Global Gathering of Women on the Rise Welcomes Icelandic Leader as Keynote

By September 13, 2017Media, Press Releases

Female Leaders Return to Whistler at WNORTH Conference Spring 2018

WHISTLER, B.C. September 12, 2017 – The WNORTH Conference  is set to return to Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, April 18 -20, 2018.

WNORTH is a boutique-style conference focused on providing a forum for women who are aiming for, or already on, a senior executive leadership track. Now in its fourth year, WNORTH has become a global community of women on the rise, facilitating connections between women in business as they ascend to executive leadership, through the annual conference as well as intimate gatherings in cities across North America.

WNORTH Founder, Heather Odendaal, revealed that the first five speakers at the 2018 conference will be Halla Tomasdottir, Joanna Pena Bickley, Tej Singh Hazra, Steph Jagger and Erin Sills.

Halla Tomasdottir will be joining as WNORTH Conference’s closing keynote speaker from Iceland, where she was a Presidential Candidate in 2016.  “I am delighted to be joining the WNORTH Conference as a keynote speaker in 2018.” Tomasdottir says. “It is my life’s mission to inspire and empower gender balanced and principled leadership. I have pursued this mission as an educator, entrepreneur, business leader and investor and most recently as a candidate for the Presidency of Iceland. Iceland leads the world when it comes to closing the gender gap and I am looking forward to sharing my experience, meanwhile also having an opportunity to learn of the opportunities and challenges faced by conference participants.” Halla’s mission has seen her take the TED stage twice, and Newsweek once named her to a list of 150 women who “shake the world”.

Also presenting is Joanna Pena Bickley, Co-Founder & CEO of THINXMACHINE, New York. Joanna’s acumen in design, data, media and technology has been applied to help the world’s most recognized brands, such as Land Rover, Nokia, NASA, MTV, Pepsi and Jay Z. Whether creating one of the first streaming video players, that changed the delivery of live news events for ABC, or designing the first banking app for the Apple Watch, Joanna’s tenacious creativity disrupts industry and makes new markets.

In addition to Halla and Joanna, these speakers will also join the WNORTH stage in April:

  • Tej Singh Hazra, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at HSBC Bank Canada, whose role enables HSBC Bank Canada to compete locally and internationally by driving a diversity & inclusion strategy that aligns to business goals and enhances organizational performance;
  • Steph Jagger, Author of the recently published “Unbound”, Coach, Speaker, and Smasher of the World Record for number of vertical feet skied in a year.
  • Erin Sills, Principal at Erin Sills Consulting and Founder at High Impact Lab, who will return in her role as facilitator of the conference, which was hugely popular in 2017.

“I am thrilled to reveal the first speakers at this year’s Conference,” says Heather Odendaal, Founder and Curator of WNORTH. “Over the last three years, WNORTH has created career changing moments through speakers that change perspectives and opportunities for meaningful connections, and this year’s speaker line up will continue and elevate that tradition.”

Odendaal also announced the continuation of partnerships with Presenting Sponsor PwC, Presenting Sponsor of the Closing Keynote, Halla Tomasdottir, by HSBC Bank Canada, and leading sponsors McQuarrie Hunter LLP and Nita Lake Lodge.


The WNORTH Conference presented by PwC will take place at the Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada from April 18-20, 2018.

Conference registration opened today. The Conference pass includes two days of keynote addresses, talks, and workshops, unique special events and some meals including the Opening Reception presented by PwC, the West Coast Lunch at Aura Restaurant on Thursday, the Connected Breakfast and the Scandinave Spa Social Evening.  All attendees will also gain access to the WNORTH Community Networking app, hosted on Bizzabo, to connect with other attendees in advance of the conference.

Early bird Conference Passes are $799 CAD plus tax. For more details or to register visit:



Helena Cox
Media Relations


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