2021 Program


Looking to earn CPD credits towards your CPHR accreditation? Tech Talent North is a pre-approved CPD partner allowing you to earn up to 10 certified education hours towards your CPHR designation.

CHRP, CHRL and CHRE members of HRPA may self-report hours for CPD.

Design your personalized learning experience based on your primary track of interest.

Competing for Talent
Diversity & Innovation
Engagement & Culture
Day 1 – May 12, 2021
8:15 AM to 8:30 AM
Morning Mingler
8:30 AM - 8:45 AM
Welcome to Tech Talent North
Laurie Murdoch, VP, People & Organization, Sony Picture Entertainment (Imageworks)
Stephanie Hollingshead, CEO, HR Tech Group
Carleen A. Thomas, Special Projects Manager, Treaty Lands & Resourcs Dept. Tsleil-Waututh Nation
8:45 AM to 9:15 AM
Attracting and Building Tomorrow’s Greatest Teams: When Global is the New Local

Never before has the fight to attract and retain top talent be as fierce as it is today. Here in the final innings of a pandemic that has lasted too long, the complexities of how we work, where we work, and what we need to do to build incredible teams intensifies. How do we enable our teams and culture to stand out so we can bring on the best people and keep them when they arrive, navigate an unpredictable future, and thrive in the new world of work? 

In this engaging, research-backed, and actionable keynote, hear from workplace culture expert and bestselling author Eric Termuende as he shares insights and out-of-the-box thinking that we can immediately implement to better prepare for an uncertain future and build incredible teams.  

What you will learn: 

  • How to build a deeper sense of trust across the team 
  • Where the heart of engagement lies and how to improve it 
  • How culture has evolved over the pandemic and where it resides today 
  • The three rules of recognition and what we can do today to improve alignment 
  • What cilantro can teach us about attracting top talent 
  • The importance of a culture of experimentation and where to start  
Eric Termuende, Co-Founder of NoW of Work, author of the bestselling book Rethink Work, and global keynote speaker, NoW of Work
9:15 AM to 9:35 AM
Meet & Greet

Our industry-leading platform allows for you to move between tables, and interract face-to-face with your peers and other HR leaders in tech from across Canada – just as you would at a physical conference! Have a private one-on-one meeting, catch up with old contacts, or share ideas as a group in our Networking Hub.

9:35 AM to 10:05 AM
Breakout Sessions
Culture as a Product: Building and Scaling a Culture Which Connects

Join our culture, marketing and strategy experts as they explore how organizations can create a strong and compelling employer brand remotely, and that has global appeal. 

You will learn:   

  • The foundational building blocks from both a marketing and people perspective of building a culture which connects with candidates.   
  • The challenges of scale and maintaining your culture as you grow.   
  • The flavour of how decentralized work is changing how leaders think about building and promoting culture.  
Josh Siegal, VP, Organizational Effectiveness, Wave
Mike Leon, President & Founding Partner, Brand Heroes Inc.
Sara Cooper, Chief People Officer, Jobber
Buy or Build: How to Ensure You Have the Talent You Need to Grow

One of HR’s key roles in a fast-growth business is to ensure a steady flow of potential succession pool candidates for promotion and new roles. That begs the question, do you buy this talent from the marketplace or do you build the talent internally? Join Laurie Murdock, Vice President, P&O, at Sony Imageworks, and Mike Desjardins, CEO at ViRTUS, for an engaging 30 min conversation on the buy versus build question.  

Mike Desjardins, CEO, ViRTUS
Laurie Murdoch, VP, People & Organization, Sony Picture Entertainment (Imageworks)
Embracing a New Era of Performance Management: Linking Strategy to Continuous Performance Management

Curious how to link strategy, continuous performance and people?  It may be time to look at your Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals instead of traditional performance management reviews. 

You will learn:  

  • How to set OKRs and link them to 1:1s as continuous performance management  
  • Integration of recognition and feedback  
  • Increasing alignment and transparency around performance  
Himanshu Singh, Performance Coach, Paycor
10:15 AM to 10:20 AM
Stretch Break with ParticipACTION – Get Fit as You Sit
10:20 AM to 10:50 AM
Breakout Sessions
Navigating International Hiring: What to Consider Before Making Your First Move?

Do you need to grow your technical team fast? Is it time to internationalize your workforce? Issues such as payroll, benefits, taxes, cross-culture, compliance, immigration, time zones, pay equity etc. for international employees can feel overwhelming. Although the process for hiring global talent or helping international tech talent relocate to Canada isn’t as complicated as it may feel – the playbook is different. 

