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DisruptHR brings innovative workplace speakers together

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November 19, 2019
By Todd Humber

More than 150 professionals packed the McMichael gallery in Kleinburg on Sept. 18 for the inaugural event of the Vaughan chapter of DisruptHR.

DisruptHR – billed as the rebellious future of human resources – is an information exchange and networking opportunity designed to energize, inform and empower people in the HR field.

“We were so impressed with the turnout and the quality of the sessions,” said Giorgio Follegati of Benchmark Benefits and one of the founders of the Vaughan chapter.

The night featured a lightning round of speakers – 11 presenters took to the stage for five minutes each to share their experiences, stories and vision for the future of work.


Sharon Ramalho, former chief people officer at McDonald’s Canada, told the story of how her team disrupted human resources at the fast-food giant.

“It started with listening, we went out to listen to as many (employees) as possible across the country… we wanted to learn about what’s working and not working,” she said.

It ended with the company rolling out three critical changes for its corporate employees – a relaxed dress code that allowed jeans; work from home and flexwork options; and a decision to close the office at 2 p.m. every Friday, not just in the summer.

“I’m on stage announcing all of these great new plans – it was a standing ovation. No word of a lie: The room erupted,” she said. “High-fiving, hugging, applause. I think there were tears. I was standing on stage getting a little bit overwhelmed at what I was seeing. And I realized that raw emotion, that reaction, is coming from the fact that we had listened to what our people had to say.”

Other topics covered included how at-work behaviours impact your personal life; why you should never vacation-shame your employees; and the importance of recruiting passionate people. It also featured some lighter moments from comedian Marc-Anthony Sinagoga and a stirring vocal performance from xxx.

“We’re already planning our second event, and look forward to continuing to challenge employers, leaders and HR professionals to be the best they can,” said Follegati. “We hope to see you there.”

For more information on attending and sponsoring, visit https://disrupthr.co/city/vaughan/

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