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Day One keynotes

Dan Heath
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

When it comes to decision-making our brains are flawed instruments. Studies show, for instance, that we tend to seek out information that supports our point of view, but ignore information that contradicts it. So how can we do better? How can we make bolder, more confident choices? And how can we give the right advice at the right time to our colleagues, friends, and kids as they make important decisions?

Being aware of a bias doesn't correct it, just as knowing that you are nearsighted doesn't help you to see better. In Decisive the Heath brothers reveal practical tools that can help us to make better decisions.


Dan Heath, 2013 Keynote

Dan Heath is the co-author, along with his brother Chip, of the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, which spent 20 months on the New York Times business bestseller list and was named one of the best non-fiction books of the year by Amazon.  Previously, the Heath brothers wrote the book Made to Stick, which was one of the most popular and widely-acclaimed business books of the past decade. Both books have been translated into over 25 languages. 

Dan is currently a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE Center, which supports entrepreneurs who are fighting for social good. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Linda Duxbury
Work-Life Balance: Rhetoric versus Reality

This talk draws on Linda's extensive research in the area of work life balance, supportive managers, supportive work environments and managing change. It begins by providing evidence that work life balance and stress have increased over the past 10 years while organizational outcomes such as job satisfaction and organization commitment have decreased and outcomes such as absence, intent to turnover and job stress have increased. The talk then turns to an examination of why such changes have occurred. The following factors are considered: demographic changes in the workforce, lack of action on the part of employers, increased workloads, office technology, downsizing and rightsizing, employee behaviour and organizational culture. The next section of the talk answers the question: "why do organizations need to make it easier for employees to balance work and life?" Key reasons discussed include impending labour shortages, the need to recruit and retain employees, and the costs of inaction. This is followed by the identification of specific recommendations on how companies can increase balance. The following solutions are discussed: the development of supportive managers and creation of supportive work environments. Finally, the case is then made that for any significant changes to occur in this area, the organization needs to change its culture. The talk concludes with a discussion of how cultural change can be achieved.

About Linda

Linda Duxbury, 2013 Keynote

With Canadian corporations losing over $4 billion a year to absenteeism, the satisfaction and well-being of employees cannot be overlooked. Dr. Linda Duxbury is Canada’s most accomplished researcher, writer, and speaker on work–life balance. She has contributed to numerous comprehensive national studies on work–life balance and the bottom-line effect on business. An enlightening and popular speaker, Dr. Duxbury’s ideas and research are invaluable to major corporations and government agencies around the world.

Dr. Duxbury has written hundreds of papers, articles for journals, and books, and she is the co-author of a series of Health Canada reports about work–life balance within the country. She has been published widely in both the academic and practitioner literatures, in the areas of work–family conflict; change management; supportive work environments; stress; telework; the use and impact of office technology; and managing the new workforce.

Recognized for her engaging, enthusiastic communication skills and teaching practices, Dr. Duxbury has received the “Canadian Pension and Benefits National Speaker Award,” the “Carleton University Students’ Association Teaching Excellence Award,” and the “Sprott MBA Student Society Best Teacher Award.” She has also been awarded the “Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Award,” and was recognized as one of Deloitte’s “Women of Influence.”

Dr. Duxbury is a professor at the Sprott School of Business. She holds a Ph.D. in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo.

Jan WongOut of the Blue: Workplace Depression & Recovery

For twenty years, Jan Wong had been one of the Globe and Mail's best-known reporters. Then one day she turned in a story that set off a firestorm of controversy, including death threats, a unanimous denunciation by Parliament and a rebuke by her own newspaper. For the first time in her professional life, Wong fell into a severe clinical depression. Yet she resisted the diagnosis, refusing to believe she had a mental illness. As it turned out, so did her company and insurer. With wit, grace and insight, Wong tells the harrowing tale of her struggle with workplace-caused depression, and of her eventual emergence … Out of the Blue.  She will talk candidly about depression, including her personal experience, how pervasive the illness is, and how it is entirely possible to treat it and recover. 

A question and answer period, facilitated by Linda Brogden, Waterloo’s Occupational Health Nurse, will follow.  
Please send us your questions for Jan.

About Jan

Jan Wong, 2013 Keynote Speaker

Jan Wong is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose latest bestseller, Out of the Blue - a Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness, was self-published in 2012.

A graduate of McGill University, Beijing University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she has worked for the Montreal Gazette, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal and the Globe and Mail, for whom she covered the 1989 massacre in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

A third-generation Montrealer, in 1972 Jan became the first Canadian to study in China during the Cultural Revolution. Her first book, Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now, was named one of Time magazine’s top ten books of 1996, and remains banned in China.

