Women in Leadership

March 8, 2021 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm America/Toronto Timezone
Zoom Webinar

This lunchtime webinar brings together women graduates from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies who are currently in leadership roles, to share their career journeys with you. Join us as we discuss their path to success and hear valuable advice and insights. Hosted by Associate Dean, Students, Michele Johnson. Includes Q&A session.


Carolyn Clark's headshot

Carolyn Clark

• Carolyn Clark, BA, Sociology 1985, Hospitality Human Resources Executive (Retired)

Clark’s extensive career in the hospitality industry spanned over 40 years. She held various senior positions with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts since 1974 including vice president, human resources, and executive director, human resources. Clark was promoted as senior vice president, human resources in 2005 and in 2015 Clark was appointed SVP, talent & culture, North & Central America, Accor. In this position Clark had responsibility for all aspects of human resources for all brands in the North & Central America region until her retirement in June 2018. Clark was awarded the Educator of the Year at the Ontario Hostelry Institute Gold Awards. Additionally, she was granted an Honorary Degree in Hospitality Operations Management from the Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts, George Brown College. Clark was recognized with the 2015 Human Resources Award from the Hotel Association of Canada and inducted into its Hall of Fame. In 2020, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cornell HR and Hospitality Conference. Clark graduated from York University with a BA in Sociology. Her past affiliations included member, American Hotel & Lodging Association Human Resource Committee, Council of Human Resources Executives, Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council and the Board of Directors, Canadian Hospitality Foundation. Clark is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the Women in Tourism and Hospitality Organization (WITH). She is also a volunteer member of Dress for Success Professional Women’s Development Group, which empowers women to transition back to the workplace.

Diane Flanagan headshot

Diane Flanagan

• Diane Flanagan, BA, Sociology 1996, Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Communication at Intact Financial Corporation

Flanagan is a senior public affairs and corporate communications professional with more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sector. Flanagan is currently vice president, corporate affairs and communications at Intact Financial Corporation, Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer and a leading specialty insurer in North America. She leads a team with a mandate for internal and external communications, government relations and social impact. Prior to Intact, she held several roles at Scotiabank including as vice president, corporate communications, where she built integrated external and internal communications strategies. Flanagan was involved in a wide range of issues and frequently acted as the bank’s spokesperson. Flanagan has held senior roles in the Ontario government including as press secretary, director of communications, and chief of staff to the Minister of Finance. She also spent three years at Infrastructure Ontario as vice president of the nuclear procurement project and vice president, technology project delivery. Flanagan is a graduate of York University and lives in Toronto.

Erin Elofson Headshot

Erin Elofson

• Erin Elofson, MA, Communication & Culture 2008, Head of Canada, Australia and New Zealand at Pinterest

Elofson (@eelofson1099) leads the Canada, Australia and New Zealand region at Pinterest. More than 400 million people use Pinterest each month to plan their futures, and Pinterest's mission to inspire people to create lives they love has never been more relevant. Erin and her organization are passionate about partnering with international business leaders to discover how Pinterest can help them meet their ambitious business goals.

Elofson was formerly the national lead for the financial services, technology and media, and travel and tourism verticals at Facebook Canada (and acting lead of the CPG and automotive verticals). Elofson led an organization of teams that developed innovative partnerships with Canada’s leading companies to grow their businesses domestically and internationally. Prior to Facebook, Elofson led Microsoft's partnership with BMO Financial Group. She also led the transformation of Microsoft Canada’s national partnership with HP Canada, spanning both organizations’ respective software, hardware, and consulting businesses. Elofson also has a significant track record in product management across many infrastructure and productivity technology portfolios.

Elofson currently serves on the WildBrain Board of Directors, formerly DHX Media Ltd. WildBrain makes content for kids and families and has approximately 13,000 half-hours of filmed entertainment in their library – one of the world’s most extensive. Elofson is also on the Visa Canada Advisory Board and the CAMH Foundation Cabinet Committee. In 2008, Elofson earned an M.A. at York University with a specialization in Technology in Practice, completing a thesis on media choice theory.

Laura Cannone Headshot

Laura Cannone

• Laura Cannone, BA, Sociology 2004, Co-Founder and CEO at The GG Media Group & Glama Gal Kids Spa Franchise

Cannone is one half of the social media dynamic duo - The GG Sisters. She is one of the co- founders of The Glama Gal Kids Spa franchise, which launched back in 2006. Cannone started her entrepreneurial journey out of her parent’s basement, with an $80 investment in some children’s bathrobes, nail polish, and bath bombs. Today Glama Gal Kids Spa is a well-known brand, with multiple franchised and virtual locations across Ontario. With her business growing and thriving, in 2015 Cannone along with her sister, saw a need to share the real behind scenes look at the life of franchisors, entrepreneurs, and moms. Laura and Josie created The GG Sisters social media channels, showing followers glimpses of their daily family and entrepreneur life. In 2019 Cannone took all of her entrepreneurial knowledge, customer service acumen, and social media savviness, and launched The GG Media Group, which is a multifaceted social media company.

Cannone has been featured by national news outlets such as the National Post, Toronto Star, Global Morning Show, Breakfast Television Toronto, and CP24. Cannone has been a sought-after speaker and has shared their knowledge at multiple conferences, events, and workshops. Whether it is learning the newest social media trends, building an engaging online community or tips for an easy pizza dough recipe, Cannone always strives to be a trusted source of advice and leadership for her online community.

Nimi Nanji-Simard Headshot

Nimi Nanji-Simard

• Nimi Nanji-Simard, BSW Social Work 1993, Founder & Chief Scarf Lover at Niminimi Designs Inc

Founded with the belief that design can influence social behaviour and understanding of universal global issues, Niminimi Designs Inc (NND) created collaborations with organizations like the UNHCR and UNICEF to raise funds through scarf sales. In addition, a key area of focus is the development of corporate gifting, employee rewards and recognition gifts, as well as, custom designs. Clients include Bombardier, TVOntario, TransUnion, Tourisme Montreal. B to C, direct to consumer sales is active through the NimiNimi website. Achievements include being nominated for the Impact Award by the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards 2018, a nomination for Rising Star Award by WBE, Women Business Awards.

Tina Powell Headshot

Tina Powell

• Tina Powell, BCom 1989, Board of Director and Marketing & Communications Co-Chair at Zonta Club of Oakville

Powell is a nationally published journalist, an award-winning communicator, and a bestselling children’s author. She has her Master of Communication Management from the University of Southern California, a Bachelor of Commerce from York University, and an English degree from McMaster University. She is a board member and the marketing and communications co-chair of the Zonta Club of Oakville, a group committed to the advancement of the status of women through advocacy and service. She is the recipient of the Mississauga Emerging Literary Arts Award, an inductee into the Sheridan College Business Hall of Fame, and a McMaster University Arch Award recipient. Powell recently received a certificate of recognition from the Government of Ontario for her significant contribution to children’s literature. Powell is the author of Freddy and the Blue Jays, featuring the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and her children’s book, Fernando’s Fun-tastic Friends, was selected by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre as one of the best books for kids and teens. Her picture book If You Could See What I See, was written in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and raised $58,000 for the Canadian Red Cross USA Appeal. This powerful book was illustrated by Canadian children and was accepted into the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York city. Powell’s editorial writing has appeared in Canadian Business Magazine, the Toronto Star, Canadian Health and Lifestyle, and others. She lives in Oakville, Ont. with her husband, Randy, and her rescue beagle, Kota.

To register for this event, click here.