HR Summit 2019

Date and Time

Starts:04/16/2019 8:30 AM

Ends:04/16/2019 4:30 PM

Event Type



Old Mill Toronto

21 Old Mill Rd

Toronto, ON


HRPA Members:
$475 + Taxes
$595 + Taxes
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Additional Information

Event Sponsor

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Win a $1,000 Travel Voucher – and Go Anywhere You Want!

This year, there will be a special giveaway at the HR Summit. One lucky delegate will receive a $1,000 travel voucher, redeemable for any travel experience you choose. Redeemable with, the voucher applies to travel deals, airfare, hotels and more – with no blackout dates. Check your next trip off your bucket list with us!

The workplace has been affected by rapid and steady shifts and changes that have left a number of organizations recognizing that they have to implement strategies to stay current, compliant and competitive. While this dynamic reality can feel uncertain and unstable to navigate, one thing remains true: change brings opportunity which, leveraged effectively, can take your workplace to the next level. With this in mind, this year’s HRPA HR Summit will focus on providing you with HR insights from experts in their respective fields on the key issues, top trends, effective strategies and best practices to Revamp your Workplace to ensure it can attract, retain, engage and maximize the effectiveness of your businesses’ key asset: its people.



Managing the Shift of Changing Behaviour

This keynote looks at redefining the oxymoron that is "Change Management." Change management is usually driven externally, without sufficient focus on the internal recipients of the change.  In clinical psychology theory, change is experienced as stressful, and companies do not focus sufficiently on the people undergoing the change. This lack of focus is not because of a lack of intention, but rather a lack of a methodology and skills to nurture people through transitions.  The presentation challenges participants to look at managing the transition that people go through during times of change, rather than managing the change itself.

Speaker: Barry Pokroy

Key Recent HR Law Developments and Trends to Watch

The changes and shifts in employment laws have been so significant over the past several months that many employers don't know where to start to ensure they are on top of their compliance requirements. This session will review the key recent developments in labour and employment law, identify the trends to watch, and explore effective strategies and best practices for employers to meet new compliance obligations and reduce workplace risks.

Speaker: Joel Smith, Williams HR Law

How to Minimize the Impact of Tall Poppy Syndrome Within your Workplace

Employee satisfaction and productivity are major issues in workplace studies, and some research has focused on professional women. But very few studies have looked at the relationship women have with their co-workers and superiors and how that relationship affects not only their productivity, but their emotional and psychological well-being. The Tallest Poppy remedies that. It looks specifically at working women across Canada from all demographics and professions, and how their psychological health and workplace performance are affected by their interactions with both colleagues and supervisors. The results are discouraging and should be a wake-up call for companies and leaders across the country. An immediate change is needed to support women in the workplace, to encourage their accomplishments and shift the culture of toxic workplaces.

Speaker: Rumeet Billan, Viewpoint Leadership Inc.

Moderator: Laura Williams, Williams HR Law & Williams HR Consulting

Rethinking your Organization's Learning and Development Strategy

Organizations have been grappling with the effectiveness of their current learning and development programs. Recent studies have challenged conventional training approaches which has led to many organizations innovating their L & D strategies.  A panel of esteemed HR leaders will discuss how they have evolved their learning and development models and will share the how they implemented these new strategies within their respective workplaces.

Panelist: Suzannah Kelly; Donna Pascal, Dynacare; Lisa McFarland, Williams HR Consulting

The Realities of Cannabis Impairment and Complexities of Ensuring Safety in the Workplace

This session will discuss – from the medical practitioner's lens – the health, psychological, and HR implications of cannabis on the workplace.  It will debunk certain widely-held public perceptions about the effects of cannabis, and certain myths around the addictive and impairing effects of the drug will be debunked.  The main focus of this session will be to explore how cannabis impairment can have impact not only on workplace safety, but on the decision-making that is critical to the effective performance of many workplace roles.

Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Pearlman, Pearl MD

Developing a Powerful People Strategy

Many workplaces operate on what is thought to be a solid set of strategic objectives identified over a multi-year plan. What many organizations fail to integrate into the strategy is the engine that is required to operationalize the plan – its people. This session will explore the elements of a solid people strategy and provide key insights on what an organization needs to consider to develop, communicate, implement and sustain a powerful people strategy.

Speaker: Ann Gomez, Clear Concept Inc

Speaker bio(s)

Chair Laura  Williams

Laura  Williams, Principal

As the founder and principal of Markham-based Williams HR Law and Williams HR Consulting, Laura boasts more than 16 years of experience providing strategic advice and legal representation to employers on a full range of labour and employment law matters. Her core practice areas include pre-termination advice and strategy, workplace safety and insurance, wrongful dismissal actions, union organizing and certification, grievance arbitration, human rights, investigations, harassment management, privacy, employment standards, workplace policies, employment contracts and workplace culture recovery.

