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List of Speakers

Andy Gibbons
Ben Cowan-Dewar
Carol Anne Hilton 
Chantal Sturk-Nadeau
Charlotte Bell
David Goldstein

Dr. Rachel Dodds
Fitti Lourenco
Greg Oates
Jon Mamela
Liselotte de Maar
Mark Zekulin

MP Alaina Lockhart
MP Blake Richards
MP Gord Johns
Shanna Munro
Steve Sammut

Tanya van Biesen
Traci Bednard

Trevor Benson
Trina Fraser
Yves Lalumière





Director of Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs

Speaker – Beyond Takeoff

Andrew (Andy) Gibbons is WestJet’s Ottawa-based Director of Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs. Andy has been with WestJet since 2012. He is one of Canada’s leading public affairs practitioners. Prior to joining WestJet, Andy served as Vice President of Public Affairs for H+K Strategies, a global communications and government relations agency. At H+K, Andy led advocacy efforts for a diverse group of clients in the transportation, finance and health sectors. Andy is responsible for WestJet’s overall relationship and advocacy with a broad range of stakeholders including government of all levels and industry partners. He also oversees the company’s public affairs function which includes public events, corporate announcements and stakeholder engagement. His team also includes regulatory affairs, responsible for the company’s regulatory compliance, international aero political issues and facilitation and accessibility.


Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Destination Canada

Speaker – Destination Canada - Public Meeting

Ben is the owner of Cabot Links golf course, and a tourism entrepreneur. A past Chair of the Board for Nova Scotia Tourism, he is a member of the Board of The Golf Canada Foundation and the Young Presidents Organization.


Transformation International

Speaker – Tourism’nomics

Carol Anne Hilton, MBA is the CEO and Founder of The Indigenomics Institute. Carol Anne is a recognized First Nation’s business leader with an international Masters Degree in Business Management (MBA) from the University of Hertfordshire, England. Carol Anne is of Nuu chah nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island. Carol Anne was appointed as a senior advisor on the Canadian Federal Economic Growth Council. The Council advises the Federal Finance Minister Morneau on Canadian economic growth. Carol Anne is currently a BC Economic Task Force adviser to the Minister of Jobs, Trades and Technology. Carol Anne is currently authoring ‘Indigenomics- a Global Power Shift’ Carol Anne has led the establishment of a line of thought called #indigenomics- building and developing local Indigenous economies. Carol Anne’s work has been recognized with a BC Aboriginal Outstanding Business Achievement Award, a Creating Wealth Award from the National Indigenous Council of Elders and Business of the Year Award from the Nuu chah nulth Economic Development Corporation. Carol Anne currently serves as Director on the McGill University Institute of the Study of Canada and the National Canadian Community Economic Development Network and is also serving as a juror on the Smart Cities Challenge. Carol Anne is an instructor at Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development Program and a faculty lead at the Banff Center’s Indigenous Business Program where she was also a Fleck Fellow.


Executive Director
Business Events Canada

Speaker – Canada’s Success in International Markets

Chantal Sturk-Nadeau proudly wears the “C” on her Team Canada jersey where she leads Business Events Canada (BEC), a division of Destination Canada responsible for building Canada’s reputation as the preeminent destination for meetings, conventions and incentive business from coast to coast to coast. As Executive Director, Chantal joined the team in January 2017 where she leads the development of the marketing & sales strategy, overseas execution of the plan and leads a dynamic international team based in Canada, the United States and in the United Kingdom. Prior to joining Destination Canada, Chantal was an integral member of Tourism Winnipeg (a division of Economic Development Winnipeg) for over 17 years where she led the team overseeing sales and service, marketing, research and visitor services. One of her many highlights at Tourism Winnipeg was her leadership in the development of a Master Tourism Plan for Winnipeg back in 2011, the first of its kind in Canada which has now been emulated across destinations throughout Canada. Chantal received her Certified Destination Management Executive designation from Purdue University through Destinations International and holds an Arts Degree from the University of Manitoba and an Advanced Diploma in International Business.


President & CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Canada

Speaker – Leadership Report

Charlotte was appointed President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) in April 2015 where she is responsible for the overall leadership of the organization representing tourism interests at the national level. Canada’s tourism success stems from its unique and plentiful attributes as a destination, the professionalism and dedication of operators and the tourism workforce, as well as a cohesive national association of tourism businesses that gets results on behalf of its members.

Having spent more than 25 years in the broadcasting sector in Canada, Charlotte has an extensive background in advocacy, strategic planning and public affairs.


President & CEO
Destination Canada

Speaker – Destination Canada - Public Meeting

David has had a long and distinguished career in Canada’s tourism and media sectors. He has extensive experience in national leadership and strategic business planning as well as deep knowledge of communications and stakeholder (government, media and investors) relations. Before joining the CTC in December 2014 as President and CEO, David led the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) from April 2010. At TIAC, David worked to increase industry alignment and has positioned the organization to forge a more forceful and credible voice for tourism issues at the national level. His long history in media and advocacy helped TIAC raise political awareness around tourism as one of the country’s leading export sectors, leading to key initiatives such as the Federal Tourism Strategy. Previous to his work at TIAC, David spent over 14 years in the broadcast and media industry. From 2007 to 2010, David was CTVglobemedia’s Senior Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, directing key elements of the strategic shift from analogue to digital media, driving the change from conventional TV advertising revenue to a subscription-based model and directing all of CTVglobemedia’s major regulatory and public-policy submissions. From 2003 to 2007, David had senior roles at CHUM Limited. In his final year with the company, he was Vice-President, Government and Regulatory Affairs and led the process for mergers and acquisitions, including CHUM’s $1.7 billion acquisition by CTVglobemedia. David began his senior media career at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, one of Canada’s leading advocacy groups. There he developed pan-industry, government and stakeholder relations campaigns, organized cross-sector coalitions and framed key issues for regulators and MPs. David has a Bachelor of Arts (Bilingual) in History and Political Science from York University. Away from work, he is a big fan of Canada’s farm-to-table movement and is a passionate amateur chef. David immerses himself in Canada’s winter experiences as an enthusiastic skier—but he has long since given up hope of keeping up with his kids.


Professor, Ryerson, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Director, Sustaining Tourism

Speaker – Tourism’nomics

Rachel loves both wine and chocolate - both of which are better when they are ethical and sustainable! Being pragmatic, Rachel has a view that tourism must protect the very resources it promotes if it is to thrive. She has over 30 years experience in many sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry and is currently the Director of Sustaining Tourism, a boutique consultancy as well as a Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.


Director Government Affairs – Federal Government and Ontario
Air Canada

Speaker – Beyond Takeoff

Fitti Lourenco is Air Canada’s Director Government Affairs for the Federal Government and Ontario. In this position he is responsible for liaising with the federal government, as well as the government of Ontario and municipalities in the province. In addition to working with elected and non-elected officials in government roles, Fitti also works with community organizations across the province in an effort to provide an open line of communication with all stakeholders touched by the aviation industry and Air Canada operations. Before joining Air Canada, Fitti worked as the Director for Federal Government Relations for a national telecommunications company, as well as a leading government relations firm following several years of working in government. During his years of working in government, Fitti took some time to work in journalism and commnications where he was a foreign news editor for a major news agency based in Istanbul, Turkey.


Executive Editor, Brand Strategy

Speaker – The Future is Already Here

Greg Oates is executive editor of the SkiftX strategy and content group, exploring the convergence of trends reshaping how global travel brands drive growth, engagement, and diversity. His breadth of knowledge across various travel industry sectors has continually helped Skift envision new disruptive trends before the rest of the industry fully acknowledges and embraces them. As such, Greg is often asked to speak and advise on brand strategy, pulling insight from the full scope of leading industry intelligence developed by Skift’s research and editorial departments.


