Speakers & Panelists

Graham Carr

Professor Graham Carr is President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University. Ranked as the country’s top university under 50 years old by QS and Times Higher Education, Concordia has two Montreal campuses that are home to more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and 7,000 faculty and staff. Graham’s previous leadership positions at Concordia include Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs; Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies; and Dean of Graduate Studies. Born in Quebec, Graham earned his PhD from the University of Maine and is a Professor in the Department of History. His research focuses on North American cultural history, in particular cultural diplomacy and the Cold War. Graham is a member of the Research Committee of Universities Canada and sits on the Steering Committee of Montreal Climate Partnership (Partenariat climat Montréal). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Centraide (United Way) of Greater Montreal and as the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) representative on the Board of U SPORTS, the national brand for university sports in Canada. He previously served on the board of the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, as president of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, as chair of the Canada-US Fulbright selection committee, and for many years on the National Capital Commission’s Advisory Committee for Communications, Marketing and Programming.

Richard Bourhis

Richard Bourhis obtained a BSc in Psychology at McGill University, Canada and a PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Bristol, England. He taught at McMaster University in Ontario and at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) where he is Emeritus Professor in Psychology since 2017. Richard Bourhis published extensively in English and French on topics such as immigration and acculturation, cross-cultural communication, discrimination and intergroup relations, and language planning. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and received the Gold Medal Award of the Canadian Psychological Association for his lifetime contributions to Canadian Psychology.

Jacqueline M. Vachon

Jacqueline Vachon obtained her Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Purdue University. Jacqueline has worked in the health care system, providing neuropsychological assessments and therapy to individuals with diverse mental health needs (e.g., depression, chronic pain, cognitive impairment, etc.). She has peer-reviewed publications in various fields and research management experience from projects based at Yale University, University of Minnesota, and McGill University. The teams that Jacqueline has managed were primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Health Canada. Jacqueline’s management experience spans multiple fields of study, including neurodegenerative diseases, cardiac surgery, and psychosocial oncology.

Valérie Roy

Valérie Roy is the Executive Director of AXTRA, the Alliance des centres-conseils en emploi. Valérie works with AXTRA’s members and partners to develop best practices and to develop the body of knowledge in the employment and training sector. She also serves on a number of boards and committees in Quebec and Canada and on the international stage. Over the years, she has worked to promote the career development field and co-ordinated provincial and pan-Canadian projects aimed at improving the employability of underrepresented groups.

Diane Gérin-Lajoie

Diane Gérin-Lajoie is Professor emerita in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and in the Centre de recherches en éducation franco-ontarienne (CREFO) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. A critical sociologist of education, she is recognized for her scholarship on official language minorities in Canada and their schools. Her expertise in the areas of identity and youth in minority language schools, as well as teacher identity in those schools make her a pioneer in the comparative analysis of Canada`s two official linguistic minority groups. Recipient of multiple research funds, author of several books, book chapters and academic articles. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Martine St-Victor

Martine St-Victor is a seasoned communications strategist who, prior to joining Edelman, founded her own public relations agency and led the practice for nearly 20 years. Martine is a vocal leader, and regularly contributes her perspective and industry insight to the Montreal Gazette, La Presse, Radio-Canada and the CBC.

In addition to her day-to-day work, Martine is a Trustee on the Board of Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and Chair of its communications advisory committee, as well as a Trustee on the Boards of the KANPE Foundation, the Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie Foundation, and of the think tank IRPP (Institute for Research on Public Policy), the Montreal Heart Institute and Plus1.

Born in Québec and of Haitian descent, Martine’s heritage is a driving strength behind her work. Martine is also a founding member of the Black Opportunity Fund and the Diversity and Inclusion emissary of the Start-Up Festival. She’s also a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Kate Arthur

Kate Arthur is the founder of Digital Moment. She is an advisor and contributor to UNESCO and the federal government on Canadian and global policy issues related to youth and inclusive digital skills education, including on artificial intelligence, data, and ethical technologies. 

Kate was raised and educated in the U.K., Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Canada. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), an MBA from McGill/ HEC universities (Montreal, Canada), and certificates from Rotman School of Management and London School of Economics. 

She is the recipient of many awards, including: 100 Entrepreneures Qui Changent Le Monde; Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100; Empowerment Leader of the Year Award; and Visa Entrepreneur / Innovation Leader of the Year. 

Elysia Bryan-Baynes

Elysia Bryan-Baynes spent nearly two decades as an anchor, reporter, and line-up editor at Global News. During her time at Global Montreal, she also covered the ins-and-outs of Quebec politics at the National Assembly.