Laura is passionate about providing her clients with proactive advice designed to minimize workplace law challenges, maximize employee engagement and boost their bottom line performance. She is widely recognized as a leader in helping employers leverage innovative strategies to reduce liability and costs derived from ineffective and non-compliant workplace practices.

Laura has been featured in various industry magazines and human resources publications including PROFIT magazine, where she provides monthly expertise and insights on a wide range of employment law and employee engagement issues. Laura has also been featured in various publications including HR Professional Magazine, Canadian HR Reporter and Canadian Employment Law Today. In addition, Laura has appeared in national broadcast and print media including CTV News, CBC Radio and the Globe and Mail. She speaks frequently at human resources law seminars and conferences and regularly conducts workshops and in-house training for employers as well as for the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA). Laura is an instructor of the Labour Relations course in The University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies Human Resources Management Program.

In addition to her work, Laura is the proud mother of three, as well as a member of various professional organizations and community service associations.

In March 2013, Williams HR Law was honoured with the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Business Achievement Award and in 2014 was awarded York Region Small Business of the Year.

Keynote Barry Pokroy

Barry Pokroy

Barry Pokroy helps organizations make lasting and sustainable changes in the performance of their people and the business itself. His extensive background in clinical psychology accelerates performance and drives lasting results.

A go-to resource when it comes to training, executive coaching, and long-term consulting, Barry’s approach focuses on factors that traditionally impede both personal and business performance. He excels in resolving deep-rooted and pervasive challenges affecting leadership and teams in an organization.

Barry has worked in a variety of industries and has keen insight into the mid-market and large national businesses in finance and insurance, professional services, retail, transportation, communications and telecommunications, the public sector, call centers and many more.

Speaker Joel Smith

Joel Smith, Lawyer, Williams HR Law

Joel is a lawyer with Williams HR Law, where he practices management side labour, employment and human rights law. He provides advice and representation to employers on a broad range of issues including employment contracts, employment standards, wrongful dismissal litigation, human rights and accommodation, grievance arbitrations, labour board proceedings, privacy and workplace safety and insurance matters.

Joel regularly presents before employers and human resources professionals, and has presented at the HRPA Annual Conference & Trade Show. Joel also provides training to Williams HR Law’s clients on various labour and employment law topics. Joel’s writing is frequently published in labour & employment law and human resources publications, including Canadian Employment Law Today, HR Reporter and HR Professional magazine.

Joel obtained his J.D. degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Prior to law school, Joel obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University.

Speaker Rumeet Billan

Rumeet Billan

Dr. Rumeet Billan is an award-winning, internationally recognized entrepreneur, learning architect, speaker, author and humanitarian. Her mission is to raise potential by designing experiences that build resilience. Dr. Billan is the President and CEO of Viewpoint Leadership and an expert on Psychological Capital and Resilience. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto and has designed and facilitated programs, courses, and training sessions across industries and sectors. She led the groundbreaking national research study on The Tall Poppy Syndrome which reveals the impact of the silent systemic syndrome on women in the workplace and is the National Ambassador for Not Myself Today®, an initiative of the Canadian Mental Health Association that aims to transform workplace cultures. Recently, she released her first bestselling book, Who Do I Want To Become?, designed for children and adults who are struggling with the question of what they want to be when they grow up. She also serves on the Board of Directors for G(irls)20, a renowned global non-profit that aims to mobilize girls and young women for economic advancement locally and worldwide. To learn more, please visit

Panelist Suzannah Kelly

Suzannah Kelly

Suzannah Kelly is an accomplished HR Leader with a 20+-year track record of success in leading enterprise-wide HR initiatives that support critical organizational growth and transition goals with broad experience across the financial services, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods industries. Over the course of her career, she has been called on to build and deploy new programs and drive transformation that deeply impact and improve organizational development, employee engagement and customer experience.

Suzannah has enjoyed senior HR Business Partnering roles having led the Novartis Consumer Health Canada business as Head of Human Resources and more recently as Global Director Human Resources for Apotex’s Specialty Pharma and Global Quality and Compliance functions. She recently stepped into her latest position as Senior Director, Global Talent Management for Apotex, responsible for Learning and Development, Organizational Design, Change Management and Talent Acquisition. Suzannah has also had line management experience, having held the position of Compliance Officer at Novartis Consumer Health. Suzannah is passionate about coaching as an enabler of personal, professional and organizational growth. She holds an Associate Certified Coach designation, accredited through the International Coaching Federation and has demonstrated experience in moving organizational culture change forward and fostering dynamic personal transformation.