Chief Marketing Officer
Destination Canada

Speaker – Canada’s Success in International Markets

Jon Mamela considers himself to have the best marketing role in the entire country. He puts on the “Team Canada” jersey everyday leading a dynamic team based in 11 international markets that are responsible for building Canada’s tourism brand and inspiring travelers in those markets to make Canada their must-visit destination. Jon joined Destination Canada in 2013 and is guiding the organization’s marketing transformation towards it becoming a media enterprise by engaging and connecting travelers to tourism experiences from coast to coast to coast through integrated storytelling strategies, creating compelling content, and leveraging digital centric eco-systems. He currently has management responsibilities for Global Marketing & Communications, International Business Development, Consumer & Market Intelligence and Brand Partnerships. Before joining Destination Canada, Jon’s career experience includes Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, as well as Procter & Gamble. But one stop along the way that he is most proud of was his time at Travel Alberta as Vice President, Marketing & Sales, where he was fortunate to work with a fantastic team in developing its internationally award-winning brand, “Remember to Breathe.” Born in Chicoutimi Quebec and raised in Saskatchewan, it comes with no surprise that he may enjoy poutine for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that during the CFL season he bleeds green for his beloved Roughriders! Jon graduated from Bethany College, West Virginia with a Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and also holds a Master of Business Administration from Miami University.


Managing Director
Accenture Strategy

Speaker – Travel’s Technology Driven Transformation

Liselotte is a Managing Director with Accenture Strategy leading the Travel Industry. She focuses on Digital Strategy for travel clients to design a seamless travel experience, drive efficient operations and create value from new business models. This in a broader context of experience in helping clients in creating competitive growth strategies, (re)defining operating- and business models and support the transformation. She is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Canopy Growth

Speaker – Taking Tourism to New Heights

Mark is the President of Canopy Growth Corporation, the largest and most recognized cannabis company in the world. With Tweed since its inception, Mark has been a key driver of the Tweed and Canopy Growth vision, ensuring that patients and healthcare practitioners choose Canopy companies as their trusted source of marijuana for medical purposes. This includes overseeing medical and patient outreach strategy, driving operations and advancing corporate market strategy. A graduate from the University of Waterloo in Mathematics, the University of Ottawa in Law, and the University of Cambridge in International Law, Mark has previously kept himself busy providing legal, political and strategic advice to high-profile local and international corporate clients, most recently as Counsel at the Ottawa-Washington international trade law firm of Cassidy Levy Kent. Previously, Mark has served as a Senior Advisor to the Honourable Dwight Duncan, the Ontario Minister of Finance, and has worked internationally at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


MP - Fundy Royal, NB

Speaker – MP Town Hall

As a dedicated community organizer and volunteer, Alaina Lockhart is committed to the region that she grew up in, from the Bay of Fundy to the rolling hills of Kings County. Alaina is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Fundy Royal in New Brunswick and the Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism. She is the first woman ever elected to represent the riding, and has served as a member of the Standing Committees for Agriculture and Agri-Food, and for Veterans Affairs, two areas her constituents have consistently identified as priorities for the region. Since her election, Alaina has presented two motions in the House of Commons focused on growing the economy and strengthening the workforce in Atlantic Canada, both of which passed unanimously. Most recently, her private members motion, M-39 Immigration as a Means of Growth in Atlantic Canada, mandates a Parliamentary study on ways to increase and retain immigrants to Atlantic Canada. Prior to being elected to the Parliament of Canada, Alaina served as a municipal councillor for the Village of Norton, and as the Director of the Royal District Planning Commission. As a member of the greater Sussex business community, she has been a small business owner since 2004, and is a recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Woman Entrepreneur Award. Alaina holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Human Resource Management from the University of New Brunswick Saint John. Alaina currently lives in the Sussex area with her husband, Rick, and their youngest daughter, Lauren.


