2022 Program

If you work with people and culture in the tech industry, know that this tactical program has been curated specifically for you by your peers. Tech Talent North is the 2.0 of HR conferences. We cover the most relevant topics facing people leaders in tech and provide practical solutions to the issues that impact you most.

*Tech Talent North is a pre-approved CPD partner allowing you to earn certified education hours towards your CHRP designation.

Competing for Talent

EDI & Innovation


Engagement & Culture

7:30 AM - 8:45 AM
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

This two-part event will start with peer-led, face-to-face dialogues over breakfast where YOUR mental first aid is the focus.  Share experiences and gain practical tools to reset together with fellow people and culture leaders who can relate to the uniquely challenging road you have travelled. 

Part two dives into a strategic presentation about how workforce expectations have changed and that it is essential to rethink how you support the well-being of your employees by implementing a sound strategy first.  

7:30 – 8:10 Breakfast & Peer Connections. A time to assess ‘How are YOU doing?

As leaders it is critical that you take care of your own well-being. Unpack some of the challenges you have been through with other delegates and participate in an optional mental health check-in to assess your own stress and well-being.  Stepping back to assess your own mental health may be the best way to help others in both your private and professional life.

8:10 – 8:30 Tackling Employee Wellness Head On – Building Organizational Health in a Changing Workforce

As workforce expectations shift, employers need to adapt to provide holistic support for the well-being of their employees to build a more resilient workforce.

This session will explore the new definition of employee wellness and challenge HR leaders to re-think their workforce support to build organizational health for an unpredictable future. Attendees will learn:

  • How the definition of employee wellness has changed
  • Considerations for building organizational health and fostering a culture of well-being
  • The role of leadership in supporting employee health & wellness
  • Where to invest resources to improve the quality of life and work for employees

Limited capacity. Pre-registration required.



Lidia Pawlikowski, Associate Vice President, Health Consulting, HUB International
8:45 AM - 9:00 AM
Welcome Remarks
Sara Cooper, Chief People Officer, Jobber
Stephanie Hollingshead, CEO, TAP Network
9:00 AM - 9:45 AM
OPENING KEYNOTE: The Employee Hierarchy of Needs: How to Compete for Tech Talent in a Market of Big Competition and Bigger Salaries

Companies of all types are fighting to attract and keep talent, but for technology firms, the causes of this new reality—huge demand, limited talent, options to work from anywhere—are driving jaw-dropping salaries. For companies that can’t pay Google-sized paychecks, don’t despair. The best employers can and should offer more than just pay and benefits to attract and keep great people. In this session culture guru Josh Levine will show you how with The Employee Hierarchy of Needs.

In This Session You’ll Get:

  • A new framework to understand of what tech talent want
  • The reason people will always want more than money from a job
  • A 5-step guide to develop a modern talent strategy


Josh Levine, Culture Expert and Author, Great Mondays
9:45 AM - 10:15 AM
10:15 AM –11:05 AM
1A: Future-Proof Your Workforce with a New Lens on Skills Data

A recent McKinsey report shows that the #1 reason individuals were leaving their roles was lack of development and that an estimated 85% of the jobs available in 2030 don’t exist yet.  It is more important than ever to evaluate employee skills to retain talent, and to future proof your organization by identifying the adaptability of individuals to new ways of working or moving into entirely new jobs. Many companies struggle to understand the breadth of skills of their workforce, outdated processes fail to track the most sought-after abilities of future talent (such as critical thinking, mental flexibility and relationship building) and leaders fail to understand how valuable this data is for reaching future business goals and building your competitive edge.  This session will look at data with a skills lens and uncover the top abilities you should be tracking, how to measure them and tips to maximize the ROI on this information.


  • Apply learnings towards developing a plan for your organization to move towards being driven by skills (and how to sell this plan to your leadership team)
  • Move from having training as a perk to using training to drive the right growth, upskilling and reskilling
  • Hear the top 7 skills you should be seeking to fill your future talent needs
  • Learn how skills data is the key to merging HR analytics with business analytics


Leah Carr, CEO, tilr
1B: Lessons Learned About Hiring Global Talent

Have you ever found the perfect candidate, but shied away because they don’t live in Canada and the prospect of hiring internationally felt too daunting? It’s true that going global can get messy fast, but it doesn’t have to!   

