Benchmark Litigation Women in Law Vancouver Forum 2019 - Speakers May 9, Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Vancouver, Canada






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Speakers who spoke at the Benchmark Litigation Women in Law Vancouver Forum 2019 include:

Naseem Bawa

general counsel

Naseem Bawa serves as the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Interaxon Inc. Naseem is a seasoned attorney and executive who has practiced in the technology, banking and real-estate sectors for more than 25 years.

Prior to joining Interaxon, Naseem held senior leadership roles at Blackberry, where she built and managed the legal team that negotiated commercial contracts for BlackBerry’s aggressive globalization effort. She also has extensive experience advising both corporate and not-for-profit boards; in 2014, Naseem was selected by the Canadian Board Diversity Council as one of Canada’s Diversity 50 Board Candidates.

Naseem holds a masters degree in E-Business Law from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University), a Bachelor of Laws from McGill University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

Laura Bevan

Lawson Lundell

Laura Bevan is a partner in the commercial litigation group at Lawson Lundell. She acts for a clients in a broad range of industries, and has particular experience with complex securities actions, civil fraud claims, shareholder's disputes, and professional negligence claims. Laura is also litigation counsel to pension and benefit trusts. Laura and her husband are raising two young children in Vancouver.

Karen Carteri

Nathanson Schachter and Thompson

Karen L. M. Carteri is a trial and appellate lawyer. She joined NST as a partner in 2016. NST is recognized as one of Canada’s top litigation boutiques. Prior to joining NST, Karen was a partner in a national law firm where she practiced for 14 years and where she was leader of the Vancouver office litigation group.

Karen appears regularly as counsel before the B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, and in private arbitrations and administrative matters. Karen represents clients in a wide range of commercial and business matters, with a focus on major commercial real estate and property development, shareholder, director and corporate control issues, commercial contracts, gaming, banking/financial services and security enforcement.

In 2018, Karen received Benchmark Canada's Emerging Talent award for British Columbia and was ranked as a Litigation Star. Karen is active in the community, including as a member of the board of directors of Vancouver College, a private all-boys elementary and high school. She recently served two years on the CBABC Advisory to the Judicial Council of BC Committee. She served on the board of directors of the Association of Women in Finance (2013-2017) and on its Women on Boards Committee during 2017/2018.

Lynne Charbonneau

former deputy GC

Lynne Charbonneau is a lawyer, speaker and consultant in the field of innovation in the legal industry. She serves on the Futures Task Force of the Law Society of British Columbia and the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the Centre for Business Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. She also serves on the board of directors of BlueShore Financial Credit Union and as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Actsafe Safety Association. From 2005 until 2018, Ms. Charbonneau was Deputy General Counsel at HSBC Bank Canada. Prior to that, she was a partner of the Canadian national law firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, where she practiced in the fields of labour and employment law and subsequently corporate and securities law.

Kate Chisholm

SVP, chief legal and sustainability officer
Capital Power Corporation

Kate Chisholm leads Capital Power’s legal, regulatory and compliance, environmental policy, government relations and external affairs teams, risk management and internal audit, and sustainability efforts. She has personally led significant and successful commercial negotiations, managed high stakes litigation and overseen important public policy influence strategies for Capital Power.

Kate has provided counsel and expert witness testimony in numerous electric utility hearings, including those arising from the restructuring of the Alberta electricity industry.

Kate obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University, her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta, and her MBA from Queen’s University. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010.

Kate currently serves on a number of boards and governing bodies, including the Alberta Securities Commission.

Megan Chorlton

general counsel
Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia

Megan Chorlton’s career path has taken a number of twists and turns over the years. She obtained a B.Ed from McGill University and a M.Ed. from the University of Alberta in the 1990’s followed by seven years of teaching. She returned to school in 2002 to obtain a LLB from the University of Alberta, then clerked for the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal. Megan was called to the bar in British Columbia in 2007.

After specializing in municipal and insurance defence litigation while working at a large regional law firm for seven years, Megan joined the Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia (MIABC) as a staff lawyer in 2013. Her career veered in an interesting direction in 2014 when she was appointed as the Director of Member Services. Presently, Megan acts as both the Director of Member Services and the MIABC’s General Counsel.