MP - Banff–Airdrie, AB

Speaker – MP Town Hall

First elected in 2008, Blake Richards was re-elected for a third time in the new riding of Banff-Airdrie on October 19, 2015. Blake serves as the Official Opposition Shadow Minister Democratic Institutions and for Tourism. While serving on the government side of the House of Commons, Blake chaired two standing policy committees and was Chair of the Parliamentary Tourism Caucus. He also frequently represented the government in regional and national media. Always focused on the needs of his constituents, Blake has three times been named Canada’s Best Constituency MP as well as Hardest Working MP, and in 2015 received a Canadian Tourism Award for his work in Parliament on behalf of the tourism industry.


MP - Courtney-Alberni, BC

Speaker – MP Town Hall

Gord Johns is the Member of Parliament for Courtenay-Alberni and the New Democratic Spokesperson for Veterans Affairs, Small Business and Tourism, the Ocean Plastics Campaign, and the All-Party Entrepreneur Caucus. Before he was elected, Gord Johns served his community as a former District of Tofino council member, an award-winning Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, and as an entrepreneur. Gord Johns has built a reputation in Ottawa for his strong advocacy on coastal safety and environmental issues. In particular Gord is known for his relentless work to combat plastic pollution in our waterways, his private Member’s bill to create a national cycling strategy, and his determined advocacy for First Nations rights and economic development opportunities in his riding on Vancouver Island.


President & CEO
Restaurants Canada

Speaker – Tourism’nomics

Shanna Munro is president and CEO of Restaurants Canada whose advocacy efforts provide a platform for the voices of restaurant owners and foodservice operators to be heard. With a career in the foodservice industry that spans more than 25 years, Shanna has earned a reputation as a dynamic visionary. She won’t hesitate to agitate the status quo to bring the strategic transformations required to gain competitive advantage and secure long-term sustainable growth. She excels at providing financial and strategic guidance to diverse business concerns, engineering economic models, and orchestrating brand plans that impart energy and focus throughout the organization. Dead set on the target, she delivers with passion and resolve. Shanna brings her talent and stamina to Restaurants Canada, uniting the supply chain for an industry that generates more than $84 billion a year in economic activity, employs 1.2 million Canadians, and serves more than 18 million customers every day. One of Restaurants Canada’s most value-added annual initiatives is the RC Show, a state-of-the-art forum where foodservice operators explore innovative equipment and products, menu ideations, and leading-edge trends: an industry must!


Rocky Mountaineer

Based in Vancouver, BC, he is the President of Rocky Mountaineer, the largest privately owned luxury tourist train business in the world, the 2015 TIAC Tourism Business of the Year and one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. Rocky Mountaineer offers over 65 unique Canadian vacation packages and four distinctive rail routes showcasing the Pacific Northwest and Alberta. As President, Steve owns the company’s vision, leads its strategic planning, oversees and delivers its performance, and champions its culture. Prior to joining Rocky Mountaineer four years ago, he held the position of CFO with Intracorp Projects, a leading Canadian urban real estate development firm. He is proud to serve on the Board of Directors as Chair for TIAC.


Executive Director
Catalyst Canada

Speaker – The Catalyst Accord

Tanya van Biesen is Executive Director of Catalyst's operations in Canada. She is responsible for leading Catalyst's growth in Canada and shaping strategies to advance Catalyst’s mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion with Supporters, corporate partners, professional organizations, CEOs, senior leaders, and stakeholders. A recognized leader and influencer with deep experience in the executive search sector at the most senior levels of corporate Canada, Tanya brings more than two decades of corporate leadership and diversity experience to Catalyst. Most recently, she co-led the Financial Services Practice at Spencer Stuart and was a key member of the Canadian Boards Practice, focusing on executive search assignments at the board, CEO, and general management levels. She also led the firm’s Canadian Diversity Practice, specializing in the placement of chief diversity officers and diverse slates of candidates across all search assignments. Tanya began her career at Procter & Gamble, working in both Toronto and Calgary in regional and national sales leadership roles. A sought-after speaker on the topic of diversity in the boardroom, Tanya has contributed to several research studies and articles analyzing leadership trends and attributes. She holds an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University, and speaks English, French, and Dutch.


