Vladimir Putin

The Future of the Workplace

Thursday, November 5, 2020

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The Future of the Workplace

The sudden onset of COVID-19 has forced the world's economy into new ways of working; the lockdowns and mandatory work from home designed to slow the spread, has forced us to leverage technology to remain productive and collaborative while addressing unforeseen circumstances, and human resource needs. This new reality has prompted questions among real estate industry leaders as well as business managers and workers alike around the future of "the office". "Has the way we work shifted indefinitely?" "Do we still need bricks and mortar to be most productive?" "Will work from home become a fixture?" and will it lead to the need for less external office space?" "Will this be the new focus of technology companies?"


Veni Iozzo

Executive Vice-President, Enterprise Real Estate and Workplace Transformation, CIBC

Veni Iozzo is Executive Vice-President, Enterprise Real Estate and Workplace Transformation at CIBC. In this role, Veni has overall responsibility for providing strategic direction and leadership for CIBC’s global workplace experience strategy, including accountability for creating a forward thinking workplace design that enables a purpose driven, client culture. She has added responsibility for CIBC’s global real-estate portfolio, including the design, build and move to the new corporate headquarters - CIBC Square – which opens later this year. With over 30 years in the Financial Services industry, her experience at the senior executive level spans across a variety of disciplines including marketing, sales leadership, product development, strategy, communications, public affairs and culture transformation. Veni is a two time-recipient of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award. She proudly supports women’s issues, having devoted her time to the Canadian Cancer Society and Canadian Women’s Foundation. Given her passion for the cause, Veni is a founding visionary member of The Prosperity Project (TPP). TPP’s mission is to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian women who face a greater challenge during the economic recovery. In addition, Veni is a Top 100 mentor for female leaders and a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Sarah McKenzie

Independent Consultant - Innovation and Future of Work

Throughout her career, Sarah has helped organizations including tech startups, Fortune 500 companies, and the Canadian Forces undergo transformations to adapt to the increasingly digital workplace. These work transformations, both operational and cultural, have significantly accelerated since the start of the pandemic.

Sarah has been leading work at Communitech looking at the future of the office. This ongoing set of projects seeks to help organizations deal with the changing definition of a workplace and what that means for high-performance teams.

Sarah is also involved in pilot initiatives in the Waterloo Region Future of Work & Learning Coalition. The coalition hosts events to drive conversation around the future of work and launch pilot projects across the region.

Toni Rossi BPHE, ICD.D

President, Real Estate Division, Infrastructure Ontario

A 27-year Commercial Real Estate professional, Ms. Rossi leads the overall management of the Province of Ontario’s General Real Estate Portfolio (46 M sq.ft and 1M acres of land) and provides realty advice, transaction, project and other realty services to various Public Sector portfolios. Toni recently served as IO’s Interim President and CEO, as President of the Lending Division, and was also a key member of the Executive Team merging Ontario Realty Corp (ORC) and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) in 2012. Before joining the Crown Corporation, Toni was in Development at Oxford Properties with the majority of her Real Estate career at Cadillac Fairview. At CF she held many retail and office property management, business reengineering, national operations and marketing positions culminating as GM TD Centre. A graduate from the University of Toronto, she holds an Honours BPHE and her ICD.D from Rotman’s Institute of Corporate Directors.  A passionate community builder and volunteer fundraiser for many not‐for‐profit organizations, Toni is currently serving as Director on the National Board of Habitat for Humanity Canada.  She previously served as Chair of the Board for Habitat Toronto and was the First Chair of the largest Canadian Women Build in Toronto. Her love of sport excellence propelled Toni to be the inaugural Board Chair for a small Canadian Olympic Athlete’s Fund.  An active mentor and member of industry associations, Toni was the 2017 Co-Chair of the Toronto Real Estate Forum,  Co-Chair of ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Committee and has held positions on the Board for Toronto CREW, Toronto’s Legacy Committee and Toronto CivicAction Committees. Toni is currently serving on Ryerson’s Real Estate Advisory Board, Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Board, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Public Sector Realty Committee and was recently elected as a Director of the Canadian RealPac Association.


Mary Rowe

President & CEO, The Canadian Urban Institute

Mary is a leading urban advocate and civil society leader who has worked in cities across Canada and the United States. Mary comes to CUI with several years of experience as an urban advocate and community leader, including serving as Executive Vice President of the Municipal Art Society of New York (MASNYC), one of America’s oldest civic advocacy organizations focused on the built environment. A mid-career fellowship with the US-based blue moon fund led her to New Orleans where she worked with national philanthropy, governments and local communities to support rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. Prior, Mary was President of the Canadian platform Ideas That Matter, a convening and publishing program based on the work of renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs.

Mary has been a frequent contributor to national and international city-building programs, including UN Habitat and the World Urban Forum. She brings an extensive international network of practitioners from government, industry, community activism, and the city-building professions to strengthen CUI under her leadership.