The Annual Corporate Culture Summit

(preceding the Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures Awards Gala on Monday, February 2, 2015)
Location: Fairmont Royal York

For more information, please click here or contact Lindsey Evanoff via email at Waterstone or call her at 416.408.4545 x234. Please note that pre-registration for summit sessions is mandatory.


1:00pm – 1:50pm: Culture Connection, Plenary Session, All Attendees (Ontario Room)

What does it take to be a Culture Champion? 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures program, an award that recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations for having a culture that has helped them enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage. Great organizations understand that culture is a company’s greatest asset, driving performance and growth, but an award-winning culture is cultivated and developed. Award winning cultures evolve over time.

In this panel discussion, we are bringing HR leaders from past winning organizations of the Canada’s 10 program to talk about the culture within their organizations, how it has been a key driver of performance and results, and the key milestones that have progressed their culture to what it is today. Moderated by Jennifer Mondoux, Managing Director, Ottawa, Waterstone Human Capital.

Confirmed Presenters:

  • Carolyn Tyrie, Director, Human Resources, Harry Rosen
  • Heather Briant, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Cineplex Entertainment
  • John Gillies, Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources, CSIS
  • Anna Petosa, Vice President Talent, Pelmorex Media (The Weather Network)

1:55pm – 3:00 pm Concurrent Sessions - Interactive Case Studies Featuring the Executive Teams from Canada’s 10 (Mezzanine Level)

During this portion of the summit, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from one of two different and intriguing case studies, each featuring a real-life scenario from a present or former Canada’s 10 winner. The catch? After hearing about an actual case from the presenting organization, attendees will be split into groups and will be asked to come up with the answer to the following question: “what would you do?” From there, what actually took place will be revealed by the presenting executive teams.

Join us for this interactive case study discussion, where presenters and attendees will learn from one another and ultimately walk away with fresh perspectives and hands-on advice.


  • Case Study A: Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Alberta Room)
  • Case Study B: Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia Room)
  • Case Study C: AltaLink (Territories Room)
  • Case Study D: RL Solutions (Quebec Room)

Case Study A: Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) (Alberta Room)
The Lean Hospital: A challenge in cultural change
Presented by: Bruce Squires, Vice President, People, Performance and Planning, CHEO

CHEO is a health leader in Canada, helping over 500,000 kids in Ontario each year. CHEO has been rated first in Ontario for inpatient care of children and youth for the past two years, and is home to globally-recognized researchers in tackling cancer with viruses, ADHD, gene discovery, obesity, “big data” and more.

The hospital environment is changing. Hospitals must learn to be better with time and money. In recent years, CHEO has adopted “Lean” methodology -- a business process system originally used in manufacturing and then rolled out in other industries. It’s a springboard to empower the people who know an organization better than anyone─ front-line staff – toward continuous improvement. But it is also a significant change to the way people work, and even how they view their jobs. Lean is very foreign to hospital staff and, for CHEO, it represents a significant cultural change still in its infancy. How do you take a business system from another sector and build it into an already strong and pronounced corporate culture – managing the transition while staying true to your own cultural DNA? This is a question the CHEO leadership team asks itself every day. CHEO will share its current learnings and plans for the future.

Case Study B: Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia Room)

Presented by: Joel Chevalier, Vice President, Employee Experience, Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb is North America’s premiere winter resort destination and one of the largest ski resorts in the world with over 2,000,000 skiers each winter and played host to the on mountain events for the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler winter Olympic Games.

Two years before hosting the Games, Whistler Blackcomb’s parent organization struggled with high debt levels and was forced to call upon its owned entities to reduce costs. Whistler Blackcomb was the crown jewel of the organization represented a sizable portion of the organizations cash flow. Yet, the ski operations were required to contribute in the form of lay-offs, significant capital and operating expense reductions, Wage roll-backs, RRSP matching program reductions. Death by a thousand cuts.

How did the organization position its workforce to remain engaged?

Case Study C: AltaLink (Territories Room)

Leveraging culture to compete for talent

Presented by: Linda Shea, Senior Vice President Human Resources, AltaLink and Sheri Allen, Director, Organization Development, AltaLink
AltaLink is Alberta’s largest regulated electricity transmission company. Our transmission system is the essential link that connects homes, farms, businesses and industries to the electricity generated across Alberta. Electricity generated from thermal energy, wind power and hydro is transported at high voltages over long distances through transmission lines to substations. We currently serve 85% of Albertans and operate approximately 12,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 280 substations.

