Innovation Strategist | Bestselling Author, The Uber of Everything: How the Freed Market Economy is Disrupting and Delighting
Ted Graham is the head of Open Innovation and Venture Principal at General Motors where he helps identify and invest in partnerships that will help build new forms of mobility including autonomous, electric and connected vehicles. He is also the former Innovation leader at PWC and a McKinsey strategy consultant with a focus on understanding and leveraging people networks to influence the spread of ideas.
Ted often speaks to audiences about The 5 things I learned about disruptive innovation as an UberX driver and how to apply some of these lessons across a multitude of industries on the cusp of disruption. His first-hand account was initially released as a TEDx talk and is now part of his book called “The Uber of Everything”.
Partner at Real Ventures, Founder of Kijiji.ca
Janet is a Partner at Real Ventures, Canada’s preeminent early-stage venture capital firm. Real funds and supports the development of Canadian entrepreneurs who are building the next generation of globally leading tech companies. Janet has led investments in over a dozen companies and works actively with companies in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, e-commerce, fintech, and AI. As a Partner, Janet also sets the strategy for the firm, leads investor relationships, and oversees all firm operations.
In addition, Janet is very active in the Canadian tech ecosystem; she is the Co-Chair of C100 and on the Boards of Communitech in Waterloo and Vector Institute in Toronto. She is also an active advisor at OneEleven, Creative Destruction Lab, and the Research Board of the University Health Network. Janet has won numerous awards and recognition including Venture Capital Journal’s 2021 “Women of Influence in Private Markets”, Pitchbooks’ 2021 “Female Founders & Investors to Know”, and American Bankers’ 2019 “Most Influential Women in Payments”.
In 2004, Janet launched Kijiji.ca and grew it to become one of the most visited websites in Canada. Subsequently, she led the Kijiji Global business, launching the website in new countries and accelerating growth in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Janet also spent four years at eBay in Silicon Valley where she helped transform eBay from a Collectibles to a mainstream marketplace. She started her career as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble and then joined McKinsey & Co. where she was an Engagement Manager. She also founded and built a successful consulting business and was CEO at a venture-backed start-up prior to joining Real Ventures.
Janet was a varsity long-distance runner and competed internationally in triathlons. Today she balances her active lifestyle with being a wife and mother to her 16-year old son.
Ashley Callingbull-Rabbit is an actress, model, host and First Nation activist from the Enoch Cree Nation. She is an actress on Blackstone and Tribal and was a contestant on the Amazing Race Canada.
Ashley is also an international motivational speaker and has been a keynote speaker at Harvard University, TED Talks and WE Day.
Ashley is an ambassador for Hillberg & Berk, RW&Co, The Saskatoon Blades, The Saskatchewan Rush and Nike. She is also the physical fitness ambassador for the Indigenous Sports Council of Alberta. This March, Ashley was announced as the first Indigenous First Nations woman to become a Sports Illustrated Model. Ashley is currently an In-Game Host for the Canadian Football League, the National Lacrosse League and the National Hockey League. She also recently signed her first book deal with Harper Collins publishing and will be a published author in 2024.
Future of Work Expert | Author of Leadership, Reinvented
Hamza Khan is a multi-award-winning marketer, bestselling author, and global keynote speaker whose TEDx talk “Stop Managing, Start Leading” has been viewed over two million times. He shares actionable insights on resilience, productivity, and leadership to help people and organizations thrive in the future of work. Through his consulting, writing, teaching, and speaking, Khan empowers people and businesses to transform ideas into action.
From New York to Singapore, from Los Angeles to Sydney, Khan is a global thought leader who has spoken to hundreds of audiences across many industries, in numerous countries. His clients have included some of the world’s most dynamic companies and organizations, including PepsiCo, LinkedIn, Deloitte, PwC, Trivago, and over 100 colleges, and his insights have been featured by notable media outlets such as VICE, Business Insider, and The Globe and Mail. He is also the author of Amazon best seller The Burnout Gamble: Achieve More by Beating Burnout and Building Resilience.
Khan works alongside young people and new talent as Managing Director of Student Life Network, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive education resource platform, which reaches over 2.7 million students. He is also the co-founder of Splash Effect, a boutique marketing & creative agency, as well as SkillsCamp, a soft skills training company. As an educator, he is currently an instructor at Seneca College and Ryerson University, teaching courses on digital marketing and social media.
