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Alex Benay - CIO, Canada

Alex is a Deputy Minister at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Chief Information Officer of Canada.


Prior to his appointment in April 2017, Alex was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation since July 2014.


From 2011 to 2014, Alex was Vice-President of Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText. In this position, he played a leadership role in Canada’s digital industry, as well as in promoting the global shift to digital in organizations such as the G20, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Olympics. Before joining OpenText, Alex managed various teams and programs at the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Library and Archives Canada.


Alex has a B.A. in History from the University of Ottawa.. He was recently named to Apolitical’s international list of the 100 most influential people in digital government. He is also the author of Canadian Failures, an anthology of essays from prominent Canadians openly talking about failure, and Government Digital, an in-depth look at how modern governments are tackling digital change.

Dr. Laura Copeland - Chief Medical Information Officer, Healthtech

Laura is a medical informatics specialist and physician, and former the Director of Medical Innovation and Transformation at Humber River Hospital, the first fully digital hospital in North America, and the first Canadian Hospital to recruit a humanoid robot were she was responsible for the change management, and leading 600+ physicians from a predominantly paper-based world into North America’s first fully digital hospital.


Dr. Copeland is also a strong advocate for the adoption of technology in healthcare (including the use of Robots, Automated Guided Vehicles etc. to increase performance and create efficiencies), as well as proficient in change management techniques. She has experience in designing, building and leading technology change in multiple hospitals, including North America’s first digital hospital. She is a practicing medical psychotherapist and brings much of her experience from her clinical practice to inspire change within organizations.


She has been an emergency medicine physician and medical informatics specialist for over a decade. She attended Ohio State University for medical school and the Cleveland Clinic for residency, where she was in the first wave of students to begin electronic documentation. Subsequently, she became the Director of Billing and Compliance for the Cleveland Clinic Emergency Services Institute and completed her MBA.


She is also a member of the Organizational Excellence Council, Strategic Information Technology, and Change Advisory Board.

Claudette McGowan - CIO, Enterprise Technology Employee Experience, BMO

Claudette is an award-winning, globally-focused information technology leader with more than 17 years of success leading digital transformation, optimizing infrastructure and designing new approaches that improve service experiences. As a vice president in Technology and Operations at BMO Financial Group, Claudette has led more than 1000 IT professionals in the planning, engineering and support of workplace technologies.


In addition to being the technology leader for the new BMO Urban Campus opening in 2020, Claudette’s primary focus is to co-create solutions with BMO employees that will radically enable them to deliver for customers and the community. Her achievements at BMO have been numerous; she is credited with developing a multi-year workplace technology strategy that resulted in modernizing the tools and support for all 45,000 employees. In 2017, Claudette designed and launched the first Women in Technology affinity group at BMO.


Claudette began her IT career in healthcare at Wellesley Hospital. She later joined the Computing and Telecommunications Division at the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services. Before joining BMO, Claudette spent 4 years at Deloitte where she was a key member of the Technology Management Team.


Claudette holds a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Arts from Lakehead University. In addition, she is a Certified Change Management Practitioner (Prosci Canada), Business Coach from CTA-International Coach Federation, has a Masters Certificate in IT Management from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University/Schulich School of Business.


Married and a mother of two, Claudette's commitment to the community is evident in her passion for literacy and everything technological. Claudette has authored five books and in partnership with First Book Canada and other leading corporations, Claudette launched the Black Arts and Innovation Expo (BAIE) as a novel way to celebrate Black History Month. The BAIE promotes diversity and inspires excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics by showcasing the outstanding achievements of current innovators in the arts, entrepreneurship and technology. Her work has played a pivotal role in launching the first innovation centre in Aurora, Ontario.


Claudette is a recipient of a 2014 Green4Good Visionary award and in 2015 she was hailed as a BBPA Exchange - Woman of Honor and among the Top 100 Black Women to watch in Canada.

Benoit Hardy-Associate Partner, Canadian Lead – HR Reinvention, Talent & Engagement.

Benoit Hardy-Vallée leads a team of consultants who reinvent HR by enhancing operating models and the employee experience. Through Design Thinking and Digital Change Management, his team brings the best IBM methods and technologies to clients. Benoit consults with HR leaders to envision the art of the possible and co-create new ways of engaging employees and enabling performance.


Benoit has worked with banking, retail, hospitality and industrial clients in North America, Middle East and Africa. Through white papers, publications, interviews and speaking engagements, Benoit shares his knowledge and contributes to IBM thought leadership in Digital and Cognitive HR.


Benoit received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Quebec in Montreal. He completed his doctorate in philosophy and cognitive science from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), and a post-doctorate fellowship at the University of Waterloo and University of Toronto. His research focused on the understanding of psychological and neural mechanisms that underlie economic decision-making.


With his wife Aurélie, he raises 2 amazing girls (Estelle and Adèle) in Toronto. His personal and professional missions are the same: to create workplaces where his daughters could have fulfilling careers – despite the seismic changes in technology, society and business.

Benoit’s childhood hero was Leonardo Da Vinci.

Maaz Rana - COO & Co-founder, Knockri.

Maaz is a champion of inclusion and belonging. His mission is to help eliminate unconscious hiring bias and equitably increase diversity in the workplace.


He is a keynote speaker and a co-contributor with LinkedIn on the Future of Work report “Now Hiring: The Skills Companies Want that Young Canadians Need.” In addition to being a leader in HR transformation and A.I ethics, Amnesty International has recognized him as a thought leader in “The Future of Work” and “Disruption of Artificial Intelligence”. Maaz is often asked to share his thoughts on topics covering Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, The Future of Work, HR transformation, as well as various topics concerning Artificial Intelligence, Disruption and Entrepreneurship.


Much of his time is spent as a Co-founder of Knockri, where he’s fortunate to realize his many passions. Knockri is an A.I. video Assessment tool - a leader in HR technology that has proved to equitably improve the gender and ethnic makeup of businesses, across various industries.


Knockri works with Fortune 500's and has been featured in numerous media outlets including: Forbes, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, Venture beat, CBC's National, The Globe and Mail, MaRs & Many other Notable Publications


Host: Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, OliveBlue Inc.

Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta is Change Management and Leadership Consultant, Speaker. and Certified John C. Maxwell Leadership Coach & Teacher. Advising and supporting organizations to help them implement and transition through change.


She holds a BSc honours in Business Information Technology & Marketing from London Guildhall University, an MBA with Warwick Business School, England, and a Change Leadership Certificate from Cornell University


Yvonne is multifaceted, having worked with a variety of clients including JP Morgan Chase, Royal Bank Canada, Deloitte, Phillips Consulting, and General Motors to deliver strategic and business critical projects. During her time with these organisations, she led major projects, pioneered change, and gained invaluable experience in developing individuals and businesses to help them drive results.


Her global experience in Europe, Africa and North America has afforded her exposure to diverse business environments and a proficiency in thinking outside the box.


She is also a published Author, an Inspirational Speaker, and Change Catalyst who is passionate about helping individuals, entrepreneurs and organisations drive change and achieve their goals.


More information about Yvonne: www.yvonnerukeakpoveta.com

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