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Transforming The General Counsel Office: Where Do You Start, What Should You Know, Presented by Paula Pepin

Paula Pepin, LL.B., MBA Paula is a Professional Certified Coach to General Counsel and the Founder of LexGO Inc., a boutique consulting firm that drives transformation and scaling of in-house legal departments. Prior to LexGO, Paula held several executive roles leading both Legal and HR functions through scale and transformation. Most recently, Paula served as Senior Vice-President and Head of Legal at Hootsuite, the most widely used social media relationship platform, where she led the strategic expansion of Hootsuite’s legal team, workforce, and offices as it grew to a social media platform with 18 million users in 175 countries. Paula holds an LLB from Laval University, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa, and recently became a Certified Professional Coach through the College of Executive

Tales of Transformation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Presented by Julie Han, Ratika Gandhi, Cinda Serianni

Ratika Gandhi is currently the Head of Legal and Compliance of Alcon Canada Inc., an evolving medical device company with a mission to help patients see more brilliantly. In addition to overseeing all legal and compliance issues for this organization within a complex industry, she is an active member of the Senior Leadership Team, assisting with strategic decision-making and corporate risk analysis. Her approach has always been to be a collaborative but proactive legal advisor, providing risk-management advice and embedding principles of sound corporate governance. Ratika has repeatedly trained other executive members on fiduciary duties, employment law considerations, best practices from a diversity and inclusion standpoint and compliance issues.

Ratika is a champion of a “Tone from the Top” culture and work to instill principles of integrity and collaboration to facilitate strong performance results. She is also currently the legal project lead on Alcon’s global transformation initiative called “Rethinking Contracts.” She has spearheaded four work streams aimed to redefine how the entire organization engages with third parties, including lead a team of international lawyers, procurement specialists, IT associates and commercial representatives to: 1) implement a new global contracting policy: 2) generate global legal templates: 3) find and execute simplification opportunities; and 4) select and support the implementation a new global contract management system. Ratika is also Alcon Canada’s Diversity and Inclusion co-lead, working with a local D&I committee to help deliver on the organization’s D&I mandate.

Ratika began her legal career at McMillan LLP as an associate in the Business Law Group and in addition to working on core commercial and transactional matters, she developed an expertise in health and regulatory law. Ratika was a finalist for the Canadian General Counsel Association’s Tomorrow’s Leader Award in 2019 and is an active board member of the Women General Counsel Canada (WGCC). She was also part of WGCC’s inaugural General Counsel University cohort, receiving her GCU certification.

Cinda Serianni is Associate General Counsel, Legal Affairs for Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc. and member of the Canadian Leadership Team.  Working in the pharmaceutical industry for over 18 years, Cinda is used to wearing multiple hats.  She oversees Gilead Canada’s legal activities and policies, as well as ethics and compliance.  She provides strategic and tactical legal advice to senior management, global colleagues and business clients, in a manner which furthers the company’s strategic objectives, while at the same time meets the company’s legal and compliance obligations. Cinda is the executive sponsor for employee resource groups, Women at Gilead, and the Recognition and Celebration Committee.

Cinda joined Gilead in 2008, leaving GlaxoSmithKline Inc.  where she was legal counsel. Prior to her move in-house, Cinda was a litigator in Toronto, and St. Catharines, Ontario.  Cinda has also been an instructor and course developer for Niagara College with a focus on adult learners.  She has a passion for training and making compliance fun!  She has written numerous legal articles and spoken at various programs throughout the country and abroad.  Cinda has sat on a number of Boards including the Niagara Centre for Youth Care, and was appointed Governor for Niagara College. 

Cinda received a LL.B degree from the University of Windsor and a B.A. from the University of Toronto. She and her husband have two hockey loving girls. Cinda is passionate about mentoring others in all types of careers and from all walks of life.  In her free time, you can find her cheering from the sidelines in cold arenas, cooking up a storm, or with a ball of yarn and a glass of wine.

Julie Han, As co-head of McMillan’s Construction & Infrastructure Industry Group and a member of the Financial Services Group, Julie’s practice focuses on project finance, including the financing and structuring of public infrastructure projects.  As a respected and trusted advisor to some of the largest and most established contractors, investors and financers of infrastructure assets in Canada, Julie has extensive experience across all asset classes, including rail, highways, bridges, water and waste water, hospitals and universities. Julie is recognized by her peers and clients as a leading infrastructure and project finance lawyer in Chambers Canada, Lexpert and Best Lawyers. 

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