WEOC Leadership Summit

April 17-18, 2024 / Toronto, ON

The inaugural WEOC Leadership Summit is happening this spring in Toronto! Join colleagues from across the country for conversations that showcase innovation and champion inclusivity, while encouraging collaboration and understanding across the ecosystem.

The one-day event will include panel discussions, as well as sessions specifically designed for organization CEOs, as well as leaders and advisors.

Welcome Reception, April 17

Hilton DoubleTree / 5 pm-7 pm

Connect with colleagues, complete your summit registration and peruse our entrepreneur marketplace during our welcome reception.

Refreshments will be served.

Summit Sessions, April 18

Vantage Venues / 8 am-5 pm

The day begins with a presentation from keynote speaker Laura Liswood and continues with sessions focused on mental wellness, inclusive leadership and access to financing.

Summit Hotel Rates

Conference Pricing Available

Special hotel pricing is available to summit ticket holders upon registration.

Hilton DoubleTree, 108 Chestnut St., Toronto

Summit Speakers and Panelists

Shulamit Ber Levtov

Mental Health Session for Organizational Leaders: The Overlooked Factor in Business Success
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Shulamit Ber Levtov

Mental Health Session for Organizational Leaders: The Overlooked Factor in Business Success

Shulamit (she/her) is the Entrepreneurs’ Therapist. She works with women business owners to care for their mental and emotional well-being and their money psychology in an era of relentless stressors that can make you want to lose your crap on the daily.

Shulamit has been an entrepreneur for over 28 years and has more than 23 years of professional experience in the field of mental health and personal growth. She also teaches in private and university business programs and speaks locally, nationally and internationally about mental health, money and entrepreneurship.

As an award-winning entrepreneur, masters-level, licensed trauma therapist and trauma survivor, with certifications in the Trauma of Money method, Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead methodology, Nonviolent Communication and Yoga, Shula brings a unique perspective and approach to supporting women in business.

Catherine Connelly

Panel: How do we work toward disability inclusion? Perspectives from research and experience.
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Catherine Connelly

Panel: How do we work toward disability inclusion? Perspectives from research and experience.

Dr. Catherine Connelly is a Professor and Canada Research Chair of organizational behavior at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She is the author of the book “Enduring Work” and has published over 65 other academic journal articles and book chapters.

She has won over $4.7 million dollars in research funding to support her research on the experiences of Canadian workers, including workers with disabilities. Catherine was awarded the Globe and Mail “Changemaker” award in 2022, and her research has been featured on CBC radio and TV, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the New York Times, as well as several podcasts.

Wanda Deschamps

Panel: How do we work toward disability inclusion? Perspectives from research and experience.
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Wanda Deschamps

Panel: How do we work toward disability inclusion? Perspectives from research and experience.

Wanda is the founder and principal of Liberty Co – a consultancy focused on increasing neurodiverse employment with a special emphasis on autism due to Wanda’s own diagnosis at midlife. Her approach is centered on the IDEA (Inclusion-Diversity-Equity-Accessibility) framework and highlights inclusive leadership, entrepreneurial thinking and employee retention.

A champion for inclusion, she enjoys speaking and writing under the banner of the Inclusion Revolution, a worldwide movement launched in 2018 to spearhead broader thinking about disability, especially disability employment. As part of this, Wanda is a proud advocate for women with autism, including as an advisor and participant in research into autistic women’s experiences in the workplace

Prior to founding Liberty Co, Wanda enjoyed a twenty-five year career in the philanthropic sector.

She gives back to the community and industry in various ways and was recognized as the Life Sciences Ontario 2023 Volunteer award recipient.

Wanda lives in Waterloo with her husband and two sons.

Alison Kirkland

Summit Host and Emcee
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Alison Kirkland

Summit Host and Emcee

A leader in the women’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Alison was named the inaugural CEO of WEOC in September 2019. Since then, she has grown the organization from a Board-run initiative to an integral resource for women’s entrepreneurial support organizations across Canada. Forging long-lasting connections within government and industry, Alison leads from experience, with 20-plus years in communications management and a decade as a certified small business counsellor.

