Breakout Sessions

AIMCO: Getting The Most Lemon For Your Squeeze – How To Make The Most Of Your Internship

Friday, March 12, 2021
10:00 - 11:00 AM MST | 12:00 - 1:00 PM EST

Navigating the experience of internships can be daunting. Steering the new environment, creating a relationship with your new boss and learning the new job; it's all intimidating! This is a guide for the first few years of navigating the workforce (both as an intern and a recent grad). Some of these stories are about the basic realities of the corporate world. Others are about creating the best possible experience and bouncing back when things don't go right.

Ishani Vashist

HR Associate

Alberta Investment Management Corporation

Ishani Vashisht is a Human Resources Associate at Alberta Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada's largest Investment Managers. 

Outside of work, she is a project lead for Apricity, a local collective of community change makers who are passionate about the Edmonton community. Her role is to liaise with their partner charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters and create strategic initiatives that raise awareness and funds for the at risk youth community. 


Ishani holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree University of Alberta and a Certificate in Interdisciplinary Leadership from the Peter Lougheed Leadership College.

Crescent Point Energy: Navigating Change in Work and Life

Friday, March 12, 2021
10:00 - 11:00 AM MST | 12:00 - 1:00 PM EST

The last several months have been a year of rapid change, which has made both work and life difficult to navigate for many. Come join Stephanie and Shelly from Crescent Point Energy as they explore actionable ways to not only manage change in our everyday lives, but also, how to embrace it.

Shelly Whitwer

Vice President Business Development Crescent Point Energy

Shelly Witwer is Crescent Point’s Vice President, Business Development, a role she has held since 2019. Since joining the company in 2007, she has held a number of senior management roles, including Vice President, Land. Ms. Witwer has over 18 years of experience in land and business development roles, having worked with companies such as BP Energy, Burlington Resources and Bear Ridge Resources.


Ms. Witwer is a member of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen and the Petroleum and Acquisition Divestment Association. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Energy Economics from the University of Calgary.

Stephanie Gawlinski

Director, Supply Chain Management Crescent Point Energy

As the Director of Supply Chain Management, Stephanie Gawlinski oversees Crescent Point Energy’s Procurement, Contract, Materials Management, Cost Control and E-Invoicing Departments and a team of approximately 35 people. Her typical day is never really typical. A regular day may include meetings with vendors, cost analysis and negotiations on pricing, contract reviews or historical audits on work completed.


Known for her strong leadership skills and work ethic, Ms. Gawlinski has progressed her career with this oil and gas company over the course of 15 years from a Senior Financial Accountant to doing all of the financial reporting to the Manager of Capital Accounting Operations Accounting. Prior to joining Crescent Point, she was a Manager in Deloitte’s audit and assurance practice. Ms. Gawlinski’s career path is the result of perseverance and relentless focus.


Ms. Gawlinski holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting and a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant and belongs to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta.She is a passionate and engaged mother of two young boys and strives to be the best role model
she can for them. She cherishes the moments she can reconnect with her love of soccer and watch her children play and grow.

About Crescent Point Energy

Crescent Point Energy is a leading North American oil producer focused on the sustainable development of high-quality assets, delivering strong returns and maintaining and improving our balance sheet strength. We believe passionately in the power of our purpose statement, “Bringing energy to our world – the right way.” It is our role to satisfy global demand for responsibly developed energy with environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards being top of mind. Our relationships with the communities in which we live and operate in have always been a priority for us. Since our inception in 2001, over $30 million and thousands of volunteer hours have been committed to communities across our operating areas.


We proudly support three main pillars within our community investment strategy: 

  • Education 

  • Health, Safety & Environment 

  • Community Infrastructure

CWB: Ways to Advance in Your Career

Friday, March 12, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MST | 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST

Vanessa Noga, Vice President of Credit Support Operations and Business Transformation at Canada Western Bank, is going to be sharing her experiences and discuss different ways to advance in your career.

Vanessa Noga

Vice President, Credit Support Operations and Business Transformation, Canadian Western Bank


Co-Founder and Chair, CWB Women


Co-Chair, Edmonton Women in Finance

Vanessa joined Canadian Western Bank in 2015, following 25 years with RBC in Toronto and Vancouver.  Recently appointed to head up the bank’s Credit Support Operations, Vanessa is responsible for 90% of all loan activity across CWB Financial Group for a portfolio in excess of $17 Billion.  She leads three regional centres and two national departments, collectively representing 10% of the bank’s workforce.


Throughout her career, Vanessa has sought out interesting and challenging roles to help business clients achieve success.  This has included roles in sales leadership, direct relationship management, risk management, operations, portfolio management and corporate finance.  She has found ways to add value and engage people through involvement in unique projects, and has established important initiatives both internally and externally to support the development of women in finance.  