Director, Accelerators – Alberta Innovates
Imagine going to work feeling like a kid walking into the candy store each day – that is exactly how Lan feels. With her 12 years of experience in supporting entrepreneurs, designing and delivering entrepreneurial programs, she is now partnering with the best global accelerators to position Alberta on the global stage as a technology leader.
Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program
Leading global accelerators have come to Alberta to help build our entrepreneurial ecosystem with the support of a funding consortium led by Alberta Innovates. The Ministry of Jobs Economy and Innovation, PrairiesCan, Innovate Edmonton and the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund are all providing funding for this ground-breaking initiative.
The Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP) will accelerate the growth and scaleup of Alberta companies and propel digital transformation.
Dawn Newton is a business leader and community builder with over twenty years of business experience in public affairs and stakeholder engagement. As Head of Acceleration at Edmonton Unlimited, she supports the innovation ecosystem working with accelerators and serving as Co-Director of the Alberta Catalyzer pre-
accelerator helping entrepreneurs realize their potential.
Alberta Catalyzer provides business support, resources and coaching to founders and entrepreneurs looking to launch and grow their tech-based or tech-enabled startup in Alberta, preparing them to advance to the scaleup and acceleration stages. Powered by Platform Calgary and Edmonton Unlimited, with support from Alberta Innovates, the Alberta Catalyzer pre-accelerator programs support founders in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
Alberta Accelerator by 500
Simon has a background as an analyst, marketer, and founder, specializing in brand development, commercialization strategies, and fundraising. Prior to joining the 500 team he led a recreational cannabis startup in the Canadian market as its CEO.
Alberta Accelerator by 500
500 Global, one of the world’s most active venture capital firms, has launched a one-of-a-kind accelerator to nurture seed-stage tech companies in Alberta. The goal is to support Alberta Innovates in strengthening the Alberta Innovation Corridor which encompasses Edmonton, Calgary, and rural Alberta. Alberta Accelerator by 500 alternates between the hubs of Calgary and Edmonton.
Plug and Play Alberta
Nina is responsible for Plug and Play Alberta’s corporate innovation arm. By matching large corporations with the brightest startups, Nina helps to increase operational efficiencies, lower costs, find new product lines, and foster innovative from the core of the organizations.
Plug and Play Alberta
Plug and Play connects startups with international corporations to bring technology to market faster. They will offer sector-agnostic and sector-based accelerator programs in digital health and sustainable clean resources across the province, with program sites in Calgary and Edmonton.
Telus Community Safety & Wellness Accelerator
Ryan’s professional experience includes leadership and personal coaching, entrepreneurship, and community building. As an empathetic and purpose-driven leader with multi-facetted skillsets, he delivers meaningful results through thoughtful stewardship, innovative strategies, and a commitment to creating positive impact.
TELUS Community Safety & Wellness Accelerator powered by AlchemistX
A unique public/private consortium based in Edmonton and in partnership with AlchemistX, bringing Silicon Valley expertise and networks to the Alberta start-up ecosystem. They are a social impact driven accelerator, welcoming purpose-driven ventures in the AI/ML field who offer innovative solutions and new perspectives to unresolved challenges, both locally and globally.
The CSW Accelerator operates2x12-week programs per year. Attendance is mostly virtual, with an impactful and engaging in-person week delivered in Edmonton Alberta during the program. This week brings together community partners, potential customers and investors, along with representatives from the tech and innovation ecosystem of Alberta, in order to support the development and scalability of the participating companies.
Further to the core accelerator program, the CSW Accelerator offers a unique social impact stream, where participants are encouraged and supported to both develop their frameworks for social impact measurement and are introduced to the opportunities to maximize social impact within the Alberta landscape.
SVG Thrive Academy
As the Ecosystem Manager, Alycia is responsible for managing all aspects of Canada’s ecosystem, managing events, promoting programs and connecting with THRIVE’s corporate partners.
Alycia has over 10 years experience building brands, storytelling, and growing sales across a variety of sectors. Prior to joining THRIVE, Alycia worked at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce as Director of Marketing and Memberships, supporting businesses, connecting leaders and politicians, and creating amore competitive business environment.
Alycia has a Bachelors Degree from Camosun College and lives in Calgary, Canada, with her husband and dog, Hank the labradoodle.