You will learn: 

  • Key tools for attracting, hiring, managing and retaining international employees 
  • Steps to relocate international tech talent to Canada 
  • To understand the top challenges and solutions of hiring without borders
Alex Bouaziz, Co-Founder & CEO, Deel
Tiona Corcoran, VP Immigration and International Recruitment, Global Talent Accelerator
DEI is a Hoax

Traditional DEI behaviour change approach has been ineffective and harmful. Sharon specializes in a radical new approach to diversity and inclusion that is measurable, strategic, and based on a strong foundation of design thinking. She will guide you through what an innovative structural change approach looks like practically and its benefits and outcomes.     

Sharon Nyangweso, CEO, QuakeLab
Innovative Recruiting Trends to Attract and Retain Top Software Development Talent

Canada is projected to see exponential growth in the need for tech talent and software developers in particular for the foreseeable future. Retaining top talent reduces your need to compete for talent. With happy employees being less susceptible to talent poaching, understanding their intrinsic motivation to stay (or join) your company is key. Can you compete for talent against deeply funded tech companies moving into Canada?

Although salaries need to be competitive, money isn’t everything! Learn innovative strategies, including values-based approaches for keeping your high performers, even as a smaller organization.  

You will learn:    

  • Competing for top software development talent 
  • How to attract top software developers and keep them   
  • To develop your employer value proposition (holistic benefits, work life balance, selling your executive team, work environment, etc.) and strategies for retaining a great team.    
  • Employer retention programs that don’t focus on money.    
Moderator: Bethany Edmunds, Director of Computer Science and Teaching Professor, Northeastern University — Vancouver
Ceri Rees, VP, People & Culture, Domain7
Katie Koleszar, Manager, People Business Partnerships, Clio
10:50 AM to 11:05 AM
11:05 AM to 11:40 AM
Scale Fast, Fail Fast? How to Avoid Cannibalizing Culture During Hyper Growth

While paying attention to the strategic side of rapid growth is important, many companies underestimate the critical role culture plays as this growth strategy becomes reality. The oversight of cannibalizing culture during rapid scaling can dampen a company’s growth plans. Hear about the challenges and strategies of three tech companies who have exploded during COVID and how they are preserving their corporate culture.

Moderator: Ilya Brotzky, CEO, VanHack
Véronique Lecault, Chief Operating Officer, AbCellera
Miranda Lievers, Co-Founder & COO, Thinkific
Kristina Irvine, Director, Talent Acquistion, SkipTheDishes
11:40 AM to 12:00 PM
Daily Wrap Up & Community Meet-up!
Day 2 – May 13, 2021
8:15 AM to 8:30 AM
Morning Mingler
8:30 AM to 8:35 AM
Wake & Shake with ParticipACTION
8:35 AM to 8:40 AM
Welcome to Day 2
Stephanie Hollingshead, CEO, HR Tech Group
8:40 AM to 9:20 AM
Radical Transparency: What You Need to Know When Building and Executing Your DEI Strategies

Radical transparency will help to dismantle racism, build trust as an employer and improve employee experience. Organizations who are open about their DEI strategy implementation have better odds to attract, grow and retain impact employees.  Join this authentic and raw conversation on the hard topics no one wants to talk about from this panel of DEI innovators and discover what you need to know when building and executing your DEI strategies.

Moderator: Manpreet Dhillon, CEO, Veza Global
Camille Dundas, DEI Consultant/Co-Founder, ByBlacks.com Inc
Priya Verma, Senior Account Manager, Google Canada
Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh, Diversity & Belonging Senior Lead , Shopify
9:20 AM to 9:35 AM
9:35 AM to 10:05 AM
Breakout Sessions
You’re on Mute: Tech Talent Insights That Will Speak Volumes on How to Attract Top Candidates and Find the $ to Hire Them

Are you struggling to find the right talent? Come learn what makes the latest generation of tech talent tick. As the world’s largest co-op program, we’ve analyzed over 37,000 postings and want to share our tips and insights with you. You’ll walk away knowing more about the next generation of workforce talent, what skills they have, the checklist you need to make sure you’re attracting top candidates and where to find the $ to hire them. 

What you’ll get out of the session:

  • Learn why 50% of your recruiting efforts targeting Gen Z could be wasted
  • Take away 6 thematic areas you must include in every job description
  • Uncover funds available to support your business case for hiring
Tammy Kim-Newman, Business Developer, University of Waterloo
Emily Burgess, Emily Burgess Business Developer, University of Waterloo
Attract & Retain: Building Equitable Compensation Strategies That Will Attract the Right Talent and Keep Your Existing Team Motivated!