Elysia is currently the Director of the Bishop’s Forum, an annual civic leadership institute for English-speaking youth in Quebec. She also facilitates Corus Entertainment’s “Race and Reporting” course and is a mentor to diverse reporters through the Canadian Association of Black Journalists. She was recently named a 2022 Black Changemaker by CBC Quebec. 

Iván Barradas

A master’s graduate of Concordia University in the field of Modern Languages, Iván spent 10 years teaching at the Higher and Continuing Education levels. Interested by the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Montreal, he was a member of the first Incubator focused on the Creative and Cultural Industries of Quebec. Shortly after that, he oriented his professional interests toward the practice of Cultural Mediation, working with youth, newcomers and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities on themes related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. He currently works as a Project Coordinator (Social and Economic Development) for 4Korners Laurentian Community Network, where he leads the project “Youth Korner Jeunesse”, a podcast that brings together young Francophones, English speakers, First Nations, and newcomers settled in the Laurentians.

Chloé Breton

With a bachelor's degree in career counseling from Laval University, Chloé has been an employment counselor at Libre Emploi since 2019. Over the years, in addition to advising clients on the best job search strategies, Chloé has developed an expertise in the creation of modern personalized CVs.

Recently, she took charge of the coordination of Événements Emploi Éclair where she was able to develop fruitful partnerships that have greatly increased the visibility of this concept which consists of putting employers and candidates in contact before even analyzing the application. Passionate about helping relationships and marketing, Chloé, with her contagious energy, is fully involved in everything she does!

Cathy Brown

Ms. Brown became the executive director of RDN in August 2020. A graduate of CEGEP de la Gaspésie et des Îles, she began working at Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA) in 2001. She served in various positions before stepping into the role of executive director from 2008 until 2020. During her tenure, she led a significant expansion of program activities and service delivery for the benefit of the English-speaking communities along the Gaspé coast, particularly in the areas of health and social services, employment, and economic development (tourism). She has also served on various provincial boards and committees, including the Provincial Access to Health and Social Services committee, and she is a founding board member for the Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT).

Celine Cooper

Celine Cooper is the Managing Director, Consortium of English-language CEGEPs, Colleges, and Universities of Quebec. A former editor at The Canadian Encyclopedia and columnist with the Montreal Gazette, her writing can be found in a range of publications. She has appeared frequently as a political analyst on television and radio public affairs programs in Quebec and across Canada.

Celine is President of the Governing Board for the Fraser-Hickson Institute and former Chair of the Board of Directors for the Association for Canadian Studies. She holds degrees from Queen’s University and York University and pursued doctoral studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She is a part-time instructor at Concordia University’s School of Community and Public Affairs.

Rachel Hunting

A graduate of Bishop’s University in the field of sociology, Rachel has been working in community development since 2008 with a particular focus on the vitality of Québec’s English-speaking minority language community, health and social services, and youth. Prior to beginning her role with RDN in 2021, Rachel was the executive director of Townshippers’ Association for just shy of a decade. In 2015, she was appointed to the board of directors of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS, where she continues to represent community organization expertise as an independent director, is president of its governance and ethics committee, and is an active member of its human resources and communications committee. Rachel is also an active member of the Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT) board of directors.

Yigal Judah

Yigal Judah is the Employment Coordinator at Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre in Little Burgundy and has also been actively involved with PERT during the past three years. Trained as a social worker, Yigal has also worked as an English teacher, daycare educator, restaurant and catering manager, and documentary film editor. His diverse employment experience has fostered a deep understanding of the universals of work as well as creative methods to help clients navigate their careers and their lives.

Sta Kuzviwanza

Sta is a policy researcher and analyst with a background in economics and technology policy. Sta previously worked as the policy lead for Quebec at Airbnb Canada and as a consultant providing policy analysis to organizations in the private and public sectors. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the Max Bell School of Public Policy and a Bachelor’s in Economics and African Studies from McGill University.

Thomas Ledwell

Thomas Ledwell is a strategy consultant and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in developing multi-platform strategic plans supporting strategic communications, innovation, corporate governance, digital transformation, and partner relationships. In 2022, he founded Ledwell Strategies Inc., supporting a range of companies, non-profits, and institutions of higher education.

Following a career in media, he held a number of leadership positions, notably including oversight of the development of a leadership program for top doctoral researchers. 

Thomas is the co-creator of a mobile application supporting victims of bullying called +Fort, sits on the Board of the Fraser Hickson Library, advises non-profit organisations, and regularly serves as a judge for  national and regional writing, journalism, and participates in selection committees for grants and bursaries. 

