2024 Career Development Conference

 April 23rd to June 4th, 2024 - VIA ZOOM

In order to provide the best and most diverse experience,  accommodating those who are keen to do in-person networking, while respecting those in remote locations, our conference is run in the following format;

The conference will start with a one-day long Career Development Symposium on April 19, 2024. You can join this event either in person or you can choose to watch the sessions online, as we are going to be streaming the event. 

The symposium is going to be followed by a series of webinars that will run for several weeks every Tuesday and Thursday, from April 23rd to June 4th, all starting at 11 am PT. 

You can build your participation experience in any way that fits your schedule, budget, and your interests. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2024 11am PT

Unlocking the Mystery of Job Search: Define Your Job? 

“What would be a term that reflects your work and how would you define it?” is a question I asked more than 100 career professionals. Research shows that reflecting on your term leads you to revisit your role and truly take ownership of your chosen employment. Many professionals saw it as a challenge and reported having to do some reflection that led them to revisit the work they do. You can watch their responses on my YouTube channel, Hoda’s Career Info. 

Next, I adjusted the question to better suit clients’ needs, “What would be a term that reflects YOU and how would you define it?” Reflecting on the question led them to revisit their daily activities and truly take ownership of how they spend their time and on what. 

In this session, we will work on reflecting on our term, its definition and brainstorm ways to create solutions that increase awareness about the work we do. We will wrap up with a discussion on how to utilize the proposed question to support clients with their job search. Join me and take the strategies and tips that will enable you to support clients to engage in their job search. 

Dr Hoda Kilani CPCC 

Dr Hoda Kilani is a Certified Professional Career Coach and the President and Founder of Right Career Fit, a career coaching practice that focuses on career education among gifted students. 

Hoda’s continued lifelong learning, career, research and volunteer involvements provide her with up-to-date expertise in career/educational project design, business experience and continuous improvement processes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Political Science, a Master of Education and a Doctor of Education. 

Hoda strives to be a spokesperson for the importance of career education and works with a variety of media to create awareness of its value including career conversations on YouTube and two podcasts released on a biweekly basis, Hoda’s Musings and Hoda’s Career Info.

Hoda is on a mission to have #careerliteracy trend across social media. If you care to join her, reach out for chat! 

Thursday, April 25, 2024 11am PT

Strategic Opportunities for Bridging the University-Employer Divide: Preparing Students To Undertake the University-To-Work Transition 

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for career support from university students and seen organizations worldwide engaged in a fierce war for diverse early career talent. However, universities and organizations often lack the resources to meet the demands of students. 

Moreover, the students who could benefit from career support the most are least likely to seek it, thus exacerbating pre-existing social mobility challenges. Taken together, this is problematic since access to career guidance is critical to enable students to prepare for the university-to-work transition, and access to career guidance gives students the best chance of a sustainable career. 

Consequently, in this session, we will begin by exploring the role that university career advisors and graduate recruiters can play in preparing students for the university-to-work transition while also considering the benefits to various actors operating within a sustainable career ecosystem. 

Subsequently, we will explore the barriers to and pragmatic strategies for collaboration between universities and employers. The session is based on my recently published book by IGI Global titled, ‘Strategic Opportunities for Bridging the University-Employer Divide”, which draws together academic research conducted by myself and others along with lived experience insights from practitioners. 

Dr. William E. Donald 

William E. Donald is a disabled and housebound academic with 15 years of experience across industry and academia. Will was originally a Graduate Recruiter for an Investment Bank in London. 

He is now an Associate Professor in Sustainable Careers and Human Resource Management at the Ronin Institute (USA) and a Visitor at the University of Southampton (UK) as a guest of Professor Yehuda Baruch. Will’s research interests include graduate employability, career development, and sustainable career ecosystems. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed works, which have been read over 28,500 times (ResearchGate) and cited over 800 times (Google Scholar) as of September 2023. Will was the sole Editor of the ‘Handbook of Research on Sustainable Career Ecosystems for University Students and Graduates’, [IGI Global, 2023]. 

His sole author book ‘Strategic Opportunities for Bridging the Student-Employer Divide’ is forthcoming [IGI Global, 2023]. Will is an international member of various Editorial Boards and Policy Steering Groups. He is also a qualified Life and Performance Coach, a Fellow of the ‘Learning and Performance Institute’ (FLPI), an Associate Fellow of the ‘Higher Education Academy’ (AFHEA), and a Member of the ‘National Council of Psychotherapists’ (MNCP NP). For more information, please visit Will's website: https://drwilldonald.wordpress.com/ 

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 11am PT

Beyond Biases: Guiding Clear Paths in Career Development

Unconscious biases can significantly influence career choices, leading to missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential. In this session, we'll uncover the hidden biases that can impact career development decisions and provide practical strategies for career professionals to support their clients in navigating these hurdles. Through interactive discussions and case studies, we'll explore how recognizing and mitigating unconscious biases can lead to more informed, inclusive, and fulfilling career paths. 

