Change Leadership 2021 Speakers - The Change Leadership

Dr. Wendy Cukier

Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management, Founder, Diversity Institute at Ryerson University

Dr. Wendy Cukier is the Diversity Institute Founder, Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre. She is the co-author of the bestseller, Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic and former VP of Research and Innovation.

The Diversity Institute has 100 research staff, 100 research associates from around the world, 200 industry partners and focuses on dimensions of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, future skills, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Harnessing the power of innovation, it promotes the advancement of underrepresented groups. The Diversity Institute is also a research lead for the $300 million Future Skills Centre and the $8.6 million Women Entrepreneurship Hub.

Wendy has been recognized with the Harry Jerome Diversity Award, the Bob Marley Award, the Canada-Pakistan Business Council’s Female Professional of the Year, the Metropolis Research Award, the CATA Alliance, Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN. She has been named a YWCA Woman of Distinction and one of the International Women’s Forum 2020 Women Who Make a Difference, a Woman of Influence and one of the "100 Alumni who shaped the Century" by the University of Toronto.

Wendy holds a PhD, an MBA, an MA, and honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia.

Darren Menabney

Lead, Global Employee Engagement, Ricoh Company Ltd

Darren Menabney leads global human resource projects for Ricoh Company Limited and teaches international MBA students as a Professor at the Graduate School of Management, GLOBIS University. Darren is a global business communication consultant who helps individuals and organizations collaborate, communicate, and create remotely and across cultures.

He is the creator of the Presentation Design Thinking methodology, which melds design thinking and storytelling to create compelling, human-centered narratives.

He is a contributing writer for Forbes and Fast Company, a TEDx speaker, and is part of the IDEO U teaching team.

Mohammed Chahdi

Head of Americas HR Operations Services, Dell Technologies

Mohammed is a Global HR Director with Dell Technologies driving business value through Human Capital Management Strategies, he currently leads a global team focused on delivering best-in-class HR services and offerings utilizing innovation and emerging technologies in alignment to Dell’s vision and business strategies.

With his 20+ years Technology experience and passion for people and leadership, Mohammed is continuously exploring how Technology has shifted the nature of work and the critical role the HR function plays with people and culture strategies to enable business success in a digital economy.

Carl Oxholm

Founder and CEO, Virtue Compass Inc.

​Carl is Founder and CEO of Virtue Compass Inc. (“VCI”), helping individuals and organizations alike, close the gap between who they are capable of being and who they are currently. Prior to this, Carl’s almost 30 years of experience with PwC Canada spanned a variety of executive leadership roles, including Senior Equity Partner, leading service teams with an exceptional track record spanning multiple industries. A Lead Partner on some of PwC’s largest national (and global) priority clients, he enjoyed testing the power of positive influence. As PwC Canada’s National Leader of Culture & Leadership he developed PwC’s service offering around enhanced Emotional Intelligence (“EI”) - increasing one’s capacity to cope and thrive amidst growing demands and expectations.

He is a certified Optimize coach and was PwC Canada’s National Partner Coaching Leader, where he led a faculty of professional external coaches, sat on several of PwC’s global steering committees, and was a founding member of both the PwC Canada Charitable Foundation and its Women in Leadership programs.

Carl continues to respond to numerous ongoing requests to be a keynote speaker – sharing practical insights derived from his many years of experience, and the unique roles that he has enjoyed within the professional services industry. Carl has travelled the world providing talks and facilitating workshops that involve culture change, EI and leadership development. Having helped numerous global companies, not-for-profit organizations and Professional Associations alike, he often says that it is his privilege and pleasure to serve where needed.

