Women in the Financial Industry - Toronto

September 18, 2019
Fairmont Royal York 100 Front St West, Toronto, Ontario M5J1E3, CA

Women in the Financial Industry

Creditworthy: navigating success as a woman in the financial industry
Across generations, women are facing unique challenges in the workforce. This year’s conference will explore common challenges and strategies for success as a woman in the financial industry. Expert speakers will take a deep dive into topics such as ending negative self-talk, taking credit where credit is due, mentorship and leadership storytelling. The event will also feature expert panels on topics including how corporations show their commitment to a diverse workforce and the experiences of women across generations.

Women in the Financial Industry will cost $249 plus tax to attend.

Register for the event in Vancouver - Single Ticket (June 3, 2019)

Register for the event in Vancouver - Table of 8 (June 3, 2019)

Register for the event in Montreal (June 5, 2019)

Women in the Financial Industry - Toronto

*Please note agenda is subject to change*


8:45-9:15 a.m.
Coffee and registration

9:15-9:20 a.m.
Opening remarks

9:20-9:45 a.m.
Icebreaker – It was the best advice, it was the worst advice
This session is a chance to network with other women in the financial industry and share the best and worst piece of career advice you’ve been given. At the end, participants will present the best and worst advice they’ve heard and submit their answers to be shared throughout the conference.

9:45-10:30 a.m.
Opening keynote: The tallest poppy

Employee satisfaction and productivity are major issues in workplace studies, and some research has focused on professional women. But very few studies have looked at the relationship women have with their co-workers and superiors and how that relationship affects not only their productivity, but their emotional and psychological well-being. The tallest poppy remedies that. It looks specifically at working women across Canada from all demographics and professions, and how their psychological health and workplace performance are affected by their interactions with both colleagues and supervisors. The results are discouraging and should be a wake-up call for companies and leaders across the country. An immediate change is needed to support women in the workplace, to encourage their accomplishments and shift the culture of toxic workplaces. This session will examine the results of the tallest poppy and include an interactive question and answer period with lead researcher, Rumeet Billan.

Rumeet Billan, chief learning architect, Viewpoint Leadership Inc.

10:30-10:45 a.m.
Networking break

10:45-11:25 a.m.
Unconscious bias and imposter syndrome: Evidence, challenges and strategies

This session will explore how to recognize and overcome unconscious bias and imposter syndrome. Going beyond anecdote, Fiona Rawle will examine data and evidence for both of these phenomena. She’ll investigate strategies for overcoming unconscious bias and imposter syndrome, and challenges inherent in doing so, drawing on examples from diverse fields, including finance, medicine, science, academia, and music.

Fiona Rawle,
associate dean, undergraduate, University of Toronto Mississauga

11:25 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Corporate commitment to women panel
In this session, business leaders will share their journeys to the top and what their workforces do to encourage more diversity. How do they build a business case that it pays to have women in senior roles? How do they navigate being some of the few women in leadership positions? Panellists will discuss strategies, policies and tactics that work and don’t work and how they think the financial industry needs to evolve to ensure more diversity- moving beyond gender to other forms of diversity as well.

To be announced

12:00-1:15 p.m.


12:45-1:15 p.m.
How Connectivity, Communication and Altruism Became the Basis of a Boutique Investment Dealership
Karen Azlen
, chief executive officer and founder, Introduction Capital

1:15-1:45 p.m.
Original research spotlight session – Creditworthy: navigating success as a woman in the financial industry
In this session, Yaelle Gang, editor of Canadian Investment Review will present original research on how people in the financial industry navigate success, with a particular focus on the experiences of women. The research covers topics ranging from negative self-talk, taking credit for a job well done, receiving feedback, mentorship and navigating leave. It will also dig into people’s views on career progression. Drawing on the responses of hundreds of women and men from both the retail and institutional sides of the financial industry, this research will provide a snapshot of what it’s like to work in finance in 2019.  

Yaelle Gang, editor, Canadian Investment Review


1:45-2:30 pm.
Leadership storytelling fireside chat
Storytelling is an essential tool that leaders can use to share their experiences and help build a culture in their workplace. They can also share experiences and lessons learn. In this fireside chat, hear about the paths that successful women in finance have taken to the rise to the top, including their tales of defeat and triumph along the way.

Shoghig Kulidjian
, director, institutional sales canada institutional, Russell Investments Canada Limited
Daniela Tixi, chief executive officer of strategic HR asset and the president of the Toronto chapter, M&A Club of Canada
Sue McNamara, vice president, fixed income, Beutel Goodman Investments
Tuula Jalasjaa
, managing director and head, HollisWeath

2:30-2:45 p.m.
Networking break

2:45-3:30 p.m.
Women in finance – across generations
In this session, panellists from multiple generations will discuss their experiences working as women in the financial industry. What challenges do women starting out face? How do people navigate leaving and coming back from parental leave? And what advice do those in later stages of their career have for those just starting out? In this panel, you’ll hear it all based on first-hand experience.

Nicole Dason
, director, business transformation, enterprise process management, client connectivity and innovation, CIBC
Catherine Heath
, vice-president, portfolio manager, Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd.

