Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers and moderators include some of the region’s most influential decision makers.

Brad Duguid currently serves as Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Growth. He has also served as Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Minister of Energy, Minister of Labour, and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Duguid has held Ontario’s Economic Development portfolio on multiple occasions, and maintains a commitment to creating jobs, promoting Ontario as a smart place to invest, building a culture of entrepreneurship and growing a strong, innovative economy.

Mick Mulvaney is the current director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He was nominated to the post by President Donald J. Trump in December 2016 and confirmed by the Senate on February 16, 2017.

Prior to his time as the director of OMB, he served the people of the 5th District of South Carolina as their Congressman where he was first elected in 2010. He was the first Republican member to hold the seat in 128 years.

A lifelong Carolinas resident, he attended Georgetown University, graduating with honors in International Economics, Commerce, and Finance and graduated as an Honor Scholar – the highest award given to students of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

After college, Mick received his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. He completed his formal education at Harvard Business School's OPM program in 2006.

In addition to practicing law and opening his own firm, he also ran the family real estate business, started a small homebuilding company, and became a minority shareholder in a local family restaurant franchise.

While in Congress, he served on the Budget Committee, Joint Economic Committee, Small Business Committee, Financial Services Committee, and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

He was a founding member of the Indian Land Rotary, a member of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, and founding member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Mission.

Mick and Pam were married in 1998, and are the proud parents of triplets: James, Caroline, and Finnegan, and two great danes: Guinness and Harper.

Scott Brison, the Member of Parliament for Kings–Hants (Nova Scotia), has been elected to Canada's House of Commons in seven general elections between June 1997 and October 2015.

Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Mr. Brison to the federal cabinet as President of the Treasury Board in November 2015. He serves as a member of the key Cabinet Committee on Agenda, Results and Communications that tracks progress on the government’s priorities; the Cabinet Committee on Growing the Middle Class that considers strategies to promote inclusive economic growth, opportunity, employment, and social security; and as Vice-Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Defence Procurement.

During his years in opposition, he notably served as Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. On the international scene, he served as a member of the Trilateral Commission, and he was named by the World Economic Forum of Davos, Switzerland, as one of its "Young Global Leaders."

In Paul Martin’s government, he served as Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and Receiver General of Canada from 2004 to 2006 and previous to that as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister with special emphasis on Canada-U.S. relations.

Mr. Brison has had extensive private sector experience as an entrepreneur and investment banker. He has served as Vice-President of a Canadian investment bank and as Chairman of SeaFort Capital Inc., a Canadian private equity firm.

Mr. Brison and his partner, Maxime St-Pierre live in Cheverie, Nova Scotia, on the shores of the Minas Basin, home of the world's highest tides. He was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, on May 10, 1967, and in 1989 graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance. He has completed the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century Executive Education Program at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

In his spare time, he enjoys economics, foreign policy, sea kayaking, downhill skiing, and growing apples, and has recently planted a small vineyard

Dr. William P. Anderson received his doctorate in Geography from Boston University in 1984. From 1983 to 1998 he was a member of the Geography faculty, director of the Institute for Energy Studies and an associate member of the Department of Civil engineering at McMaster University. From 1998 to 2008 he was a professor in the Department of Geography and a lead researcher in the Center for Transportation Studies at Boston University. He arrived July 1, 2008 as Ontario Research Chair in Cross-Border Transportation Policy, founding director of the Cross-Border Transportation Studies Institute and professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Windsor.

Professor Anderson’s main research interests are in transportation studies; international trade and business; Canada-US economic integration; energy and environmental studies; and urban and regional economic analysis. He has conducted research funded by research councils and government agencies in both the US and Canada. Canadian studies include: cross-border trade and investment, factors driving interregional migration, energy demand in the transportation and commercial sectors, potential impacts of climate change on the energy sector in the Canadian Arctic, models of transportation and land use in cities, and the economic impacts of highway bypasses. US studies include assessing the economic impacts of highway construction projects, potential impacts of climate change on urban transportation systems, analysis of spatial variations in commercial airfares, economic development in highway corridors and the effect of e-commerce on transportation systems.

He has also studied the economic and environmental impacts of transportation systems in Sri Lanka, Mexico and Puerto Rico and is a consultant to the World Bank on the impacts of port and other transportation infrastructure on export performance in developing countries. He has published 60 journal articles and book chapters and is co-editor of three recent books on transportation infrastructure and technologies.

Navdeep Bains was a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management and holds an MBA with a specialization in Finance. As a Certified Management Accountant, he has worked several years in accounting and financial analysis for the Ford Motor Company of Canada.

Navdeep is a long-time resident of both Mississauga and Brampton and has strong ties to the social and cultural associations of Mississauga–Malton. Navdeep has been active in a variety of community organizations, as a board member for the Mississauga Food Bank, having worked with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation, as well as having served as an Ontario board member with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He is the recipient of a number of awards recognizing his work in promoting diversity within his community.

Having served as the Member of Parliament for Mississauga–Brampton South from 2004 to 2011, Navdeep gained extensive experience as the Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Paul Martin and as the Critic for Public Works and Government Services, the Treasury Board, International Trade, Natural Resources, and Small Business and Tourism.

Bruce Heyman was confirmed as President Obama’s personal representative to Canada on March 12, 2014. He is a 33 year veteran of Goldman Sachs, where he served as the managing director of the Private Wealth Management Group from 1999 until December of 2013.

Mr. Heyman has served as a board member for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation. He also served as an advisor to the Fix the Debt CEO Council of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. He has been a member of The Economic Club of Chicago, The Executives’ Club of Chicago, and the Facing History and Ourselves Chicago Advisory Board.

A magna cum laude graduate with both a BA and an MBA from Vanderbilt University, Mr. Heyman continues to maintain close ties to his alma mater. He is past president of the Alumni Board and a former member of the Board of Visitors at the university’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

He is married to the former Vicki Simons of Ashland, Kentucky. They have three grown children, David, Liza, and Caroline, and three grand-children, Emma, Clara, and Brooks.

State of the Great Lakes Economy Session

Douglas Porter has over 25 years of experience analyzing global economies and financial markets. As Chief Economist at BMO Financial Group, he oversees the macroeconomic and financial market forecasts and co-authors the firm’s weekly flagship publication, Focus. Mr. Porter manages the team that won the prestigious Lawrence Klein award for forecast accuracy of the U.S. economy, and was named by Bloomberg as top Canadian forecaster.

As a respected commentator on economic and financial trends, he is regularly quoted in the national press and often interviewed on radio and television.

Before joining BMO, Mr. Porter held the positions of Economist and Country Risk Analyst with other Canadian financial institutions, and also worked at the Bank of Canada.

Mr. Porter has been a member of C.D. Howe’s Monetary Policy Council since 2008 and also serves on the Investment Management Committees of the Bank of Montreal’s Pension Fund Society and Western’s Endowment Fund.

Mr. Porter has been a Chartered Financial Analyst since 1995 and earned a masters degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.


David Welch is Bloomberg’s Detroit bureau chief and has covered the auto industry in Michigan at two different times for 16 years. Before being promoted to bureau chief, Welch was deputy team leader for Bloomberg’s auto team. He also covered merger and acquisitions for Bloomberg in New York, where he was the led reporter on megadeals like Verizon’s acquisition of Verizon Wireless from Vodafon and the Allergan merger with drug maker Actavis. Before joining Bloomberg in 2009, he was BusinessWeek magazine’s Detroit bureau chief for six years. He has an MBA from Michigan State and an economics degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Outside the office, Welch is an avid fencer and very mediocre bagpiper.

