Speakers Spotlight page


This page is dedicated to our Symposium speakers. Below, you will discover:

  1. Speaker Profiles: Biographies of each speaker, showcasing their professional background, qualifications, and accomplishments. 

  2. Photos and Contact Information: Photographs of the speakers and their contact information, including links to their social media profiles.

  3. Session Topics

Session information

There is an "I" in Team & Panel Discussion: The Role of AI and Automation in Project Management: Opportunity or Threat?

Spencer Horn, President - Altium Leadership

Businesses globally look to Spencer as an enthusiastic, insightful source for counsel and advice on developing productive and focused corporate cultures. Spencer draws upon his 31 years of executive experience to reenergize seasoned and emerging professionals and increase organizational effectiveness. He inspires change, to develop: a powerful culture, effective communication, high performing teams, and engagement. Spencer is the President of Altium Leadership. He has previously been the CEO of a leadership development company and Vice President of a NASDAQ company, which developed IMAX theaters in tourist destinations. There he worked with major organizations such as IMAX Corp., National Geographic Television, Radio City Productions, Disney Films and more. He has been speaking professionally since 2009. He has been speaking and presenting at PMI chapter development conferences since 2010 and has been a regular speaker at the PMI Leadership Institute Meeting (LIM) North America Conference since 2014 and the closing keynote speaker of LIM AP & NA 2021. He was the opening general session speaker at LIM 2023. He is consistently one of the highest rated speakers for the yearlong, PMI Leadership Institute Master Class (LIMC) since 2015. He is a co-author of the ""Speakers on Life"" anthology ""The Power of the Platform"" along with Jack Canfield, Les Brown, Brian Tracy and more. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and a Master of Science degree in economics from the University of Utah. He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) with the National Speakers Association, a designation which less than 17% of NSA speakers and 6% of speakers worldwide achieve. He is a Certified Team Performance Coach (CTPC) and facilitator through Team Coaching International and a certified Professional Dynametric Programs trainer and administrator through PDP Global. Spencer has been married to his amazing wife, Jana, for more than 37 years. She is his partner and COO of Altium Leadership. Together they have five beautiful children and seven grandchildren.


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Powering the Project Economy: Innovation In Action

Diane Alsing, Board of Directors / International Speaker - Project Management Institute

Diane Alsing is a strategic global consulting operations leader and change management innovator who is directing business-centric roadmaps, enabling business transformation and inspiring the next generation of enterprise growth.  

Ms. Alsing is an experienced strategist for business systems and platforms, solution delivery, governance and process improvement, serving as a catalyst for sustainable change by empowering enterprise clients through data-driven impact. A driver of continuous improvement, she is rethinking what’s possible and transforming complex obstacles into tangible, future-ready solutions. 

Ms. Alsing has been delivering project and program solutions for over 25 years and has held leadership roles in software engineering and transformative program management. She is currently an executive driving the Business Applications Solution Area for Avanade/Accenture. 

Ms. Alsing is also an adjunct faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University teaching courses in sustainable operations, ethical organizational standards, operational agility, strategic positioning of environmental strategies and adaptive project management. 

She has held various volunteer leadership roles with Project Management Institute, including serving as a member of the Board Volunteer Advisory Committee, chair and vice chair of the PMI Ethics Review Committee and director of communications for the Organizational Project Management community of practice.  

Ms. Alsing earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in engineering management. She is currently completing a doctoral degree program in engineering at The George Washington University – School of Engineering and Applied Science. 


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Leadership that can Produce Growth

Andrew Leslie, Lt. General (ret'd) the Honourable Andrew Leslie, PC, CMM, MSC, MSM, CD, RCA, BA, MA, PhD (hc)  

Andrew Leslie has been a soldier, business leader, Federal parliamentarian, Chief Government Whip and board director with corporate, charitable and government organizations. He has extensive training and speaks to large and varied audiences about lessons in practical leadership under extraordinary stress; how to build a strong team; the art of helping your organization  transform; the do’s and don’ts of  strategic planning; and Canada’s place in the world with a special knowledge of Canada-US relations.      

His 35-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces involved motivational and adaptive leadership at every level, especially as the Commander/CEO of the Canadian Army for four years during the latest Afghan War, where he was responsible for the leadership of 57,000 people, their equipment, training, a multi billion-dollar budget and related equipment programs: he was subsequently appointed the Chief of Transformation for the Department of Defence and the Canadian Forces.      

After international tours with both the UN and NATO in peacekeeping and war and numerous Canadian and international awards and decorations, he joined a large Canadian corporation as a senior Vice President, working on network operations and cyber security with U.S. and Canadian clients. Elected as the Federal Member of Parliament in 2015, he was Chief Government Whip and a member of the Privy Council of Canada, participating with various Cabinet Committees. In January 2017 the Prime Minister focused him on Canada-U.S. trade relations as Parliamentary Secretary for Global Affairs. He has spent considerable time in the U.S. and across Canada interacting with military and business leaders, Premiers, Governors and Congress on binational issues.  


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Challenging Project “Status Quo” Leveraging Vulnerable Leadership and Emotional Intelligence & Panel Discussion: Unconventional Approaches to Resource Management: Disrupting Traditional Project Leadership and Management Practices

Erin Leslie, Leadership Coach & Chief Emotional Intelligence Officer

Erin Leslie is a Leadership Coach and Career Strategist who will enable any professional or team to achieve their career aspirations through personal development, planning and coaching. She believes that every career could benefit from mentorship; she sees the opportunity in anyone who is stuck or does not know the right actions, to propel them towards their next success.
Erin practices one-on-one coaching and training with businesses across all industries. Certified in EQ-i 2.0 assessments, Erin specializes in emotional intelligence practices and tools to support a stronger Emotional Quotient in the workplace.

