HRPA Eastern Conference

Date and Time

Starts:09/20/2018 8:30 AM

Ends:09/20/2018 4:30 PM

Event Type: Conference

7 Hours Hour(s)

Ambassador Hotel & Conference Centre 1550 Princess St Kingston, ON


HRPA Members:
$200 + Taxes
$300+ Taxes
Student Members:
$100 + Taxes
Join HRPA Now


Additional Information

Networking Night
Sept 19
Book a room at The Ambassador Hotel before August 27 to receive a preferred rate $119. When making reservations quote HRPA Conference.

Event Sponsor

The Magic of HR

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

This year, there will be a special giveaway at the HRPA Eastern Conference. 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!

September 19 - Make Some Magic at Our East-Side Social!

As a conference attendee, you get the added benefit of an invitation to attend our inaugural East-Side Social.

Skip the arduous trip to Toronto and discover the vibrant, thriving HR community in Eastern Ontario. Network with your HR neighbours, and build invaluable connections right in your own backyard.

Share some gourmet hors d'oeuvres with new friends, some career ideas with new mentors, and some laughs with close-up magician BryTheMagicGuy, who will be on hand to entertain and delight!

This is a complimentary event. Please select "With Networking" option to indicate your attendance when registering online.

September 20 - Conference Sessions


Sponsored by: 

Orlando shares how to use the unexpected challenges that life can bring as fuel for new beginnings. When the game is on the line, it’s not about the acknowledgement of the fact that we will all face challenges. It’s all about taking the energy from those challenges and channeling them in a way that positively affects ones environment.

Speaker:Orlando Bowen

Morning Breakout:

From Overwhelmed to Flourishing: Lessons from Neuroscience

Stress is part of our life, how do we keep it under control? We will work on the understanding of what happens to our multiple brains when we are overwhelmed and the implications for our working life. We will learn how to recognize the overwhelmed state in time and practical ways to get us out of it.

During this session, Dr. Davidovich will share:

  • How the different "brains" contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed.
  • How to recognize when you are overly stressed and what you can do about it.
  • The impacts of stress on emotions and the physical body.
  • How to recognize your internal rhythms and use them to your advantage.
  • The seven steps to flourishing and thriving.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how the different "brains" contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed.
  • Understand the implications of being overwhelmed to both your health and well-being.
  • Understand how to quickly recognize when you are overwhelmed and what to do about it.

Speaker: Carlos Davidovich, Optimum Talent

LGBTQ & H&S in the Workplace

There is a clear business case for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) inclusion. There are numerous studies that have proven that inclusion of LGBTQ people creates productivity and profitability for an organization and enhances employee engagement. This session will show you how to create a positive workplace for LGBTQ staff and provide strategies and best practices to address transgender rights in the workplace.

Speaker: Colin Youngman, Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP

Panel: Cannabis in the Workplace

Sponsored by: 

A panel of experts will be discussing the use of cannabis in the workplace as Canada approaches full legalization in 2018. This session will provide an update on the legalization of marijuana and medical prescriptions, the employer's duty to accommodate an employee's disability requiring the use of medical marijuana and more.

Moderator: Sherry Bennett, Bayview Concierge

Panelists: Alan Whyte, Cunningham Swan; Dr. Tanny Raz, Apollo Research; Bryan HendinApollo Research; Dr. Ronald Walsh, Walsh & Associates

Transforming Performance Management - The Evolution of Employee Voice - 2018 Trends

Sponsored by: 

Our companies are constantly striving for greater customer satisfaction and product or service improvement, so why aren’t we giving the same vital attention to our strongest asset—our employees? The workforce is becoming more modern in all areas, and Employee Voice is a crucial area deserving of both ingenuity and attention. In order to maintain a workforce environment where employees can be engaged and perform successfully, a new approach to hearing and acting on the voice of employees is being adopted by innovative organizations. 

