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CPA Ontario Spring Leadership Conference 

June 18-19, 2015
Hilton Toronto Airport, 5875 Airport Road, Mississauga

The CPA Ontario Spring Leadership Conference is the meeting place for some of Canada’s most innovative business and cultural leaders who are ready to share their recipes for success.  From inspirational speakers to technical workshops, this annual event provides essential tools and practical skills that will change the way conference attendees work in their personal and professional lives.

View the Conference Brochure.


June 18-19, 2015
Hilton Toronto Airport (map)MississaugaRegister Here (Full Conference)

Register Here (Thursday Only)

Register Here (Friday Only)


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CPA Ontario thanks the following sponsors and exhibitors:


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For your convenience, below is a detailed itinerary for this event. We will continue to update this page as more speakers and topics are finalized.

Thursday, June 18

7:00 – 8:00 a.m.Registration, Networking Breakfast and Exhibitor Showcase
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Opening Keynote Address
David Barrett, National Program Director, Centre of Excellence in Project Management

What’s in Your Communications Engine?   
All of the work we do relies on a steady flow of well-timed, accurate and manageable information. We have tools, technology, techniques and a lot of people around us to put this information out there. But are we using them properly? Are we using the right tools at the right time in the right place? Are the techniques we employ doing the job? And are the people around us helping or hindering the process?

Communicating effectively is one the most important sources for our success. This session will introduce us to some of the key communication tools and techniques that will ensure our personal and professional achievement.

And more importantly, we find the oil that makes it all work: passion, structure and process, clarity and empathy.
• Understand what tools and techniques are available to us
• Learn how to use the right tool in the right place
• Learn how to establish a sound communications process for all levels

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (Select One)

  1. Crisis Management: Preparing for an Unpredictable World
    Caroline Spivak, Founder & Principal, Profile Communications Corp.

    Facing the unknown is often uncomfortable. Do you know what to do when trouble lands at your door? Are you prepared for the day that your crisis outlives your crisis preparedness plan? And that day will come! Do you even have a plan and if you don’t, how do you go about putting one together? If you have contemplated any of these questions while watching someone’s evolving issues morph into a full-blown crisis via 24-hour full court press, this is the session for you.

    In this interactive workshop you will learn the foundations of issues and crisis planning, experience first-hand what it feels like to be in the hot seat, and learn how to move from crisis to post-crisis while preserving your integrity and reputation.

  2. From Strategy to Execution
    David Barrett, National Program Director, Centre of Excellence in Project Management

    This session provides a thorough understanding of the lifecycle of strategic planning and execution.  How to develop a sound strategic plan, common mistakes, and it will take you through project portfolio management – stakeholder engagement and resource management.
  3. Predictive Analytics - Moving Beyond the Basics
    Jeff Wilts, Principal, Integrators, Consultants Etc.

    A lot of people believe that analytics is about understanding the past. However, by studying the patterns found in historical data, probability based insights and predictions about the future can be made. Predictive analytics helps companies to better understand the 3 R’s - Response, Revenue, and Risk.

    This workshop will provide a high level introduction to a number of topics and concepts that are core to predictive analytics.

    Although this workshop will cover some mathematics and statistics based concepts, the materials will be presented in a manner which does not require you to be a Quant. (If you don’t know what a Quant is, then this is the workshop for you.) No advanced mathematics background is required!
  4. Accountability and Courageous Conversations
    Julian Chapman, President, Forrest & Company Ltd.

    Join 25-year accountability veteran, Julian Chapman, as he gives you the last word on the Mechanics of Accountability. Julian will also introduce attendees to the missing link in Accountability and Courageous Conversations. Ultimately, accountability will work only if you know how to hold people to account. Attendees will leave with valuable reference material about Accountability Systems and Courageous Conversations.
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.Networking Lunch and Exhibitor Showcase
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.Concurrent Sessions (Select One)
  1. The Sweet Spot – Leveraging the Elements of Success in Project Management
    Stan Harwood, CPA, CMA, PMP, Principal, Teetan and Associates

    The sweet spot notion uses the golf/tennis sports metaphor where all elements for hitting the ball are in alignment to optimize the outcome - in this case, the project outcome. This session will examine the key factors related to project success - coordinated team, engaged project sponsor, qualified project manager, subject matter expert equipped with a proven project management methodology, leader versus manager, characteristics of both types and an active and engaged steering team. The session will be interactive and will include a self-assessment tool to measure your leader/manager quotient.
  2. Use your head! Thinking Leadership
    Rebecca Lemaich, Director, Coaching and Facilitation, Forrest & Company Ltd.

    In this session, you will be exposed to a powerful and easy-to-use model of thinking. Aside from a great opportunity to grow self-awareness, this session will provide lots of great tools that will facilitate effective decision making, effective task assignment, improved communications and will make  all of your meetings worthwhile.
  3. Data Mining
    Jeff Wilts, Principal, Integrators, Consultants Etc.

    To the uninitiated data mining seems like a complex process surrounded by mystery. It has its own unique lingo, custom tools, and non-intuitive techniques. This workshop will introduce participants to the data mining cycle and give a high level overview of tools and techniques which can be deployed to perform data mining.
  4. Make Your Words Count: A Guide to Effective Business  Writing
    Helen Wilkie, Facilitator, ThorSight Solutions

    For some, it may be easy to write a few business sentences but for others it’s a nightmare of epic proportions. However, writing those sentences well is a whole different story.