Her Emotional Intelligence keynote provides insights from 25 years as a business leader in tech and BRM; combined with a tailored coaching style she has the intuitive ability to uncover personal or environmental barriers and help identify new goals for your business audience. Erin also shares insights on diversity, equality and breaking down biases in the work place to build a more inclusive environment for everyone.

Helping professionals, teams and newcomers’ with all aspects of business strategy, effective communication, networking and career accelerator skills is not only a vocation, it is her passion.

2017-2023 Public Speaking Events: Intelex, City of Toronto, CAPCO, Women in Tech & Finance, MISA, PMI Chapter of Toronto, Courage in Action, Wesley Clover Group, BRMI Chapter, Empowered In Your Skin, The Leaders Hangout, Jackie Porter Live, OWASP The Elephant in the Room Series, Women in Digital Canadian Federal Government, Thales, Definitely Maybe Agile.


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Bleeding Edge Project Management: Building web3 Projects

“That’s so Web 2.0!” my new boss joked as I started drafting my first project charter and trying to get my head around my role. Blockchain and web3 were new concepts to me, but I know Project Management. This company hired me to help their team learn Agile principles and start delivering their work on a more sprint-like cadence. The evolution of the web has meant a considerable shift in how tools are developed, how teams work, and how the projects are managed. The days of waterfall are long over, and the stringent rules of Scrum and Kanban don’t necessarily apply either. For a team working in the collaborative web3 space, we needed something new. In this talk, I will explain my approach to managing teams and projects in the web3 universe. I’ll explain how deeply ‘iterative development’ has impacted the teams, but also the planning process. Buckle up!

Kevin McGowan, Program Manager (BizOps), Pinax and Chair, Voicefound

Kevin McGowan has been a Project Manager for nearly 3 decades. A certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM), he has worked with many non-profits and high tech firms, helping guide teams to be more effective in organizing and delivering their work.  

Currently a Program Manager at Pinax, Kevin is also the Board Chair for Voice Found (an Ottawa-based non-profit), and the founder of Project 180 (a project management podcast). 



Panel Discussion: Unconventional Approaches to Resource Management: Disrupting Traditional Project Leadership and Management Practices

Heidi Hauver, Chief People Officer & Director, CHEO Board of Directors

Heidi is an innovative and data-driven strategic people leader with a growth mindset, passionate about driving business success, cultivating exceptional leadership, and nurturing a thriving company culture. With over twenty years of proven experience creating transformative strategies that empower teams, she works with companies to drives sustainable growth, and unlock a company’s full potential. Since 2007 she has founded an HR practice, built three HR departments for companies from the ground up and became the founding HR Executive for three companies. Heidi’s energetic leadership and constant innovation have earned her several awards, including the 2022 WBN Businesswomen of the Year Award for Community Impact, the 2020 Alumni of the Year Award (Business) with Algonquin College, the inaugural nationally recognized 2018 Leadership Agency Award for Woman of Distinction, a 2017 Top 25 HR Professional, the 2012 Ottawa Business Journal/Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Forty Under 40 Award, and the 2012 CATA Information Technology Strategic HR Leadership Award. Heidi is a Certified Human Resources Executive, a Chartered Professional in Human Resources, a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional and a Certified Coach Practitioner. She is a dedicated volunteer and community builder who supports a variety of organizations including Algonquin College, Hire Immigrants Ottawa, WIT Network and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).


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How Governments are Using AI to Improve the Project Methodology

Paul Boudreau, President, Stonemeadow Consulting

Paul Boudreau, MBA, PMP, is a highly respected project management professional with over thirty-five years of experience in the technology industry. Paul teaches in the project management program at Algonquin College.  He also teaches a course on applying AI in project management to students at two business colleges in Europe. Paul is a global leader in researching and applying AI concepts to project management, focusing on machine learning, natural language processing, and genetic algorithms. He works with industry and government organizations to find ways to dramatically improve project performance. Paul has written three books about using AI for project management: Applying Artificial Intelligence to Project Management (2019), How the Project Management Office Can Use Artificial Intelligence to Improve the Bottom Line (2020), and The Self Driving Project: Using Artificial Intelligence to Deliver Project Success (2021). Paul is a well-known speaker who presents compelling arguments as to why AI technology is essential for how we deliver projects. 


Stonemeadow Consulting Limited

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From Project Manager to Empathetic Leader: Elevating Projects Through Emotional Intelligence, Diversity, and Inclusion

Mehnaz Tabassum, IT Project Manager - Government of Canada

Mehnaz Tabassum is a true embodiment of multipotentiality. With over 6 years of full-time work experience as a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Mehnaz possesses a unique blend of business acumen and social awareness. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and a Certificate in Public Policy from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Currently serving as the IT Project Manager at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Corporate Services Sector, Mehnaz excels in agile project management practices and promotes agile leadership through her work. Mehnaz has a track record of leading digital transformation initiatives across various branches, including the Canada Revenue Agency's Security Branch (ASB), Human Resources Branch (HRB), and Assessment, Benefits, and Services Branch (ABSB).

Mehnaz is also the co-founder and Director of NL Eats Community Outreach Inc., a rapidly growing social enterprise dedicated to addressing food insecurity for individuals facing barriers. Her leadership has created project opportunities for 165 youth and benefited over 1500 community members.

