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About the CODE Conference

Inclusion in Action 

The annual CODE Conference is an immersive event designed to empower businesses with the tools and insights needed to thrive in today’s diverse landscape. Featuring a captivating keynote presentation and six interactive workshops led by industry experts, you’ll delve into essential Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) topics that drive success.

Attend workshops that tackle key DEI aspects, from fostering inclusive workplace cultures to championing equitable recruitment strategies. Learn how to navigate complex challenges, leverage best practices, and tap into the transformative potential of DEI to not only adapt but thrive in an evolving business landscape.

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REGISTER

Wednesday, May 1, 2024  |  8:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, York Ballroom, 375 York Avenue

 

Register here

Discounted Member Rate:

  • Members Early Bird until March 15: $200 +GST
  • Members after March 15: $250 +GST
  • Members Early Bird until March 15 – Table of 10: $2,000 +GST

Regular Rate:

  • $450 +GST
  • Table of 10: $2,500 +GST

 

Exhibitor Booth: $175 +GST

Become a sponsor: Ask us how.

8:30 a.m. - Registration Opens / Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - Program & Keynote Starts

Advancing Equity, Dismantling Oppression:
Reflections on how to build individual and collective capacity for institutional change

Dr. Tina Chen, Vice-Provost (Equity) at the University of Manitoba

10:15 a.m. - Workshops (Round 1)

Attendees choose either 1A, 1B or 1C.
Audio recordings and summaries of all breakout rooms will be available to all attendees post-event.

 

SESSION 1A: NAVIGATING COMPLEX DEI CHALLENGES IN THE EMPLOYEE LIFECYCLE 

Speaker:
Robyn Penner Thiessen
Founder & Lead Consultant of Robyn Penner Thiessen Consulting

About this session:
Discover the intricacies of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) issues across the employee journey. Led by Robyn Penner Thiessen, a seasoned expert in DEI, this workshop delves into topics such as algorithmic bias, neurodiversity inclusion, and the impact of microaggressions. Equip yourself with strategies to navigate contemporary DEI challenges and foster meaningful change within your organization.

 

SESSION 1B: SUPPORTING WOMEN AND UNDER-REPRESENTED WORKERS 

Panelists:
Sydney Sabiston
Training and Partnerships Manager at Film Training Manitoba

 

 

 

Carol Paul
Executive Director at the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC)

 

 

 

Nermine Awad
Financial Administrator at the Manitoba Construction Sector Council

 

 

 

Ellen Rutter
Film & television industry

 

 

 

 

Joanne Roberts
Journalist, filmmaker and fashion blogger

 

 

About this session:
Partnering with Film Training Manitoba and the Manitoba Construction Sector Council, this panel examines the power of allyship, inclusion, and mentorship. Learn about the workforce and economic benefits of authentic engagement with underrepresented groups in industries like film and construction. Discover how mentorship, collaboration, and workplace culture can drive positive change.
 

 

SESSION 1C: DEI/IDEA/JEDI – A DEEPER DIVE INTO WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW IT SHOWS UP 

Speaker:
Bradley West
Manager of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at the City of Winnipeg

About this session:
This dynamic workshop uncovers the complex landscapes of equity, inclusion, accessibility, and social justice. Gain insights into trauma-informed leadership, decolonial approaches, and practical strategies for driving impactful transformation. Whether you’re new to the journey or an advanced practitioner, you’ll leave with actionable tools for change.

11:15 a.m. - Break

11:45 a.m. - Workshops (Round 2)

Attendees choose either 2A, 2B or 2C.
Audio recordings and summaries of all breakout rooms will be available to all attendees post-event.

 

SESSION 2A: DEMYSTIFYING DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY

Speaker:
Kelly Thibodeau
Founder and President of Squarely Accessible

About this session:
Uncover the power of accessible social media and marketing strategies. Learn how to create content that reaches a diverse audience, embraces inclusivity, and contributes to a more equitable online presence. Gain practical tips and insights to make your digital platforms truly accessible.
 

 

SESSION 2B: LATERAL VIOLENCE TO LATERAL KINDNESS 

Speaker:
Kent Brown
Vice President Learning & Development at Legacy Bowes

About this session:
In this workshop, you’ll understand Lateral Violence—its definition, common behaviors, and root causes. The focus will then shift to solutions, introducing Lateral Kindness. Learn its principles, how to apply it, and the clear distinctions it holds. With Kent’s background as a boxing coach, motivational speaker, and HR expert, gain actionable insights to foster kindness within your organization and community.