SVG THRIVE Academy
TheTHRIVE Academy helps early stage founders become market and investor ready. Focused on supporting idea stage and pre-seed stage startups in the agri-food tech sector, TheTHRIVE Academy is 12-week agri-food tech pre-accelerator program. Ideal for idea stage entrepreneurs, early-stage startups and researchers looking to commercialize their innovations. Our immersive program will help you de-risk and validate your idea while preparing you to raise capital alongside building your go to market strategy.
SVG THRIVE Accelerator
The THRIVE Accelerator supports seed stage startups from all areas of the agrifood value chain whose technologies drive us towards a more efficient, sustainable, and secure agriculture future.
Andrew moved to northwest Alberta in 2013 from Ireland; with a background in valuation surveying and real estate, he took up the role of economic development officer with Mackenzie County leading projects such as value-added Mackenzie agriculture, municipal census and marketing investment opportunities.
In 2020 Andrew took on a new role with the management of the Northwest Alberta REDA. He has effectively executed and collaborated on multiple projects with member municipalities. Andrew has a keen interest in economic trade corridors, investment attraction and planning and facilitating community and economic development initiatives.
Andrew is also a business analyst with Community Futures Northwest Alberta since 2020, where he works directly with individual business owners.
Vice-President and Chief Agricultural Economist – Farm Credit Canada
J.P. Gervais is Vice-President and Chief Agricultural Economist at FCC. He has over 20 years of experience analyzing domestic and international agricultural policies and markets, and his insights help guide strategy and monitor risk throughout the corporation. He’s frequently a featured speaker at national and international conferences, addressing global trends and the linkages to agri-food markets. In addition to acting as an FCC spokesperson on economic matters, J.P. provides commentary on the agriculture industry through videos and the FCC Ag Economist blog.
Prior to joining FCC in 2010, J.P. was a professor of agricultural economics at North Carolina State University and Laval University. He also held the Canada Research Chair in Agri-Industries and International Trade at Laval. J.P. is Past-President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society. He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University in 1999.
Program Integration Director
Manufacturing Export and Enhancement Cluster
David has built a career in Project Management, Business Operations and Change Management in various capacities. David has extensive experience in implementing new systems and technology, and helping businesses realize opportunities to create efficiencies in their current business model. He is adept at building strategic relationships and advocating on behalf of an organization and stakeholders he represents. David’s hobbies include being an avid mountain biker, hiker, and kayaker and enjoys all outdoor pursuits. He is a recent graduate of the Harvard Business School CORe business fundamentals program and is a Certified Six Sigma Blackbelt. David currently resides in Edmonton with his wife and two kids and call Alberta their home.
In David’s current role as Program Integration Director for the Manufacturing Export and Enhancement Cluster; he currently oversees the Industry Assessment program and the delivery of the Program. He also is heavily involved in the building of connections between solution providers, industry, and post-secondary institutions, as well as the build out of tools and training to create greater adoption of digital tools and technology across Alberta.
Paul Hogendoorn is a co-founder of FreePoint Technologies (2013), a co-founder of OES-Inc (1981)and related companies OES-A (El Paso), IST and BloomAuction.com.
Paul is a self described “incurable entrepreneur” that leveraged natural technology development skills to successfully launch numerous companies, building them to international acclaim and significance, and effectively transition them to future owners and management teams for continued growth and prosperity. His primary skills include: ‘tactile’ information technology (IIoT) development and implementation skills, proven sales and marketing abilities, and demonstrated leadership, vision casting and team building skills. Primary assets include a vast knowledge of manufacturing machines, methods and industry verticals; comprehensive understanding of technology development from design of hardware, firmware and software to team building, R&DITC and intellectual property protection applications; decades of trust-based relationships with technology companies, manufacturing companies, industry influencers and leaders.
Paul brings 40 years of experience in manufacturing and technology industries, having cofounded multiple companies, building them from start-ups to internationally recognized brands. He is a self described “incurable entrepreneur” and an enthusiastic advocate for, and supporter of, manufacturing in Canada. His columns reflecting his passion for the industry, and the people that make it great, have been regularly published for over 15 years.
NWP Student Services
Nicole Bowes is a Northwestern Polytechnic alumna who completed her collaborative Bachelor of Business Management with a Major in Human Resources Management from Athabasca University in 2017. Shortly after completing her degree, Nicole started working at NWP in Student Services. While in Student Services, Nicole has gained varied experience within the realm of student supports, spending time in student recruitment, admissions and now career services, as the Career Services Coordinator.
