Thursday May 10th, Noon – 4:30PM

Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Creating Purpose From Passion

About Leaders & Icons

Created to breathe new life into the conference world, Leaders & Icons will feature compelling stories from the biggest names and brightest minds of our generation. Bringing together a cross section of students, business professionals and entrepreneurs for a day of creative insight.

What You Will Learn

We'll take you on an educational journey, highlighting lessons from those at the forefront of business, politics and innovation. These disruptors, leaders and innovators share unique insights and stories from their professional career, granting unparalleled access to their thinking and strategies.

Who Should Attend?

If you are an aspiring leader looking to make a difference in business; if you want to help build a culture of creativity and innovation; if you want to build a cohesive team and be more effective in execution, then this is the event for you.

Featuring some of the biggest names and brightest minds of our generation

Leaders & Icons takes attendees on an educational journey highlighting lessons from those at the forefront of business, politics and innovation.

James Comey

James Comey

Former Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (2013-2017)
The Ethical Leader

James Comey led the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. His tenure was tested by new forces within and outside America’s borders. He oversaw the federal response to mass shootings in San Bernardino in December 2015 and at Pulse nightclub in Orlando the following June, at the time the deadliest in the country’s history. He also worked to address key leadership, agility, and diversity issues within the Bureau. Read More

Prior to his service at the FBI, Comey worked as a federal prosecutor in New York and Virginia as well as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush. In the private sector, he has worked at law firms and as the general counsel of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, and Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.

Comey is the 2017–2018 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond School of Law and a Hertog Fellow in National Security Law at Columbia Law School.

A native of the New York metropolitan area, Comey attended the College of William & Mary and the University of Chicago Law School. He and his wife Patrice have five children and live in northern Virginia.

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A Higher Loyalty
Joanne Lipman

Joanne Lipman

Author and former Editor in Chief, USA Today
Bringing Equality to the Workplace

Joanne Lipman is author of That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together. A veteran journalist, she most recently was Chief Content Officer of Gannett, and Editor in Chief USA TODAY and the USA TODAY NETWORK, comprising the flagship title and 109 other news organizations including the Detroit Free Press, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Arizona Republic. Read More

Ms. Lipman began her career as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, ultimately rising to Deputy Managing Editor, creating Weekend Journal and Personal Journal, and supervising coverage that earned three Pulitzer Prizes. New York Times media columnist David Carr described her as the Journal's "innovator-in-chief." She subsequently was founding Editor-in-Chief of Conde Nast Portfolio and, which won National Magazine and Loeb Awards.

She is a frequent television commentator, seen on CNN, NBC, CNBC, and CBS, among others, and her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Time, Newsweek and Harvard Business Review. She is also co-author of the critically acclaimed musical memoir Strings Attached.

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That's What She Said
Lee Smart

Lee Smart

Comedian, Actor, Second City Main Stage Alumnus
Second City Works Facilitator

Second City Works will enhance the day's events with fun, interactive leadership exercises. These exercises will focus on the basic skills of improvisation that support leadership traits like authenticity, agility, and resiliency. Lee Smart is a comedian, improviser, actor, writer, facilitator, host and an alumnus of the famed Second City Main Stage in Toronto. With a career spanning more than two decades, Lee is a multiple nominee and winner of the Canadian Comedy Award, as well as the Gemini Award for Best Comedy Writing for television. Read More

In addition to his several roles in North American film and television, Lee is active in the comedy community and also the writer and creator of the critically acclaimed Comedy Network series, The Fifth Quadrant.

For over a decade, Lee has worked with Second City Works, in the role of Creative Director and Lead Facilitator for improvisation based learning - enthusiastically sharing valuable improv methodology that helps clients focus on the skills the promote teamwork, engagement, spontaneity, creative thinking and, of course, a serious amount of fun!

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Second City Works
Peter Aceto

Peter Aceto

Acclaimed Business Leader & Bestselling Author
Transformative Leadership

Peter Aceto is a passionate leader. Hi goal is to transform three areas of thinking – leadership, innovation, and diversity – that help business not only survive, but thrive. Peter was a founding member of the ING DIRECT/Tangerine’s senior leadership team in 1996. As CEO from 2008 to 2017, he transformed how banking, and business is done in Canada -- not only through innovation, but equally through his transformative leadership and emphasis on diversity. His relentless focus yielded outstanding results for Tangerine, its employees and its customers, and proved particularly instrumental in the $3.1 billion acquisition of ING DIRECT by Scotiabank in 2012. Read More

Peter is a social media leader and a frequent blogger. He is regularly profiled in the media, including in The Globe and Mail, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Harvard Business Review.

Peter is the co-founder of eQuo and is the executive-in-residence of TribalScale’s Fintech Venture Studio. He devotes much of his time to the technology, innovation, and startup ecosystem, and serves as mentor and advisor to several Canadian startups. He is also a board member of the Sinai Health System Foundation, UNITY Charity, and a member of the Council of Governors of iCanada dedicated to helping Canada become a world leading “intelligent nation.”

Peter has been globally recognized with numerous business awards in the areas of leadership, communication and human resources. 

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Weology: How Everybody Wins When We Comes Before Me
Vicki Saunders

Vicki Saunders

Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of SheEO
Navigating the Way Forward

Vicki Saunders is the Founder of SheEO, a global collaboration of female entrepreneurs and radically generous mentors who work together to create a powerful ecosystem for growing women-led ventures. So far, it has funded 32 ventures and loaned $3M in three countries, and is on track to fund 10K women-led businesses and raise a $1B perpetual fund in the next decade. Read More

Vicki has co-founded and run ventures in Europe, Toronto, and Silicon Valley, including Zazengo (an online platform for consumer and employee engagement for Fortune500 companies focused on sustainability), KidsNRG/The NRG Group (which went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2000), and Impactanation, a global consulting firm focused on engaging youth to tackle the grand challenges we are facing.

