BTS Toronto Learning Summit 2023

Thriving In the New Normal

A world-wide pandemic and a series of socio-economic events have underscored the importance of organizational agility and adaptability. Business is changing at the speed of NOW, while non-negotiable cultural pillars need to be firmly in place to support a diverse and an increasingly skilled workforce.

Agenda as PDF


Jessica Skon
CEO of BTS Group
BTS Group

Throughout her more than 20-year career at BTS, Jessica has pioneered the application of enterprise simulations for strategy execution, built the BTS leadership practice and delivered CEO and C-Suite advisory in service of transformations. 

Jessica’s client experience is primarily software and tech, where she has helped clients lead and execute through growth pivots, strengthened their leadership culture, shifted from waterfall to agile, and from software to Saas, including clients such as: Microsoft,, SAP, VMWare, New Relic, Uber, Atlassian, Twitter and others. She has also worked with fortune 50 healthcare, oil and gas, and financial services organizations (eg. McKesson, Fidelity PI, Chevron) to support their transformations, working with the C-Suite and driving leader readiness throughout the organization over multi-year engagements to drive change.

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Peter Mulford
EVP, Head of Innovation Practice
BTS Group

Peter Mulford is a EVP and the Managing Director of the Innovation and Digital Transformation Practice at BTS, where he leads a global team in the development and deployment of solutions related to innovation, disciplined risk taking, corporate agility, digital acumen, and sustainability.

Peter has advised leadership teams on innovation culture change, and has lead innovation and digital transformation change efforts at major firms including Microsoft, Sony, AT&T, Warner Media, Cisco, Barclays, National Australia Bank, Thermo-Fischer Scientific, and Telkom South Africa. He has guest lectured at Columbia Business School, Gordon Institute of Business Science, and the INCAE Business School, and has been a contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Training and CLO Magazines.  

Prior to joining BTS, Peter worked for two startups in Japan. He holds a master’s degree in Asia Pacific Studies and an MBA from Columbia University.

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Tara Deakin
Chief People Officer
Spin Master Ltd.

Tara Deakin joined Spin Master in June 2019 as Chief People Officer. In this role, Tara has accountability for articulating and driving the human capital strategy for the world’s 4th largest children’s toy and entertainment company ( With a scope that includes core HR operations, talent acquisition, talent management and employee experience, Tara is lead advocate for Spin Master’s employees distributed in 30 countries around the globe. In addition to her human resources accountabilities, Tara is the lead executive for Spin Master’s communications and corporate citizenship activities.

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Jennifer McRae
Senior Manager, Executive iLEAD, Strategy & Practices
Scotia Bank

A collaborative and experienced leader, Jennifer brings her learning & development know-how to her role as Senior Manager, Executive iLEAD, Strategy & Practices at Scotiabank.

Jennifer leads the development and delivery of the bank’s suite of global executive leadership programs and experiences. She also manages the strategy and practices of the Global Learning Centre of Expertise – ensuring alignment between the learning function and overarching strategic objectives and priorities.

A life-long learner herself, Jennifer consistently approaches L&D initiatives through the lens of the learner experience, resulting in top-notch experiences that employees can consume throughout their day as needed, in the flow of work.

Jennifer holds a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction and a certificate in Adult Learning & Development.

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Lacee Jacobs
Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lacee is a Senior Director and the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for BTS USA. She has over 20 years of experience helping organizations transform into workplaces where people can thrive, belong, and do meaningful work. She is responsible for delivering innovative DEI strategies for external clients that promote intercultural awareness while also growing their capacity for inclusive leadership.

One of her custom-designed DEI training programs, “Inclusion Made Personal”, is currently being used to support the transformation of internal employees at BTS. As one of the first 100 coaches in the world to be certified in Organizational and Relationship Systems work, Lacee has collaborated with extraordinary coaches globally to design and deliver these types of first-class programs based on science, research, and experience. The target audience of these programs included Fortune 100 and 500 companies.

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Dan Parisi
Executive Vice President

 Dan began his career at BTS in 1995. Throughout his career Dan has  focused on creating highly customized executive development solutions for leading Fortune 100 clients in North America. Dan has spent nearly 15 years leading large BTS USA regions. He led the BTS West Coast region from 2002 to 2012. From 2013-2014, Dan acted as the Managing Director of the BTS East Coast region out of the NYC office. Dan now leads BTS’s largest global practice, the Strategy Alignment &Business Acumen practice. He is the co-author of “Creating a Customer Centric Culture: Walking a Mile in the Customer’s Shoes”at Texas Instruments and “Using Business Simulations for Executive Development”. Training magazine named him in 2008 one of the 10 Top Young Trainers in the U.S. In 2007, Marshall Goldsmith selected Dan to join the “Distinguished Thought Leaders Library” for his pioneering work in executive strategy simulations.  Parisi is a featured business speaker for the “50 Lessons” video library series on learning and leadership. His presentation on “How Learning Has Evolved” appears in Never Stop Learning (Harvard Business Press, 2010).

