2019 COPA Conference and Social Event

Conference, Networking and Awards

Join us for this one-and-a-half day business education conference and networking extravaganza!

In today’s marketplace where businesses are being forced to contend with cyber-attacks, job automation, multi-generational workforce, and economic and political uncertainties, this conference will equip workers and leaders to overcome these challenges, and identify the beneficial opportunities amid the chaos. Check out the list of speakers and topics down below!

In addition to two keynotes and breakout sessions on day one and one keynote with additional breakouts on day two, we’ll be closing out the conference with a panel of experts, including leaders from Staples Business Advantage, Grand & Toy, and Hamster (Novexco). This is one industry event you don’t want to miss!

Plus, come prepared to mingle and have some fun at “A Night at the COPA” – the reinvention of the annual gala where we’ll recognize two industry leaders and some of your colleagues that have been around for decades! In fact, you can visit the Awards Program page now to make nominations in the Excellence in Leadership and Longstanding Service Recognition categories (self-nominations are welcome!).

We’re adding new topics and event updates weekly so keep checking back for up to date info on Making Waves!


Westin Toronto Airport Hotel
950 Dixon Road, Toronto, Airport
M9W 5N4

Thursday, Nov. 7 – Friday, Nov. 8, 2019


The Vue
195 Galaxy Blvd, Etobicoke, ON
M9W 6R7

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 @ 5:30 p.m.

Participants can book a traditional single room at the Westin Toronto Airport Hotel at the special rate of $175 per night by contacting Nicole Gamble at ngamble@copa.ca. Rooms must be booked by September 30, 2019 to receive special rate.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

7:30 am – 8:30 am registration & Hot Breakfast
8:45 am – 10:00 am Keynote Speaker
10:15 am – 11:15 am Breakout Session
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Breakout Session
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Hot lunch
1:45 pm – 2:45 pm Breakout Session
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Breakout Session
5:30 pm – A Night at the COPA starts at The Vue

Friday, November 8, 2019

7:30 am – 8:15 am registration & Hot Breakfast
8:25 am – 9:25 am Keynote Speaker
9:35 am – 10:35 am Breakout Session
10:45 am – 11:45 pm Breakout Session
11:55 pm – 12:55 pm Hot lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Industry Panel

Note: Some breakout slots may have concurrent sessions.


COPA Member Ticket: $850.00 per person
Non-Member Ticket: $975.00 per person


COPA Member Tickets:
3–5 tickets $750.00 per ticket
6–8 tickets $650.00 per ticket

Non-Member Tickets:
3–5 tickets $875.00 per ticket
6–8 tickets $775.00 per ticket

Ticket price includes:

Thursday’s full day conference package: Access to all speakers, parking, hot breakfast and lunch

A Night at the COPA: Thursday evening Cocktail Reception hosted at The Vue ($200 value)

Friday’s half-day conference package: Access to all speakers, parking, hot breakfast and lunch

*For 9 or more tickets please contact Nicole Gamble. HST will be added to all prices.


Ali Naqvi - Trends in the Canadian IT Market

Keynote speaker, Ali Naqvi of the NPD group, will be sharing his years of experience as he discusses the rapidly changing landscape for IT retailers in Canada.

Learn how the market is becoming more focused on software, and how hardware is adapting to keep up with this change. Ali will also highlight strategies that retailers have employed over the years to ensure that their presence continues well into the future.

Lines are blurring and retailers are becoming more omnipresent rather than specialists. Ali will discuss how large office and technology retailers are adapting to this market in an effort to not only retain, but also attract new customers. His presentation will also feature insightful data on how consumer habits are evolving – are they spending more time shopping in stores or online, what technology are they purchasing, and much more.


Ali manages the IT Retail and B2B businesses at the NPD Group and works closely with leading technology manufacturers and distributors in Canada. Ali also assumes the role of industry expert for the B2B market and has been quoted by Wifi Hifi Magazine and Canadian Dealer News (CDN/ITWC). Ali helps technology manufacturers and distributors understand and utilize NPD data to highlight positives and uncover opportunities.