In this session, you will learn: 

  • Why focusing on a better Employee Voice strategy is important

  • The evolution of Employee Voice, and why certain methods are outdated and no longer adequate on their own

  • Proven effective methods and practical solutions to supporting a inspirational future of Employee Voice 

  • Examples of companies that are doing it well

Speaker: Rob Catalano, Work Tango

Keynote: Building Relationships

In "Connectivity," Kate Davis shows the audience how to establish, cultivate, and keep connections that lead to productivity and success both in business and our personal lives. Whether it’s a CEO connecting with their staff, a client connecting with their customer, or departments connecting with other departments, good communication and rapport within an organization is the source of a flow that leads to creativity, quick resolutions, and a deeper understanding among staff of the overall business purpose. Staying connected to colleagues keeps things on track and is one of the most important elements to an organization's success.

Speaker: Kate Davis

Afternoon Breakout:

Moving Forward with Mentoring

Sponsored by: 

Mentors and mentees were promoted five to six times more often than those not in a mentoring program (Gartner). Now it's your turn. Join this interactive session that will help you take your career to the next level by establishing game-changing mentoring relationships:

  • What mentoring is and its impact. 
  • How you can benefit from being both the mentee and mentor. 
  • Mentoring program best practices that you can bring back to your organization. 
  • How the HRPA’s MentorCity works throughout your career journey.
  • Tips and exercises to enhance your mentoring skills. 
  • How to integrate the valuable lessons gained into your life.

Speaker: Shawn Mintz, MentorCity

Transitioning from HR Professional to Leader

Sponsored by: 

Organizations of today are transforming at lightening speed. Everywhere we turn, there are organizations evolving, innovating and redesigning the way they do business. With this evolution, comes the need for the traditional HR practitioner to evolve alongside their organizations.  The evolvement of organizations are forcing HR practitioners to think differently, challenge effectively, create strategy and direction, provide thought leadership and know the businesses they work within. This practical and hands-on session will focus on how you can begin your journey of upping your game as an HR professional and evolving into an HR leader who is sought after for your strategic mind. Build your leadership brand and create a legacy for yourself where you are inspiring and engaging others and yourself while transforming your organization in remarkable ways.

Learning Objectives:

  • Decipher between the concepts of professional and leader
  • Identify key characteristics that allow you to be a successful HR leader
  • Define your key stakeholders and their evolving needs
  • Recognize the functions in HR that need to progress for you to be seen, as a true HR leader
  • Determine strategies to build your personal HR leadership brand and effectiveness as an HR leader

Speaker: Jodi Zigelstein-Yip, EnlivenHR

Employment Law 101

Sponsored by: 

This program will provide an overview of key employment laws, explain the legal obligations of employers towards employees, and will provide employers with some best practices to ensure they use employment contracts and policies in a strategic manner.

Learning objectives:

  • Understanding the legal obligations of employers towards employees during the employment relationship, “from hiring to firing”
  • Gaining knowledge of the latest developments in employment law
  • Learning some best practices in implementing strategic initiatives such as employment contracts, policy and procedure documents

Speaker: Stuart Rudner, Rudner Law

Difficult Conversations with Employees

Stressful work environments often come with an assortment of difficult conversations.  Whether it's giving feedback to staff or confronting a colleague, these interactions can be challenging. This session will provide you with strategies for handling stressful situations and creating agreement through fostering open dialogue around emotional or high-stake topics.

Speaker: Debbie Kassirer, Beyond Conflict

Keynote: Dancing with Disruption

With great opportunity comes great uncertainty. Whatever sector you're in, the possibilities are hugely exciting. New technologies are creating massive breakthroughs – and disruption cannot be avoided. Disruption demands an acute sensitivity to opportunity combined with a fierce commitment to execution.

Mike Lipkin is uniquely qualified to coach you on how to dance with disruption. He not only studies disruptors for a living, he works with them. He talks to hundreds of them every year. Together with his fellow wizards in the Environics Group, he also researches the trends that are defining the new realities.

