Top Leaders Bring Straight Talk to B.O.L.D. Sessions

Posted on February 11, 2019
Top Leaders Bring Straight Talk to B.O.L.D. Sessions

One of the most popular moments in any executive training program comes when participants get a chance to hear from experienced industry professionals first-hand.

These observations from the front line of business and community help elevate program learning and reinforce its relevance in the real world.

The award-winning Broadening Opportunity Through Leadership Diversity (B.O.L.D.) coaching program integrates this important element with the “Straight Talk with the CEO/Thought Leader” sessions. These standout industry leaders also represent growing diversity in the workplace and more importantly at the senior-most executive levels. They are champions of diversity and inclusion. They extend their organization’s competitive advantage by developing, elevating and retaining diverse leadership talent and robust talent pipelines.

Two of the leaders scheduled to speak in the 2019 program are Leslie Woo, Chief Planning Officer at Metrolinx and Rahul Bhardwaj, President & CEO of the Institute of Corporate Directors. They will each share their lived experience of the realities of leadership with inspiring candour.

Leslie Woo is responsible for planning at the regional transportation authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Experience Network in 2017. Leslie was a key partner in the delivery of the $35-billion rapid transit expansion now underway in the Greater Toronto Area and establishes the pipeline of future projects, their scope and business-case preparation. Prior to joining Metrolinx, Leslie worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Among her many global professional accomplishments, she is a 2011-2012 Fellow and member of the International Women’s Forum, a Global Trustee with the Urban Land Institute and a retired member of the Ontario Association of Architects. Leslie holds many community volunteer roles including board director with Women’s College Hospital and the YMCA for the Greater Toronto Area. She also is the creator the SheBuildsCities blog. “The future excites me because the next generations are smarter and they are impassioned by a vision for a better world.”

Rahul Bhardwaj leads an organization of more than 13,000 members committed to improving national outcomes by growing the leadership and governance capacities within Canadian businesses, agencies and not-for-profits. His twitter motto is “Better Directors lead to a better Canada”. Rahul’s vision for Toronto and Canada has made him a popular presenter and speaker locally, nationally and internationally, particularly on issues relating to leadership and governance. An accomplished executive and director with a long and successful track record in the all sectors, he was previously CEO of the Toronto Foundation and a corporate lawyer at Meighen, Demers, Barristers & Solicitors (now part of Norton Rose Fulbright). He currently serves on the Rideau Hall Foundation, was Chair of Community Foundations of Canada, Chair of the 2012 Ontario Games, Co-Chair of TO2015 IGNITE (Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games), Vice-President for Toronto’s 2008 Olympic Bid, and a Director and vice-chair of George Brown College, among many others. Rahul calls himself a proud governance geek, dad, sailor and primo Toronto Raptors fan.


The award-winning Broadening Opportunity Through Leadership Diversity (B.O.L.D.) coaching program (starting April 24, 2019) equips high-potential diverse executives and senior leaders and those leading diverse teams with the skills needed to optimize diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Alongside a unique multi-sector, multi-industry, cross-functional, diverse peer cohort, leaders gain powerful insights, tools and strategies to skillfully advance their careers to the next level, while firmly grounding their value in the organization’s bottom line.