Ayleen Farnood

Disruptor, The Knowledge Society

Ayleen is a 16-year-old artificial intelligence (AI), brain-computer interface (BCI), and virtual reality (VR) developer. She has built a BCI that allows its users to spell out words by blinking and has built multiple VR and AI applications. She’s worked as an intern at Microsoft where she built a chatbot and data-visualization software for their finance/education sectors that was eventually deployed to thousands of the company’s employees on an international scale. She’s spoken at conferences such as ConnectIT AI, been featured in media outlets such as the Globe and Mail and CTV, and is an advocate for women and girls in technology. She is currently an intern at one of the world’s leading research labs in cybersecurity at the University of Toronto, where she is applying machine learning to improve autonomous vehicle control.

Mishaal Lakhani

Activator, The Knowledge Society

Mishaal Lakhani is an 18-year-old problem-solving enthusiast, passionate about tackling big problems, such as maternal mortality, youth homelessness, and food waste. She began her journey replicating neural networks and virtual reality programs and is now deep diving into the science of learning. She has worked with companies like Zappos, CIBC Digital, The Knowledge Society, and Emm.Health. Currently, she is studying at the innovative Minerva University, where she will spend her next 3 years in 6 different countries across the world. In her first year, she has been refining skills in thinking critically & creatively and effectively communicating and interacting.

Seyone Chithrananda

Innovator, The Knowledge Society

Seyone Chithrananda is a 16-year-old machine learning and genomics researcher. Over the past year, he’s worked at the intersection of machine learning and drug discovery, and recently presented some of his work at the Re-Work Deep Learning Summit in Montreal alongside leading researchers from Google Brain, Facebook and DeepMind. This summer, Seyone worked at, an SaaS company building a customer intelligence platform powered by AI that helps consumer businesses make precise predictions about customer needs so that they can deliver more meaningful and relevant digital interactions. He worked on the Machine Learning Science team, where he built machine learning models for churn prediction and internal tools to detect issues across their machine learning pipeline. Seyone is an Activator at The Knowledge Society.

Soula Courlas

Management Consulting Executive, Talent, Organization and Human Dynamics

An experienced senior leader and seasoned consultant with 25+ years of experience from across Canada’s Fortune 100 private and public sector companies advising C-suite executives undertaking complex organization transformations bringing a passion for driving alignment between the work ‘environment’ and work ‘force’ to achieve strategy, navigate complex human dynamics, elevate the workplace experience, and deliver results. Soula has held senior and leadership roles within both corporate and consulting organizations and has honed her personal brand as a leader, influencer, and builder of all things related to advancing the human experience in the world of work.

Nikolas Badminton FRSA

Chief Futurist,

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist and Think Tank leader at, a Fellow of the RSA and the futurist that the world's most impactful companies, A-list Hollywood, and international media turn to for big ideas, new thinking and opinion. .

Nikolas has advised the world's most impactful companies, including NASA, Google, Microsoft, United Nations, United Way, Bank of Canada, Government of Canada, UK Home Office, Government of Cayman Islands, American Express, AT&T, Thales, Rolls Royce, Heineken, Procter & Gamble, IDEO, and many more..

His research and thinking has been featured by CTV, Global News, BBC, VICE, The Atlantic, Fast Company, Techcrunch, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Forbes, Sputnik and Venturebeat. .

Nikolas’ thinking can be seen in the opening chapter for the new book ‘The Future Starts Now’. He’s also writing a new book that equips world leaders and executives with the tools to imagine new futures, see unforeseen risks and strengthen strategic planning.

Lisa Kimmel

Chair and CEO, Edelman Canada

Lisa oversees Edelman’s Canadian and Latin American operations, and sits on Edelman’s Global Operations Committee. In her role, she provides senior counsel to clients, and is responsible for the regions’ growth strategies. In Canada, she has led the region’s strategic evolution to a best-in-class communications firm – the biggest evolution in the firm’s history. Edelman Canada has been awarded a Cannes Lions for its “In the Head of a Hacker” campaign on behalf of HP, and Strategy Magazine’s 2017 PR Agency of the Year. .

Lisa’s fresh, collaborative and authentic approach has not only resulted in award-winning programs for clients but has fostered a corporate culture based on innovation, teamwork and integrity. Edelman Canada has been recognized as one of the Great Place to Work® Best Workplaces in Canada and Best Workplaces for Women for nine consecutive years. .