In this session, Mike will coach you on how to adapt, navigate and pivot in a way that inspires, delights and thrills others. He will reveal the seven secrets to thriving on massive change so the most desirable people want to work only with you. Mike illustrates each secret through people and companies that have changed the rules of the game, created new markets and radically redefined the future.

Speaker: Mike Lipkin


Speaker bio(s)
Speaker Carlos Davidovich

Carlos Davidovich

For over 15 years, Carlos has been coaching internationally supporting the development of leaders and management teams alike. Originally from Argentina, he has been living in Toronto, Canada and working with Optimum Talent since 2013, working as an executive coach, facilitator, and is certified in Optimum Talent’s SuccessFinder Career System. Carlos has expertise in NeuroManagement, and NeuroMarketing. He draws on his skills as a medical doctor plus his twenty years of experience as executive in the pharmaceutical industry to deliver insights to both organizations and executives about neuroscience and leadership. Carlos received a psychology degree in Spain, a medical degree in Argentina, an MBA in Switzerland (Roche internal program) and coaching credentials from the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. He is a professor of Neuromanagement in the MBA program at the University of New York in Prague (UNYP) and a guest lecturer for the EMBA program at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto. He is also a member of the Neuroleadership Institute, the NMSBA (NeuroMarketing Science & Business Association) and faculty of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School affiliate.

Speaker Colin Youngman

Colin Youngman, Lawyer

Colin Youngman is a labour and employment lawyer in Hicks Morley’s Kingston office. He advises and represents both unionized and non-unionized employers throughout Eastern Ontario. He is regularly engaged in wrongful dismissal litigation, occupational health and safety matters, labour arbitration cases, Ontario Labour Relations Board proceedings and human rights proceedings. Colin also advises clients with respect to information and privacy matters including data breach response. Colin emphasizes proactive and creative solutions to workplace issues and disputes. Prior to entering law school, Colin worked as a Social Worker at the Frontenac Children’s Aid Society in Kingston. Colin is an active member of the Pittsburgh Community Benefit Fund Board of Directors and is also a member of the Pladec Day Care Centre Board.

Panel Moderator Sherry Bennett

Sherry Bennett, Founder/Managing Director

Sherry Bennett is the Founder and Managing Director of Bayview Concierge. She has lived through significant trauma and has met adversity with equanimity.
Sherry has volunteered at hospices, women’s shelters and funeral homes, assisting countless women and girls during recovery from a personal emergency or traumatic situation. She is strong advocate for Mental Health First Aid.
Her logistics and care-giving expertise inspired Sherry to launch Bayview Concierge in 2012 to make life and living easier for those living with pain, anxiety or symptoms of Post Trauma. Her company organizes nursing care, personal support workers, accompaniment to medical appointments and unique requests as long as they are within the confines of the law. (Bayview Concierge receives referrals from medical and legal professionals, as well as recommendations from clients).
The direction of Sherry’s life (and business) changed when several of her clients asked for help to get legal access to medical cannabis.
Sherry quickly learned that patients face a constellation of obstacles when trying to access their medicine. So she delved into the research, interviewed many cannabis professionals and patients and chose to take cannabis herself to treat her own symptoms of PTSD.
By drawing heavily on her own research, personal experience, and the anecdotal stories of her clients and trusted advisers, she now guides others through the process of obtaining safe, dignified access to medical cannabis.
In these changing times, her strong belief is that education is crucial. Sherry has found that most people are keen to learn more about this highly stigmatized topic. With the intention of educating the corporate world, and the general public, Sherry has gathered a team of subject-matter specialists and created “Let’s Talk Cannabis™” a series of presentations and panel discussions. These educational forums feature a diverse team of professionals; all with a mission to create a culture of responsibility.

