Mentorship and Advocacy: Enablers for Equal Opportunity

WITI and Pluralsight present a panel discussion on using Mentorship and Advocacy as tools to enable equal opportunity in the workplace.

Studies have shown that increased workforce diversity strengthens the bottom line and improves employee satisfaction. Thus, many organizations have committed themselves to expanded efforts to fully engage previously underutilized talent. Because WITI is a women's advocacy organization, our panel will begin with a discussion on how leaders can determine the changes required in their organizations to provide opportunities without gender bias. We'll provide tips on:

- Ways to develop strategies to reach the desired state
- Proactive measures to encourage buy-in throughout the organization
- The powerful role of mentorship in employees' long-term development
- Guidance for establishing company mentorship programs
- Best practices for both mentors and mentees
- How managers can employ mentorship programs to ensure smart career paths for future leaders

Next we'll discuss the use of Advocacy to enable change at the enterprise level, and how to coax active participation in equal-opportunity initiatives. We'll review ways in which both men and women can advocate for fair treatment and productive methods for speaking up in uncomfortable situations.

Join us and our sponsors Pluralsight for a discussion that may seem to be ahead of its time but is actually right on cue.

Featured Speaker(s)

Andrea Niles-Day has over 25 years of experience in financial services technology delivery for capital markets, mutual funds- both institutional and retail, pensions, personal banking, insurance, private investment, and real estate. Her area of focus has been on project and portfolio management. Currently she is the Director of Project Governance and Performance Measurement for RBC Capital Markets. Andrea also is the Global Lead for RBC's Teaching Youth to Code Program delivering programs in Canada, the US and the UK. For fiscal 2017 they completed over 200 events impacting over 3000 youth and we are on track to double for 2018.

Shayna Cummings is a Software Engineer at Pluralsight. She serves as a Director for Women Who Code Boston and teaches software development at General Assembly and Girl Develop It. Shayna is passionate about education, community building, and making tech more accessible to everyone.

Shamim Varawalla is Director and PMO Head for Capital Markets and Enterprise Risk Technology with Bank of Montreal. She has over 25 years of global experience in program management and business consulting with asset managers and investment banks. Her industry experience lies primarily in Capital Markets, Enterprise Risk, Wealth Management, and Data Governance, and has led large business transformation and technology integration programs. Having undertaken projects in Europe, the Middle-East, Asia and North America, she has a global perspective on financial services, whilst also gaining exposure to different cultures and approaches within the industry.

Shamim is an avid traveller and is involved in various charity events, including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Hope for Children Charity.

Lisa Ricciardelli is a Senior Portfolio Director of Scotiabank with over 17 years in Financial Services and most recently joined the bank 3 years ago. Throughout her career Lisa has worked for companies such as CIBC, Hewlett Packard (HP) and BMO. She started off in a Technology Operations gaining and understanding of the process and enterprise technology systems, while understanding the issues and challenges of the customer experience. Over her career she has held positions in general management, strategy, and eventually expanded her career into IT Project Management. Lisa was part of the team to help outsource CIBC’s datacentre to HP. She has a broad experience in organizational transformation and creating high performing teams. She has served as the co-lead for Sponsorship program on the Gender Diversity Committee for an IT Dept. at Scotiabank.

Lisa holds a Bachelors of Commerce from Concordia University, John Molson School of Business and has completed the executive development program from Queens University. Lisa holds PMP & ITIL Certifications.

Khin Walker is Assistant Vice President, Digital Delivery with Sun Life Financial. She is a Digital leader with extensive experience working across multiple industries with a focus on financial services. She has over 15 years of experience in the Digital space and worked in IT consulting services, prior to joining Sun Life. She currently leads the Group Secure web delivery at Sun Life Financial and has been with Sun Life for approximately 7 years. In her role she leads technology enablement of the company's Group Benefits, Group Retirement Services and Cross BU digital strategies. This includes portfolio management, governance and solutions delivery of digital initiatives, and providing thought leadership on emerging technologies. She leads a team of approximately 90 people spread across multiple locations including downtown Toronto, Waterloo and Montreal.

Khin holds a BSc. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Schedule of Events

5:30 pm Check-in and networking
6:15 pm WITI Welcome & Introductions
6:30 pm Panel Presentation & Questions
8:00 pm WITI Raffles
8:15 pm Wrap up