Speakers, Hosts, and Panelists

Keynote Lecturer



Prof. Kim Baines, University of Western Ontario

Kim Baines received her BSc in 1982 from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1982 and her PhD under the tutelage of the late Professor Adrian Brook from the University of Toronto in 1987. She then spent one year as an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dortmund, Germany with the late Professor Dr. Wilhelm Neumann. She joined the faculty at the University of Western Ontario in 1988 where she is now Professor of Chemistry. Her research focuses on the synthesis and reactivity studies of fundamentally interesting, low valent main group molecules with novel bonding paradigms with the goal of providing materials for future innovations. She was awarded the inaugural J.C. Polanyi Prize for Chemistry from the Government of Ontario in 1988, the Clara Benson Award from the Canadian Society of Chemistry in 2002, the Florence Bucke Prize for Science from Western in 2004, a Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany in 2015 and the Montreal Medal from the Chemical Institute of Canada in 2016. She was recently appointed as Chair Professor at Soochow University in Suzhou, China (2014-2017), and spent a term (Fall 2015) as a DAAD Scholar (Research Stay for University Academics and Scientists from the German Academic Exchange Service) at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg with Prof. Dr. Thomas Mueller. She has been named to the University Students Council Teaching Honor Roll at Western several times. She also won 1st Prize with Melanie Lui in the inaugural CSC Inorganic Mixer Dance Competition (2015). She served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry (2005-2014), Chair of the Canadian Council of University Chemistry Chairs (2005-2007), on Grant Selection Committee 24 (2002-05) at NSERC, as Group Chair for the NSERC Chemistry Evaluation Group (2008-2011) and on the Canadian Society of Chemistry Board of Directors (2005-2008) where she was Director of Conferences. She also served as the Scientific Program Chair for the 87th CSC Conference and Exhibition in London, Ontario in 2004. She was recently elected as the Vice-President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (2016-2019) and appointed as Assistant Dean (International) for the Faculty of Science at Western. For more information, click here.

Keynote Lecture: Leadership matters: what they didn’t tell you about a career in chemistry

One might expect that a career in chemistry will involve chemistry. And if we are fortunate, it does. However, during the course of your career, you will undoubtedly find yourself in an administrative/leadership role of some description. In academia, such roles (above that of a professor!) are often viewed as an unwanted burden; “Congratulations…..or shall I say commiserations?” was a common phrase I heard after being appointed as Chair of my department. On the contrary, I found the role of Chair, and other leadership roles I have held, to be quite challenging, fulfilling and even (gasp!) fun. In this presentation, I will share some of the knowledge acquired and valuable advice received which enriched my experiences as a researcher, a teacher and an administrator. With a bit of luck, and some humour, I hope to convince you that leadership roles are critical, not only to your success, but also for the success of chemistry at all levels, and need to be embraced.



Workshop Hosts



Anne Holmes, Regional Facilitator for Ontario, WinSETT Leadership Program

Ann Holmes began her career in equity issues at the Ontario Women’s Directorate, animating programs to introduce women in “non-traditional” occupations to students. Since 2003 she has contributed her expertise in education, entrepreneurship and social issues, particularly SETT work and study as well as gender and leadership to a variety of projects. Ann designed and co-facilitated workshops with the 2003-2011 Ontario NSERC/Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. Ann has facilitated sessions at CCWESTT conferences and at the Women Engineers Program Advocates Network annual gatherings. She is the Principal Consultant at Ann Holmes & Associates, Supporting equity and diversity initiatives in the academy and the workplace.

For more information, visit:

winsett-logo .


lil-blumeLil Blume, University of Toronto

Lil Blume teaches in the Computer Science Department at the University of Toronto.  She has presented sessions on communication, ambition, goal-setting, and conflict resolution at the Canadian Coalition for Women in Engineering, Science, Trades, and Technology (CCWESTT) since 2006.  Lil has worked with women in science groups at universities in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Toronto, Halifax, and St. John’s.  She was also invited to work with women in Computer Science and Math at the University of Western Washington in Bellingham.  For more information click here.





