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  • Information Session - Open Doors for Diversity: Opportunities for Small Business

Information Session - Open Doors for Diversity: Opportunities for Small Business

Thursday, July 11, 2019 - 8:30am to Friday, July 12, 2019 - 11:45am

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Membertou Trade & Convention Centre
50 Maillard St
Membertou, Cape Breton, NS, Canada



Supplier Diversity is growing across Canada, and it's more than just a buzz word.

Supplier Diversity helps your business find opportunities, access supply chains and make connections in a new way. Join us in Cape Breton at the Membertou Trade & Convention Centre, as the leadership team from Canada's four certifying organizations for supplier diversity come together for this very special event. You'll learn how your business can access new business opportunities that are exclusively available to businesses of diversity. 

What is a business of diversity?  A business which is 51%+ owned, managed and operated by.. 

  • Aboriginal and/or Indigenous Persons
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • LGBT+ 
  • Veterans
  • Visible Minorities
  • Women

Speakers and special guests:

Cassandra Dorrington, President & CEO, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC)
Cassandra Dorrington and her team lead the charge of championing business relationships and economic growth of the Canadian supply chain through the inclusion of Aboriginal and Minority suppliers. During her tenure, Cassandra has been focused on in expansion of the CAMSC brand both nationally and internationally resulting in significant growth and impact in the Canadian marketplace. Known for her involvement in both the business and community environment, Cassandra has been named one of Diversity Canada’s Influential Women in Diversity and HR and sits on the National Advisory Council for the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises for the Government of Canada, the Black Business Enterprise, Dalhousie University Board of Governors as well as a national Departmental Audit Committee. With approximately  400 certified suppliers, 85 corporate members and more $4 Billion plus in diverse spend, CAMSC is a proud member of both (SDAC) Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada the single voice for supplier in Canada and GSDA promoting supplier diversity across the globe with sister councils in Australia, China, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Darrell Schuurman, MBA, Co-Founder & CEO, Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce 
Darrell is the co-founder and CEO of the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to expand the economic opportunities and advancement of the LGBT business community in Canada. Prior, Darrell was the Managing Partner at DNA Marketing Group, a specialized marketing company offering a full-range of services for the tourism industry.  Darrell spent 6 years with VIA Rail Canada as Manager of Market Development and 5 years with the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council as Director of Sales & Marketing. Darrell is also the co-founder of the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Business Education Foundation and Travel Gay Canada.  Darrell completed his Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Calgary, and completed his Executive MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University.

Deidre Guy, Co-founder, Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada
With more than 25 years of sales, project management, and customer service experience, Deidre brings a broad range of skills to the Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada.   As a senior team member of a for-profit company that is diversely owned, Deidre recognized the gap in official certification of both Veteran owned and disabled owned businesses in Canada.  With that in mind, Deidre has taken on the challenge of increasing representation of those Diverse Suppliers within Canadian supply chains through the formation of the IWSCC. Prior to founding the IWSCC, Deidre held senior management positions at several   large security firms leading client teams to successfully grow business year over year while driving higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Silvia Pencak, President, Women Business Enterprises (WBE) Canada  
Silvia Pencak is the President of WBE Canada, a Canadian non-profit organization certifying women-owned businesses and opening the doors to corporate & government supply chains under supplier diversity programs across North America.Silvia has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit and business environment, leading transformational projects and teams. She is regularly called a Juggernaut accelerating speed of change. Her diverse international background spearheading successful initiatives gives her a wealth of experience to lead supplier diversity to its next level to support Canadian women-owned businesses. Silvia believes in the power of partnerships and is always open to building alliances that benefit all involved. She is passionate about making positive impact in her communities. She is a wife and mom to 2 girls.

Kiruba Sankar - Director, Corporate Social Responsibility - RBC Global Procurement
Kiruba has been honoured with Procurement Business Advocate of the Year Award in 2017 by CAMSC and Corporate Leader by WBE Canada in recognition of his outstanding leadership in implementing Supplier Diversity in Canada. Kiruba is an Electrical & Electronics Engineer and post graduate in Computer Application and Business Management from India.Prior to his current role, he was Director, RBC Procurement responsible for IT Services Category supporting RBC across all business units. Before joining RBC, Kiruba was managing the systems and server product distribution through reseller channels for Tech Data Canada.  Prior to immigrating to Canada, as a general manager, he introduced Emachine Systems in the Dubai market.  He was also a regional manager of Middle East operations for Taiwan’s largest systems manufacturer, First International Computers.  And he set up MegaPlus International, a systems integrator company in Dubai and Sydney, Australia.

Debbie Adams, Founder, PeopleCan Training
Debbie Adams is the owner of PeopleCan Training, an IWSCC certified business. She would consider herself a forced or reluctant entrepreneur. She went into entrepreneurship kicking and screaming because frankly, she just wanted a job. These days she excels at educating other entrepreneurs on how to think big and charge large for the uniqueness and value that they bring to teh table. She has distilled her tough lessons into her signature program "Fast Track Your First $50k". Debbie is a three time published author including her latest book "Dreaming Big - Being Bold" and "Money Mindset: How Changing my Mind About Money Made me a Better Entrepreneur".

Laurel Broten, President & CEO, Nova Scotia Business Inc. 

Laurel is the President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), the agency responsible for investment attraction and export development for the Province of Nova Scotia. Laurel is also a seasoned public policy expert, former senior Ontario Cabinet Minister, lawyer, legislator and advocate. From 2013-2015, as President and CEO of Broten Public Policy International Inc., Laurel provided strategic advice on complex public policy challenges, change management and government transformation to clients in Canada and abroad, including conducting a comprehensive review of Nova Scotia’s taxes and regulations. Since moving to Nova Scotia, Laurel has engaged in communities across the region, as well as nationally, by serving as a director with several Boards, including the International Women’s Forum, Mount Saint Vincent University, l’Université de Moncton, the Public Policy Forum, and the Canada China Business Council. Laurel was the recipient of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 – CIBC Trailblazers and Trendsetters award in 2017; the Women in Communication and Technology 2015 Gamechanger Award; and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013. 

Alison Campbell, Senior Director, Supplier Engagement and Regional Coordination, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Alison Campbell was appointed Senior Director in November 2016 to the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and Stakeholder Engagement (OSME) which advocates on behalf of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and encourages their participation in federal government procurement. OSME assists SMEs in better understanding how the government buys goods and services by raising awareness of opportunities, providing free seminars and assisting smaller businesses. OSME also strives to understand and reduce barriers and recommends improvements to the procurement tools and processes. As Senior Director, Alison’s roles and responsibilities include understanding and advocating for diverse suppliers, influencing measures to reduce barriers to entry and implementing initiatives to improve SME outcomes in their pursuit to do business with the Government of Canada. Prior to assuming this role, Alison was Director, Corporate Management Division, Skills and Employment Branch at Employment and Social Development Canada, since 2014 where she led many departmental initiatives including the Post-Secondary Recruitment Campaign and the Indigenous Youth Summer Employment Opportunity.

Don't miss the opportunity to meet with Canada's experts in supplier diversity, and learn how it could help grow your business.

Registration fee: Free
Registration deadline: July 8 2019



Karen Williams


Cape Breton


supplier diversity

Register for this event