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Guest Speakers Information

January: DEI 101 & Enriching Tourism by Embracing the Original Hosts of the Land

Michael Bach - CEO of CCDI - Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion


Michael Bach is the founder of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion and the CEO of CCDI Consulting Inc. He is nationally and internationally recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert in the fields of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, bringing a vast knowledge of leading practices in a live setting to his work.

Prior to taking on this role, he was the National Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for KPMG Canada, a role he created and held for seven years. Additionally, Michael completed a 2½ year secondment as Deputy Chief Diversity Officer for KPMG International.

Over the course of his career, Michael has received repeated recognition for his work, including being named:

• Women of Influence’s Canadian Diversity Champions

• Catalyst Canada Honours Human Resources/Diversity Leader

• Inspire Award as LGBTQ Person of the Year

• Out on Bay Street Leaders to be Proud of LGBT Advocate Workplace Award

• Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s IS Award

• Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award

Under Michael’s leadership, CCDI has received numerous awards, including winning the Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Award in the category of Diversity/Employment Equity Consultant in all the years the award has been given out (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021).

Michael has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Diversity Management from Cornell University and holds the Cornell Certified Diversity Professional, Advanced Practitioner (CCDP/AP) designation.

His 2020 book Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right is a Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Amazon best-seller, and recipient of the silver 2020 Nautilus Book Award in the category of Rising to the Moment. His new book Alphabet Soup: The Essential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion at Work will be released on March 29, 2022.

Kevin Eshkawkogan - Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Tourism Ontario


Kevin is an Anishnabek and is a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island.
Kevin has been a key player in the development of Indigenous cultural tourism in Ontario since 2003. Kevin was an integral part of the development and growth of the Great Sprit Circle Trail (GSCT) on Manitoulin Island, one of the country’s most renowned Indigenous tourism organizations that provides culturally authentic Indigenous experiences to visitors along with marketing support to Indigenous operators.

He has provided leadership to GSCT for over 15 years and has imparted his guidance to countless individuals throughout Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, and beyond.
Kevin works tirelessly to unite Indigenous tourism providers, grow market reach and bring meaningful employment opportunities to the region.
Kevin is a mentor and visionary who works closely with his community to ensure sustainable and organic growth within the Indigenous tourism industry.
In 2015, Kevin was named the Tourism Champion of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. He has also been recognized by numerous media outlets for his accomplishments within the industry.

Kevin sits on a variety of boards including the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO).
He has also helped establish ITO, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), Northeastern Ontario Tourism, Destination Northern Ontario, the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre, and many other tourism organizations and businesses. He also sits on the Destination Ontario Sector Advisory Committee, Tourism Skillsnet Ontario Council, and the Trans Canada Trail Indigenous Advisory Committee.


February: Better Business Discovery Process

Niyoka McIntosh - Co-founder of Unpack Consulting; Wellness Vacation Specialist and owner of Vacation Your Way 


Niyoka is passionate about travel, equity and anti-racism practices. 

Employed in Toronto as a certified teacher since 2001 along with independently owning and operating a boutique travel agency, Vacation Your Way since 2012, Niyoka is accustomed to creating, implementing and managing programs and services that have sharpened her anti-racism and equity lens.

Maria Ines - Director of Agent Experience & Loyalty, Independent by Flight Centre


With a background in corporate training, sales and project management she is now working with Independent Travel Contractors and Business owners as a part of the Agent Support team at Independent by Flight Centre. 

Maria has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years and for the last 17 of those years spent with the Flight Centre Travel Group.  

Shalene Dudley, CTA, WPICC, PMP - Lead Travel Concierge at Latitude Concierge Travels, Ltd.


