innovation (CDPQ).
Michael E. LeBlanc
Founder and President
M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc.
Michael is the Founder & President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc and a Senior Advisor to Retail Council of Canada as part of his advisory and consulting practice. He brings 25+ years of brand/retail/marketing & eCommerce leadership experience and has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career. He has delivered keynotes, hosted fire-side discussions with C-level executives and participated on thought leadership panels worldwide. Michael is also the producer and host of a network of leading podcasts, including Canada’s top retail industry podcast, The Voice of Retail, plus the Remarkable Retail with author Steve Dennis, Global E-Commerce Tech Talks and The Food Professor with Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, all available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon and all major podcast platforms.
JRoss Retail Recruiters
Jackie is Lead Recruiter and one of the founding partners at JRoss Retail Recruiters, Canada’s leading recruiting agency specializing exclusively in retail, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Jackie first built a highly successful career as a hands on operator with leading retailers across Canada. She then leveraged that experience to personally recruit hundreds of retail professionals. Since starting JRoss Retail Recruiters in 2002 with Rob Fisher, she’s led a cross country team to successfully recruit thousands more, from the Store Manager to the CEO level. With her hands on experience as both a retailer, and as a recruiter leading a team of top performing retail recruiters working with leading brands from the executive to field operations levels, Jackie is uniquely positioned to understand the challenges and opportunities involved in recruiting in our “new normal”.
Bay Ryley is an employment and human rights lawyer and the President of Ryley Learning – a digital workplace learning company. Ryley Learning’s animated, engaging course on workplace sexual harassment is the training program of choice for a range of organizations across all sectors. Bay has been nominated for a 2019 RBC Women’s Entrepreneur award. Bay provides strategic advice and litigation support to both employers and employees in respect of a range of workplace law matters, and draws on many years of advocacy and policy work in human rights and employment law, professional regulation, and public inquiries. Bay is the founder of Ryley Law, prior to which she was counsel to: Human Rights Legal Support Centre; Ontario Human Rights Commission; Constitutional Law Branch (MAG) MFP/Computer Leasing Inquiry; Walkerton (Tainted Water) Inquiry. She articled at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG).
Comedian & Creator
Kris Siddiqi is a comedian and creator of the CBCGem series BIT PLAYAS, an alumni of The Second City Toronto, a regular on CBC’s BECAUSE NEWS, and a voice actor. For Ryley Learning, Kris voices and directs the animated episodes, and is a content expert on course design and scripting. Kris’ Film & TV credits include Netflix’s TITANS, Aaron Sorkin’s MOLLY’S GAME, Amazon’s THE BOYS, IFC/CBC’s BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW. He’s got a Canadian Comedy Award (Best Male Improviser), Now Magazine Readers Choice (Favorite Male Improviser), Dora Award (Best Ensemble) and BIT PLAYAS won Best Representation of Communities Of Color (Minnesota WebFest 2020) and Best Comedy (First Glance Film Awards 2020).
T&O / Human Potential
Gail Strachan, MCM is an Experienced Executive team member in Accenture’s T&O/Human Potential practice. With over 20 years of experience in the equity and inclusion space, Gail has studied the design and effect of inequities and how they are displayed in institutions socially, politically and economically. Having experience across all industries and mainly, legal, retail and healthcare, Gail has worked to build internal cultural moments that matter which will translate into the best of employee, customer and patient experiences. Gail lives in downtown Toronto, Canada and works tirelessly in the public relations and communications industry to design an equity lense for its stakeholders across Canada.
Ron Thurston loves retail. And he's proud of it. Ron has led the retail teams for some of America's most prominent brands, inspired thousands of store employees, and traveled relentlessly across the country to sit and listen to what they have to say. From a part-time sales associate to a vice president of stores, Ron has put in the hard work that a retail career requires and wrote this book to share what he learned along the way. Ron is a fourth-generation Californian, but he and his husband now live in Manhattan.
Anais Trifiro, CRHA
Director, Member Communities
Retail Council of Canada
Anaïs Trifiro is RCC's Member Communities Director. Based out of our Montreal office, she supports our HR and Health & Safety Communities and oversee services, programs and tools offered to our members in these areas, across Canada. Anaïs has extensive HR experience in the retail industry and oversaw HR operations and strategies for North America and Europe for a large retailer for several years.
Canada Inclusion & Diversity Lead
Zoya Zayler leads Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) for Canada at Accenture where she drives Accenture’s I&D strategy and provides the organization with strategic direction to achieve its I&D goals. As an I&D thought leader, she has empowered Accenture to turn I&D commitments into actionable practices that have advanced inclusivity and resulted in sustainable change. She is passionate about fostering inclusion, ensuring equity and celebrating uniqueness. Zoya’s background is in Human Resources, with global experience in France and in India. She holds an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business and is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL). She was recently recognized as one of WXN Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women, received the CCDI D&I Practitioner of the Year award and was previously named one of HRD’s Top 22 Most Promising Young HR Professionals in Canada.