International Women's Forum 2019 World Leadership Conference Toronto

Behind the Scenes


Royal Ontario Museum

Join us at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), for a truly exclusive, memorable and thought-provoking experience. You are warmly invited to explore two unique areas of the Louise Hawley Stone Curatorial Centre where you will engage first-hand with world-renowned ROM experts. Go behind-the scenes to learn about their newest field research, labl work and discoveries. Do not miss the change to see part of the collection that have never been displayed to the public. 



Hockey Hall of Fame

Experience an international sports landmark, Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame, and learn about world-renowned female hockey players. IWF attendees will experience a special tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame, home of the Stanley Cup, and the finest collection of hockey artifacts in the world. Much more than a sports museum, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a vibrant, immersive and interactive celebration of hockey. Meet five-time Olympian and four-time gold medalist Jayna Hefford, who scored 439 goals in 418 competitive games, including a Canadian Women’s Hockey League record of 44 goals in one season. Over a stellar 20-year career, Hefford has represented Canada and collected seven gold and five silver medals in international championships.


Founded in 2006 as a mobile app, today Wattpad is a global entertainment company used by 70 million people worldwide. Wattpad is truly disrupting the way entertainment is created and consumed through innovative partnerships and data and machine learning, including predictive analytics to determine what will be a “hit”. Wattpad’s hyper-engaged community of users collectively spends 22 billion minutes per month on original “stories” in more than a thousand genres. Nearly a thousand Wattpad stories have been published as books and bestsellers or turned into TV shows, films and digital media projects through working with partners like Netflix, Hulu, Sony, Universal Cable and more. The majority (56%) of Wattpad employees are women, who make up 50% of the leadership team, 50% of the User Experience and Design team, and 100% of the Product team. Wattpad is an excellent representative of Toronto’s burgeoning tech scene. The tour will conclude with a panel discussion and Q&A with business leaders.

Bata Shoe Museum

Shoes are an indication of personal taste and style, yet they also tell us about global technological developments and shifts in society’s attitudes and values. Discover the treasures of North America’s inspiring, charming and surprising Bata Shoe Museum. The BSM celebrates the style, development and function of footwear across four impressive galleries, with displays ranging from Chinese bound-foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals, to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamorous platforms. Enjoy a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the museum’s unique and vast inventory, spanning over 4,500 years of history. Meet the passionate women behind this jewel in an iconic setting by Raymond Moriyama, including Chair of the Board and IWF member Christine Bata Schmidt and Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack.

CBC Broadcast Centre

Catherine Tait, the first female president of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, one of the world’s great public broadcasters, welcomes you to CBC's Broadcast Centre for a behind-the-scenes tour of its global news operation, state-of-the-art interactive Studio K, origination point of CBC Kids programming, and a panel discussion with women leaders from a number of areas at CBC. The CBC is more than 80 years old, but it’s cutting edge when it comes to fulfilling its mandate of informing, enlightening and entertaining Canadians of all origins and walks of life, in both official languages and multiple indigenous languages.

Canada's Ballet School

Canada's National Ballet School is one of the world’s top three centres of dance education. It has trained and shaped the careers of international stars such as Karen Kain, Guillaume Côté and Veronica Tennant. Artistic Director and CEO Mavis Staines will speak about the beautiful facility, created through a modern integration of state-of-the-art studios and learning facilities with a heritage boarding school building and former CBC Radio studios. Ms. Staines is a world authority and leader in the movement to help young dancers build healthy bodies and minds in one of the world’s most demanding performing arts. The school will be celebrating its 60th anniversary at the time of the IWF conference. Members can tour the facilities, meet the leadership, talk to students and watch a class.

Art Gallery of Ontario

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is one of North America’s largest museums. With a breathtaking Frank Gehry-designed architectural transformation, the AGO possesses the world’s second-largest Henry Moore collection, the world-class Canadian and European collections of late collector Ken Thomson, and more. Join Heidi Reitmaier, AGO Deputy Director and Chief of Public Programming and Learning, for a personal tour of two exhibitions: “Early Rubens” and “Hito Steyerl.” “Early Reubens” features some of the artist’s most ambitious and seminal works, and explores the artist's impact on revitalizing Antwerp, the city where he worked during his lifetime. Hito Steyerl, a German filmmaker, visual artist and writer, creates interdisciplinary work that questions our world. She is a strong voice in the contemporary art world and recently topped the annual ArtReview Power 100 list. Heidi is an alumna of the Getty Leadership Institute Program and winner of the 2018 Education and Innovation Award from the American Alliance of Museums. After the exhibitions, IWF members can visit Shop AGO, featuring a beautiful and witty Canadiana section.


Join Stacey Spiegel, Managing Director, for a look into the emerging world of 3D. T2T is at the nexus of emerging hardware hubs designed to train and offer entrepreneur companions to software developers who might otherwise leave for Singapore, Korea or China due to a lack of hardware platforms for their software. T2T is shaping a hardware hub that will make Southern Ontario a leader in connecting software and hardware entrepreneurs to take fully realized products to market. This event features a demo of 3D scanning of a person, which will then be processed into a 3D object, turning the person’s image into a virtual model that can be output in various forms: high-speed, museum-quality digitization and augmented reality.