Tracey Cohen


Tracey Cohen, a partner at Fasken, is a leading trial and arbitration counsel for complex commercial and corporate disputes. Tracey is recognized by top legal ranking publications (including Chambers, Lexpert and Best Lawyers) as a leading litigator in corporate commercial litigation, class actions, international arbitration, securities, and professional liability. Tracey has repeatedly been recognized as one of Canada’s top 25 female litigators. Tracey has appeared as counsel before all levels of Court in British Columbia and in regulatory investigations and proceedings before provincial securities commissions and self-regulatory organizations as well as before international and domestic arbitration tribunals. She is a frequent instructor and lecturer. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2015. In 2019 she was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. She is currently a member of the Fasken’s Partnership Board.

Bindu Cudjoe

SVP, GC and Corp Secretary
CWB Financial Group

Bindu Cudjoe is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for CWB Financial Group, leading teams responsible for managing legal and regulatory compliance risk.

Prior to joining CWB in December 2018, Bindu spent six years at BMO Financial Group serving as Vice President, Deputy General Counsel - Technology and Operations & Chief Knowledge Officer, and prior to that Deputy General Counsel & Chief Operating Officer. At BMO she managed legal and regulatory risk relating to technology, outsourcing, intellectual property, marketing, trade finance, corporate banking, correspondent banking and commercial banking. She also lead the General Counsel group’s initiatives in knowledge management, technology, project management, e-discovery and litigation support, board and senior management reporting, administrative assistance, finance, human resources, real estate, strategic initiatives and BMO's outside counsel program. Prior to BMO, Bindu was a Partner with McMillan LLP in the financial services group.

Bindu was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine in 2016 and a Lexpert Rising Star: Leading Lawyers under 40 in 2014. She is vice president and director of Women General Counsel Canada Network.

Jennifer Drake

Vice President - Legal Consultant, Financial Services Group

Jennifer Drake is a vice president on Aon’s Transaction Solutions team. In her role, Jennifer acts as an advocate for clients, facilitating the resolution of transaction liability insurance claims. Previously, Jennifer held a legal consulting role in Aon’s Financial Services Group providing guidance on executive risk and risk transfer solutions to corporate executives and boards. Prior to working at Aon, Jennifer was an associate at Goodmans from 2009 – 2014 where her practice included corporate litigation as well as municipal and land development matters for private and public sector clients. Jennifer received her law degree from the University of Western Ontario and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2009.

Stephanie Hamilton

Guild Yule

Stephanie is a partner with Guild Yule. She practices in the area of general commercial and insurance litigation, including the defense of health authorities, businesses, municipalities, educational institutions and professionals. She also practices generally in defending personal injury, property damage, product and occupiers’ liability actions. Before joining Guild Yule, Stephanie practiced with a litigation boutique firm in Vancouver, representing individuals and businesses in a broad range of commercial litigation matters. Stephanie has appeared in the Provincial Court, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Stephanie is also called to the Bar in the province of Ontario. Outside of work, Stephanie is an avid runner and enjoys exploring the spectacular trails in North Vancouver and the Sea to Sky corridor with her husband and two young children.

Ami Iaria

senior legal counsel
British Columbia Securities Commission

Ami Iaria has a stimulating securities regulatory practice with a focus on novel emerging risks and market structure issues.

In the regulatory sphere, she has advised stakeholders nationwide as legal counsel for the British Columbia Securities Commission, the Alberta Securities Commission, the Ontario Securities Commission, and Federal Finance.

Prior to her work in the public sector, Ami practiced structured finance law at an international law firm in London and Paris, and provided in-house advice while on client secondment to a Swiss investment bank in London.

Anjali Inman

legal counsel
Two Hat Security

Anjali is a seasoned corporate lawyer with specific experience in capital markets and technology. She has acted extensively for entrepreneurs, start-ups and venture-backed technology companies, from start-up phase through their growth trajectory, as well as on IPOs and public offerings for technology companies.

Anjali also frequently advises clients on M&A transactions, including offerors and targets in share and asset sale transactions and amalgamations. Anjali regularly advises on various commercial and strategic matters, including company formation, shareholder agreements, licensing, SaaS agreements, joint ventures and other commercial relationships and regularly uses her business acumen to advise clients in the areas of privacy, risk management, succession planning and financial management. Anjali currently works with Two Hat Security Ltd., helping them achieve their mission of protecting online communities from harmful threats in real time.

