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A unique blend of history, geography, people, their knowledge, and their aspirations have created trendsetting Toronto – a window into today’s Canada. Here, in one of the most diverse cities in the world, we examine the past, experience the present, and envision a global future with open minds. Open to new ways of creating, collaborating and connecting. With experts from around the globe, we will explore the cutting edge: culturally, intellectually, technologically and economically.


NOVEMBER 13, 2019


NOVEMBER 14, 2019   NOVEMBER 15, 2019 





November 13, 2019

The Global Refugee Crisis: Acting with Compassion

The current torrent of refugees is unlike anything ever seen before. Worldwide an estimated 68.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes because of persecution, war and violence. The United Nations calls it a “global crisis.”

In Toronto, a vibrantly diverse city that has welcomed thousands of displaced people, we converse with IWF members who have been refugees, and with others who are involved in compassionate strategies to address this humanitarian crisis. We learn from one another about the issues, and the solutions that we can bring to our own communities.




The Honorable Reem Abu Hassan, Former Minister of Social Development for the Government of Jordan; member of IWF Jordan

Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews, Chief Immigration Officer in the Ministry of National Security for Trinidad and Tobago; member of IWF Trinidad and Tobago


Rebekah Steele, Principal for Diversity and Inclusion Breakthroughs

Thuy Vu, Journalist, Co-Founder and President for the Global Mentor Network; member of IWF Northern California



Mellissa Fung, Journalist, storyteller and author


November 14, 2019

A Brave New World: The AI Revolution

Your data is being collected every time you buy, search, travel and post. Aggregate all this information and you have a huge repository of data that machines sift through to find patterns and learn. The result: the revolution in artificial intelligence.

But do we have enough control over what data is collected and how it is used? Are the datasets undergirding artificial intelligence representative; or are gender, racial and other biases being baked in? What are the consequences?

We ask those questions here in Canada, a leader in the international artificial intelligence arms race, and explore why the competition in AI is so intense, what’s at stake, who will win and who will lose.




Carolyn Herzog, EVP and General Counsel at Arm

Terry Hickey, SVP and Chief Analytics Officer for CIBC

Tina Moen, PharmD Chief Pharmacy Officer and Senior Deputy Chief Health Officer for IBM Watson Health


Cathy Cobey, Global Trusted AI Advisory Leader for EY Canada

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In October 2018, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize the use of recreational cannabis − moving it from the black market to the stock market. Sales are brisk. Canada’s marijuana businesses are expected to generate $7 billion in revenue this year.

Edibles, extracts, topicals and cannabis-infused beverages are being introduced into the market. As they are, regulators are weighing a range of issues, including THC content, labelling, advertising and licensing. We look at opportunities and possible obstacles in this new economic sector.




Amanda Daley, Vice President, Canada Medical for Canopy Growth

Joachim Helms, Managing Director of Retail for Green House Brands


Kristine Boyden, President of the U.S. Western Region for Edelman; IWF Leadership Foundation Fellow Alumna


Monopoly or Market Improvement?

Behemoths like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook dominate much of the business world. They are admired for their success, impact and innovation. In this virtual world of commerce, these and other companies seek to increase profit and market share by using algorithms that suggest products and services to consumers, increasing convenience but limiting choice. But as they expand their market share, a growing chorus of voices is asking whether they are doing more harm than good for consumers and whether this constitutes monopolistic behavior.




Denise Hearn, Author of “The Myth of Capitalism”

Sally Hubbard, Director of Enforcement Strategy for the Open Markets Institute

Ami Paanajärvi, Partner and Head for EU & Competition and Public Procurement Practices in Finland for Roschier; member of IWF Finland


Pattie Lovett-Reid, Chief Financial Commentator for CTV News


November 15, 2019

Women Fully Clothed

The all female sketch comedy troupe includes legendary comic actors Jayne Eastwood, Robin Duke, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek. Together since 2004, these women, “…the funniest women in Canada” (Eugene Levy), write sketch comedy shows based on their own experiences as women in today’s world. With a 24 year age range, theatre audiences around the globe readily relate with Women Fully Clothed and their sharp observations of relationships, work and play.


Inside Jokes

We all love a good joke. Scientists say laughing leads to a longer and healthier life. Business leaders say humor can be a valuable asset in the workplace.

But what is funny to one person can be offensive to another. Here in Toronto, a home of the groundbreaking The Second City comedy troupe, birthplace of famed comics John Candy and Samantha Bee, we go beyond the easy punch lines to examine the uses, boundaries and limits of humor.




Tumi Morake, South African comedian, radio and TV presenter, and author of “And Then Mama Said…”

Saskia Schuster, Controller for Comedy for ITV and founder of Comedy 50:50

Allana Harkin, Producer, Correspondent and Segment Director for “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on TBS


Caty Borum Chattoo, Executive Director for the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University

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Transitions: A Gender Discussion

The understanding of sexual identity has grown and deepened in the 45 years since IWF was founded. Today, sex and sexuality are much more widely studied and discussed.

Though societal attitudes toward gender-related issues have evolved, they vary widely. Transgender individuals – those whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth – still face violence, discrimination and family issues.

But when transgender people share their stories, understanding can grow. We will hear from the former mayor of a small Texas town who transitioned from man to woman while in office, and have a conversation with actor and writer Debra McGrath and her transgender daughter Kinley Mochrie about their family’s experience.



Keynote Remarks:

Jess Herbst, human rights advocate and Planning and Zoning Commission Chair for the Town of New Hope, Texas


Debra McGrath, Actress and writer

Kinley Mochrie, Actress and musician


 Jeanne Meserve, Moderator and speaker



Waste Not

Sometimes, a pressing global problem is an opportunity for creative solutions from unexpected places. Our planet is drowning in waste. Every minute, nearly a million plastic beverage bottles are sold around the world, and two million plastic bags are distributed. However, these trends can be reversed.

Entrepreneurs are putting their skills to good use by creating products that are a win-win: helping combat climate change while creating jobs. Global corporations, including financial institutions, are taking up the fight, proposing solutions and guiding their clients to best practices. Technologies and investments can be deployed to steer the world toward a circular economy and sustainable future. We hear from two women who are in the business of using business to solve the most vexing and pressing environmental challenges of our time.




Audrey Choi, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer for Morgan Stanley

Sarah Kauss, Founder and CEO of S’well; member of the Women’s Forum of New York


Sandy McIntosh, Executive Vice-president of People & Culture and Chief Human Resources Officer for TELUS



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2019 World Leadership Conference Sessions
International Women's Forum