Get an insider’s look into hiring and onboarding global employees. Hear the top considerations you need to know and learn options to navigate the complexities of hiring abroad from scale-sized companies who don’t have dedicated teams or resources to deal with the international expansion of their workforce. 

  • Key topics companies need to consider  (eg. tax, immigration, employment law, employment options such as EORs) 
  • Broader business considerations such as people and culture when going global 
  • Data outlining which countries should be at the top of your global expansion wish list from a people management perspective.


Moderator: Charlyne Fothergill, Community & Partnerships, TAP Network | Founder & Principal, Sova Operations | Tech Community Connector
Wayne Che, CTO, Sowingo
Andrea Couture, Growth Manager Team Lead, VanHack
Anna Petosa, VP, People Ops, Pelmorex (Home of The Weather Network)
1C: Managing Distributed Teams Effectively and Equitably

Leading teams in asynchronous and hybrid environments are here to stay. The transition to hybrid and distributed teams continues to push the limits of trust, inclusion, effective communication, accountability, and the ability to create a strong team culture. Learn how to cultivate remote work competencies and lead all team members effectively and equitably in terms of pay, career advancement opportunities and feelings of inclusion.

Session takeaways:

  • How to implement location-based pay and determining it is good for your organization
  • Competencies to prioritize and tips for hiring remote workers
  • Tips and tools for asynchronous communication and working in different time zones
  • Building culture and feelings of inclusion amongst distributed teams
  • Data on remote work from both the employer and employee perspectives


Moderator: Manu Varma, External Relations, Uncommon Purpose
Deb Bottineau, Managing Director, Robert Half International
Jafar Owainati, Co-founder & CEO, Barley
Shradha Mittal, SVP, People and Culture, Trulioo
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM
2A: It’s FINALLY Time to Rethink How We Do Total Rewards

Your workforce is continually more diverse, attitudes toward work are evolving, and employee preferences are changing … but when was the last time you did a critical assessment of the pay, incentives, and benefits you offer?   What people value in terms of employee benefits packages has changed, although the fundamentals of most corporate rewards have not. Many employers offer the same menu of choices—health benefits, pension contributions, gym memberships, cash incentives—without bothering to ask employees which ones they prefer and which ones they value most.  Explore some of the main areas to rethink your total rewards strategy to attract and retain talent such as:

  • Equity across benefit coverage
  • New ideas for rewarding employees (that don’t cost a lot!)
  • What benefits today’s talent REALLY wants
  • Work–life balance options and training and career development


Jeff Waldman, Founder and Principal, ScaleHR
Amy Tailby,
2B: Solving the Tech Talent Shortage by Embracing Neurodiversity

Removing barriers and bias for recruiting, onboarding, meetings, workspaces, and recruiting can open floodgates of opportunities and help solve your talent shortage. Learn tactical ways to make people feel more at home at work, present information in a way that is more accessible to all and increase productivity and staff engagement by reviewing the language, tools and processes you use to embrace neurodiverse talent.

Session takeaways:

  • Explore the unique value neurodiverse individuals can bring to your tech team
  • Learn how to successfully hire, onboard, and support neurodivergent staff
  • Understand how to conduct job interviews and write job descriptions that are inclusive and accessible. 
  • Strategies for overcoming workplace stigma and discrimination


Garth Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Auticon
Carole Mendonca, National Lead, Accessibility, Deloitte Canada
Sarah Loucks, Autism at Work Global Lead, SAP
2C: Is the 4-Day Week the Future of Work?

Dive into the real world 4-day work week: explore the pros, cons and what to consider in terms of the impact on staff, retention, productivity, and your bottom-line.  Learn about the different implementation options and how to assess if a condensed work week is right for your organization… or not.

Session takeaways:

  • Scope of the shifting mindset of the traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday grind
  • Effective structuring of a 4-day workweek
  • Data on the impacts of reduced workweek on productivity, wellbeing, gender equality and competitiveness.