Joyce Johner

general counsel
College of Dental Surgeons of BC

Joyce Johner is General Counsel for the College of Dental Surgeons of BC who regulates dentists, dental therapists and certified dental assistants. Joyce provides advice on all levels of professional regulation including complaints, registration and the quality assurance program. Joyce works with external counsel to conduct discipline hearings or other court proceedings. Joyce provides support to the Registrar’s office and the board of the College. Prior to working at the College, Joyce spent 15 years regulating in the public interest at the British Columbia Securities Commission.

Eleni Kassaris


Eleni Kassaris is a partner in the Vancouver office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon. Eleni represents clients in a wide range of industries, including mining, oil and gas, construction, and life sciences. As part of her practice, Eleni acts in both an advisory capacity and as litigation counsel on matters relating to general contractual disputes, wrongful dismissal litigation, workplace disputes, privacy law and cybersecurity matters. As part of her privacy law practice, Eleni regularly advises clients on all aspects of privacy law, including drafting privacy policies, complaint procedures, access to information requests, breach reporting, general compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act and assisting clients with complaints and inquiries before the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia. Eleni has been recognized for her expertise in a number of legal publications including as Litigation Star for British Columbia by Benchmark Canada, 2019.

Alexia Kerr

general counsel
Fraser Health Authority

Alexis Kerr is General Counsel at the Fraser Health Authority, a public health care organization operating 13 hospitals and many other health-related lines of business. Her responsibilities include oversight of Fraser Health’s Legal, Risk Management, Adult Guardianship, Freedom of Information and Information Privacy Offices. Prior to joining Fraser Health in 2007, Alexis practiced both commercial litigation and privacy law at Fasken in its Toronto and Vancouver offices.

Alexis is the current Vice-Chair of the CBA National Privacy and Access Law Section. She is also accredited as a Certified Information Privacy Professional – Canada (CIPP-C) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, of which she is a longtime member.

Kjelti Wilkes Kellough

VP, Corporate Counsel
Getty Images

Kjelti Kellough believes the right image can change the world. As Deputy General Counsel at Getty Images, she’s experienced the impact that images have to define moments and shift perceptions and is determined to facilitate that - every single day. As the head of the North American commercial legal team, Kjelti has worked on the implementation of partnerships with leading brands such as Unilever (Dove and #showus), National Geographic, Refinery29, Muslim Girl and LeanIn. In addition, Kjelti works closely with the Getty Images product team to simplify the customer legal experience, making it easier for everyone to tell their important and powerful stories.

Wendy King

VP, legal, risk & governance and Corporate Secretary
Capstone Mining

Wendy King, Vice President, Legal, Risk & Governance and Corporate Secretary, is responsible for managing legal, enterprise risk management, insurance and corporate governance at Capstone Mining Corp. She has been practicing law for more than 20 years, many of which were spent as in-house counsel, after practicing as an international-tax specialist with KPMG and a national law firm. She is a certified director with the Institute of Corporate Directors. She holds a Masters in international Tax Law and an MBA, and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. She served as Director of Via Rail Canada Inc. and currently serves as Director of the Royal BC Museum (Chair of Audit) and as a Trustee of the Vancouver Police Foundation. She has also been an Adjunct Professor at Allard Hall School of Law teaching Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance.

Wendy joined Capstone following her role as Senior Vice President Government Relations, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary at Central 1 Credit Union. Prior to this role, she served as Senior Legal Counsel with Weyerhaeuser Company Limited.

Alexandra Luchenko

Blake Cassel & Graydon

Alexandra Luchenko, partner at Blake Cassel & Graydon, focuses on complex commercial and securities related matters focusing on regulatory compliance, transactional litigation and investigations and crisis management, including assisting clients experiencing a data breach or cybersecurity incident. She has significant experience working on behalf of financial institutions as well as mining, resource, health sciences and technology companies.

Alexandra also provides crisis management services to clients, involving whistleblower allegations, corruption and anti-bribery in Canada, Africa and Asia, cybersecurity and litigation involving potentially significant reputational risk. She has experience drafting policies, conducting independent investigations on behalf of corporate clients and defending search warrants.