Thomas is a graduate of the University of King’s College in Halifax (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Journalism) and holds a Master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Jody Lessard

Ms. Jody Lessard, Executive Director, at the North Shore Community Association (NSCA), with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector representing the minority English-speaking community in the North Shore region of Quebec, from Tadoussac to Havre St. Pierre and north to Fermont and Schefferville, Ms. Lessard is well-versed in identifying needs within the English-speaking communities.

Ms. Lessard was born and raised in the Lower North Shore, then became a long-time resident of the North Shore region. Her expansive knowledge and intimate understanding of the realities of the Lower North Shore and North Shore region fuels her passion for understanding the nuances in cross-cultural and language minority communities. From implementing strategic project management methods and developing partnerships, she believes is the key to success which has contributed to some recent successes of the organization in the areas of community and social development.

She continues to actively work to develop and maintain partnerships to increase the visibility of the English-speaking population of the region by participating in many provincial, regional, and local boards, and committees, one of which she is a founding Board member for the Regional Development Network (RDN).

Megan Marcoux

Megan Marcoux has worked in the post-secondary education sector since 2010 and believes its institutions can play a powerful role in fostering inclusion, innovation, and social change. She was at the intersection of these areas from 2020-2022 as Concordia University’s Project Lead for the Future Skills Innovation Network (FUSION), a pan-Canadian network of six universities. Her work on skills in PSE continues today through her role as Concordia’s Skills Innovation Lead. Megan holds an MA in Leadership from Royal Roads University.

Abbey McGugan

Abbey is the Research Coordinator at the Comité consultatif des Québécois.e.s d’expression anglaise. She recently completed her master’s in English Literature at the University of Glasgow, where she studied post-colonialism and settler identity. Abbey has a strong interest in minority languages having studied minority languages literature in international contexts throughout her undergraduate and postgraduate studies. As Research Coordinator, she is now working on the CCQEA’s first study, le Portrait de la clientèle, which will use qualitative and quantitative research methods to highlight the needs of English speakers in Quebec’s workforce.

Cathia Mavrikakis

Cathia Mavrikakis is a Centre Director at ACCESS in both Adult Education and Vocational Training. In addition, she is the Service Director for Vocational Training for the Riverside School Board.

With 30 years in Vocational Education both as a teacher and administrator, she is a strong advocate of Adult Education and believes in its importance in the Quebec Educational Plan. 

She was the chair of the Quebec Advisory Council on Vocational Training (QACVE), a sub committee of PROCEDE, for four years. Still a member of both QACVE and PROCEDE, she continues to help organize events to promote Vocational Training.

Allen Richards

Allen's experience in community and economic development spans over 20 years. He has led mobilization, planning and partnership building initiatives in communities across Quebec. Allen has expertise in human resource development and is a long-term, results-oriented planner. After many years with CEDEC, Allen became the Executive Director of CASA in 2021.

Nicholas Salter

Nicholas Salter has been the Executive Director of the Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT) since 2021. He brings to the role more than a decade of leadership working with health and social services agencies, community organizations, higher education institutions, foundations, and multiple levels of government. His priorities have been establishing PERT's research capacity and developing strong partnerships and relationships with stakeholders.

Prior to joining the Provincial Employment Roundtable, Nicholas directed communications and outreach for McGill University's Max Bell School of Public Policy where he played a key role in helping to build and launch the School. Nicholas previously headed the policy and communications work at Powered by Data — a nonprofit focused on open data and open government. Nicholas has also been involved in federal politics where he led the team of a Member of Parliament and later became an advisor to regional teams and multiple parliamentarians.

Nicholas holds an MSW in International and Community Development, a BA in Psychology, and a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations Management. He is also a past fellow of the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy.

He currently sits on the board of the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex — a not-for-profit community-led health organization. He is also a member of the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN) Inter-Level Educational Table (ILET) and Literacy Quebec's Community Empowerment through Literacy Initiative (CELI) Project Advisory Committee. He is the past Vice-President of the Carrefour jeunesse emploi - Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

Susanna Tang

Susanna Tang is a community builder and educator presently working at the Voice of English-speaking Québec. A native of Ontario, she has lived in Québec City for about six years which is just long enough to become a Habs fan. She has been involved in the Employment Strategy project since Phase 2 and enjoys meeting and collaborating with the different employment service providers. A podcast fan, she also hosts and produces a careers podcast for high school students called “The Pathways Podcast.”

Chad Walcott

Chad Walcott is a community engagement expert with 10 years of experience in politics and social development. Throughout his career, he has developed and overseen several successful social impact campaigns focused on social and economic development. Prior to joining PERT’s team, Chad held a position at the City of Montreal, where he was responsible for managing citizen requests and advising local officials on policies related to economic and social development.

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