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On this page you will find a description of the speakers presenting at the 2021 WGCC National Conference Sessions. 

Unpacking the Disruption of 2021
January 28, 2021

In this session, we will explore how the benchmark for GCs has evolved and delve into the effects of the trials of 2020, and end with some thoughts on skill sets that GCs would be well served to develop further to continue to be able to weather the storm effectively.


Cleo KirklandManaging Partner, Toronto & Montreal, Korn Ferry

Cleo is the Managing Partner of Korn Ferry’s Toronto and Montreal offices and is a member of the Firm’s Legal Center of Expertise. Much of Cleo’s time is spent advising leading Canadian and International law firms on succession planning, performance management, expansion and targeted lateral partner recruitment.  She also has deep experience identifying functional leaders in operations, marketing, finance, information technology and professional development for law and other professional services firms.  

Prior to joining Korn Ferry, Cleo spent five years as a director of a leading legal recruitment firm.  She is a lawyer and, before starting her career in search, she practiced commercial litigation.

Cleo holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy and music (with First Class Honours) from Queen’s University and both civil and common law degrees (with Distinction) from McGill University.  She was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2004. 



Kendra Marion, Senior Director, Assessment Services, Korn Ferry

Kendra co-leads Korn Ferry’s North American Search Assessment practice. In this role, she assesses executives and consults with clients to identify the most qualified candidates for the key roles that drive the success of their organizations. In addition to selection, Kendra leverages her psychology and assessment expertise to coach executives, offering insight and feedback, and helping them to accelerate into new positions. She is a specialist in understanding the way talent management supports organizations.  She has diverse career experience, working in the public sector as well as the private resource sector in talent management and leadership development. 

Prior to joining Korn Ferry, Kendra worked for a mining organization where she created and managed leadership development initiatives globally.  In addition, she worked for a public sector organization in talent management program development and implementation. Beyond Canada, Kendra has collaborated with colleagues in the United States, Africa, Australia, and South America to produce locally relevant programs.

Kendra holds a Master of Applied Science degree in Industrial/Organizational psychology from the University of Waterloo and an Honours B.A. in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is an ICF credentialed coach.  She is fluent in English and Portuguese, and has lived in countries on 3 continents.



Andrea Cotroneo, General Counsel & Chief Risk Officer, Capital One Bank Canada


Andrea joined Capital One Canada Bank in 2016 and is currently General Counsel and Chief Risk Officer.  In this role, she is responsible for the delivery of legal and com
pliance services, enterprise risk management, and government and regulatory relations for Capital One’s Canadian business.  At Capital One, Andrea is the executive sponsor of the company’s Women in Tech Network, a group that supports the advancement of women in the workplace by breaking down gender-specific biases and promoting equitable treatment.  Andrea is also a founding member of the company’s Diversity Council, created to foster an inclusive environment where every employee’s voice is heard and matters.  

Prior to joining Capital One, Andrea was General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA). As part of the executive team, Andrea acted as the lead legal advisor for the CBA and was responsible for the Communications function as well as the CBA’s Consumer Affairs Policy team.  Before that, she was General Counsel for Mastercard Canada, responsible for legal affairs and public policy.

Andrea is active on various legal and industry practice groups, sits on many advisory boards, and is a frequent speaker on topics related to banking and technology.  She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa law school.

 Kimberley Graham, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, CT REIT

Kimberley is Senior Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of CT REIT. With 30 years of legal experience, Ms. Graham specializes in commercial real estate, securities and corporate governance.  Ms. Graham previously served as Assistant General Counsel, Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) and Chief Counsel, CT REIT. Prior to joining CTC, Ms. Graham held increasingly senior roles within financial services, including General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary of Equitable Bank. She also practiced commercial real estate law at two national law firms. Ms. Graham was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1990, holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University and completed the Directors Education Program at the Institute of Corporate Directors at the University of Toronto.



Catherine Lau, General Counsel, MEC

Catherine leads and oversees MEC’s legal, governance, privacy, real estate and sustainability matters. She brings over 13 years of distinguished legal experience to MEC, and prior to joining MEC, Catherine was Senior Counsel at TELUS and associate at Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Finance from the University of British Columbia and a Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto. She was also Board Secretary of TELUS Victoria Community Board from 2014 to 2019. She is the co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee at MEC.  In her free time, Catherine enjoys personal training, biking, golfing and travelling with her family.

