COPA Learning Conference for Business Leaders

NEW DATE: Making Waves is coming in January! Are you ready to learn?

Making Waves is returning with another online learning experience for COPA and CHPTA members. We’ve lined up speakers who can address these unusual times, which have become a new normal for businesses. This incredible learning opportunity will provide key insights for industry leaders.

Who Should Participate

Once again, this conference will equip workers and leaders to overcome some of the biggest challenges they’re facing by providing the best information available from qualified experts. Key decision-makers, supervisors, managers, directors, and developing leaders at the executive level, in marketing, sales, finance, and human resources should all participate.


All presentations will be hosted via Zoom. Participants will receive the dial-in coordinates after registering.

Schedule & Registration

We’ve got an easy to follow schedule: every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. EST starting on January 13, 2022 and going into mid-February. Most speaking times include Q&A.

Full Conference Pass: Register to see all speakers for only $300 + HST with a Full Conference Pass. Access the registration link via Janice Stein’s registration page or contact Nicole Gamble at

Speakers and Registration

Janice Stein - The Canada-U.S. Relationship: The Post-Pandemic Normal (KEYNOTE)

Jan. 13 @ 11am EST
$150 + HST

Sponsored by

The post-pandemic relationship is a stronger version of the immediate past. The United States has doubled down on Buy America and China as a threat. Both of these issues are at the top of the list of Canada’s concerns. What unities the two governments is a shared commitment to policies to fight climate change. For exporters both directly to the United States and to third parties, rules are becoming thicker and growth in regional trade is outpacing global trade as the U.S.-China conflict deepens. There is no “building back better,” only “building back differently.”

Janice Gross Stein is the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science and was the Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto (serving from 1998 to the end of 2014). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. Her most recent publications include Networks of Knowledge: Innovation in International Learning (2000); The Cult of Efficiency (2001); and Street Protests and Fantasy Parks (2001). She is a contributor to Canada by Picasso (2006) and the co-author of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (2007). She was the Massey Lecturer in 2001 and a Trudeau Fellow. She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for an outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. She is an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Alberta, the University of Cape Breton, McMaster University, and Hebrew University.

Register for Janice OR Full Conference Pass
Liza Amlani - Planning for Disruption by Rethinking Your Supply Chain

Jan. 18 @ 11am EST
$150 + HST

A new era of retail is upon us. Amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic that has reshaped retail, rethinking the supply chain and breaking down silos to get closer to the customer is critical. Unifying the supply chain as retail continues to evolve and disrupt traditional ways of planning and sourcing product, and transforming the business by enabling technology will deliver exceptional results.

This session will uncover:

  • Insights on the changing role and diversification of sourcing partners;
  • A deeper understanding of speed to market and enabling technology from planning to product development; and
  • Steps to prepare for shopper expectations of 2022 and beyond.

Liza is a retail industry expert with over 2 decades of experience in merchandising, product creation, and go to market strategy across physical, digital and omni-channel.

In her career, Liza has worked with familiar brands including Holt Renfrew, Ralph Lauren Europe and Canada, Club Monaco, Nike, Walmart, and several others. Her experience encompasses brick and mortar, e-commerce and omni-channel in the areas of product creation, merchandising, go to market strategies and the supply chain.

In shifting to consulting, she played an integral role in Accenture’s Retail Strategy group, where she was responsible for consulting with fashion brands and retailers, supporting several major business transformations across product creation, merchandising, speed to market and materials management.

Liza is currently the Principal at Retail Strategy Group – a consulting practice which helps companies in the retail space dramatically improve profitability. She is a respected voice on topics such as responsible retail and sustainability, retail diversity and inclusion, the future of retail and the urgency of technology enablement in merchandising, assortment optimization and demand planning.

You can find Liza on all social platforms under the @theMerchantLife and follow her on LinkedIn or RetailWire for her POV on all things retail from a retail insider.

Register for Liza
Ramy Nassar - Strategic Foresight for Emerging Technologies

Jan. 20 @ 11am EST
$75 + HST

Sponsored by

This hands-on session looks at factors such as consumer trends, market forces, advances in technology and changing expectations, and how they might shape future operating and innovation environments. The session will introduce how disruptive technologies might threaten or positively impact their organization and ways to systematically approach this change.

Ramy is the founder of 1000 Days Out and author of the upcoming “AI Product Design Handbook”. As the former managing director of Design & Strategy for Architech and head of innovation for Mattel, he has led diverse teams in the creation of disruptive new digital products, services & platforms. Ramy teaches Design Thinking at McMaster University and in the Master’s of Engineering, Innovation & Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University.

Register for Ramy
Ian Evans - Fortifying Your First Line of Defense with Cyber Security Awareness

Jan. 20 @ 1pm EST
$150 + HST

Your employees are your first line of defence against cyber-attacks, but unfortunately, they can also be your weakest cyber security link. As the number of cyber-attack strategies increasingly grows, addressing security awareness weak points is now crucial to reduce the impact of malware, ransomware and other compromises.

E-Tech has partnered with InfoSec to offer a comprehensive cyber security awareness training solution. Training consists of an integrated learning management system (LMS) and a tailorable phishing simulator to help prevent and reduce cyber risks.