Alexandra’s experience in regulatory compliance includes responding to allegations of disclosure violations as well as insider trading. In addition to domestic proceeding, she regularly assists in cross-border matters including in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

Genevieve Martin

employee relations specialist
Ledcor Group

Genevieve Martin joined Ledcor Industries Inc. two years ago as its Employee Relations Specialist. Ledcor is a diversified construction company with projects across the US and Canada. With such a diversified set of companies, Genevieve handles employment issues and claims relating to a variety of employees - from superintendents and telecommunications technicians, to mill workers, commissioned sales people and pilots. In her role, Genevieve works with HR Business Operations along with Industrial Relations, Health and Safety and the wider business units. Before moving to Canada, Genevieve lived and worked in New Zealand. She started her career as a private practice employment lawyer at Simpson Grierson, spent some time as a Human Resources Consultant, before moving to an in-house employment legal counsel role at Fonterra Cooperative Group Limited, New Zealand’s largest employer.

Emilie Maxwell

investment manager
Augusta Ventures

Emilie is an Investment Manager with the litigation financing company, Augusta Ventures Canada Ltd. Augusta Ventures is an established UK-based funder which opened its first Canadian office earlier this year; Emilie was pleased to join the company soon after. As an investment manager, Emilie evaluates the legal and commercial merits of cases to help connect litigants with the funds needed to enforce their rights.

Before joining Augusta, Emilie was a class actions lawyer with Siskinds LLP. Her notable work includes the Volkswagen emissions settlements, the UPS “brokerage fees” litigation, and the appeals concerning misrepresentations in take-over bid circulars, jurisdiction over foreign class members/global class actions, and the application of discoverability to the civil liability provisions of the Competition Act.

Emilie has a particular interest in legal innovation. She is a member of the CBA Legal Futures Subcommittee and a co-organizer of the London, Ontario chapter of the Legal Hackers movement. Emilie has received degrees from the University of Toronto (JD) and Western University (BSc and MLIS).

Kalie McCrystal

legal counsel
Herschel Supply Company

Kalie McCrystal is Legal Counsel at Herschel Supply Company, a global lifestyle brand that designs, manufactures and sells backpacks, luggage, apparel and accessories. Kalie’s core areas of responsibility at Herschel Supply are intellectual property, brand protection, regulatory issues (including privacy and data protection), and marketing/competition law, but as part of a small legal team, every day is an adventure! As a result, Kalie frequently works with external counsel around the world to support Herschel Supply’s business needs.

Prior to joining Herschel Supply, Kalie was a commercial litigation associate at Borden Ladner Gervais in Vancouver, where she focused on international and domestic arbitration, contract disputes, and intellectual property disputes.

Sarah McEachern


Brigeeta Richdale

Cassels Brock

Brigeeta Richdale is a partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell in Vancouver. Brigeeta’s practice focuses on securities and regulatory matters, fraud and enforcement proceedings, corporate/commercial disputes and representation of financial institutions and investment advisors and blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation. Brigeeta's practice has a strong focus on international asset tracing, conducting investigations with internal and external auditors, enforcement of foreign judgments and orders, Worldwide Mareva Injunctions, Anton Piller orders, and Norwich Pharmacal orders. She has significant experience with litigation resulting from Ponzi schemes, offshore banking and money laundering, fraudulent conveyances, investment fraud, employee fraud and theft, and investment disputes.

Brigeeta has extensive experience in matters involving investigations and enforcement proceedings before various Securities Commissions, the RCMP's Commercial Crime division, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealer's Association (MFDA), national and international agencies including Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Interpol. Brigeeta represents clients at the investigative stage and throughout enforcement actions.

Melanie Samuels

Singleton Reynolds

Melanie Samuels is Co-Chair of the Employment and Labour Group at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel, and she is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. She has been practicing in this area for more than 25 years, advising clients on all workplace issues including providing guidance on disciplining and/or dismissing employees, drafting employment contracts and policies, and advising on human rights issues, including harassment and the duty to accommodate.

A particular area of focus for Melanie is working with creative industries, including the film and music industry, to help guide and inform their harassment policies and advise them on how best to implement protocols in the workplace to effectively deal with bullying and harassment.

