2019 Lead Together Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Conference Keynote Ted Childs.

Ted Childs, Workplace Diversity Expert and Retired IBM Vice President

The Link Between Diversity and Global Competitiveness

As a leading corporate diversity expert, Ted Childs understands the importance of embracing diversity and the advantage it provides in the war for talent and an increasingly competitive global marketplace. To achieve maximum potential, we must pay attention to changing demographics and emerging issues, and embrace them as opportunities for growth. Childs will clarify the definitions associated with diversity and inclusion, explore the global environment, including the marketplace, look at external recognition as a subject matter influence, share his diversity and inclusion “global mega-trends,” and close with commentary about leadership as a tool for integrating diversity and inclusion into the DNA of today’s business leader.


Ted Childs retired from IBM in 2006 after a 39-year career as a member of their corporate human resources team. While at IBM, Childs held a variety of human resource assignments, including 15 years of executive responsibility for global workforce diversity programs and policies. In addition, he served as executive assistant to Benjamin L. Hooks, executive director of the NAACP, on an IBM Social Service Leave from March 1982 to September 1983. Childs is a graduate of West Virginia State University, a past member and president of the university’s foundation, and a life member of the West Virginia State University National Alumni Association.

Conference Keynote Barb Stegemann with her 7 Virtues Perfume.

Barb Stegemann, The 7 Virtues

Doing Well by Doing Good

Best-selling author and social business innovator, named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.

Learn how Stegemann launched her company, The 7 Virtues Peace Perfumes, out of her garage and on her Visa card—and built a brand that is now not only competing with other luxury perfumes, but has created a new movement of clean and conscious beauty at Sephora, the fastest-growing beauty retailer in the world.

Stegemann will shine light on her approach to business and explain how social enterprise can be used to help reverse global issues such as war and poverty. She will show that the return on investment and the return on love are not mutually exclusive—we can (and must) have both together.


Barb Stegemann’s entrepreneurial vision was formed after her best friend—a soldier—was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Understanding that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was key to building stability for its people, Stegemann created The 7 Virtues, a company that sources organic, fair trade essential oils from countries experiencing turmoil (such as Afghanistan, Haiti and Rwanda). Despite addressing complex global matters in her talks, Stegemann uses humor to explain how individuals can use business for good and effect change, both at home and worlds away.

Stegemann became known to millions of Canadians when she was selected as the first woman from Atlantic Canada to land a venture-capital deal on the CBC TV show, Dragons’ Den. She went on to become the “Top Game Changer” in the history of the show for creating her social enterprise.

Since then, Stegemann has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada; won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Emerging Entrepreneur category for Atlantic Canada; was ranked as one of Profit Guide magazine's Top 30 Cool and Fabulous Canadian Entrepreneurs; and was also made the first female Honorary Colonel in the history of 14 Wing Greenwood base, Royal Canadian Air Force.

As a keynote speaker, Stegemann has opened for Erin Brockovich, and is often invited to moderate panels and attend events as a delegate with world leaders such as Bill Clinton.

She is the author of the bestselling book, The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, and the subject of the feature-length documentary Perfume War, directed by Michael Melski. The film tells Barb’s entrepreneurial story, and has garnered many awards to date, including being named Best Feature Documentary, Atlantic Film Festival; Cineplex Audience Choice, Victoria Film Festival; and Best Humanitarian Film, Sedona Film Festival. A newsmaker, Stegemann has been featured in major media outlets around the world, including  Wall Street Journal Magazine, London Sunday Times, Globe and Mail, National Post, Tattler, CBC, CNN and Bloomberg.

Perfume Wars Video

Keynote Speaker Geoffrey Leonardelli, PhD.

Geoffrey Leonardelli, PhD, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Becoming a Better “Us”: Inclusiveness in the Age of Tribalism

Can we gain the benefits of an “us” without being threatened by a “them?” Geoff’s research shows how focusing on self-insight can increase human effectiveness and uses a psychological lens to analyze whether and how the psychology of “us” can lead to a better us.


Geoffrey Leonardelli is an associate professor of organizational behavior and human resource management in the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, with a cross-appointment to the Department of Psychology. His research targets how people can harness knowledge about themselves to enhance their leadership, team dynamics and negotiator effectiveness, with some emphasis on international relations. Geoff created Rotman’s course on “Leading Teams” and teaches managerial negotiations. He has published in the Journal of World Business, Psychological Science and Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Learning Track Speakers

Stephanie Argentine, JD/MBA

Stephanie Argentine, JD/MBA.

