2021 Agenda


This program contains 2.0 hours and 40 minutes of Professionalism content.

This program has been approved for 6.0 hours by the Law Society of British Columbia and may be applied towards the mandatory 12 hour Continuing Professional Development requirement in BC.

9:40 - 9:50 am

Registration and Virtual Orientation

9:50 - 10:00 am

Welcome remarks from Key Media

Tim Wilbur

Editor-in-chief – Law, Key Media

10:00 - 10:15 am

Keynote address

Poonam Puri

Professor of Business Law & Corporate Governance, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Affiliated Scholar, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

10:20 - 11:00 am

Panel: Strategies to promote and improve the representation of women in leadership positions

Women now enter the legal profession in greater numbers than men, yet their representation at the equity partner level and in management hasn't kept up. Despite many firms having strong commitments to promoting more equity in leadership, efforts to date have had limited success. What are some of the barriers and structural challenges that inhibit advancement? How can law firms better translate their equity commitments to achieving better outcomes?

  • Internal barriers to advancement and how to overcome them
  • Identifying how current leaders and those in positions of power can better support the advancement of women
  • The role culture plays – how has the current pandemic provided lessons on better accommodating future leaders?


Anik Trudel

Chief Executive Officer, Lavery Lawyers


Linda Chanow

Vice President of Strategy and Operations, The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Morgyn Chandler

Co-Managing Partner, Hammerco Lawyers LLP

Kim Jakeman

Partner, Harper Grey LLP

Una Radoja

Partner, Harper Grey LLP

11:05 - 11:25 am

Best practices for leading in a time of work-from-home and hybrid workplaces

The pandemic has upended the traditional office workplace and replaced it with a mix of work-from-home and hybrid models. This rapid shift has challenged many of those in leadership as they pivot and adapt to the new environment, yet many leaders have excelled and thrived by effectively engaging their teams with trust, transparency and open communications. What are some practical ideas for effectively managing remote workplaces? How can these translate to future practices as we move past the pandemic?

  • Setting protocols and guidelines in advance
  • Insights for better communication, team meetings and monitoring employee wellbeing
  • Examining the role of technology in better supporting communication and collaboration
  • Checking in and keeping teams motivated during times of crisis
  • Practical advice and tips for supporting your team

Joelle Walker

Lead and Principal, Litigation Group, Miller Titerle Law Corporation

Tamara Napoleon

Co-Lead and Principal, Indigenous Law Group, Miller Titerle Law Corporation

11:25 - 11:55 am

Lunch Break

11:25 - 11:40 am

Breakout Session: A case study in rural practice leadership

Rural and small community practices are a critical component of the Canadian legal landscape. With the legal landscape continuing to evolve in response to the pandemic and other structural changes, the opportunity to practise and take on a leadership role in a smaller centre is one that many lawyers are considering. What are some of the unique challenges of operating in smaller communities, especially for female lawyers? How is the nature of leadership different to larger centres?

  • Unique challenges of leading a rural and smaller practice
  • Exploring social and cultural hurdles female practitioners often face
  • Balancing personal and professional obligations with limited support and resources

Jodie Primeau

Owner and Founder, Primeau Law Professional Corporation

11:55 - 12:35 pm

Panel: Managing your leadership agenda

Resistance to change by colleagues who adhere to old habits can be a frustrating experience for leaders looking to advance new ideas within their organizations. From winning over executive committees to building support networks with other senior leaders, building consensus can be extraordinarily difficult. What are some of the more common hurdles one can experience in bringing about change? How does one build support networks while ensuring voices of dissent are acknowledged within the decision process? ,

  • How do you overcome barriers and areas of resistance to implementing progressive policies?
  • Building allies to move your agenda forward
  • How can workplace culture, values and norms impact your progress and momentum?
  • Examples of strategies for overcoming resistance


Melanie Baird

Partner, Blakes


Radha Curpen

Vancouver Managing Partner, Bennett Jones LLP

Caroline Biron

Associée Directrice/Managing Partner, Woods LLP

Yola Ventresca

Partner, Lerners LLP

12:40 - 1:10 pm

What does it mean to be an authentic leader?

