We are delighted to welcome this group of insightful speakers, who will address issues of women and public presence from a wide variety of perspectives.
Sylvia Bashevkin is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and has served as Principal of the U of T’s University College. Best known for her research contributions in the field of women and politics, Bashevkin served in 1993-4 as President of the Canadian Political Science Association and in 2003-4 as President of the Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association. She is a senior fellow of Massey College in the University of Toronto, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Bashevkin has twice held Connaught Research Fellowships in the Social Sciences at the University of Toronto, in 1996 to write Women on the Defensive and in 2004 to prepare Tales of Two Cities.
Bashevkin is the author of numerous books, including Women, Power, Politics: The Hidden Story of Canada’s Unfinished Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009), Tales of Two Cities: Women and Municipal Restructuring in London and Toronto (UBC Press, 2006); Welfare Hot Buttons: Women, Work and Social Policy Reform (University of Toronto Press and University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002). Her editing credits include Opening Doors Wider: Women’s Political Engagement in Canada (UBC Press, 2009); Women’s Work is Never Done: Comparative Studies in Caregiving, Employment and Social Policy Reform (Routledge, 2002); Women and Politics in Western Europe (Frank Cass, 1985); and Canadian Political Behaviour: Introductory Readings(Nelson, 1985).
Françoise Baylis, CM, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy at Dalhousie University, is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Her innovative work in bioethics, at the intersection of policy and practice, has stretched the very boundaries of the field.
Baylis’s research focuses on women’s health with particular attention to novel genetic technologies, assisted human reproduction and research involving humans. This works aims to move the limits of mainstream bioethics and develop more effective ways to understand and tackle public policy challenges in Canada and abroad. Baylis believes bioethicists need to exercise their moral imagination and find creative ways to make the powerful care about justice and fairness.
A public intellectual for the modern age, Baylis brings her ethical sensibilities, informed by best practices, theory and common sense, to a wide range of issues. She is a frequent guest on CBC and Radio Canada and the author of many news stories with a “behind the scenes” look at ethical issues.
Actor, storyteller, comedian, activist, and Blackfoot woman Cherish Violet Blood is a graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto who has performed across North America.
Some of her credits include: creator/performer in Material Witness (Spiderwoman Theatre in residence at The Red House in Syracuse, NY), creator/performer in Making Treaty 7 in Calgary, the lead role in Maria Gets a New Life by Cliff Cardinal at the Summerworks Festival, and Annie Cook in The Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway. Cherish has hosted CD release parties for Cris Derksen, Tara Williamson, Timber Timbre and Fiver, as well as community events and fundraisers. Cherish enjoys traditional hand drumming, contemporary singing and has trained with Micah Barnes at the Banff Centre Vocal Intensive.
Dr. Elizabeth Cannon is the eighth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary. As the leader of one of Canada’s top research universities, she is a passionate advocate for the importance of higher education in driving discovery and innovation, finding solutions for the world’s greatest challenges, and fostering the talents of the young women and men who will become our future leaders.
In her first year as president, Dr. Cannon launched the most extensive consultation process undertaken in the history of the University of Calgary. The goal of this consultation was to develop a road map for the future, based on a shared vision and dream of what the university could be to the city, the country and the world. The resulting Eyes High strategic direction, and supporting Academic and Research Plans, outline a bold vision of a truly great internationally-recognized research university that will be ranked among the top five in Canada. Under her leadership, the university has made tremendous progress towards its Eyes High goals.
An expert in geomatics engineering and Professional Engineer, Dr. Cannon’s research has been on the forefront of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) since 1984 in both industrial and academic environments, and she has commercialized technology to more than 200 agencies worldwide. Dr. Cannon’s work has been recognized with many national and international honours including the Johannes Kepler Award from the U.S. Institute of Navigation, APEGA’s Centennial Leadership Award and the Gold Medal Award from Engineers Canada in 2013. She has served on the National Advisory Board on Earth Sciences to the Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, is past-president of the U.S. Institute of Navigation and was a director of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Engineering and the U.S. Institute of Navigation, as well as an elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Engineering. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the Canada Research Knowledge Network, Chair of Universities Canada, as well as a member of Canada’s Business Higher Education Round Table, the U15 Group of Canadian Universities and the federal Minister of Industry’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council.