Vicki was named one of the 100 most influential leaders of 2015 by “Empowering a Billion Women,” alongside Marissa Mayer, Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, and Michelle Obama. She was also selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. She has spoken at events around the world including: The World Economic Forum in Davos, Women of Influence Series in Canada, TEDx Conference, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs events, and the Tallberg Forum.

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Heather Reisman

Heather Reisman

Chief Executive Officer of Indigo
Moderator for James Comey Interview

Heather Reisman is the founder, Chair and CEO of Indigo, Canada’s largest book, lifestyle and specialty toy retailer, and co-founder of Kobo, a leading global eReading company. Ms. Reisman was born in Montreal and educated at McGill University. Read More

For the first 16 years of her career Ms. Reisman was Managing Director of Paradigm Consulting, the strategy and change management firm she co-founded in 1979. Paradigm was the world's first strategic change consultancy and pioneered many organizational change strategies still in use today.

Heather is a former Governor of McGill University and of the Toronto Stock Exchange. She has served on many North American boards and continues to serve as a Director on the board of Onex Corporation, and as an Officer of Mount Sinai Hospital. She is also a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee, a geo-political think group.

In 2014, Ms. Reisman co-executive produced the feature documentary “Fed-Up,” focussing on the role which the processed food industry is playing in the worldwide obesity crisis.

Ms. Reisman is the recipient of Honorary Doctorates from Ryerson University (2006), Wilfrid Laurier University (2009), Mount Allison University (2010), St. Francis Xavier University (2013), University of Manitoba (2016), McGill University (2017), and The Weizmann Institute of Science (2017), as well as several awards including The Order of Canada, The WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Financial Times of London Top 50 Women in World Business, Waterloo Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, University of Waterloo; International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, University of Manitoba; and the John Molson School of Business Award of Distinction, Concordia University. In January 2015, Ms. Reisman received the Desautels Management Achievement Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Canadian business and society.

In May 2015, Ms. Reisman was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

Ms. Reisman is married to Gerald Schwartz, Chair and CEO of Onex Corporation. She has four children and nine grandchildren.

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Caroline Codsi

Caroline Codsi

President & Founder of Women in Governance
Moderator for Joanne Lipman Interview

A passionate and strategic leader, Caroline has had a successful career in the corporate world of over 25 years including the past decade in VP and SVP roles within major organizations. Read More

Caroline founded Women in Governance in 2010, a non-for-profit organization with mission to encourage women to develop their leadership, advance their career and sit on boards. She dedicates her life to all matters relating to the access of women to executive roles and board positions in the corporate world in Canada as well as gender equality everywhere in the world.

A graduate in languages and foreign civilizations from Paris-Diderot University as well as in Human Resources from HEC Montréal, Caroline also completed the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Program at McGill for which she was a Scholar, Valedictorian and Ambassador.

Born in Beirut, Caroline was only 7 years old when the war started and 22 when it ended. A Citizen of the world having lived on three continents, Caroline is fluent in 4 languages and can understand 6.

A highly sought-after speaker, Caroline is a multi-award winner including from the Quebec Business Women Network, the Arab Women Trophy, Premières en Affaires among others. She was recognized as a Top 20 Diversity Leading Figures in Quebec, Top 75 Canadian Immigrants and Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She is also the recipient of a Gender Equality Award by the United Nations Women National Committee as well as a Mercure Leadership Award from the Quebec Chambers of Commerce Federation.

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Women in Governance


VIP Lunch
12:00pm - 12:45pm
Lee SmartIntro
1:00pm - 1:10pm
Vicki Saunders
1:10pm - 1:40pm
Peter Aceto
1:45pm - 2:15pm
Lee SmartFacilitation
2:15pm - 2:30pm
2:30pm - 2:50pm
Lee SmartWelcome Back
2:50pm - 3:00pm
Joanne Lipman 45 Min Moderated Q&A; w/ Carloine Codsi
3:00pm - 3:45pm
James Comey 45 Min Moderated Q&A; w/  Heather Reisman
3:50pm - 4:30pm
Backstage VIP Photos
4:30pm - 5:00pm

Tickets are on sale now!

Please email [email protected] for more information on our corporate and group rates.

  • Access to all speakers
  • Seating on a first come first served basis
  • Seating available from rows 10 onwards
  • Access to all speakers
  • Express entrance
  • Priority seating (Rows 3-9)
  • Commemorative gift
  • Pre-Conference VIP Luncheon & Networking Session
  • Complimentary copies of A Higher LoyaltyThat's What She Said
  • Access to all speakers
  • Express entrance
  • Reserved seating (Rows 1 & 2)
  • Commemorative gift
  • Pre-Conference VIP Luncheon & Networking Session
  • Complimentary copies of A Higher LoyaltyThat's What She Said
  • Photo Opportunity with James Comey

Supporting Future Leaders

We believe conferences have let down those most in need of the insights brought forward at these events. Those who are in position to benefit most from these learnings and with the ability to apply this knowledge most efficiently have routinely been priced out of the market. Understanding this Leaders & Icons has launched its Future Leaders program which will allow students to gain access to this event for free.

For every 5 tickets sold to each of our conferences we will donate one ticket to our Future Leaders partners including colleges, universities and entrepreneurial incubators. Our hope is to host hundreds of these future leaders annually, imparting the lessons shared to better their futures.

For more information on becoming part of our Future Leaders Program, please email [email protected]

Sponsors & Partners

Toronto Board of Trade   Second City Works   Mississauga Board of Trade   Strategic Leadership Forum

Contact Us

Leaders & Icons
231 MacPherson Ave
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 1A1

Any Questions? Drop us a note