McGill campus with management forum and my healthy workplace logos

McGill Leadership Conference

Our Conscious Community at Work:

Leading, Learning, and Growing Together



Program of the Day


Thursday, September 28, 2023

8:30am to 5:00pm

Delta Hotel by Marriott, 475 President-Kennedy, Montréal, QC, H3A 1J7 

In today's rapidly changing world, cultivating a conscious workplace community is imperative. This one-day conference aims to empower leaders, professionals, and employees alike to create an environment that promotes growth, collaboration, inclusion, and well-being. By harnessing the power of consciousness, purpose, and embracing the principles of healthy hybrid work, we can collectively enhance our impact on both our professional endeavours and personal lives.


  • Address by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini
  • Renowned thought leaders and industry experts, including Henry MintzbergDan Pontefract and Anita Nowak share their insights on conscious leadership, empathy, work-life balance, and the transformative power of inclusion and belonging within organizations.
  • Interactive Workshops and Panel Discussion engage: Wellbeing, Your Career Matters, Leadership, Healthy Hybrid & More
  • Networking, Sharing Best Practices and Building Community
  • Prizes & FUN!


The number of seats for the event has reached capacity.

All MPEX employees and Administrative Executives are eligible to register.

Registration fee: $95 (Payable by FOAPAL)

Includes: Plenary sessions, workshops, lunch and refreshments


Principle and Vice Chancellor Deep SainiMcGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini

Professor Deep Saini began his term as the 18th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University on April 1, 2023. A career academic and accomplished researcher in plant biology, Professor Saini brings a unique combination of national post-secondary experience with an international perspective. He most recently served as president of Dalhousie University in Canada and, prior to that, was vice-chancellor and president of the University of Canberra in Australia. Professor Saini had previously worked at four of Canada’s U15 universities, including as a vice-president of the University of Toronto and principal of its Mississauga campus, dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, and director general of the Plant Biology Research Institute at the Université de Montréal.

His awards and recognitions include honours from the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, Nanjing University, the Sikh Foundation of Canada, the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Punjab Academy of Sciences and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He was featured in India Abroad’s “2011 Power List” and is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum and Diamond Jubilee Medals and the NRI Welfare Society of India Hind Rattan Award.

His leadership roles have included governance and advisory roles at national and international levels, presidencies of national professional societies, journal editorships, membership on national and international granting panels, international trade missions, and membership of the Executive Committee for the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. He is currently the Vice-chair of the Board of Directors for Universities Canada and will begin his term as Chair later this year.

Professor Saini grew up in India and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Physiology from the University of Adelaide in Australia. He is fluent in English, French, Hindi and Punjabi.

Henry MintzbergHenry Mintzberg

A professor in McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management, Henry Mintzberg has been called a lot of things over his career - influential, innovative, iconoclast. Business magazine Fast Company even likened him to Mick Jagger.

Of course, Mick Jagger was never named one of the top management thinkers in the world, largely by attacking the foundations of the modern managerial profession - the MBA. Management education, according to Mintzberg, should be given to those actually working as managers, as opposed to the current practice of training young students with no practical experience in management theory.

"Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it," he says.

With books such as Managers Not MBAs and Strategy Bites Back Mintzberg had made the business world sit up and take notice of the flaws in how they think. He's made it his personal mission to reform the way managers are educated.

At McGill, Mintzberg helped design the International Masters in Practicing Management, a program that's been running since 1996, which seeks to expose practicing executives to new ways of thinking in a series of international modules. One executive at a major bank has sent some 16 of his managers through the program: "It changes people more than any other program I've seen - ever."

Dan PontefractKeynote Speaker: Dan Pontefract 

Dan Pontefract is a renowned leadership strategist, author, and keynote speaker with over two decades of experience in senior executive roles at companies such as SAP, TELUS, and Business Objects. Since then, he has worked with organizations worldwide, including Salesforce, Amgen, the State of Tennessee, Nestlé, Canada Post, Autodesk, BMO, the Government of Canada, Manulife, Nutrient, and the City of Toronto, among others.

As an award-winning and best-selling author, Dan has written four books: LEAD. CARE. WIN., OPEN TO THINK, THE PURPOSE EFFECT, and FLAT ARMY. His fifth book, WORK-LIFE BLOOM, will be published in 2023. Dan also writes for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and other outlets. Dan is a renowned keynote speaker who has presented at four TED events and has delivered over 600 keynotes. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria's Gustavson School of Business and has received over 25 industry, individual, and book awards.

Dan's career is interwoven with corporate and academic experience, coupled with an MBA, B.Ed, and multiple industry certifications and awards. Notably, Dan is listed on the Thinkers50 Radar, HR Weekly's 100 Most Influential People in HR, PeopleHum's Top 200 Thought Leaders to Follow, and Inc. Magazine's Top 100 Leadership Speakers.

Anita Nowak - Award Winning ProfessorAnita Nowak 

Anita Nowak is a subject matter expert on empathy and social entrepreneurship. Visionary educator committed to sustainability and social justice. Earnest champion of people’s goals and dreams and the achievement of their potential. Successful co-creator of innovative programs and initiatives. Outstanding communicator and integrative thinker who values integrity and inclusivity. Emotionally intelligent leader and industrious team player. Natural-born connector of like-spirited people and forger of meaningful partnerships for impact. Award Winning Professor and author of 'Purposeful Empathy'. 


