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To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.
- Kahlil Gibran

The 15th Annual IEP Conference Keynote Speakers

Emcee, Plenary Session

Christopher Alexander, MBA
Past Chair, PCPI
President and CEO, Zhoosh Service Enterprise
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Festival Management Committee

Christopher Alexander is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Festival Management Committee, the organization that produces the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, one of the largest street festival and cultural organization in North America. He has a passion for his culture and believes that this festival is the ultimate expression of caribbean culture in the City of Toronto.

Mr. Alexander is a former banker and an entrepreneur. He is the President and CEO of Zhoosh Service Enterprise a consulting company focused on helping small business owners start, grow and optimize their businesses. Chris is also a Business Coach. He is a member of the board of directors of Progress Career Planning Institute.

Chris holds a Master in Business Administration from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Business Management Degree from Ryerson University and a Diploma in Business Management and Accounting from George Brown College. He is a Personal Financial Planner, and a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers.

Chris presented a series on financial planning and retail borrowing on OMNI television. He appeared as a guest on the “My Money” segment on the Women’s Cable network, and represented the bank on a regular basis at community events throughout his years in the financial services industry. He was a mentor both for the bank and for new immigrants to Canada with a financial services background. He wrote a weekly column in the 24-Hour community newspaper called Financial Fitness which was featured in Canoe Money where he was one of the columnists.

Welcoming Remarks

Erin McGinn
Assistant Deputy Minister
Ministry of Advance Education and Skills Development (MAESD) Highly Skilled Workforce Division

Erin McGinn is Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development’s Workforce Policy and Innovation Division. Erin’s work for the Ontario government is focused on developing innovative labour market and workforce strategies that make connections between the economy, education, employers and jobseekers.

Since joining the Ontario Public Service in September 2017 as Assistant Deputy Minister, Highly Skilled Workforce, Erin has led collaborative policy work in areas such as postsecondary experiential learning, adult education, apprenticeship modernization and labour market information.

Prior to joining the ministry, Erin served as Assistant Vice-President, Communications, Government and Community Engagement at Ryerson University, having held positions of progressive responsibility at Ryerson between 2005 and 2017.

Morning Keynote Speaker

Richard H. Pinnock, MBA
Peel-Halton Local Employment Planning Council

Presenting on the topic:

"Mastering Soft Skills"

Richard Pinnock serves as Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion for Walmart Canada. His experience spans Public, Private, Not-for-Profit, Education, and Professional Services sectors. He received an M.B.A. (International Marketing), at York University in Toronto after completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Entrepreneurship) at McGill University in Montréal. Richard's life-long commitment to Diversity and Inclusion has impacted minority youth, newcomers to Canada, women, native peoples, and Ontarians across many segments of diversity.

Prior organizations Richard has worked for include: Purolator Courier, Royal Canadian Mint, ClientLogic (an Onex Company), Inroads, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and York University. Richard drives the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy at Walmart Canada, including the Women in Retail Program. He is currently helping launch their Canada-wide Inclusion Management Program.

Afternoon Keynote Speaker

Michael Bach
Founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion

Presenting on the topic:

"Winning in the Workplace: Your Talents + Diverse & Inclusive Workplaces =
A Growing Competitive Advantage for Canadian Companies”

Michael Bach is nationally and internationally recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert in the fields of diversity, inclusion and employment equity, bringing a vast knowledge of leading practices in a live setting to his work. Prior to assuming his current role he was the National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for KPMG in Canada; and also completed a 2½-year secondment as the Deputy Chief Diversity Officer for KPMG International. During his tenure, KPMG received several prestigious diversity related awards – including being named as one of Canada’s Top Employers for Diversity and one of Canada’s Best Employers for New Canadians.

Michael is the recipient of numerous accolades personally, related to his outstanding contributions in LGBTQ advocacy, community excellence, and workplace diversity. TRIEC, Catalyst Canada, Women of Influence and Out on Bay Street Leaders are among many who have recognized his accomplishments. In previous IEP Conferences, Michael was an enthusiastic panelist within our Finance & Accounting Sector hub, so his dedication to helping newcomers pursuing successful careers is long established.

Michael earned a Post Graduate Certificate in Diversity Management from Cornell University and also holds the Cornell Certified Diversity Professional, Advanced Practitioner (CCDP/AP) designation.

Conference Opening: Drum and Dance Ceremony
Steve Teekens
Nipissing First Nation

Steve Teekens is a member of Nipissing First Nation. Steve has been working with the marginalized and homeless sector in Toronto since 1995. Steve is the Executive Director at Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) where he has worked since 2008.

Steve is very active in Toronto's Aboriginal Community where he volunteers on the board of Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, Aboriginal Legal Services Community Council Program, Toronto Police Services Aboriginal Consultative Committee, Vice President of TASSC (Toronto Aboriginal Social Services Council). Steve also teaches traditional drumming and to the youth and men at various Native organizations inside and outside of Toronto.

Steve enjoys working and volunteering in the Aboriginal Community and wishes to see people overcome their obstacles and find the resilience in themselves to succeed in life.

Conference Opening: Drum and Dance Ceremony
Jay Lomax
Dakota Tipi First Nation

Jay Lomax is from the Dakota Tipi First Nation in Manitoba. I am a survivor of the 70’s adoption scoop in Manitoba and have been living in Toronto for most of my life. I spent a few years on my reserve to learn the traditional teachings, ceremony and culture including Pow Wow dancing. I was inspired by dancing when I met Ms. Buffy Handel and her mentor, Boye Ladd teaching pow wow dance class together at the Dakota Tipi School.

Since learning how to dance, Jay has travelled to all of the pow wows in Ontario and I have done approximately 200 shows demonstrating my style of dance. I have performed for the Pope, the Duchess of Wesex, The World Arts Council, Pan Am Games Committee and the World Aids Conference and for many government and nonprofit agencies in the city.

He is currently dancing the "prairie chicken dance" style and the "grass dance". I make my own outfits and teach children how to dance as part of my Master of Social Work degree. "It takes a lot of time and patience to make an outfit".

He believes that dancing is a way to release the stress of everyday life and find that "there is a new lesson at every pow wow".