    Packed with actionable writing advice that you can put to use right away, this session is all about making you a better, smarter and more effective writer. You will learn how to identify common barriers, find out how to power-up your sentences, create flow through your paragraphs, simplify the complex and edit where it counts.
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Closing Keynote Address
The Transformative Leader
Patricia Barboto, FCPA, FCGA, CA, Senior VP, Home Health and Business Development, Revera Inc.

The world is changing. Are you? As businesses transform, we too must adapt to remain open, nimble and relevant. Gain insight and new thinking to help you thrive as a leader in our transforming world.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.Networking Reception and Exhibitor Showcase


Friday, June 19

7:00 – 8:00 a.m.Registration, Networking Breakfast and Exhibitor Showcase
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Opening Keynote Address
Ron Tite, Creativity Expert

How To Thrive in the Expression Economy

Low production costs, easy distribution, and suddenly, everyone is a creator. Consumers can fill their day with content dedicated to their hobbies, passions and the things that interest them most. For business, that’s a problem.

Consumers used to vote with their wallets. Now, they vote with their time. And you know who’s winning the battle for time? Other consumers.

Right now, your customers are more creative than you are. They’re more innovative than you are. They’re more authentic than you are. Often, they’re even more helpful than you are.
In the battle for time, your competition isn’t the category leader – it’s the consumers. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product, pitching a new idea, or trying to get a raise, your biggest challenge is getting a customer to willingly give you the time to do it.

Ron Tite’s humorous and insightful talk will help you learn how to win other people’s time. Highlighting operational and personal innovation, authenticity, creativity, and more, Ron will teach you how to act like a customer by being more interesting and—win more of their customer’s time.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Concurrent Sessions (Select One)
  1. Leading Out of Conflict
    Garth Sheriff, CPA, CA, Founder, Sheriff Consulting

    This workshop will explore why conflicts develop within teams.   Using root cause analysis, it will help you make the best assessment of conflict and focus on tools that can help you as a leader restore and improve productivity.  Topics will include:
    • Diagnosing conflict
    • Understanding individual and group dynamics within a team
    • Understanding common challenges in resolving conflicts
    • Learning and applying a conflict management methodology

  2. Understanding and Delivering What the CEO Wants
    Shawn Casemore, Founder and President, Casemore and Co.

    Building a broader base of business knowledge and acumen is only valuable if we can use it. Too often, we can feel painted into the role of glorified bookkeeper or analyst. In order to excel beyond these stereotypes and position ourselves for growth, it’s crucial that we understand what our president or CEO really wants from us.  

    Through my work with CEOs across North America, I frequently ask about what their CFO or Vice President of Finance can do that will make them more valuable to the business both today and in the future. These are not surveys, but one-on-one conversations to understand how CFOs can position themselves to add more value to the organization, and more money, responsibility and stature to their repertoire.

    In this interactive workshop we will discuss the results of the feedback from over a half dozen CEOs and in turn, create plans that will form the basis of professional and personal development.

    The key points will include:
    • Strategy: What role should the CFO play to help drive the business forward given existing markets, customers and cash flow?
    • Growth: What new opportunities do CEOs want their CFOs to investigate and pursue?
    • Balance: What areas of cash flow are most critical to CEOs?
    • Diversity: How do CEOs see their CFO adding value relative to increasing the diversity of the business?
    • Opportunity: What role should CFOs play in order to support ongoing business funding opportunities?
    • Value: Where do CFOs fit into assessing and understanding how the business adds value to customers?

  3. Leading Change
    Rene Bertrand, Chief Consulting Officer, 3D Performance Consulting

    Change within organizations is constant. Still, many people react to change with denial or resistance. As a change leader, your ability to help people overcome their reactions and get onboard with new initiatives is critical to your success. In this workshop, you’ll gain practical tools that will enable you to manage reactions to change and communicate in a way that inspires followership and exemplary productivity through any change initiative.
  4. Information, Insights and Influence - How Big Data is Defining the Future Executive
    David Elsner, Principal, DHE Consulting

    Today’s executives are facing rapidly evolving challenges. Competition is fierce and customers are more demanding than ever, putting pressure on companies and their leadership.

    Big data is changing every part of the organization – how we communicate, how we hire and how we serve the customer. What affect will this have on the leadership teams and the functions they manage in the future? What do executives need to know about big data analytics?

    This workshop will examine how the explosion in big data is changing the role of the executive through a number of global studies. You will learn how to change, adapt, and leverage big data in the executive role to make an impact through improved decisions.

12:00 – 12:45 p.m.Networking Lunch and Exhibitor Showcase
12:45 – 1:30 p.m.Luncheon Keynote Address
Hon. Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Closing Keynote Address
Garth Sheriff, CPA, CA, Founder, Sheriff Consulting
Thinking on Your Feet

Have you ever been caught off guard by a question or comment when leading a team meeting or delivering a presentation? Have you ever looked back at your reaction and felt that you could have handled things differently?

Most people have met leaders who they would say are great at “thinking on their feet”. They would often describe them as having an ability to handle any challenging conversation or question with grace and aplomb. That ability to “think on your feet” has typically been seen as something leaders are born with. However, we now know that the ability to react to a challenging situation in real time with positive results can be a learned skill. There are tools and techniques that leaders can practise to help them respond with confidence and calm to the unexpected. In this keynote session, Garth Sheriff will discuss why you may have varied reactions to these unexpected moments and introduce the tools that can help you move toward greater consistency and confidence.



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