Blair Severn is Co-founder and Chairman of the enabling ideas® Community of experts, a North American executive consultancy and a membership Community of best-in-class professional service providers. Blair is also President and Managing Partner of the Toronto based strategy consultancy Azure Corporation.

Currently Blair serves as a Board member and as Chair of the Public Affairs Committee for the bi-national organization the Council of Great Lakes Region. He is also Co-chair of the CanAm Council for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. Previously he was Chairman of the Board of Retail Advertising and Marketing Canada.

Blair has held executive roles in Corporate Strategy, National Marketing and Retail Operations for BMO Financial Group, Sony and Consumers Gas.

With a career built on mobilizing results, he was commissioned to develop and facilitate programs for Entrepreneurs seeking to take their business to a higher level for the University at Buffalo, School of Management, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Blair has a MBA in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking from the University of Toronto, an HBAS in Marketing from York University and BA in Business / Sociology from Brock University.

Dr. Ratna Babu Chinnam is an expert in Big Data & Business Analytics. He received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology of Mangalore University (India) in 1988 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University (U.S.A.) in 1990 and 1994, respectively. He is a Professor in the Industrial & Systems Engineering Department at Wayne State University. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Professor in the Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Department at North Dakota State University from 1994 to 2000. He is the author of over 150 technical publications (journal articles, conference proceedings, and research reports). His research interests include business analytics, big data, supply chain management, freight logistics, operations management, sustainability, healthcare systems engineering, and smart engineering systems. He is currently the Associate Editor for the International Journal of Modeling and Simulation, the International Journal of Quality, Statistics, and Reliability, and the North American Editor for the Journal of Remanufacturing. His past research is funded by the U.S. NSF, DoT, DoD, DoE, and VA. He carried out collaborative research with such multi-national companies as Ford Motor Company, General Dynamics, Intel, Goodyear, and consulted for such companies as Chrysler, Sirius Satellite Radio, Energy Conversion Devices, Dominos, CapGemini, Faurecia, Whirlpool, Steelcase, MRF Tyres, Magna International, DataFactZ, and Tecton. He graduated over 25 doctoral students with many occupying academic positions and is awarded the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. He is a Founding Director for the Big Data & Business Analytics Group at Wayne State University. He is also the founding Director of the Global Executive PhD Track at Wayne State, the first such engineering PhD program in the U.S. He also leads the Business Analytics Spoke for the NSF's Midwest Big Data Hub. He is also the Founding Director for the novel Data Science & Business Analytics MS Degree at Wayne State. His students have won a number of best paper awards from national and international conferences, journals, and professional societies, including the 2013 INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics Society's Best Dissertation Prize (awarded to Farshid Azadian), the 2014 INFORMS ENRE Best Student Paper Award (awarded to Mahyar Nejad), the 2014 POMS College of Sustainable Operations Best Student Paper Runner-Up Award (awarded to Mahyar Nejad), and the IISE Pritsker Doctoral Dissertation Award (awarded to Mahyar Nejad).

Chris Smillie, Tactix Principal, is an experienced government relations and public affairs practitioner with a decade of experience on Parliament Hill in Ottawa negotiating the complex legislative and communications environment for a variety of interests.

Chris is a leader in digital advocacy methods, grassroots organization, coalition building, legislative relationship building and political communication. Over the past decade, he has delivered creative solutions for mandates in energy policy, industrial development policy, workforce and labour issues, immigration, and Canada/US trade.

Dr. Doug Haffner is a Professor and the founding Director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor and is Senior Canada Research Chair in Great Lakes Research. Key research interests of Dr. Haffner include aquatic ecology, developing models of energy/carbon and contaminant dynamics and speciation in Ancient Lakes. He received his Ph.D. from the University of London in the United Kingdom and his B.Sc. from Queen’s University in Canada.

Sarah Goldfeder brings clients high-level insight on the inner workings of the U.S. and Canadian governments, including how they work together on important issues. With 15 years of experience in the U.S. federal government, Sarah most recently served as Special Assistant to two U.S. Ambassadors to Canada, fostering bilateral relationships at the most senior levels. Her expertise in a wide range of policy issues enables her to provide practical short and long-term advice on managing the economic, cultural and political dynamics in North America.

Prior to her arrival in Ottawa, Sarah spent three years in Mexico, as a Foreign Service Officer, cultivating a deep understanding of U.S./Mexico border issues and appreciation for a region revitalizing itself after years of violence and fear. Her experiences have convinced her of the potential for a stronger, more cohesive partnership across the North American continent. In her work, she seeks to maximize the region's ability to advance the movement of people, goods, and services; the supply, production, and use of energy; and balancing the energy and environment equation. Sarah has also served in Southeast Asia, giving her a global perspective on North American policy development and an appreciation of the opportunities available both within and beyond the Western hemisphere.

Sarah is a North American nomad, with a father from Brooklyn, a mother from Chicago, and a life lived in eight states, six countries, and three continents. She calls the West her home, having studied at the University of Oregon and Colorado State University. In addition to her consulting work with the Earnscliffe team, she also serves as a North American advisor at Canada 2020.

David Scanlan is the managing editor for Canada at Bloomberg News. He's responsible for the news coverage in the country from bureaus in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and Winnipeg.

Scanlan joined Bloomberg in 1996 when he opened the office in Bogota, Colombia. He later served as bureau chief in Lima, Sao Paulo and Madrid, before returning to his hometown of Toronto in 2003.

His awards and scholarships include the Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists scholarship to report on human rights abuses in Guatemala; a finalist notation for investigative reporting by the Canadian Association of Journalists and an Ottawa community service award for his series on the homeless in Canada's capital. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Before joining Bloomberg, Scanlan was a business and features reporter at the Ottawa Citizen. The honors journalism graduate from Carleton University has also worked for the CBC, The Economist, The Financial Times, Miami Herald, Toronto Star and Maclean's magazine. Scanlan is married with three children, who, like him, love to play hockey.

Olivier has been president of Business Families Foundation (BFF) since 2014. The foundation, with its head office in Canada, provides multi-media education to Entrepreneurial Families around the world. For the decade prior to leading BFF, Olivier was the CEO of the Family Business Network International and was responsible for launching thirty family business owners’ associations, serving more than 7,000 family businesses worldwide.

As part of this effort, Olivier has developed the Family Business Global Summit seen as the "leading global event for business families”.

Forward-thinker, Olivier has a deep passion for geopolitics and the contributions of family owned businesses to the economy at large. In this vein, he speaks regularly at International conferences on the importance of Entrepreneurial Families to the global economy, including at the Global Economic Symposium, Liberty fund, Free Market Roadshow and more.

Olivier avidly supports the creation of initiatives that allow for the development of new economic models, helping families adapt for the betterment of their communities, businesses and families. The most recent venture, the Intrapreneurial Initiative, an innovative program bridging the gap between two generations of family business members so that the knowledge, expertise and value generated may be preserved in a way that responds to the specific needs and desires of each generation.

Before his work with family businesses, Olivier spent 20 years in the tourism industry, in both public and private sectors. His experience includes developing and implementing international tourism strategies for entities including Euro Disney Resort and France Tourism. In addition to his career achievements, Olivier has participated in a EU economic development mission in Crimea and humanitarian missions to Lebanon, Iraq, Ethiopia and Armenia.

He is a board member of Mission Enfance, an NGO based in Monaco.

Olivier, 53, is Swiss and French, holds his MBA from HEC in Paris, and is married with 4 children.