Melanie also specializes in business-related immigration including applications for labour market impact assessments, exemption applications, work permits and temporary resident permits and visas. She determines the best option for Permanent Residency Applications, Provincial Nominee Programs, Canadian Experience Class, Express Entry and Federal Skilled Worker Programs. In addition, she assists with Spousal and Family Sponsorships and Rehabilitation Applications.

Naomi Schmold

chief privacy officer & senior legal counsel

Naomi Schmold is Chief Privacy Officer & Managing Legal Counsel at Enbridge. She received her Law Degree from the University of Alberta in 2005. She articled with the Alberta Court of Appeal before moving to the Department of Federal Justice where she gained criminal and civil litigation experience. Naomi joined Enbridge’s Operations Law group in 2009, providing advice to a range of internal clients with respect to commercial, environmental and occupational health & safety matters. In 2014, Naomi moved into the Ethics & Compliance group as Acting Privacy Officer and Counsel. She currently manages Enbridge’s Privacy Office and provides legal advice on matters related to business ethics and conduct.

Naomi is passionate about building up our future generation of professional and community leaders. This is her 8th year of being a Big Sister through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She serves as Vice Chair of the Board of YWCA Edmonton, and was a sessional instructor for the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law in the areas of Legal Research & Writing, and Professional Responsibility & Ethics. She is currently Co-Chair of the CBA Women’s Law Forum (Alberta North Branch).

Catherine Scott

general counsel

As Chief Legal Officer, Catherine Scott (“Scotty”) is responsible for the legal function at PayByPhone globally. Scotty manages the Legal Team that provides timely, effective legal advice while helping to ensure that PayByPhone maintains its reputation with its partners, regulators and the public and complies with applicable laws and regulations. She and the Legal Team are also responsible for reviewing, drafting and negotiating all commercial agreements. Scotty has a background in business, commercial, consumer, intellectual property, privacy and data protection law and uses her LLL, JD and MBA to bridge the gap between business and the law.

Lisa Skakun

GC & Chief Corporate Development Officer
Coast Capital Savings

As General Counsel and Chief Corporate Development Officer, Lisa Skakun is responsible for all legal, corporate development, public affairs and corporate governance-related functions at Coast Capital Savings. Lisa has a LLB from the University of British Columbia, as well as a Master of Laws degree in business law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and holds the ICD.D designation, having completed the Directors Education Program from the Institute of Corporate Directors. In 2017 she was a recipient of the Lexpert Zenith Award: Celebrating Women in Law and in 2015 was named to Canada’s Diversity 50 list by the Canadian Board Diversity Council. She is also the recipient of the Association of Women in Finance’s PEAK award for “Rising Star” and the National Post Award for “Tomorrow’s Leader” at the Western Canada General Counsel Awards. She is the past Chair of the Board of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, a past member of the Board of Cause We Care Foundation and past Chair of the BC Business Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association, and was a member of the Securities Law Advisory Committee for the British Columbia Securities Commission.

Shannon Webber

former GC
Alterra Power Corp

Shannon D. Webber served as the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Alterra Power Corp., a renewable power public company managing operations of nine power plants totalling 836 MW of hydro, wind, geothermal and solar generation capacity in Canada, the USA and Iceland from 2014-2018. In addition to oversight of Alterra’s legal affairs, Shannon played a critical role in Alterra’s project development and financing efforts (closing >$1B financing) and supporting Alterra’s strategic growth plans culminating in its $1.1 billion acquisition by Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. Prior to her tenure at Alterra, Shannon practised for 10 years in the areas of securities and capital markets, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, mining, and corporate law at a national law firm. Shannon is actively involved in the North Vancouver community volunteering in various youth sport programs.

Sherry Wiebe

chief legal officer and general counsel
Octaform Systems

Sherry D Wiebe, B.N., LL.B., is General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer at Octaform Systems Inc, a private company that designs and manufactures for worldwide sale proprietary and patented building technology components for commercial buildings and special purpose tanks and infrastructure. She was most recently also its General Manager for nearly three years. Sherry has previously worked with biotechnology, social media technology, healthcare services and equipment, and real estate syndication companies. She has advised CEOs on strategic and crisis communications and media management. She was previously Assistant Deputy Chairperson of the Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, where she also led an initiative to transform tribunal processes; Executive Director of the Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses; Chief Advisor to the Leader of the Official Opposition Caucus (provincial); frequent speaker and contributing author. Sherry has participated on numerous non-profit boards and community services.


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