Knowledge Pods

DATE: November 9, 2021

TIME: 12:30 - 1:10 pm ET | 9:30 - 10:10 am PT

Learn and enhance your knowledge by attending one of our interactive knowledge pods. The knowledge pods cater to all audience types - women-owned businesses looking for resources and innovative strategies to grow their business, procurement professionals eager to learn more about supplier diversity and building an SD program or anyone wanting to know more about advancing women-owned businesses and supplier diversity in Canada.

  • Knowledge Pod #1: Supplier Diversity 101: How To Develop a Business Case
  • Knowledge Pod #2: Why Branding Matters
  • Knowledge Pod #3: Mitigating legal risks in business - A litigation lawyer’s perspective
  • Knowledge Pod #4: Build your dream team: Using networking and partnerships to accelerate international business growth
  • Knowledge Pod #5: Supplier Diversity 101: Developing Tier 2 Program

Knowledge Pod #1:

Supplier Diversity 101: How To Develop a Business Case

With Tamika Walker, MBA, Supplier Diversity Program Manager, General Motors

Sponsored by: General Motors

Join Tamika Walker, MBA, Supplier Diversity Program Manager at General Motors, to learn how to design and execute a methodology that is sure to drive shared accountability of Supplier Diversity across your enterprise. This session is designed for organizations just starting out with supplier diversity or ready to upgrade their existing program.


Tamilka Walker

Tamika Walker

Tamika Walker leads the Global Purchasing and Manufacturing Services organization for General Motors’ Supplier Diversity Program. In this role, Tamika is responsible for anticipating opportunities and executing initiatives that are critical to GM’s short- & long-term growth strategies for its diverse supply base that aid in driving innovation. Tamika began her career journey in 2011, working in various roles such as a buyer in Global Purchasing, Customer Experience, and Marketing & Communications where she connected GM’s customers to the innovation of OnStar.. Tamika holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Oakland University and an M.B.A from the University of Detroit-Mercy.


Knowledge Pod #2:

Why Branding Matters

With Michele Leduc, President, Zip Communication
Remarks by Kayla Maduk, Supplier Diversity Program Manager, Bell

Sponsored by: Bell

Is your brand really working for you? Find out how consistent, strategic brand positioning is crucial in differentiating your business from its competitors and connecting you to your target consumer.


Michele Leduc

Michèle Leduc

Michèle has contributed to the success and notoriety of a number of brands, both in Québec and Canada. Throughout her 25-year-strong career, Michèle has handled mandates for some of Montréal’s most renowned agencies. In 1984, she landed her first job with Vickers & Benson, then went on to work with Ogilvy & Mather, Chiat Day, Publicis and FCB. Michèle founded her own agency, ZIP Communication, in 2000. An efficient strategist with a result-driven approach, she offers her clientele a highly diversified experience in communication and marketing, demonstrating a great capacity to exceed the expectations of her clients as well as to initiate relevant and effective solutions.


Kayla Maduk

Kayla Maduk

Kayla Maduk is a Supplier Diversity Program Manager at Bell, Canada’s largest communications company. In this role, she works to extend the values and mission of Bell’s diversity and inclusion strategy to its supplier community. During sourcing events, Kayla actively advocates for the inclusion of certified diverse suppliers, and collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to increase the visibility and engagement of diverse suppliers at Bell. Kayla is a Bachelor of Commerce Graduate from Carleton University, with a unique background in sport, becoming a 3-time world champion in Taekwon-Do before the age of 20. She has experience in marketing communications, project management, internal consulting and public speaking.

Knowledge Pod #3:

Mitigating Legal Risks in Business – A Litigation Lawyer’s Perspective

With Shana Nodel, Owner & Principal Lawyer of TWL Law Professional Corporation
Remarks by Lisa Ross, Supplier Diversity Manager, Magna International

Sponsored by: Magna

There has never been a more unique period of time to grow and navigate your incredible business. With growth comes the responsibility of risk management, legal governance and compliance, all while remaining a top employer and experiencing success. With increasing regulations the challenge to control legal risk and stay protected from a lawsuit is made even harder. Join Shana for a friendly and legal discussion where she will share her perspective as a litigation lawyer.


Shana Nodel

Shana Nodel

Shana Nodel J.D. is the Owner and Principal Lawyer of TWL Law Professional Corporation, a growing Canadian Law Firm headquartered in Toronto. Shana brings extensive experience managing high volumes of complex litigation matters, often working with medium and large national businesses as well as providing ongoing guidance and counsel to various entrepreneurial businesses and operators across several innovative sectors. Shana is a litigator who has vast experience preparing for both trial and arbitration and has appeared on behalf of clients before the Human Rights Tribunal, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Small Claims Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Shana and TWL Law actively support diversity and inclusion, creative fine arts, a green economy and is certified with WBE Canada.