In addition to her professional work, Mehnaz is deeply committed to people development and servant leadership. She runs her own consultancy, where she coaches individuals to achieve their career development goals and mentors’ new immigrants in partnership with Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization - OCISO. Her extensive experience also includes serving as a board member in the Food Policy Council, Government of Newfoundland's Premier's Youth Policy council, and Global Vision. Mehnaz's expertise extends to digital content creation and social media strategy, providing consultative services to small and medium-sized businesses.

Mehnaz's outstanding contributions have earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including the CRA Award of Excellence (2022), Women of Distinction (2020), Young Entrepreneur Award (2019), Chancellor's Undergraduate Leadership Award (2021), and the Feeding 9 Billion Award (2018). She has also received nominations for prestigious honors such as The IPAC Award for Emerging Leader (2022), Atlantic Top 50 CEOs (2022), and the prestigious Diana Award (2023). With her diverse skills set encompassing business analytics, financial analysis, information technology, customer relations, data & trend analytics and agile leadership, Mehnaz Tabassum is a valued leader in any industry.


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Breaking Barriers: How to Pivot from Firefighting to Strategic Focus

Kevin Judge, CEO and Founder, inobl

Kevin Judge is a global business strategist with over two decades of experience spanning the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. As the CEO and Founder of iNOBL, a strategic business advisory firm with international reach, he has carved a niche for himself in bridging the strategy-execution gap for some of the world's premier organizations. Known for his actionable and inspirational approaches, Kevin is not just a speaker; he's a thought leader who provides hands-on tools that audiences can implement immediately. His work empowers executives to transition from tactical firefighting to achieving meaningful, strategic results. The iNOBL approach combines three core elements—strategic alignment, execution, and talent readiness—creating a synergy that propels businesses, their people, and their leaders toward success. Unlike one-size-fits-all solutions, Kevin believes in tailored, pragmatic methodologies grounded in well-tested fundamentals. His strategies are always centered around what success means for each individual organization, making them uniquely effective and sustainable. Kevin's credibility extends far beyond the stage and conference rooms; it's also documented in leading publications such as the Financial Post Executive, New York Post, La Presse , and The London Business Journal. His journey from climbing corporate ladders to founding his own ventures has enriched him with lived experiences that he generously shares. He has been a guiding light for thousands of leaders across small to multinational corporations in Canada, the United States, and Europe, helping them define and actualize their unique success strategies in fluctuating business climates. In addition to his business acumen, Kevin is a best-selling author and international speaker. His wealth of insights is enriched with stories from his entrepreneurial journey, which notably began at the age of 6. Above all, Kevin believes that meaningful connections stem from candid conversations. Whether you're looking for a new perspective on strategy or a fresh approach to solving complex challenges, Kevin is always up for a chat.


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Distinctive Project Differentiation: Leveraging the Collective Potential of People, Partnerships, and Community

Deanna Davies, Program Coordinator and Professor - Project Management Graduate Certificate Program, St. Lawrence College

Deanna Davies - Educator, Passionate Community Builder, and Lifelong Learner Deanna Davies is an experienced educator, passionate community builder, and lifelong learner with over 30 years of industry experience in developing strategies, partnerships, projects, and programs that consistently deliver outstanding results. Her diverse career path has taken her through various sectors, including government, corporate, not-for-profit, and private ventures. For the past 23 years, she has also been an accomplished entrepreneur and active community volunteer. Having achieved her Master's degree in Community Economic Development and Leadership (MBA), Deanna's commitment to the social economy and community development permeates both her personal and professional life. As a full-time professor and program coordinator for the Project Management Graduate Certificate Program in the esteemed School of Business at St. Lawrence College, she brings a wealth of practical knowledge and expertise to her role, empowering and inspiring her students to become well-rounded professionals with a strong focus on People, Partnerships, and Community. Deanna is a firm believer in the value of collaboration and the strength of diverse teams. Her dedication to her students and community is unwavering. Deanna leads by example as a proud empathetic leader, fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Her teaching philosophy revolves around the principle that people learn best through active engagement and reflection, incorporating real-world experiences to enhance the learning process. Grounded in family and driven by her passion for problem-solving, Deanna finds solace in nature and an active-living lifestyle. Embracing the present, she actively seeks moments of challenge, reflection, and change to continuously grow and develop both personally and professionally. Deanna Davies is an educator who not only imparts knowledge but also instills in her students a sense of purpose, collaboration, and a passion for making a positive impact on the world around them. Through her tireless dedication, she continues to be a driving force in building strong communities and fostering the growth of future leaders.


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Rules for Project Management

From Bryon McConnell’s “Rules for Project Management” series, this presentation was developed specially for the PMRise Symposium, drawing upon physical infrastructure elements that will be locally familiar in the Ottawa, Kingston, Cornwall region: the Rideau Canal, and the Kingston fortifications. In considering the lessons to be gained by aspiring project managers from those elements, three Rules emerged: 1. Perceive both the technical subject area and the project. 2. You need both technical expertise and project expertise. 3. Project Management is not merely about driving execution. Encapsulating those three Rules in one idea gives the presentation title, “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge is Only the Beginning.”

Bryon McConnell, Project Leader, and Section Head - Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Bryon McConnell is a certified Project Management Professional since 2005, a licensed Professional Engineer since 2001, and a Member of the Chemical Institute of Canada since 2016.  His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in Engineering Chemistry from Queen's University.  He has worked in search and rescue, in oil spill response, in construction contracting and contract management, and in the nuclear industry.  He spent four years with the Canadian Coast Guard, fourteen years with Defence Construction Canada, and is currently at ten years with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories where he leads nuclear research and development projects and is part of the leadership team of Section Heads.  Bryon has been working in project environments for 30 years and has been managing projects for 16 years. 

