Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Toronto CHRO Community

Joan Taylor

SVP, Culture, Talent and Diversity

Heart and Stroke Foundation

Joan Taylor is the Senior Vice President, Culture, Talent and Diversity at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, where she leads the human resources, organizational culture, learning and development, diversity, equity and inclusion, and internal communications functions. Joan has over eighteen years of progressive HR experience in the media, retail, quick service restaurant, entertainment and logistics and distribution industries in Canada, the US, and Latin America.

Learn more about the Toronto CHRO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I’ve always had a passion for people, but I didn’t think about a career in HR until the professor at my Management 101 class at the University of Toronto – Rick Powers, I still remember him – told the entire class that people are any organization’s biggest asset and that without the right people, even the most well thought strategies would fail.  

I started my HR career at Starbucks and have had the opportunity to work at and learn from some fantastic leaders at Global Television, Cineplex and Solutions 2 GO. I left the private sector in 2020 to step into my current role at United Way which has provided me with the opportunity to practice HR and give back to the community.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

To approach all situations with empathy and curiosity. 

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CHRO going in the next 1-2 years?

With a changing business model and the context in which we do business constantly in a state of flux, I see the role of CHRO leading honest conversations around what the organization can be the best at, what the talent within the organization is passionate about and how we can combine the two to achieve lasting success.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CHRO?

Take the time to build credibility with key stakeholders at all levels and learn the business before making big decisions that will impact the organization. 

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

I’ve traveled to over 20 countries and counting, am a self-proclaimed foodie and have held a real Oscar.

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta? 

I’ve been able to form some strong relationships with brilliant, like-minded executives, learn from valuable peer to peer conversations and implement some best practices both personally and professionally.

Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today.

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