Prior to joining NPD, Ali spent 7 years with a leading retailer in Canada gaining experience in retail management and buying technology categories. Ali also managed Marks & Spencer retail stores in the Middle East. Ali is a business graduate by qualification.

Janice Stein - The Fourth Industrial Revolution

The anticipated social impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution will change the way people work and engage. The scope and role of work will change dramatically with technology – especially AI and digitization.

One of the primary areas of concern is the impact to our social order. AI will be eliminating jobs – how will we transform transactional, blue collar workers into productive contributors to society. Even white collar contributions will be affected. Will there be enough jobs for everyone? Many leaders are beginning to discuss guaranteed basic income programs, because there will not be enough work for individuals.

How will society views change about employment? For the last 2000 years, a person’s identity has been through their work life contributions and sustaining themselves and families through “work”. How will we continue to encourage and develop creative, entrepreneurial contributors? How will they be recognized and compensated for their contributions vs. the rest of the world? How will the rise in populism and the corresponding demands from individuals ( especially Western society) and wealth distribution be impacted by this Revolution? Who will have? And who will have not?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution WILL change our social order. Is government, policy makers and the general public ready?

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.

Butch Carter - Topic TBA

Topic Description TBA


ALONG WITH BEING THE FOUNDER OF A4C COACH CARTER SERVES as Coaching Mentor to the NBA’s Assistant Coaching Program (ACP). Coach is considered an expert in process improvement because in his corporate life he designed and manufactured 14 million HVAC control modules for Delphi Automotive and General Motors, with a failure rate of less than 3 per million.

He has been a trailblazer on Basketball Analytics from his High School team in Middletown, Ohio to the 1999-2000 Toronto Raptors. At Middletown High School in his second year he was named Ohio High School Coach of the Year. He is the only person to ever be named both Coach & Player of the Year in Ohio! Coach graduated from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and served as college assistant at Long Beach State with Joe Harrington, and University of Dayton with Jim O’Brien. He has been a NABC member for 29 years. He worked 6 years as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks for Del Harris and Mike Dunleavy, before becoming an assistant, then head coach for the Toronto Raptors. He currently resides in Toronto with his wife and youngest son.

Coach had a decorated playing career, and is the older brother of Cris Carter current Fox Sports Celebrity and former (Minnesota Vikings) wide receiver.


Ron Babin - Digital Disruption in the Retail and Supply Chain Sectors

Without a doubt, the rapid arrival of digital technologies in the last decade has created a disruptive business environment for incumbents and an interesting opportunity for new start-ups. Consumer digital technologies such as smart phones, cloud services and high speed Internet are changing much of the business landscape. As the technology becomes more reliable and affordable, we are now seeing artificial intelligence (AI) and software robotics available for consumers.

This session will examine the underlying digital technology drivers that are creating this disruptive environment. The focus of the session will be to understand how digital disruption will affect retail and supply chain businesses today and in the near future, and how existing businesses can prepare for the inevitable transformation that the new technologies bring.

Ron Babin is the Program Director of the new Centre of Excellence in Disruption and Transformation at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, Schulich School of Business at York University.

As a strategy partner at KPMG and at Accenture, Dr. Babin guided dozens of organizations on digital and IT strategies over the last 30 years. He conducts ongoing field research on global digital services sourcing with International Data Corporation (IDC) and through the Centre for Outsourcing Research and Education (CORE). He has published over 70 articles and several books. Dr. Babin is a frequent conference speaker.

David Barrett - Project Management for Non-Project Managers

We all manage projects regardless of how small they are. Some are extremely important and time sensitive to us personally. Others are just as critical to our organizations, our jobs and our careers. But we have never thought of ourselves as project managers. And we never will. We have never taken a project management course and we won’t.

This high energy, down-to-earth presentation, based on David’s book entitled ‘The Power of the Plan – Empowering The Leader Within You’, will make everyone think differently as they begin planning the next product roll-out, office relocation, course development or conference. From the “go, no-go’ decision, to the basic plan, the budget, through to the all-important ‘Managing the people’, David’s simple, easy-to-understand process will leave everyone with tools they can use on any project. Participants will gain the confidence to take on any small project, understand the basics of scheduling, budgeting and managing people as well as learn what to ask right at the beginning to avoid common pitfalls.