Lisa Ross

Lisa Ross

Lisa Ross is the Supplier Diversity Manager at Magna. As Supplier Diversity Manager, Lisa administers all North American supplier diversity efforts to support internal and external customer needs. She works with Magna’s Purchasing and Commodity Groups to promote supplier diversity throughout the organization. She began her Magna career in 1999 as a Project Manager in the Seating Group. In addition to her Supplier Diversity role, she is responsible for Corporate Service Activities for Ford, GM, and Mopar (Stellantis).

Knowledge Pod #4:

Build your dream team: Using networking and partnerships to accelerate international business growth

With Jennifer Cooke, Director of Inclusive Trade, Export Development Canada (EDC)
Amesika Baëta, Senior Account Manager, Export Development Canada (EDC)
Simmie Thiara, Director of Sales, Change Management, AceTronic Industrial Controls Inc.

Sponsored by: EDC

Selling into a new market is a proven way to grow your business, but it can bring a whole new set of challenges. To overcome these potential obstacles and see your international business thrive, you need the right community of advisors and partners in your corner. What does that look like?

Join host Jennifer Cooke, Director of Inclusive Trade at Export Development Canada, for a discussion on how to use networking and business partnerships to increase sales and connect with international opportunities. With insights from women exporters who have successfully implemented these strategies, our panel will share expert advice and practical tips on how to create your exporting dream team, including:

  • Identifying key advisors with specific expertise to complement your own strengths
  • Connecting with financial experts for advice and opportunities
  • Accelerating business growth through strategic partnerships

You’ll come away from this discussion with a better understanding of how networking and partnerships can help grow your business, what you need from your strategic network, and the steps you can take now to start building it.


Jennifer Cooke

Jennifer Cooke

Jennifer Cooke joined EDC in 2010 to work directly with Canadian companies and help them succeed in international markets. As the Director for Inclusive Trade, she leads a team that is focused specifically on helping more women and diverse Canadian entrepreneurs realize their global potential with confidence by removing barriers, creating an equitable playing field, and increasing accessibility to products and services. Working directly, as well as through key partners, EDC offers specialized and reliable trade knowledge, facilitates exports of goods and services with financing and insurance, and provides connections to enable all companies to achieve international success.


Amesika Baëta

Amesika Baëta

Amesika Baëta is a Senior Account Manager in the business development team at Export Development Canada (EDC) in the Greater Toronto Region (GTA). She manages a diverse portfolio of clients in a range of sectors in the GTA. Amesika is passionate about helping Canadian companies become more internationally competitive, by providing market intel, risk mitigation solutions and trade finance services. With over 12 years of professional experience in international trade finance and account management, Amesika’s experience spans from working from national trade associations to government organizations.


Simmie Thara

Simmie Thiara

Simmie Thiara is one of Canada's most passionate and ambitious business minded entrepreneurs. Having spent the beginning of her career as a Financial Advisor - the strong pull to work alongside her family drew her back into her family business. Simmie is the leader of Change Management and Director of Sales at AceTronic Industrial Controls Inc. AceTronic has served the Plastic Molding Industry from its inception in 1983, a company that is built on strong principles of customer service, integrity and superior quality. Along with the direction and vision of the owner, Kim Thiara - the company has seen staggering growth over the last 10 years. Over the next few years under the guidance and leadership of Simmie, the company will morph into the leading supplier to the plastics industry.

Knowledge Pod #5:

Tier 2 Programming & Reporting

With Marcia A Hunter, Supplier Diversity Program Manager - Purchasing and Supplier Quality, Stellantis
Introduction by Silvia Pencak, President & CEO, WBE Canada

Sponsored by: WBE Canada

Take your existing supplier diversity program to the next level with Tier 2 programming and reporting. Join Marcia Hunter, Supplier Diversity Program Manager at Stellantis to learn the ins and outs of developing a strong program designed to support more diverse suppliers through your supply chain. This session is intended for organizations with existing supplier diversity programs.


Marcia Hunter

Marcia A Hunter

Marcia Hunter was named Supplier Diversity Program Manager of NAFTA Purchasing and Supplier Quality, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in May 2014. In her current position, Hunter is responsible for creating diversity sourcing targets, providing access, growth, and development to diverse suppliers. Hunter also leads their annual Diversity Matchmaker Event which has generated over $3B in sourcing opportunities to certified diverse suppliers. Marcia has held various positions within the Stellantis (formerly FCA) organization, including Global Buyer, Manager Mopar Learning & Development, Lead WCM Launch Coordinator Production Area Manager, Production Supervisor nd Machining Supervisor, her first job with the corporation in 1996. Marcia is a graduate of Michigan State University.