Karen McCauley, CEO & Founder, Fresh Squeezed Ideas
Joe O’Connor, CEO, 4 Day Week Global
Jamie Savage, Founder, The Leadership Agency
12:15 AM – 1:20 PM
1:20PM – 2:00 PM
LUNCH KEYNOTE: Moving Further than the D, in DEI: Building Systems for Equity

Over the last few months, we’ve all been witness to, or directly affected by changes in the tech world. Whether it’s been hiring freezes or layoffs, we have all felt the shift. This session asks us the question, if diversification is the majority of your DEI strategy, what happens when you cannot hire? Sharon Nyangweso, QuakeLab CEO and Founder argues that diversity is crucial, however now more than ever is the time to build equity into your systems and processes so when diversification happens, you will not be causing harm to marginalized employees.


Sharon Nyangweso, Founder & CEO, QuakeLab
2:15 PM – 3:05 PM
3A: How to Develop Strong Tech Talent into Great Leaders

Most people with strong technical skills get promoted because they are good at their job. But these “functional” experts often struggle in their new role as leader. The good news is that it is likely not their fault. They were probably never taught to lead.

In this session, you will learn:

  • The top three reasons why great tech talent often struggles to become savvy leaders.
  • The key leadership skills that every tech manager needs to learn
  • How HR can help managers to develop core leadership skills
  • A three-step model to enhance leadership competence and develop even the most reluctant leaders
  • A process to implement leadership training that sticks


Vanessa Judelman, President, Mosaic People Development
3B: How to Build a Transparent and Flexible Compensation Strategy 

Compensation is a scary topic, but everyone knows that the time of keeping silent until a candidate gives you a number is over. Hear how to use this fear to propel you into building a compensation program that’s transparent and flexible by default. Recognize that what employees value most is an understanding of how you pay and how you came to this decision – then give candidates the opportunity to be involved in it too. From internal equity to what growth looks like, there’s too much that can go wrong otherwise.

In this session, we’ll breakdown: 

  • The journey of building a compensation strategy from scratch 
  •  What to share to get employee buy-in 
  • How HR can partner with Recruitment 
  •  The formula method for compensation 


Yiorgos Boudouris, Head of Talent, Tiny Mile
3C: Developing Your Secret Sauce: Humanizing the Employee Experience for Improved Performance and Competitive Advantage

Today’s talent expects workplace practices that acknowledge “the uniquely human qualities of the workplace”. This session will inspire you to create your own secret sauce for humanizing the employee experience.  Hear from some of Canada’s leading tech culture leaders on how they are navigating corporate growth by focusing on the individual experiences, skills and values of their employees.  You will quickly come to learn that there is no one size fits all.  

  • How employee experience paints the backdrop for your corporate branding and culture
  • Ideas for employee recognition and engagement that will have a significant and measurable impact on building your culture and brand
  • Tactics that can be applied to build an effective workplace and create better employee experiences.
  • Innovative methods for employee feedback, empowerment and understanding of the meaning of their work and how it contributes to wider organizational goals


Moderator: Lisa Brown, VP, People & Culture, Borrowell
Andrea Vrbanac, VP, People & Culture, Axonify
Josh Siegal, VP of People at 7shifts
Joanna Kmiec, Vice-President, People & Culture, Elastic Path
3:05 PM – 3:25 PM
3:25 PM – 3:35 PM
Host: Dr. Jonas Eyford, CEO, Recharge Wellness
3:35 PM – 4:20 PM
CLOSING KEYNOTE: Terminating the Growth at all Costs Era

The recent surge in tech layoffs has shown that a “growth at all costs” approach to company building is not necessarily efficient or scalable. CEOs, investors and employees want their companies to have long-term sustainable growth, profitability, and positive ROI. Hear how HR leaders can help optimize value creation with human capital and organizational change strategies. 

You will learn: 

  • What ‘responsible’ growth looks like for 2023
  • The investor perspective on efficient headcount growth 
  • How HR can create value and influence from an investor’s perspective 
  • Innovative alternatives to layoffs such as reskilling, upskilling, and temporary cost cutting ideas
  • Tips for building a capacity to deliver on changing company objectives with a creative, adaptive, and antifragile workforce. 


Moderator: Sara Cooper, Chief People Officer, Jobber
Sid Paquette, Head, RBCx and Ventures
Jean Parchewsky, VP of People Operations, Vendasta Technologies
Alison Taylor, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Jane App
4:20 PM – 4:30 PM
Closing Remarks & Grand Prize
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM