Future Skills Council Membership
Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada
Denise was appointed in 2013 as President/CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada, the voice of Canada’s colleges, institutes, CEGEPs and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment in over 25 countries.
She was the President/CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, a federal crown corporation.
Denise has worked as Assistant Deputy Minister at the federal level in her last three roles. She worked in policy and programs in social, scientific, economic and cultural areas both in National Headquarters and in regions in several federal departments including Human Resources Development Canada, National Defence, Natural Resources Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Canadian Heritage, and the Public Service Commission and the Canada Public Service Agency. She also worked as an administrator for the Department of Education of the Northwest Territories (NWT) and taught in Ontario, Quebec and the NWT.
Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer, D2L
Jeremy drives company-level strategy within D2L, and provides executive leadership of mergers and acquisitions, government relations and public affairs, D2L Labs, IP Strategy and philanthropy.
Jeremy has been actively involved in starting and running transformative tech companies for over 20 years and was part of the founding team at D2L. Over the last 18 years, Jeremy has served as the COO and CTO and continues to take a leadership role in driving the organization’s success as Chief Strategy Officer.
Jeremy participates in a number of boards, including serving as Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Board for the City of Kitchener, a board member for the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a national board member for ITAC – Canada’s IT association, and a number of other for-profit and not-for-profit boards.
Jeremy has an Honours B.Math in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Science in Management from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Judy Fairburn, Board Director, Calgary Economic Development
Ms. Fairburn is an experienced Board Director, Chair and C-suite business executive with a passion for innovation and enabling Alberta’s future.
She currently sits on corporate, entrepreneurial, crown and public policy boards, including Calgary Economic Development. She is a Fellow of the Creative Destruction Lab and a member of the Resources of the Future Economic Strategy Table with a focus on innovation and future skills.
Ms. Fairburn has over 30 years of diverse executive experience in the digital sector, public policy, strategy, partnerships, operations, safety, environmental issues and engineering. She retired recently as the first Chief Digital Officer and EVP Business Innovation of a Canadian energy company. She also led substantial change as Board Chair of Alberta Innovates, the Alberta government entity focused on innovation in the health, energy, agriculture and digital sectors.
Ms. Fairburn holds an MSc degree (Chemical Engineering) from the University of Calgary and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Thierry Karsenti, Professor, Université de Montréal and Director, Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante
Thierry Karsenti is the director of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante (CRIFPE). He holds the Canada Research Chair on information and communication technologies in education and is a full professor in the Université de Montréal’s faculty of education.
During his career, he has published more than 25 books and 250 scholarly papers related to IT in education. A member of the Royal Society of Canada, his accomplishments have been recognized by numerous national and international prizes including the Award for Excellence in Pedagogical Conception from the Canadian Association for Distance Education, two Trophées du numérique, the Whitworth Award and the International E-Learning Award.
He has worked for more than 25 years in the field of digital learning. In addition to his many North American research projects, he has completed several digital research projects in Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
Lisa Langevin, Assistant Business Manager, Local 213 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Lisa Langevin is an Assistant Business Manager for Local 213 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), based in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. She received her BA in Psychology and worked as a coordinator for a behavioural program until burn out began to set in and she changed careers to become an electrician. She is a passionate advocate for making trades more accessible to women. She was a founding member of both the IBEW 213 and BC IBEW Women’s Committees, as well as the national and the provincial chapters of Build Together – Women of the Building Trades. She helped form, and is currently the president of, the BC Tradeswomen Society. In addition to serving on the Governance Committee for the BC Centre for Women in the Trades, she is also a board member of the Industry Training Authority in British Columbia.
Mike Luff, National Representative, Canadian Labour Congress
Mike Luff is a National Representative in the Political Action and Campaigns Department at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The CLC is the national voice of the labour movement in Canada, representing 3.3 million workers.
Mike has over 18 years’ experience working with unions in Canada and internationally on a range of public policy issues including education, workplace training, apprenticeship, adult literacy and learning, labour mobility, health care and public service delivery. Mike graduated with a Masters degree in public policy and administration from Carleton University.
Dr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald, President and CEO, Holland College
Dr. MacDonald is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Holland College in Prince Edward Island. Prior to 2019, Dr. MacDonald served in the roles of Vice President, Academic and Applied Research at Holland College from 2015 to 2018, Deputy Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development from 2010 to 2015, and Deputy Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning in 2015. He has contributed to the development of innovative educational policy and administrative excellence provincially, nationally and internationally.
Dr. MacDonald holds a Ph.D. in Educational and Counseling Psychology from McGill University, a Masters degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Alberta, a Bachelor degree in Special Education from Memorial University, and Bachelor degrees in Secondary Education and Arts from the University of Prince Edward Island.
Dr. MacDonald is active in numerous organizations including the Holland College Board of Governors, Atlantic Provinces Atlantique, PEI Bio-Alliance, the University of Prince Edward Island Board of Governors and Innovation PEI.
Gladys Okine, Executive Director, First Work: Ontario’s Youth Employment Network
Gladys Okine is an award-winning workforce strategist, community development leader and master connector who thrives on leading complex change processes.
Her career spans 17 years of guiding organizations to scale and enhance services to vulnerable populations. Since 2001, Gladys has made critical contributions to the employment and charitable services sector, advancing enhancements to program design and delivery, government relations, corporate partnership development, sector capacity building and policy development.
