Jay Baer helps businesses clone their customers.
He is a 7th generation entrepreneur, has written 6 best-selling books, and has founded five multi-million dollar companies.
He is the President of Convince & Convert, a consulting firm that works with the world’s most iconic brands like The United Nations, 3M, and Hilton gain and keep more customers. A recent inductee into the Professional Speaking Hall of Fame, he’s also an avid tequila collector, and a certified barbecue judge. Hang on to your seats....here comes Jay Baer!
DOC POW (AKA JIM BARR)
CEO Seekers Media; New Media Producer
Jim Barr has made his life’s work inspiring people to get outside and enjoy the world’s best destinations right here in Western Canada! Jim is at the helm of a team that have become one of Canada’s most successful digital media networks, with three thriving online communities, SnowSeekers, ZenSeekers and FestivalSeekers.com
The award-winning multi-media brands use social media, media events and online storytelling to inspire people to seek new experiences in all seasons.
The search for a stellar experience has taken Barr to the summit of Kilimanjaro, the base of Mount Everest and onto ski slopes and the festival scene across Europe, the U.S. but especially here in Alberta and B.C.
As a 20-year content and event producer, first as a writer for leading newspapers and magazines and then into multi-media, Barr and his Seekers Media team have forged partnerships across Western Canada who use Seekers’ content production and content marketing know-how to reach the audiences they covet to connect and convert.
Seekers Media is a legacy company of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Understanding the opportunity to evolve an economy and welcome the world, Jim was at the heart of welcoming the Winter Olympics back to Western Canada in #Calgary2026.
Vice President, Research and Chief Economist, BDC
Pierre Cléroux was appointed Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at BDC in 2012.
Pierre leads a team of experts who analyze economic data to identify business and sector trends impacting Canadian entrepreneurs. A seasoned speaker, he regularly travels across the country to help business owners understand the risks and opportunities presented by the economic environment.
Mr. Cléroux is also responsible for providing economic analysis and advice to the Bank’s senior management team, and supervises all marketing and industry research activities. Over his 25-year career as an economist, he has held several influential positions that had a direct impact on entrepreneurs in Canada and abroad.
Before joining BDC, Pierre worked for the Government of Saudi Arabia as Vice President, Business Analysis in the National Industry Clusters Development Program. His role was to create program strategies, define sector policies and conduct financial and economic analyses of industrial projects.
Previously, Mr. Cléroux was the Quebec Assistant Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, responsible for the implementation of economic policies and programs to support small and medium-sized businesses and encourage entrepreneurship. He was also a strategic advisor for Montreal International, where he was responsible for attracting foreign investment from India and the Middle East, and developing international relationships and partnerships. He worked for 12 years at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in various roles, including economist and Quebec Vice President.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree in Economics from Laval University, as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Hugh Evans is co-founder and Managing Partner of Cultural Dynamics Inc, a values and culture research firm that measures ‘what makes people tick’.
He is also a Master Practitioner for BIG Associates (Business, Improvement, Growth) who are passionate about supporting ambitious business owners and leaders with personal and organizational improvement and growth.
Born in East Africa, brought up in South America and then the UK, Hugh has accumulated a huge diversity of work experience from global businesses (IBM, Xerox, CSC) to post secondary education (Henley Business School, University of Calgary) across Europe, Middle East, North America and Asia. He considers himself a global citizen.
He has a Master of Arts in Business Leadership from the University of the West of England, UK and a Bachelor of Science in Management Sciences from Loughborough University, UK.
Hugh lives in Calgary with his wife and son. Outside of his professional work he is a English Cricket Board Level 2 Coach, CSIA Level 1 Ski instructor and a rugby coach for Western Canada HS Seniors.
Peter Gredig is a corn, soybean and wheat producer based near London, Ontario. As a partner in AgNition Inc., Peter is involved in developing mobile products and strategies for agribusinesses, producer organizations and farmers across North America.
Strategy in a World of Disruption
Shawn Kanungo is a strategist who operates at the intersection of creativity, business, and technology. He has been recognized nationally and globally for his work in the innovation space after 12 years of working at Deloitte — as an innovation strategist, he shows organizations how to disrupt before they are disrupted.
