Over 1,000 ‘Connect’ In-Person and Virtually at the HR Conference & Expo 2022


CPHR BC & Yukon’s first true hybrid HR Conference & Expo was held in-person on April 26-27 and virtually, May 4-5.

Over 700 people attended the event in-person at the Vancouver Convention Centre, while close to 400 people participated online. We are pleased to have been joined by a large number of first-time attendees; approximately 40% of delegates were attending their first ever HR Conference & Expo based on the feedback received in the post-event surveys. The in-person event was a significant occasion as it was our first in-person conference in three years. We also used this milestone moment to celebrate another achievement – CPHR BC & Yukon’s 80th anniversary.

All the recordings from the event are accessible to conference delegates until July 5th.

The theme of the conference was connect, and it was seamlessly woven into each keynote presentation, starting with Riaz Meghji and ending with Kendal Netmaker.

Quick Takeaways – Riaz Meghji

Riaz Meghji opened the conference as both the emcee and opening keynote.

He began by sharing his thoughts on how we can all make better meaningful connections.

In order for people to engage in meaningful connections with you, every person begins by answering three key questions in their own head:

  • Do you care about me?
  • Are you listening to me?
  • Can I trust you?

To create a safe and open space for communication and meaningful connection, we need to use our awareness of others’ needs first.

Show that you care about the person.

Truly listen to their ideas, thoughts and what they are sharing with you.

And show them that when they open up, they can trust you. Be there for them.

Meghji then asked one of the most remarkable questions that provided a true ‘aha moment’ for all in attendance, “What is you most important conversation you’ve had in your life and why?”

Answers ranged from career related decisions to family turning points and offered up a unique opportunity for the audience to have a moment of self reflection—the ultimate moment for one to contemplate what they truly find as the most important event in their life.

If you weren’t in attendance at the event, take a few minutes to ask yourself what is you most important conversation you’ve had in your life and why?

Quick Takeaways – Vivek Shraya

Vivek Shraya opened with an incredibly thoughtful and courageous story about what it was like for her growing up in Edmonton and discovering who she was.

Paraphrasing Shraya, “I learned who I was not through love, but instead I learned who I was through hatred…much like many gay people.”

She then shared a story demonstrating to us all how sometimes we need to think like artists and use our imaginations to solve problems.

See, Shraya had this idea about how she could help young artists through mentorship. She put out the call thinking she would be lucky if someone took her up on the offer.

The response, nine people wanted to work with her. And her response, “How can I help all of these amazing people?”

The solution, rather than mentor one person for a year like she had originally planned to do, she would mentor all nine of the artists for roughly one month each.

This story perfectly illustrated how you can increase your impact when you get creative with your problem solving and don’t stay stuck on your original ideas.

She then closed by asking everyone to take some time to analyze the resources you have, and there might be some things you don’t even realize are resources, to help people who may not have the same privilege.

Quick Takeaways – Cy Wakeman

Day two of the conference kicked off with Cy Wakeman. Her goal was for every person to emerge from the pandemic evolved, not traumatized.

And as leaders, how do we ensure that happens?

Step 1, love people up. Show your appreciation for them all the time.

Step 2, call people up to greatness. Help them be a part of the solution. When something happens, ask them what great looks like and work back from there with what they can do to contribute to greatness.

To illustrate her point, she told a story about a nurse in a hospital that caught an error in a patient’s chart. The nurse noticed that the patient was there for a procedure that was the equivalent of a nose job and the chart was prepping her for open heart surgery.

That’s a pretty serious mistake, which infuriated the nurse—with good reason.

Wakeman approached the situation by first thanking the nurse for bringing this error to the hospital’s attention, aka, loving her up and showing her appreciation.

Next, she had the nurse calm down and they discussed how they could handle the situation, prevent it from happening again, aka, calling her up to greatness and bringing her into the solution.  

She closed with something all leaders should contemplate and strive to achieve.

Paraphrasing Wakeman, “Modern leaders are translators. When someone comes to you with something, you give it back to them better, with more clarity.”

Quick Takeaways – Kendal Netmaker

And bringing conference to a close, Kendal Netmaker shared the wisdom he had learned from his Kokum (Grandmother).

She taught him many lessons at a very young age, but perhaps the two most impactful were that each day is not for nothing, you get up each morning for a reason. And there will be people you come into contact with who are toxic people—we need to learn to forgive these people and move on. Don’t carry their negativity and toxicity around with you.  

On that second point, paraphrasing Netmaker, “The creator doesn’t put something in front of you that you can’t handle. If you’re facing big challenges, you’re likely being prepared for something greater later on in life.”

He added, we can either react to life or respond to life.

Reacting is easy, it’s the first thing we do. Someone makes us mad, we lash out at them.

Responding is difficult because it requires more thought—we need to focus on responding to things more often.

He then closed his keynote by sharing what needs to happen for reconciliation to happen.

“We need to talk. We need to get to know each other. We need to become friends and work together on solutions.”  

Thank You

CPHR BC & Yukon would like to thank the following:

Thank you to Rosalie Dipcsu for sharing her incredible talents and amazing artwork that was used in the conference branding and imagery both before and during the event.

Thank you Riaz Meghji for the creativity, passion and professionalism you brought to the emcee and keynote speaker roles and engaging both the in-person and virtual audiences.

Thank you to the other three exceptional keynote speakers, Vivek Shraya, Cy Wakeman, and Kendal Netmaker, for sharing your personal stories and the lessons you have learned through your experiences.

Thank you to the 30+ breakout session speakers and panelists and workshop facilitators for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

Thank you to Kevin Howlett, Chair, and the CPHR BC & Yukon Board of Directors for the time you have given up out of your busy schedules and your support over the years. It was great to see so many of you in attendance.

Thank you to Conference Chair, Deborah Fox, and the rest of the Conference Advisory Committee and Track Sub-Committee members for the countless hours of your time you have contributed to build the program and help shape the conference.

Thank you to our volunteers for their outstanding work over the two-day in-person conference.  

Thank you to our valued sponsors and exhibitors for your support of the event and the HR profession.

Thank you to the delegates who gave up their time and took in the two days of learning and networking. We hope you continue to develop and nurture your new and renewed connections made during conference, and of course to maximize your CPD hours by watching all of the recorded content on-demand. We appreciate the feedback that you have shared with us:

  • It was excellent and I am so grateful to have attended.
  • Wonderful way to welcome back in-person events. Thank you and congratulations on a job well done! Top Shelf Conference!
  • Thanks for a great conference! I left feeling motivated and inspired!
  • Great speakers and really thankful for the opportunity to have the virtual option – love attending virtually!

Thank you to our incredible suppliers that helped make this event possible: iilo Creative Alliance, Encore Canada, Vancouver Convention Centre, Levy Show Services, and PheedLoop. Thank you also to our other service providers and entertainers: Butter Studios, BBW International, Francis Henson, Gary Abbott, Corycatures, Soulful Indulgence, Kel – Modern Magic, DJ Morgan Lily, and Renzo.

And last but certainly not least, thank you to the entire CPHR BC & Yukon staff for your hard work and efforts to put together our first true hybrid conference and creating an event experience to ensure our return to in-person was a safe and enjoyable one.

The 2023 HR Conference & Expo will be on May 2-3, 2023. Check out the CPHR BC & Yukon Facebook Page for photos from the HR Conference & Expo.


For more information on the sponsors, we encourage you to check out their websites.







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