Deborah Gillis is President and CEO of CAMH Foundation. As a recognized thought leader on gender equality, diversity and inclusion, Deborah has dedicated her career to driving social change. Deborah’s unique blend of passion, strategic vision and entrepreneurial spirit is helping her lead CAMH Foundation in transforming how Canadians understand and address mental illness, in the workplace and in society.
Deborah put her ideals into practice in her previous role as President & CEO of Catalyst, a global non-profit that helps build workplaces that work for women. She advised some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies on how to accelerate and advance women into leadership.
Deborah began her career in the public sector, where her early work focused on employment equity, anti-racism and LGBTQI rights. She went on to become a consultant and practice leader with global professional service firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Grant Thornton, where she championed initiatives to mentor women. Deborah also worked in the Nova Scotia government, and stood as a candidate for elected office. It was during her time in politics that she first truly understood the power of role models—and the urgent need for more of them—to inspire girls and young women.
Deborah has received national and international accolades for her advocacy efforts and business achievements. In 2016, she was named as one of Canadian Business magazine’s 10 Most Powerful Business People and was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal. In 2017, she was appointed to the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders and also accepted an honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Cape Breton University for dedicating her life’s work to advocating for women’s rights and equality. She serves on the Board of Governors of St. Francis Xavier University.
Erin produced and directed Dream, Girl the documentary showcasing the stories of inspiring & ambitious female entrepreneurs in NYC.
To make the film she raised $100K on Kickstarter and premiered the film at Obama's White House in May 2016.
In 2018, Erin became a mother and started filming her new short documentary, Year One. The film is an intimate look at the first year of motherhood through Erin's eyes.
It addresses the identity shifts, the challenges of experiencing postpartum depression, and the everyday extraordinary moments of being a new mom. Year One is set to release Spring 2021.
After living in Brooklyn for 10 years, Erin and her family recently moved back to her hometown in Buffalo, New York.
Courtney Symons is the Editor in Chief at Shopify, a Canadian multinational e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. It is also the name of its proprietary e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems.
Courtney made her dreams come true… by writing my first novel on the coastline of eastern Australia in 2010. She explains how she was supposed to be working, but instead she made the decision to sit in the sane with her new Macbook and write.
When she returned home from Australia had a draft manuscript of her first book called “Once, We Were Stolen”, which was successfully published.
Courtney was also a technology reporter for the Ottawa Business Journal, which publishes a bi-weekly newspaper and daily web content.
Courtney was also a finalist in the Hot Mommas Project, a global case study competition based out of Washington, D.C., which collects success stories from women across the globe.
Nicole is a passionate, dedicated senior digital and marketing strategist who has enjoyed more than 20 years of experience as a leader and strategist on behalf of clients across North America.
In the last year, Nicole has been dedicated to pivoting her business to embrace the change technology is demanding to lead into the future. For her, that focus has always been about women and those that are other.
Her marcomm business was founded because there were so few women of colour leading and creating content sold to women.
In, 2019 Nicole founded and launched the Not for Profit WtC WAKING the unCONSCIOUS that has a core premise to focus a lens on both the systemic and relational dynamics of elements like Anti-Black/POC Racism and Unconscious Bias, specifically the Unpacking of Privilege and Marginalisation, allowing for critical examination and an understanding of intersectionality.
Nicole’s work is inspired by the legacy of her father, Dr. David McKinney Jr: a renowned Academic in the US and Canada, who ended his career at the University of Guelph.
With a career-long focus on anti-black racism, he worked with organizations such as the Black United Front in Nova Scotia and pioneered research into police brutality.
He also advocated for human rights in conjunction with Daniel G Hill and took on several major court cases including the famed 1990 Supreme Court case, McKinney vs the University of Guelph.
Fatima Zaidi is the CEO and co-founder of Quill Inc., the world’s first one-stop marketplace where podcasters can find pre-vetted expert freelancers who will save them time, improve their podcast quality, and help grow their audience.
She is also the owner of the Listen In Conference held in LA that supports brands moving into podcasting.
As a member of the National Speakers Bureau, she has spoken at various events around the world on media and tech trends leading her to keynote on world stages alongside speakers like Richard Branson.
In addition to being a commentator for BNN Bloomberg, she is a frequent contributor to publications including The Globe and Mail, and Huffington Post.
Over the past few year’s she has won two Top 30 under 30 awards, the Young Professional of the Year by Notable Life, and was named one of Flare Magazine’s Top 100 Women.
Kim Smiley is an artist, fashion designer and social entrepreneur. Kim is building an empathy empire, marrying fashion and philanthropy, empathy and activism. She is employing newcomers in Toronto for a living wage, and has bold plans to expand to India and Israel, where she envisions Arab and Jewish women working shoulder to shoulder to create pathways for peace.
Stream the Women Leadership Nation Breaking Barriers Podcast featuring Kim Smiley on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
In BIG NEWS Kim announced following the taping of this podcast that she was selected to participate in an international reality TV show filming this summer in Miami. The Social Movement will air on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Zibby Owens is the creator and host of the award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. Zibby, named “NYC’s Most Powerful Book-fluencer” by New York Magazine’s Vulture, conducts warm, inquisitive conversations with authors, making her show a top literary podcast as selected by Oprah.com in 2019 and 2020. She also created the Moms Don’t Have Time to Lose Weight community and hosts the accompanying podcast. Zibby is the Editor-in-Chief of Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, a Medium.com publication. Most recently, she released an anthology, Moms Don’t Have Time To: A Quarantine Anthology(Skyhorse Publishing, 2/16/21).
Zibby is a regular contributor to Good Morning America and has recommended books in the Washington Post, Real Simple, and other outlets. She has also contributed to Parents, Marie Claire, Redbook, the New York Times online, and many other publications. She has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, the BBC, and many local news outlets. She currently has a two-book deal for children’s books with Flamingo, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and another upcoming anthology with Skyhorse Publishing: Moms Don’t Have Time To Have Kids: A Second Anthology (11/1/21).
Zibby serves on the boards of the Mount Sinai Health System, the Mount Sinai Parenting Center, the Child Mind Institute, and co-chairs the Library Council of the New York Public Library. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, Zibby currently lives in New York with her husband, Kyle Owens of Morning Moon Productions, and her four children ages 6 - 13. She always has a book nearby.
Amanda Goreski is an inspiring leader both in the field of law and as a documentary producer.
Check out one of Amanda’s most recent documentaries called
“Miracle, Baby” the story of Cory Conacher, a professional hockey player living with type 1 diabetes at:
Beth Milliard, PhD who was recently promoted to Staff Sergeant at York Regional Police shares her fascinating career journey in the field of policing and her academic journey that led her to obtaining a PhD, creating new knowledge in the field of peer-support programs designed to help support the mental health of police officers’. Beth shares amazing insights into how you can successfully navigate your career, take chances, while also making a difference in the world.