Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Toronto CHRO Community

Kelly Davis

Chief People Officer

Gowling WLG International Ltd

Kelly Davis is the Chief People Officer for Sunwing Travel Group, North America’s largest vertically-integrated travel company with approximately 24,000 employees across fourteen countries.  Prior to this role, Kelly spent many years leading HR in retail across Canada and the U.S. and also spent a couple of years in the food services industry. Kelly has experience working in union and non-union environments and has spent many years giving back to the not for profit community in a variety of volunteer board roles. 

Learn more about the Toronto CHRO community here.

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

I spent most of my career in retail in both large and smaller organizations, and I had a two-year stint in food services. I joined the wonderful world of hospitality/airline/hotels just over 4 years ago now, and it’s been amazing.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

My current favourite principle, especially as I continue to push DEI initiatives across my organization, is to “make ripples where you are.”  I attribute this quote and concept to Kelly Fyffe-Marshall a Canadian film maker who I greatly respect.

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?

I see this role continuing to evolve into the gatekeeper of culture - DEI and employee experience. Transactional HR will always be there and part of the portfolio, but we need to push ourselves as HR leaders to continue to evolve corporate culture every day. 

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

Get a mentor…or two. I have an incredible network of HR peers, previous bosses and women I greatly respect. The journey can be lonely as a senior HR leader and having mentors is very important.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I was an actress…for about 3 seconds on the sequel to “Anne of Green Gables”, the made for TV mini series back in the 1980’s. *Note – no one invited me to continue my career in acting 
  2. My father-in-law was one of the original Harlem Globetrotters
  3. I am a food and tequila-based drink lover

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

The networking is incredible and the option to participate in so many different events throughout the year is valuable.

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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