At Deloitte, Shawn’s mandate was to help corporate executives to better understand and plan for the opportunities and threats associated with disruptive innovation. Now, as General Partner of Queen & Rook Capital, he is focused on applying exponential technologies and new business models to mature businesses.
Shawn has worked hand-to-hand with hundreds of organizations on their journey to digital transformation, and he has adopted the concepts of behavioural economics, user-centered design, crowd-sourcing, artificial intelligence, drones, and film to help leaders and teams best position themselves to keep up, and keep ahead, with the rapid state of change.
Shawn’s work and interviews have been featured in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, CBC and CTV. In 2016, he was recognized as Avenue Magazine‘s “Top 40 Under 40”. He spoke at TEDx in 2017, and was named to Inc‘s “100 Most Innovative Leadership Speakers” in 2018. His podcast, The Remix with Shawn & Wang, can be currently found on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.
Speaker, Consultant, Teacher
Joanne Leskow is an award-winning speaker, thought-leader and teacher specializing in corporate culture, transformational change, and impactful leadership. More than ever, organizations must be nimble and ready to transform with strong and deliberate corporate culture to enable success.
As a successful entrepreneur, Joanne pioneered innovative law enforcement training and trial advocacy. Her career spans diverse sectors across North America and ranges from testifying as an Expert videographer in Court of Queen’s Bench to collaboration with WestJet Airlines’ founders and executives to develop and nurture their unique culture for performance.
Joanne was recently honored with a Distinguished Teaching Award from Mount Royal University for her contributions in Leadership, Change, Strategy, and Corporate Culture. Currently enrolled in an MBA, Joanne is exploring the intersection of her experience with best-practice and rigorous research. She looks forward to sharing both information and inspiration with Growing The North delegates.
CHIEF CLARENCE LOUIE
Osoyoos Indian Band
Graduated from high school 1978. Attended the University of Regina, (Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) Native American Studies Program. Continued Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge, from 1979 to 1982.
Since December 1984 when first elected as Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, part of the Okanagan Nation in south central British Columbia, Clarence Joseph Louie has consistently emphasized economic development as a means to improve his people’s standard of living. Under his direction (30+ years), the Band has become a multi-faceted corporation that owns and manages nine businesses and employs hundreds of people. In 1998 the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation was formed to manage and provide strategic direction to the existing businesses and as well as seek out new economic opportunities. Clarence was appointed C.E.O.
Other achievements under Chief Louie’s tenure include the negotiated settlement of three Specific Land Claims, the successful negotiation of over 1,000 acres of lease developments, the acquisition of hundreds of acres of land to add to the reserve, the purchase of a viable off-reserve business, the financing of a major golf course development, the initiation of the Osoyoos Indian Taxation By-law, the financing and building of a new pre-school/daycare and grade school/gymnasium, construction of a new Health Center/Social Services building and in 2008 the building of a 1st class Youth Centre.
The Osoyoos Indian Band has modeled not only sustainable business development, but also socio-economic development, whereby the community’s social needs are improved. Chief Louie’s constant message is, “Socio-economic development is the foundation for First Nation self-reliance, our communities need to become business minded and begin to create their own jobs and revenue sources, not just administer underfunded government programs. Each of our First Nations must take back their inherent and rightful place in the economy of their territory. Native people must change their mindset from; Spending Money To Making Money”.
As confirmation of the Osoyoos Indian Band’s commitment to business, the Band owns and operates nine businesses on the reserve, including: vineyards, retail stores, a construction company, a Readi-Mix company, a championship golf course, eco-tourism businesses and activities in the Forest Division. In 2002 the Band opened the first Aboriginal winery in North America-Nk’Mip Cellars. The winery is a joint venture with Vincor International.
Although economic development is the means to achieving self-sufficiency, Chief and Council continues to emphasize the importance of maintaining the Okanagan language and culture in all aspects of the band’s activities including business. The establishment of the Nk’Mip Desert& Cultural Center is a testament to this commitment of balancing business while investing time and money in culture. This eco-cultural center provides visitors an opportunity to experience the Okanagan culture and explore the desert lands that are a part of their traditional territory. The Nk’Mip Desert & Cultural Center is also an example of the continued growth of the band’s businesses.