Vice President, Digital & Corporate Communications
Edmonton International Airport

Speaker – Beyond Takeoff

Traci Bednard is Vice President, Digital & Corporate Communications for Edmonton International Airport (EIA). In this executive role, she leads the planning, building and implementing of a Digital Program for EIA, in addition to Public & Government Relations, External Communications, Community Investment and Tourism. Over her tenure with the airport, Traci has led a number of portfolios for the company including passenger and cargo air service, human resources, customer services, operational improvements, rebranding and positioning of EIA, and the establishment of a Passenger Experience department. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree (Political Science and English), which she earned from the University of Alberta, Traci completed the Public Relations program at Grant MacEwan University, and the Business Leadership Program (PLD) from Harvard Business School. Traci contributes to a number of boards and committees in her community, including the Edmonton Global Board, Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Covenant Health Foundation Board, Canada China Business Council, and Edmonton Strategic Tourism Advisory Council. She also participates as a member in a wide variety of organizations including the International Association of Business Communicators, and the International Women’s Forum.


Director, Food Tourism Development & Innovation
Culinary Tourism Alliance

Speaker – Tourism’nomics

Trevor is a socially-minded systems thinker, progressive project manager, and enthusiastic enterpriser. Since 2006, he has supported the development of short value chains and local sustainable food systems in Canada and abroad. Trevor is passionate about collaborating with others to create meaningful change in the way that people experience food, and he enjoys nothing more than working with the communities that make it taste so great. He manages community-based participatory research and development projects focussed on growing food tourism at the local, regional, and national levels. This means Trevor has the pleasure of working closely with a diversity of food system stakeholders, including businesses across the food tourism value chain, various levels of government, public institutions, and other not-for-profits. It also means he regularly gets to travel to destinations near and far. Trevor led the design, development, and implementation of Feast On, the Culinary Tourism Alliance’s social enterprise, which is working to localize economic impact while increasing the demand for Ontario-based food and drink. He has also opened and operated several food-based businesses. He has a background in Law and Human Rights as well as Sustainable Local Food. He is developing curriculum for Canada’s first food tourism post-graduate program at Centennial College and recently contributed a chapter to the Routledge Handbook of Gastronomic Tourism.


Brazeau Seller Law

Speaker – Taking Tourism to New Heights

Trina, co-managing partner at Brazeau Seller Law, is an effective problem solver and trusted advisor to her business clients. While having a broad business law practice, Trina’s area of expertise is cannabis law. As head of BSL’s CannaLaw® group, Trina has emerged as a leading practitioner in cannabis law and is often called upon for comment and opinion. In addition to acting for licensed producers of medical cannabis in Canada, she advises various other cannabis industry participants such as clinics, software/application providers, investors and capital funds, as well as those seeking entry to the soon-to-be legalized consumer (recreational) cannabis market. She also serves on the non-profit board of directors of the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education. Trina is a registered trademark agent and provides counsel to her clients in protecting their intellectual property. She studied at Queen’s University, where she earned Bachelor of Commerce and Juris Doctor degrees. Community involvement is very important to Trina. She sits on the board of directors of The Snowsuit Fund and provides legal services on a pro bono basis to several local not-for-profit organizations, including the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.


President & CEO
Tourisme Montréal

Speaker – Beyond Takeoff

Yves Lalumière has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal since 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Tourism from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and has been active in the tourism industry since 1986. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lalumière held various management positions at American Express, particularly in the areas of business travel, airline agreement negotiations and Government of Canada affairs. In 2006, he joined Transat Distribution Canada as their Vice President, Operations and Business Development, and was appointed Vice President, Distribution Network in 2008, and then Vice President and General Manager in November 2009. In 2011, he became the President of Transat Distribution Canada, the country’s leading retail tour operator. Today, Mr. Lalumière sits on the boards of directors of the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary, C2 MTL and the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec. He is also a member of the World Tourism Cities Federation. In 2016, he was named the Grand Ambassador of the School of Management Science at UQAM.


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