David Barrett is the Program Director for the Project Management Centre of Excellence and the Co-Program Director for Business Analysis Centre of Excellence both at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, Schulich School of Business at York University. David delivered sessions to all types of audiences ranging from project managers, business analysts, senior management and executives and general audiences for all types of sectors. A few comments from the audience are: “Could have listened to David all day – Passionate about what he does. Amazing speakers al with great take-aways”; “David Barrett’s workshop was the best part of the conference – he was engaging and passionate” (BAE Systems Electronic Systems, Nashua, New Hampshire).

Mark Thomas - Meet 2020 Budgets with a Lean Supply Chain

It’s budget time and you were told by Finance that we need to grow revenue and cut costs to achieve our 2020 budgets…where should you start right now?

The Supply Chain operation touches your customers more than any other thing in your company. It’s a prime candidate for Lean thinking and improvement. Lean actions are designed to remove wasteful activities from your business. Every company does countless things that don’t improve the bottom line and that our customers don’t appreciate or value. And until you look for them and take action to fix them, they will continue right along being wasteful and cutting into profits.

Lean thinking helps us to stay on top of our game. Our Supply Chains are not static – there are new cost saving opportunities in inventory management, order fulfillment, facilities and transportation every day that we may not be capturing, and service levels need continuous improvement to fend off competitors. This session will describe the essence of Lean Supply Chain thinking and will trigger a number of actions you can take to get leaner by 2020.

Mark is Program Director and Facilitator for the SEEC Centre of Excellence in Supply Chain & Logistics Management and an instructor of Operations Management in the Schulich MBA program. Mark is also Managing Principal of META Management Consulting and has served as Treasurer of Supply Chain and Logistics Canada (SCL).

Mark is a P.Eng., MBA, and PMP. A highly motivated individual, Mark has a long track record of fulfilling and exceeding client expectations. This attitude has enabled Mark to hold senior executive positions for a variety of organizations and lead a successful consulting firm. He has a familiarity and passion for supply chain solutions that meet business objectives.

Lee-Anne McAlear - Leading a Culture that Innovates!

The manufacturing industry is going through a period of near-unprecedented change. New technologies and the growing influence of big data are disrupting traditional operating practices. According to the 2018 EY Industrial Products Survey, over 50% of North American manufacturers see challenging the status quo as a key to future commercial success. Innovation is on their minds.

Innovation is a discipline, just like strategy, planning, or budgeting. Like these disciplines, sustained innovation requires an understanding of the power of accessing people’s creativity and the development of a culture that supports innovation. A recent innovation poll of leaders across North American captured the understanding that while 84% of leaders said innovation was extremely important to their future growth, 94% were dissatisfied with their outcomes. Digging into that data uncovers that most leaders feel their culture is not yet fully supporting innovation. The move from the status quo to the new and different can be a challenging one.

In this highly interactive and engaging talk, Lee-Anne McAlear, Co-Program Director of the COE of Innovation Leadership at SEEC, Schulich School of Business, York University will describe which environments promote creativity and innovation—and which don’t. With current cases and research, she will reveal the big ideas, quick innovation hacks and practical steps that leaders need to mobilize their organizations and their ecosystem – to engage employees, mobilize suppliers and delight customers.

Lee-Anne McAlear is an award-winning facilitator, speaker, writer and consultant. She is a program director and sought-after lecturer at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, Schulich School of Business at York University, and a featured speaker with the National Speakers Bureau, speaking at conferences in the area of innovation, leadership, employee engagement and team effectiveness.

Lee-Anne has worked extensively in the leadership and innovation pace in more than 31 countries in both the public (federal, provincial and municipal levels) and private sectors.
She has piloted several global innovation initiatives that have, for example, delivered new approaches to brand revitalization, new methods for delivering patient care and new ways to address customer growth and retention.

For more than 25 years, Lee-Anne has worked across industries and sectors including, but not limited to, pharmaceutical, health care, telecommunication, transportation, professional services and consumer packaged goods.

She sits on the board of the Canadian Chapter of IAOIP (international Association of Innovation Professionals) – the only association offering globally recognized innovation certifications.