Our goal is to empower your staff and Board with the knowledge and skills to stay cybersecure at work and at home. Our threat intelligence tools allow us to proactively produce security awareness training that is relevant, topical, and tailored to the real-world threats you and your organization encounter every day.

Ian Evans is the owner, president and CEO of E-Tech, a Canadian IT consulting firm offering IT Managed Services since 2005. Ian attributes his team’s strength to their close working relationship with each client. E-Tech specializes in intelligent business continuity and data protection, Cloud hosting solutions, web design and IT technical support & maintenance.

Register for Ian
Barbara Larson - Moving Past (and learning from) the Crisis: Developing Your Company’s Future of Work Strategy

Jan. 25 @ 11am EST
$150 + HST

While no one knows exactly when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, the workplace has already fundamentally changed. Leading firms are thinking strategically, rather than reactively, about how to structure their workplaces and work practices for the long term. Some of the key decisions companies face are how to optimize remote and hybrid work policies, how best to utilize office space post-pandemic, and how to support employee work-life balance and wellness. In this session, we will examine key trends defining the future of work, review examples from leading employers in Canada and the U.S., and outline ideas and best practices that participants can take back to their own companies.

Dr. Barbara Larson is Executive Professor of Management at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, where she has been a member of faculty since 2012. Her research focuses on the personal and interpersonal skills that people need to work effectively in virtual environments, and she works with collaborators in both academia and industry to develop training methods and materials to enable more productive virtual and remote work. Her research has been published in Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Perspectives, and Management Science, among other outlets. She is a contributor at Harvard Business Review, and her work and insights have been cited by the New York Times, USA Today, NBC, BBC, and Bloomberg, among others.

Prior to her academic career, Professor Larson worked for 15 years in international finance and operations leadership, most recently as Director of International Finance at R.R. Donnelley. She earned her doctorate at Harvard Business School, her MBA at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and her BA at the University of Virginia.

Register for Barbara
Michel Shah - Build Sustainability and Inclusiveness Into Your Organization’s Recovery Plan

Jan. 27 @ 1pm EST
$75 + HST

Sponsored by

Research has shown that organizations with inclusive business practices are 57.8 per cent more likely to improve their reputations. In addition, employees who view their workplace as inclusive are likely to consider their organization to have ethical value. In the current context, embracing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Indigenization (DEII) is a strategic advantage, critical to risk management and business outcomes.

Implementing these practices, however, can be difficult. Wherever there are people, there is bias, and bias affects how we learn, work and interact with each other. We are knowledge workers who “think for a living,” but “much of our thinking is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or prejudiced.”

Unconscious bias is a major risk in the modern workplace, which is increasing in diversity and complexity. Organizations are challenged against this backdrop by increasing demands for greater equity, diversity, inclusion and indigenization from ideation, through design and delivery of services.

This webinar is designed and delivered in a manner to provide opportunities for reflection on the biases you hold and provide strategies to become aware of the impact of bias on individual and organizational outcomes and reputation.

The webinar will address three key questions:

  • What is Unconscious Bias?
  • How it Works?
  • Why it Matters?

Michel brings more than 20 years of business experience in training and development, real estate, insurance, investments and entrepreneurship to her role as educator. She is a confident, engaging speaker and a master collaborator who delivers results both in education and in business.

She specializes in Personal and Professional Development, bringing astute insights and pragmatic solutions to situations involving facilitation, needs assessment, coaching and knowledge transfer.

Her passion for developing others is underscored by her current role as a professor of personal and professional development. Her passion, enthusiasm and confidence in people combined with a witty sense of humour keep her learners engaged, excited and inspired to excel.

Register for Michel
Jordan Berman - Has COVID-19 Changed Change Management? (KEYNOTE)

Feb. 1 @ 11am EST
$150 + HST

Sponsored by

What impact will innovative business models, hybrid workforces and new employee expectations have on change management? This one-hour interactive and engaging webinar will provide you with thought provoking issues, questions and the strategies to consider in the new post pandemic world. Explore how change management has changed and how to leverage these changes to your organization’s advantage.

Jordan Berman is global vice-president, corporate communications with Apotex. He has played an instrumental role leading change throughout his career. He has held senior leadership roles at Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca where he led profound organizational change as well as smaller scale change. He also spent eight years as a consultant providing counsel to some of the world’s leading brands including SC Johnson & Sons, Kraft and Pfizer. Jordan holds a joint EMBA from the Kellogg School of Management and the Schulich School of Business and has been a highly rated speaker on change management at the Schulich School of Business.

Register for Jordan
Kart Vyas - COVID-19 Impact on Mental Health for Small Businesses

Feb. 10 @ 11am EST
Free for Small Business Members

In partnership with

COVID-19 has created unique challenges for the workplace. The “New Normal” comes with an increased need to ensure the health and safety of the workers, both physical and psychological. This session will help small business owners gain an understanding of the impact on our mental health and business. As we get accustomed to the “new normal”, learn about different strategies that can assist you to successfully navigate through this challenging time.

