Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Toronto CISO Community

Joanne Coles

Managing Director, Enterprise Technology


Joanne Coles is currently the Managing Director, Enterprise Technology at Onex. Prior to that, Joanne spent eight years at CIBC as the Senior Director of INTRIA Technology, and the Vice President of Financial Crimes & Enterprise Risk Technology. In addition, she previously held various IT roles at Johnson & Johnson supporting multiple business units. 

Her leadership has consistently enabled high focus on operational and security excellence and delivery of strategically impactful solutions. She is known as a passionate, authentic and inspiring leader who believes that priority focus on people and culture are the key to sustained success. While Joanne’s career has spanned several industries, she has consistently taken on challenges that have required leading through ambiguity, adversity and change. It has been said that her leadership style of calmness, creativity and empowerment have been integral to ensuring positive outcomes.

Learn more about the Toronto CISO community here.

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

I have never been afraid to take career steps to new roles, functions and industries in order to broaden my experience, network and exposure. Every organization, team and leader I have been privileged to work for has been an integral building block in my career path. I have always veered towards opportunities that have required support and leadership through periods of significant change. This has not only kept me challenged, but has motivated me to make a positive difference through security and IT.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Empowerment of your team is paramount for me. Being there to guide and support them unwaveringly is key, and trusting them to do the right thing yet supporting them when they fail is critical. I've found this to be a recipe for a high performing and highly engaged team.

With disruption being a key theme of recent years, where do you see the CISO role going in the next 1-2 years?

I see CISOs being highly integrated with business leaders as a key enabler and decision-maker. With increasing security threats and impacts, I would like to think that organizations will be turning to their CISOs more for a path forward of how to protect them.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a CISO?

You have to be ok with risk and knowing that risk is there to be managed and governed. It is an impossible task to eliminate it.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I love to ride motorcycles. 
  2. I have 2 kids. 
  3. I was born and raised in England but have spent all of my adult life in Canada.

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