Shalene Dudley is the CEO/Lead Destination Wedding + Group Specialist of Latitude Concierge Travels, LTD located in Burlington, Ontario. She transitioned to the travel industry full-time after a very successful 15-year career as a construction project manager.  With a bachelor of arts in Interior Design from Michigan State University on her resume, Shalene moved to Orlando, FL to follow her passion in hospitality design.  Like a dream come true, her first real position was as a Junior Designer/Imagineer with Walt Disney Imagineering in Lake Buena Vista, FL.   She became a certified PMP (Project Management Professional) in 2006 and now applies her knowledge to assist her clients with planning, budgeting and executing their plans and dreams for a memorable travel experience.   Her success and ability to effectively network has provided opportunities to partner with Hudson's Bay Gift Registry locations across the Greater Toronto Area as well as develop relationships with Kleinfeld Bridal.  In 2015, Shalene won the PAX News Award of Excellence for "Rookie of the Year-2014" and was named one of "6 Travel Professionals You Should Be Following on Facebook" by Canadian Traveler magazine.   Over the last few years, she has facilitated multiple peer-to-peer groups amongst select travel agent delegates from Canada and the US at the exclusive Romance Travel Forum and International Travel Agent Forums.  She has also been a panelist for TravelMarket Place Toronto and the Las Vegas Travel Agent Forum.  Shalene was asked to lead a session discussing bridal show strategies in Puerto Vallarta at the 2019 Romance Travel Forum.  In 2021 Shalene was nominated for a RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award and is the first recipient of the inaugural Baxter Media Travel Agent and Beyond Award for her work with the grassroots organization Let’s Get Uncomfortable (LGU). LGU is a platform dedicated to offering a safe space for travel industry professionals to have difficult conversations including but not limited to gender equity, race and representation, and responsible tourism practices. LGU recently coordinated 2 breakout sessions with panels moderated by Dudley entitled “How We Represent and Sell the World We Live In” at the 2021 TravelMarket Place Toronto Conference.

Moderator: Maxine Gundermann - Market Sales Manager, Eastern Ontario, Celebrity Cruises, Inc.


Maxine Gundermann, based in Toronto, is the market sales manager for Celebrity Cruises, building and maintaining strong relations with Canadian travel agents and their travel clients.  She has been in the cruise industry for over 12 years, getting her start as a crew member onboard numerous cruise lines, with previous experience in hotels as well as food and beverage. Maxine has experience with Diversity and Equity panels speaking on Let’s Get Uncomfortable and other focus groups. In her personal time, she has hosted online television series’ such as Negotiating Blackness and Colourful Lives. She is a current member of TIAO’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group.


March: LGBT+ Overview and Case Study

Loren Christie – Tourism/Hospitality Expert


As a hospitality and tourism expert, Loren’s career has been focused in sales & marketing for hotels and destination marketing organizations. He was Director of Sales for the Canadian and International Congress markets at Destination Toronto from 2017 - 2020. Prior to that for 17 years he was at Starwood Hotels & Resorts based in Toronto as Director of Sales for the leisure, business transient and international group business for the Toronto Metro Market, group of conference hotels. 

He is now Managing Director at Loren Christie Solutions where he works as a project manager, consultant and trainer for a number of destinations and clients including the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers, Meet4Impact and the Global Sustainability Destination Movement and the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Canadian Meetings & Events Committee for the Global Business Travel Association and sits on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.

TJ Jones - Founding Consultant, Full Picture Management


Weaving together his 20+ years of lived experience as a queer and trans human, almost decade of 2SLGBTQIA+ community advocacy experience, and business/HR management education, Tj works to support businesses and organizations in expanding their capacity to meaningfully include and serve 2SLGBTQIA+ folks.

Highlights of his work have included: cofounding Trans Support NL, a non-profit that strives to improve the experiences of gender diverse folks in NL; facilitating 2SLGBTQIA+ D&I training for national organizations, including the CGLCC’s Tourism Project; and developing a gender diversity-specific component for Tourism HR Canada’s online training. He's also the current 2SLGBTQ+ Rep for the Inclusion Advisory Committee for the City of St. John's, and serves as Board Chair for the NL Sexual Assault Crisis & Prevention Centre. 

He’s driven to help improve the workplace and consumer experiences of his fellow queer and trans humans and absolutely adores holding space that empowers people to have their “light bulb moments” through challenging their existing ideas, investigating their biases, and considering the perspectives of others.

He's also very much looking forward to being a "tourist" again soon - and can't wait to visit TO after his wedding this coming August!

Allyson Tonelli - Director of Sales, Tourism Kingston


Allyson Tonelli’s dynamic career in sales, advertising, and integrated marketing has given her the opportunity to work in film and television, sport and recreation, and now tourism. As Director of Sales for Tourism Kingston, she oversees the Travel Trade, Conferences and Meetings, and Sport and Wellness portfolios. Allyson is responsible for creating robust sales pipelines, innovative sector development plans, and most importantly, business relationships, that anticipate and respond to the ever-changing tourism landscape.



April: Bringing DEI to DMOs - Best Practices of Integrating DEI Principles at the DMO Level

Greg DeShields, Executive Director of Tourism Diversity Matters


Qualified Tourism/Hospitality and Academic Professional Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) proficient in developing and implementing plans, strategies, and initiatives specifically designed to raise destinations image for diverse, multicultural travel.

Experienced Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) with demonstrated cultural competence. Prepared to strategically position an organization to remove systemic barriers to inclusion, lead culture change, and transform the brand.

Graduate of Johnson & Wales University Providence, Rhode Island, with an A.S. Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management; and B.S. Degree in Hospitality Management.  Professional Development Leadership Graduate:  Institute for Diversity Certification, Urban League of Philadelphia, Leadership Forum, Leadership Philadelphia, and Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange.

Awards and Honors: 2021 Event Industry Council: Social Impact Award”, 2020 Skål USA Chapter of the Year, 2020 Philadelphia Tribune Most Influential African American Leaders, 2020 Meetings Today Trendsetter (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Education), 2020 Funtime Magazine, Philadelphia Icon Award

Professional Affiliations: Past President Skål Philadelphia Chapter, board member: AchieveNEXT Global, Blacks in Travel and Tourism, Boy Scouts of American Cradle of Liberty, Center City District, Center City Proprietors Association, COMHAR Inc., Greater Philadelphia Hispanic, African American, Asian-American, and LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and Philadelphia Award.

Professional Certifications: Society of Diversity – Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), American Hotel & Lodging Association, Educational Institute – Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), and Asian American Hotel Owners Association – Certified Hotel Owner CHO)

Greg is a longtime Tourism and Hospitality professional, native Philadelphian with a passion for his work, and is dedicated to giving back to the next generation of hospitality leaders.

Frequent presenter, specific Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fundamentals: Assessment, Planning, Strategies, and Implementation to reinforce the need for organizations to lead inclusion from the top.

Paul Hawes - VP, Destination Development and Marketing, Explore Edmonton


 Paul leads the destination strategy and global marketing teams at Explore Edmonton Corp. in the role of VP, Destination Development and Marketing. Despite his almost 25 years in Canada, he is very much a Brit and cannot shake the accent. His early Canada days started in Banff where he worked in the hotel sector, and of course, like many, for Canadian Pacific that became Fairmont Hotels. Paul has spent much of his career working in the world of destination marketing and development, having worked forthe Provincial DMO, Travel Alberta, then onto the national marketing operations at Canadian Tourism Commission, now Destination Canada. Paul jumped ship to an international role with Destination NSW (New South Wales), one of the world’s highest funded DMOs, where he headed their European operations. Canada came calling once again and brought him home in 2017. Travel has been a big part of Paul’s life, reaching many far-flung corners of the globe for work and pleasure – and has used these travels to learn about local culture, people and lifestyles. The pandemic has put a halt on big, overseas travel, and he has focused on traveling in BC and Alberta over the past couple of years, reminding himself of the beauty that surrounds us. As an openly gay leader in the tourism space, he is humbled to be the executive sponsor of Explore Edmonton’s EDI Council. There is a great deal of work to be done, but some incredible initiatives that have already been started. When asked recently about his organisation’s EDI work, he said ‘it’s not a matter of going through the motions, it’s the absolute right thing to do – we all have a responsibility to work, live and flourish in an environment that fosters equality, diversity and inclusion.

Kristen Foster, CMP - Senior Event Manager, Edmonton Convention Centre


Kristen has been in the hospitality industry for almost 15 years, culminating experiences in operations, leadership and now event management. Over the years, one theme has continued through all of her experiences; if you find yourself representing the hospitality industry, you must be hospitable and treat every interaction as if you are welcoming someone into your home.

