Keynote Address - Hugh LAWSON
Business Development Community Education Leadership Mental Health Personal Growth Planning Racial Equity Social Justice Strategy Volunteering
11/9/23, 9:30 AM - 11/9/23, 9:45 AM (Canada/Central) (15 minutes)

My 2022/23 Leadership Journey: How My Blackness Got Me Out Of The Darkness
Hugh Lawson at EHN Canada
Hugh Lawson at EHN Canada

Hugh Lawson is currently the Head Of Business Development at EHN Canada.  As a member of the Senior Leadership Team for Canada’s largest privately run network of addiction and mental health treatment facilities, his current responsibilities include: 

  • Leading and implementing national teams and strategies for business development and organizational growth.
  • Providing oversight, guidance, support and mentorship to EHN Canada's business development, veteran affairs, and first responder service teams.
  • Leading and implementing annual business development plans that identify the approach, sectors and activities for exploring growth and expansion.
  • Identifying, developing and nurturing relationships with key contacts including corporate representatives, disability management, benefits and insurance providers, healthcare professionals and other providers that can impact admissions (inpatient and outpatient).
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of programs for measuring referral source satisfaction using technology as an enabler to analyze such information.

From 2009 to 2022 he was the Director of Business Development for Staples Promotional Products (SPP), a subsidiary of Staples Inc. with offices in The United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.  He led strategic teams for global new business prospecting, competitive intelligence, future-trends identification, and business enhancement initiatives.  He was also a Member of SPP’s Senior Leadership team that oversees organizational strategic plans and growth objectives for the Canadian division.  

Outside of work, Hugh is very passionate about community investment, volunteerism, mentorship, student-athletics and social justice.  Along with being a member of several boards for workforce development and advocating for racialized communities, he is also the Chief Development Officer of HILCO - The Hugh Sr. & Ilene Lawson Charitable Organization.  HILCO was established in honour of his parents with the stated mission of creating expansive, and inclusive educational opportunities for young men and women who do not have the financial resources to pursue their higher educational aspirations.

Hugh is a Devoted “Dance Dad”, who lives on the outskirts of Toronto with his wife Nadine, daughters Renée, Nia and Miles; a mischievous Bichon Poodle.

Session Overview: My 2022/23 Leadership Journey: How My Blackness Got Me Out Of The Darkness

In a 20-30-minute presentation, I would like to share my leadership journey after switching sectors and taking on a greater leadership role. I want to share with emerging black leaders the challenges I experienced with shifting sectors while leveraging my life’s journey of blackness to overcome imposter syndrome, heavy anxiety, workplace toxicity, and fear of the unknown. 

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