Kart Vyas, R.Kin., CRSP, CCPE, CMIOSH, has been practising Occupational Health and Safety for over a decade with a specialty in Ergonomics/Human Factors Engineering. He has delivered Mental Health sessions to workplace parties in various settings. Kart brings health and safety knowledge and experience from the healthcare, service, manufacturing, construction, and transportation sectors.

Register for Kart
Kart Vyas - Insights on Strategies for Businesses Facing Mental Health Impact

Feb. 10 @ 1pm EST
$75 + HST

In partnership with

This session will provide insights into the challenges that workers, supervisors, and employers may face when recognizing the situational impact on the mental health of everyone. Participants will get an overview of various resources and strategies that can be used in the workplace by all parties to promote a safer environment.

Kart Vyas, R.Kin., CRSP, CCPE, CMIOSH, has been practising Occupational Health and Safety for over a decade with a specialty in Ergonomics/Human Factors Engineering. He has delivered Mental Health sessions to workplace parties in various settings. Kart brings health and safety knowledge and experience from the healthcare, service, manufacturing, construction, and transportation sectors.

Register for Kart
Sanjay Dhebar - Moving Away From Solution Selling To Agile Sales

Feb. 15 @ 11am EST
$75 + HST

Sponsored by

The traditional method of selling solutions and depending on customer relationships is a thing of the past. Stakeholders and decision-makers now have access to strong data and product information to make an informed buying decision. In this session, Sanjay Dhebar will discuss the skills required today to change the dynamic and become an insight champion to your customers.

Learning Objectives:

  • Sales vs Marketing – Who Wins the Tug of War
  • Today’s Trends & Customers Expectations in a B2B World
  • How Agile Sellers Play to Win

Sanjay is a highly rated faculty member with the Schulich Executive Education Centre, Schulich School of Busines at York University. He coaches and develops senior leaders in organizations including Four Seasons Hotel, Siemens, Hoffman La Roche, TD Bank, NN Group, Mercedes Benz, Samsung, Teva, and Sick Kids Hospital. He uses the ‘case study’ methodology in his teachings drawing on best practice approaches across sectors. Sanjay has developed a respected process and practical approach called “The Business Workout”, which enables business leaders achieve better performance and success.

Sanjay is an adjunct member of faculty at the Schulich School of Business and the University of Salzburg Business School in Austria. Sanjay’s teaching focus includes sales, marketing and strategy. Building on his decade-long international teaching experience, and his expertise in developing cutting-edge experiential curriculum design, Sanjay has partnered with different universities to re-evaluate their pedagogy and enhance their new programs with current best practices including flipped classroom and online learning. In 2019 and 2020, Sanjay was nominated for a Schulich teaching excellence award as a top Faculty member.

In 2018, Sanjay published his first book: Tool box for Performance Driven Leaders. He holds an Honours BA in Public Policy from Ryerson University and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Leicester, UK. Recently, Sanjay completed an advanced certificate in digital marketing from MIT Boston along with a train the trainer certificate from Disney on Quality Service.

Register for Sanjay
Vafa Akhavan - Customer Experience Excellence: The Strategic Business Imperative

Feb. 17 @ 11am EST
$75 + HST

Sponsored by

In every business, customer experience (CX) is now recognized as a strategic imperative. Whether you are in a B2B or B2C environment, from local to global business, your customer’s experience with you is a key driver in life time value, customer acquisition, and ultimately free cash. After 30 years of operating and consulting focus on CX across 7 industries in 15 countries, our presenter will share some of the key variables of excellence in customer experience.

Vafa Akhavan is an executive leader with global experience across seven industries and 16 countries. His career is made up of corporate leadership roles and management consulting at marquee brands within their respective industries. Customer experience, employee engagement and owner returns have been a constant throughout his career. Vafa is currently President & Senior Adviser at NueBridge, a unique consultancy of operating executives serving corporate clients focused primarily on CE and CEM. Previously Vafa was based in Boston as CEO at Forum, a global consultancy focused on leadership development, customer experience and sales optimization. Prior He was based in New York as Global Head of Customer Operations at Information & Media, a $B1.3 segment of McGraw Hill. Vafa was moved to McGraw Hill after its acquisition of J.D. Power where he served as Executive Director Solutions. Vafa is also an opinion contributor to The Global and Mail.

Register for Vafa


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Sponsor a Speaker

Want to show your support? Sponsor a speaker for this event. Sponsors will receive:

  • Branding in all pre- and post-event marketing for their speaker
  • Option to welcome participants and introduce the speaker during the presentation
  • Branding on the event page
  • Tickets to Making Waves

Contact Nicole Gamble to pledge your support.

Thank you to our sponsors – your support means the world to us!

Thank you to our Conference Committee for their amazing support and contribution!

Abeer Rahman, SYNNEX Canada
Andrew Zingone, SYNNEX Canada
Catherine Gill, Duracell
Andy Mascarenhas, ACCO Brands
Gerard VanCraenenbroeck, Newell Brands
Paul Cole, Beatties Basics
Tamara Nemeth, Newell Brands
Megan McClelland, Avery Products
Martin Daiski, Fellowes Canada
Joel Burton, Fellowes Canada