Plenary Perspectives

Andrew is a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Performance Enhancement Advisory and one of the leaders in the Consumer Business practice which includes the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure sector. With over ten years of industry experience and five years of experience at Deloitte, Andrew has successfully delivered multiple assignments in the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure industry. His clients include both private and public sector organizations whom he advises clients across a range of issues including market assessments, commercial due diligence, business cases, performance measurement and performance improvement. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University and a Masters of Business Administration from Queens University.

Olga Stella leads the Detroit Creative Corridor Center whose mission is to strengthen Detroit’s creative industries by supporting small businesses and championing the role of design in Detroit’s economy. In this role, she is applying her background in public policy and coalition-building to a new challenge, activating Detroit’s designation as the only UNESCO City of Design in the United States. Olga has spent her career focused on community and economic development in Detroit, leading directly to over $200 million in investment in the city. She spent the bulk of her career working closely with the City of Detroit and driving strategy and programs at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, where she started as a project manager and left as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that, she served Mayor Dennis Archer as an Assistant to the Mayor for Economic Development, and then as Chief of Staff to former State Representative Steve Tobocman, who represented the ethnically diverse community of Southwest Detroit. Olga lives with her family in Detroit and is active in the community, serving on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.

Marc-André is CPCS’s Chief Operating Officer. He also heads the company’s North American Division. He has led over 150 transportation-sector management consulting assignments for public and private sector clients in North America, Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa. Marc-André directed the development of the Multimodal Transportation Strategy for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Region. He was the top MBA graduate from the Schulich School of Business (2004) and is the Immediate Past President of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum.

Andre is responsible for positioning SecureKey’s growth strategy, cultivating opportunities in new and existing markets, and promoting demand for the company’s solutions globally. He serves as SecureKey’s digital identity evangelist. He recognized as a global leader in digital identity by One World Identity (2017) and Innovate Identity (2016).

Prior to joining SecureKey, Andre co-founded and served as chief technology officer of 724 Solutions Inc. Previously, he served as chief technology officer for Footprint Software and as chief executive officer for the company’s Asia Pacific business. In 1999, he was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in recognition of his vision and accomplishments. From 1990 to 1994, he served as chief executive officer of Open Systems Limited. Andre has also served on the boards of 724 Solutions Inc., Dexit Inc., Footprint Software Pty. Ltd., and 305 Management Services.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Ottawa, an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education from the University of Maine at Presque Isle. He currently lectures at Wilfred Laurier’s Schlegel Entrepreneurship Centre.

The president and CEO the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and a founder of Adopt Inc., Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien is an accomplished entrepreneur who has established numerous start-ups and turn-arounds over the past 20 years. Currently working with 14 companies, Philippe has a number of key strengths that distinguish him from the general entrepreneurial environment.

Philippe loves finding trends before they become mainstream. He then starts or acquires companies to take advantage of these opportunities. Such trends include the consolidation of radio stations, growth of the cellular phone, cellular tower consolidation, broadband wireless expansion especially in machine to machine communications (M2M), redevelopment of inner cities, creation of niche brands in the spirits industry, the development of platforms for wearable devices, the opportunity for data mining and the exploding growth In the anti-aging revolution.

Philippe has been involved in 15 start-ups but more recently prefers finding companies that have a key product but have failed to properly commercialize it. He buys them at a significant discount, restructures them and uses them as a platform to consolidate an industry.

One of Philippe's fundamental beliefs is to focus on business to business companies (B-to-B) and develop niche strategies that will allow for the domination of an industry. He believes that most companies focusing on business to consumer (B-to-C) are in a far more competitive environment and even if they have a key strategic asset, the capital required for growth is too great for them to succeed without major outside support. Philippe loves acquiring these businesses as they exhaust themselves and redirect them to the B-to-B market. If Philippe does get involved in B-to-C he ensures that he is partnered up with a dominant player -- generally another family or organization who specializes in the industry.

Education and Involvement

  • BA, University of Western Ontario; 1981
  • M.Ed, McGill University; 1983
  • MBA, Harvard University; 1988
  • Completed the Investment Analyst Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania., 1993

Foundations: CEO of the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation, a founder of Adopt Inc.

He has two children, Philippe IV and Louis, and a wife, Nannette.

Philippe IV de Gaspé Beaubien is one of the founders of AquaHacking, a multi-generational, multi-sector and multi-stakeholder movement that aims to conserve the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin, and to foster the quality and responsible use of its waters. Philippe IV is enrolled within the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he has created a major based on social entrepreneurship and sustainable development. He had previously acquired work experience as a summer intern with CIBC Financial Services and, and now works part-time as a sous-chef.

Bernadette M. Rappold, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Washington, DC office, focuses her practice on federal and state regulatory issues related to energy and the environment. Bernadette has substantial litigation experience and advises clients on regulatory compliance as well as the environmental, safety and health aspects of numerous business and real estate transactions, including water, air and chemical hazards. Bernadette offers clients perspective gained through years of service at the Environmental Protection Agency. While serving as a director of the Special Litigation and Projects Division in the Office of Civil Enforcement at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Bernadette led complex enforcement actions in response to violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and other environmental statutes. Her work at the EPA covered a variety of economic and industrial sectors including the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and agriculture industries.

Drawing on her EPA experience, Bernadette has, among other things: successfully defended clients in federal and state environmental enforcement actions under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and RCRA; helped clients obtain permits under the Clean Air Act and other statutes; advised clients in conducting audits and achieving 100 percent penalty mitigation under state and federal audit policies or statutes; conducted transactional environmental due diligence and drafted environmental risk provisions of SEC filings; and defended licensees from wrongful whistleblower investigations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She works extensively with renewable fuel producers to obtain maximum financial credits under federal and state programs, and assists utilities in complying with state renewable portfolio standards.

She writes and speaks frequently on EPA policy, practice and rulemakings.

Meredith Lilly, PhD holds the Simon Reisman Chair in International Affairs (2016-2021) at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Dr. Lilly is an award-winning researcher and public policy expert. She served as Foreign Affairs and International Trade Advisor to Canada’s Prime Minister from 2013-2015 and as Social Policy Advisor from 2012-2013. She has extensive experience in free-trade negotiations and international trade, public policy development, executive branch decision making, international security matters, and Canada-US relations. In 2014, she was listed among the Top 100 people influencing Canadian foreign policy by Power and Influence Magazine.

During her tenure as the Prime Minister’s International Trade advisor, Dr. Lilly oversaw the conclusion of Canada’s free-trade negotiations with the European Union, Korea, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership among others. On the foreign affairs file, she spearheaded within the Prime Minister’s Office Canada’s response to multiple humanitarian crises and global conflicts, led Canada’s renewal of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health initiative and the launch of its International Education Strategy.

Dr. Lilly’s current research is focused on global demographic transition and Canada's economic interests, labour mobility provisions in multilateral free-trade agreements, and Canada-US relations. Dr. Lilly holds a Postdoctoral Certificate in Economics from McMaster University (2011), a PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Toronto (2008) and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Development from the University of Toronto (1998). In addition to academic appointments at several Canadian universities, she has previously held positions in the federal Office of the Minister of State for Seniors, the University of British Columbia, the Hospital for Sick Children, and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

Anthony Scriffignano in an internationally recognized data scientist with over 35 years experience in multiple industries and enterprise domains. Dr. Scriffignano has extensive background in linguistics and advanced algorithms, leveraging that background as primary inventor on multiple patents worldwide. He provides thought leadership globally, including serving as a forum panelist at the World Internet Conference hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuzhen, China and providing subject matter expertise to the US National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee Report to the President on Big Data Analytics. He was recently published in CIOReview (US), Mint (India) and quoted in various publications including China Daily, Xinhua and Peoples Daily. He was profiled by InformationWeek and by BizCloud, and was a recent CXOTalk guest. He regularly presents at government, business and academic venues globally regarding emerging trends in data and information stewardship relating to the “Big Data” explosion, multilingual challenges in business identity, “dark innovation”, and cross-border regulatory concerns.