She has led the creation of comprehensive training programs and the development of innovative funding initiatives and has had the opportunity to share her knowledge and experiences with women entrepreneurs and organizations in Ukraine and Vietnam. Alison is actively involved with CUSMA SME Counsellors Network Pilot Program; Canada 51 venture capital initiative, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, COVID Communications Roundtable and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

Laura Liswood

Leadership session for CEOs
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Laura Liswood

Leadership session for CEOs

In August 1996, Laura Liswood co-founded the Council of Women World Leaders with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland located at the UN Foundation in Washington, DC.  Ms. Liswood is the Secretary General of the Council, which is composed of women presidents, prime ministers, and heads of government.  It is the only organization of its kind globally.

From 2001-2016, Liswood was also named Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldman Sachs and later became a senior advisor.  She continues to speak to audiences globally on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Liswood holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from California State University, San Diego.  She holds a J.D. degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in California and Massachusetts.  After the events of 9/11, she became a reserve police officer in the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department and retired as a sergeant.

Liswood is the author of four books The Loudest Duck-Moving beyond Diversity, The Elephant and the Mouse, Women World Leaders, and Serving Them Right.

She is a commissioner and chair of the New Mexico State Personnel Review Board and a board advisor for EDGE, a diversity, equity and inclusion consulting group.

Cherry Rose Tan

Mental Health Session for CEOs: REALTALK – Navigating Mental Health in Challenging Times
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Cherry Rose Tan

Mental Health Session for CEOs: REALTALK – Navigating Mental Health in Challenging Times

Fifth-generation entrepreneur Cherry Rose Tan is a General Partner at Renew Venture Capital, whose mission is to solve society’s biggest challenges by purposely renewing how we invest in and help build companies. With nearly two decades of experience in Entrepreneurship, she has built a reputation as the First Mover in several industries, including crypto, edtech, and mental health.

General Partner at Renew Venture Capital; Entrepreneur in Residence at Schulich School of Business

Her previous company #REALTALK, the mental health movement for the tech industry, is known for being North America’s first and largest platform on Founder Mental Health. Specializing in working with high-net worth and C-Suite clientele, Tan grew the movement to 40,000 leaders and 70 national champions in four years, with a synonymous Top 14 Business podcast on iTunes as well.

Currently, Tan is the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Schulich School of Business, based in Canada’s third largest university, where she advises a global ecosystem of 225 startups and 3,000 members. As an Innovation & Mental Health Speaker, she works with organizations to ensure that leaders build the future of their organization, without burning out along the way.

She also sits on the boards for Wellspring and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Summit Schedule

April 18, 2024

TIMESESSIONSPEAKERLOCATION
7:45 AMRegistrationVantage Venues
8:00 AMBreakfastVantage Venues
8:50 AMSummit WelcomeAlison KirklandVantage Venues
9:15 AMOpening Keynote:

The Power of Diversity
Laura LiswoodVantage Venues
10:45 AMLeadership Session for CEOsLaura LiswoodVantage Venues
10:45 AMSession for Leaders and Advisors:

How do we work toward disability inclusion? Perspectives from research and experience
Catherine Connelly and Wanda DeschampsVantage Venues
11:45AMLunch BreakVantage Venues
1:15 PMSession for CEOs:

REALTALK – Navigating Mental Health in Challenging Times
Cherry Rose TanVantage Venues
1:15 PMSession for Leaders and Advisors:

The Overlooked Factor in Business Success
Shulamit Ber LevtovVantage Venues
2:45 PMYear One of the WEOC National Loan ProgramPanel DiscussionVantage Venues
3:30 PMClosing SessionAnnouncement coming soon!Vantage Venues

2024 Sponsors