Confidence and Career Success: The Conundrum of “Failure” in Career Growth Experiences 

Growth requires challenge. Challenge entails a risk of “failure.” Confidence impacts how we perceive failure. And the good news is that we can change our perceptions.

Prasad Balkundi, PhD

Prasad Balkundi, PhD.

Networks, Leaders and Teams

Why can’t I network effectively? In this session, you will learn about why we struggle in leveraging our networks and what strategies women and minorities can use to overcome the constraints of their networks. We will also discuss how leaders can foster the success of their followers.

Maura Belliveau, PhD

Maura Belliveau, PhD.

Negotiating Success for Women

Lean in, lean out? Just ask for more? For women to successfully negotiate their careers, they need more than excellent job performance; they also need a deep understanding of how women’s authority is perceived and how different career tactics and support enable women to achieve their goals. In this session, you will learn about the strategies that “work” for women and the ways organizations can pave the way for systematically greater rates of women’s career success.


Gender-based Power Dynamics in the #MeToo Era

#MeToo has been one of the most effective social change movements in recent history. This campaign has begun to fundamentally alter the power dynamics in society and in the workplace. We will discuss the underlying mechanisms that perpetuated this abuse and how leaders and organizations must address these issues moving forward.

Maura Belliveau is the inaugural director of the Center for Diversity Innovation at the University at Buffalo. Prior to her arrival at UB, she was an organizations and management faculty member at Emory, Texas A&M and Duke University, where she was named one of the outstanding business school faculty members in the U.S. by Businessweek.

Her research, which has been featured in media outlets, including The New York Times, The Economist and NPR, focuses on the processes that affect minority group members’ and women's differential career attainment and pay, and on diversity interventions, including legally required mechanisms such as EEO reporting, affirmative action programs, and ADA accommodation, that foster the success of underrepresented groups. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on diversity and management,  Belliveau regularly offers workshops for university, corporate and community groups on creating effective mentoring programs, developing negotiating skills, building professional networks and implementing practices that promote inclusion and eliminate discrimination in recruitment, selection, evaluation/promotion and compensation.

Prior to earning her doctorate, Belliveau was a strategy consultant and senior manager for Cambridge Technology Group, a successful startup that went public (as Cambridge Technology Partners), and which continues to spawn many other entrepreneurial ventures in technology and consulting.

Katerina Bezrukova, PhD

Katerina Bezrukova, PhD.

Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

This session will show participants the value of recognizing and revealing their own unconscious bias. A series of interactive exercises will offer useful guidance in addressing these biases.

Vanessa Patrick, PhD

Vanessa Patrick, PhD.

Achieving Everyday Excellence: Using Personal Policies to Lead with Greater Impact

Learn the value of personal policies and outline key strategies to develop personal policies that help you navigate practical issues like work-life balance and the ability to effectively say “no.” If you want to achieve excellence as a leader and to flourish in your personal and professional life, this session is for you.

Vanessa Patrick, an award-winning teacher and researcher, is the Bauer Professor of Marketing in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. In her research, she investigates strategies to achieve personal mastery and inspire everyday excellence in oneself and others. She uses the insights gleaned from this work to help leaders enhance their impact in the workplace.

Patrick is the lead faculty of the Women in Leadership Executive Program at the Bauer College of Business and is a regular speaker at organizations and conferences, including the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce annual conference, Schlumberger, AIG, and most recently the UH Women of Color Coalition. Patrick has been featured on ABC News and NPR as an expert in the area of self-regulation, and her research has been widely featured in major news outlets like the LA Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Scientific American and Yahoo! News. She is in the process of writing a book on the topic of Personal Policies and Empowered Refusal that presents novel insights based on her research to help individuals flourish in their daily lives by enhancing personal and professional productivity and well-being.

Dorothy Siaw-Asamoah, PhD

Dorothy Siaw-Asamoah, PhD.

Unleashing Your Potential While Recognizing Differences in Ability, Behavior and Culture

In creating a more inclusive workplace and community, the ability to recognize the different ways in which we most naturally think, feel, and behave is essential—it is a tremendous asset. When we learn how to develop these talents into strengths, we will transform our world.

Paul Tesluk, PhD

Dean Paul Tesluk, PhD.

Building Inclusive Cultures

If diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. Inclusive cultures help teams make the most of their talent, are more satisfying and engaging places to work, help people make better decisions and make organizations more effective. This presentation will discuss strategies for building inclusive workplace cultures and the key considerations that leaders need to consider when undertaking a successful culture change process.