Image of 2012 Staff Conference

For your information: Listed below are the 2012 Staff Conference Keynote Speakers. 

Merge Gupta-​Sunderji

Leading through learning: Building others, building ourselves

Why does the lobster cast off its shell? This intriguing question actually has a very simple answer: to grow! But for a lobster, the task is not as easy as one might think! Unknown to most, the lobster goes through periods of extreme vulnerability and risk in order to develop and evolve … and so too it can be with people.

Today's most successful leaders have recognized the benefits of continuous learning as a self-improvement and development tool to enhance their overall career success.  In fact, they know that leadership has nothing to do with a title, but everything to do with approach.  In this upbeat and fast-paced presentation, Merge will lay out the six core values that separate those who “get it” from those who don’t, the six key strategies that separate the true leaders from the rest!  Using colourful memorable metaphors and relevant real-life examples, she’ll leave you with specific and practical techniques to travel on your own leadership journey … so that you not only build others, but also build yourself.  

About Merge

Merge Gupta-Sunderji

Merge Gupta-Sunderji turns people into leaders. A professional speaker, author, radio commentator, and consultant since 1988, Merge gives people specific and practical tools to help them achieve leadership and communication success. Over 44,000 attendees in eight countries have participated in her engaging keynotes and facilitated workshops and obtained and practiced the tools to achieve leadership success.

Merge's insights come from first-hand experience. As a leader at one of Canada's premier oil and gas companies for over fourteen years, and a Board leader at a Credit Union for three years, she offers a unique blend of realism and humor that consistently engages and entertains her audiences!

Wendy​ Me​​sley

​Who Can You trust? A Conversation with Wendy Mesley

Trust is one of the most powerful currencies we have. Whether it’s in business, politics, the community, or our personal lives, the strength of our relationships depends on trust. It’s an essential quality … yet it’s also one of the least examined human characteristics. Issues of trust – winning it, losing it, and abusing it – has fascinated Wendy Mesley throughout her career, and often defined the stories she’s told as a political reporter for CBC’s national news and the consumer advocacy show “Marketplace”. The issues she’s explored have often come down to a single question:who should you believe?

In this engaging, irreverent, and ultimately invaluable presentation, Wendy shares anecdotes from her own experience, and the world at large, to explore some of the most important questions about trust. What exactly is it? Why does it matter? Who has it? Who had it, but blew it? How is it earned … and how is it lost? What are the warning signs that suggest your trust may be misplaced? Why are we more likely to trust individuals than the institutions they represent? How has this “trust gap” led individuals to create new communities to rebuild the ties that bind us together – and what does it mean for our future?

About Wendy

Wendy MesleyWendy Mesley, an award-winning journalist, has been the co-host of CBC News: Marketplace, CBC Television's award-winning prime-time investigative consumer show and is currently a feature journalist on the CBC’s countrywide news program, The National. In 1994, Mesley helped create and hosted CBC Television's Gemini Award-winning Undercurrents, a program that examined the media/marketing world. Lasting six seasons, Undercurrents was relevant, intelligent, fast-paced and fearless – a weekly journalistic program that brought the traditional hard reporting of a current affairs show to media culture. Mesley was awarded Gemini Awards for Best Host in a News or Talk Program or Series in 1999 and 2001 for her work on Undercurrents.

J.P. Pawliw-Fry​

​The Power of Purpose: Finding your Unique Ability

Research is clear that some people handle pressure and challenge better than others and are more resilient in the face of change and uncertainty. What is clear is that this more resilient group was not born with any special traits or qualities. What they had was a different focus.

They had clarity about what mattered to them. They were clear about what their unique ability was and how that could help them serve something bigger than themselves. This clarity gave them what we call a ‘power of purpose’: the resources to be indefatigable in the face of long hours or difficult setbacks, the ability to perform more effectively under pressure, the capacity to connect more deeply with others and the gift to enjoy more of life.

Through this engaging keynote, JP will introduce your team to: 

  1. The key attributes and mindset that characterize highly resilient people.
  2. The key traps that can sabotage their best intention, causing them to lose focus and confidence.
  3. The tools that will help them manage their emotions, find their purpose, identify their unique ability and make a bigger difference at work and at home.

​About J.P.

Dr. J.P. Pawliw-FryDr. J.P. Pawliw-Fry is an author, columnist a thought leader on the subjects of leadership, performance and managing change. He melds state-of-the-art research with powerful inspiration to create thought-provoking and moving keynote presentations. An expert in emotional intelligence, he is one of the world's most highly sought-after speakers on the topic.

J.P has trained at Harvard Medical School's Mind Body Medical Institute, and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He delivers high performance programs, focused on emotional intelligence, to Fortune 500 companies, the world's top business schools, Olympic and professional athletes as well as educators, sales professionals, business and government leaders throughout North America.


Tom Wujec​

Return on Innovation

Why is innovation so important to growth? And how can we innovate more effectively and efficiently? In this customizable talk, Tom answers these questions through striking images and practical lessons learned from his award-winning work with Fortune 500 companies.

Tom's talk is a rare chance to see innovation at work - how the great companies come up with new ideas and bring them to market. Tom shares proven approaches that encourage exploration, customer engagement, prototyping, and innovation testing. More importantly, he illustrates simple ways to measure the return of innovation success. Tom leaves audiences with principles whose brilliance lies in their powerful simplicity and that any company can use immediately.

​About Tom

Tom WujecTom Wujec speaks internationally on innovation: why it matters, why it is a vital engine of economic growth (especially today), and how to foster it. As a Fellow at Autodesk -- the Oscar-winning industry leader in 3D computer animation technology, and one of the world's largest software companies -- Wujec has worked with a diverse range of clients, from the largest automotive and consumer product manufacturers to the visual effects and gaming companies establishing billion dollar industries. He has brought several award-winning products to market, and has published a handful of influential books, including Return on Imagination, Five Star Mind and Pumping Ions, which have been translated into over a dozen languages.



Neil Pasri​cha

​How to be Awesome at Work!

How can you find purpose in the workplace? Neil Pasricha has turned his observations of awesome moments in life into a global phenomenon, encouraging everyone to celebrate universal joys in life every day. Adapted from his tremendously popular TED talk, The 3 A’s of Awesome, Neil’s new keynote will explore his Three ‘S’ Model of a great workplace: Social - What does social interaction / diverse opinions get us? How does it affect our work? Structure – What are the benefits of structure, spoken / unspoken culture? Stimulation – Reviewing how one is motivated at work and in their role and its related benefits. This engaging keynote will explore the moments in our personal and our working lives where we can find delight and remember how lucky we truly are … and how to be awesome at work. A brief Q&A will follow.

​About Neil

Neil PasrichaNeil Pasricha never imagined that writing about the smell of gasoline, thinking it is Thursday when it’s really Friday, or wearing clothes just out of the dryer would amount to anything. A self-described “average guy” with a typical 9-to-5 job in the suburbs, Neil started his blog 1000 Awesome Things, as a small reminder — in a world of rising sea levels, global conflict, and a troubled economy — of the free, easy little joys that make life sweet. He certainly didn’t anticipate that his site would gain a readership of millions of people, win two Webby Awards (“the Internet’s highest honor” according to The New York Times), be named one of PC Magazine’s Top 100 Sites On the Internet, or become a place where people from around the world would come to celebrate the simple pleasures of daily life.