3:30 p.m.
Closing remarks and cocktails

Women in the Financial Industry

Women in the Financial Industry - Speakers KEYNOTE SPEAKERS


Rumeet Billan

Rumeet Billan

Rumeet Billan is an award-winning, internationally recognized entrepreneur, learning architect, speaker, author and humanitarian. Her mission is to raise potential by designing experiences that build resilience. Billan is the president and chief executive officer of Viewpoint Leadership and an expert on psychological capital and resilience. She completed her doctorate at the University of Toronto and has designed and facilitated programs, courses and training sessions across industries and sectors. She led the groundbreaking national research study on the tall poppy syndrome, which reveals the impact of the silent systemic syndrome on women in the workplace and is the national ambassador for Not Myself Today, an initiative of the Canadian Mental Health Association that aims to transform workplace cultures. Recently, she released her first bestselling book, Who Do I Want To Become?, designed for children and adults who are struggling with the question of what they want to be when they grow up.



Fiona Rawle

Fiona Rawle

Fiona Rawle has a doctorate in pathology and molecular medicine and is the associate dean, undergraduate, at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and an associate professor, teaching stream, in the department of biology. Her research focuses on public communication of science, science education and the science of learning. She has received numerous awards focused on teaching, including the University of Toronto’s President’s Teaching Award. Rawle is also a member of the University of Toronto’s Toronto Initiative for Diversity & Excellence group, through which she gives lectures and workshops on unconscious bias, equity and diversity.




Karen Azlen

Karen Azlen

Karen Azlen founded Introduction Capital in 2004 after recognizing what little exposure Canadian Alternative Investment managers had in the international sphere.  The firm is registered as an Exempt Market Dealer and was created with the vision to bridge the Canadian hedge fund market to global investors. The firm’s offerings have blossomed well beyond hedge funds and it currently attracts a full range of alternative asset managers and private opportunities seeking sophisticated capital. In 2008, Azlen established Introduction Capital’s Canadian Dealer Business which assists its clientele of high-pedigree managers from around the world with navigating their regulatory obligations in Canada. In 2011, Azlen founded the Canadian Alternative Investment Forum (CAIF) and it continues to be a leading and influential conference that attracts expert speakers, industry professionals and sophisticated investor attendees. For over 20 years, Azlen has been building longstanding and purposeful relationships with alternative investment managers, industry professionals, individual investors, family offices, wealth advisors and institutions. She also coined the phrase “relationship broker” from which the trademarked “the art of relationship brokering” came to be Introduction Capital’s tag line. Azlen’s ongoing interests in relationship dynamics and communication excellence led her to complete her clinical training in Imago Relationship Theory and she is certified as an Imago Educator. Azlen has also completed her training with the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC) and is certified as an Energy Leadership Master Coach & Practitioner.



Tuula Jalasjaa

Tuula Jalasjaa is a financial services and wealth management senior executive spanning 23 years successfully managing various retail, commercial and corporate businesses for a major Canadian financial institution. She has run several key wealth management businesses including HollisWealth, Scotia Private Investment Counsel and Institutional Investment management distribution and Scotia Asset Management U.S. She has pioneered and led a number of advancement of women initiatives throughout her career and is a tremendous advocate for achieving more diversity in business for women and raising the number of female leaders and board directors. She is also passionate about empowering women with their finances and financial futures with a keen focus on increasing female financial literacy rates around the globe. To this end, she recently founded The Women’s Collection to empower Canadian women to make sound financial choices. The program uses a combination of “education, networking, tools, and resources” as well as a digital investment platform (a.k.a. robo-advisor) “designed for women, by women.” She is also working with senior leaders to help shape and guide the strategic direction of wealth management in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. Jalasjaa holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto. She has also earned the ICD designation from the Rotman School of Management Corporate Directors Program.


Shoghig Kulidjian

Catherine Heath

Shoghig Kulidjian is director of institutional sales for Russell Investments Canada Limited (RICL). In this role, Kulidjian is responsible to develop, promote, and implement customized solutions for a wide range of institutional clients. This includes advice, traditional and alternative investments and implementation services. Kulidjian has over 24 years of experience in the financial industry in Asset Management, Custody, Capital Markets and Private Wealth. Prior to joining RICL, Kulidjian was executive director of equity markets at CIBC World Markets where she held a variety of leadership roles. Prior to CIBC, Kulidjian also held various leadership roles at RBC Capital Markets as well as RBC Dexia, where she was the head of Transition Management and Commission Recapture. She is active with Women in Capital Markets and is currently the co-chair of Woman in Leadership. She is also the head fundraiser for Santa Comes to Bay Street - a charity that provides personalized gifts over the holiday season to over 1700 individuals in need living in Toronto.


Catherine Heath

Catherine Heath

Catherine Heath is a vice-president and portfolio manager at Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel in Vancouver. Heath's career at Leith Wheeler spans almost 20 years, most of which was on the institutional fixed income desk responsible for strategy, trading, and analysis of fixed income portfolios for both pension and private clients. Over the latter part of her career, Heath's role has expanded to include the portfolio management and client servicing to many of Leith Wheeler's institutional clients. Heath has a joint bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Simon Fraser University and holds the chartered financial analyst designation. Heath is a co-founder of the Vancouver chapter of Women in Capital Markets, is a member of the Portfolio Review Committee for the Beedie Endowment Asset Management program at Simon Fraser University, and sits on the Simon Fraser University Business Dean's advisory board. Heath is a member and past president of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society Vancouver.



More speakers to be posted shortly.

Event Location

The Women in the Financial Industry, Toronto, will take place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, set in the heart of downtown.

Visit the Fairmont Royal York website for more information


100 Front St W, Toronto
ON M5J 1E3
(416) 368-2511



With further inquiries about event logistics, please contact Wendy Morrison, Conference Editor.

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