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Lazaridis Institute

Growth Through People

Growth Through People is designed to provide practical training and best practices from the world’s leading Human Resources and People Operations experts for growing companies.


Develop People Operations Skills and Incorporate Human Resources Best Practices 

Growth Through People helps company founders, owners, executives, and human resources professionals develop skills and incorporate best practices into daily people operations activities, including recruiting and hiring, employee engagement and retention, employee learning and development, employee growth & productivity, diversity and inclusion, compensation, and internal communications.

Learn from experts who have led people operations at companies like ecobee, Eventbrite, Google, OMERS, EY, Twitter, Yelp, and more.



“The discussion was very inspiring and made me really assess what type of leader I want to be and what type of leaders our company has.”


Growth Through People provides a multi-dimensional learning experience for fast-growing companies. We combine best practices and frameworks with real-world examples to assist participants in kickstarting new initiatives, optimizing existing processes and fueling people-led growth.

Expert-led sessions with world-class people operations experts.

Speakers provide proven best practices developed at the world’s top companies to consistently lead their industries in employee engagement, career development, and job satisfaction. Learn how people operations can impact and improve financial performance and growth. 

Guided integration of the changes that work best for you.

Interactive prompts guide you to apply new approaches, frameworks and templates to your organization’s unique context and stage of growth. Customize expert advice to your existing processes and new initiatives.

Peer Support

Peer discussions take place with the facilitation of an experienced people operations mentor. Let us help you form your own trusted peer group, for networking, connection, and positive impact – on your productivity, your career and your sense of well-being.



The Lazaridis Institute's established network of people operations experts will lead a four-week synchronous-online program, designed to bring out the best in leaders of fast-growing companies and build high performance teams.

Please join the waitlist to be the first to hear about upcoming course offerings.


Thanks for your interest!



  • Role of people leaders

  • Building HR for your organization

  • Design and plan your organization for future growth



  • Total rewards

  • Interview workshop

  • Talent acquisition

  • Hiring for success: Design your own hiring process playbook



  • Organizational effectiveness

  • Diversity as a growth strategy

  • Fueling rapid growth through people

  • Create your performance management playbook



  • Employment law and HR legal basics

  • Employee engagement and communications



Jami Zakem

Former VP, Global Success, Eventbrite; Former VP, Customer Success, Yelp

Jami has been building teams and helping individuals reach their highest potential for more than 20 years. As a global VP at places like Yelp and Eventbrite, she’s grown teams from one to hundreds, guiding them through high-growth, reorganizations, acquisitions, and IPOs. Jami is insightful, honest and direct. She brings out the best in people by tapping into their core strengths.


Chris Shaw

Head of Talent Acquisition, Apollo; Former Strategic Sourcing Leader, Twitter

Chris has been helping companies acquire top talent in the Bay Area since 1997. He began his career on the agency side, founded an engineering recruiting agency and proceeded to work in-house for Riverbed, Google and Twitter. Next was an Andreessen Horowitz start-up called Illumio where he was the first recruiter in the door and built their recruiting program from the ground up.


Penny Farinha

Chief Human Resources Officer, ecobee

With 15+ years in the tech sector, Penny is passionate about taking a new approach to HR and talent. She credits having grown up on a farm for her lifelong appreciation of the power of community. In Toronto, she’s built HR departments from the ground up for FreshBooks and VarageSale. Now at ecobee, her community encompasses the people and culture that built the world’s first Wi-Fi enabled thermostat.


Vince Molinaro

Author and Expert on People Leadership

Vince is the author of Accountable Leaders, and The Leadership Contract – a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Vince has spent 25 years as an advisor to boards and senior executives looking to improve leadership in their organizations.  Vince and his team help companies improve business performance by creating strong leadership cultures where leaders at all levels step up and demonstrate accountability.


Emily Mikailli

Head of HR at Signifyd

Born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley, Emily has worked in HR and people operations roles at Google and SurveyMonkey, which doubled in size during her tenure. She is currently VP of People Operations at Signifyd, overseeing HR and Talent Acquisition globally, as the company has grown more than 8x revenue.

​As a people operations leader, she prioritizes constant improvement of every element of the employee lifecycle and being a true partner to the business, supporting and advising on every human-related facet of her company’s strategic priorities.  


