Changeleaders: MEET OUR Speakers
Founder & President of Canadian technology company, OMX (Offset Market Exchange)
Nicole Verkindt is the Founder & President of Canadian technology company, OMX (theomx.com). The platform is the only one in the world that manages obligations that government contractors have to invest in local businesses. The platform is an online marketplace to help companies attract investment and increase their exports from foreign government contractors whom have to spend locally as a result of government contracts (offsets). It is the first software built that provides real-time electronic tracking and data analytics of the exact economic benefits that flow to local companies. It is a truly innovative platform, used by the worlds largest contractors such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Suncor (oil & gas), and is the only one of its kind globally. Having penetrated the Canadian market, they are now successfully expanding globally. Previously, she led a manufacturing business selling to Governments around the world.
Nicole is also on the Board of the Canadian Crown Corporation, CCC (Canadian Commercial Corporation) that performs all government to government contracts between Canada and other countries around the world. She is also on the Board of the Peter Munk School of Global Affairs, known for their Munk Debates. Further, she is a weekly commentator on CBC’s business show, The Exchange “Round Up” and CBC “On the Money” focusing on technology and business news. She is also a “Dragon” on Next Gen Dragon’s Den, which is dedicated to early stage technology businesses.
LAURIE BONTEN (nee Rafter)
Senior Vice President, Senior Investment Advisor, Bonten Wealth
Management Group at National Bank Financial
Laurie Bonten is a Senior Vice President and Senior Investment Advisor at National Bank Financial, the investment arm of National Bank of Canada. As the head of the Bonten Wealth Management Group, Laurie’s main goal is to help clients retire and maintain their lifestyle. Having spent over 25 years in the investment industry, Laurie has guided clients through every aspect of their financial situation including; investments, retirement planning, estate planning, and insurance. Having started out in an industry where being a female advisor was almost unheard of, Laurie has undoubtedly made an impact and continues to be a strong advocate for more female representation in the world of finance. She was also named by Wealth Professional Magazine as one of the Top 50 Advisor’s in all of Canada for two consecutive years.
In her spare time, Laurie was most recently the Co-Chair of the David Foster Foundation Miracle Gala & Concert hosted in Winnipeg. She was thrilled to help this great cause and have a hand in bringing world-class artists to our great city. Giving back to the community is a strong core value for Laurie with previous charitable work including Manitoba Special Olympics, CancerCare Manitoba and the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Kim Ulmer, MBA
Regional President Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and North Western Ontario, Royal Bank of Canada
Kim Ulmer is the Regional President for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and North Western Ontario. Responsible for achieving a best in class sales and service experience for all clients in business and personal banking, Kim is thrilled to lead and is inspired by a talented workforce of over 2600 employees from the radiant fields of Saskatchewan to the vibrant city of Sudbury.
Kim Ulmer, a 27 year veteran of RBC, has dedicated herself to a variety of roles in various markets and fields. Having proudly begun her career as a summer student in Regina as a customer service representative, Kim has held progressively senior roles including Regional Vice President for Regina and Parkland Region, Vice President Commercial Financial Services for Southern Saskatchewan, and Vice President Small Business for RBC’s Canadian Banking division.
Passionate about kids and youth and the entrepreneurial spirit, Kim is active in the community and a strong supporter of employee volunteerism. Kim is an appointed member of the Junior Achievement of Canada Board of Directors, Divisional Co-Chair United Way Winnipeg, member of the Business Council of Manitoba, member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), and is the past National Women Entrepreneur Champion for RBC.
Kim holds an MBA from Dalhousie University and a diploma in Business Administration from SIAST.
Kim and her husband Garnell, together with their son Lucas reside in Winnipeg, Manitoba surrounded by family, friends, and a spirited community.
President & CEO, New Flyer Industries
Paul Soubry Jr joined New Flyer as President and CEO in 2009 and following the company’s acquisition of Motor Coach Industries (MCI) in 2015, Paul also assumed the role of President and CEO of MCI. Prior to that, Paul worked for 24 years with StandardAero one of the world’s leading independent aviation service providers, starting as a Marketing Assistant in 1984 with his last position being President and CEO.
Paul holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba and attended the Executive Development program at the Harvard Business School. Paul has completed the Canadian Securities Course and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors having graduated from Director’s Education Program at the Rotman School of Business - University of Toronto.
Paul currently sits on the Board of Directors of Winnipeg Jets/True North Sports & Entertainment and the Winnipeg Airports Authority. Paul previously served on the Board of Directors of the Mondetta Clothing Company, St. Paul’s High School, The Associates of I.H. Asper School of Business at the University Manitoba, SmartPark, and the Manitoba Innovation Council. Paul is currently the Chair of the $500 Million Front and Centre Capital Campaign for the University of Manitoba and is actively involved with the United Way Winnipeg.
Sonia Prevost Derbecker
Vice President, Education, Indspire
Sonia’s portfolio includes accomplishments too numerous to mention. She is the past director of the Point Douglas Revitalization Initiative where she has oversaw a integrated service delivery in one of the poorest areas in the county.
Sonia's experiences of responsive leadership have included directing one of the largest child welfare agency in the city of Winnipeg, as well as an Aboriginal youth serving agency, Ndinawe. Her history of innovative program development includes a multi-service delivery Youth Resource Centre, a college certified youth care worker training program for women exiting the sex trade, second stage housing for youth and two family resource centres.
Sonia was one of the last elected Aboriginal school trustees in the largest school division in Winnipeg. As a former high school teacher, an Aboriginal woman, and the founder of Ndinawe Transitional school, Sonia believes that fair and equitable systems must be in place if we are to graduate leaders of tomorrow. In May 2014, Sonia began working with Indspire as the Vice President of Education.