Nicole is passionate about connecting students and alumni with relevant career opportunities, while also equipping them with the skills and resources to pursue them effectively! Helping students with their resumes, offering mock interviews, and organizing various workshops on campus, are just some of the resources that Nicole provides to students and alumni at NWP.
Nicole is a member of the CBYF Youth Employment Action team and has recently joined the Grande Prairie Local Immigration Partnership. Nicole aims to help facilitate knowledge and understanding between the students she supports and the employers who hire them. Continuing to learn about the different barriers and needs for both employees and employers, are among the top of Nicole’s interests.
Manager, Indigenous and Stakeholder Relations
Edmonton International Airport
Chelsey is focused on making space and cultivating change. As a proud Métis woman, she has spent much of her career advocating for Indigenous rights and diversity, equity and inclusion, through non-profit, government and private sector positions.
Chelsey joined the team at Edmonton International Airport in 2015 and focuses on creating meaningful and collaborative relationships that drive economic growth and reconciliation for the Edmonton Metro Region. Most recently, she led the opening of the first-of-its-kind, Indigenous Interpretive and Retail Centre at YEG, shining
a spotlight on the vibrant Indigenous history, culture and retail offerings in and around the region.
Director of Operations and Strategy
Under her portfolio, Sydney is responsible for building internal and external capacity by sharing expertise and leading practices, providing coaching and mentorship to staff, and identifying and implementing opportunities for improvement.
While at Ballad, Sydney has led numerous training and consulting projects to successful delivery by ensuring they are delivered in scope, on time and on budget. She is dedicated to business development and uses her out-of-the box thinking to identify new opportunities. Over the last four years Sydney has collaborated with the talented team at Ballad to design creative workforce development training programs that focus on assisting unemployed Albertans re-enter the workforce. The successful delivery of these programs has resulted in assisting hundreds of qualified Albertans gain fulfilling employment in a wide range of industries.
About our NEW Grande Prairie Training Program:
“Ballad is proud to bring a new, innovative program to the Grande Prairie community through Seniors, Community and Social Services and the Alberta at Work Initiative! The Workforce Employment Readiness and Connections Program (WERC, pronounced “work”) will aim to train 184 unemployed Albertans over the next 2-years. Clients will attend life management and employment workshops and have an opportunity to gain hands on experience in our two simulated work-sites that focus on hospitality and construction. Clients of the program will have access to various wrap around supports including; professional services (psychologist and social worker), support with transportation, monthly living expense and supplied work wear to enter their new career. Program length will vary by client with a maximum of 26 weeks of service. Ballad will support clients match with local employers and assist them as they transition into employment for 90 days post program completion. In addition Ballad will open an Employment Resource centre in winter 2023 that will support employers in the region access support for their human resource and recruitment needs. This includes a variety of ready-to-access material to help them with employee challenges as well as guidance from our local human resource specialist. For more information or to refer a client to the WERC Program please visit our website: www.balladgroup.ca or call 1-855-295-7180 (Ext.5)”
Dale Tiedemann is the Regional Manager for Northwest Alberta at CAREERS. Based in Grande Prairie he leads a team of four highly motivated Program Coordinators and one Indigenous Youth Career Coach in the summer. Dale and the team at CAREERS works with industry to identify paid internship opportunities for high school youth and young workers under the age of 21.It has been proven that when executed properly, investing in, and supporting young workers can be an excellent strategy to address labor market challenges. Born and raised in the Grande Prairie area, Dale is a natural community builder and loves to connect people with opportunities wherever and whenever he can. Dale is a proud uncle and a Rotarian. He is currently serving as President of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie After Five and is a local recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.
Workforce Inclusion Lead
Women Building Futures
Tara has strong background in policy and program design with a focus on gender and intersectional analysis as the Workforce Inclusion Lead at WBF and in her previous work as a public servant for the Government of Alberta.
As a facilitator, advisor and advocate, Tara believes in lifelong learning and is always happy to share her leadership experience to help others advance in their careers.
Tara continuously strives to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the trades industry in Alberta as she leads the Employer of Choice membership program and Work Proud Inclusivity Training for WBF.