Throughout her career, Dr. Cannon has championed women in non-traditional areas and worked to ensure that women receive opportunities to excel, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas. From 1997 to 2002, she held the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Prairie Region. In this capacity, she worked to raise public awareness about science and engineering careers for women, and conducted research exploring which factors influence men and women to select these careers. She also developed several innovative programs, including Cybermentor and Explore IT, to encourage women to explore careers in STEM fields.
Denise Donlon, CM, is renowned for her innovation in broadcasting and corporate leadership. She has been named Broadcast Executive of the Year three times at the Canadian Music Week Industry Awards, and has been inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She is also a Member of the Order of Canada. As director of music programming for MuchMusic and City TV, she became a key ambassador for Canadian culture. She was instrumental in the success of myriad musical acts, including The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Jann Arden and Barenaked Ladies. At MuchMusic, she brought a strong social and educational perspective to programming, producing The New Music, which confronted issues such as AIDS and the environment. Through a wide variety of panel discussion and documentary programs, she challenged young Canadians to hone their media literacy skills and heighten their political awareness.
In 2000, Donlon took on a new role as president of Sony Music Canada, where she continued nurturing talented Canadian musicians.She later served as executive director of CBC Radio. Her humanitarian focus continues to shape her career; she has made valuable contributions to causes such as Live 8 and the Concert of Hope.
Dr. Marie Delorme is CEO of the Imagination Group and serves on the RCMP Foundation board, the River Cree Enterprises board, the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, and the Alberta Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy. She has received the Indspire Award in business and commerce and an Alberta Business Award of Distinction. In 2013, the Women’s Executive Network named her one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women.
The author of twelve books, Katherine Govier has won Canada’s Marian Engel Award for a woman writer (1997) and the Toronto Book Award (1992). She has twice been shortlisted for the Trillium prize. Her most recent novel, The Three Sisters Bar & Hotel, is a landmark novel of the Canadian West. Previous novels include Creation, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2003.
Govier has also been instrumental in establishing two innovative writing programs. In 1989, with teacher Trevor Owen, she helped found Writers in Electronic Residence. Today she is the founder and director of The Shoe Project, which improves the written and spoken English of immigrant women.
Katherine travels between Toronto and Canmore, Alberta, with her partner, a food and wine publisher, and their dog Jasper. She holds a black belt in classical martial arts and loves skiing and hiking in the Rockies.
Shari Graydon is an award-winning author, educator and advocate. She founded and leads the non profit initiatives, Informed Opinions and ExpertWomen.ca, which are working to amplify women’s voices for a more equitable Canada. Shari has taught communications, written commentary for many newspapers and CBC radio and TV, and served as press secretary to a BC premier. She produced a 13-part TV series for WTN about women and the media, and served as president of Media Watch, the national women’s organization for ten years. She received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case for her advocacy work on behalf of women in 2007 and was honoured as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN. She has written two best-selling media literacy books for kids (Made You Look and In Your Face), and edited a collection of essays by 40 women over 50 about the benefits of aging (I Feel Great About My Hands). Her most recent book, OMG! What if I Really AM the Best Person? inspires women to speak up more often.
Sylvia D. Hamilton is a multi award-winning Nova Scotian filmmaker and writer who is known for her documentary films as well as her publications, public presentations and extensive volunteer work with artistic, social and cultural organizations on the local and national levels. She has an MA from Dalhousie University and has been awarded three honourary degrees in recognition of her work. From 2001- 2004 she held Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.
She worked with the National Film Board’s Studio D (The Women’s Studio) where she co-created New Initiatives in Film, a program for women of colour and First Nations Women. She was a contributor to and co-editor of We’re Rooted Here and They Can’t Pull Us Up: Essays in African Canadian Women’s History, the first collection of its kind published in Canada. Her films include Black Mother Black Daughter, Speak It: From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia, Portia White: Think on Me and The Little Black School House among others. She has received many awards for her work, including a Gemini, The Portia White Prize, the CBC Television Pioneer Award, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. And I Alone Escaped To Tell You, her poetry collection, published by Gaspereau Press, was short listed for the League of Canadian 2015 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the East Coast Literary 2015 J.M Abraham Poetry Award. She teaches part-time at the University of King’s College where holds the Rogers Chair in Communications.
Award-winning business journalist Amanda Lang has been covering business in North America for 20 years. Lang is the anchor of Bloomberg North, on Bloomberg Television Canada. Previously, Lang was CBC’s senior business correspondent, reporting for its flagship nightly news program, The National, and host of The Exchange with Amanda Lang, a daily business program airing on CBC News Network.