Bryon found that after nearly 30 years of work, people were frequently seeking him out for guidance, advice, and mentoring, and that almost always he had a ready stock of material to share from his own experiences and those he had observed.  In January 2023 in Kingston, Ontario he launched the “Rules for Project Management” series to share lessons and stories on a broader scale. 

Bryon grew up in the small town of Prescott, Ontario on the St. Lawrence River, and now resides in Kingston. 


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How to make the most of linguistic diversity

Achille Ubalijoro, Project & Program Executive Consultant and Managing Director, Kabera Consulting Inc

Accomplished leader and visionary with over 20 years' experience in project and program management, delivering complex and strategic digital solutions across diverse industries and geographies.

He is currently Chairman of Irembo, a company that designs and builds e-government and e-payment products for public and private institutions in Rwanda and beyond, helping millions of people access and pay for over 100 public services online.

Achille is also passionate about developing inspiring individuals and organizations for a better world. He is a professional business coach in training at Coaching de Gestion, where he learns to empower and support his clients in achieving their personal and professional goals. He is a mentor with the Black Wealth Club, a board member of PMI-Montréal and the Canadian Consortium for the Digital Economy in Africa, and founder and former president of the Network of Rwandan Professionals in Canada.

He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from École Polytechnique de Montréal and an MBA in strategic technology management from Concordia University, as well as several certifications in ITIL, Agile, project and program management.


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How to make the most of linguistic diversity


André Onana, with over ten years' experience in project management, first shared his expertise as a teacher-researcher at Senegal's École Supérieure Multinationale des Télécommunications, before joining SITO as an employment consultant in 2023.

He is also a renowned expert in this field and holds the position of Content Editor with the Project Management Institute (PMI), as well as being an active member of the PMI® Francophonie Engagement Committee.

Committed to volunteerism, he was the founder of the PMI® Senegal Chapter in 2015 and served as President until 2018, and again from October 2021 to December 2022. In addition, he contributed as a member of PMI's Project Management Ethics Advisory Group from 2019 to 2020.


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Strategic Communications Skills

James Lauber, President, GraftOn-SST - Success Strategies Training

My company evolved into strategic communication skills training as a result of my career in high-profile ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software projects, operating in a variety of roles from software designer/programmer, to computer department manager, computer systems implementation consultant, and project manager. My clients and projects occupied the complex seven-figure multi-year engagements range. The reason for the transition to a training organization was the conclusion that most project risks and disruptions arise, to a large degree, out of communication issues. These issues manifest in many forms but tend to have root cause commonalities related to underdeveloped strategic communication skills. Following is a brief chronological summary of my education and employment milestones. I Graduated Humber College of Applied Arts and Sciences in their Comp.Sci. program. I followed this with a B.Sc. degree from York University. In addition I have a PMP Certification from PMI. My computer systems career has included the following positions: EDP Manager - Haefele Canada - 3 yrs, Client Training Manager - Nixdorf Computer - 2 years where I developed the Nixdorf Comet Client Training program,  IT Manager - Jac Paper Canada - 3 years, Sr. Software Developer - Varnet Canada - 3 years, ERP Implementation Project Manager - Digimode Consulting Group - 11 years, and owner of the boutique consulting firm Grafton I.T. Consulting Inc. - since 1995. The company currently operates under the GraftOn-SST banner and has provided services on many major projects for clients including: MD Financial (div. Canadian Medical Association) - 4 years, KAL Tire - 2 years,  GAF Roofing - 5 years, Digimode Consulting Group – 10 years. In 2014 transitioned to operating as GraftOn-SST (Success Strategies Training) and began developing the HotButton Solution Strategic Communication Skills Training program.


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Tools Supporting EI & DEIB in Project Management

Dr Jeffrey Thompson, Release Train Engineer, TD Bank Financial Group

Jeffrey is an Agile Release Train Engineer (RTE) in CORE Platform – Agile Practice at TD Bank. In his role at the bank, he is a project professional who acts like a chief Scrum Master and servant leader. He supports his teams and other stakeholders to deliver on their Objectives and Key Results (OKR) effectively. Jeffrey does what is necessary to take his teams to a marvelous WOW! Jeffrey is a Past President of the Project Management Institute (PMI) Toronto chapter. He also gives back to the community as a York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (YRAACC) board member and volunteers in his church, including with the Knights of Columbus. He is a Black Employee Network (BEN) member at TD Bank. Jeffrey has a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in General Business from Northcentral University (NCU). He is a researcher, and his ORCID number is https://orcid.org/my-orcid?orcid=0000-0002-8776-7719. Jeffrey is an accomplished and dynamic Certified Project Manager (PMP), Six Sigma Green Belt, MS Project Trainer, Agile, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), and ITIL professional. He has over 30 years of experience and proven effectiveness with successful implementations in the financial, pharmaceutical, brewing, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industries and government (Ontario Lottery and Gaming). He also mentors professionals and teaches project management. He is married to Jannette and has two children, Shane and Zoë.


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The EQI 2.0 (Emotional Quotient Inventory): A Multi Tool and Blueprint for Successful Project Managers

Martin Callsen, Professor, Algonquin College

Professor Callsen is a passionate educator with over three decades of international and Canadian project management and leadership experience to share with learners and upcoming PMs. He is a super connector and a super conductor - can LOVES using LinkedIN. He is passionate about empowering Canada's growing international student community to receive the support and attention they deserve and which they will need to succeed and become part of Canada's current and continued success as an inclusive and modern nation. #OnwardsUpwards everyone. 