Dr. Mark Prins
Director of Rural & Regional Health, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
University of Alberta
Dr. Mark Prins obtained his doctor of medicine at the University of Calgary in 2006, after which he pursued postgraduate training in family medicine at the University of British Columbia. He completed a year of family physical surgical training through the University of British Columbia and is currently enrolled in a Masters of Health Science Education at the University of Alberta.
Dr. Prins spent a decade as a family physician in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut where he provided full scope care across the lifespan as well as providing coverage for basic surgical care. He moved with his family to Edmonton 3 years ago and was able to continue providing care to northern patients who were in isolation in Edmonton during the height of the pandemic. He also worked with houseless patients who were covid positive and experiencing substance use disorder.
Dr. Prins has been the co-program director in enhanced surgical skills in the U of A’s Department of Family Medicine since 2019 and Director of the Office of Rural & Regional Health in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry since the fall of 2021.
Dr. Darryl Rolfson, FRCPC
Associate Dean, MD Program, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
University of Alberta
Dr. Darryl Rolfson graduated in medicine at the University of Alberta in 1993, going on to complete residencies in internal medicine and geriatric medicine at the U of A.
Dr. Rolfson has contributed to medical education at the U of A throughout his career, both as a teacher and as a leader, and has been recognized by both undergraduate and postgraduate learners for teaching excellence. He was the program director for the core internal medicine residency from 2008 to 2017. Dr. Rolfson has been the Associate Dean for the MD program at the U of A since October 2021.
Dr. Rolfson is a specialist in geriatric medicine and has enjoyed a rich clinical practice in acute care, ambulatory care and consultation in rural and regional centres. He has a research interest in measurement of frailty and frailty inclusive care, especially in older adults. In 2001, he developed and validated the Edmonton Frail Scale (EFS), an internationally recognized multidimensional frailty measure.
Holly Handfield brings 20 years of community development and engagement experience to her role with the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP). As Manager of Community Development and Engagement, and Northwest Rural Community Consultant, Holly works within the northwest part of the province, where she supports the health-care provider attraction and retention efforts of over 50 rural communities. She is passionate about rural health and understands the importance and impact it has on the sustainability of our rural communities.
Currently a resident of Grande Prairie, Holly grew up a bit further north on a cattle and grain farm between Peace River and Grimshaw, and still has rural family roots in the area. Since taking the position with RhPAP over five years ago, she has felt honored that she can support rural healthcare in an area that she still has family and has always called home.
Dr. Alex Clark
Dr. Alex Clark is an internationally known administrator, researcher, and advocate for well-being and effectiveness in academic work and workplaces. A complexity theorist and researcher of psychosocial aspects of heart disease, he has worked in post-secondary education for 20 years in Alberta. He has held faculty and executive roles at the University of Alberta for more than a decade, and, most recently, was Dean of Health Disciplines at Athabasca University. He is past chair of the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology (2011-2018), and co-authored How to be a Happy Academic (SAGE, 2018). He was designated a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader/Young Scientist for his contributions to mentorship and leadership in academia.
Dr. Raube Denkema
Deputy Zone Medical Director – North Zone
Dr. Raube Denkema graduated in medicine at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1994. He continued his medical studies and residency in Orthopedic Surgery, obtaining a Master of Medicine in Orthopedic Surgery in 2002.
After further work as a Specialist Registrar and Consultant in the United Kingdom, Dr. Denkema relocated to Grande Prairie, Alberta with his young family in 2006. He is currently still residing and practicing as an orthopedic surgeon in the community of Grande Prairie.
During his time in the north, Dr. Denkema has held many leadership positions in Alberta Health Services and has spent the last few years as the Chief of Surgery at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital and later at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. He has recently been appointed as Deputy Zone Medical Director of the North Zone and continues his advocacy for improved patient access and care in the North Zone.
Senior Operating Officer – Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, North Zone Area 9
Candice Edey graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Distinction in 2007. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to complete her entire degree in her hometown of Grande Prairie through the Collaborative Program with the (former) Grande Prairie Regional College. She worked as a front-line labour and delivery nurse at the QEII Hospital for six years before moving into a management role in Women’s Health at the QEII in 2013. Her career has progressed through a series of leadership roles to her current role as Senior Operating Officer, which she began in June of 2022. She is completing her Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Work, Organization, and Leadership through Athabasca University. Candice is a passionate advocate for patient and family centred care, diversity & inclusion, Indigenous engagement, and continuous quality improvement in healthcare.