Panel Speakers

Rosa Galvez, originally from Peru, is one of Canada’s leading experts in pollution control and its effect on human health. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from McGill University and has been a professor at Université Laval à Québec since 1994, heading the Civil and Water Engineering Department from 2010 to 2016. She specializes in water and soil decontamination, waste management and residues, and environmental impact and risk assessment.

Throughout her career, she has been requested by private, governmental and community organisations to offer expert advice. She has also advised a number of international organisations including on Canada-US and Quebec-Vermont agreements regarding the protection of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. She also conducted an important study on the catastrophic oil spill at Lac-Mégantic, Québec.

Senator Galvez is a member of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers and Engineers Without Borders. Her research has led her around the world to countries such as France, Italy, Belgium, Japan and China.

Senator Galvez was appointed to the Senate of Canada on December 6, 2016, representing Québec (Bedford).

The Honorable Sandy K. Baruah is president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, one of the largest in the country. Under Baruah’s leadership, the Chamber’s signature initiatives include Forward Detroit, a comprehensive, forward looking regional development approach; MICHauto, a state-wide strategy to advance next generation automotive and mobility developments in Michigan, and the Mackinac Policy Conference, one of the nation’s largest and longest running public policy conference hosting national keynote speakers and the state’s top public and private leadership. Baruah joined the Chamber in 2010 after a distinguished career in Washington, D.C. He served as President George W. Bush’s last Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In this role, he was the chief executive responsible for the SBA’s 4,000 national employees and $18 billion small business loan portfolio. Baruah was one of the senior officials shaping the federal government’s response to the 2008 credit crisis and assistance to the U.S. automotive industry.

Prior to leading the SBA, Baruah served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce. In this role he had responsibility for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), served as the Senior Advisor to the Commerce Secretary for the 2010 Census and represented the U.S. government before the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France. Before serving in the George W. Bush Administration, Baruah was a corporate mergers and acquisitions consultant for the Performance Consulting Group. He also served in the administration of President George H. W. Bush (1989–1993) and was on the staff of U.S. Senator Bob Packwood.

After leaving government service in early 2009, he was a Distinguished Fellow at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, a Washington, D.C.- based think tank comprised of corporate CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders focused on American economic competitiveness.

Baruah holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon and a Master of Business Administration from Willamette University. Baruah serves on the boards of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, Automotive Hall of Fame, Detroit Economic Club and Riverfront Conservancy. He is a former Advisory Board Member of Wavepoint Ventures and Spain’s Orkestra – Institute of Competitiveness.

In 2016, Baruah was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as Chairman of the 21st Century Economy Commission. He is a frequent commentator on local and national media regarding national political developments, automotive industry matters and Detroit and Michigan issues.

Sandy and Lisa Baruah have one son, live in a household run by the family pets and previously lived in Portland, Oregon and Washington, D.C.

Ilan Jacobson is the Founding Partner & CEO of FirePower Capital. He leads the firm, setting its strategic direction and providing strategic guidance on key transactions undertaken by the Investment Bank. He also assesses new direct investments for FirePower’s Gap Debt Fund. Previously, Ilan served was a Portfolio Manager at a leading venture capital firm in Toronto, where he sat on numerous boards. Ilan received his MBA from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University and has an honours degree in Science with a specialization in genetics from the University of Western Ontario.

Mark is a leader in the healthcare, technology, and financial services industries with over 29 years of experience as an entrepreneur, senior executive, board member, and investor at some of North America’s leading public and private organizations.

He currently is Chairman & CEO of Exelerate Capital (Toronto), a strategic advisory group founded in 2001, that provides corporate finance, M&A, business valuation, IT strategy, privacy and security, and governance/risk/compliance (GRC) services to healthcare technology and professional services organizations, financial institutions and private equity funds in Canada, New York and California. He also leads the group’s growth capital investing and innovation funding activities, in the healthcare IT (digital health) sector as the Managing Partner of EXELERATE Health.

He has been an innovator in North America focusing on stakeholder and community engagement, the bridging of technology to both primary care and homecare, and influencing significant positive change in the broader healthcare sector. He also has led many venture capital financings, both as a fund manager and as an operating executive, completing many equity and debt financings (ranging from $5 million to $600 million) and acquisitions and divestitures (ranging from $1 million to $200 million).

Prior to founding Exelerate, he held several executive leadership roles including: Executive Vice President and CFO and Corporate Secretary at AirIQ Inc., a leading publicly-listed IoT company, and he was Chief Risk Officer and CFO and Corporate Secretary at Jameson Bank, a federal OSFI-regulated Schedule I Bank. He also led successful entrepreneurial start-ups such as Caught in the Web Inc., which was sold to CGI in 2001, and held management roles at IBM Canada Ltd., Crownx Inc. (parent and predecessor company of Extendicare Health Services), and Ernst & Young where he was a Founding Member, Venture Group. During various periods between 2008 to 2012, he was also the most senior advisor for strategic planning and integrations, and sometimes Acting CIO for the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres (OACCAC), when the “CHRIS” technology and case management platform was implemented across Ontario, and when he developed the sector’s draft mobile health strategy.

He currently or in the past, has served as a Board member or Advisory Board member, for some of Canada’s leading healthcare and technology companies and financial institutions including, QHR Corporation, Canada’s leading publicly-listed and single largest EMR platform company where he was the Executive Chairman and championed the strategy and profitable transformation of its varied healthcare assets that led to the recently announced and profitable sale to Loblaw Companies Limited; Community Trust Company, a federally-regulated trust company where he was the Chairman; Medeo Health; Privacy Horizon Inc., an early-stage organization that provides B2B privacy and security software platforms and training tools for healthcare organizations where he is the Chairman; Shift Health Paradigms Ltd.; Epic Canadian Healthcare Funds, a venture capital organization that specializes in small and med-cap investing in healthcare; and Medcurrent Corp., a radiology clinical decision support technology company deployed in California.

Mark has also been an Adjunct Professor at York University (Toronto) since 2007, where he lectures at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and has delivered the business case analysis, M&A, and advanced accounting and strategy topics courses.

He is an active industry spokesperson, having presented at several North American seminars and conferences, most recently at The Ontario Bioscience and Innovation Organization’s (OBIO) seminar on the topic of attracting angel investment in healthcare and life sciences companies, and The Canada Health Infoway (CHI) Partnerships Conference on the topics of Consumer Health, and the Deployment of Innovation in Healthcare Technology in Canada. Mark is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, and a Certified Corporate Director having obtained his ICD.D designation from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He obtained his BComm (Honours) from Queen’s University at Kingston, where he was awarded the D.I. McLeod Scholarship and Edyth Whyte Prize for highest standing in Economics at the University.

John O'Gara is the Regional Manager for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Export Solutions Group at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Mr. O'Gara is responsible for the counseling and training of Michigan and Indiana-based exporters in the areas of trade finance, deal structuring, payment methods and risk mitigation. He is also responsible for the marketing and delivery of SBA’s export finance programs to Lenders in Michigan and Indiana.

