October, 2022

202203Oct9:00 AM7:00 PM3rd National Forum on Workforce Development (in the ocean sector)9:00 AM - 7:00 PM ADT Discovery Centre, 1215 Lower Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia Organizer: COVE Region:AtlanticTopic:Blue Economy,Leadership,NetworkingCost:$$Confidence:High


COVE’s National Forum on Workforce Development facilitates thought-leadership with actionable strategies for a thriving ocean workforce.

About this event

This year celebrates COVE’s third National Forum, a day of connecting, conversation and knowledge sharing via an engaging format of expert-led panels and thought-provoking speakers. An established event in the ocean sector, our National Forum brings together leaders in talent development and human resource disciplines from industry, government and higher education. Our goal is to facilitate thought-leadership and actionable strategies relating to current topics and critical workforce issues in the ocean sector and benefit from the synergies of dynamic leaders.

During “Riding the Current- Navigating Canada’s Blue Talent Agenda”, participants will experience a unique gathering of workforce decision-makers and learn about what’s driving the success of today’s talent programming and initiatives inspiring innovation, all leading to a robust ocean sector workforce across Canada.


Event Schedule

9:00 AM – Registration Opens – Refreshments

10:00 AM – Opening Remarks | Jakub Skrzypcyk, Manager, Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement – Ocean SuperCluster (EMCEE), Melanie Nadeau, COVE CEO

10:15 AM – Keynote Speaker | Michelle Forbrigger, VP of Human Resources at Thales North America | Retaining Talent & Diversity in the New Normal

10:45 AM – Panel Discussion | Ocean of Data: Importance and Challenge of Growing Data & Digital Skills

Moderator: Jennifer LaPlante, Executive Director at DeepSense


  • Ramy Naser, President & CEO at 1000 Days Out
  • Jennifer Guitard, Director of Workforce Intelligence and Systems at the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission
  • Mrugakshee Palwe, CEO and Co-Founder at Atlantic Blockchain Company Inc.

11:30 AM –Networking Break- Refreshments

12:00 PM – Breakout Sessions

1. P-12 Engagement with school Age Youth for Experiential Education and Career Exploration

  • Moderator: Donald Walling, Program Manager, Education Outreach at Fortinet
  • Panel: Cheri Butt (CEO Women in Resource Development Corporation -WRDC), DeRico Symonds (Senior Executive Advisor to The Deputy Minister at the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives), Shaun Thorson (CEO at SkillsCanada), Regina Cozzi (Senior Laboratory Instructor and Research Associate- Biology Dept. of St. Francis Xavier University, Director of X-Oceans Outreach)

2. Building for the Future: Post-Secondary & Early Career Talent Engagement

  • Moderator: Candice Loring, Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations and Initiatives at MITACS
  • Panel: Carol Ann Harding (CFO – SmartICE Sea-Ice Monitoring Information Inc.) with Shawna Dicker (Project Support Lead & former Intern – SmartICE), Elspeth McMahon (Associate VP for Maritime Initiatives – Old Dominion University), Sarah Thomas (Director of Indigenous and Coastal Community Relations at Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping)

3. Mid-Career & Leadership Development – Pivots & Skilling for a Leading-Edge Workforce

  • Moderator: Elizabeth Mills, (Associate Vice-President at Skills Excellence
  • Panel: Lisa Plant (Director of Leadership Assessment & Coaching, J.D. Irving), Sarah Price (Executive Director – Working NB, Government of New Brunswick), Doreen MacAulay (Professor – University of South Florida)

1:00 PM – Lunch (Provided)

2:00 PM – Keynote Speaker | Anya Waite, CEO & Scientific Director at the Ocean Frontier Institute, Dalhousie University | Closing the Gap: The Future of Ocean Employment

2:30 PM – Breakout Sessions

1. International Collaboration for Talent Development Pipeline in Ocean

  • Heike Link, Professor and Lead Workforce OTC Project University of Rostock

2. Attracting & Retaining Internationally Trained Talent Through Immigration

  • Andrea Baldwin, Immigration Law Practice Teacher at Barteaux Labour and Employment Lawyers Inc.

3:30 PM – Panel Discussion | Workforce Process and Practice Considering Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Moderator: Kes Morton, President of Pisces Research Project Management; and Founder of Ocean Allies


  • Rick Colbourne, Associate Dean, Equity and Inclusive Communities; and Assistant Professor, Indigenous Leadership and Management – Carleton University
  • Anne Marie Pham, CEO at the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Denise DiGiosia, Senior Advisor Mi’kmaw Indigenous Initiatives, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion at the Nova Scotia Community College

4:30 PM – Happy Hour Cocktail Reception

5:30 PM – Reception Dinner

7:30 PM – Event Concludes


Monday, October 3 - 9:00am 2022 - Monday, October 3 - 7:00pm 2022 ADT


Discovery Centre, 1215 Lower Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia



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