Lang studied Architecture at the University of Manitoba, before becoming a journalist. Her best-selling book, The Power of Why, (HarperCollins, October 2012) explores the connection between curiosity and success. Lang’s second book will be published by Harper Collins in April, 2017.
Gianna Manes is the president and CEO of Enmax, and she was previously senior vice-president and chief customer officer for Duke Energy, a large North American power company.She is a board member for the United Way of Calgary and Area, the Canadian Energy Association, and the Energy Council of Canada. In 2013, Electricity Human Resources Canada named Gianna CEO of the Year, and in 2016 the Women’s Executive Network named her one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women.
Lee Maracle is an award-winning poet, novelist, storyteller and “knowledge keeper” of the Stó:lō Nation. Her critically acclaimed texts include Sundogs, Daughters Are Forever, Ravensong, Celia’s Song, Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories, First Wives Club: Coast Salish Style, Bent Box, Talking to the Diaspora, Will’s Garden, Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel and I Am Woman. She is currently an instructor and student mentor in the University of Toronto’s Aboriginal Studies Program, as well as the Traditional Teacher for First Nations’ House at Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Theater. Maracle’s work has been recognized by many awards, including the JT Stewart Award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Ontario.
Natalie Panek is a Rocket Scientist and Explorer. Extraordinary experiences have shaped her dreams of becoming an astronaut; whether learning to fly, driving a solar-powered car across North America, or building space robotics. With degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Natalie has contributed to a number of high profile space projects including MDA’s satellite servicing initiative and ESA’s 2018 ExoMars rover program. Natalie was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, a Forbes 30 under 30 2015, and one of Flare Magazine’s inaugural 30 under 30 in 2015. The Financial Post has recognized Natalie as “a vocal advocate for women in technology”, she has been featured by Fast Company, and is also a member of the prestigious Explorer’s Club.
Francine Pelletier has worked as a journalist for over 30 years, both in print and for electronic media, both in French as well as in English. Her career includes co-founding and acting as editor-in-chief of the women’s monthly magazine (La Vie en rose) to social and political commentary in a weekly column in Montreal’s largest French daily, La Presse, as well as on Peter Gzowski’s Morningside on CBC radio, CTV’s Sunday Edition and PBS’ The Editors. She spent five years (1995-2000) as a reporter and co-host of CBC’s flagship current affairs program, the fifth estate.
Since the Spring of 2001, Francine Pelletier has begun a new career as an independent documentary filmmaker and screenwriter. Her writing and directing credits include, amongst others : Public Enemy Number One, on former Premier Jacques Parizeau (2003), Sex, Truth and Videotape, a 6-part series on women and sex (2004), Mordecai Richler: The Last of the Wild Jews (2010), Gordon Sheppard or The Art of Dying Well (2011) and Tango’s Revenge (2012).
Francine Pelletier is also a weekly columnist with Le Devoir, Quebec’s only independent daily.
Fibbie Tatti was born to the Sahtugotine First Nation on Great Bear River in the Northwest Territories, Canada and she is a fluent speaker, writer and storyteller of the North Slavey Language. For more than 40 years, Ms. Tatti has been a major force in bringing Dene languages and culture to prominence. She is recognized as a strong and effective advocate for Aboriginal languages and culture.
For 23 years, Ms. Tatti worked with the Department of Education of the Government of the Northwest Territories, during which time she continued to work with the Elders. Based on her vision of Dene teachers as scribes for the Elders, Ms. Tatti undertook the tremendous task of bringing together Dene elders, teachers and language specialists to develop the first Dene languages curriculum. She was co-chair of the Aboriginal Language Task Force during the mid 1980s. Ms.Tatti was instrumental in reflecting the needs and visions of the Elders through a number of recommendations including legislating the official recognition of the aboriginal languages of the NWT.
As NWT Languages Commissioner, Ms. Fibbie Tatti acted as an advocate and monitoring agent of the NWT Official Languages Act, which includes the languages of Chipewyan, Cree, Dogrib, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Inuvialuit, North Slavey and South Slavey. Ms. Tatti was also a one of the first Aboriginal people to work with the communication media in the NWT. She produced and hosted a half hour news and community affairs radio program in the Aboriginal language for CBC North in 1973. She was also the host for the first CBC North TV current affairs program in 1980.