Mr. O’Gara serves as an ex-officio member of the East Michigan District Export Council and also serves on the U.S. Commercial Service’s Automotive Team.

Mr. O'Gara has been actively involved in export promotion in Michigan since 1988 and this year will celebrate 37 years of service with SBA.

Mr. O’Gara holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Wayne State University.

Roshan Mohan has over 20 years of experience in leading teams focused on export promotion, strategy consulting, economic development, foreign direct investment attraction, and S&T partnerships.

He was appointed as the Director of the Business Engagement Branch for the Ontario Ministry of International Trade in February 2017. In this role, he is setting up a new Branch to provide One Window access for Ontario exporters to the various export support resources available in the Province, developing outcome driven collaborations between various organizations in Ontario that assist exporters, and developing and implementing new programs and services to prepare exporters. He is the co-chair of the Canada Ontario Export Forum (COEF) and the Ministry Liaison Director for the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO).

His previous experience in the Ontario Government includes a diplomatic positing as Ontario’s Consul and Senior Economic Officer at the Ontario International Trade and Investment office at the Canadian Consulate in New York to cover the Northeastern US. He used to be the Acting Director and Manager of Ontario Government's Export Services Branch which offers a range of programs and services for Ontario companies trying to grow in international markets. He has also held Manager and Team Leader positions in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) attraction team in the Ontario Government.

Before joining the Ontario Government, he was a Director of Enterprise Honolulu, an economic development organization focused on growing and diversifying Hawaii's economy, where he set the strategic direction by developing strategic and operational plans and led action teams to diversify the economy, attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Hawaii, and retained and expanded existing businesses (BRE).

Roshan also has extensive private sector experience, and he used to be the Regional Manager of ICR Corporate Research for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia region, and he led the market research and strategy consulting practice and oversaw the execution of projects in multiple sectors in 21 countries.

Roshan holds an MBA in Engineering Management from Coventry University in the UK, MS in Information Systems from Hawaii Pacific University in the USA, Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Kerala in India, and an Ivey Executive certification from University of Western Ontario in Canada.

Mayor Drew Dilkens is proud to represent one of the most exciting, modern, diverse and affordable cities in North America – the City of Windsor. After serving on City Council for eight years, he was elected as the city’s Mayor in 2014.

Mayor Dilkens is a lifelong resident of the City of Windsor. He has a Bachelor of Commerce and a law degree from the University of Windsor, called to the bar in 2012. He also has a Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University and received his Doctorate of Business Administration from the International School of Management in Paris, France. He also holds the professional designation of a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL), along with training certificates from the Canadian Foreign Service Institute, Canadian Securities Institute and Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States.

Dr. Anne Snowdon is a Professor and academic chair of the World Health Innovation Network, at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business, Snowdon leads the World Health Innovation Network at the Odette School of Business, the first Canadian health innovation centre with formal ties to the United States. She works to build collaborative partnerships between the two countries to advance the health of populations, accelerate health system innovation to achieve sustainability, economic value, and productivity by providing support for innovators and entrepreneurs to successfully bring their discoveries to the Canadian, U.S., and world markets.

Currently, Snowdon is leading over 15 innovation research initiatives across seven Canadian provinces that collaborate with government, health professionals, private industry, foundations and families. She is a member of the Institute for Health System Innovation of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and is a Board Member of Alberta Innovates.

Snowdon has published more than 100 research articles, papers and cases, has received over $15 million in research funding, holds patents, and has commercialized a highly successful booster seat product for children traveling in vehicles. She holds a PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan. She is a Fulbright Scholar.

Stephen Beatty is Vice President and Corporate Secretary of Toyota Canada Inc. He is responsible for Human Resources, Administration, Legal, Information Services, Corporate Planning, Communications, Marketing, and Customer Experience Management.

Beatty began with Toyota Canada in 1998 as National Manager, Government and Public Relations.

Prior to joining Toyota Canada, Beatty worked for 10 years as Executive Director of the Canadian Apparel Manufacturers Institute and the Canadian Apparel Federation, the Ottawa-based national trade associations for the clothing industry in Canada. In those roles, Beatty led the industry’s efforts to transform into a modern, export-based business. He brought to that task extensive experience in strategic planning, policy development and media relations. He was a senior political advisor in Ottawa, including Chief of Staff to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Beatty has been actively involved with a number of volunteer advisory boards and was most recently Chair of the Board of Directors of AUTO21, a network of centres of excellence focusing on Canadian research expertise to improve the global competitiveness of Canada’s automotive industry.

Beatty holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in political studies (University of Guelph) and sociology (Carleton University), and a Master's degree in public administration (Carleton University).

Dan is an international trade and customs lawyer who specializes in Canada-United States and North American matters. In addition to his legal practice, Dan has responsibility for coordinating the firm’s innovative Canada-US Platform where Dickinson Wright is one of a limited number of legal service providers that have full-service offices located in Canada and the United States, and the only firm with offices located in the key North American trade corridors ranging from the Great Lakes Region, the U.S. Southeast, and the U.S. Southwest. Dan collaborates with more than 400 Dickinson Wright attorneys who regularly assist businesses that are navigating the cross-border regulatory and legal environment on issues such as customs and regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, M&A, taxation, business immigration, intellectual property protection, and financial incentives. Dan also provides public policy counsel to government officials and industry leaders in areas of regulatory cooperation, border security, economic development, labor mobility, and public-private-partnerships.

A US-licensed lawyer, Dan is one of the few individuals that has served in the US and Canadian governments, as well as private practice and academia. Prior to joining Dickinson Wright, Dan served as an officer in Canada’s foreign ministry where he was responsible for coordinating a network of government departments and Canada-US industry associations toward improving North America’s borders and ports-of-entry. Dan was the Managing Director of the Canada-United States Law Institute, an organization of cross-border corporate executives and in-house counsel, law firms, public policy experts, scholars and the media housed at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Western Ontario. Dan was a visiting professor of law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law for nearly a decade and managed a lab that served as a legal adviser to the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Coast Guard. Dan’s US government experience also includes serving as a Career Judicial Law Clerk to United States District Judge Peter C. Economus (OHND).

Dan is the President of the Ohio-Canada Business Association, the Vice-President of the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council, and the Vice Chair and National Board Member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada. His commentary may be found in various media outlets including the The Wall Street Journal, the CBC, and the Business News Network.

Mr. Cautillo is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and for over ten years has been involved in the planning of the new crossing as a contractor providing project and financial advisory services during the environmental assessment and planning stages of the crossing project.

Prior to Mr. Cautillo’s appointment as WDBA’s first President and CEO, he was a partner with Deloitte - one of Canada's leading professional services firms – and was a key player in the firm’s Infrastructure Advisory and Project Finance practice.

Prior to this, Mr. Cautillo spent 23 years with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation where he acquired extensive experience in many infrastructure projects, such as major P3 projects, highway operations, railways, municipal transit, airport design and construction and toll highways, most notably on the Highway 407 project.

He is a graduate of the University of Toronto with both a Bachelor of Applied Science (Civil Engineering), and a Masters of Engineering.

Representative Cory Mason
Assembly District 66 (D - Racine)

Born Racine, January 25, 1973; married; 2 daughters, 1 son. Graduate Case H.S. (Racine); B.A. in philosophy UW-Madison. Full-time legislator. Member: Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (Chairman)River Alliance of Wis. (fmr. bd. mbr.); UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (fmr. bd. mbr.); League of Conservation Voters; Racine Heritage Museum; Root River Council; Wild Root Co-op; I-94 Labor Development Com. (fmr. co-chp.). Former member: Wis. Coastal Management Bd.; Racine Rotary West. Redevelopment Authority of Racine 2005-11 (commissioner).