Greg Hastings, BSME, MDIV
Director RIVR Solutions Ltd.
Greg is a proactive professional with extensive Quality Assurance, Continuous Improvement, Operations and Process Management experience. With 30 years of leadership and manufacturing experience, Greg is a skilled problem solver, communicator, and organizer with a commitment to customer satisfaction.
As a lean practitioner, Greg has held Operations and Quality Assurance positions in the Semiconductor, Factory Automation, Transportation, and most recently Aerospace Industries. With a focus on research and change management through his Masters Degree, Greg has been trained in Lean Manufacturing by the Delphi Institute in Detroit, MI. He has over 70 kaizen events under his belt, ranging from floor layout to tool room cost reduction, to office waste elimination. Greg is a proven leader in Quality assurance implementing and maintaining ISO 9001 and AS 9100 quality systems in six different organizations.
As a leader and participant of a Lean Enterprise Consortium, Greg has been exposed to many different industries; solving problems and reducing waste in those industries. He established visual production planning tools, visual controls, and Kanban systems in order to manage operations on-site on the production floor. As a Project Manager, Greg has managed technical issues, schedules, and customer expectations for projects with companies such as Intel, IBM, KLA-Tencor, Bell Helicopter, SpaceX, and Boeing.
Greg embraces metric driven management, and has a proven track record of leading change to improve cost, quality, and delivery metrics to best-in-class levels.
Allister MacIsaac, MBA
Director RIVR Solutions Ltd.
Allister brings 28 years of professional experience to RIVR Solutions. He has held management and senior leadership positions in operations, general management, business development and sales.
A large proportion of his experience has been in change management, including corporate reorganization resulting from merger and acquisition activity to adaptations of economic change. These changes included the implementation of automation technologies, operational excellence and continuous improvement. Allister has experience in manufacturing, distribution, technology and technology development, oil and gas (conventional and non-conventional), pipeline, industrial and geo-environmental.
Allister has been involved in various projects ranging from ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) transitions, Lean manufacturing, product commercialization, manufacturing scale-up, business planning and advising, enterprise start-up management, technical recruitment and grant advising. His project management experience includes time and motion studies, facility layouts, process improvement initiatives, installation and commissioning of fibre optic surveillance systems for carbon capture storage, conventional and unconventional energy production.
Allister has long-term experience in strategy, coaching, advising, business operations, human resources, sales and marketing in unionized and non-unionized environments. He has also held several positions requiring financial oversight and management of operations for small, medium and large enterprises.
Shae Bird is the Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Tourism Alberta, responsible for the development and growth of Alberta’s Indigenous tourism industry.
As the CEO, Shae has been responsible for steering ITA through one of the most difficult times in tourism history. Through his leadership, ITA has created the Indigenous Tourism Alberta Strategy 2020-2024 to drive its business, while growing ITA’s members to more than 180. Additionally, Shae has secured necessary funding grants to stabilize Indigenous businesses during COVID-19, including the Stimulus Relief Fund which provided relief to more than 80 businesses alongside Provincial and National partners.
With education through the Masters in Tourism Management from Royal Roads University and corporate experience that covers strategic planning, organizational renewal, operations management, government relations and capital project oversight, Shae is now proud to call Treaty 6 & Metis Region 4, Edmonton, Alberta, home. Shae has quickly become recognized and respected as a leader in Indigenous tourism across Alberta and Canada with interview requests, speaking roles and involvement in multiple economic recovery task forces across Alberta.
Darren Reeder is a passionate, results-oriented industry professional with 30 years experience providing policy, advocacy and industry development supports to community and economic development-oriented organizations spanning many sectors, most notably food processing, culinary and tourism and hospitality. Darren has been a vocal advocate for the expansion of Alberta’s tourism economy, and, for meaningful labour reforms that will enable this industry to reach its full potential.
A respected thought leader who has inspired various issues coalitions, coordinated advocacy campaigns and who also been an ardent defender of the need for tourism sector to better leverage industry data to advance its needs in front of provincial and federal decision-makers, Darren is driven by a simple philosophy: say what you’re going to do and then follow through, without exception.
He has been a vocal advocate on the importance and value of tourism in supporting Canada’s national park objectives through his work with the Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association, and, was the driving force behind the development of the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta where he currently serves as its President & CEO.
