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Meet the Team

Matthew McKean
Matthew McKean
Director, Future Skills

Dr. Matthew McKean is Director, Future Skills, and member of the Senior Leadership Team at the Conference Board of Canada. He leads research, business development, and stakeholder relations for the Conference Board's education and skills file. He is also part of the leadership team of the Ryerson University, Conference Board, Blueprint ADE consortium that has been selected to set up and run Employment and Social Development Canada's (ESDC) Future Skills Centre, which is a multi-year initiative dedicated to exploring new and innovative ways to improve skills development in Canada.

Matthew holds a PhD in History from Queen's University, Kingston, and is an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of History at Carleton University. He writes for a wide audience on a diverse range of topics. He has authored or co-authored reports on research impact and knowledge mobilization; social sciences and humanities career skills development and transitions; Canada-OECD skills and PSE comparators; the impact of skills gaps on British Columbia and Alberta; gender equity, diversity, and inclusion in Canadian PSE; and the state of social and emotional skills training in business schools.

Matthew's writing has appeared in The Globe & Mail, The Conversation (Canada), The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, The Hill Times,, Popmatters, and This Magazine. He also writes obituaries for The Globe & Mail and reviews folk music for Exclaim! magazine in Toronto. He is a board member of the Ottawa International Writer's Festival and the National Advisory Committee for the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Education.

Shannon Jackson
Shannon Jackson
Associate Director

Shannon Jackson is an Associate Director with the Education and Skills Knowledge group of the Conference Board of Canada. She joined the Conference Board of Canada in 2015 and led the HR Transformation research portfolio until fall 2018. Shannon led The Board’s research on strategic workforce planning, HR Transformation, evidence-based decision-making skill development, and the changing nature of work in Canadian organizations. She has been instrumental in leading the design, planning, and development of many core research initiatives and custom research engagements involving complex qualitative data analysis and analytics.

Prior to joining the Board, Shannon’s twenty-five-year career focused on organizational design and effectiveness, skills development and transformation. She has developed a unique perspective of the Canadian workforce through her senior and leadership roles in Consulting, Operations, and Human Resources. Her industry experience includes, Software/IT, Professional Services, Financial Services, Heavy Industry and Hospitality.

Shannon holds a Master of Industrial Relations - University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Business Administration - University of New Brunswick. She is a certified Change Management professional with PROSCI and held a Certified HR Professional designation in New Brunswick.

Alison Howard
Alison Howard
Principal Research Associate

Alison Howard manages major research projects in the area of education and skills at The Conference Board of Canada. She has published 40+ reports and briefings and has delivered numerous presentations on topics including: skills, post-secondary education, workplace literacy, employability, workplace learning, professional development, and leadership development. Other topics that Alison has published on include: food (food security, food literacy, traceability, fisheries, and food waste); privacy; corporate social responsibility; human resource management; sport policy; housing; and the culture/creative sector.

Alison also develops national education-related conferences that discuss pressing issues and promote best practices in skills development in K-12, in post-secondary education, and in the workplace.

Alison has a Masters of Management Studies and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph.

Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh
Senior Manager, Knowledge Mobilization and Research, Future Skills

Dr. Heather McIntosh, Senior Manager, Knowledge Mobilization and Research, Future Skills, leads the knowledge mobilization research portfolio on the Conference Board’s Future Skills team. Heather joined the Conference Board from Ryerson University, where she worked in the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. In this role, she managed a provincially-funded, multiyear project that used research and evaluation to identify and test solutions for workforce development challenges in Ontario through various research, capacity building, and knowledge translation activities. In leading the project’s research portfolio, Heather oversaw projects spanning a variety of thematics, such as skilled trades and apprenticeship, contextualized essential skills, training and supports for older workers, and supported employment.

Heather has also held various positions at Canada’s International Development Research Centre, notably the 2016 research award recipient in the networked economies branch. In addition to supporting program management of a variety of projects that focused on the use of technology and innovation to solve and support development challenges, she led a research project based out of Kathmandu on the role of digital innovations in the crisis response to the 2015 Nepal earthquakes.

Heather holds a PhD in translation and interpretation from the University of Ottawa and two degrees (MA and BA) in communications. She has written on a variety of topics, such as the representation of women’s health in the Canadian news media, health communication campaigns in South America, and organizational crisis communication.

Stephen Higham
Stephen Higham
Research Associate II, Future Skills

Stephen is a Research Associate on the Conference Board’s Future Skills Team, where his research supports the mission of the Future Skills Centre to help Canadians prepare for and adapt to new jobs and a changing labour market. Prior to joining the Conference Board, he worked as a Policy Analyst at Mitacs, where he oversaw proposal writing, the development of pilot initiatives, and research projects on a variety of topics relating to Canadian research and innovation.

Stephen has additional experience with Canada’s Public Policy Forum and the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development (ICNGD). He holds a Master of Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, where he received the Arctic Foreign Policy Graduate Fellowship for his research on northern capacity building and regulatory challenges in the NWT. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Lethbridge, where he dual-majored in Political Science and Indigenous Studies.

Eleni Kachulis
Eleni Kachulis
Research Associate II, Education and Strategic Initiatives

Eleni is a Research Associate in the Conference Board's Education and Strategic Initiatives group. She has conducted research on a variety of topics in support of the Board's education portfolio, including doctoral education reform; gender equity, diversity, and inclusion; work-integrated learning; and internationalization. She also contributes to custom research projects on a variety of topics.

Prior to joining the Board, Eleni worked as a Corporate Governance Officer at the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, where she developed internal policies and procedures to support the organization's security program. She has also held positions at Statistics Canada, Health Canada, and the First Nations Statistical Institute. Eleni holds a Bachelor of Humanities (Honours) from Carleton University and a Master of Public Administration from Queen's University.

Past Event

Education and Skills Symposium 2018

November 28–29, 2018
Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Toronto, Ontario)

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