Panelist Vincent Lefaive

Vincent Lefaive

Sgt Vincent Lefaive (ret ) has served as a decorated 30 year municipal front line police officer. Having joined the Durham Regional Police Service on Toronto's East border at 18 years of age, he has effectively committed his entire adult life to policing. He is married with two adult daughters. In his 2016 manifest "A Letter To My Doctor” you will closely experience the quantity and quality of his very personal ghosts and their decades long grip on his soul. The manifest reveals the raw and consistent torture that first responder PTSD can represent, and speaks eerily to his future health predictions. His immediate medical treatment saw him entering into a fully supervised clinical cannabis study with Toronto based Apollo Applied Research.

Now completing his second year as a successful cannabis patient and first responder, Sgt Lefaive has had to "come out” as such, and is currently an advocate for his fellow first responders under this treatment to speak up.
In early 2018 he fell ill with what can be described as the ravages of a PTSD related bleeding disorder and is currently on medical leave.
Calling this effort at his own education, and spreading the evidence-based results in reclaiming his whole health, is his own personal pride flag on the field.

Experiencing coverage denials and red tape at the hands of his insurance providers, his goals include inclusive health care coverage and any opportunity to disarm the stigma surrounding this medicine. “I believe that by the very nature of the calling, first responders sell their soul to the profession to one degree or another"
"What I intend quite frankly is to speak to its full refundability, and assured safekeeping.”

His combined publications, including “I Have A Cure, A 30 Year First Responder's Lifesaving PTSD Treatment Revealed " are set for release in late 2021.

Panelist Dr. Tanny Raz

Dr. Tanny Raz

Dr. Raz is the Director of Medical Business Development at Apollo Applied Research Inc. (Apollo). Apollo strives to better understand the impact of medical cannabis by fully educating patients on the proper use of medical cannabis, and tracking the clinical outcomes of different strains of cannabis on various medical conditions in order to validate their efficacy and improve outcomes.

Dr. Raz obtained her Bachelor of Biochemistry and Bachelor of Science degree before continuing her education to achieve her Doctorate of Medicine in 2012 from Windsor University School of Medicine.

Dr. Raz began her work with cannabinoid therapies in 2014 for a Health Canada approved licensed producer of medical cannabis. She helped to develop an educational program which she than taught to physicians of various disciplines on the proper utilization of medical cannabis by their patients.

Dr. Raz is also an integral part of Apollo’s educational sector informing and instructing both medical doctors as well as members of the legal community dealing with personal injury on the proper use of medical cannabis for patients who require it, as well as the potential medical benefits reported to date.

Dr. Raz was an integral member of a medical team conducting drug interaction studies at the Autistic Treatment Centre as well as Northwest Memorial Hospital in the Department of Urology. She conducted the literature review of accepted Guidelines for the Management of Brain Metastases at the University Health Network Department of Neurosurgery. She prepared educational material for medical residents to support their understanding of complex medical diagnosis for the Department of Hematology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Raz has been a long time community volunteer and most recently ran for both the Chicago and Toronto Marathons to raise funds and awareness for Cancer.

Panelist Dr. Ronald Walsh

Dr. Ronald Walsh

Dr. Walsh, the President of Walsh & Associates Occupational Health Services, Ltd., is a full time Occupational Physician with over 25 years' experience in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He holds a Medical Degree (MD) from Queen's University in Kingston; a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) from McMaster University; and is a Fellow of the Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine (FCBOM). Dr. Walsh is an acknowledged expert in Occupational Disability Management and is frequently involved in teaching, policy and program development, and conducting presentations for major corporations and health and medical associations. Dr. Walsh is a member of multiple medical associations, both in Canada and in the United States, and presently is the Delegate to the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and serves as a Member of the Medical Examination Committee of the Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine.

Speaker Rob Catalano

Rob Catalano

Rob Catalano is passionate about helping companies succeed – by leveraging technology to make employees successful. With his unique experience in HR Technology as a founding employee at Achievers, Rob co-founded WorkTango – software that helps give employees a voice and leaders actionable insight.