Success in leadership means being aware of one’s strengths, weaknesses and values, but also being transparent and open to outside views. In today’s stressful climate, leaders who demonstrate and incorporate these characteristics can often create more satisfying and productive work environments. What does it mean to have authenticity in leadership? Why might this leadership style be so critical in this age of disruption, and how might it bring about greater equality and inclusion in the workplace?

  • Identifying some of the characteristics of an authentic leader; knowing your natural skills and capacities
  • How might authentic leadership improve employee engagement and interrelationships?
  • A look at authentic leadership in the context of workplace inclusivity and equality

Jacquelyn Stevens

Partner, Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP

1:15 - 1:55 pm

Panel: How to harness and build a diverse, equitable and inclusive leadership talent pipeline

Developing a more inclusive and representative future roster of leaders requires a long-term commitment to building and sustaining diversity, equity and inclusion and achieving predetermined goals and objectives. This session will break down the steps and practical considerations for building a robust leadership campaign, from advanced recruitment to having the proper training, workplace protocols and management buy-in in place. How do you identify early candidates for leadership, and what should your retention strategy include? What role does an organization’s culture and values play in achieving D&I leadership success?

  • Assessing your current position and identifying goals and objectives
  • A look at what your retention strategy can include: pay gaps, leadership pathways, mentorships and workplace policies
  • How can diversity leaders and committees contribute to enhancing workplace retention?
  • Practical examples of initiatives to improve leadership diversity and inclusion


Samantha Prasad

Partner, Minden Gross LLP


Shanin Lott

Chief People Officer, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Rebecca Jaremko Bromwich

EDI Manager, Gowling WLG

Natasha R. Yard

Counsel, Legal Department, TD Bank Group

1:55 - 2:25 pm

Networking Break

1:55 - 2:10 pm

Breakout session: Leading through crisis: Lessons learned

Disruptions to both workplaces and personal lives driven by the pandemic have forced those in leadership to rapidly pivot into new and unanticipated territory to accommodate the new reality.  Challenges are numerous, from realigning operations to accommodating a work-from-home setting, to ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees. What are some of the practical lessons and takeaways learned from this crisis, and how will they help firms prepare for the next one? What leadership attributes are most critical when dealing with unanticipated disruptions such as a pandemic? 

  • The nuances of crisis decision-making in an unpredictable environment
  • Tracking progress through the crisis and assessing impacts on firm strategy
  • Examining how COVID-19 will better prepare firms for future unanticipated events
  • Practical advice and tips for managing through an extended crisis

Mia Hempey

CEO, Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP

2:25 - 3:05 pm

Panel: Managing your stress load and lifestyle to avoid professional burnout

The pandemic and events of the past year have resulted in stress and burnout reaching critical levels – all within a profession that is inherently demanding and associated with high-achieving personalities. Leaders are not immune to the chronic effects of long hours and persistent demands, both professional and personal, that can impact their health and future performance. What are the early signs of burnout, and why are those in leadership particularly susceptible? What are some practical tips to better manage stress levels and extended work hours?


Iris Fischer

Partner, Blakes


Dr. Katy Kamkar, PhD

CPsych, Clinical Psychologist Psychological Trauma Program/Work, Stress and Health Program/Mental Health Program Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

3:10 - 3:50 pm

Panel: Finding your leadership style and niche as you rise in your career

As lawyers progress in their practices and careers, most will assume a leadership role at some point, whether among colleagues, as a mentor within the profession, or within their own local community. Identifying and understanding one’s leadership style is a critical step for developing future leadership skills and competencies. Why is it important to understand your leadership style, and how can you best identify it? How can you refine your leadership style as you progress? What role do gender and cultural differences play in leadership style?

  • Examining leadership styles and assessing your strengths and weaknesses
  • Developing and leveraging leadership learning opportunities to find your niche: mentorships, training and special projects
  • The different meanings of leadership as your career advances
  • Navigating stereotypes and cultural norms of what a leader ‘should be’


Shelagh Carnegie

Partner, Gowling WLG


Elizabeth Dipchand

Dipchand LLP,

Gillian Akai

Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Postmedia Network

Sharon Vogel

Partner, Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

3:50 pm

Closing Remarks


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