AltaLink is in the middle of the largest capital expansion in company history with more than 73 projects totaling more than $6 billion being completed between 2012 and 2015. In addition, hundreds of capital replacement and upgrade projects are completed each year to enhance existing facilities. Growing, operating and maintaining our infrastructure has required us to more than triple our employee base over the last 10 years. Qualified, high-performing engineers are critical to our ability to grow and deliver results. Electrical, civil and mechanical engineers represent approximately 25% of our total employee population. Arguably more than any other discipline or job family right now – engineers in Alberta have many options.

The labour market for engineering talent is extremely strong in western Canada. Specifically, along with B.C., Alberta is the strongest engineering market in Canada. And - we compete for engineering talent against the oil and gas industry – one of the wealthiest industries in the world when it comes to employee compensation.

Our challenge:

  • How do we as a regulated utility continue to compete for this talent segment?
  • How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition?
  • How can we proactively leverage our unique culture – in support of attraction, engagement and retention of engineers?

Case Study D: RL Solutions (Quebec Room)

Compassion in an Age of Competitiveness 

 Presented by: Aracely Cruz, Director, HUman Resources
Mike Etzinger, Vice President, Marketing, RL Solutions

RL Solutions does not believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach to software and that is why we offer customized solutions for safer healthcare based on our clients’ needs. Our software is tailored to suit each organization’s unique needs. Our vision is a world where customer experience in healthcare is paramount. From the software we create, to the alliances that we forge –everything we do and everything we are is for a healthier community.

RL Solutions is a software company dedicated to making hospitals around the world safer. As is the case with many tech companies in Toronto, RL is a diverse workplace, with team members from all corners of the globe. We believe that this diversity is a competitive advantage, and that it helps to promote the culture of excellence and caring that permeates the organization today.

While this diversity enriches the lives of all of those who are a part of the organization, it also leads to some unique challenges, particularly when it comes to RL’ers who need to manage family issues in other countries.

An example of this occurred with one of RL’s most senior product developers. A developer had to leave for personal reasons for an undertermined length of time. This developer has been at the company for years, and plays a critical role in our product launch process. He also leads a team of more junior developers who look to him for guidance and insight. What’s more, at the time that this occurred, he was in the middle of a project that was critical to the company.

In an industry with a significant competitive landscape and highly demanding clients, this left RL in a difficult situation. A major project is at a critical point, and one of the lead developers is distracted by an unfortunate familial situation.

3:00 – 3:20 pm BREAK

3:20 – 4:30 pm Concurrent Sessions



  • Recruiting for Fit (Territories Room)
  • The Millennial Report (Quebec Room)

Recruiting for Fit: How The Best Assess Fit and Hire Winning Talent (Alberta Room)
Presented by: Jennifer Mondoux, Managing Director, Ottawa, Waterstone Human Capital

Anjalee Thompson, Director of Research, Waterstone Human Capital

Candidates hired for fit have an edge – not only do they have a higher chance of succeeding and longer retention rates, they also help drive performance within organizations.

So how do you hire for cultural fit?

Led by Waterstone’s Anjalee Thompson (Director of Research) and Jennifer Mondoux (Managing Director, Ottawa), this session is a must-attend for those wanting insights on best practices from the experts at Waterstone, and a great opportunity to learn how Canada’s 10 winners have made fit a priority for bringing in winning talent.

In this interactive session, attendees will be broken into groups and then asked to share their best practices in hiring for fit – including how they assess fit, how key behaviours are defined and measured, and what happens after candidates are hired and walk in the door.

Following the session, attendees will be provided with a report on the outcomes.

The Millennial Report (Quebec Room)
Presented by: Kathryn Ducey, Research Associate, Waterstone Human Capital

Millennials are poised to become the new workforce majority in 2015. Within 10 years, Canadian statistics predict that nearly 75% of the workforce will consist of this generation. The dynamics of the workforce are changing and organizations are faced with managing up to five generations, each with their own set of values and expectations.

What millennials value and expect from leaders and organizations varies significantly from the generations before them. Their presence is re-defining the way organizations need to attract, retain and engage their employees. This also means that office culture is in for big changes.

Recently, Waterstone sat down with millennials from across Canada. In the Millennial Report, Kathryn Ducey, Research Associate, Waterstone Human Capital, presents our findings.

5:00 - 6:00 pm - Cocktail Reception
6:00 pm - Awards Gala