He has recently been named as a 2018 Top Global Employee Engagement Influencer and loves the opportunity to connect with passionate HR leaders across the globe. He is an avid hockey and volleyball player, traveller, and in his own terms a ‘pointaholic’ – he collects loyalty points for everything and anything!

Keynote Kate Davis

Kate Davis

Kate Davis has the unique ability to find humour in any situation and offer creative solutions to defuse frustrations in both the workplace and at home. A five-time nominee for the Canadian Comedy Awards who has opened for the likes of Bill Clinton and Barbara Walters, as well as the star of many television comedy specials, Kate's generous insight and hilarious presence is a powerful combination in helping organizations empower their staff with effective tools for managing stress and sustaining motivation.

A 12-time Canadian Comedy Awards nominee, which includes a nomination for the prestigious Phil Hartman Award, Kate was also the star of her own hour-long comedy special on CTV and the Comedy Network. Additionally, she has appeared on Breakfast Television, Star TV, Toronto 1, Prime, WTN, TVO and CBC Radio's The Debaters.

On stage, Kate has performed at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs, and the Hubcap Comedy Festival. During the 2008 season of Last Comic Standing, Kate’s sense of humour endured and carried her into the finals in Canada. She has also just filmed an episode of Rogue for The Movie Network.

As a writer, Kate has been published in Today’s Parent and Mom and Caregiver magazines. Kate’s first book, The Breast Feeding Diaries, won the iParenting media award.

Speaker Shawn Mintz

Shawn Mintz, President

Shawn Mintz is the President of MentorCity™ which offers comprehensive, easy-to-use and cost effective online mentoring software for companies, schools and associations. Shawn has over 10 years’ experience in the career and employment services sector. He has created award-winning mentoring initiatives that have helped thousands of people to achieve greater success. In recognition of his efforts, Shawn has received George Brown College's Career and Work Counsellor Crystal Award for Innovation and been profiled in Canadian Newcomer Magazine as a Canadian who has demonstrated commitment to helping new Canadians succeed. He has also published an eBook called MentorCity: How a few minutes with the right person can change your life.

Speaker Jodi Zigelstein-Yip

Jodi Zigelstein-Yip, CHRP, CHRL, Chief HR Innovator/Founder

Jodi Zigelstein-Yip is a nineteen (19) year leader and veteran in the HR community and is the Chief HR Innovator/Founder of Enliven HR Consulting Inc. Jodi plays a major role in her client’s businesses by delivering innovative, sustainable and strategic HR programs and solutions designed to unleash leadership potential, drive performance, increase organizational effectiveness and steer business results.

Her expertise is in the creation of unique leadership development and high-potential development initiatives including executive coaching and action-based learning initiatives, succession planning and talent assessment programs. Jodi engages small, medium and large national and multi-national clients in a variety of industries.

Jodi is a seasoned and dynamic facilitator, recognized by the Canadian Society for Training and Development for the design and facilitation of a multi-faceted leadership development program.

Jodi has been featured in the HR Professional Magazine, Canadian Employment Law Today and the Globe and Mail. Jodi is often asked to facilitate programs through the HRPA including the Authentic Coaching Leader Program. Jodi also MC’s semi-annually the Toronto Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Jodi was the President of the HRPA York Region Chapter from 2011 – 2015. During her term the Chapter was awarded eleven Chapters of Excellence Awards.

Speaker Stuart Rudner

Stuart Rudner, Lawyer

Stuart heads a boutique employment law firm that works with both employers and employees. They are able to see every situation from both sides.

Having been trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques, Stuart often acts as a mediator in Employment matters.

He chairs and teaches at conferences, and he is the founding Program Director of Osgoode Professional Development’s HR Law for HR Professionals course, and the co-founding Program Director of their Advanced HR Law for HR Professionals course. He is also a media source for comment on matters relating to Employment Law.

Stuart supports a number of worthwhile causes including 360Kids, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, United Way, One Voice Network, Job Skills, Family Education Centre, Lawyers International Food Enterprise (LIFE), and Volunteer Lawyers Network.