2016 Technology Summit Environmental PortraitDr. Rebecca T. Ruck, Merck

Dr. Rebecca T. Ruck earned her A.B. summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1998 before moving on to Harvard as an NSF fellow in the lab of Prof. Eric Jacobsen at Harvard University. She continued her career as an NIH post-doctoral fellow at UC-Berkeley in the lab of Prof. Robert Bergman. She moved on to Merck Process Research & Development in 2005, steadily assuming increasing amounts of responsibility in the intervening years. She has managed a Discovery Process Chemistry team at the interface of medicinal and process chemistry, served as Director of Catalysis and Automation, which also involves managing efforts around reaction mechanism and flow chemistry, and is currently Director of Process Chemistry. She has made contributions to programs related to Hepatitis C, diabetes and antibacterials, among others. For her role in the chemistry of the beta-lactamase inhibitor, MK-7655, she was recognized as an ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Young Investigator in 2014 and for her commitment to both scientific excellence and advancing women in chemistry, was recently recognized as one of  the ACS Women’s Chemist Committee 2016 Rising Stars. During her time at Merck, Rebecca has played a significant role in Merck’s commitment to safety and is highly active in a variety of external reputation activities, including serving as the departmental recruiting lead, running a series of Merck-sponsored academic lectureships and coordinating the WCC-Merck Research Award for 3rd/4th year female graduate students and accompanying symposium. For more information, click here.


laurel-shafer-2014-headshotProf. Laurel L. Schafer, University of British Columbia

Laurel is an internationally recognized leader in the field of catalyst development, focusing on the application of low toxicity early transition metals for the efficient and selective synthesis of functionalized small molecules and materials of interest to the pharmaceutical, agrochemical, fine chemical and petrochemical industries.  She has pioneered the development of a new class of easily prepared and modular N,O chelating ligands: amidates, ureates, pyridonates and phosphoramidates that have shown application in the catalytic synthesis of selectively substituted amines by hydroamination and hydroaminoalkylation.  She is an award winning researcher with both national and international accolades including a Sloan Fellowship, a Humboldt Research Fellowship, the Clara Bensen Award and she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She is broadly engaged in the organometallic and catalysis communities in Canada, having organized multiple symposia for national and international conferences.  In addition to her conference work she is highly visible within the scholarly community by representing academic interests on the Advisory Board of NSERC Pacific, the Board of Directors for GreenCentre Canada and serving as the director for CREATE Sustainable Synthesis (an interdisciplinary/multi-institutional graduate student training program focusing on catalysis).  Internationally her contributions include service on the editorial boards of ACS Catalysis and RSC Chemical Society Reviews in addition to her on-going work as an Associate Editor for the journal Organometallics.  Laurel is the first woman to have risen through the ranks to Professor after being hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UBC in 2001.  She actively engages in opportunities to mentor young women in science, promotes the science of outstanding women around the world and works with administrators and students alike to advance policies that promote diversity.  She views the present successful cadre of 7 leading research active women faculty in the department as a promising indicator of fruitful efforts toward overcoming gender inequality. For more information, click here.



amilaDr. Amila De Silva, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Amila De Silva has 15 years in research on the environmental fate and transport of organic contaminants. She received a PhD in environmental chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2008 and prior to that an M.Sc. in analytical chemistry (McGill University) and B.Sc. in Environmental Science (Carleton University). She is a research scientist and Environment and Climate Change Canada where she manages a research program on Canadian freshwater ecosystems including the Arctic, with funding from Chemicals Management Plan and the Northern Contaminants Program. She is a first generation Canadian, married and mother to two children. Amila is a long-time advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.




Prof. Stacey A. Ritz, McMaster University

Stacey A. Ritz is the Assistant Dean of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program at McMaster University, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine.  After completing her PhD in immunology at McMaster University, Stacey pursued research in the effects of air pollution exposure on the immune system, first during a post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA, and then establishing her own laboratory as a faculty member at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.  During her time at NOSM, she built a profile in educational leadership and completed an MEd in Curriculum Studies at the University of Western Ontario.  Stacey took up her present post at McMaster in 2015, and her current scholarship looks at the integration of sex and gender considerations into laboratory-based biomedical research, and critical literacy in medical and health education.



Prof. Hans-Peter Loock, Queen’s University

Hans-Peter Loock is a physical chemist at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. He obtained his M.Sc. degree in “Engineering Chemistry” (Dipl.-Ing.) from the Technical University Darmstadt (Germany) in 1992, a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Victoria, B.C. (Canada) in 1996, and spent 1996-1998 at the National Research Council as a postdoctoral fellow. He has been at Queen’s University since 1999, where he is now a Full Professor of Chemistry with a cross-appointment to the physics department. Peter served on several funding committees (NSERC Discovery Grants, Ontario ERA) and award committees, has been the CSC Director for Awards since 2015 and the Interim Head of the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s since July 2016. In their research the Loock Group specializes in the development of instruments for (micro-)analytical spectroscopy. In recent years they have built systems for measurements of optical absorption, refractive index, fluorescence, sound, and vibration. Many of those are based on fiber-optic sensor devices. Peter received several awards for his work including the 2009 W.A.E. McBryde Medal of the Canadian Society for Chemistry for his work on microanalytic devices, and an OSA Fellowship for advancing micro-photonic techniques.

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