Sharing the Journey

MARCH 6,2020


About the event

The GTACC Women in Leadership Event is a morning of Inspiration and Thought Leadership! Women from diverse industries, backgrounds and causes join us to share their thoughts around leadership, influence, and how they impact the greater community! As always, this is not just an event for women, men are encouraged to attend too!

Harriet Thornhill      

Vice President, RBC Contact Centres


Harriet leads a multi-business, multi-geography, integrated contact centre distribution channel for RBC, including telephone banking, Direct Investing, and email/chat teams.  Six centres and 3,000 people provide direct advice and support to business and personal clients across Canada and the U.S. 

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Harriet began her career with RBC in Montreal over 35 years ago, and has held progressively senior management and executive roles in Head Office and in Regional Banking where she led a network of branches, including Financial Planning and Small Business.  Her experience also includes: Human Resources, Marketing, Training, and Leadership Development.


Prior to her current role, she was based in Trinidad and Tobago as Head of RBC Caribbean Markets Personal Banking with responsibilities spanning across 19 countries and serving on several subsidiary boards.  As a member of the Caribbean Banking Operating Committee she was responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of RBC Financial (Caribbean).


An active leader within the community, Harriet has served on several boards focused on youth and education.  She is currently a director on the Stratford Festival board and Tyndale University.  Harriet is the recipient of several community awards and recognition acknowledging her work in the community and professional achievements.  Harriet is passionate about leadership and mentoring, and holds an Executive MBA from the University of Athabasca.


Harriet is married and a mother of three, and loves to cook and travel with her family.

Event details

Date:  March 6, 2020
Timings: 7:30-12:00noon
Registration starts at: 7:30am
Event timing: 8:30am - 11:30am
Location: 351 King St E, Dubai Room, Toronto, ON M5A 0N1 
Early Bird Tickets (By Dec 15th): $125

Tickets after Dec 15th: $175

100% of ticket sales will go to support www.CureSPG50.org to help find a cure for Michael! Check out the story of this little trooper!
(Tax receipts will be issued in January)


Hosted by GTACC and sponsored by LoyaltyOne! 


To support International Women's Day, GTACC is honoured to once again be supporting the Shoebox Project at GTACC's Women In Leadership Event.  Click to learn how you can help women in need.



Andrea Casciato      

Head of Wealth, North American Customer Contact Centre

BMO Financial Group

Andrea is an energetic leader in financial services, with a passion for developing and coaching people to success. In her current role, she leads a team of 300 contact centre professionals supporting BMO’s Wealth channels in Canada and the US to deliver consistent and effortless client experiences.

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With over 20 years in financial services, Andrea has held various roles in Personal & Business Banking, Human Resources, and Wealth Management. She has developed expertise in change management, strategy, and front-line sales leadership.


Andrea is an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and specifically for women and families. She is a board member of Parents for Children’s Mental Health, and she has led numerous initiatives to engage and support women in taking control of their finances and successfully navigating life changes. She is also a dedicated sports mom to her 9-year-old son.


For the past two years, Andrea has been doing research and interviews about Personal Resilience as her passion project. She facilitates workshops to help people understand and grow their ability to effectively move forward from adversity.


Andrea holds an Master of Management Science from the University of Sheffield (UK) and an Executive MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Tracy Valko     

Broker/Owner of the Valko Team

Tracy Valko has worked in the mortgage industry for more than half of her life, and earned exceptional recognition(s) along the way; leading in  a male-dominated industry   while completing her education and starting her career with two young children in tow.

From the many mortgage agent awards to her most recent “Broker of the Year” award, Tracy’s personal journey to professional success hasn’t been easy. 

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With complete and raw honesty, Tracy will be sharing some of her story with us – emphasizing the importance of conversation and honesty, with regard to mental health, self-identity and releasing yourself from all that limits you. 


Tracy is a graduate from York University and received a degree in Political and Science and Major in Family Law. Tracy is also a contributing Author in the Amazon Kindle best-seller Called to Action.


Tracy Lives in Kitchener/Waterloo and is a mother to two beautiful inspiring children, Brendan 23 yrs old and Meghan 18 yrs old. 

Lori Hornidge    

Head of Research and Development,  ComVida Corporation

Lori is the Head of Research and Development for ComVida Corporation, a niche software company that’s been streamlining complex Payroll, Scheduling, and Financial processes for over 30 years. 


She is actually one of the original members of the ComVida team.

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After graduating from the College d’Informatique du Canada, and a short stint at CN in Montreal, she pulled up stakes, moved to BC and started her career at ComVida, back when Y2k was just a blip on the horizon and applications could be installed with floppy disks. The industry potential was awe-inspiring and, somehow realizing this was a perfect place to hang her hat, she truly has never looked back. 

Building software that is both valuable and intuitive has long been Lori’s passion.  She now leads, or often follows, her team through the increasingly complex world of smart technology and even smarter users.  She credits her success to trust (earning & giving), along with the firm belief that her merry band of developers and testers will do whatever it takes to get the job done right.  Lori’s boss once referred to her as “Chief cook and bottle washer”, which is surprisingly accurate, metaphorically speaking - she wears many hats: enthusiastic strategist, careful planner, hardcore coder, reluctant tester, half-decent wordsmith, and even, with some persuasion, occasional presenter. 


After moving to Ontario 10 years ago, Lori set up her home office and when she’s not there, she’s having fun – exploring the magical world of homeschooling with her two favorite young people, digging in the garden, listening to music, managing finances for her Brownie unit, or working on renovation projects with her husband.

Melissa Abramowitz

Vice President, Legal & Corporate Secretary at CAA Club Group of Companies

Melissa has been practicing corporate and commercial law for over 15 years, with an emphasis on the financial services industry. She currently serves as the Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer of the CAA Club Group of companies, part of the Canadian Automobile Association.


At CAA, Melissa provides strategic legal advice to senior management on a broad range of corporate governance, commercial contracts, distribution, marketing and advertising, mergers and acquisitions, and regulatory compliance matters. She is a member of the Regulation Standing Committee of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Prior to joining CAA in 2014, Melissa acted as Senior Legal Counsel at Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. Melissa received her undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Civil Law and Bachelor of Laws at McGill University, and enjoys frequent visits to Montreal in the summer.