Over the years, Darren has done extensive work on tourism destination development, funding model analysis to support destinations, and, conducted various tourism and event feasibility/expansion studies.
Darren was formerly CEO of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, where he was employed for 13-years. Under his leadership, the Chamber’s efforts to effect substantive provincial fiscal reforms under the Klein government were widely successful.
Darren and his family live in Canmore, Alberta.
Jon brings a unique blend of public and private leadership experience in the tourism and hospitality industry to his role as Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer for Travel Alberta, where he is responsible for driving destination and tourism product development.
Jon comes to Travel Alberta from Destination Toronto, where he served as Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Prior to that, he was CMO & Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, for Destination Canada, where he helped achieve several years of record growth in international visitation and expenditures and championed the development of Canada’s new “For Glowing Hearts” destination brand, launched in 2019. No stranger to Alberta, Jon served as Travel Alberta’s Vice President, Marketing and Sales. He has also held leadership posts with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and began his career with Procter & Gamble, a global leading consumer packaged goods company.
Born in Chicoutimi, Quebec and raised in Saskatchewan, Jon enjoys their cuisine staples of poutine and bison burgers. He is also a passionate CFL fan, enjoys spending time outdoors on the golf course and the slopes, and is always experimenting with his baking skills to perfect new recipes in the kitchen. Jon graduated from Bethany College, West Virginia with a Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and holds a Master of Business Administration from Miami University.
Manager, Air Service Development
Edmonton International Airport
Deanna joined the team at Edmonton International Airport in 2018, and her work focuses on developing, analyzing, and managing international and domestic air service development. This includes working on getting new routes, increasing frequencies, and building passenger demand to support airline partners.
Deanna has been a leader in international business relations and partnerships for over 9 years and has explored to date 30 countries which have enabled her to encompass a truly global mindset and obtain diversity and worldly strengths.
Deanna graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of business in 2017 with her Master of Business; previously, she received a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with distinction in International Business and Marketing in 2014. Deanna has also attended the University of Edinburgh, the University of Haifa and the University of Manheim on exchanges and was the inaugural recipient of the Certificate of International Learning.
Charles is the Chief Executive Officer for Sucker Creek First Nation, its Group of Companies, and the Director of National Resources for Treaty 8. Charles has been working with First Nations groups and communities since the early 2000s. Since starting his career, Charles has mentored and devoted many hours working for the people. He has dreams of empowering the youth within these communities to be self-sufficient and strive as they did years ago. Charles comes from a long linage of First Nation leaders. He proudly grew up around the community of Alexis First Nation and called many communities home as his family relocated over the years. Charles is also a highly experienced Oil & Gas professional who has extensive experience in various operational roles for a diverse set of major Oil & Gas Exploration and Production companies. As such Mr. Rouleau’s experience also includes implementing best practices in many of these companies in the context of logistics & operational management, well site management and well site rehabilitation and reclamation.
Richard Gibson (B.Sc., B.S.A., M.Sc.) Has 30 years of agricultural innovation experience in private, multi-national and government R&D organizations with leadership roles in agricultural research, technology innovation, information systems design, product and business development. Richard is an enthusiastic supporter for advancing Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) into remote environments.
Ryan was born and raised on a mixed cattle and grain farm in Bonnyville, AB. He joined Invest Alberta in August 2022, and before that spent the past 17 years living abroad, roughly half of that time was spent in the US bookending his eight years in Asia (China and Malaysia).Ryan’s work background has focused on international business, business development, project management and process improvement. He can speak intermediate Mandarin Chinese although he admits his language skills are a little rusty. Ryan is excited to be back in Alberta and to join Invest Alberta to help build strong rural communities and to create opportunities to attract young people to Alberta agriculture. He likes to say his role is to introduce Alberta to the world and to bring the world to Alberta. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys traveling to far flung destinations to play ice hockey and, besides Canada and the US, has suited up in: China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkmenistan. This April, he will play in a hockey tournament in Rome, Italy with friends scattered around the world.
