Five Good Ideas

Five Good Ideas about the power of ideas: The 100th session

Published on 05/12/2016

The evening’s panel discussion provided a behind-the-scenes look at how some of our sector’s leaders come up with ideas, how they can tell when they’ve got a good one, and how to make them stick.

Mary Rowe, urbanist, civic entrepreneur and newly appointed Deputy Principal Secretary, Office of the Premier of Ontario, moderated a panel of four Five Good Ideas speakers:

  • Lisa Mattam, Founder and President, Sahajan
  • Nick Saul, President and CEO, Community Food Centres Canada
  • Peter Sloly, Executive Director, Deloitte Canada
  • Sherri Torjman, Vice-President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Peter Sloly

Partner and National Security & Justice Leader, Deloitte Canada

Peter Sloly is a security and justice thought leader and trusted c-suite advisor who leads Deloitte Canada’s national “Security & Justice” (S&J) practice. The “security” portion of the practice helps organizations assess and address increasingly complex converging threats across physical (operational) and cyber (logical) domains. Peter’s “security” clients include Fortune 100 social media companies, global financial sector institutions and national retail organizations. The “justice” portion of his practice helps Canada’s justice sector organizations achieve optimal mission readiness to build a healthier, safer, more sustainable country. Peter’s “justice” clients include municipal police services, provincial justice ministries, and national security agencies. Peter leads an experienced and passionate S&J practice team that includes former police, military, and national security leaders who bring their expertise and evidence-based best practices for the benefit of Deloitte’s clients. Peter helps his S&J clients overcome their most challenging issues and leverage their most exciting opportunities while navigating the new normal of constant change. Prior to joining Deloitte, Peter was a highly decorated and respected Deputy Chief with the Toronto Police Service where he helped improve public safety, public service, public trust, and public value. Peter is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and he completed two tours of duty in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo. Peter has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts, Sociology. Peter is a former professional soccer player and a former member of the Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team.

Sherri Torjman

Social Policy Consultant and former Vice-President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Sherri Torjman is a Social Policy Consultant. She was Vice-President of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Over the past 30 years, Sherri has made an invaluable contribution to social policy in Canada through her analysis, writing and public speaking on welfare reform, disability income and supports, home care, caregiver needs and community-based poverty reduction. Sherri has authored and co-authored close to 300 reports on various aspects of social policy. Her wide-ranging work has influenced governments at all levels, voluntary organizations, community groups, the media, academics and students. In 2014-15, Sherri Torjman was a member of the Leader’s (now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s) Economic Advisory Council. In association with Ken Battle, she proposed and helped design many of the social policy initiatives that the current government is now implementing related to child benefits, poverty reduction, pensions, caregivers, home care and social infrastructure. In 2012, Sherri was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her policy work on caregivers. She received the Champion of Human Services Award from the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association in 2011 and the Top 25 Canadians Award from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons in 2010.

Lisa Mattam

Founder and President, Sahajan

Lisa Mattam is the Founder and President of Sahajan, an Ayurvedic Natural Skin and Haircare Company. Since the company’s launch in 2015, Sahajan has enjoyed great success with coverage in Chatelaine, Cityline, Best Health and Vogue and has a retail presence in both Canada and the U.S. Lisa was the only Canadian chosen for Sephora’s inaugural Beauty Accelerator program, and Forbes magazine has described her as one of eight female entrepreneurs changing the face of beauty. A serial entrepreneur, Lisa’s first venture was The Mattam Group, a consulting practice where she established thought leadership in strategic process, leadership development, diversity and the advancement of women. An industry leader in talent management, The Mattam Group’s clients include Pepsi Bottling, IBM, Dell and Bayer. In 2009, Profit Magazine ranked Lisa as one of the top ten women emerging entrepreneurs in Canada; and, in 2011, the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce named Lisa its Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

Nick Saul

President and CEO, Community Food Centres Canada

Nick Saul is co-founder and President and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada, a national organization that builds and supports vibrant, food-focused community centres in low-income neighbourhoods. These centres are based on the idea that good food is a powerful force for greater health, equity and social change. Nick is a recipient of the prestigious Jane Jacobs Prize, as well as the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and has an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University. A long-time community organizer, Nick speaks regularly on issues of justice, civic engagement and the Community Food Centre model of food access, health and community building. Born in Tanzania and raised in Canada, Nick studied at University of Toronto and Warwick University in the U.K. as a Commonwealth Scholar. His bestselling book, The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement, written with his wife, Andrea Curtis, was nominated for the Toronto Book Award and won several other awards. Nick lives in Toronto and is the proud father of two boys.



Mary W. Rowe

President & CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute

Mary is President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute. An impassioned civic leader with diverse experience in the business, government, not-for-profit and philanthropy sectors in Canada and the United States for over 30 years, Mary has been a steady advocate and champion for place-based approaches to building livable and resilient cities, and community-driven local economies. She has led campaigns, organizations, initiatives, and companies spanning a few months to several years. Mary was deeply engaged in the self-organizing initiatives that emerged in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, providing support to two dozen initiatives that focused on various forms of resilience. She also supported, in her role at MAS NYC, community engagement efforts during the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, and Rebuild by Design. Subsequently, Mary has led local, national and international urban initiatives from Toronto and New York City, including the initial development of Re-Imagining the Civic Commons, an initiative to strengthen elements of the urban fabric that create social cohesion and community resilience, including libraries, community centres, parks and other “third places.” Following her return to live in Toronto, in addition to her role leading CUI, Mary is a Senior Fellow with Evergreen and Future Cities Canada, Lead Facilitator for the National Urban Project and serves on the Advisory and Governing Boards of the New Cities Foundation and The Bentway respectively. Mary is also Senior Fellow with Shorefast, a charity and social enterprise focused on building place-based economic development strategies that strengthen local communities and foster their resilience.