Vanessa holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, is a graduate of Leadership Vancouver, and enjoys teaching her two young daughters the importance of giving back to the community.

EY: Finding Your Purpose

Friday, March 12, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM MST | 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST

As an undergraduate student, it’s not uncommon to lose a sense of direction of which learning or career path you wish to pursue. Sometimes all it takes is a small reset to help gain a clear focus of your life goals. Carla Madra from Ernst & Young LLP shares how to find your purpose in life and become the person you want to be. 

Carla Madra, CPA, CA

Partner, Ernst & Young LLP 

Assurance and Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS)

Carla is a Partner with the Edmonton office of Ernst & Young LLP (“EY”). Carla is the Edmonton office leader of the Financial Accounting Advisory Services practice within the Assurance practice. In addition, Carla is the EY Edmonton People Leader and Chairs the office’s Professional Women’s Network. 


Prior to joining EY in 2013, Carla spent 12 years with another big 4 accounting firm and subsequently led the finance and human resources teams as the Director of Finance at an Edmonton based private company that provided workplace drug and alcohol testing services across Canada. 


Carla is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and obtained her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta in 2001. 


Carla is passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteer with many local organizations. Carla is currently the Chair of the Board of Governors of NorQuest College and is a member of the Board of Directors of STARS. In addition, Carla has fulfilled two three-year terms, with the Mental Health Foundation as the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees and she also chaired the Foundation’s Audit & Investment Committee.


Carla resides in Edmonton with her husband Don and their daughter Alex. Together the Madra family enjoys skiing, golf and travel.

Fidelity: How to Rewire the Connection - Making the Most of a Virtual Career

Friday, March 12, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM MST | 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST

In this breakout session, the speakers will go over overcoming challenges in a client facing role, how to keep networking going internally and externally for career advancement, pros and cons to a virtual world and how to prepare and how to maintain and strengthen relationships virtually.

Kate is a steward of service, focused on initiating and maintaining strong working relationships with financial advisors to enhance the end-in- vestor experience and further Fidelity’s market penetration.

Kate’s previous work experience at Tesla Motors fueled her passion for sales, while working at Scotia McLeod honed her financial acumen. Kate’s roles at Fidelity Investments marry the two: sales and finance.


In her spare time, Kate is dedicated to mento- ring youth. Kate volunteers with The Calgary John Howard Society as a mentor to Indigenous youth, with a focus on sourcing cultural liaisons

Kate Bako

Regional Manager

Fidelity Investments

Jill is a Business Development Manager at Fidelity. Her main objective is to drive net sales through the distribution of Fidelity products, such as mutual funds and ETFs, to Investment Advisors in her territory.


Jill is enthusiastic and dedicated to discussing all things investments. She was raised in a financial planning home, learning from an early age the value that the investment industry brings to everyday households. Through various intern- ships and experience in the family business, she realized her passion for partnering with like-mind individuals to create strategies for investing wealth.


Outside of the nine-to-five, she enjoys splitting her time between the Calgary and Edmonton run communities. She’s excited to include her new puppy in upcoming running adventures.

Jill Hacking

Business Development Manager

Fidelity Investments

Crystal is a Business Development Manager with Fidelity investments. In her role, she works closely with top Financial Advisors across British Columbia designing and optimizing portfolios. Crystal brings extensive experience with Fidelity, starting as an intern and working hard through the ranks to be in her role today. She brings previous expertise from roles in e-Health SaaS, education, and banking.

Crystal Huang

Business Development Manager

Fidelity Investments

Tarah Domingo is a Senior Business Development Manager with Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest asset managers and leading provider of financial services in Canada. In her role, Tarah works with a broad range of financial advisors in Victoria and various parts of the Lower Mainland, providing timely advice on capital markets and in-depth perspectives on what success advisors are doing to enhance their business. Tarah started at Fidelity in 2018 and is a graduate of Simon Fraser University where she obtained a Bachelors of Business Administration.

Tarah Domingo

Senior Business Development Manager

Fidelity Investments

Taylor Lee is a Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) and Senior Business Development Manager for Fidelity Investments. She first joined Fidelity as a Sales Coordinator in 2015. Prior to Fidelity, Taylor was working as a professional actress and as a casting assistant for one of Toronto’s premiere casting agencies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree from the University of Toronto, where she studied Theatre and English. She returned to her hometown of Vancouver and currently covers the Okanagan Valley region for Fidelity.

Taylor Lee

Senior Business Development Manager

Fidelity Investments

Kathryn recruits, coaches and leads a dynamic sales team that aims to prospect and partner with financial advisors throughout Western Canada. It is through these strong working relationships that her team can provide Fidelity products and solutions to the end investor.


