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The Right Honourable David Johnston

The Right Honourable David Johnston was Canada’s 28th governor general. During his mandate, he established the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF), a registered charity that supports and amplifies the Office of the Governor General in its work to connect, honour and inspire Canadians. Today, he is actively involved as Chair of the RHF Board of Directors, and serves as an Executive Advisor at Deloitte.  Prior to his installation as governor general, Mr. Johnstonwas a professor of law for over 30 years, and served as President of the University of Waterloo from 1999 to 2010. He was president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec. He was the founding chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and chaired the federal government’s Information Highway Advisory Council. He has served on many provincial and federal task forces and committees, and has served on the boards of a number of public companies. 


The Honourable Eleanor McMahon

The Honourable Eleanor McMahon currently serves as President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Digital Government. She was previously Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and before that Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. She has spent her career in senior roles in business, government and the not-for-profit sector. McMahon held a number of roles on Parliament Hill early in her career, including as Press Secretary to Jean Chrétien. She has served as Director of Public Affairs at the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, as well as Vice President at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 


Alissa Fishbane is a Managing Director at ideas42. She has extensive experience converting innovative, evidence-based ideas into practice, having designed, tested and scaled interventions in developing countries and the United States across areas including global health, education, criminal justice and financial inclusion. Alissa serves on two World Economic Forum committees: the Global Future Council on Behavioral Science and the Human-Centric Health Steering Committee. She is also an affiliate for the Nudge Solutions Lab at the University of Virginia, which creates and rigorously evaluates solutions to some of our society’s biggest challenges and then scales evidence-based strategies.

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Michael I. Norton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He has studied human behavior in domains ranging from love and discrimination, time and grief, to money and happiness. He is the co-author – with Elizabeth Dunn – of the book, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending. In 2012, he was selected for Wired Magazine’s Smart List as one of “50 People Who Will Change the World” and his TEDx talk, How to Buy Happiness, has been viewed more than 3 million times.

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Dilip is a Professor at Rotman and holds the Corus Chair in Communications Strategy. His research is in the area of behavioural economics and its applications to consumer wellbeing, marketing, and public policy. He works with ideas42 and serves as advisor to a number of welfare organizations. In 2016, he was appointed to the Privy Council Office in the Canadian Federal Government as a scholar-in-residence and continues to serve as policy advisor in its Innovation Hub in Ottawa. He is the author/co-author of four books, and over 50 scholarly papers and book chapters on behavioural insights.

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Brianne Kirkpatrick is a Senior Policy Advisor in Ontario’s Behavioural Insights Unit. Brianne works with behavioural scientists and public sector partners to apply the knowledge and methodologies of behavioural science to some of Ontario’s thorniest challenges. Recently, Brianne has worked on trials to improve recycling behaviour, increase online vaccine reporting and increase timely fine payment. In addition, she is co-leading the development of Ontario’s first Behavioural Insights Toolkit. Prior to joining government, Brianne helped build the behavioural insights practice at a large management consulting firm. Brianne has a Masters of Public Policy from the School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Toronto, and is pursuing a Masters of Design, Strategic Foresight & Innovation at OCAD University. 

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Elizabeth is Senior Lead, Behavioural Insights at the Impact and Innovation Unit, overseeing the application of behavioural science and design to public policy challenges. In addition, she is responsible for managing the IIU’s Innovative Staffing Program, including the IIU Fellowship Program as well as overseeing the communications function for the team. Prior to joining the Government of Canada, Elizabeth held several senior leadership positions, including the Behavioural Insights Unit in the government of Ontario, where she was instrumental in creating and building Canada’s first behavioural science team in government. To date, Elizabeth has successfully completed trials dealing with public health, tax collection, regulatory compliance, and service delivery. She is Co-chair of the Behavioural Insights community of Practice in the Government of Canada and chairs the pan-Canadian Behavioural Insights Network (BIN).

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Sonia Kang is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and holds a cross-appointment to the Organizational Behaviour and HR Management area at Rotman.  Her research explores the challenges and opportunities of diversity, including strategies for mitigating the far-reaching effects of stigma and harnessing the power of diversity for society and organizations alike. Sonia’s research has been published in journals including the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyPsychological Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and has been featured in media outlets such as The Globe and Mail and The Atlantic.