Kristen started her experience in hotels, working with diverse teams in Banquet Operations and moving into the catering team as Event Manager. She then moved to the Edmonton Convention Centre where she holds the role as Senior Event Manager, as well as the Chair of the EDI Council for Explore Edmonton Corporation. In all of her roles, she has a passion for allyship and advocacy and challenges the status quo in the hospitality industry. She believes that in order to become a true destination/organization of choice, you must actively create space for every person to feel safe, welcome and able to be their whole self, whether they represent the local community or are being welcomed to their home.

Rebecca Godfrey - Senior Strategic Consultant at Destination Think!


Rebecca has over 25 years of working with and 15 years of directly advising the tourism and hospitality industries, specializing in strategic planning, feasibility work, and business case development. As a Senior Strategic Consultant with Destination Think!, Rebecca works with DMOs across the world to develop actionable strategies to grow tourism and improve overall destination management. She is passionate about steering positive and permanent change through a more inclusive tourism industry.


September: How to Work with Post-Secondary to Support a Diverse Workforce

Kristy Adams, Program Coordinator and Professor at Humber College


Kristy's hospitality career began in downtown Ottawa.  She quickly moved into positions throughout North America where she held the position of Director of Franchise Services, Canada for 65 hotels, Regional Director of Operations US Pacific Northwest for 14 hotels, and Vice President of Human Resources & Administration for an international hotel company with 10 hotel brands in Canada, the US and overseas and then was appointed President & C.O.O of Howard Johnson Franchise Canada Inc.

Since joining Humber College, she has coordinated various diploma and graduate certificate programs.  Kristy is currently the Program Coordinator for the Hospitality - Hotel & Restaurant Operations Management Diploma program and coordinates the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA)/Humber Hotel Management Leadership Program.

Kristy sat on the Board of Directors for the provincial body, Regional Tourism Organization of Ontario, Region 6-Central Counties for 7 years. She actively connects with the tourism industry including TIAO, the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), the Canadian Hospitality Marketing and Sales Executive (CHMSE) and Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) ensuring that curriculum is relevant to the industry’s needs and that hospitality students and graduates are best prepared for dynamic careers.

Michael Agema, CEO AGEMA Work


Michael Agema is the CEO of AGEMA Work, which he founded in 2015. AGEMA Work is evolving the everchanging technology world with its revolutionary approach to recruiting in services industry via the AGEMA Work Dashboard and mobile app. Recently, AGEMA Work introduced the AGEMA Work 2.1 App, which empowers users to apply to various work opportunities, access training tutorials, get work tips and much more.

Michael has 35+ years of leadership experience as a professor, hospitality manager, corporate trainer, and tourism advocate. Michael has also worked in international education and helped develop global partnerships, improve international relations, and enhance student exchange programs.

Prior to creating AGEMA Work, Michael's objective was to be a strategic connector and support regional businesses by providing solutions to staffing challenges and increasing flexible work opportunities for individuals who want to work when they want.

Michael earned an MA in Leadership and Training for Royal Roads University.

Michelle Caine - MBA Academic Chair, Hospitality Management Centennial College


Michelle Caine is an accomplished educator, leader and manager with over two decades of hospitality business operations experience. She has a track record of building strong, positive and collaborative relationships with an appreciation and respect for inclusion and diversity. Her proven leadership capabilities, strong facilitation and training expertise, led to rewarding roles in academics. Over the past 20 months, as resilient industries demonstrated innovative ways to do business differently, higher education also adapted and rose to the challenge of increased remote and online learning. During this time Michelle mentored, coached and guided experienced hospitality faculty and staff in the expeditious development of fully online Hotel Operations, Food and Beverage and Event Planning diploma and graduate certificate programs. The talented team at the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at Centennial College are focused and dedicated to high quality academic curriculum that educates, inspires and prepares students in all areas of this dynamic tourism industry. Through experiential hands on skills training and theoretical classroom instruction, hospitality graduates are prepared to ensure the future of tourism remains bright.