Over the years, she’s held several progressive strategic leadership positions with leading organizations including WoodGreen Community Services, Toronto Community Housing, Goodwill Industries and First Work: Ontario’s Youth Employment Network.
Gladys also serves as an Advisor to several initiatives including the Canadian Coalition for Community-Based Employment Training and MaRS Tech Talent Strategy.
Most recently, Gladys was named an Aspen Institute Sector Skills Academy Fellow after having completed the Aspen-Metcalf Toronto Sector Skills Academy Program.
Her latest initiative is the Council for Youth Prosperity, a pan-Canadian advisory formed to lead the development of a robust youth workforce development system for Canada.
Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO and Co-Founder, Canada Learning Code
Melissa Sariffodeen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Canada Learning Code. She is a celebrated digital literacy advocate who is dedicated to ensuring that women and youth have the critical skills, confidence and opportunities that they need to thrive in our increasingly digital world. She is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business and is currently pursuing her Masters in Education Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She taught herself how to build websites from scratch using HTML when she was 11 years old and has been coding ever since.
Kerry Smith, Senior Director, Manitoba Métis Federation
Through a combination of education and experience, Kerry has developed a strong foundation for assisting Indigenous people and families pursue greater opportunities.
For the past 20 years Kerry has been working with the Manitoba Metis Federation leading the areas of skills training, employment creation through economic development, youth development and education. Currently she leads a province-wide employment and training department with over 60 staff and an annual budget of over $14 million.
Kerry and her team have assisted over 30,000 Metis people achieve their training and employment goals including engaging thousands of Metis youth in summer employment, career decision making, continued education and leadership activities.
Over the years, Kerry has been part of the national negotiations for Indigenous strategies that enhance the lives of the Metis. Most recently, she has participated in the development of several national strategies for education, early learning and child care, and housing.
Michelle Snow, Assistant Deputy Minister, Workforce Development, Labour and Immigration, Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour
Michelle Snow joined the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2009 as the Director of Energy Efficiency with the Department of Natural Resources and has since held the position of Director with the Rural Secretariat, Office of Public Engagement and the Communications and Public Engagement Branch of Executive Council. She just recently completed a special assignment with the Department of Natural Resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and certificates in Public Administration and Newfoundland Studies from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University. Prior to joining the provincial public service Michelle held several positions with Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Michelle is an alumni of the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and is the Newfoundland and Labrador NL Study Chair for the upcoming 2020 Conference.
Michelle has over 20 years of project and event management experience. With experiences in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, her professional and volunteer career has revolved around a core value of public service. A dedicated volunteer for over 22 years, she is the Chairperson of the Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Chapter of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and currently serves as Board Treasurer for the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).
David Ticoll, Chair, National Stakeholder Advisory Panel, Labour Market Information Council; Special Advisor, Talent, Information Technology Association of Canada; Distinguished Fellow, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
David Ticoll focuses on the business, policy and social implications of emerging technologies. He has conducted labour market research, policy and program innovation since 2003.
David’s priority at the Labour Market Information Council is ensuring that relevant, reliable labour market information is accessible to diverse end-user stakeholders. He also investigates the future of work in the context of technology and business innovation.
With Information Technology Association of Canada talent, David is developing a strategy for undergraduate-level artificial intelligence education. Previously he led the creation and rollout of Business Technology Management, a degree certificate program now in 30 post-secondary institutions across Canada.
David has led several entrepreneurial thought leadership initiatives. His co-authored business books include Digital Capital: Harnessing the Power of Business Webs (Harvard Business School Press, 2000).
Dr. Paulette Tremblay, Chief Executive Officer, Assembly of First Nations
Dr. Tremblay is Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in southern Ontario. Having a long and distinguished career in education and administration, currently she is the Chief Executive Officer of the Assembly of First Nations. She was the Vice President of Education and Training for the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada, overseeing the design, development, delivery and maintenance of certification programs in finance and administration and professional development workshops, and participated in education research projects. She was the former Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Purdy Crawford Chair for Aboriginal Business at Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, and is currently an Associate Professor at Six Nations Polytechnic Institute and a member of the Financial Literacy Working Group for Indigenous Peoples with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. Dr. Tremblay was honoured to receive the prestigious Indspire Award for Education in 2015.
Valerie Walker, Executive Director, Business/Higher Education Roundtable
Val Walker leads the Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER). Made up of the heads of Canadian companies, universities and colleges, BHER works to support young Canadians as they transition from education to the workplace, strengthen research collaboration between industry and institutions, and help Canadian employers and workers as they adapt to the economy of the future.
Beyond this work, Val consults and advises government officials, academics and private-sector leaders on changing trends in training and skill development and speaks regularly on innovation and talent.
Prior to taking over BEHR, Val was the Director of Policy at Mitacs. She holds a PhD from McGill University and is an alumna of the Government of Canada’s Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program.
Rachel Wernick, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Skills and Employment Branch, Employment and Social Development Canada, Government of Canada
Rachel Wernick was appointed Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch (SEB), at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) on November 20, 2017. She was previously Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of SEB at ESDC.
Before joining ESDC, Rachel was Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, Planning and Corporate Affairs, at Canadian Heritage. Prior to this, Rachel held a variety of progressively challenging policy and program positions within several Government of Canada departments, including the Privy Council Office, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat within Public Works and Government Services Canada.
Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from McGill University and a Graduate Diploma in International Development and Cooperation from the University of Ottawa. Following her graduate studies, Rachel worked with several international development organizations, including two years working in a Vietnamese refugee camp in Malaysia.
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