Yuliia currently works as an Investment Attraction Manager with Invest Alberta. She supports investment attraction in rural communities across Alberta. She focuses on identifying and qualifying potential investment opportunities that strategically align with the region’s growth plans and the client’s expansion plans. Yuliia has a background in international business, export development, and stakeholder engagement. She has worked in the agriculture, manufacturing, & transportation sectors and has experience in stakeholder engagement with various levels of government, agencies and NGOs. Yuliia holds a Master’s degree in International Relations & Foreign Policy and Supply Chain Management & Global Logistics graduate diploma. She spent the first part of her career in market research & strategy development and the latter half advising clients on developing effective business service models and honing their value propositions. She is passionate about sustainable development, civic engagement, and youth mentorship.
Paul is an accomplished agri-business executive with over 35 years of experience in the Life Sciences industry. He held numerous roles in development and regulatory sciences with increasing responsibilities working within Canada, the North America region and globally. Paul retired from Bayer Crop Science in November, 2019. He also sat on several committees including Agriculture & Food Council in Alberta, technical committees within CropLife Canada, the Board of the Canola Council of Canada and STEC within the FIS.
Currently, Paul is working with Olds College assisting the transition of the Field Crop Development Centre from the Government of Alberta to the College as well as serving a 3-year appointment as the Thought Leader for Olds College.
Paul graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph majoring in Crop Science and CEDEP in Fontainbleau France.
Paul and his spouse Nancy reside in Calgary and enjoy travel, hiking, cross country skiing and bicycling. On his own time, he enjoys fly fishing and motorcycle touring.
Myron Keehn is the President & CEO of Edmonton Airports, where his extensive experience in the privatization and monetization of airport assets, together with his ambitious plans for YEG, have successfully drawn major e-commerce, logistics, distribution and manufacturing activity onto Airport City lands. These efforts have attracted over $1 billion in private investment from around the world, including the United States, Austria, India, China, Japan and Korea. Mr. Keehn has spent the last 30 years in airport and commercial development with experience in airports across Canada, the United States, South America and the Caribbean. Prior to bringing his private-sector expertise to the airport industry, Mr. Keehn was involved in the acquisition and development of large-scale real estate projects. He serves on numerous Boards including Board Chair with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Canada, representing interests for the commercial real estate industry at a national level.
Tom Macher is currently the International Paper Canada Pulp Holdings President and Plant Manager at the Grande Prairie Pulp Mill in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Under his portfolio he is responsible for over 375 employees and the production of over 350,000 tonnes of cellulose fiber (pulp). This product is sold world-wide to customers in North America, Europe, China, Japan and South America. Projects made from this pulp are:
Tom began his career, in 1982 with International Paper which is head-quartered in Memphis, TN, USA. Over his 40+ year career with International Paper Tom has worked at many of their facilities across the globe along with 13 years in their corporate headquarters in Memphis, TN. His background is in Plant Operations, Maintenance and Reliability. Prior to accepting his current position, he spent the last 10 years as the Company Director of Reliability for all operations worldwide. He has extensive experience in the pulp and paper industry throughout the USA and Canada.
Tom and his wife Tammy have three children, Thomas, Laura and Lindsay and this past December, 2022, they became the proud grandparents of their first grandchild, a little girl named Hope.
Tom attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO in 1982 and received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering along with attending Louisiana State University in Shreveport, LA in their MBA Finance Program.
Chris is an informative, entertaining, and insightful strategic humorist with a serious message: dare to be different and reach highest aspiration or join the burgeoning ranks of the unnoticed.
Chris’ 30 years of award-winning community economic development experience has been dedicated to reconnecting people to the power of community-building. His dry sense of humour and no nonsense, cut-through-clutter style challenges conventions and leaves people with inspiration to “make community-building personal.
Mike is the Vice President of Policy and Chief Economist at the Business Council of Alberta. He directs the organization’s research agenda and is a leading voice on policy and economic issues within the province. He joins BCA as a proud Albertan who believes in building a more prosperous province within a better Canada.
Mike brings more than 20 years of experience as an economist and public policy analyst to his role. Prior to joining BCA, he was the Chief Economist for Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters where he led the organization’s economic analysis and played a key role in directing policy research and setting CME’s government advocacy agenda. Mike has also worked as an economic adviser for Parliament in Ottawa, and for public policy think tanks in Halifax and Calgary.
He is a combination of big-picture thinker and data nerd. A keen student of philosophy and economic and social policy, Mike believes in fact-driven storytelling and in communicating ideas in clear and simple terms.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Mike is, for better or worse, an avid Oilers fan. He has a BA in honours economics from the University of Alberta and a MA in economics from Queen’s University.