This year's Leadership Summit theme is Press for Progress

Leadership Summit for Women

Inspiring bold leaders in #HamOnt on Thursday, November 8, 2018

Join us for an evening that will inspire, instill confidence and provide a network for future leaders in our community. The theme this year is “Press for Progress,” inspired by the International Women’s Day 2018 campaign theme. Learn more about the theme here.

For 2018, the Leadership Summit for Women is taking on a fresh new format, which will include round table discussions led by community leaders. There will be brief “My Story” presentations that will delve deeper into the personal experiences of three women in different sectors. Light refreshments will be served.

The Leadership Summit for Women (LSW)’s goal is to inspire, instill confidence and provide a network for young future leaders in our community. We strive to be an open and inclusive event with speakers reflecting the diversity of experience that makes this city great. We also welcome feedback on how to continue to improve this work. The Leadership Summit welcomes First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples, racialized persons, persons with (dis)Abilities, LGBTQ2SIA persons and allies.

Thursday, November 8, 2018 Hamilton Public Library

Did you know we trended on Twitter?

The Leadership Summit for Women creates a place to develop and advance leaders, while creating an opportunity for all women and allies to share experiences, skills, and plans for growth and development. The Summit will also provide a local network of mentors and supports for women in the Hamilton community.

These last two years, the conversations made a big impact. We trended on Twitter and were able to open up the conversation beyond our conference.

Why do women only hold ‘33% of senior management positions and approximately 13% of CEO positions despite making up 47% of the workforce?’ Let’s not kid ourselves; the glass ceiling still very much exists. It is time we get the hammer out.

Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of the Student Success Centre

LSW At-A-Glance


Here is a brief overview of this year’s Leadership Summit for Women activities.

  • Welcome Address
  • Meet and Greet: A brief icebreaker for attendees and speakers to get to know other people at their tables
  • Table Discussion: Table Facilitator will ask a question for the table to unpack and discuss.
  • First “My Story” talk and question posed. Tables will discuss.
  • Table Discussions: Table Facilitator will ask a question for the table to unpack and discuss. This will happen two times.
  • Table facilitators will rotate tables.
  • Second “My Story” talk and question posed. Tables will discuss.
  • Table Discussions: Table Facilitator will ask a question for the table to unpack and discuss. This will happen two times.
  • Table facilitators will rotate tables.
  • Third “My Story” talk and question posed. Tables will discuss.
  • Table Discussions: Table Facilitator will ask a question for the table to unpack and discuss. This will happen two times.
  • Concluding Remarks
  • Networking

My Story Speakers and Facilitators

Delegates who attended the AfriCAN Youth and Governance Conference

AfriCAN Delegates

In August 2018, 13 McMaster delegates attended the African Youth and Governance Conference (AYGC), in Accra, Ghana as part of the efforts by Empowerment Squared and the Youth Bridge Foundation to increase cooperation among African youth and the global diaspora. Entering its tenth year, this conference was an opportunity to harness the power of young Africans and inspire a new generation of leaders. Participants had the opportunity to interrogate issues that are relevant to youth development and well-being in Africa while also fostering global connections that can help shape their future careers. Learn more about their experience here.

Bringing their learning back to the community, the delegates will facilitate a session at the beginning of the conference to help attendees, speakers, and facilitators develop connections before table discussions begin.

Photo of Ikram Farah

Ikram Farah, Welcome Address

President, McMaster Students Union

Ikram Farah is a graduate from Honours Labour Studies and Political Science. Her hometown is Mississauga, and she is a fan of chai lattes and the TV show Friday Night Lights. Farah was involved with multiple services within the McMaster Students Union during her undergraduate career, including the MSU Horizons Leadership and the MSU Women Gender Equity Network also known as WGEN, she also served on the Student Representative Assembly.