He also believes in giving back to the professional communities that he is part of. Since the beginning of his career, he has been actively involved in the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations and has held several leadership positions. He has also volunteered countless hours leading sessions on HR Law topics and serving on committees for HRPA. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM).

With two active children, much of Stuart’s time is spent in dance studios and hockey arenas (and, of course, driving them to and from games, practices, tournaments and competitions).

Speaker Debbie Kassirer

Debbie Kassirer

Debbie Kassirer is an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Practitioner and is the Principal of Beyond Conflict, a consultancy dedicated to resolving and preventing conflict in the workplace. Using conflict management coaching and mediation, as well as pre-mediation coaching and facilitation, Debbie helps employees, managers and executives build their conflict competence, turning negative disputes into more productive opportunities for a positive outcome. Among the bottom line benefits of Debbie’s work are improved organizational productivity, reduced absenteeism and disability costs, as well as a reduced risk of litigation.

Debbie has her Qualified Mediator (Q.Med) designation from the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario, a designation that recognizes practitioners who have completed sufficient mediations and recognized dispute resolution training to be qualified to practice. She obtained her ADR training at York University in the Certificate in Dispute Resolution program and the Advanced Certificate in Dispute Resolution program.

Debbie brings to her practice a depth of understanding about a broad range of organizations, from non-profit to large multi-nationals, gained from her extensive work experience across a wide span of industries and companies. This is coupled with her exceptional relationship and communication skills honed over more than 30 years working within the fields of social work, marketing and ADR.

In addition to her ADR training, Debbie holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from York University (now Schulich School of Business).

Keynote Mike Lipkin

Mike Lipkin, President

Mike Lipkin is president of Environics/Lipkin, a global research and motivation company based in Toronto. He is also an international strategic coach, facilitator and catalyst for high performance.

Mike combines his learning from talking to a million people in forty-three countries with the insights from the Environics Social Values research to offer clients the best of all worlds: a powerful blend of ideas and principles that help them achieve remarkable results.

He founded Environics/Lipkin in 2001. He has written seven bestselling books on personal leadership and effectiveness. He is renowned for his ability to blend humor with content that inspires people into action.

Keynote Orlando Bowen

Orlando Bowen, Game Changer and Motivational Speaker

When it comes to building teams, creating momentum, and employing winning strategies, Orlando Bowen is the real deal. For the past nine years, Orlando has used story-telling, fitness activities, and cognitive exercises to teach resilience, leadership, and teamwork to over 300,000 people. Empowering others to overcome adversity, to find their passion, and to use their gifts to serve is the reason Orlando breathes. This mission has placed him on hundreds of stages and boardrooms throughout North America, while also garnering him many distinguished awards.

Ten years ago, Orlando thought he was about to die. Pinned to the ground and enduring a savage beating, the then-CFL linebacker had been jumped by two plainclothes police officers, an injustice which was the first of many laid against him at the hands of the police force. “In that moment, knowing my life was about to end, I’m thinking, ‘I didn’t give everything I had to make a difference. There’s more I could’ve done,’ ” he says. Later completely exonerated of any wrong doing, Orlando—incredibly—has publicly forgiven his perpetrators and has dedicated his life to inspiring others to pursue excellence in all they do.

Born in Jamaica, Orlando came to Canada as a child and grew up excelling in sports. He earned a full scholarship to Northern Illinois University where he secured a business marketing degree and a Master of Science degree in Information Technology Management. He spent five seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, before the concussion he suffered at the hands of the police forced him to quit the sport.

Orlando is now the founder and executive Director of One Voice One Team Youth Leadership, which empowers youth to utilize leadership skills and talents to better themselves and their community. He has been repeatedly recognized for his incredible work. He was selected as one of the 2012 Diverse-City Fellows; is a recipient of a 2012 African Canadian Achievement Award; was bestowed with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013; and was the national 2014 Harry Jerome Award winner for community service.