Kathryn has been fortunate to take on various roles during her tenure at Fidelity. She began on the sales team where she uncovered the needs and challenges facing advisors and investors in order to find the best solution. Kathryn is the former Chair of Fidelity’s Wholesaler in Training Program where sales team members are mea- sured on their ability to prospect new clients. She also travels across Western Canada to edu- cate investors and advisors about the Women in Wealth initiative.


In her spare time, Kathryn loves to stay active by going for long walks and to the park with her husband and daughter. She is fitness instructor as well as a passionate cook and puzzler.

Kathryn Black

Manager Regional Sales, Fidelity Investments

CFO, Fidelity Capital Structure Corp.

SME, Women in Wealth, Fidelity Investments

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments Canada ULC is one of Canada’s top investment management firms, managing over $170 billion in assets for individuals, financial advisors, pension plans, endowments, foundations, and more. They offer investors and institutions a full range of innovative and trusted investment portfolios including domestic, international and global equity and income-oriented mutual funds, ETFs, asset allocation strategies, managed portfolios, and sustainable investing products.


As a student at Fidelity Canada, you have opportunities to succeed and grow. There are placements across all of our divisions and we don’t look at it as a one-time placement. We ask the best to come back in future terms and we envision it as a full development program. We truly invest in our students and ensure that they get the most out of their term with Fidelity.

University Hospital Fund: Being a Woman in a Male Dominant Field

Friday, March 12, 2021
1:00 - 2:00 PM MST | 3:00 - 4:00 PM EST

Lisa Munro, Chief Development Officer at the University Hospital Foundation, will be sharing her experiences as a woman in a male dominated field.

Lisa Munro

Chief Development Officer University Hospital Foundation (UHF)

As Chief Development Officer of the University Hospital Foundation (UHF), a recognized leader in healthcare philanthropy across North America, Lisa leads a team that is responsible for raising millions of dollars annually to support and ignite advancements in patient care, innovation and research at the University of Alberta Hospital, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and Kaye Edmonton Clinic.


A seasoned marketing and development professional who combines national experience with a local focus, Lisa spent 14 years with Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) as Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships which gave her a unique window on how regional and national brands connect with communities across Canada. She designed and delivered integrated partnerships for clients that were customized to their needs, and that allowed them to showcase their engagement at the community level.


Before joining OEG, Lisa worked for 15 years in various leadership roles at CIBC—again delivering a national brand’s promise at a local level. In her work as Alberta regional business development manager for CIBC’s Marketing and Segment Sales, Lisa won three National Sales awards for top performance and one Annual Achievers award for Sales Leadership.

Her reputation as a sponsorship specialist led to her being asked to serve as Co-Chair for the Marketing Innovation Awards (MIA) in 2015 and as a judge for the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada (SMCC) Sponsorship Marketing Awards in 2014 and 2020. She also acts as a career leader in the SMCC’s mentorship program and sits as an Advisor to the Board for The Network of Empowered Women Annual Business Conference. In addition, she recently joined the board of AIESEC Canada who focuses on developing future leaders through international exchange.


Lisa was born and raised in Edmonton, where she currently lives with her husband Garnet of 29 years. They have two adult sons, Tyson and Bryce.

About the University Hospital Foundation

The University Hospital Foundation brings together the best people, ideas and resources to drive world-changing innovation, solutions and transformation in health and health care. We raise and manage funds from generous donors and partners to advance all areas of patient care and research. The University Hospital Foundation is a community-led organization that supports the University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, as well as medical research at the University of Alberta. We are the catalyst between academia and the health system, leveraging charitable and sponsorship dollars as our fuel. Through these investments, research and health technology innovations are realized, products commercialized and jobs created.

BAA: Leverage Your Alumni Network and Leave a Legacy

Friday, March 12, 2021
1:00 - 2:00 PM MST | 2:00 - 4:00 PM EST

Kristel Owens will be covering how-to network and connect with your alumni family, how to get your dream job, embracing change, the importance of building a network and building up women around you.

Kristel Owens’ career began in sales and entrepreneurship; over seven years, a small sales team transitioned to an independent company, and a single rental property became a diverse real estate portfolio. Seeking a purpose-driven career, Kristel’s interest in corporate responsibility led to her pursuit of a UAlberta BCom (’15) and MBA (’16). Her studies focused on corporate social responsibility and sustain- ability, and she achieved certificates in Global Citizenship and Community Engagement & Service-Learning. Post-graduation, Kristel worked with the Alberta School of Business’ Masters Programs Office, first in Employer Relations and then as Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Marketing. Passionate about the UAlberta community, she has volunteered with the BAA since 2016; formerly Co-Chair of Mentorship and Student Engagement commit- tees, she now serves as Vice President and has connected with alumni globally. Kristel continues to prioritize passion; she relocated to Calgary for a contract with RBC as the Regional Manager of Citizenship and Social Impact. Her contract concluded during the height of the pandemic and led to her current dream job as a Client Success Manager at Benevity, where she works with some of the world’s most iconic brands who also share a commitment to doing well by doing good.