Elected to Assembly 2006; reelected since 2008.

Mr. Burrows was appointed President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce effective December 2016. Most recently, he was with TACTIX Government Relations and Public Affairs where he led their ‘Transportation and Infrastructure’ practice.

Mr. Burrows draws on strong advocacy skills and close to 35 years of experience in the transportation and industrial sectors, having held progressively senior positions at Canadian Pacific in Canada and Europe, before serving as a senior executive at the Railway Association of Canada, including as Acting President/CEO.

Mr. Burrows has attained a distinguished list of achievements for the organizations he has represented including passage of major legislation, tax freezes, capital cost allowance improvements, and federal government funding for major capital projects.

In the past he has been a board director of the Transportation Association of Canada, the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council, the Canadian Society of Association Executives (OG) and member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Transportation and International Affairs committees and the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy’s Advisory Committee. He was co-founder of the Ottawa “Learning Lunches” series for association senior executive development.

Mr. Burrows is active in his community and serves on the board of The Vimy Foundation. In 2012, Mr. Burrows was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work to raise awareness of the national importance of Canada’s victory at Vimy Ridge.

A graduate of Upper Canada College and Queen's University with a business degree, he is also a credited member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport.

He is married to Maria Amalia Leyba of the Dominican Republic, and has four children.

Allen Lalonde is IBM Canada’s Senior Executive responsible for IBM’s Research & Development Centre and Strategic Innovation Initiatives, a role he has held since May 2013. The IBM Canada R&D Centre and Innovation Office was established to drive social and economic growth in Canada through IBM’s leadership, participation and support of collaborative innovation initiatives and models.

In this role, Allen collaborates with Federal and Provincial governments, academic institutions and researchers, and industry associations and partners to progress such initiatives. He leads a team of research, business development and operations leaders who are dedicated to exciting research projects to answer Canada’s most pressing challenges. IBM supports these efforts by working together and very closely with numerous research and development consortiums across the country. Allen also contributes to the innovation agenda in Canada by participating on multiple advisory councils and committees, and working with government, industry and academic working groups to establish new pursuits.

Allen participates in and has leadership roles across numerous national and provincial Innovation leadership boards including, amongst others, the:

  • Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP)
  • Ontario’s Innovation Incubation Initiative
  • Centre for Health Informatics and Analytics (CHIA) –Newfoundland
  • Centre of Excellence for Health Innovation – Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Centre for Analytics Research, Education and Training (CARET) – Nova Scotia
  • Ocean Economy Research and Collaboration Initiative – Nova Scoatia
  • Quebec Collaborative Innovation Platform Steering Committee

Prior to this role, Allen has spent 13 years with IBM in a variety of senior leadership positions across multiple IBM divisions and with IBM Corporate Business Development & M&A.

Prior to IBM, Allen spent 15 years in increasingly senior capacities in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, in roles which included leadership responsibility for product development, research, consumer and government affairs, sales, marketing and general management.

Allen holds two degrees in Chemistry and Integrated Science Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa. Based in Ottawa, Allen is married with two children.

Adam Twarog joined Export Development Canada in 2014, bringing 20 years of experience in business development, project finance, marketing, and product management. Adam’s private and public sector experience in energy, telecom, agriculture, and software brings depth and breadth of expertise to assist Canadian companies in growing their international trade initiatives. His team at EDC is responsible for debt transaction origination with US foreign buyers, and facilitation of trade opportunities for Canadian exporters and investors in the US market.

He is a graduate of the Ivey School of Business (MBA), London, Canada, and the University of Waterloo (Bachelor of Engineering), Waterloo, Canada.

Export Development Canada is Canada’s international financial institution with a mandate to help Canadian companies respond to international trade and investment opportunities. As a profitable and self funded corporation that operates on commercial principles, EDC enables the growth of Canadian business into foreign markets through financing, insurance, and market intelligence.

Joe Cimperman was born in Cleveland to a Slovenian family in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood. He is a proud graduate of St. Ignatius High School (1988) and John Carroll University (1992). While attending John Carroll, Cimperman won the Beaudry Award for Christian servant leadership and academic achievement and also founded Project GOLD, an awardwinning international community service organization dedicated to assisting underprivileged families. Joe served two years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, working with developmentally challenged adults in Portland, Maine and at the Don Miller AIDS Hospice in Baltimore, Maryland. After a successful tenure with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Joe returned home to Cleveland to serve as an outreach worker at Cleveland’s West Side Catholic Center. In 2003, Cimperman was selected as a Fellow for the prestigious German Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a program of the German Marshall Fund.

Cimperman was elected to Cleveland City Council in 1997 and served until 2016. As councilman, he focused his efforts on community revitalization. Working diligently, he created and invigorated of 30 block clubs in order to foster a sense of community for the many neighborhoods he interconnected, and self-supported community filled with passion and energy.

He has also been a strong proponent of making Cleveland a welcoming city for newcomers. In 2016, he introduced emergency resolution 1459-15 in City Council to send a signal that Cleveland would be a welcoming city to those who are coming as refugees from all over the world, including the Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing war and strife. The resolution specifically opposed Ohio House Resolution HCR 31 against allowing Syrian refugees in Ohio. City Council Resolution 1459-15 reiterated that “all refugees, regardless of faith or country of origin are welcome in the City of Cleveland.”

Cimperman is currently the President of Global Cleveland, an organization whose vision is to create a welcoming region that is a place of opportunity and prosperity for people of all racial, ethnic and international backgrounds. Cimperman lives in Ohio City with his wife Nora and children.

Dr. David J. Closs holds the John H. McConnell Chair in Business Administration and Chairperson of the Department of Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University. Dr. Closs received his BS, MBA, and PhD from MSU. Dr. Closs actively participates in logistics executive development seminars and has presented sessions in North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe. Dr. Closs’ recent research includes supply chain design and strategy, the role of supply chain in economic development, food safety, sustainability, and creating competitive advantage through supply chain management. Dr. Closs has authored and co-authored numerous articles and textbooks that have been published in over ten languages. Dr. Closs is an active member in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and The Supply Chain Council. He is on the Board of Directors of the Supply Chain Council. He was Editor of the Journal of Business Logistics and is Executive Editor of Logistics Quarterly. Dr. Closs received the Distinguished Faculty Award from MSU in 2013.

Melissa Cragin is Executive Director of the Midwest Big Data Hub, based in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Prior to joining NCSA, Melissa spent four years in the Office of the Assistant Director, Directorate of Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF), serving first as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow and most recently as Staff Associate, where she guided the development of data policy and accelerated community engagement on research data management and public access. Previous to her work with the federal government, Melissa was on the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, where she led the Data Curation Education Program and conducted research in the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship. She has a PhD from UIUC, an MLIS from Rutgers University, and an M.Ed. from Rhode Island College.

Alex Greco is the Public Affairs Manager with GS1 Canada, the world’s leading supply chain standards organization. Alex brings with him valuable government and communication experience built on the responsibility of driving strategy and execution of all public affairs components for key organizational initiatives.

Currently at GS1 Canada, Alex has worked in multiple industries in government relations and public policy ranging from international trade, agriculture, healthcare, transportation, pharmacy, energy and foodservice. He has planned and executed various media monitoring, regulatory affairs, government/stakeholder relations, advocacy and public relations strategies. Alex sits on a number of internal and external domestic and international committees on behalf of the organization to advance Canadian public policy objectives.