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How to make the most of linguistic diversity

Rita Chahine, ING, PMP, EMBA

Born in Byblos, Lebanon, and holding a Master's degree in Civil Engineering from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Engineering, Beirut, Rita had to obtain her equivalencies when she arrived in Quebec in order to re-enter the job market. Her interest in project management led her to obtain her PMP certification and to develop her career within the public service, and more specifically with Quebec's major municipalities.

First with the Ville de Montréal, then with the Bureau des Grands Projets de la Ville de Laval, and since 2022, with the Ville de Gatineau, where she currently holds the position of Director of Infrastructure and Projects.

In addition to having completed an MBA at ESG/UQAM, Rita is involved in a wide range of activities that enable her to share her passion for project management and to put to good use her ability to translate the strategic vision of the organizations in which she invests into mission and objectives. She has been a member of the PMI-Montréal Board of Directors since April 2023.d'affaires professionnel en formation chez Coaching de Gestion, where she learns to empower and support her clients in achieving their personal and professional goals.


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Why Business Transformation Fail? How to make sure they don’t & Panel Discussion: The Role of AI and Automation in Project Management: Opportunity or Threat?

Tahirou Assane, MASc, P.Eng., PMP; Director Brightline Initiative at PMI

Tahirou Assane has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles, civil engineering, strategy, transformation, and project management. As Director of Brightline at PMI, Tahirou oversees the activities under the three benefit pillars of thought and practice leadership, networking, and capability building. Through Brightline, Tahirou led the development of the Organizational Transformation Series, championed Brightline flagship event Strategy@Work, and pioneered the very first Digital Transformation in Action Conference.

Prior to PMI, Tahirou worked as the deputy director of infrastructure and project management group in the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) supporting the successful implementation of peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development projects around the world.

Before the United Nations, Tahirou was a senior project manager with the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario where he provided technical capabilities and expertise to ensure excellence in the delivery of complex highway projects with multi-disciplinary teams.

Tahirou is a co-author of several book articles and reports including Blockchain-Driven Transformation (2021), The Transformation Playbook (2019), Transforming Beyond the Crisis (2020), Perpetual Transformation and Building Resilient Organizations (2022), The Digital Transformation Playbook (2023).

Tahirou is a graduate from the University of Ottawa in Civil Engineering and a certified professional engineer in Ontario and Quebec.


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Introvertism vs Extrovertism: How to Supercharge Project Success

Dr Charles Igwe, Section Head, D&ER Canadian Nuclear Laboratories & Vice President Professional Development. PMI Ottawa Valley Outaouais Chapter

I'm Dr. Charles Igwe, and I've dedicated over a decade to mastering the art and science of project management. My journey began in the realm of civil engineering, where I honed my skills in precision and problem-solving. At Concordia University, I took my passion a step further, diving into Construction Project Management at the Ph.D. level. My research contributions to projects like the Turcot Interchange led to a 20% increase in productivity and a 50% improvement in safety.​

But my work isn't confined to academia. I've applied my expertise in the industry, working with organizations like SigmaPoint Technologies and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. I've spearheaded initiatives that increased organizational efficiency by 40% and launched mentoring programs that boosted productivity by 10% in just six months. ​

What sets me apart is my philosophy. I believe in the power of mentorship, the importance of lifelong learning, and the need for adaptive strategies in our ever-changing world. My teaching roles at Conestoga College and St. Lawrence College are platforms where I instill these values in the next generation.​

In a nutshell, I don't just aim to achieve; I aim to inspire. I'm not just a leader; I'm a catalyst for transformation. My goal is to not only navigate today's complexities but also to equip others to conquer tomorrow's challenges.


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Bridging the emotional and the intelligent with a dose of reality

The concept of "Bridging the emotional and the intelligent with a dose of reality" is a pivotal approach each project manager must make in their career. George will emphasize the need to combine emotional intelligence, which involves understanding and managing one's emotions and those of others, with analytical and strategic thinking. This fusion allows project managers to navigate complex human dynamics, foster effective teamwork, and build strong stakeholder relationships. By integrating emotional intelligence, project managers can better communicate, inspire, and motivate team members, ultimately enhancing collaboration and productivity. Additionally, grounding these emotional insights ensures that decisions are based on practical considerations and align with the project's overall goals. This balanced approach contributes to more successful project outcomes, as it addresses both the human element and the objective requirements of a project. It leads to a harmonious convergence of empathy, rationality, and pragmatism in project management practices.

George Al Haddad EMBA, P.Tech (Eng.), PSM-I, PSPO, MPM, Director, Program Integration - Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

George Al Haddad is a seasoned leader with nearly two decades of experience in the realm of project management and education. Over the years, he has honed a unique ability to balance strategic thinking with hands-on execution, driving value and operational excellence for organizations. This blend of vision and practicality allowed him to spearhead high-performing teams, fostering collaboration and accountability. 

George's journey has led him to his current role as the Director of Reactor Decommissioning, Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. In this capacity, he provides oversight and strategic direction for a portfolio encompassing planning, engineering, reactor segmentation, construction, program management, and innovation. It's his privilege to be at the forefront of initiatives aimed at legacy liability reduction, ensuring a sustainable future for CNL. 

But his commitment to excellence extends beyond the workplace. As an instructor at the University of Calgary, he found great fulfillment in shaping the next generation of business leaders, imparting knowledge in operation, project, and supply chain management. This dual role within industry and academia affords him a unique perspective he eagerly shares with you during PMRISE 2023. 