Maria Drueco

Maria Drueco, an immigrant and woman of color, has wealth of experience in travel, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), talent management, and antiracism advocacy. Her unique insights, forged through extensive global travels and a diverse cultural heritage, greatly amplify her impact in these vital areas.

Maria is deeply committed to promoting inclusivity and authentic leadership, with a keen focus on intersectionality. Through her travel business, she fosters a deep understanding of how intersecting identities shape experiences and perspectives. Maria advocates for holistic well-being, recognizing its pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future.

As the author of "UnHide Yourself: Break Free from Bias, Stigma, and Stereotypes," Maria advocates for authenticity, fostering transformative change at the personal, organizational, and societal levels.

A compelling presenter, Maria possesses a rare ability to connect with audiences worldwide. Her steadfast commitment to sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion is the bedrock of her efforts to drive positive change within organizations and communities. 

Thursday, May 2, 2024 11am PT

The Unconscious Conflicts Triggered by our Client’s Anxiety as Counsellors Engage In Meaningful Work 

During uncertain times, clients may walk into the sessions with their anxiety triggering the practitioners’ own unconscious conflicts.  This trigger can lead us questioning our competencies/experiencing burnout.  We will explore techniques to address those clients who may be paralyzed by anxiety thereby procrastinating career planning, struggling with job search actions, and/or disengaging with career counselling/advising services. 

Sonny Wong

Sonny Wong, M.Ed, is a Registered Psychotherapist with a career identity specialization. He has shared his expertise by providing career therapy at Toronto Metropolitan University.  As a Career Practitioners, Researchers, and Educators - his work has been consistently recognized with numerous service awards.   

Tuesday, May 7, 2024 11am PT

Choppy Waters Ahead: The Macroeconomic Outlook and Implications for the Labour Market 

Canada’s economy continues to face an uncertain and challenging outlook. After an upsurge in inflation following the COVID pandemic, and resulting high interest rates implemented by the Bank of Canada to reduce inflation, economic growth has slowed to a crawl. Households are grappling with the impacts of higher debt service charges, and a significant loss of purchasing power arising from the fact that wages lagged behind prices. Will it take a recession, with resulting high levels of unemployment, to restore inflation back to desired levels? Or are there alternative ways to stabilize prices and preserve employment levels? This presentation will review the domestic and international factors influencing inflation, employment, and household incomes in the months ahead… and the implications for job search and job security for Canadian workers.

Jim Stanford

Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work, a labour economics think tank with offices in Vancouver, B.C., and Canberra, Australia.

Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economists. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers). He is quoted frequently in the print and broadcast media, and contributes regular commentaries to the Toronto Star, Global National news, and CKNW Radio. He is also the Harold Innis Industry Professor in Economics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and an Honorary Professor in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. 

Jim received his Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York.  He also holds an M.Phil. in Economics from Cambridge University, and a B.A. (Hons.) in Economics from the University of Calgary.

Jim is the author of Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism (second edition published by Pluto Books in 2015), which has been published in six languages.  Stanford has written, edited or co-edited six other books, and dozens of articles and reports in both peer-reviewed and popular outlets.

He has provided research and advice through numerous federal and provincial government panels and inquiries on economic policy, innovation, jobs, and social policy. Jim is recognized for his ability to communicate economic concepts in an accessible and humorous manner.

Thursday, May 9, 2024 11am PT

To be Decided

Tuesday, May 14, 2024 11am PT

Curriculum & Practice: Incorporating AI as Career Development Practitioners 

Numerous companies and organizations across the world were shaken by the increasing popularity of AI, often due to the fear of jobs being lost to tools that are believed to replace the human behind the role. Another take concerns the risks behind how data is processed, kept, and possibly used by such tools, which could possibly compromise the user in the long run. It is for these very reasons - and several others - that the use of AI tools have been removed from being an option by many companies, but given the rate things are going, it is crucial to understand how to effectively use AI in the workplace, while keeping abreast of the risks entailed. 

Amid bigger companies embracing a shift to automation and employing smart software to reduce operational costs, nonprofits and similar organizations are still leery of following suit due to the unknowns behind the use of such technology. As a country that consistently sees an influx of highly-skilled immigrants, immigrant serving organizations and community-based agencies are seeing increasing demand for employment services support, which can easily overwhelm service providers following conventional practices. In the course of NPower Canada’s British Columbia operations, we have seen exponential growth in our cohort sizes, and an increasing complexity of needs of participants, which required a pivot of strategies to incorporate the use of automation and AI to manage growing demand.