Suzannah obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) at the University of Staffordshire in the United Kingdom. In addition to her CHRL and Coaching designation she has a certification in Adult Education - Instruction and Design and has completed the Queens School of Business Advanced Human Resources Management Program.

Panelist Lisa McFarland

Lisa McFarland, CHRP, CHRL, Practice Leader

Lisa McFarland brings more than 25 years of experience in the field of Human Resources, specializing in designing and delivering high-quality learning solutions that align with organizational culture and people strategy.

 As a member of the Williams HR Consulting team, Lisa is dedicated to designing effective learning for clients focused on promoting leadership capability, elevating team performance and supporting ongoing professional development to drive business outcomes. In the course of her career, Lisa has worked primarily in complex, fast-changing organizations. She has experience working as an HR professional in the pharmaceutical, property management, recruitment solutions, transportation, and education services sectors. She has expertise with global organizations and cross-cultural teams within both public and private sectors and in union and non-union environments.

 Lisa conveys enthusiasm for her subject matter that translates into a vibrant learning experience – making learning fun. Her participants consistently describe her as “energetic” and “insightful”.

Panelist Donna Pascal

Donna Pascal, CHRP, CHRL, Vice President Human Resources

Donna Pascal has 20 years of experience in Human Resources, the last 13 years serving as a Senior HR Executive for a number of fortune 500 companies.

Donna currently leads the human resources function at Dynacare, a leading health and wellness solutions provider. As Vice President Human Resources, Donna leads a team of 29 professionals and oversees organizational effectiveness, learning and development, talent management, talent acquisition and wellness, health and safety. Donna and the HR team are focused on creating an internal culture that inspires employees, grows talent and allows people to thrive at work and at home.

Prior to that, Donna served as Vice President Human Resources at Acklands-Grainger from 2012-2015, and Staples North American Delivery from 2007-2012.

Donna possesses a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario as well as professional certifications in Advanced Human Resource Management from the Rotman School of Business, and Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Windsor Law, in addition to professional training in Executive Coaching. Donna holds the Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation (formerly CHRP) from the Human Resources Professional Association.

Speaker Dr. Jennifer Pearlman

Dr. Jennifer Pearlman

Dr. Jennifer Pearlman is a nationally recognized medical expert in Women’s health, hormones and beauty. As Medical Director and owner of PearlMD Rejuvenation, Dr. Pearlman helps her patients age well from the inside out.

At PearlMD Rejuvenation, Dr. Pearlman integrates advanced women’s health with a wholistic functional medicine approach considering the unique genomic, nutritional, hormonal, metabolic and lifestyle profile of each patient. Leading an integrative health team, Dr. Pearlman operates at the frontier of a new era of personalized medicine developing a precise and comprehensive plan for optimizing health, wellbeing and aging.

Dr. Pearlman has cultivated an expertise in the art and science of cosmetic medicine, delivering a complete set of treatments to enhance and rejuvenate the face and body based on the belief that beauty comes from within. Combining an aesthetic eye with expert technique, Dr. Pearlman is highly regarded by her peers and a sought after trainer.

Dr. Pearlman is a contributor to the Globe and Mail National Newspaper, an invited expert contributor to Canadian Health & Lifestyle magazine, Huffington Post Canada, Zoomer magazine, Best Health, Fashion and Elevate magazine. Dr. Pearlman is a frequent invited speaker to both professional and public audiences. Keynote addresses and speaking engagements include; the Fierce Feminine Leadership Conference, Women of Distinction IGNITE conference, the National Women’s Show, WE Connect Canada Meet the Experts Panel, Women’s President Organization Annual meetings, and various medical meetings. Dr. Pearlman is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2013 Enterprising Women of the Year Award, in recognition of her support for women’s causes and outstanding community service.

Dr. Pearlman has been awarded her Chartered Financial Analyst designation and has worked as a healthcare financial analyst for both public and private equity investment. She spent over 7 years working in capital markets studying the global health care industry.

Speaker Ann Gomez

Ann Gomez

Ann Gomez is the founding president of Clear Concept Inc., and the best-selling author of The Email Warrior: How to clear your inbox and keep it that way. Clear Concept trains people to achieve their best through practical productivity and leadership programs and Ann is passionate about helping people accelerate their career and thrive at work and in life.

Ann is an engaging and inspiring speaker, with compelling talks about productivity and leadership. Ann and her team at Clear Concept work with several industries, including law, finance, healthcare and consumer goods. Recent clients include several top law firms, RBC, BMO, Sun Life, Manulife, Johnson & Johnson, The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business and Queen’s University.

Ann has been featured in The Globe & Mail and has appeared on CBC Radio, Global TV and BNN, and other major news outlets and online platforms, including Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. She is an active blogger and has served as a spokesperson for several clients.

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