Passionate about advancing women in business, Lisa is chair of the firm’s Global Women’s Equality Network (GWEN), which is committed to fostering an environment where women of all backgrounds can enjoy equal opportunities.  She is committed to supporting future leaders and championing women’s causes. She is a sought-after speaker and commentator at events and in the media. In recognition of her efforts, Lisa is a recipient of both the Financial Times and HERoes Champions of Women in Business Top 100 Female Executives, and a 2019 YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction award for Corporate Leadership. She has also been inducted into the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Hall of Fame. .

Lisa is actively involved with several mentorship programs through the Women’s Executive Network, American Marketing Association and Women in Communications and Technology Protégé Program. She sits on the Boards of Directors of the Toronto Region Board of Trade and CivicAction. Lisa also sits on the Global Advisory Board for G(irls)20, and is a member of the United Nations Women’s Empower Advisory Group and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Council for Women’s Advocacy. 

Phil Buckley

Founder and Managing Director, Change With Confidence

Phil Buckley is an award-winning author, coach, public speaker and senior change management professional with over 32 large-scale change projects under his belt—including co-leading global change management for the $19.6 billion Kraft Foods acquisition of Cadbury. For over 25 years, leaders and their teams worldwide have relied on him to help drive performance through change..

Over Phil’s career, he has held senior leadership positions, including Global HR Director Commercial, Global Organizational Change Director, Americas VP Organization Change and Vice President HR Canada. His change assignments include mergers, divestitures, organization restructurings, growth capability developments, efficiency drives, culture initiatives and systems implementations..

Phil is the founder and managing director of Change with Confidence, a management consulting firm that helps leaders and their teams be their best as they create a better future. Through expertise, advice and skill-building, their purpose is to enable organizations regardless of the changes they must champion..

Phil is the author of two books, Change on the Run: 44 Ways to Survive Workplace Uncertainty and Change with Confidence: Answering the 50 Biggest Questions that Keep Change Leaders Up at Night. His work has been featured in Forbes, Businessweek, The Globe and Mail and many other business publications..

You can find Phil’s podcast, Change on the Run, blog and monthly newsletter at

Navroop Sahdev

Founder and CEO , The Digital Economist

Navroop Sahdev is the founder and CEO of The Digital Economist, an impact organization with the mission to drive technological convergence by bringing investable opportunities, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, to the fore. A pioneering economist and technology futurist, Navroop’s work lies at the intersection of emerging technologies, economic science and business strategy. Along with the world’s most respected digital economists, in 2019 she co-authored “Blockchain Economics: Implications of Distributed Ledgers: Markets, Communications Networks, and Algorithmic Reality”, the first book on the economics of blockchain. .

Navroop is currently a Connection Science Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, part of a curated group of top scholars and entrepreneurs in emerging technologies with a track record of outstanding achievement, who are building the future of Distributed Ledger Technologies, Digital Identity and Digital Networks. She was listed as one of the Top Blockchain Influencers in 2018 by Media Shower. .

Navroop is frequently interviewed by Forbes as a subject matter expert on the economics of emerging tech. She has co-authored Hyperledger’s "Blockchain for Business" online course - the biggest on the subject - with over 170,000 students so far and is regularly requested as a keynote speaker at industry conferences. She holds three masters in IP Management, Economics of Innovation and Applied Economics. Previously, she worked at Harvard University and the United Nations Environment Programme. In 2017, Navroop served as a United Nations Youth Delegate.

Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta

Change Strategist, and Founder, The Change Leadership

Yvonne is passionate about working with professionals and organizations to help them determine the what, how and when of leading and managing change. Helping them to navigate how to adapt to the ever-changing tide of uncertainty, technological disruptions and fast-paced change. Yvonne has acquired over 20 years global working experience across various industries that has equipped her with the practical tools and knowledge to help her clients meet their professional and organizational goals.