About Indspire: Indspire is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire disburses financial awards, delivers programs, and shares resources with the goal of closing the gap in Indigenous education. Through Indspire’s K-12 Institute, the charity provides resources to educators, communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving kindergarten to grade 12 success for Indigenous youth. Since 2004 Indspire has disbursed more than $87 million through over 25,000 scholarships and bursaries to Indigenous students, making it the largest funder of Indigenous education outside the federal government. Each year, the organization presents the Indspire Awards, a gala celebration of the successes achieved by Indigenous people that is broadcast nationally.
Chief Human Resources Officer, Birchwood Automotive Group
MaryAnn Kempe currently holds the position of Chief Human Resources Officer with the Birchwood Automotive Group. She has over 25 years leading multi-faceted aspects of business – holding executive and senior roles in both public and private industries. She is known as a high integrity, high impact leader, with a track record of developing and implementing transformational strategies and solutions.
As an Executive Coach, MaryAnn inspires, motivates and ignites others to discover and develop their full potential. MaryAnn is recognized as a collaborative leader with highly developed interpersonal and communication skills and a passion for continuous learning – she holds multiple degrees in psychology, business, adult education, certified mediator, certified executive coach and an MBA. She holds the highest level of professional certification in Human Resources - Fellow Certified Human Resource Professional (FCHR), was the gold medal recipient in the MBA-HR program and in 2010 was the recipient of the HR Visionary Leader, awarded by her peers and profession.
MaryAnn is passionate about our community. She has served on the United Way cabinet for a number of years and has held various board positions in a variety of non-profit organizations. MaryAnn believes that great leadership can be learned and is most energized when she’s helping others develop and find alignment with their values and personality.
Kim Jeremic has been leading Canadian retail innovation and success for over three decades. Her wealth of executive and strategic management experience – combined with exceptional product vision – has proven successful in talent development, retail leadership, and exceeding corporate growth margins.
Jeremic’s career profile demonstrates consistent advancement in leadership capacity and personal growth. Drawing from extensive retail insight, she leveraged experience gained in progressively expanding roles to develop strategy from store level operations to merchandising, to product development and marketing. This ultimately transitioned Kim to senior executive level leadership and consulting engagements.
As current President of EQ3, Kim leads the team in brand and product innovation and the development of it's brand expansion strategy for retail, wholesale and manufacturing operations for EQ3. Prior work with major firms such as Palliser Furniture, La Senza, Dylex, Hudson’s Bay, and her role as past President and GMM of Ricki’s (a leading Canadian women’s fashion retail operation) provide superior insight on industry trends, team engagement, and driving profitability. Her breadth of exposure allows leading-edge comprehension of retail operations and environments, business and brand development, and innovative product solutions while engaging teams of over 1500 people to execute in competitive markets.
Through expert business and brand consultancy, Kim advised several leading retail brands including Dufresne Furniture & Appliances (a foremost Canadian Furniture Retailer), The Winnipeg Blue Bombers (franchised CFL football club), and MPG (an active and lifestyle brand in North America).
A highly sought leader in the retail industry, Kim enjoys ongoing educational activity with Presidents’ Week at the Harvard School of Business, the Executive Finance Program at Queen’s University, and several other executive leadership and coaching programs. Her approach and passion to enhance educational opportunities is innately aligned to board commitments. Kim firmly believes in giving back and generously provides mentorship to organizations focused on women and children, having previously served on the National Committee for the Canadian Women’s Foundation and Girls Fund supporting economic development in Canada. She is a current member of the Executive Committee for Young Presidents’ Organization (Winnipeg chapter), leads the Winnipeg Circle for Lean In (a global women’s career mentorship and leadership development initiative), and Chairs the local Next Gen YPO/WPO young adult program.
Kim has a rare and proven ability to establish collaborative, friendly, and inviting work environments while also exceeding corporate goals and balancing personal commitments. Her energy is recognized and appreciated by teams and colleagues alike, as are her values, integrity, and visionary focus on team development. Kim is a mother to an amazing and active 12 year old daughter, enjoys entertaining friends, and pursuing global travel.
Co-host of The Ace Burpee Show, 103.1 Virgin Radio
Chrissy Troy is the co-host of The Ace Burpee Show on 103.1 Virgin Radio. She's a farm girl who grew up in the Interlake and is proud of the fact that Arborg, MB is listed as birthplace on her birth certificate. Chrissy is well known for the hundreds of hours of time she donates to numerous local and international charities and causes. Her outstanding community involvement was one of the reasons she was also recognized as a YM-YWCA Woman of Distinction recipient in 2014.
Founder & President, Athena Leadership, Director of Business Development & Marketing, Pitblado Law
Lindy Norris is Founder & President of Athena Leadership, and Director of Business Development & Marketing at Pitblado Law. She was named to Marketing Magazine’s 30 Under 30 brightest young minds in Canada, was a Future Leaders of Manitoba Top 3 Finalist, received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medial for outstanding contribution to community, and received the Futurpreneur Chairman’s award for outstanding mentorship.
In March 2016, Lindy delivered a TEDxUManitoba talk on how to “Fail Better” – explaining how to overcome challenges by developing accountability, resilience, and finding your tribe. She has been published on Forbes.com, Yahoo Finance, and Golden Girl Finance among others, and was invited to attend the Forbes Under 30 Summit.
She has actively supported the community through organizations such as the United Way Winnipeg, St. Amant Foundation, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Futurpreneur, Canadian Marketing Association, Lean In, and more, and is also a proud member of The Associates.
Lindy holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degrees from the University of Manitoba, and has studied within the university's MBA program.