Imagine Your Workplace Conference is designed to spark conversation and connection. This program is delivered in the spirit of “imagine your workplace” — what you could achieve if deliberate intention rather than unconscious reaction drove your work. Learn why the 2018 attendee conference evaluations report:

96% said the conference met their expectations
93% felt the conference helped them grow professionally
91% thought the conference was better than other events they’d attended
93% would attend next year and/or recommend the event to a colleague


Love the community, the great energy, the food and high quality programming!

Lisa Latorcai, Amadeus Consulting

Very professional and well thought out event. Enjoyed every minute.

Liz Pia, AFIMAC Global Investigations

What a unique approach! This conference exemplifies how to hold meetings while delivering great information and excellent networking opportunities.

Andrea Todd, Novus Health

The Lightening Talks were brilliant.

Kate Salmon, Learnography

Gigantic thank you!

Jill Scott, Watari Community Counselling Services

This was the most rewarding and valuable conference I have ever attended, ever. I thoroughly enjoyed each moment!

Susanne Resar, Region of Durham

I left the conference feeling very inspired. Excellent day! Also loved the networking experience. Would have liked to see more vendors. Thank-you!

Pamela Rowe, Region of Durham

Your Workplace staff is a pleasure to work with.

Sandy MacSpadyen, DirectIME

Fantastic event! Congratulations to the Your Workplace team for putting together the conference and gathering everyone for a day of learning! The Lightning Talk speakers were great and I love the format - keeps things fresh.

Jacob Irwin, Benefits by Design (BBD)

It was fantastic. I loved it so much and really hope I can come again next year.

Meredith Weldon, Sun Life Financial

Great work everyone at YW! Was an inspired day !

Lesley Heighway, PRHC

Overall the conference was very informative as always. I enjoy the content each year and the break to be outside is always a great idea

Laurian Palmer, Makos Health

A big “Thank You!” So inspiring and I believe organizations such as HRPA and ICF would benefit in a partnering with you for events.

Bonnie Grogan, Buckingham Sports

Program Details


      Wednesday June 5

      9:00 am – 12:30 pm
      Pre-conference Workshop

      11:30 am
      Registration Opens

      1:30 pm
      Opening Remarks

      1:55 pm
      Lightning Talks and Breakout A

      3:40 pm
      Brainshare Activity (Comfy walking shoes are advisable)

      4:40 pm

      5:00 pm
      Featured Speakers: Barry Wright and Pat Stapleton

      6:00 pm
      Welcoming Reception and Thrive Awards presentation

      7:00 PM
      Day 1 Wrap-up

      Thursday June 6

      8:30 am
      Lightning Talks

      10:05 am
      Breakout B

      10:40 am

      11:10 pm
      Breakout C

      12:00 pm
      Dare2Dine Lunch

      1:20 pm
      Lightning Talks and Breakout D

      3:00 pm
      Featured Speaker: Gene Hammett

      4:00 pm

      28-8: The Power of Teamwork

      Dr. Barry Wright

      “Da da, Canada. Nyet, nyet Soviet.” In September 1972 Canadians, and the world, cheered on as Team Canada and the Soviet Union played an eight-game exhibition hockey series that would change the game of hockey nationally and around the world. For their extraordinary efforts in this classic series, Team Canada 1972 was voted “Canada’s Team of the Century,” was the first team inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and was recognized during the nation’s 150th celebrations as the ‘Biggest Moment’ in Canadian sports.

      This upfront and personal presentation shares the inside stories and the lessons learned by the players and coaches who were proud to be playing for Canada. Learn firsthand what it took for this team to weather surprisingly strong opposition, overcome doubt and a nation’s disbelief to come together, to believe, to trust in each other, and to win a victory for the ages. It was not an easy journey but it was truly an epic one. Through this engaging session you and your organization will learn to unleash the power of teamwork and to develop your own team of the century.

      HyperGrowth Leadership

      Gene Hammett

      Have you ever wondered how to transform your team members into internal brand ambassadors (aka evangelists) who will share your brand on within and outside your company? In this keynote address, Gene Hammett will share his insights of how strong leadership can inspire teams to go beyond responsibility and take full ownership in their work leading to improved performance and growth for your organization. Gene will help you do the thing your organization needs the most: develop emerging leaders. He will help you activate the entrepreneurial spirit at all levels, and he will provide practical lessons that empower innovation and growth. This is a not-to-be missed session for any organization looking to succeed, and nurture its next generation of leadership.