In our proposed presentation, we will share the experiences of NPower Canada’s British Columbia teams in utilizing AI tools to increase work efficiency, promote client independence, improve morale, and increase competitiveness in the current job market. We shall also briefly present some issues encountered behind the use of AI, and steps taken to address these that could potentially be replicated by other organizations.

Yuri Baral

Yuri has been working in the field of international development and has been working for nonprofits, think tanks, and government agencies for over a decade. As Program Manager for NPower Canada’s Junior Data Analyst program in British Columbia, he works with a dedicated team of technical instructors and career specialists in providing technical and professional development training to multi-barrier participants from across the province. Before joining NPower Canada, Yuri worked in career and settlement services, working closely with immigrants, refugees, and people in precarious situations. In his past life, he launched and managed international youth programs, working with Asia-Pacific youth, as well as serving as a consultant for think tanks in the areas of migration, transnational governance, knowledge production, tech and youth-led development.   

Anastasia Sillick

Anastasia Sillick is a Senior Talent Placement Specialist at Npower Canada. Anastasia has worked in the field of career development for 10 years and joined Npower Canada at its launch in B.C. as a talent specialist supporting job seekers into the tech industry and tech enabled roles. 

Thursday, May 16, 2024 11am PT

Who's who in Career Development 

Governments and organizations are racing to find solutions to fill labour market gaps, tackle AI disruption, and adapt to changing economies. Hidden within these issues is the role and impact that Career Development professionals play. Some are anchored deeply in the sector while others shape the workforce without an extensive background or formal training in career development. In this session, we’ll explore Challenge Factory’s examination of the Career Development sector, to answer the question: “who plays a role in shaping career development in Canada and how do we bring their contributions into the spotlight?” 

Lisa Taylor

Lisa Taylor is an author, entrepreneur, consultant, futurist, and community leader focused on making sense of the changing world of work. She is the President of Challenge Factory, a Future of Work research agency and consultancy (and certified B Corp) that focuses on policy and systems change, convening, and thought leadership. Lisa has published 5 employer-focused books including The Talent Revolution: Longevity and the Future of Work. She is one a WXN 2022 Most Powerful Women in Canada Top 100 award winner, and an associate fellow for the National Institute on Ageing. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 11am PT

Thriving as a Dual Career Couple 

Through an online survey and follow-up interviews, a 2005 study identified numerous challenges faced by dual career couples as they juggled successful careers with home and family responsibilities. Results highlighted issues with time (e.g., making space for child-raising responsibilities and household tasks), feeling exhausted/stressed, and balancing careers/priorities, as well as coping strategies to manage such challenges. Recommended interventions centred on dealing with role conflict, relationship strengthening, addressing financial concerns, time management, stress management, and work-life balance. 

With the increasingly complex world of work with less rigid boundaries between life and learning domains and transformational times within many industries (e.g., Gig work, AI, technology), this study was recently extended. With more diverse dual career couples and the added complication of the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop, the current study provides a fresh look at dual career challenges. Join the researchers as they share findings and explore important implications for career development practice in our new world of work, life, and learning. 

Deepen your understanding of the career development needs of “dual career couples” and explore the strategies dual career couples use to maximize career engagement and success. Leave better equipped to respond to the unique challenges faced by dual career couples. 

Dr. Roberta Borgen, CCC, CCDP, GCDFi 

Dr Roberta Borgen (Neault), CCC, CCDP, GCDFi is President of Life Strategies Ltd. and co-author of Optimizing Career Engagement: A Guide for Enhancing Careers and Other Life Roles and co-editor of Career Theories and Models at Work: Ideas for Practice and the forthcoming publication Practice Principles: Career Theories and Models at Work. 

An internationally award-winning career development thought leader, Roberta brings more than four decades of extensive experience as an educator, counsellor, and consultant. She was awarded the Visioneers Lifetime Achievement Award (2022) and Etta St. John Wileman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Career Development (2019). Roberta is a voice for the advancement and professionalization of the career development sector, both nationally and internationally. 

Dr. Deirdre Pickerell, CPHR 

Dr. Deirdre Pickerell, CPHR is Program Director for the Canadian Career Development Foundation and co-author of Optimizing Career Engagement: A Guide for Enhancing Careers and Other Life Roles and leads the team establishing Canada’s first professional centre for Canada’s Career Development Professionals (https://cdpc-cedc.ca/). 

She has spent over 30 years endlessly exploring career development systems and strategies and working to build capacity within, and broaden the, reach of the career development sector. Deirdre was honoured to receive the Stu Conger Award for Leadership in Career Development and Career Counselling (2014).  