Melanie Tompkins General Counsel, The City of Saint John

Melanie obtained her LL.B. in 1997.  After articling at the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, she joined the law firm of Clark Drummie in Saint John where she practiced mainly litigation.  In 2003, Melanie joined The City of Saint John where she has held different leadership positions, including Legal and Commercial Manager for the largest municipal infrastructure project in New Brunswick's history, Legal Counsel to Saint John Water, and more recently, General Counsel for The City of Saint John.  She obtained her LL M. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2016.  She is Chair of the Law Society of New Brunswick’s Task Force, charged with the development and implementation of a new, leading edge defensible assessment program in the high stakes credentialing environment that is the granting of licenses to practice law in NB.  She is also Chair of the NB Law Society’s Examination Committee, and is a member of the NB Law Society’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee and Bar Admission Course Committee.  She is a Mentor and Facilitator for the NB Bar 200 and has led the Negotiation Chapter of the NB Bar Admission Course for some time.   She was Co-Chair of the CBA-NB Women Lawyers Forum 2018 Conference titled “Practicing Courage”, which raised funds for New Brunswick’s Indigenous Women and Girls, through a partnership with the Fergusson Foundation.  She is French Canadian, and the proud mother of two strong, exquisite children.


Embracing Ambiguity
March 4, 2021

In a time of disruption and change, the best leaders are motivated by achievement in the face of ambiguity. They have a high tolerance for ambiguity and are not paralyzed by the unknown. Learn how to lead through uncertainty.  We strive to be leaders who can guide their team through challenging times. We will discuss the key ways to thrive within ambiguity and uncertainty.  Hear from experienced leaders about how best to navigate your team through uncertainty and how to help them feel capable of managing change.


Cheryl CranFounder, NextMapping & CEO, Synthesis at Work

Cheryl Cran is a future of work expert and founder of NextMapping™ and the CEO of parent company Synthesis at Work Inc.  She is the author of 9 books including the second edition of "NextMapping - Anticipate, Navigate & Create The Future of Work"  with companion workbook.  Cheryl has been named as a #1 future of work influencer and is an international award winning consultant. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Huff Post, Metro New York, CBS, Fox News and more.

For over two decades Cheryl has built a reputation for delivering extraordinary value to clients that include AT&T, Bell Mobility, Omnitel, Gartner, British Telcomm, Manulife, as well as mid-sized companies and entrepreneurs in industries that include technology, health, agriculture, finance, insurance and more.

NextMapping™ was developed as a proprietary business solution brand that encompasses all of Cheryl’s work and research on the future of work and the leadership needed to navigate change in the workplace. It’s time to not just hear about the future but to use NextMapping™ to get there! Technology in the workplace must be used to prepare for the future with a focus on how technology can enhance outcomes for people.

The common theme of all of Cheryl’s life’s work is a ‘people first’ and digital second approach to create a more human future, helping companies to build the leadership capacity needed to ‘change the world through business.’

Leading with Agility
July 8, 2021

As organizations adapt and transform themselves to succeed in the world we live in today, their leadership must also transform. Organizations recognize the cycle has changed: innovation breeds success and continued success requires innovation.  The key? Innovation can only be acquired through agility.  Join us to hear strategies from a world renowned speaker and author followed by a guided discussion panel of experienced leaders who will share their journey on how they became agile leaders in their organization, learn from their success (and sometimes failure) so that you can inspire your team by Leading with Agility.


Dr. Michael Ungar, Founder & Director, Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University

Michael Ungar, Ph.D. is the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University. His ground-breaking work as a family therapist and resilience researcher is recognized around the world and includes consultation and training with Fortune 500 companies like Unilever and Cigna, as well as thought leaders such as the Boston Consulting Group and Canvas8. His work emphasizes how to use the theory of resilience to increase both individual and institutional agility during crises, with numerous businesses and NGOs adopting his concept of resilience as a negotiated process that enhances employee and client wellbeing and corporate social responsibility. He lives in Halifax, Canada.

Performing with Persistence
September 23, 2021

In a time of disruption and change, the best leaders continue to perform with persistence and deliver results.  They learn lessons from every crisis, becoming more resilient, making decisions faster, and leading with agility. They recognize the importance of having a diverse and inclusive workplace and fostering the well-being of their employees. They continue to perform and inspire their teams to perform in the face of disruption and ambiguity.  How do they do it?  Hear from top leaders of our frontline workers on how they continue to deliver results and perform with persistence.


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