Lean In Canada is a community of professional women empowering each other to build purposeful and fulfilling careers. Since 2013, we have grown from an audience of 20 people to over 2500 members in various professions. We built our organization for people just like us: professional women who are passionate about driving their careers forward to the next level and beyond, and who want to achieve greater success not only in work, but in life as a whole.
Meeting monthly, we focus on hot career topics with actionable information and inspiring stories, and provide networking opportunities with like-minded people. We recognize that women face unique challenges in their professional lives, and seek to bring women together to learn from and champion each other in a positive, enriching environment. Together, we can be stronger.
Sarah KwanCo-Founder / President
Kelly McKennaSecretary Treasurer
Despina ZanganasCo-Founder / Director of Events
Candy LeeDirector of Expansion
"After each Lean In Canada event, I feel like my batteries have been re-charged; I am motivated and have connected with other like minded, driven women."
- Alana Elmaleh
Judi Hughes is the co-founder of Your Planning Partners Ltd. She and Nick have worked together building successful businesses since 1979.
Judi has applied her strong marketing and sales skills to her work with hundreds of small business clients. She has been instrumental in helping her clients set a clear destination, develop strategic action plans and focus on implementing those plans.
Judi has written numerous articles, been a key-note speaker, taught a wide range of hands-on workshops and led numerous seminars all directed at bringing small business owners the tools and knowledge they need to create an exceptional business.
As a co-founder of two successful globally-focused companies - Think8 Systems, a Strategic Corporate Design firm, and First Star International, a Media and Communications Company - as a writer-director in film and television with 60 international awards plus an Oscar short-listed movie to her credit, as a mother of five, and a business and life partner with her husband Mark Shekter, Nancy is uniquely qualified to help women realize the full scope of who they are and to realize their full potential using their passion, creativity and brilliance.
Whether as a business strategist for worldwide corporations, Life-and-Career Architect, or as a speaker/facilitator, at heart, Nancy is passionate about enabling women to find their Purpose. Every woman knows there is something more that she is meant to become. Nancy’s work helps her find that Purpose to form an integrated whole in life and career.
Nancy travels worldwide, speaking and conducting workshops as well as one-on-one work with women entrepreneurs, career professionals and CEO’s. Her work, using Think8, enables a woman to live authentically and align her life to live On Purpose, both personally and professionally.
Lynn van der Valk is a partner at Gray, Whitley, van der Valk LLP, specializing in corporate, commercial, and not-for-profit law. Lynn is also a Lawyer-Editor at Practical Law Canada, a Thomson Reuters business, where she creates and maintains corporate and M&A "how-to" resources. Previously, Lynn worked as in-house counsel at Cara Operations Limited and as a business law associate at McMillan LLP.
In 2013, when Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, was released, it was something that Christina Rupsingh, Despina Zanganas, and Sarah Kwan individually knew they needed to read. One of the key points of the book was this: that we need to actively build our own support systems in order to be successful. After discovering each other's mutual passion for supporting professional women, they began meeting in Despina's office with a group of 20, and before long, knew they were on to something special. Joined by Pam Sethi in 2014, they formed Lean In Canada, with the mandate to build a thriving community of women who come together and celebrate each other's successes and ambitions.