An equitable and effective compensation strategy is integral in attracting new talent and retaining and motivating the best performers. It is critical to keep an organization competitive and successful with a strong pipeline of emerging talent and to position themselves as employers of choice. Is it time to do a market adjustment of your compensation and benefits? How can you ensure you are getting it right?  

Leslie Collin, VP, People & Culture, Unbounce
Trisha Neogi, Consultant, Bright + Early
Elaine Grotefeld, Partner, Cleantech and Tech, Odgers Berndtson
Making Remote Work Work for the Long Haul! Developing a Permanent Work From Anywhere Model

In a work world where location doesn’t matter there are key issues beyond logistics that organizations need to consider.  Hiring from anywhere and scaling growth can have possible repercussions on the operations, culture and habits of your teams.  Learn tips on what your organization can do to successfully operationalize change for remote or hybrid teams. 

You will learn:  

  • To understand the different strategies for managing hybrid, remote (WFH), and distance remote/global teams.  
  • Tips beyond logistics – how to support your staff with mental health & safety, inclusive workplaces, engagement, etc.  
  • How COVID made us change how we think about recruiting, employer brand and employee value  
Moderator: Chris Munroe, Partner, Roper Greyell
Lisa Zombor, Director of People & Culture, Certn
Vanessa Ribreau, VP of Human Resources & Internal Solutions, AlayaCare
Shauna Grinke, Head of People and Culture, Lush Handmade Cosmetics
10:15 AM - 10:20 AM
Stretch Break with ParticipACTION – Break from Busy
10:20 AM to 10:50 AM
Breakout Sessions
Purpose & Intrinsic Motivation: What Employees are Looking for Beyond Perks and a Pay Cheque

Employees want more than perks and a pay cheque, they are looking for purpose-driven brands that engage their people and communities to do good. With talent having the upper hand in the job market, candidates are seeking proof on issues such as social responsibility, DEI, community investment, ethics, social justice, etc. – organizations can’t be silent regarding their purpose any longer. Employees seek sense of purpose, belonging and being involved in contributing to the greater good through giving, volunteering and positive actions. Learn strategies on how you can power purpose in your organization.   

What you will learn: 

  • Being values-driven and making decisions accordingly 
  • Philanthropy & corporate citizenship 
  • What is the role of the corporation 
  • Intrinsic motivation to join an organization
Sona Khosla, Chief Impact Officer, Benevity
Jennifer Couldrey, Executive Director, Upside Foundation
Shawna Stewart, VP of People & Operations, PostBeyond
Patrick Barron, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Community Affairs, TELUS
When Data Meets Culture: How to Measure and Drive Change Through Analytics

Tech leaders are always talking about how culture shapes a company’s success. What’s less clear is how to measure culture – and how to use that data to design programs, close gaps and hold people accountable for culture. Paul Rubenstein and Michelle Clayton from Visier will take you through the use of people analytics, employee experience and engagement data in the pursuit of creating a culture fit to your mission. 

You will learn:  

  • What data you can use to measure culture  
  • How to identify the difference between the culture you have, the culture you think you want, and the culture you need  
  • How HR teams can use people analytics to drive and sustain change  
Paul Rubenstein, Chief People Officer, Visier
Michelle Clayton, Director, Learning & Development, Visier
10:50 AM to 11:05 AM
11:05 AM to 11:40 AM
Global Teams That Work! Tips & Tactics for Leading High Performing Distance Remote Teams

Many tech companies leverage the diversity and local expertise of employees around the world to gain a competitive edge. The challenges of physical separation and cultural differences can, however, create social distance, lack of emotional connection and communication gaps.  Hear about the biggest challenges, strategies and tips from three global tech team leaders.

Moderator: William Johnson, Founder & Editor, Vancouver Tech Journal
Tara Ataya, Chief People & Diversity Officer, Hootsuite
Dan Box, VP of Strategy, EA SPORTS
Adam Kirsh, AVP of Commercial Sales, Canada, Salesforce
11:40 AM to 12:00 PM
Closing Remarks, Grand Prize Giveaway Presented by Perkopolis and Coffee & Convos

Our GRAND PRIZE! All you have to do to enter is be present at the Day 2 Closing Keynote, Global Teams That Work! Tips and Tactics for Leading High Performing Distance Remote Teams. A name will randomly be drawn from all online attendees and announced in the session chat in The Keynote & Networking Hub. You will have 1 minute to respond in the chat to claim your prize! 

Laurie Murdoch, VP, People & Organization, Sony Picture Entertainment (Imageworks)