Prior to joining GS1 Canada, Alex was an Executive Assistant to Councillor Vincent Crisanti, the Current Deputy Mayor of Etobicoke where he obtained significant media and public relations experience. As well as experience as the Ontario Policy Analyst of the Official Opposition he acquired valuable research, communications, policy and political outreach skills. In the spring of 2012, Alex worked as a Policy Intern for Toronto Election Services where he prepared a report that analyzed online voting in the City of Toronto and how it could be implemented in future elections.

At present, he is the President of the GS1 Canada Toastmaster’s Club, the Vice-President of the York Mills Gardens Community Association and a director on the St. Michael’s College Alumni Association. Alex has volunteered on various political campaigns where he has been an advisor to candidates, organized political fundraisers and performed public policy research. Alex has also contributed to various other organizations, including the University of Toronto Alumni Association and the North York Harvest Food Bank.

Alex earned both his Honours Bachelor of Arts (H.B.A) in political science and criminology and Masters of Arts (M.A.) in political science from the University of Toronto.

Sarah Wayland is the Project Manager for Global Hamilton in the Economic Development Division in the City of Hamilton. A dual US-Canadian citizen, she earned her PhD in political science from the University of Maryland. Before coming to the City of Hamilton, she owned her own consulting business focusing on various social issues, especially immigration, settlement, and employment. She has conducted research for various government and nongovernmental organizations, including Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Government of Ontario, Region of Peel, Maytree, Metcalf Foundation, and Community Foundations of Canada. From 2005 to 2014, she served on the board of directors of Hamilton’s largest settlement agency the Immigrant Women’s Centre, including as Secretary and President.

Margaret has over 20 years’ experience in leadership in the non-profit sector. Since 2012, she has served as Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, a multi-stakeholder council that brings leaders together to create and champion solutions to better integrate immigrants in the GTA labour market.

At TRIEC, Margaret led stakeholders in the creation of a new strategic plan to increase the impact and scale of TRIEC’s work. She was instrumental in creating a partnership with LEAP the Centre for Social Impact to scale the impact of TRIEC’s flagship program, the Mentoring Partnership, to support many thousands more skilled immigrants to find meaningful employment.

Previously, she served as President of ABC Life Literacy, a national organization that inspires adult Canadians to increase their literacy and essential skills. She was also active in publishing in leadership roles with the Association of Canadian Publishers and Magazines Canada. She has also held marketing and fundraising roles in leading Canadian arts organizations including the Stratford Festival, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the Royal Conservatory of Music.

She has volunteered as a mentor for the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends and as a board member and advisor for many not-for-profit organizations in immigration, literacy and the arts. In 2012, she was awarded a Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to literacy and culture.

Margaret has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Since 2009, Steve Tobocman has spearheaded Global Detroit, a regional economic development initiative that is nationally-recognized as an innovator and expert in leveraging international talent to fill regional businesses’ unmet talent needs, catalyzing the growth and development of immigrant entrepreneurs, and building a global region with competitive advantages in job creation, business growth, and community development.

Global Detroit has launched leading-edge programs in international student talent retention, professional talent connection, immigrant entrepreneurship, and neighborhood revitalization. Global Detroit has served as the foundation for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Michigan Office for New Americans.

In addition to directing Global Detroit, Steve created and helps lead the Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network at Welcoming America. This first-of-its-kind, ten-state regional network of local immigrant economic development initiatives is helping to make the Rust Belt a leader in immigrant innovation.

From 2003-2008, Steve served as a State Representative from Detroit and ended his term as the Majority Floor Leader, the second-ranking position in the Michigan House of Representatives. He currently co-directs the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University, one of the nation’s premier bipartisan political leadership programs for rising political leaders across Michigan.

Kate Gordon is a Senior Advisor at the Paulson Institute, where she provides overall strategy and coordination for the Institute’s climate change, air quality, and sustainable urbanization programs both in the US and China. She is also a nonresident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal as one of the paper’s “Energy Experts.”

Gordon is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development. Before joining the Paulson Institute, she was the Founding Director of the “Risky Business Project,” co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, and focused on the economic risks the U.S. faces from unmitigated climate change. Gordon took on this project in her role as Senior Vice President for Climate and Energy at Next Generation, a non-partisan think tank based in San Francisco, where she worked on California policy development as well as large-scale national communications and research projects.

Earlier in her career Gordon served as Vice President of Energy and Environment at the Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress, where helped develop and author policy recommendations related to the Congressional cap-and-trade negotiations, Gulf oil spill, and American Reinvestment and Recovery Act implementation. Prior to CAP, Gordon was the Co-Director of the national Apollo Alliance (now part of the Blue Green Alliance). She still serves on the Apollo Alliance board, as well as on the board of Vote Solar.

Gordon earned a law degree and a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California-Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.

Lana Pollack was elected three times to the Michigan Senate and spent 12 years as President of the Michigan Environmental Council. Currently Pollack, appointed by President Obama, is United States Section Chair of the International Joint Commission. This bi-national treaty organization helps prevent and resolve disputes and advises Canada and the United States governments on their shared boundary waters. Pollack was also a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, taught at the University of Michigan, was elected a trustee of the Ann Arbor Board of Education, ran for the U.S. House and Senate, co-directed a school in Zambia and served on several educational, non-profit and corporate boards.

Elissa was appointed Executive Director of SOSCIP in June 2015.

Elissa completed her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia in 2006. Following a post-doc at Lund University, in Sweden, she decided to pursue a career in research strategy, policy and leadership. In November 2008, she joined the University of Toronto's Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation and was Director of Strategic Initiatives from January 2011 to June 2015. In that role, she led a small team dedicated to advancing the University's strategic research priorities, including international institutional research partnerships, the institutional strategy for prestigious national and international research awards, and other strategic initiatives, including establishing the SOSCIP research consortium in 2012. As Executive Director, she is leading SOSCIP through a major period of growth and expansion and is building programs, platforms and partnerships to ensure SOSCIP’s continued success as Ontario’s leading platform for collaborative R&D in data science and advanced computing.

Andrew Pickersgill is a Senior Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Toronto office. Andrew has spent over 18 years serving clients in financial services, telecom, and retail on topics including digital, marketing analytics, front-line sales and customer experience. He leads McKinsey’s Consumer Marketing Practice in the Americas and is the Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company Canada.

A sample of Andrew’s recent client experience includes the following:

  • Building a product platform and agile organization for a financial services organization needing to digitize their B2B offering
  • Architecting a series of ‘labs’ to digitize key banking journeys for a retail bank
  • Designing a global digital marketing organization and series of global playbooks for a global bank that improved its digital marketing ROI by 3x
  • Defining a digital strategy for a cable operator to double sales and e-care adoption
  • Driving a multiyear sales transformation for a cableco to deliver $1 billion in incremental annual revenues in their key channels, especially call centers
  • Starting up a retention center for a cableco; grounded in propensity to churn and CLTV analytics
  • Designing a marketing and sales transformation for a communications company including the launch of several revenue growth levers and the reorganization of 3000+ employees
  • Crafting an enhanced go-to-market model for a cable company in the small business segment, driving 20%+ gains in revenue per order and close rate
  • Partnering with a communications company on their entrance into the wireless market, including definition of pricing offers and distribution mix Before joining McKinsey, Andrew spent several years as an investment banker in Canada and Europe. He also worked for manufacturer structuring joint ventures in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Andrew has an honors BA in economics from Queen’s University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Mr. Gordon Walker of Toronto, Ontario, is a non-practising lawyer who previously directed his own consulting firm in Toronto. A graduate from Western University, receiving a B.A and LLB, Mr. Walker served in the Ontario Legislature as Member of Provincial Parliament for London for twelve years between 1971 and 1985, seven of which were in Cabinet where he served as Minister of Correctional Services, Provincial Secretary for Justice, Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, and Minister of Industry and Trade.

