Partner and National Leader, People & Change Services
Soula is a Partner in Management Consulting within KPMG’s Advisory Services and the National Service Line Leader for KPMGs People & Change Advisory Practice in Canada. Soula brings over 20 years of industry experience across financial services, technology, telecommunications, consumer business and public sector couple with approximately 15 years of top-tier professional services consulting experience. Soula frequently speaks at HR industry conferences and writes for media, industry and Firm publications on topics related to the future of HR and future of work, organizational dynamics and workplace psychology, inclusion and diversity, and organizational readiness for major change.
Director, Customer Experience & Innovation
Heidi Klotz, CHRP, CCP, GRP
Director, Total Rewards & Talent Management
Heidi Klotz is a Montreal-based Human Resources professional with over 15 years of experience in the retail, consumer goods and pharmaceutical sectors. As the Director of Total Rewards and Talent Management at Ardene, Heidi heads companywide initiatives in Compensation, Benefits, and HR Information Systems. Under her leadership, the Talent Management team executes on strategies for Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, and Succession Planning. Heidi is a strong supporter of continuous learning and development, and has earned several professional designations in her field.
Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Relations
Rexall Pharmacy Group
Frank Monteleone joined Rexall Pharmacy Group in 2008 and is the Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Relations at Rexall. As a member of the Executive Operating Committee, Frank oversees a diverse portfolio of strategic HR initiatives for Rexall, Claimsecure and Medicentres. He is responsible for all aspects of Employee & Labour Relations, Total Rewards (including Benefits), Talent Strategy and Acquisition, Organization Effectiveness, Learning and Development, and HR Shared Services for both the corporate office and over 400 retail locations. Frank also oversees the Communications and Corporate Relations functions for the organization. In his nearly 20 years of human resources experience, Frank has distinguished himself as a trusted advisor, a change champion, and a devoted employee advocate – leadership qualities that help to unlock the potential of Rexall employees and strengthen the brand. Prior to joining Rexall, Frank worked for Indigo Books and Music Inc. and RONA in a variety of progressive HR positions. Frank has been involved with supporting key priorities critical to the success of the business, such as employee engagement, cultural transformation, leadership talent planning, and strategic total rewards. Under Frank’s leadership, his team is currently stewarding diversity and inclusion efforts to advance diversity and women in business. Frank has completed his certified human resources executive designation (CHRE) from the Human Resources Professional Association, as well as being Prosci ADKAR certified in change management. He also has a Masters Certificate in Adult Training and Development from the Schulich Executive Education Centre. Frank holds a Bachelors of Arts, Mathematics for Commerce from York University in Toronto and also has a diploma in Human Resources Management from Humber College. Frank is proud to be the President & Chair of the Board for the Rexall Foundation. Since 2002, the Foundation has been helping build strong and vibrant communities by supporting numerous charitable organizations.
Change Management Lead
Sarah Shanks is a Toronto-based change management professional with over 20 years of retail experience working with Canada’s largest grocers. She has facilitated numerous successful change efforts that help business leaders understand the importance of creating meaningful shifts in employee mindsets – often where many change initiatives fall short. As Change Management Lead at Sobeys Inc., Sarah supports company-wide initiatives to advance Sobeys’ strategic growth strategy and ensures a focus on the human elements of change. A culture transformation expert, Sarah works with teams to understand the impacts that organizational culture, values, and behaviours play in achieving long-term, sustainable results. Her passion lies in helping companies shape their culture to create winning employee and customer experiences. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph, has a diploma in project management, and is certified in the Prosci ADKAR change management methodology.
Vice President, People & Culture
Paul Taylor is currently the Vice President of People & Culture at Purdys Chocolatier. His career span retail and other industries including manufacturing and has 10+ years of senior experience. Since joining Purdys, Taylor has continued to build and implement successful people and culture practices to continue the company’s reputation as an employer of choice. Taylor also serves as a member of RCC’s HR Advisory Council. He holds an M.B.A. from Arizona State University as well as CPHR and SHRM-SCP designations.