 

SESSION #2C: BRINGING RECONCILIACTION TO THE WORKPLACE 

Speaker:
Nicole Lavallee
Advice Field Coach at Assiniboine Credit Union

About this session:
Join us for an insightful workshop on initiating the reconciliation journey in your workplace and understanding its profound impact on both employees and customers. We will delve into the importance of this journey, focusing on the inclusion of Indigenous employees, and how it can lead to a more harmonious and successful work environment. 

12:45 a.m. - Conference Ends

Dr. Tina Chen, Vice-Provost (Equity), University of Manitoba

Dr. Tina Chen is the Vice-Provost (Equity) at the University of Manitoba. She previously served as Executive Lead –Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (2022-2023), Department Head of History (2013-2020), and Acting Director of Asian Studies (2020). Dr. Chen is also a Distinguished Professor of History.  Her research and teaching focuses on feminism, anti-colonial solidarities, anti-racist activism, and alternative political imaginaries in modern Chinese, Asian and World history.  Dr. Chen is a committed activist and advocate for equity, anti-oppression, and social justice in various local and national spaces including: post-secondary institutions, community organizations, and sport & figure skating. Her research and activism have been recognised with national and international awards, including: WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2021); Canada Race Relations Community Champion Special Award (2018); UManitoba Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Campbell Outreach Award (2020); and YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award (2012).

Robyn Penner Thiessen, Founder & Lead Consultant, Robyn Penner Thiessen Consulting

Robyn Penner Thiessen has professional experience in a variety of international and cross-cultural settings where diversity, equity and inclusion were a focus and priority. She lived and worked in Nairobi, Kenya, for seven years, did her Master’s research into interreligious dialogue and has facilitated workshops on these and related topics on four continents. With her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Robyn brings a deep understanding of the complexities of social inequality, power dynamics, and systemic oppression. Robyn worked with an international relief and development organization with staff in over 40 countries and helped revitalize their diversity, equity and inclusion work around the world. She is certified as a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory ® (IDI®). However, the most significant reason behind Robyn’s commitment to working towards a more inclusive world are the two children she and her husband adopted while living in Kenya, who are now young adults entering the workforce in Canada. They are her most compelling “why.”

Sydney Sabiston, Training and Partnerships Manager, Film Training Manitoba

Sydney Sabiston is the Training and Partnerships Manager at Film Training Manitoba. Sydney has a distinguished film and television career and is both an actress and filmmaker.

She started developing her career in the film industry after having received her Bachelor of Arts in Acting in Theatre and Film from The University of Winnipeg’s Theatre & Film program by working on set as an Assistant Director.

With a special interest in acting in and producing horror films, she then made her way on screen and has notable acting credits, including: All Fun and Games, Time Cut, Psycho Killer, Acting Good, Levels, Under the Christmas Sky, Etc.
While Sydney continues to pursue her passion and growing career as an actress and filmmaker, she works at Film Training Manitoba as their Training and Partnerships Manager.

Sydney is passionate about building strong relationships with Manitoba’s local crew and talent here in the province’s growing film industry and tries to support and champion those around her who share her same love for cinema.

Carol Paul, Executive Director at the Manitoba Construction Sector Council

Carol holds a bachelor’s and a master’s in adult education. Carol facilitated English Literature, Alternative Education, Facilitating Adult Learning and Program Planning in the Faculty of Education and Continuing Education Divisions at the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg for 15 years. Carol was Managing Director at the Centre for Education and Work for 11 years, where she managed national research, education and digital technology projects. She is a founding member of Urban Circle Training Centre, a holistic Indigenous Training Centre in Winnipeg, where she managed the adult learning centre for 14 years. At MCSC, Carol is the Executive Director responsible for writing proposals, managing projects and coordination of the sector council’s activities.

Nermine Awad, Financial Administrator, Manitoba Construction Sector Council

In Nermine’s prior capacity with MSCSC, she oversaw the coordination of Women in Trades Programs, showcasing her dedication to promoting diversity and empowerment within the construction sector. Nermine holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts and a Business Administration certificate, and she pursued accounting studies at Red River College. Nermine has over 12 years of experience in non-profit administrative roles, including four years in management.