      Gene is the author of The Trap of Success: A Brutally Candid Guide to Overcoming Your Fears, Finding Significance, and Achieving Profound Success.

      Beyond Appearances: Imagine a workplace that walks its’ talk

      Caprice Stokes

      What if our workplace cultural identities are based on what we think we are rather than what we practice? If you describe your workplace culture as diverse, employees first, inclusive or non-hierarchical, are you accurately describing the culture that exists or are your professions of culture only cosmetic? This session will address how to recognize the parts of our organizational culture we misrepresent, accidentally or on purpose, and how to change a cosmetic image into true culture. Learn how to be who you say you are.

      Values Before Experience: How to Recruit for Your Company

      Lauren Welgush

      Do you want to be a values-driven organization, but not sure where to start? To be a values-driven organization, you need to be prepared to practice what you preach. The values you create need to be ingrained in everything you do; from performance reviews to recognition programs to recruitment to the way that you communicate in the office. Current employees need to believe in them, leaders need to live them, and a potential hire should be able to feel your values the moment they step foot in the office for that first interview.

      Why You Want to Attract Innovators

      Annette Zoheret

      In today’s rapidly changing environment, survival comes as much from loyal employees and hard work as it does from innovation and innovators. Knowing how to attract and keep innovative staff requires a work culture that allows for independent thought and action. Organizations attending this session will benefit from knowing why innovation is important, what makes an innovator ‘tick’ and how to manage an innovative staff.


      Four lightning talks will be delivered per theme (culture, leadership, etc). Two of the talks have been selected to continue the conversation in a Breakout session. Based on performance and content, attendees will select which one of these two sessions they wish to attend after they are delivered.

      Making Joy in Work the Norm, Not the Exception

      Nicole Bendaly

      Imagine a workplace filled with joy. Imagine the relationships, the experiences and the results teams will create when people derive joy from their work on a regular basis and leave work feeling energized rather than depleted. This talk will explore the meaning of joy in the workplace and why it is so crucial to an organization’s culture, and the results teams create. Most importantly, participants will walk away with tools and strategies to strengthen each of the four factors that drive joy at work.


      Four lightning talks will be delivered per theme (culture, leadership, etc). Two of the talks have been selected to continue the conversation in a Breakout session. Based on performance and content, attendees will select which one of these two sessions they wish to attend after they are delivered.

      Coaching: Using Brain Science to Engage Powerful Conversation

      Dr. Melissa Warner, Dr. Amanda Matejicek

      Have you ever felt unsure about your ability to have a powerful coaching conversation? Dr’s Matejicek and Warner, draw from the fields of brain research and organizational psychology to introduce the “what” and “how” of powerful coaching conversations. This highly engaging talk will help participants learn how to manage their emotions and have impactful coaching conversations that feel comfortable, while inspiring the engagement and motivation needed for meaningful and long lasting change.

      Mastering Facilitation Skills

      Moe Poirier

      Are you an HR consultant or leader, or maybe an aspiring trainer or facilitator who wants to take your facilitation game to the next level? More than just presenting, facilitators are planners, guides and organizers. Moe Poirier will share proven techniques collected from over 20 years of practicing as a facilitator. His mission is to help us unlock the core techniques that a skilled facilitator uses to create exceptional meetings and learning experiences.

      Lack of Emotional Intelligence is Killing Your Culture

      Kristen Harcourt

      At work, do you value your soft skills or technical skills more? Research conducted by Harvard University and others, concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge. The best thing leaders can do to improve their effectiveness is become more aware of what motivates them and their decision-making. This talk will give specific strategies that leaders can implement to improve their emotional intelligence, resulting in more effective relationships, deeper empathy, a realistic assessment of strengths and weaknesses, a better idea of what gaps need to be filled, and a more engaged workforce.


      Four lightning talks will be delivered per theme (culture, leadership, etc). Two of the talks have been selected to continue the conversation in a Breakout session. Based on performance and content, attendees will select which one of these two sessions they wish to attend after they are delivered.