The MSU President is elected annually by the MSU membership. The elected candidate will subsequently hold office from May 1st to April 30th. The President serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Spokesperson for the McMaster Students Union. Presently, Ikram is overseeing more than 40 full-time staff members, 30 services and business units as well as over 350 student clubs. Furthermore, Farah represent the MSU to the University Administration, Hamilton community as well as local, provincial, and national governments and organizations.

Photo of Joana Fejzaj

Joana Fejzaj, Table Facilitator

Manager of Development and Partnerships, Empowerment Squared

Fleeing the fall of Abania’s communist regime in 1994, Joana and her family escaped to Greece. Three years later at the age of 13, she was separated from her family and arrived in Canada along with her younger brother as unaccompanied minors. As a crown ward, she had to rely on the generosity and support of the local community to adapt to life in Canada while caring for her younger brother at the same time.

Despite the challenges, Joana persevered and completed a diploma in Child and Youth Work from Mohawk College; she also completed her B.A. in Social Work at McMaster University shortly after. Given her experience and passion for newcomer, refugee and youth issues, she dedicated most of her time volunteering with many organizations in the Settlement Sector. She also worked in similar roles at the Students Success Centre – McMaster University, Wesley Urban Ministries, St. Joseph Youth and Wellness Centre among others.

Currently, Joana is the Manager of Development and Partnerships at Empowerment Squared, an organization she helped establish as a volunteer. Her passion for working with marginalized and newcomer youth remains the driving force behind her commitment to Hamilton as a welcoming city where newcomers can integrate and become valuable members of society. In her own words, “my success in life is a direct result of the mentorship, commitment to human values and the innovation of community members.”

Photo of Elizabeth Gray.

Elizabeth Gray (Mi’kmaw), Table Facilitator

Indigenous Counsellor, Mohawk College

Elizabeth Gray (Mi’kmaw). Born in New Brunswick, she has lived on this Haudenosaunee and Aanishnaabeg traditional territory for much of her life. Mother of one grown son, she describes herself as an incurable life-long learner. With a BA (McMaster) and MSW (Laurier), she has worked in education, social work, consulting and publishing. Elizabeth works as the Indigenous Counsellor at Mohawk College. She has volunteered on non-profit boards in health and housing and McMaster’s Centre for Community-Engaged Narrative Arts (CCENA). Elizabeth endeavours to live Mino-Bimaadiziwin, a good way of life, through commitment to culture, ceremony and healing.

Photo of Lisa Marie.

Lisa Marie DiLiberto, My Story Speaker

Artistic Producer, Theatre Direct Canada

Lisa Marie is the incoming Artistic Producer at Theatre Direct Canada, a company that creates theatre with, by, and for young people. She is the founding Artistic Director of FIXT POINT Arts and Media and co-creator of The Tale of a Town – Canada, a multi-media initiative developed with the National Arts Centre which has inspired an animated series for TVO, “Main Street Ontario”. Past posts include Playwright-in-Residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, Associate Artistic Director at Jumblies Theatre and Education and Audience Development Coordinator at Canadian Stage. Ms. DiLiberto is a graduate student in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University, on faculty at Centennial College where she teaches Clown and Acting, and a mother of two young boys.

Photo of Leah Hogan

Leah Hogan, Table Facilitator

Manager, Indigenous Education at Mohawk College

Leah has worked at Mohawk College for over 13 years, and is currently the Manager of Indigenous Education. She is Bear Clan, from Oneida Nation of the Thames and lives in Stoney Creek with her husband and three daughters.

Leah’s community work involves participating within the HWDSB education circle, Brock Aboriginal Education Council and is a Board of Directors member at Interval House of Hamilton. Leah’s work within Indigenous education has recently been honoured by receiving the 2018 Education Award from the Native Women’s Centre.

As a lifelong learner her education journey includes a 3 year business administration diploma, Honours Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Education and has recently completed her Master of Education, specializing in Indigenous education at Queen’s University.

