Leadership & Management Speakers

Speaker, L&D

Jill Birch

Leadership and Organizational Change Expert

Is a leader a position, or is a leader a person? Jill Birch, CEO of the Canadian Art Foundation and the publisher of Canadian Art magazine, answers this question―and many more―in her engrossing, customised presentations that are focused on building leadership capacity to drive the competitive advantage. An accomplished and experienced facilitator and consultant in leadership development for senior executives, Birch also speaks to team development, change management, business development strategies, and more.

Birch is the CEO of the Canadian Art Foundation and the Publisher of Canadian Art magazine. She is the former vice president of fundraising and alumni at OCAD University; former President of the OCAD University Foundation; and the former principal and national capability lead at Knightsbridge, where she ensured that organizational talent development goals and leadership capabilities were realized. She was also the vice president of business development at Sheridan College, and is the former associate director of In-Company Development, International Training and Partnerships with the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Birch has worked with organizations in the digital, high-tech, health, advertising, financial services, energy, public, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors and has spoken to groups across Canada and around the world. She is currently a PhD candidate with Griffith University in Australia, where she is researching relational leadership processes. She is also a Certified Association Executive.

The Relational Leader: Smashing Silos and Building Teams that Collaborate

Is leadership a person? A position? Based on results? Or…is it a process?

During the last five years seismic changes have not only changed the way we view the world, but the ways we think about organizations and leadership. Fresh thinking, combined with the experience of those in the field, are signaling a dramatic shift away from more traditional methods of conceptualizing leadership to a more pragmatic, relational point of view. By participating in this forum, you will explore concepts and practical applications of relational leadership and discuss ways that leaders at all levels are embodying this kind of leadership.

We will explore processes that build trust, break down silos and create a safe environment for dialogue. Importantly, we will examine ways that relational leaders can develop deeper insights into their own perceptions of leadership with a view to building a more leaderful culture of collaboration within and across teams. Being ever-pragmatic, we will also dive into the judgment and decision-making required by leaders, considering how a relational approach can actually accelerate these processes.

This presentation is not intended to be yet another aspirational mountain climb to leader infinity and beyond. It contends that the world is moving beyond the paradigm of leader as caped crusader. Instead, the goal of this presentation is to initiate an energetic conversation of what could be as leaders re-appreciate what kind of leadership is required to build a strong organization that affirms everyone’s voice and perspectives are contributing to the greater good.

The Five Competencies of Successful Leadership: New Thinking on the Old Challenge of Developing Sustainable Leadership

Much of the thinking today about leadership is often about what needs to happen and who needs to make it happen. What we now know, however, is that a fundamental shift is required to think about how the work gets done. This interactive and experiential keynote session will show, rather than tell leaders about new ways to think about their leadership. Five key competencies will be explored to enhance leadership through the creation of communities of leadership that thrive on positive relationships and collaboration

Hardwiring Gone Haywire: Re-thinking Team Leadership for the 21st Century

One of the most significant challenges that confront leadership teams today is the intersection of global trends, the strategies that emerge to meet these trends and the kind of leadership capabilities that are now required to effectively implement these strategies. Many organizations are finding that what worked before isn’t working anymore. Find out how organizations have reclaimed their energy and innovation by “unlearning” and re-appreciating leadership in new and meaningful ways. This presentation will examine the top global forces now impacting the development of complex strategy and the character of leadership that is making a difference in successful organizations around the world.

Leverage Your Leadership: Developing Collaborative Strategies to Attain Organizational Goals

Surveys of top executives have confirmed that leadership skills are the most important factor in an employee’s career progress above intelligence and knowledge or job skills. Leadership capacity, however, is rapidly changing and we are find out how you can strengthen your abilities to lead collaboratively and execute effectively. You’ll learn about the power of reflection and critical thinking skills as well as explore five key leverage points to enhance your leadership. An experiential session will round out your ability to better understand the type of leader you have the potential to become as you grow yourself and your team into the future.

Living Leadership: The Ten Top Trends in Successful Leadership Today

Based on 15 years of practice and research into what makes leadership hum in organizations, this session will provide examples and insights of the top ten trends that leading organizations around the world are paying attention to as they work to compete on a global scale. The session will begin with a discussion what has changed in leadership and how leaders are adapting to these changes. Ten major leverage points will be explored with a view to enhancing performance to drive results.

Leverage your Influence Skills

Whether you are a seasoned leader or just starting out in roles of growing responsibility, the development of strong leadership and influence skills are essential to build credibility and confidence. This session will is a journey of discovery in learning how to build your leadership capacity and strengthen your ability to execute effectively. Learn about the power of influence and reflective capabilities and develop self-awareness. We will explore key leverage points to enhance your leadership including the four different types of reflection and how leaders harness them to improve performance; how to enhance your performance and influence skills and how to build confidence in your role as leader examining the role that confidence and fear play in your leadership style.

The New Realities of Retail Leadership

Fresh research into the world of retail has shown dramatic shifts in how leadership needs to change to respond to these pressures. From the impact of globalization to the intense pressure to preserve margins in a customer-centric universe, there is a growing demand for ever-more strategic retail leadership. Organizations are now seeking top performers who understand more than just the technical skills – they are looking to grow a strong cadre of leaders who can take on the mantle of leadership as the boomer bubble bursts. How can retailers effectively meet this challenge? This keynote address will highlight four major themes in developing retail leadership capability.

Re-thinking Leadership – Improving Performance in your organization by applying advanced leadership principles

Duration: ½ and full day
Target Audience: Executives, Leaders, Managers

Surveys of top executives have confirmed that leadership skills are the most important factor in an employee’s career progress – rated above intelligence, knowledge or job skills.  “Re-thinking Leadership” is a new program for executives who are serious about achieving peak performance in their role as leader, communicator and change agent.

You will have the opportunity to participate in a number of group sessions with your peers and also examine the latest in leadership thinking that will improve your performance on the job the very next day.

You will discover how to build capacity and strengthen ability to execute effectively through the development of relational leadership practices.  You will learn about the power of self-awareness and the role that reflection and critical thinking play as well as explore key leverage points to enhance leadership including:

  1. Learning what has changed in leadership and how leaders are adapting to these changes.
  2. Finding out about the four different types of reflection and how leaders harness them to improve performance
  3. Exploring major leverage points in leadership to enhance your performance and influence
  4. Build confidence in your role as leader and examine the role that confidence and fear play in your leadership style.

This presentation will be developed to ensure you walk away with an actionable learning experience contributing not only to your own success, but also that of your department, division and organization.  The goals and objectives of the program are to:

  • Link key leadership attributes with strategic corporate objectives for better execution
  • Encourage self-responsibility for continuous learning
  • Grow critical thinking skills in both the context and content for developing strategies
  • Developing confidence in assimilating complex information and taking appropriate, timely action
  • Create strong and collaborative synergies among team leaders and team members


Areas of Focus:

Participants will focus on a combination of leadership and team building skills dependant on interest areas including:

  • Relational leadership capabilities
  • Reflective & critical thinking
  • Organizational storytelling
  • Building confidence in yourself and others
  • Developing influence skills
  • Creating communities of practice to accelerate team performance
  • Effectively managing conflict
  • Promoting collaboration with other teams
  • Coaching and mentoring skills
  • Encouraging feedback
  • Developing succession plans