Murat Kristal - Data, Analytics and Insights

Understanding the impact of Big Data and how Analytics are impacting the business landscape are key to understanding how your organization can capitalize on the developments and generate higher revenues and increase efficiencies.

Combing through the vast amounts of data harnessed by businesses at every point of contact requires an analytical framework powered by innovative technologies that can handle the data and the associated powerful analytical frameworks to generate relevant insights. Data visualization is a critical component of the entire process as it allows for the creation and generation of user-friendly dashboards that allow for quick and effective consumption of the insights along with the ability to customize the information in order to generate further insights, all real-time.

The world around is amassing data at a speed never seen before and with increasingly sophisticated technologies allowing for a much deeper understanding for businesses, data visualization allows for an impactful and insightful understanding of the value hidden within the data. In this session, Murat Kristal, can help you see and understand your data by creating simple to complex visualizations and combining them in interactive dashboards.

Murat Kristal is an associate professor of operations management at Schulich School of Business at York University and the Program Director of the Centre of Excellence in Analytics for Leaders at the Schulich Executive Education Centre. He teaches in the areas of business operations strategy, channel management and customer modeling.

Dr. Kristal received his PhD from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests focus on the areas of supply chain, operations and service management strategy. He has helped diverse companies including Johnson & Johnson, Moneris Solutions, and Global Payments Inc. manage their customer relationships using predictive analysis techniques.

Megan Mitchell - Design Thinking to Foster and Accelerate Innovation

Do you ever wonder why some new innovative products and programs fail, while other ones succeed? What do successful companies do differently to deliver innovation and how you can become one of them? Many people have heard of design thinking and thought. “That doesn’t apply to our company.” Well, it does! New ways of delivering value both inside and outside the company can come from designing products, services and programs that have the end-user in mind.

In this engaging and interactive session, Megan Mitchell, Co-Program Director of the Centre of Excellence of Innovation Leadership at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, Schulich School of Business, York University will demystify innovation and design thinking for you. Many leaders think innovation is about new products; however, great innovation is about designing something with the user at the centre, whether that person is an internal colleague or an external customer. She will share examples and a framework with you, as well as help you think about how to apply it in a current business challenge.

Program Director, Centre of Excellence in Innovation Management at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, Schulich School of Business, York University as well as author and founding partner of Mitchell Consulting. Megan is one of Canada’s top innovation practitioners with over 20 years’ experience in innovation, marketing, sales, HR and leadership.

Megan’s strongest assets include strategic thinking, systemic innovation, creative problem solving, leadership development, team and learning facilitation and design. She is passionate about facilitating effective change in a positive and energetic way with individual leaders and organizations. Megan is a strong facilitator and session designer. She has led/facilitated Innovation Teams tasked with critical business opportunities that resulted in achieved savings of over $1 MM in 8 months and winning the National Quality Institute Award for Healthy Workplace. She also worked individually, one on one, coaching individuals on innovation practices, approaches and methods.


We’re still adding to our panel – stay tuned for more info on the panellists and discussion topic!

COPA Making Waves Contact Details
Nicole Gamble Events & Membership Coordinator 905 624 9462 ext. 223 • ngamble@copa.ca

Canadian office Products Association
101-1335 Morningside Ave Scarborough, Ontario Canada M1B 5M4


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Thank you to our sponsors and event partners:

Thank you to our Conference Committee; we couldn’t have done it without you!

Claudia Cruzeiro, TOPS Products
Abeer Rahman, SYNNEX Canada
Dan Rancourt, Sharp Electronics
Tracy Sinno, Fellowes Canada
Andrew Zingone, SYNNEX Canada
Beatriz de Souza, 3M Canada
Suzanne Barrette, SYNNEX Canada
Catherine Gill, Henkel
Andy Mascarenhas, ACCO Brands
Ron Chan, ASUS
Gerard VanCraenenbroeck, Newell Brands
Paul Cole, Beatties Basics
Tamara Nemeth, Newell Brands
Nineeta Drepaul, CIS Office Plus
Megan McClelland, Avery Products
Jordan Hoxie, Beatties Basics
Cathy Rancourt, CRD Distribution
Shirley Parker, Avery Products