Elspeth Kirkman is the Head of the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) North America, based in New York.  The North American office currently works with government at all levels across the US and Canada, bringing behavioural science and randomized control trials into the day-to-day operations of government. Before setting up the North American branch of BIT, Elspeth ran the London-based team’s work on skills, education, and childhood. She was the founding Director of the Behavioural Research Centre for Adult Skills and Knowledge (ASK) – an initiative investigating the applications of behavioural science to adult education – and led work on a range of complex social issues, in settings as diverse as foster care, national school funding and employment. Prior to joining BIT, Elspeth was a senior consultant at a large consultancy firm where she worked on a wide range of public service projects, many of which had a regulatory focus.

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Nicole is an assistant professor of marketing at the Smith School of Business. As a behavioral scientist, Nicole investigates how consumers make decisions, why they choose to engage in certain actions, and designs and develops interventions to improve consumer welfare, marketing, and policy. Her research includes work on: moral, financial, temporal, and health decision-making. In addition to her academic work - Nicole is an Advisor to both the Federal Government’s Behavioral Insights Unit and the Ontario Government’s Behavioral Insights Unit (Treasury Board).  Her work with the Ontario Government was awarded the prestigious Amethyst award for outstanding achievement

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Faisal Naru is a Senior Economic Advisor in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), working on regulatory policy and governance internationally with governments and leads on a variety of work including on behavioural economics, digital government and ICT, institutional change, regulatory impact assessments and ex-post evaluation. Faisal is a former member of the UK Cabinet Office and also worked in other Government Departments for several years. He was the Chief Advisor to the Government of Viet Nam on economic and regulatory reforms, and graduated from the University of Oxford.

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Matthew Mendelsohn is the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet for Results and Delivery in the Privy Council Office, leading the federal government’s Results and Delivery Unit. Prior to returning to the federal public service, Matthew was the founding Director of the Mowat Centre, a public policy think tank in the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto. During that time he published and lectured widely on government transformation, democratic institutions and intergovernmental politics. Matthew is a former Deputy Minister and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet with the Ontario government and a former Senior Advisor in the federal government’s Privy Council Office. Matthew received his B.A. from McGill University and Ph.D. from the l’Université de Montréal, and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University for 10 years and has been an active volunteer board member for many not-for-profit organizations that support community engagement and improved social and economic outcomes. 



Tobin is an enabler, a collaborator and a problem solver. As the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the City of Vancouver, Tobin works across City departments and with external stakeholders and partners to identify opportunities and figure out ways to quickly implement or trial any project, initiative or idea that could help the City’s efforts to manage and improve street-level or downstream impacts of systemic social challenges such as street homelessness, mental illness and addiction – no matter how big or how small. In addition to this, Tobin is passionate about promoting and supporting innovation within and outside of the municipal government in order to drive sustainable change.

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HEATHER DEVINE                             
Heather is Strategic Lead for the Government of British Columbia’s Behavioural Insights Group (BIG). Passionate about making government services better and improving the lives of British Columbians, Heather and her team use insights and methods from the behavioural sciences to solve problems across a variety of policy domains. In its first year, BIG ran trials in hiring, charitable giving, and tax collection.
Launching BIG was a full-circle opportunity for Heather who began her public service career in an applied judgment and decision-making lab at Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC-Toronto). Her current appreciation for ‘serving the greater good’ stems from this early experience seeing innovation, experimentation and evidence-based policymaking translate into meaningful change. 

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KELLY PETERS                                   
Kelly Peters is the CEO and Co-Founder of BEworks. She is passionate about bringing scientific thinking to business strategy, marketing, and operations. Kelly has overseen the launch of several new business ventures that capitalized on insights into consumer behavior. Her interest in behavioral science stems back to the late 90s when working on behavioral scoring models in credit risk and online distribution models, evolved through behavioral finance, and finally culminated in 2008 when she embraced behavioral economics as the most reliable approach to executing strategy. She launched what might be the world’s first commercial application of behavioral field experiments while at RBC to help drive adoption of online service channels. Among the first to see the commercial potential of the Web in 1993, Kelly spent several years in the dot-com industry before focusing on financial services, where she spent 12 years leading complex innovation projects providing her with a rich background in innovation, technology, and human behavior. Kelly is a Faculty Lecturer of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and regularly lectures at Cornell, Harvard, and other academies. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, has conducted three TEDx talks, and has been featured in the New York Times & Forbes. After studying philosophy and technology, Kelly earned an MBA from Dalhousie University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers.