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JABC engages business leaders at inaugural JA Leadership Breakfast

Photo: Jan Bell-Irving, JABC President & CEO, with panelists Al Jessa, COO, JOEY Restaurant Group; Kirsten Sutton, VP & Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada; Nabeel Sohail, JABC alumnus; Jocelyn Tien, JABC alumnus and Chair of JABC Young Alumni Network; and keynote speaker Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President, People and Culture, Canfor Corporation.

Vancouver, British Columbia – December 8, 2015 – Over 250 business leaders and professionals representing 136 companies gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel on Wednesday, November 18, for JABC’s inaugural JA Leadership Breakfast. The breakfast and networking event brought together like-minded executives from various industries learning about and discussing the future workforce in BC’s business community.

The theme for this inaugural year was the rise of Millennials and Generation Z in the workplace and how companies should reassess their methods to recruit, train and retain them. Jan Bell-Irving, President of JABC, delivered opening remarks on the growing need for more business leaders to grow BC’s economy and how organizations can partner with JA to inspire and prepare the next generation of leaders. Talent management expert Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President, People and Culture at Canfor Corporation, delivered a keynote address on the perceptions vs. realities of millennials in today’s workplace, and led an interactive discussion with a panel of local business leaders and JA alumni consisting of:

  • Al Jessa, Chief Operating Offer, JOEY Restaurant Group
  • Kirsten Sutton, VP & Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada
  • Jocelyn Tien, JABC alumnus and Chair of JABC Young Alumni Network; Executive Assistant, Watson Inc.
  • Nabeel Sohail, JABC alumnus and winner of 2015 JABC Award for Oratory and Presentation Skills; Grade 12 student, Point Grey Secondary School

The discussion touched on a common need for BC employers to build a talent pool of capable employees equipped to lead as an important strategic advantage. Guests gained invaluable insights from panel leaders who are facing similar issues and have developed strategies and practices to harness the energy and productivity of Millennials and Generation Z.

“Millennials and Generation Z will become the majority of our workforce by 2020. It is important that we understand their unique needs, attributes and work expectations and how they differ from those of Gen X and Baby Boomers, so we will be able to develop strategies to recruit, train and retain them for the health and longevity of our workforce, ” said Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President, People and Culture, Canfor Corporation.

Kirsten Sutton, VP & Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada added, “One size doesn’t fit all. Millennials want choice. We need to be creative in coming up with innovative, relevant programs that cater to their individual needs. And these types of programs not only serve Millennials but will be desirable for all generations across our organizations.”

Casey Forrest, Board Member and former Chair of JABC, spoke about how JA acts as the bridge between education and business to help strengthen BC’s talent pool by engaging with the business community, and he encouraged guests to consider getting involved with JA to help make this possible.

To learn more about how your organization can help shape the future of BC’s workforce, contact Crystal Lynch at

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