Scholars to Leaders

Scholars to Leaders is a monthly speaker series open to the graduate community that showcases guest speakers who share valuable insight and expertise on critical aspects of leadership both inside and outside of academia. 

2023-2024 SCHEDULE

Dr. John Hepburn, CEO, Mitacs 

October 25, 2023, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET 

Possible Futures: Reflections On My Own Journey and Your Possible Journeys

Dr. Hepburn will share insight from navigating his career journey advancing the research & innovation ecosystem in Canada. Drawing from experiences in both academia and the non-profit sector, he will shed light on how his leadership has evolved in his various capacities, emphasizing the fulfilling aspects of roles dedicated to advancing research. Dr. Hepburn will also discuss the research & innovation landscape in Canada, highlighting its profound impact, and how PhD researchers can make meaningful contributions. Join us in exploring how to leverage advanced education to foster innovation. 

Dr. Cristi Ford, Vice President of Academic Affairs at D2L 

November 29, 2023, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET on Zoom

From Dissertation to Leadership: An Unconventional Journey to Vice Presidency

Dr. Cristi Ford serves as VP of Academic Affairs at D2L. During our talk she will share her journey that defies conventional academic trajectories as a Ph.D. holder. Her story is a compelling example to anyone looking to pursue a non-linear academic journey that eschewed traditional career paths and embraced diverse experiences, forging an unconventional yet impactful route to leadership. Cristi broke away from the expected course post-doctorate, and sought varied opportunities across industries, leveraging her expertise in unexpected domains.

D2L is a global learning innovation company helping organizations reshape the future of education and work. Driven by the belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality education, regardless of their age, ability or location. 

Dr. Leela Viswanathan, Founder & Principal of Viswali Consulting & Author 

January 31, 2024, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET

Join Dr. Leela Viswanathan, author of The Deliberate Doctorate: A Values-Focused Journey to Your PhD, for a motivational professional development webinar on making the most of your doctoral experience. After attending this webinar, you will have more insight into identifying and optimizing your skills, building supportive networks and relationships, and working through the emotional aspects of your PhD journey so that you can define success on your own terms. If you are thinking about pursuing a PhD, or you are launching your PhD journey, this webinar will get you started in reflecting on your PhD as an experience – not simply a destination, but a journey – to align your goals with what matters the most to you. And if you are further along your PhD journey or into your postdoc, then this webinar offers you an opportunity to reflect and connect with the purpose of your PhD. No matter where you find yourself on your PhD journey, or what academic discipline has become your home, this webinar will help you to build a values-focused journey to your PhD, and beyond.

Dr. Val Napoleon, Professor and Director, Indigenous Law Research Unit, University of Victoria

TBD 2024

Dr. Val Napoleon is a Professor and Law Foundation Chair of Indigenous Justice and Governence at the University of Victoria. She is Cree from Saulteau First Nation and an adopted member of the Gitanyow [northern Gitxsan]. Her research interests focuses on Indigenous legal traditions (Indigenous legal theories, pedagogies, law and precedent, legal institutions, and legal research methodologies), Indigenous feminism, citizenship, self-determination, and governance.

Dr. Napoleon is also Director and co-founder of the Indigenous Law Research Unit, where she is responsible for the vision and direction of ILRU, and bridging the work of ILRU with University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law and beyond through teaching, writing and public engagement. She is also a principal investigator on ILRU’s projects.