Program of the Day

8:30 - 9:00 Registration & Refreshments 
9:00 - 9:20

Opening: My Healthy Workplace & MFORUM by Diana Dutton, Interim Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) and Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources)

Words of Welcome by Deep SainiMcGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor

9:20 - 10:15 Fireside Chat with Henry Mintzberg - Interview by Dan Pontefract and Phil LeNir 
10:15 - 10:30 Break
10:30 - 11:30

Dan Pontefract – Keynote 

“Work-Life Bloom: Let’s Move on From Work-Life Balance”  (with Q&A)

11:30 - 12:00 Networking and Tabling
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 14:00

Concurrent Sessions:

Option 1: Developing Our Organization as a Community – with Phil LeNir, CoachingOurselves

Option 2: Building Inclusive Teams for a Healthy Workplace - Melissa Neverson 

Option 3: Become the CEO of Your Career  - Tania Chomyk and Jessica Scittarelli

Closed session for senior leaders with Dan Pontefract

14:00 - 14:15 Athletics Break
14:15 - 15:15

Panel Discussion: Managing a Healthy Hybrid Workplace in Higher Ed.

Diana Dutton - Interim Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) and Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources), McGill University

Demetra Kafantaris - Executive Director, Administration and Operations, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University

Johnny (Giovanni) Martuccio - Student Records Manager, School of Continuing Studies, McGill University

Lisa Boyle - Vice-President of the Board, La Passerelle Career Transition Centre; Former Associate Director, New Models of Work, McGill University

Dr. Tina Montreuil - Associate Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University

15:15 - 15:30 Break
15:30 - 16:30

Dr. Anita Nowak 

Purposeful Empathy in the Workplace: Tapping Our Own Superpower for Personal, Organizational & Social Change

16:30 -17:00 Prizes and Closing Remarks


The Workshops

Developing our Organization as a Community

People’s sense of belonging to and caring for something larger than themselves can transform societies.

Join Phil LeNir, co-author of this CoachingOurselves Module (with Dr. Henry Mintzberg), as we explore how to further a sense of engagement across McGill, where people are committed to one another and to the larger mission, so anyone and everyone can exercise initiative – whether onsite or remote.

In guided small group discussions, we will explore how to move our large organization from being a collection of human resources to a community of human beings. This CoachingOurselves topic presents six guidelines and asks us to consider how we can apply them at McGill.

The objectives for this topic are:

  • To appreciate how an organization can develop as a community.
  • To come up with ways to do so in our own organization.

Led by Phil LeNir: Co-Founder of CoachingOurselves with Henry Mintzberg. Phil accompanies hundreds of organizations around the world through transformational peer learning programs and collaborates with some of the most outstanding thinkers of our times. Phil spent 15 years in management positions in high-technology companies. He holds a Masters in International Management and an Honors Engineering degree from McGill University.


Building Inclusive Teams for a Healthy Workplace

Commit to building inclusive teams that prioritize employee well-being, sparking a ripple effect of positive change. Guided by equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) principles and aligned with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, embark upon creating safe spaces, promoting well-being, and embracing health to empower teams and drive organizational success.

Learn more about:

  • Inclusive Team Dynamics: Understanding the importance of inclusive team dynamics and their connection to well-being.
  • Employee Well-being: Cultivating a workplace that nurtures interconnected health dimensions.
  • Positive Ripple Effect: Discovering how inclusive teams can positively influence organizational culture and transformative change.

Led by Melissa Neverson: expert in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), who’s passion lies in creating meaningful and transformative learning experiences that foster cultures of inclusion and belonging. Melissa, a former McGillian, is the Head of Diversity for one of the fastest growing talent acquisition firms in the US.


Become the C.E.O. of your Career: Mastering Self-Leadership and Empowerment for Your Career Development

As the C.E.O. of Your Career, you are invited to take full charge of the opportunities at hand, charting your course with focus and purpose. Are you ready to take charge of your career and define your unique path to professional success? Join us to discover concrete tools, tips and resources that will empower you with meaningful experiences on your career journey.

A conscious community @ work starts with each of us being conscious of our own abilities, competencies, needs, aspirations, impacts and opportunities for growth. Who do you want to be in this evolving world of work? How do we as a community want to show up for ourselves and each other, knowing that we are here to make a healthy and meaningful difference.

Learn more about:

  • What matters most to you professionally as you look forward.
  • Steps you can take today to address your needs and aspirations.
  • Tools, tips and resources that can support you on your career journey.

Led by Tania Chomyk, B.Ed., M.Ed., PPCC: With a 25-year career rich in higher education, Tania is a HR Professional, Career Coach and Champion of self-leadership who is passionate about humanizing the workplace, one person at a time.

and Jessica Scittarelli, B.A., CRHA: At McGill since 2014, Jessica is a Certified Human Resources Consultant (CRHA) with over fifteen years of experience in Organizational Development, Talent Management, Recruitment, and Client Service. She has recently completed her certification on Organizing Work in Hybrid Workplaces and is passionate about helping employees navigate and thrive in healthier workplaces.

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