2024 Hardlines Conference Speakers

(We are please to present a range of  experts from around the world, who will present in both French and English. Simultaneous translation will be available for all delegates.)

Sherri Amos
Director Dealer Support, Home Hardware Stores Limited

Equipped with 25 years of experience in the hardware industry, Sherri Amos is a distinguished leader recognized for her expertise in retail operations. With a background in the Fine Arts, Sherri’s creativity and adaptability have positioned her as a strategic leader at Home Hardware Stores Limited, where she is now Director of Dealer Support.

Her passion for continuous improvement and dedication to fostering strong relationships with Home Hardware’s Dealer network continue to shape the organization’s trajectory and leave a lasting impact on home improvement retailing in Canada.




Pierre Battah,
Pierre Battah Leadership Inc.

Pierre Battah is an award-winning author and workplace leadership specialist. He is a long-time workplace columnist for CBC/Radio-Canada, a TEDx presenter, a former senior manager in HR and was previously an associate professor in management at Mount Allison University.

Pierre is fluently bilingual in French and English, holds an MBA and professional designations in HR, management consulting and as a professional speaker.

His book Humanity at Work, Leading for Better Relationships and Results won gold at the 2020 Nautilus Book Awards in the US.

He is the new executive in residence and moderator at the University of New Brunswick’s Wallace McCain Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership and he recently received Rotary International’s highest distinction, the Paul Harris Award for outstanding contribution to the community.



Michelle Chouinard-Kenney
Chief Executive Officer, Gibson Building Supplies

As the CEO of Gibson Building Supplies, Michelle Chouinard-Kenney has been responsible for running all facets of the business since 2004.
Prior to taking on her role at Gibson, Michelle was the Residential Business Manager for Chouinard Brothers from 1996 through to 2004, garnering much success in growing that sector of the business.

Michelle has led our organization with determination, foresight, and a community focus that launched the Gibson Gives Back series of charitable initiatives during the height of the pandemic — in addition, to ensuring that we never waver in our level of service and commitment to our customers and suppliers.



David Collas
Chief Executive Officer, Les Mousquetaires

David Collas is a retail powerhouse. As head of ITM Equipment de La Maison France, he oversees a retail home improvement organization whose banners include Bricomarché, Bricorama, and Brico Cash. Together these stores represent $5 billion in sales with more than 15,000 employees. His background with ITM includes overseeing buying, imports, and quality control.

Before that, he was lead merchant for food and non-food, marketing and e-commerce at Casino France, the French mass-market retail group with 106 hypermarkets, 300 supermarkets, 4,000 convenience stores, and 400 drive-through outlets.

David’s background gives him a unique international expertise and perspective. He has been involved in International operations, merchandising, and logistics in Poland, Argentina, and Colombia, and has been on numerous missions to Romania, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, and South America.

He is a graduate of UCLA University of California and HEC Paris, and has received the honour of Knight of the Order of Merit of France.



Richard Darveau
Founder, Well Made Here
President, AQMAT

Richard Darveau is the founder of the organization “Well Made Here”, an organization which focuses on promoting Canadian manufacturers and Canadian products.

RIchard serves as the president of AQMAT, the Quebec Hardware and Building Materials Association, which represents retailers, vendors and service suppliers to the retail home improvement industry. He leads a team that develops research and information to support the interests of Quebec hardware and home improvement dealers.

RIchard is a dynamic and outspoken ambassador for the industry, who is quoted regularly on Quebec TV and in the general media.




Hugo Girard
World Champion Strongman, Wellness Leader

As the founder of Hugo Strong and Hugo Nutrition, spokesperson for BMR, Alexi Construction, Groupe Olivier, and Thaïzone, and in addition to being a host and speaker, Hugo Girard embodies commitment to health, well-being, and mental and physical strength. His exceptional journey, marked by his sporting achievements and his dedication to helping others reach their full potential, makes him an inspiring role model for all.

A native of Portneuf-sur-Mer on Quebec’s North Shore, he began training at the age of 5, and by 12 was already determined to become the strongest man in the world. In 2022, he achieved this feat by winning the IFSA SuperSeries World Championship title. He was Canadian champion of his sport from 1995 to 2004 and North American champion from 2001 to 2002. One of his most remarkable feats was to pull an 80-ton Boeing 737 100 feet in 43 seconds.