Thursday, May 23, 2024 11am PT

Building a Neuroinclusive Workforce 

There are many benefits to creating neuroinclusive workspaces, including improved communication, innovation, and company morale. Yet, neurodivergent Canadians continue to face barriers to employment and career progression. This session will summarize key findings from a study conducted by The Conference Board on behalf of the Future Skills Centre on how to break down these barriers and improve career outcomes for neurodivergent workers.

Relying on insights from a survey of neurodivergent workers/managers of neurodivergent workers, and interviews with neuroinclusive employers, we will discuss what neurodiversity is and why it is 

Dr. Jennifer Fane

Dr. Jennifer Fane is the lead research associate on the education and skills team at The Conference Board of Canada. Prior to the Board, Jennifer held a senior leadership role at a nonprofit organization serving neurodiverse individuals, overseeing research, educational programming, and advocacy at an individual and systems level. 

She brings over 18 years of experience as an educator and educational researcher in post-secondary institutions in Canada and Australia, and in the K-12 and early childhood sectors in British Columbia. Her research has focused on the nexus between social policy and education and health sectors, and the impacts of service integrations and service delivery models for individuals, families, and systems. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 11am PT

Employment Support for Youth with Disabilities: 

A Practical Model 

Many disability-serving employment programs are designed for adults, who have different needs than youth. Youth with disabilities are in a major life transition – they’re exploring themselves, building independence, and learning what it means to establish a life in the community. Learn about a support model that helps service providers serve youth as they pursue employment through this dynamic transition! 

Rebecca Ipe 

As the Research Coordinator, Rebecca engages in research and community collaboration towards the development of the Provincial Employment Strategy for Youth with Disabilities. She obtained her PhD in Education at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include community-based school governance, international development, humanitarian aid, and the lived schooling experiences of marginalised populations in rural south India. 

Emily Flegel

As Project Analyst, Emily synthesizes and presents project data and supports the team to translate key insights into project materials. She has her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and is a passionate advocate for mental wellness. 

Ameera Azam

As Research and Engagement Facilitator, Ameera supports the coordination and facilitation of the project’s research and community engagement efforts. She has her master’s degree in leadership studies, focusing on Adult Education and Community Engagement. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024 11am PT

Nurturing the Nurturers: The Importance of Self-Care for Frontline Career Practitioners 

In the fast-paced world of career guidance, where we dedicate ourselves to helping others navigate their professional journeys, the concept of self-care often takes a back seat. This presentation delves into the vital importance of self-care for frontline career practitioners and offers insights into cultivating a sustainable and fulfilling career.

Frontline Career Practitioners play a pivotal role in shaping individuals' futures, yet their own well-being is often neglected. This session brings to light the challenges these professionals face, from emotional labour and burnout to the overwhelming demands of the job. With a focus on holistic well-being, we will explore practical strategies to prioritize self-care without compromising the quality of service provided.

Attendees will discover the symbiotic relationship between effective client support and the practitioner's own self-care routine. From setting healthy boundaries and managing compassion fatigue to embracing mindfulness and work-life balance, this presentation equips participants with actionable techniques to enhance their professional resilience.

As a seasoned career practitioner, certified work-life balance consultant, certified career strategist with over 17 years of experience in the health, fitness and well-being industry, and a yoga and meditation teacher. I intimately understand the unique pressures faced in the industry. 

Join us to learn how to not only survive but thrive in this rewarding yet demanding role. By investing in our own self-care, we empower ourselves to continue positively impacting the lives of those we guide toward meaningful careers. It's time to nurture the nurturers and make self-care an integral part of the frontline career practitioner's journey. 

Lama Shaath

Lama Shaath is passionate about helping her clients achieve Holistic Mastery, unlock their superpower, gain knowledge and understanding and reinvent themselves from the inside out during any Career-Employment-Life transitions toward confidence, triumph and healing. 

Lama guides her clients towards living meaningful and fulfilling lives, turning their occupation into a vocation for a Life-Work Balance and Integration through creating a mattering environment and building caring and trusting relationships with empathy, compassion and understanding. 

She is the creator and founder of Lama Shaath Mine Your Inner Power Coaching, her most valued accomplishment and the fruit of her journey toward Self-realization. 

Lama also works as an Employer Relation Specialist for a non-profit organization helping newcomers, immigrants, and refugees find work in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector.

Lama Shaath is a Career Development Practitioner (CDP), Certified Career Strategist (CCS), Certified Work-Life Strategist (CWS), Certified Transformational Coach (CTC), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Practitioner and Wellness Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher and formal Personal Trainer. Combined with her complementary experience in the health, fitness and well-being industry, Lama has over 17 years of experience.