Ellen Rutter

Ellen began working in film and television in the mid-1980’s managing documentary shoots for the National Film Board of Canada, travelling from Germany and Czech Republic to Canada’s Arctic. She then joined the growing drama film production community and quickly began working as a Unit Production Manager where she promptly fired the caterers before lunch – she learns from her mistakes. Since then, Ellen has worked as a Producer, Line Producer, Second Unit Director, Second Unit AD, and Unit Production Manager for Canadian and American productions. She has produced and managed television series (Under the Banner of Heaven, Tales from the Loop), features (Nobody), and direct distribution movies for independents and studios including Netflix, Universal Studios, Universal 1440, Amazon, Fox/Disney, and Lionsgate. Lunch is always on time.

Joanne Roberts

Joanne is a Filipina-Canadian journalist, filmmaker and fashion blogger. She currently works with CityNews Winnipeg. Joanne most enjoys reporting on human-interest and arts & culture stories. Notably, she’s the host of the CBC series “Being Asian. Competing Truths” and the director of the award-winning series “I Am” with CBC’s Creator Network.

As a filmmaker, Joanne’s work revolves around voices in the Filipino community. Her autobiographical film “Anak” won the emerging filmmaker’s pitch competition at the Gimli International Film Festival in 2020, along with a spot on the Most Fascinating Manitobans list the same year.

Joanne loves cyclical fashion and uses her disciplines to also share consignment and thrift finds on social media, often while she’s on assignment or on set.

Joanne’s latest release is an interview with Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee, Rory Kennedy, in collaboration with Film Training Manitoba.  Joanne is also appearing in the first episode of “Immigrant Kitchen” with Prairie Boy Productions, due to stream on Yes TV in the summer of 2024.

Bradley West, City of Winnipeg, Equity Office, Manager of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

In his role, Bradley brings decades of working, volunteering, and leading within the equity, diversity and inclusion sector has given him a depth and breadth of experience, understanding, knowledge and skills. To compliment his experience Bradley is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) in Canada, a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) in the United States, a certified coach practitioner (CCP), and a certified management coach (PMC). Bradley is an award-winning leader with expertise as a trainer, educator, and facilitator with a strong foundation in sociology, organizational development, gender and sexual diversity, and human systems management.

Kelly Thibodeau, Founder + President, Squarely Accessible

Kelly is a consultant, trainer and speaker who’s been making online marketing make sense for organizations, nonprofits, and industry groups for over 25 years. She’s the founder of Squarely Accessible. Kelly believes that content can’t be conversational until it’s inclusive. As the daughter of a mom with physical and cognitive disabilities, she’s witnessed first hand the impact of an inaccessible world and wants to affect change to build a more inclusive society. Squarely Accessible is a recipient of the 2022 and 2023 Manitoba Accessibility Fund Grant. Her experience in digital accessibility started in 2007 as a member of an internal Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) working group committee for a leading international financial services organization, and then as a key member of an Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) working group. Kelly’s been on LinkedIn since 2006, and has had too many browser tabs open ever since.

Kent Brown, Legacy Bowes, Vice President Learning & Development

Kent is a proud member of the Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba. Kent is a senior human resources professional with 28 years of HR experience much of which was gained in a large, Indigenous social service agency. Prior to joining Legacy Bowes, Kent was the HR Director for Southern First Nations Network of Care where he managed all aspects of human resources including providing advice on C-92 initiatives. Kent holds a Certificate in Human Resources and Labour Relations from the University of Manitoba and Queens University respectively. Kent takes pride bringing a First Nations view to the profession by providing an array of services to clients such as coaching, policy development, labour relations, facilitation, conflict resolution and performance management. Kent is also a proud husband and father of four daughters, a seasoned motivational speaker and an accomplished boxing coach.

Nicole Lavallee, Assiniboine Credit Union, Advice Field Coach

I am a proud Metis woman from Winnipeg whose family originates from Eriksdale, Manitoba and a mother of two amazing humans. I’m a passionate advocate for Indigenous culture, heritage, and rights. I’ve had the privilege to work with and be a proud member of the Indigenous Leadership Circle at Assiniboine Credit Union. My career in the financial industry spans 20 years. I currently hold my PFP and CFP designations. I’m the Advice Field Coach at ACU and chose to work at ACU because their values align with my own. ACU’s commitment to employees, members, and communities contributes to a sustainable future for all.

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