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Our People

OUR TEAM 

HELEN HIRSH SPENCE, FOUNDER / CEO

Helen’s work is rooted in research and in practice as a leader. Her career as a educator, principal and head mistress involved helping others maximize their potential, a passion she brings to her latest endeavour, The Top 60 Over 60. This social innovation supports, recognizes and celebrates those in the 60 + demographic who combine experience with a desire to engage in social good. 

Helen brings an international perspective to her leadership and board positions. Her expertise in learning, executive development, organizational culture and talent management has taken her around the globe where she consults and advises boards, businesses, organizations and schools. The Canadian Board Diversity Council recently selected Helen as a Diveristy 50 winner. 

In addition to consulting, Helen is an active community volunteer and serves on several boards. She is Past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada and has served on this board since 2008 in numerous capacities. She is one of the Co-Founders of Women for Mental Health; a mentor and life coach to youth and new immigrants; a former President of the Ontario Principals’ Council; an Executive member of the International Women’s Forum, Ottawa; an international volunteer advisor for the Canadian Executive Services Organization.  

 

DEBRA YEARWOOD, COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR

Debra Yearwood is President of CommStorm Communications. She is an engaging marketing, communications and strategic planning executive possessing a winning blend of leadership, strategic talent, and communications acumen. She is skilled in managing large, complex organization services to produce exemplary results, via hands on involvement and an unwavering commitment to success. She has worked with private sector, not for profits and charitable organizations to help them deliver strategic messages and establish them as authoritative brands. 

Debra leverages a unique mix of visionary, strategic, operations and analytical expertise. She consistently exceeds performance goals by aligning talents and effort with organizational objectives. An influential leader who creates immediate impact, produces results and fuels excellence. She has experience in public relations, membership, brand development, internal communications, government and stakeholder relations. 

 

ADVISORY COUNCIL

 

CLAUDE HAW 

Claude Haw, B.Eng, P.Eng, has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of technical, general management and venture investing roles in the technology sector including Venture Coaches, Dragonwave, Newbridge Networks and Mitel Corporation.  

He has a wealth of experience in building successful technology companies in Canada from start-up to acquisition and IPO and has been actively involved with more than 30 technology companies over the past two decades. He is a charter member of TiE Ottawa, a global network of entrepreneurs and professionals, as well as a past board member of the Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA). Claude is also a founder of Mindtrust, an exclusive networking forum for technology company CEOs, and The Ottawa Network, an entrepreneurial group focused on enabling the next generation of technology companies in the National Capital Region.  

 

JANICE MCDONALD 

Janice McDonald is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, trusted advisor and strategist. She has expertise in the music industry, apparel/accessories and start-ups. She has Leadership training from Harvard & INSEAD and was appointed to Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard Kennedy School. She has many career achievements including driving the financial turnaround and re-branding of Women in Communications and Technology as Board chair 2013 to 2015. She is Chair of International Women's Forum Canada Ottawa Chapter, Board director with Futurpreneur and Ambassador for Women Entrepreneurs for Startup Canada. A sought after speaker on Leadership & Entrepreneurship, her TEDx talk has been viewed over 14,000 times & counting. 

WXN recognized Janice as Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. She was inducted into WXN Hall of Fame in 2016. She was awarded World of Difference 100 Award in Washington from TIAW and National Leadership Award from CWC. She also received WCT's Chairs Award of Distinction in 2016.  

 

JIM EMERMAN 

Jim Emerman has held several leadership roles at Encore.org. His current portfolio encompasses Encore.org’s research and work designing and implementing innovative pathways to encore careers.  

From 1988 through 2005, Emerman worked at the American Society on Aging, the largest association of professionals working with and on behalf of older adults. As Chief Operating Officer, he had primary responsibility for day-to-day operations and supervised all programmatic activities of the organization. He also led ASA’s efforts on issues ranging from older worker employment and corporate eldercare to assistive and information technology, family caregiving, medication use, and public policy, among many others. 

 

ALYSON GAFFNEY 

Alyson, BEng, through her firm, Gaffney Consulting, is focused on helping enterprises successfully develop and execute their go-to-market (GTM) business model. Whether it be in defining their direct and/or indirect gtm strategy or developing marketing or partner programs the result is revenue acceleration for both them and their partners. 
 
In addition to consulting, Alyson is active in the community as a mentor for startup female entrepreneurs and an active participant with Technovation, a global program which invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology.   She was one of the Co-Founders of Women for Mental Health. 

She has a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from her previous career 25 years as a global business professional, in the technology sector.  She is a former Corporate Executive of Alcatel, with extensive experience in a variety of sales, marketing and general management roles for Alcatel-Lucent, Alcatel, Newbridge and Mitel  

 

LISA TAYLOR 

Lisa Taylor is a recognized North American expert in the field of the ageing workforce and the future of work trends. Lisa is an author, speaker and the founder of Challenge Factory, a Talent Equity firm based in Toronto. 

Lisa is a trailblazer intent on challenging outdated career thinking. She understands how demographics are driving strategic changes to today’s workforces and her company – Challenge Factory – tackles every aspect of the issue with real world solutions. 

Lisa identifies the aging workforce as a catalyst for innovation and challenges corporate leaders to initiate talent revolutions within their organizations. 

 

 

 

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