Throughout his career, he has been privileged to lead diverse teams, manage high-value projects, and drive process improvements that have increased efficiencies and delivered exceptional customer experiences. These experiences have shaped him into the leader he is today, and he is excited to exchange insights and learn from the wealth of knowledge gathered at PMRISE 2023. Together, we can continue to push the boundaries of excellence in project management. 


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Artificial Intelligence and Future-Proofing Education

Patrick Egbunonu, Dean, Faculty of Business & Community Services

Patrick Egbunonu is the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Business & Community Services at St. Lawrence College (SLC) in Kingston, Ontario. The Faculty of School of Business offers more than 70 programs across our three campuses at Kingston, Cornwall, and Brockville. Before this role, Patrick launched and coordinated the Business Analytics program at SLC, where he also taught courses in Business Intelligence, Data Mining, and Strategic Analytics, among others. Recognizing the importance of Artificial Intelligence, he founded the Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Club at SLC and inaugurated the Big Data & Artificial Intelligence Conference in 2018. By April 2020, he was appointed the Associate Dean of the School of Business, culminating in his current position as Acting Dean since March 2023. An accomplished speaker, Patrick has presented on Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Future of Work /Education at prestigious platforms such as the Toronto Association of Systems and Software Quality (TASSQ), Queen's University, International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) National Conference, and the Canadian Management Consulting Conference. In 2023, he discussed AI at the Kiwanis Club of Toronto and addressed the topic of Artificial Intelligence and Education's Future at the i6 Conference in Mexico. Beyond academia, Patrick co-founded Informanus Analytics & Artificial Intelligence, a social enterprise committed to enhancing governance in Africa using AI. He is also a co-founder of Sellitic, a marketplace aimed at enhancing global inclusivity for artisans, with a focus on African creators. An alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Patrick furthered his education in Canada, obtaining dual Masters in Chemical Engineering and Economics, and an Executive MBA from Queen's University and Cornell University. Currently pursuing doctoral research in digital technology, he examines its influence on Minority Entrepreneurship, particularly within Black communities. A dedicated community servant, Patrick has held significant volunteer roles in Kingston, including positions with Sustainable Kingston, the United Way, the Afro-Caribe Community Foundation, and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO). His entrepreneurial zeal, influenced by his experiences as a Black immigrant, led him to co-found the Southeastern Ontario Black Entrepreneur Ecosystem.


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Eight Key Factors to Project Success

Simon Ellison, Complex Project/Program Management Consultant

Simon joined CNL as the Ac-225 Program Director in December 2020, leading the project team work activities. Simon is an accomplished manager with more than 25 years in industry with a proven track-record in project management, operations and engineering. Simon has a thorough understanding of the global nuclear landscape. Prior to his arrival at CNL, Simon was the Director of Major Projects at Bruce Power leading the major component replacement of the CANDU Reactors. Bruce Power is currently the largest operational power reactor site in the World. The site is refurbishing 6 of its 8 reactors for the Ontario provincial government over a 15 year period at a cost of $15Bn. Simon’s previous work includes leading the Victoria In-Service Support Contract for the Department of National Defence as the Program Director. This included the refurbishment of the Victoria Class Submarines and In-Service support to the operational vessels. He led the AECL Capital Projects Team at Chalk River, managing the Laboratory Renewal, Infrastructure and Isotope Supply Reliability Programs, including the construction and commissioning functions. He also was a Senior Project Manager at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, UK and Project Manager and Operations Manager in Magnox and Mixed Oxide fuels at the Sellafield Site, UK. Simon started his career in the Royal Navy, as a Marine Engineer on Nuclear Submarines. He continued his studied at Warwick University, UK and holds a M.Sc. in Engineering Business Management. He is also a certified Project Manager (PMP), Program Manager (PgMP) and Building Commissioning Professional (CBCP).


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Emotional Intelligence Unleashed: The Secret Sauce of Project Leadership Success!

Temisan Sagay, Program Manager - Analytics - Thrive Digital & Director, Mentoring - PMI Ottawa Valley Outaouais Chapter

Throughout Temisan's career, he has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and a talent for mentoring, cross-functional team collaboration, and developing high-performing teams. Temisan currently holds the Senior Technical Program Manager - Data Analytics position at Thrive Digital, excelling in managing complex programs and projects, implementing efficient processes, and fostering collaboration. With a dedication to refining systems and processes, Temisan drives efficiency, visibility, and growth within the team - actively promoting effective collaboration between departments and ensuring timely and high-quality project delivery. Temisan plays a vital role in refining the company's operating model and driving innovation in products and programs, utilizing feedback from clients and other departments. Before his current position, Temisan held the Senior Technical Program Manager position at Driven Financial Technologies. In this role, he was responsible for planning and managing a group of IT programs and related technology projects, ensuring successful delivery from inception to completion. Temisan achieved notable accomplishments, including implementing systems and processes that improved team efficiency and increased visibility into project progress, leading to increased team and program growth. Prior to the above role, Temisan worked as a Technical Program Manager at Tamsa Solutions, managing all program and product launch elements, directly managing a team of 34 individuals and developing career and individual development plans for direct reports. Collaborating across departments, Temisan effectively communicated timelines, resource limitations, and roadblocks, ensuring quality and timely delivery of work. Earlier in his career, Temisan held the role of Technical Program Manager at the global real estate firm - Sage Capital. During his tenure, Temisan's contributions to the product development initiative led to the successful launch of two new products. Before joining Sage Capital, Temisan gained valuable experience as a Technical Project Manager at JevOti. Temisan was responsible for managing the software development lifecycle in an Agile approach and for vendor management and liaison with external vendors and partners.