      Strength-based Management and Culture

      Nicole Cairns

      Helping your employees identify, hone and use their strengths is beneficial to happiness and life satisfaction, as well as engagement and success. This talk will focus on the Positive Psychology concept of “strengths” to enhance the work environment, employee engagement and health. Learn the power of focusing on strengths with an introduction to tools and approaches to build a strength-focused culture and management strategy to create thriving teams and individuals.

      I Can’t Be Present Today, I am Stressing about Money

      Gordon Stein

      If your employees are stressing about their finances, they are not going to be engaged or productive at work. Wellness is about more than healthy eating, on-site yoga and annual medicals — organizations need to help employees find their way to financial wellness. In this talk bestselling author and Toronto Star columnist, Gordon Stein, will lead a high-energy hands-on personal finance exercise that shows financial wellness is achievable by almost anyone using simple techniques and only a tiny bit of math.


      Four lightning talks will be delivered per theme (culture, leadership, etc). Two of the talks have been selected to continue the conversation in a Breakout session. Based on performance and content, attendees will select which one of these two sessions they wish to attend after they are delivered.

Conference Venue

What goes better with an insightful day of thought-leadership, discussions and inspiration? A great outdoor experience obviously!



We are working on getting the best price at a conveniently located hotel.

Conference Committee

The Imagine Your Workplace Conference advisory board provides non-binding merit-based recommendations to the host Your Workplace. Advisory board is composed of experts in the field of human resources and is chaired by Your Workplace President Vera Asanin.

Alistair Price

Senior HR Leader

Alistair is a Senior HR Leader who has expertise in labour and employee relations, HR technology and automation, and talent and change management. With over 20 years in progressively senior HR roles, he currently counsels professionals in job transition on finding their next great opportunity, as well as is a course lecturer at McGill University. He strives to build great people centric organizations where employees can work in a productive, healthy and safe environments. Alistair has a BA, Industrial Relations from McGill, and a Master’s of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University. He also pursues a number of different hobbies including: music (singing), drama, travel (traveled for business and leisure to over 35 countries) and sports - hockey, tennis, cross-country skiing and running.

Caterina Sanders

Senior Consultant, Habanero Consulting Group

An eighteen-year team member of the Habanero Consulting Group, partner Caterina Sanders works on culture and transformation, strategy and digital workplace engagements. She is an expert facilitator, experience designer and communicator. She is also the Habanero lead for Evidence and Insights, its analytics team. Caterina is a founding member of the Vancouver User Experience Group (VanUE) and currently sits on the Project Management Group involved in a McMaster 5-year research initiative, Mobilizing a Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Standard: A Partnership Approach”. She holds a Bachelor of its degree in psychology from the University of British Columbia. Caterina is also an honest and inspiring presenter who is regularly asked to speak about improving employee engagement, creating high- performing cultures within organizations and design thinking. Travel is a longstanding passion for her and her family, and in 2015, they all took a year’s leave to travel the world.

Elizabeth Williams

President, Candler Chase Inc.

Elizabeth Williams is an award-winning brand and communications expert who has a particular interest in the intersection of HR and marketing and works with companies on employer branding, internal communications strategies, change communications and external brand initiatives. She started her career as a reporter and later moved into corporate communications and marketing. Prior to founding her consulting practice, she was the head of brand and communications for ADP Canada, and held senior roles at Rogers, Constellation Software, BMO, and a few agencies and start-ups. Elizabeth has a degree in Journalism from Ryerson University and is finishing her Master’s in Communication at Royal Roads University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and serves on a variety of industry advisory boards.

Jacob Irwin

Content & Social Media Coordinator, Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc.

Jacob Irwin is the Content and Social Media Coordinator at Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., and implements and executes the Marketing Strategy related to content, social media, event coordination and email marketing. He is a graduate of the Business Administration - Marketing program from St. Lawrence College and is an avid reader and can frequently be found on the local hiking trails.

Travis Dutka

Culture Curator, 360insights

Travis is the Culture Curator at 360insights and an espresso enthusiast. He works with senior leadership, HR and the people leaders of 360insights to create the “360 Unbelievable Experience”. Since 2012 he has focused on talent acquisition, learning, growth and employee experience for this rapidly growing software company which grew from 59 employees in 2012 to over 260 today. 360insights is rated in the top five best places to work in Canada for four consecutive years!