Kristel Owens

Vice President
Business Alumni Association

BP: Navigating the Pandemic as a Woman

Friday, March 12, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 PM MST | 5:00 - 6:00 PM EST

Come join BP Energy’s trio of empowered women, as they explore how to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and leave a legacy along the way.

Mrs. DeFrancesco has a Master of Science in Financial Engineering and undergraduate business degrees in Finance, Supply Chain, and Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her 5 years at BP, she has had the pleasure of serving in a rotation program gaining experience as a Charterer, Gasoline Analyst, and Carbon Analyst. Last year, she was recognized for automating a third-party platform by writing an app in PowerApps saving $250k/yr.

Ariel DeFrancesco

Foreign Exchange Trader


Mary-Margaret Bost

Strategy Manager


Mary-Margaret Bost is the Strategy Manager for Gas & Power Trading Americas, the group within BP that is responsible for the marketing and trading of natural gas, power, and natural gas liquids across the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Within this capacity, Ms. Bost develops and implements business unit level strategy. Ms. Bost has been with BP for 14 years and has held a variety of roles, serving as the Business Manager for the SVP of Gas & Power Trading Americas and working in Commercial Development and Business Change. Prior to BP, she worked at Accenture in Management Consulting, focused on Supply and Trading within major integrated oil companies.


Ms. Bost holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, both from Rice University. She is married with two children, ages seven and four. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, Peloton, and traveling (when there is not a raging global pandemic). She is passionate about the advancement of women in business and has spent a considerable amount of her time at BP working on diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure everyone has the same chance to succeed and bring their whole selves to work.

Katie has been with BP for two years and is currently completing the Graduate Development Program (GDP) within Trading and Shipping, with a focus on Marketing and Origination. Katie graduated with BBA in Energy Commerce from Texas Tech University, and an MBA from Eastern New Mexico University. Prior to joining the GDP program, Katie worked as a Landman for a mid-sized energy company.

Katie Lingafelter

Marketing and Origination Graduate


Habitat for Humanity Edmonton: How to Find the Right Career Path

Saturday, March 13, 2021
1:00 - 2:00 PM MST | 3:00 - 4:00 PM EST

Learn about how to find the right career path with Dr. Ann-Marie Reddy, with her many years of experience and variety of career paths.

Dr. Ann-Marie Reddy is proud and honoured to be the President and CEO of Habitat for Human- ity Edmonton. With over 25 years of experience in the financial, entertainment and conference, and marketing sectors, Ann-Marie is now using her knowledge and expertise to help families transition from subsidies and market rent to affordable home ownership. Ann-Marie considers herself and life-long learner. She completed her BA from the University of Winnipeg in 2001, MBA in 2009 and in 2014 defended her dissertation graduating with Distinction in Doctorate of Business, specializing in strategy and innovation. As a community minded member Ann-Marie has volunteered with numerous organizations such as Critical Incident Stress Team, Teen Moms and Dads, Volunteer Fire Fighter, Family Resource Centre, ViCLAS at the RCMP Winnipeg D Division, Alberta Symphony, Greenwood Player Theatre Troup, and also worked part time reserve
in the Canadian Military as a 2nd Lieutenant. Ann-Marie currently resides in Sherwood Park, Alberta with her husband, Mom and Dad and three West Highland Terriers

Dr. Ann-Marie Reddy

President and CEO
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton

About the Cenovus

Habitat for Humanity Edmonton brings communities together to help families build strength, stability, and independence through affordable home ownership.

Cenovus: Building Your Personal Brand

Saturday, March 13, 2021
2:00 - 3:00 PM MST | 4:00 - 5:00 PM EST

Colleen Houston will be speaking on how to build a personal brand, drawing from her personal experience as Group Lead of Digital Branding and Content for Cenovus.

About the Cenovus

We’re a Canadian-based integrated energy company headquartered in Calgary. We’re committed to maximizing value by sustainably developing our assets in a safe, innovative and cost-efficient manner, integrating environmental, social and governance considerations into our business plans.

We operate in Canada, the United States and the Asia Pacific region. Our operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta, thermal and conventional crude oil and natural gas projects across Western Canada, crude oil production offshore Newfoundland and Labrador and natural gas and liquids production offshore China and Indonesia. Cenovus’s downstream operations include upgrading, refining and marketing operations in Canada and the United States. 


Our shares trade under the symbol CVE, and are listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. 

On January 1, 2021 Cenovus Energy acquired Husky Energy. The combined company is the third largest Canadian oil and natural gas producer and the second largest Canadian-based refiner and upgrader

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©2020 by Network of Empowered Women.