Sean Fitzpatrick

Founder, TalentMap Employee Engagement

The founder of an employee survey and technology services firm, Sean has broad experience in all aspects of online employee surveys, on-site focus groups and reporting/presenting research results to senior executive teams. He has direct experience with a range of industries, including technology, health care, government, financial services, retail, professional service firms, energy and manufacturing.


Rich Emrich

CEO, Altus Assessments

Rich is the CEO of Altus Assessments, an EdTech company he helped found in 2015. Rich is an engineer by training, a sales person by temperament and loves building and scaling effective teams. Altus Assessments assesses applicants to higher education programs for people skills and other non-academic traits. In 2019 they assessed 100,000 applicants in Canada, Australia and the US, including 80 per cent of all Canadian and US medical school applicants.


Trisha Mauro-Barnett

Director, Talent Business Partners, Shopify

Trisha is a senior human resources professional with 15+ years of global experience and a proven track record of leading successful HR teams, programs, practices and process execution. She’s passionate about high impact leadership, and has supported senior leadership teams at BlackBerry, Sun Life Financial and now at Shopify.

As the Director of Talent Business Partners for Shopify’s RnD team, she provides innovative solutions focused on leadership development and employee engagement for a distributed and remote Shopify workforce. 


Michelle Banik

Former Chief Human Resources Officer for OMERS Public Pension Plan

Michelle is committed to making people & culture a competitive advantage. She focuses on people strategies that move organizations forward through periods of growth, culture change or business transformation.  She is an authentic, inclusive leader who builds high performance teams, connecting people to purpose and vision. As a seasoned global executive, she is a culture carrier, a trusted strategic partner to the C-suite, and a thoughtful advisor to the board.


David Wexler

Human Capital Strategist & Executive Coach

David works closely with boards, CEOs, leaders, and organizations to provide them with the capabilities to measurably improve their return on Human Capital investments. He leads an HR consulting practice that provides executive coaching and strategic HR counsel to leaders and boards at organizations such as HOOPP, ELTE, BORROWELL, DROP, GTAA, and the Vector Institute. David is a CEO Career Transition consultant for LHH Knightsbridge, a member of the Board of Directors for Legal Aid Ontario, and Chair of that Board’s HRCC.


James Fu

Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

James is a Partner at BLG where he has a multi-faceted humane resources law practice, handling day-to-day litigation and corporate transactions mandates for clients in both pension and benefits and labour and employment matters.


James regularly appears before Ontario courts, tribunals and regulatory authorities on a variety of matters, including pension disputes and wrongful dismissal actions. He has also acted in more than 160 corporate transactions and has written numerous articles related to labour and employment and pensions and benefits. 


Kim Morouney

Former Managing Director, Lazaridis Institute

Kim Morouney, PhD, is the former Managing Director of the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises and Lazaridis Professor of Executive Development.

Kim's academic career has centered around program design and language analysis. Recent roles include associate dean for academic programs and associate dean, internal.


Cassie Roblin

Vice President, People, Symbio

Cassie has 20 years experience in recruiting, onboarding, and HR for early-stage and fast-growing technology companies. Most recently, she led teams that successfully grew one startup from 15 to more than 200 employees in four years and another from 50 to 120 employees in a year. Today, Cassie accelerates the growth of early-stage technology startups through targeted recruiting, interview training, onboarding, and HR.


Amy Vernetti


Amy has been recruiting technology executives in Silicon Valley for 25+ years.  During that time, she cultivated one of the most powerful networks of underrepresented talent in the tech industry.  Amy brought this network to bear on the Moonshots and Bets at Alphabet where she built the leadership recruiting capability from scratch starting in 2016.  Over the course of 3.5 years at Alphabet, Amy and her team recruited 60 leaders to 10 different companies in a variety of fields. In the final year at Alphabet, 77 per cent of the talent recruited to lead the Moonshots and Bets came from underrepresented groups.  While working at the X Lab in Mt. View, Amy wrote Equality is the Ultimate Moonshot as a primer for companies that are truly committed to building representative teams.


Darryl Wright

Talent and Future of Work Lead - People Advisory Services, Ernst & Young

Darryl is an accomplished senior executive with extensive international experience in human capital strategy, talent management, organization effectiveness and leadership development. Darryl partners with boards and senior leadership teams to deliver on key strategic priorities. He’s an energized, culturally adaptable leader who’s built high performing and engaged teams across some of the world’s biggest organizations, from banking to consumer goods, retail, and food & beverage.