Jan currently divides her time between Toronto and Fredericton, where she is a professor of journalism at St. Thomas University. She is also a columnist for Toronto Life magazine and for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, one of Canada’s last independent, family-owned newspapers.

Keynote day two

Amber MacArthur
Relentless Adaptation:  How Great Companies Are Really Innovating to Win 

We obsess over innovation. But innovation is overrated. If you look at the smart companies that are prized for “innovation,” you see that they are actually masters of “adaptation”—of knowing when to adjust, when to speed up, and when to capitalize. It’s not about being first; it’s about being flexible. In this thrilling new talk, Amber Mac looks to leading organizations, many of which she covers for Fast Company, to explore the practice of relentless adaptation. Is your company taking advantage of disruptive new technologies, or simply being disrupted by them? From the C-Suite to marketing to customer service and beyond, a newly adaptive corporate culture, defined by digital technology and bold leadership, is fundamentally changing business. And Amber Mac has had her ear to this fertile new ground for years. Fusing new concepts like crowdsourcing and gameification to a timeless strategic framework, this big picture talk sheds light on how to adapt, and how to win, in our fast-forward economy.

​About Amber

Amber MacArthur, 2013 Keynote Speaker

Amber MacArthur is a consultant, TV host, and bestselling author. Since working as a strategist at Razorfish-San Francisco in the late '90s, she has chronicled and enabled the growth of social media as a force for improving business and community. "With few equals," writes YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, "Amber continues to demonstrate a keen insight towards the continually evolving fabric of the social web."

Amber owns and runs a small business, Konnekt, which has developed digital strategies for Tony Robbins, Canada Goose, and many others. She produces and stars on Fast Company's weekly series, Work Flow, talking to leading innovators about how they work smarter; pens a popular Globe and Mail online column, Trending Tech; and co-hosts CTV's weekly hit show App Central about the latest in mobile innovation.  Amber Mac's first book, Power Friending, an accessible and comprehensive guide for utilizing social media to spark business growth, was a national bestseller.


Drew DudleyRedefining Leadership & the Power of 'Lollipop Moments'

An affable and captivating speaker, Drew Dudley recasts our notions of leadership. "By making leadership into something bigger than ourselves," Dudley says, "we fail to acknowledge the everyday leadership that effects us in innumerable ways." When it becomes outsized, we are given an excuse to not expect it from ourselves and from those around us.  Instead, we need to redefine leadership as being a series of "lollipop moments"—those moments when something you've done has made someone else's life fundamentally better. "How many lollipop moments occur every day?" Dudley asks. And how many go unacknowledged? How many lollipop moments we create, how many we acknowledge, and how many we pay forward—this comes closer to a true measure of leadership. 

A born storyteller with infectious energy, Dudley tells us that leadership is, at its core, about striving to act in a way that has a positive effect on your own life, and the lives of others.

​About Drew

Drew Dudley, 2013 Keynote Speaker

Drew Dudley is the former Director of one of Canada's largest university leadership development programs, and has helped raise over $3 million as the Founder or Chair of several organizations dedicated to supporting scholarship funds, social entrepreneurship, and charitable initiatives.  This includes a record-breaking term as the National Chair of Canada’s largest student fundraiser—Shinerama: Students Fighting Cystic Fibrosis-- which mobilizes 35,000 students at 60 colleges and universities to raise a million dollars annually to support the work of Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

Now the Founder and Chief Catalyst of Nuance Leadership Inc., he works with dozens of universities, colleges, high schools, charities and other organizations around the world to empower young people to increase their leadership capacity.

Keynote Books

Retail Services provides sales of keynotes books on the days of the staff conference.
Dan Heath, Jan Wong, and Amber Mac will be signing copies of their books after their respective keynotes.
Please stop by the book sales table and the keynote signing area to purchase your signed copies.
Books for sale at the event include:

 How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
Jan Wong

Amber Mac's Book

Know Before You Go

  • All Keynotes take place in the Theatre of the Humanities, Hagey Hall. 
  • Food is not permitted in the theatre
  • Water is allowed in a sealed container, such a water bottles.
  • Other beverages, (coffee, tea, soft drinks) are not permitted.
  • Debit, credit, and cash are accepted for the book sales. 



Registration Booth Opens 8 am


2013 Staff Conference Agenda (PDF)


The venues have accessible options available. An Elevator is located in the main section of Hagey Hall.

For assistance, please contact OHD in advance to discuss arrangements or if you have questions.


A Note about Scents

Please note that other attendees or your facilitator could be sensitive to scents. As such, please do not wear perfume, cologne, or heavy-scented products while attending conference events.