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Earned Value Management (EVM): Output vs Outcome

Jonathan Shriqui, Senior Project Control Specialist - EVM - Department of National Defence

Mr. Shriqui is the Earned Value Management System subject matter expert for the Department of National Defence in Canada. He began his career, in 2004, with General Electric Canada – Power System as a Manufacturing Cost Analyst supporting large power generation projects. In 2007, he joined Lockheed Martin Canada as a financial analyst for the Halifax Class Modernization (HCM) proposal team. After contract award, his role included responsibilities such as the management of financial instruments, cash flow analysis and earned value management reporting. In 2012, he continued to carry his out his responsibilities for the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) project. In 2015, he joined BMT Canada as the Earned Value Management Lead Consultant. His principal engagement was with the Department of National Defense (DND) providing insights into project performance for National Shipbuilding Strategy projects and developing project controls requirements for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project. Using Earned Value Management (EVM) information, he successfully aided DND in becoming a smarter customer by enabling them to engage in proactive discussions with industry regarding project affordability and schedule issues with a greater level of probity. In 2019, Jonathan made the commitment to public service and joined DND’s Directorate Project Management Support Organization (DPMSO) where he provided guidance and recommendation with respect to project controls and EVM. In 2023, he joined the CSC project, the single largest procurement in Canadian history, where he provides EVM insight to the project management office and procurement officers.


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Future proof your organization with Business Agility

Bola Adesope, Senior Consultant, Business Agility at Deloitte

Bola wants to change the world of work and the way we add/deliver value But then, who is he? In recent times, he has been described as a multi-award winning, highly sought-after, best-in-class Consultant, Trainer, Speaker and Coach with demonstrated track record driving and leading Agile, Business and Digital Transformation for organisations across North America, Europe and Africa. He is the Lead Coach and Trainer at STACEY & LLOYD, A global transformation firm. A widely versed individual with knowledge, expertise and experience in Business Analysis, Project/Portfolio Management, Change Management and Agile Transformation. As a sought-after trainer, Bola is certified and accredited to train a number of courses in Business Analysis, Project Management, Agile/Scrum and has trained over 3500 professionals, spoken at several conferences and coached several leaders and professionals towards mindset transformation. His consulting experience spans over a decade advising and coaching companies in Telecoms’, Insurance, Banking, Retail, IT and Tech etc on solving complex business problems and improving the value they deliver to their clients and stakeholders. When he is not training, speaking, or coaching, Bola enjoys rapping, writing rap lyrics and listening to rap music.


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The Project Manager of the Future

Toye Akinwunmi, Project Manager & Scrum Master​, Teacher & Consultant

With a solid foundation in Chemical Engineering and a master’s degree in Technology Innovation Management, ToyeAkinwumi is at the forefront of project management's evolution. A seasoned Project Management Professional (PMP)and Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM), Toye boasts over a decade of experience steering multifaceted projects across diverse industries, making him the ideal guide to explore the "Project Manager of the Future" in the ever-evolving landscape of business.

Toye's journey has taken him through an extensive range of industries, including consumer (retail) and industrialmarkets, engineering design, procurement, manufacturing and installation, financial services, education, professional services, non-profit, government, and the public sector. His wealth of experience serves as a testament to his adaptability and effectiveness as a project leader in the face of disruptive change.

Currently, Toye's dynamic leadership as the Manager of Project Services at Nordion has placed him in a pivotal role where he spearheads a team of dedicated Project Managers whose primary objectives are to establish and uphold impeccable project management standards; apply deep-seated project management principles and expertise toguide intricate engineering projects, all while ensuring superior customer satisfaction through effective communication, sound processes, astute judgment, and unwavering collaboration.

Beyond his corporate role, Toye is a dedicated educator, committed to nurturing the next generation of project managers and business leaders. He imparts his wisdom and expertise as a Professor and Instructor at both the St. Lawrence School of Business at St. Lawrence College and the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. His passion for mentoring is not just a profession; it's a calling that shapes the future of the project management and business fields.

As a dynamic speaker at the "PMRise 2023 - Evolve, Disrupt, Thrive." PMI OVOC Conference, Toye Akinwumi ispoised to share profound insights into what it takes to thrive as the Project Manager of the Future. His extensiveexperience and dedication to excellence make him a thought leader in the project management field. Get ready to embark on a transformative journey with Toye as he explores the evolving landscape of project management and offers a glimpse into the path ahead.

Prepare to be inspired, motivated, and equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to not just survive but thrivein the era of disruption. Join Toye Akinwumi on this exciting expedition into the future of project management.


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Empowering with Agile

How to empower, motivate, and lead social programs and social events with Agile Project management.

Maggie Ionescu-Hryhorenko PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-SP, ATP

Maggie Ionescu-Hryhorenko has over 25 years of technical and management experience in various industries. She is a PMP, PMI-ACP and PMI-SP certified professional, and her extensive knowledge in project management, system architecture, business analysis, business readiness, business intelligence, implementing PMO and governance planning has allowed her to work with multiple organizations consulting in IT and business solutions. Member of Worldwide Women’s Association. She is also an authorized training partner with PMI, an Education Manager at PMI-CTT, and the chief executive at Megabyte Consulting Limited. 

Aside from her professional work, Maggie is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community. She has engaged in charity work for women's shelters and orphanages, Social Programs (Green Care Farms) as well as animal rescue groups in Canada, Costa Rica, and other countries. Maggie credits her success to her focus, drive, and perseverance, and is always happy to connect with like minded professionals. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, raising butterflies, and mentoring and helping people. 