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Shahin Sobhani
Principal & Head of Toronto Office

Shahin leads the BTS office in Toronto and has been in the digital learning space for 25 years. He founded SwissVBS in 2001 and grew it to a company with three offices, St. Gallen, Munich, and Toronto, serving multi-national Fortune 100 companies. SwissVBS was acquired by BTS in 2019. Shahin is passionate about bringing communities from learning to doing. In working with his team they find solutions that create a distinct learning brand. The focus of the team is always to push the envelope with solutions that make the greatest impact.By joining BTS, the Toronto office which ispart of BTS Digital, has been able to support projects on every continent and has been the leader in the self-directed offerings of BTS.

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Obi Ochu
Director of Digital Sales & Solutions

Obi Ochu is the Director of Digital Sales & Solutions (BTS Toronto). He has over 20 years of experience of helping organizations win with impact. Obi is responsible for helping clients address their evolving digital challenges. From tactical solutioning to strategy & design engagements, which require discovery, analysis, ideation and synthesis, Obi has worked with some of the most reputable brands in the world. He is passionate about managing client relationships, the heartbeat of our business. His proven track record is underpinned by thought leadership, innovation, and a desire to be a trusted advisor. Obi is driven by empowering others to unleash their true potential in order to transform all phases of their lives.

As host, Obi will again lead attendees through this year’s Learning Summit agenda. 

LinkedIn Profile


Who should participate?

Specialists and executives from the following areas: 

  • Corporate leadership & strategy
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Digital Transformation
  • Change Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Marketing & Sales Enablement
  • HR Leaders

Why should I participate?

Are you looking for insights and proven best practices that can drive organizational performance at all levels? This event will share strategies that underpin the path to success.

Key event takeaways:

  • Learn about the future of decision making in the digital age
  • Learn how to become the leader the future needs
  • Case studies that speak to the challenges of the day, and strategies to overcome them
  • Understand the evolving role of DEI and how it impacts organizational health and citizenry
  • Learn how to impact your organization’s ability to ignite and sustain a lift in stubborn metrics
  • Learn about trends impacting talent management and productivity
  • Learn how the role of HR and corporate training is changing


Provisional Agenda

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Participants arrival

Great window to decompress from the commute. Have some coffee, refreshments and say hi to fellow guests.

09:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Welcome greeting from hosts

  • Obi Ochu, Director Digital Sales & Solutions – BTS
  • Shahin Sobhani, Principal & Head of Office BTS Toronto

9:45 AM - 10:30 AM

Opening Keynote
Jessica Skon
President & CEO of BTS Group

  • BTS under the hood
  • Trends impacting organizational performance (post-Covid)
  • Standout client engagements

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM

Tara Deakins
Executive Vice President & Chief People Officer
Spin Master Ltd

  • Trends impacting talent efficiency & productivity
  • How is the role of HR and corporate training changing?
  • How do we create added value?

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Coffee break

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Lacee Jacobs
Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion BTS

  • What’s in the Way is the Way.
  • Becoming a Leader, the Future needs

12:15 PM - 12:45 PM

Jennifer McRae Senior Manager
Executive Leadership Learning (iLeads Learning Programs)
Scotia Bank

  • Turning leadership into a competitive advantage
  • Developing leadership competencies for the new normal

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Lunch break

Lunch will be provided by BTS. 

1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

Peter Mulford
Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer

  • The Future of decision making in the Digital Age
  • The role of Innovation in organization serious about market leadership

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Business Sessions

In the afternoon you have the opportunity to choose the topic that interests you most in three slots. Guided by experts, we discuss the following topics in the business sessions:

Slot 1: The importance of DEI in the evolution of your organization today and tomorrow. Moderated by Lacee Jacobs, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – BTS.

Slot 2: Understand the realities and impact of the digital Age your organization’s evolution. Moderated by Peter Mulford- Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer – BTS.

Slot 3: What people management looks like today: Getting it right. Moderated by Tara Deakins – EVP, Chief People Officer Spin Master Ltd.

Slot 4: Leadership as a competitive advantage and the competencies needed to lead in the new normal. Moderated by Jennifer McRae Senior Manager, Executive Leadership Learning (iLeads Learning Programs) Scotia Bank and Nancy Cramton Director BTS Canada.

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Coffee break

Free time for some coffee and refreshments while chatting and exchanging ideas with others.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Panel Discussion & Q&A

Open audience interaction with panel members on topics and issues important to you and your organization.

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Closing remarks and outlook

Personal reflection and summary discussion of the most important findings.


To sign up, please register using the form below.
As this is an in-person event, it will follow the latest provincial guidelines. All safety protocols will be followed. Masks and hand sanitizers will be provided on site.

The venue is fully accessibility-compliant as well. For more details, please click here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Obi Ochu at

Register here

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