Vice-President, Member Relations & Education
Retail Council of Canada
Sonny Brar comes with over 16 years of Corporate Retail, Human Resources, Health, Safety, Energy and Environmental experience. He is currently the Vice President of Member Relations and Education at the Retail Council of Canada and is an honors graduate of Criminology, Justice and Public Safety from Manitoba. Along with other functions, Sonny leads and supports RCC’s Membership, Education, Benefit Partner Programs, Human Resources, Health, Safety, Accessibility, Energy initiatives and is the Chair for RCC’s Loss Prevention and Human Resources Advisory Councils. Sonny has also had great successes in his tenure and has been a recipient of 3 Presidential Excellence awards with Maple Leaf Foods and Toys“R”Us along with several successes and recognition with his tenure at Sobeys and Ikea.
Regional Sales Director, Central Canada
Providing business leaders with guidance and insight derived from more than 27 years of professional experience in the Human Capital Management and Workforce Management fields. Specialties: Creating success within business around aligning the workforce to organizational goals, and leveraging the capabilities of the workforce into improved corporate performance.
Chief Customer Officer and Co-Founder
One of the industry’s most prominent evangelists for frontline employee experience, Jordan Ekers is a mobile technology entrepreneur and co-founder of Nudge Rewards. He’s worked with many of North America’s leading retail, foodservice, and hospitality brands to design new, transformative approaches for executing on brand promise by empowering frontline teams. With extensive experience in customer loyalty, rewards strategy, and mobile innovation, he previously co-founded one of Canada’s most popular loyalty programs, Carrot Rewards, a wellness app which motivates over 1 million users to make better everyday lifestyle choices. Jordan has been a speaker and conference chair at major industry events, such as NRF Big Show, Future Stores, and Future Guest Experiences.
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, Organizational Effectiveness, Diversity and Inclusion
The Home Depot Canada
Josephine Ho is senior manager of talent, inclusion and organizational effectiveness for The Home Depot Canada. In her role, she leads the strategy and development of programs to optimize associate experience through career development, succession planning, performance systems, employee engagement, and diversity & inclusion. Prior to joining The Home Depot in 2012, she worked at KPMG International in global diversity where she partnered with member firms across the world on their diversity strategy, and as a human resources generalist in the healthcare sector. Josephine shares her experience in the community by serving on the boards for Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter, Springtide Resources, Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Young Leadership Council, and most recently the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council and Employment Standards Development Committee for the Province of Ontario. Josephine currently serves as a member of the CHRL Experience Assessment Committee for the HRPA. Josephine earned a honours bachelor of science in behavioural biology and is a certified human resources leader (CHRL) in Canada.
Senior Vice-President, Public Affairs
Retail Council of Canada
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).
President & Founder
April most recently held the VP, Retail Sales & Operations at DAVIDsTEA leading the National Sales teams, education/training and operations. April has over 25 years of retail experience in three international markets, CA, US, and UK working in various sales and operations leadership roles for brands such as Holt Renfrew, Laura Canada, Apple, Starbucks and Gap Inc. April is also a Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach. April is now joining the world of entrepreneurship to take her passion, experience and knowledge of leadership development to more retailers as founder and president of retailu.ca an online e-learning site that focuses on leadership development for retail managers.
Estevan leisure Centre
Erin Wilson is the Program Manager at the Estevan Leisure Centre in Saskatchewan. She joined the Canadian Red Cross in 1990 when she completed her first Water Safety Instructor course. Since then, Erin has graduated from the Recreation & Leisure Program (SIAST) and has contributed her skills and experience in a variety of capacities including the development of the new Water Safety Instructor Trainer Program. As a Water Safety Ambassador Member, Erin’s passion for aquatics is expressed through conference presentations, public and facility education, and various training events. Her new adventure has been with the Psychological First Aid. As a PFA Instructor, Erin hopes to share the program across Canada and the positive impact such training can provide.