TIFF Bell Lightbox

TIFF Bell Lightbox is home to the Toronto International Film Festival and many other film and cultural exhibits and events year-round. The Lightbox is one of the very few such centers around the world. TIFF is one of the world’s top three film festivals, attended by approximately 500,000 fans and the cream of the crop of the worldwide industry every year. Enjoy behind-the-scenes access to TIFF’s famous Film Reference Library and the Lightbox’s state-of-the-art Master Control. Meet the cultural leaders who make it happen. IWF’s visit will contribute to Share Her Journey, TIFF’s ongoing support of current and emerging women directors from around the world.

Citizen Lab & Digital Public Square

Meet the principals behind some of today’s bravest and most intrepid cyberwork. Based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, the Citizen Lab works at the intersection of information technologies, human rights, and global security, and uncovers digital espionage operations.Digital Public Square, also based at the Munk School, builds new platforms and creates innovative tools to increase digital spaces for free expression, open political dialogue and engagement where citizen participation and civil society are threatened. It seeks to enable agoras where the largest possible number of active participants can debate, share and form opinions.

Anishwabe Health Centre

Half of Ontario’s indigenous people live in the Toronto area. Anishnawbe Health Toronto seeks to meet their needs by combining the best of western medicine and traditional practices and approaches. AHT promotes traditional indigenous practice and places them at its core. Its work with the homeless has evolved from early directions of crisis intervention to training programs that offer community members the opportunity to learn and grow in a culture-based setting. Meet the professionals and spiritual elders who are making this unique place a true healing centre for the indigenous community of Toronto.

The Distillery District, Soulpepper and George Brown College

Visit the beautiful Distillery District in Toronto and then head to the Young Centre, a unique environment supporting future creative talent, a joint venture between one of Canada’s leading professional theatre companies, Soulpepper, and one of its leading theatre schools, George Brown College. Tour the beautifully restored space in Toronto’s famous Distillery District and enjoy a performance by talented theatre students followed by a conversation with George Brown College President Anne Sado, Soulpepper Artistic Director Weyni Mengeshae and Executive Director Emma Stenning, who are renewing the company following a challenging #MeToo situation.


Women's College Hospital

For more than 100 years, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) has been developing revolutionary healthcare. The hospital's culture is shaped by leaders, healthcare providers and community members working to break down barriers and push the boundaries of traditional healthcare in pursuit of equity and excellence. This tour provides a behind-the-scenes look at the award-winning building. With an expansion completed in 2016, the “hospital of the future” was built to revolutionize the way women received healthcare and reframe the understanding of “hospital,” such as allowing people to recover from surgery in their own homes. A new clinical delivery model centralizes care, turning WHC into a one-stop healthcare shop. See how the voices of women have been integrated into a system that supports their needs.

Crow's Theatre

Crow’s Theatre is a unique venue developed to create an employment and revenue ecosystem that supports daring, innovative new works. The theatre showcases trailblazing artists such as documentary theatre producer Annabel Soutar, whose latest work deals head on with the polarization of politics in North America. Meet Annabel, Artistic Director Chris Abraham and Executive Director Sherrie Johnston in Crow's stunning new space, the Streetcar Crowsnest.

Gardiner Museum

The late Helen Gardiner, a long-time IWF member, followed her passion for ceramics to co-found one of the world’s premier specialty museums with her husband George. Its 4,000 treasures range from Chinese porcelain and ancient American ceramics to contemporary pieces. Collections Manager Christina MacDonald will guide members through the storage vault for an intimate view of the collection’s depth. The Gardiner’s current exhibition, “Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment,” will captivate devotees of fine dining, social history and rare tableware. Before the French Revolution there was a gastronomic revolution that continues to influence modern cooks and diners. Travel with the Gardiner’s docents from the kitchen gardens of Versailles to the steamy kitchens of the original champions for light eating.

Sidewalk Labs

Sidewalk Labs, in partnership with tri-level government agency Waterfront Toronto, is designing a new waterfront district to tackle the challenges of urban growth. The project is putting Toronto at the forefront of urban innovation. Our visit to Sidewalk Labs’ experimental workspace, 307, is an opportunity to learn about and experience the ideas for mobility, sustainability, economic opportunity and affordability that will transform Toronto and cities around the world. Members will also meet with some of the visionary leaders at Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto involved in this ambitious effort, as well as international urban designer Ken Greenberg, to explore the opportunities and challenges in bringing it to life, including digital transparency in the public realm, public-private collaboration and community engagement.

In Good Hands: Women Politicians

IWF member Stephanie MacKendrick’s book “IN GOOD HANDS: Remarkable Female Politicians from Around the World Who Showed Up, Spoke Out, and Made Change” is meant to inspire young women to run for public office and includes a “playbook.” It features women from around the world, including New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern and former IWF Global President and former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell. Ms. Campbell will join Stephanie and publisher Kids Can Press’ President, IWF member Lisa Lyons Johnston for a special conversation moderated by award-winning journalist and Global TV News Toronto anchor Farah Nasser at Corus Entertainment, the parent company of Kids Can Press. This venue is a short walk from the conference hotel.