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Karla Thorpe - The Conference Board of Canada. Ottawa, ON, CA

Karla Thorpe

Director, Leadership and Human Resources Research | The Conference Board of Canada

Ottawa, ON, CANADA

It's not always about money: Learn what it takes to not only attract and retain employees but to increase employee commitment





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Karla Thorpe is a Director with the Leadership and Human Resources Research Division of The Conference Board of Canada. Since joining the Board almost five years ago, Karla has been actively involved in research in the area of compensation, benefits, health and wellness, workforce planning and labour relations.

Most recently, she co-authored a research report entitled Building Mentally Healthy Workplaces: Perspectives of Canadian Workers and Front-Line Managers which provides guidance to employers on how to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace. Karla has research currently underway on managing the drivers of absenteeism and lost productivity and substance abuse and dependency in the workplace.

Prior to joining the Conference Board, Karla worked at several national research firms where she conducted qualitative and quantitative research engagements for clients in the public and private sectors.

Karla has earned a Master of Science in Statistics from Queen’s University as well as a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She is also an active member of WorldatWork and the Ottawa Region Rewards Association.

Industry Expertise (8)

Health and Wellness

Public Policy

Information Services


Human Resources

Think Tanks

Talent Management

Management Consulting

Areas of Expertise (3)

Labour Relations

Workplace Health and Wellness

Compensation and Benefits

Accomplishments (1)

Director, Leadership and Human Resources Research – The Conference Board of Canada (professional)

The Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) is the foremost independent, not-for-profit applied research organization in Canada. Since 1954, the Board has been committed to researching innovative practices, designing new strategies and providing our members with the most up-to-date information, analysis and expertise to help them excel in Canada and around the world. The CBoC builds leadership capacity by creating and sharing insights on economic trends, public policy and organizational performance.

Education (2)

Carleton University: Bachelor of Commerce 1995

Queen's University : Masters of Science, Statistics 1996

Event Appearances (7)

Building a healthy workplace

Focus on Mental Health  Toronto, Ontario


Results of the Compensation Planning Outlook Survey

Compensation Outlook 2011  Toronto, Ontario


Research Finding In Workplace Mental Health

A Symposium On Mental Health In The Workplace  Toronto, Ontario


Minding What Matters—Original Workplace Mental Health Research

Workplace Mental Health 2011  Toronto, Ontario


Survey of Employer-Sponsored Benefits

Benefits Summit 2010  Toronto, Ontario


Recruiting, Engaging and Retaining Mature Workers

HEABC 16th Annual Conference “Finders, Keepers: New Directions in Recruitment & Retention  Vancouver, BC


Wellness ROI—Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?

Workplace Wellness and Mental Health 2012  Toronto, Ontario


Sample Talks (4)

Beyond Benefits: Absence and Disability Management

This discussion will address the casual absence / sick leave provisions and practices, as well as short- and long-term disability program coverage in Canadian workplaces. In addition, this workshop will provide details of research in the areas of tracking employee absenteeism, the cost and productivity implications and the steps that organizations can take to better manage their programs. Hear about actual lessons learned from HR practitioners.

Building Mentally Healthy Workplaces: Perspectives of Canadian Workers and Front-Line Managers

Karla Thorpe will provide an overview of the key messages arising out of The Conference Board of Canada’s recent research with managers and employees across the country on mental health in the workplace. How widespread are mental health issues? What are the challenges facing workers with mental health issues? What can organizations do to create inclusive, healthy work environments for people with mental health issues? These are just some of the questions that our speaker will address.

Wellness ROI—Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?

The Conference Board of Canada is undertaking research that will provide employers with guidance on how to calculate the ROI of workplace health and wellness programs. The focus is on practical, research-supported approaches, and explores tools & metrics that can be used to demonstrate the overall effectiveness of health and wellness initiatives. Karla will share the results of this research, providing a new evidence-based perspective to help you assess your health and wellness investment.

Recruiting, Engaging and Retaining Mature Workers

Many Canadian employers are facing challenges in attracting, retaining and engaging key employees. These challenges will become increasingly prominent as the wave of highly skilled and experienced baby boomers start to retire. In this session, Karla Thorpe will share highlights from research studies on the aging workforce. Participants will learn the strategies that leading Canadian organizations have in place to recruit, retain and engage mature workers.



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Host/MC
  • Corporate Training


*Will consider certain engagements for no fee