A native of St Thomas, Ontario, Gordon Walker resided in London from 1961-1991 where he practiced law from the time of his call to the Bar in 1969, and was a City Councillor in London, having been elected first in 1966. He moved to Toronto in 1991 where he was counsel to several substantial law firms. From 1992 until 1995 he served the International Joint Commission as a Canadian Commissioner; and nearly 20 years later, on June 6th, 2013, became a Governor In Council appointment to the IJC, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, his second term in that position. In January 2014 Mr. Walker became acting Chair of the IJC Canadian Section. In December 2014, pursuant to the Boundary Waters Treaty, Canadian Commissioners selected Commissioner Walker as the Canadian Chair.

Mr. Walker is married to Harriet Hedley Walker, and they have two grown children, Wynsome and Melanie, who both make their homes, with their families, in Toronto.

Blair is Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo. The primary purpose of the Intact Centre is to mobilize practical and cost-effective means to help de-risk Canada from the costs associated with extreme weather events. Previous positions Blair has held include Vice President, Sustainable Development, Bank of Montreal; Director, Sustainable Development, Ontario Power Generation; and Partner, Sustainable Investment Group/YMG Capital Management. He has written scores of papers on climate change, sustainable development and the capital markets. He is generally interviewed by the media about 100x per year.

Bill Testa is a vice president and director of regional research in the economic research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Testa has written widely in the areas of economic growth and development, the Midwest economy and state–local public finance.

Testa currently serves as economics editor of the Chicago Fed Letter and on the editorial board of Economic Development Quarterly. His Midwest Economy web column, which can be found on the Federal Reserve Bank’s website, has become a widely read and nationally quoted feature.

Testa also serves in an advisory or director’s capacity to a variety of professional journals, nonprofit organizations, advisory boards and economic development initiatives in the Midwest.

Prior to joining the Chicago Fed in 1982, Testa was a visiting faculty member in the economics department at Tulane University in New Orleans and a graduate research fellow at the Academy for Contemporary Problems in Columbus, Ohio. He currently lectures at DePaul University’s College of Commerce. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Testa received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in 1975 and a Ph.D. in economics from the Ohio State University in 1981.

Governor James Blanchard joined DLA Piper upon the conclusion of his duties as United States ambassador to Canada in April 1996. In recognition of his outstanding performance as ambassador, Secretary of State Warren Christopher presented Governor Blanchard with the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service in a ceremony at the Department of State, making him one of only a handful of ambassadors to receive this prestigious award.

James was named ambassador to Canada in May 1993, after serving two terms as governor of Michigan (1983 – 1991) and four terms as a member of the United States Congress (1975 – 1983). In 1992, he chaired President Bill Clinton's successful campaign in Michigan. Governor Blanchard is also former chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and the National Democratic Platform Committee, as well as a former member of the National Governors Association's executive committee.

During his tenure as ambassador, James managed a broad range of trade, natural resources, environmental and national security issues between the United States and Canada, providing support critical to the passage of both NAFTA and the Open Skies Agreement. Commenting on James's role in the Open Skies Agreement, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said, "Tomorrow, we will show the world that even the sky is not the limit for our relationship as we sign an open skies agreement. It will enhance what is already the largest bilateral air relationship in the world. Ambassador Blanchard has played a key role in these negotiations, and he has done a fantastic job here in Ottawa. I want to take this opportunity to salute him."

Governor Blanchard's eight years as Michigan's chief executive were notable for his success in turning around Michigan's finances, working with the private sector to attract business investment and trade from around the world. He won national acclaim for his innovative approaches to economic development, education, crime fighting, environmental protection and helping children and families.

On January 1, 1983, he took over what was described as "the toughest governor's job in America." His state faced a $1.7 billion deficit, the threat of bankruptcy, record high unemployment of more than 17 percent and the worst credit rating in America. Working with leaders of business, labor, education and local government, the governor put together a strategy for Michigan's future and made the tough decisions necessary to keep it on track. James Blanchard completed his work as Michigan's 45th governor having balanced eight consecutive state budgets, boosted the state's credit rating to AA, established a $422 million "rainy-day fund" and produced a solvency dividend of more than $1 billion in savings from reduced borrowing costs. His aggressive small business and economic development efforts helped create more than 650,000 net new jobs, improve the business climate, increase companies' global competitiveness and make Michigan's economy 35 percent more diversified than it had been a decade earlier. He was reelected 1986 by the largest margin of any governor in Michigan history.

Newsweek credited Governor Blanchard with leading "one of the most dramatic economic turnabouts in the recent history of state government," and national publications such as US News and World Report listed him among the best governors in America, one of the innovators and energizers who made things work in an era of declining federal aid. Before running for governor, he served in Congress. During his four terms in Congress, he distinguished himself for his work to save the Chrysler Corporation, restore America's economic competitiveness, and oversee financial, monetary, trade and energy issues. Major assignments included the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, including its subcommittees on Economic Stabilization, Housing and Urban Development, International Trade and Domestic Monetary Policy, and the Science and Technology Committee. He performed oversight of the Federal Reserve Board and participated in meetings of the International Monetary Fund.

Prior to his election to Congress, from 1969 to 1974 Governor Blanchard was assistant attorney general of Michigan.

Jim Blanchard remains active in Michigan and in US-Canada relations. In 2010, he was named co-chair of the Canada-United States Law Institute, a forum where the two countries' governments, business communities, legal professionals, academics, non-governmental organizations and the media address issues confronting US-Canada relations. In 2008, at the invitation of Jean Chrétien, he was a special guest at the InterAction Council’s 26th Annual Plenary Meeting in Stockholm. The InterAction Council brings together former world leaders who look beyond the immediacy of current issues and the limitations of national interests to focus on the long-term structural factors driving the global agenda. Its three priority areas are peace and security, world economic revitalization and universal ethical standards.

In 1997, Governor Blanchard authored Behind the Embassy Door, a book highlighting his experiences as ambassador. He serves on the board of directors of several corporations and, in February 2005, co-chaired the American Assembly project on US-Canada relations, hosted and sponsored by Columbia University. Governor Blanchard served on Senator Hillary Clinton's national finance committee.

Lapo has several years of economic and public policy experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. His expertise spans across several industry areas and lines of business, including insurance and reinsurance tax, solvency capital, prudential regulation, corporate governance and adaptation to climate change.

He has served as an economist and policy advisor to industry leaders, ministers and government executives in federal and provincial governments in the United Kingdom and Canada. He has contributed to federal and provincial budgets on a wide spectrum of regulatory and policy issues including financial services regulation, state and private pension policy, capital planning and public finance, public-private partnerships and infrastructure investment.

Having joined IBC in 2012, Lapo leads research, analytics and policy development to address some of the industry's most pressing financial, regulatory and commercial challenges. He also leads IBC's catastrophe risk management practice, working with governments and insurance executives across Canada to promote sound disaster risk management by leveraging risk transfer and catastrophe insurance and reinsurance solutions.

A published author on emerging economic policy issues, Lapo holds an undergraduate degree in economics and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.