Photo of Tracey Kadish

Tracey Kadish, Table Facilitator

Associate Dean, Business and Media Graduate Studies, Applied Research and Entrepreneurship, at Mohawk College

Tracey is a graduate from McMaster University (Political Science) and Mohawk College (Broadcasting Television). Upon graduation, Tracey joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Toronto. At the CBC, Tracey began her career on the ground floor taking on various technical production roles, and then quickly moved to the position of Supervising Technician on the National. Four years into her career at CBC, Tracey was promoted to the Manager of the Studio and Mobile Operations. At Mohawk College Tracey worked as the Coordinator/ Professor of Broadcasting Television program.  In her current role, Tracey is responsible for graduate program development, applied research projects and the entrepreneurship programming at the college.

Photo of Ja’miil Millar

Ja’miil Millar, Table Facilitator

Research and Policy Analyst, Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA)

Ja’miil is a Communications and Political Science graduate from Brock University. Her current role is with the Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA) as a Research and Policy Analyst. Her work consists of assisting the Board of Directors with research and campaigns regarding their student advocacy priorities. This work at the MSA is a commitment to maintaining an informed, equal and healthy learning and campus environment for Mohawk College students. Ja’miil is excited to be a part of a community-driven event such as this, as she is inspired by the transformations that can be made in public spaces when communities engage.

Photo of Shruti Ramesh

Shruti Ramesh, My Story Speaker

JD Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School

Shruti is currently a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she has been involved with the Osgoode Feminist Collective, and various community legal clinics. An avid intersectional feminist, Shruti employs the principles of equity in her numerous involvements. Prior to attending law school, Shruti graduated from the Arts & Science Program at McMaster University. While at McMaster, Shruti facilitated several initiatives to create safe(r) spaces for marginalized communities, with a particular focus on mental health advocacy. As a result of these efforts, Shruti received a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 2017. Through her law degree, Shruti is continuing to learn what it means to be an effective advocate for the clients and communities she serves.

Photo of Sasha Roshan

Sasha Roshan, Table Facilitator

Community Events and Planning Coordinator, McMaster Student Union’s Women and Gender Equity Network

Sasha Roshan is a student at McMaster University where they are the Community Events and Planning Coordinator for the Women and Gender Equity Network, an MSU service which advocates for women, trans folks, and survivors on campus. In addition, they work as the Video Editor for the McMaster Silhouette, and are the CEO of canCODE Inc., a non-profit working to create more opportunities for marginalized communities to learn coding skills. When they aren’t desperately trying to get things done on time, they enjoy taking photos of insects, and exploring Hamilton coffee shops.

Photo of Dr. Stephanie Ross

Dr. Stephanie Ross, Table Facilitator

Associate Professor, McMaster University

Dr. Stephanie Ross is Associate Professor in the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University. Her research and teaching concerns how ordinary people make social change through collective action in the face of powerful forces to the contrary. She writes on questions of union structure, political strategy, and renewal, as well as public sector workers, their unions, and the unique role they play in shaping and defending public services. With Larry Savage, she has edited three books, Rethinking the Politics of Labour in Canada (Fernwood 2012), Public Sector Unions in the Age of Austerity (Fernwood 2013), and Labour Under Attack: Anti-Unionism in Canada (Fernwood 2018), and co-authored another, Building a Better World: An Introduction to the Labour Movement in Canada (Fernwood 2015). She is the founding president of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies and a member of the board of the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton.

Accessibility and Child Care

Accessibility features at this year’s Leadership Summit for Women space include:

  • Accessible Counter
  • Accessible Washroom
  • Automatic Door Opener
  • Accessible Ramp
  • Elevator
  • Family Change Room

Child care will also be available in an adjacent room.

Develop your leadership

The Leadership Summit for Women includes a series of keynote speakers, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities; it is also a great opportunity to build meaningful relationships with leaders in a safe and supportive environment. We have many services and supports to help you develop your leadership:

Write a resume that encompasses who you are and stands out from the pile.

Uncover tips and tricks on networking with your peers, colleagues, and potential employers.

Contribute your time, skills, and insights to organizations dedicated to your learning.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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Presented in Partnership

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