Email: maggie@nationalpm.net 

Website: www.megabyteltd.ca

Master the art of project presentation

Germain Aoun

Germain is a seasoned project manager, currently working with Laboratories Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada. Among his many duties there, he led investment management board and governance presentations for major infrastructure projects and programs. He is also a part-time professor in case analysis and business presentations at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa for both Undergraduate and MBA levels. He coaches individuals and teams on improving their presentation skills and overall branding. His past experiences include a sting in technology consulting and another in medical sales. 


Lessons from the audit trail - At the crossroads of internal audit and project management

Internal audit and project management are essential functions within companies and public bodies. They operate on a common foundation rooted in the principles of governance, risk and control. Internal audit (also known as internal audit, general inspection or performance audit) is an independent, objective assurance activity that brings value to organizations by assessing and proposing improvements to the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes. Project management focuses on the planning, execution and control of projects to achieve specific objectives, including the realization of benefits. Drawing on real-life audit cases from the private and public sectors, such as large-scale organizational transformation projects, IT modernization projects, and audits of project control frameworks, this session aims to shed light on issues such as: When internal audit looks at project management, what are its lines of inquiry? What does a project management audit program really look like? Why do certain problems recur in major transformation projects, even though we know exactly where the pitfalls lie? What are the situations in which project management best practices have "saved the day" for internal auditing?

Shannon Doyle d’Avout

With nearly a decade of experience in internal audit and project management within the Government of Canada, Véronique Métivier, B.A., CIA, CRMA, specializes in governance, risk management and control processes. She has made recommendations to executive committees on large-scale organizational transformations and modernizations, and on a range of investment projects where recurring themes, risks and best practices have been identified.

 A native of Welland, Canada, Shannon Doyle d'Avout, M.A., M.B.A., is Senior Manager of Internal Audit for the Government of Canada. Shannon Doyle d'Avout holds an Executive MBA in Positive and Sustainable Leadership from the IESEG School of Management in Paris, France. She has worked in the head offices of banks and insurance companies such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale and AXA as a consultant in large-scale organizational transformation.

Together, Shannon and Véronique strive to share the value and knowledge of internal auditing and help teams manage their risks, optimize their productivity and achieve results.


Panel Discussion: The Role of AI and Automation in Project Management: Opportunity or Threat?

Mariama Zhouri, PMP, RPM, CISM, CRISC, M.Sc., CAMS

Mariama Zhouri is Managing Partner of Hammersmith Consulting Group and President of PMI Montreal. She is an executive with multi-dimensional expertise and problem-solving skills. A decisive, results-oriented leader, she is adept at building strong relationships with colleagues, internal and external business partners. PMP, CISM and RPM certified, with solid experience in delivering regulatory, IT, technology risk and complex crisis management programs.

She sits on the Board of Directors of the Office des professions du Québec, which oversees the 45 professional orders. Ms. Zhouri was appointed and reappointed by the Premier of Quebec, making her the first woman from a diverse background to sit on the Board since the OPQ was created in 1973. She also chairs the Audit Committee. She was named by Radio-Canada one of Quebec's Top 15 Influencers.

Mariama Zhouri has an impressive track record in risk management and governance, as evidenced by the various positions she has held in international organizations.  She is continuing her professional evangelization on issues relating to the management of emerging risks, notably climate risk and technological and regulatory risks linked to the development of AI structured in major project and program initiatives.


Project management maturity: a utopian dream?

For us, the authors of Project Management Maturity: Improving Organizational Performance, getting better at managing projects is no utopia. It's a collaborative process whose objective can be summed up simply: to stimulate and encourage organizations of all kinds to improve their project and project management performance. This presentation is based on a recent book coordinated and co-authored by Monique Aubry. The book describes how researchers and project management specialists have come together to address the issue of maturity in project management and organizational project management. The assessment frameworks are explained for easy understanding. Finally, the presentation concludes with a few examples of findings and courses of action in Quebec organizations.

Monique Aubry

Monique Aubry Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Management at UQAM's École des sciences de la gestion. Now retired, she pursues research on two main themes: megaproject development and project management governance. In recent years, she has worked as an external consultant in project management and governance for several public organizations in Quebec. At UQAM, she is a member of the Chaire de recherche en gestion de projet and the Institut en santé et société. In 2020, she received the PMI Research Achievement Award for her career research; in 2012, she received the IPMA Research Award for her research on project offices.


When is it OK to Call Yourself a PM? A Project Management Journey

Daniel Solorio Cruz, MBA

Daniel Solorio graduated with a degree in graphic design and spent the last 15 years as a corporate creative and a Professional Photographer, notably becoming the official photographer of the Jalisco Jazz Festival for 5 straight years. Throughout his career, Daniel has been leading projects in the creative industry, both in local and international advertising. In 2021, he earned his MBA from the esteemed Universidad de Guadalajara, producing research on Media Entrepreneurship.

When is it OK to Call Yourself a PM? A Project Management Journey

Jethro Patrocinio

Project Manager, Innovation and Business Engagement, St. Lawrence CollegeDirector of Operations, Enactus St. Lawrence College
Jethro graduated with a degree in business from the Ateneo de Manila University and has spent his 7-year career in the advertising industry. He has acquired a broad range of experience in creative project management. Starting with traditional media as the account manager for the national Tuberculosis awareness campaign in the Philippines for the USAID CHANGE Project, he transitioned to digital advertising with corporate clients and has familiarized himself with social media management, customer support, and data and analytics.