Alexandre Lefebvre
Chief Executive Officer, BMR Group

With an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce in Management from the University of Ottawa, Alexandre Lefebvre has been involved in the construction and renovation industry for many years. Very early in his career, Mr. Lefebvre joined Lefebvre & Benoit, a family business dating back nearly 60 years and a true leader in the distribution of construction materials in Québec, which he became president in 2012. In March 2021, he was appointed CEO of BMR Group and Executive Vice-President of Sollio Cooperative Group

A seasoned manager known for his passion, leadership and commitment to the community, Alexandre Lefebvre sits on the Board of Directors of the Independent Lumber Dealers Co-operative, a buying group with sales of over $7 billion. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ) and was honoured as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2017.



Heléne Loberg
Head of Sustainability 

Heléne Loberg is Head of Sustainability for IKEA Canada a world-leading home furnishing retailer. For more than 40 years, Canadians have welcomed IKEA into their homes, and have been strong supporters of the IKEA brand, product range and its vision “to create a better everyday life for the many people”. In her role, Heléne is responsible for the integration and implementation of the IKEA People & Planet Positive sustainability strategy. She leads the climate-positive, people-focused agenda across all Canadian markets and customer meeting points, including stores and fulfillment units. She also facilitates locally relevant community collaborations that further the brand’s sustainability ambitions and goals.

Heléne brings nearly two decades of diverse experience from across the IKEA organization to her current role having held leadership roles in Sweden, China and Canada. She is regarded for her leadership and drive for continuous improvement having built processes and cultures for her teams to thrive wherever she has travelled in the organization.

She holds a Master of Science from Sweden’s Lund University, Sweden and currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta.



Alain Ménard
Senior Vice-President, RONA Affiliated Dealers

Alain Ménard joined RONA in January 2024 as Senior Vice-President, RONA Affiliated Dealers. Thanks to his long career with independent retailers in the food sector, Alain has a unique expertise with this clientele and is recognized for his leadership skills.

Before joining RONA, Alain held the position of Vice-President, Development and Commercial Relations, Affiliated Dealers with Sobeys Corporate (IGA, Tradition, Bonichoix, and Rachelle-Béry), where he worked for nearly twenty years. over the years, he held many important responsibilities within the organization, including innovation, department strategy, optimization of online grocery execution, in-store fixtures and fittings, and operational support. Earlier in his career, Alain also held various executive and senior management positions in several major food chains.

Alain holds an EMBA from McGill-HEC Montréal and is a certified corporate director (ASC) from Université Laval, sitting on the board of several Québec companies and NPOs. In recent years, he has also been involved in SAQ/HEC retail training as a speaker, and has designed structuring training to ensure continued leadership and entrepreneurship in Québec.



Peter Norman
Vice President & Chief Economist

Peter is a well-known professional land economist and forecaster and is Vice President and Chief Economist at Altus Group. Widely quoted in the Canadian media, Mr. Norman is a frequent expert witness on economic matters and leads a national team of economic consultants advising private and public sector organizations across Canada, providing economic intelligence and strategic information.

Mr. Norman earned a BA at Trent University and an MA at the University of Guelph, has sat on the Executive Committee of the Toronto Association of Business and Economics, the Economic Research Committee of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and is a member of the Association of Ontario Land Economists and a member of Lambda Alpha International, an Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics.



Jason Tasse
President, Chief Operating Officer, Lee Valley Tools

Jason Tasse is the President and COO of Lee Valley Tools, a family-owned Canadian business that has been serving the needs of woodworkers and gardeners since 1978. Founded on the guiding principles of customer centricity, integrity and treating the customer as a friend, Lee Valley Tools has earned its reputation as retail’s ethical capitalist. Lee Valley has been recognized as one of Canada’s best-managed, top-ranking for Instore experience and a leader in job creation for both manufacturing and retail.

Jason graduated from Queen’s University’s MBA program and the Stagen Leadership Academy. He has spent three decades as a key contributor in shaping both culture and strategy at Lee Valley, including shaping the company’s successful digital and succession transformations. As a family man, married with two sons, Jason now spends most of his discretionary time coaching at the national, professional and youth levels.