Chief Louie believes that job creation and increasing business revenue in a responsible manner will bring back what he describes as, “our working culture, the self-supporting lifestyle of our ancestors.” And further, First Nation leaders have a responsibility to incorporate First Nation’s language and culture in all socio-economic initiatives as the means to improve and protect your First Nation’s heritage. In 2002, Chief Louie played a key role in the successful negotiations to return a sacred cultural site, “Spotted Lake,” to the Okanagan Nation.
Chief Louie’s efforts have been widely recognized in Canada and the United States.
•In 1999, he received the Aboriginal Business Leader Award from All Nations Trust and Development Corporation.
•In 2000, the Advancement of Native Development officers (CANDO) named Chief Louie the “Economic Developer of the Year”
•In the same year Clarence was chosen to join the Governor General of Canada in the 2000 leadership tour.
•In 2001 Chief Louie was appointed to the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board and in 2007 was appointed as Chair of the Board. Reappointed as Chair in 2017
•In 2002- Aboriginal Tourism B.C. awarded Chief Louie the “Inspirational Leadership Award.”
•Maclean’s Magazine listed Chief Clarence Louie as one of the “Top 50 Canadians to Watch” in their January 2003 issue.
•More recognition came in 2003 as the U.S. Department of State selected Clarence as 1 of 6 First Nation representatives to participate in a 2-week tour of successful American Indian Tribes.
•In April 2004 the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation presented Clarence with the award for “Business and Community Development.” The National Achievement Awards represent the highest honour the Aboriginal Community bestows upon its own achievers.
•Past committee member B.C. Region Indian Affairs (Forestry and Economic Development)
•First Nation Boards – Denendeh Investments (Yellowknife – 2007), Stsailes Dev. Corp. (Chilliwack – 2009)
•2006 –received the “Order of British Columbia”
•2008 – Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
•2011 –Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business - Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame
•2015 –Destination B.C. Board of Directors
•2015 – B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority Board of Directors
•2016 – Order of Canada
A lifelong student of “Native American Studies”, Clarence shares his experiences (Key Note Speaking) and best lessons learned to Native people, Government and Corporate agencies across the U.S and Canada as well as overseas – Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France, in a simple direct business smarts approach, “Every First Nation comes from a working culture. Our ancestors worked hard for a living. Today life is as complicated or messed up as you make it. To improve your quality of life, you either go to school or get a job. Words without action, excuses and blame, leads towards more welfare dependency and poverty. It’s hard work and making money that improves one’s standard of living and provides for First Nation social needs.
”Chief Louie believes that “Aboriginal people and government must make Economic Development - self-sustaining job creation and business growth an everyday priority. A real decent paying job that provides real opportunity is the very best social program on any Rez!”
The Osoyoos Indian Band’s corporate motto is “In Business To Preserve Our Past By Strengthening Our Future.”
Vice-President, Business Sales - Eastlink
Dan MacDonald joined Eastlink in 2010 as Vice President of Marketing. In March 2018, Dan was asked by Eastlink to take over Eastlink’s rapidly growing B2B business.
Dan has over 25 years of experience in the information technology industry, he has held senior management positions within engineering, customer service, product management, mergers & acquisitions, marketing and sales - within leading companies including Mitel, Vienna Systems, Nokia and Eastlink.
His career has taken him all over the world, including a 5 year stint in Silicon Valley California.
Dan makes it his business to closely follow consumer trends and technology innovations, so as to continually innovate customer engagement.
Olympic Champion / Host, The Amazing Race Canada
Jon Montgomery captured the hearts of Canadians–and the attention of everyone–during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. After years of hard work, training and perseverance, Montgomery won a gold medal in the skeleton, securing his place in history as one of the best. His celebratory walk through Whistler showcased his passion, spirit, and sense of humour–traits that he brings to every platform, whether in front of a live audience or acting as the host of The Amazing Race Canada.
A casual trip to Canada Olympic Park left an indelible mark on Montgomery when he witnessed a skeleton race and immediately fell in love with the sport. Shortly thereafter, he began competing competitively and enjoying quick success.
Montgomery’s start to his rookie season on the World Cup could not have been drawn more perfectly, and he kicked off his World Cup campaign with a bronze-medal finish on his home track in Calgary. He went on to finish in the top ten three more times during the season, finishing sixth overall in the World Cup standings. His sophomore season was equally remarkable where he enjoyed a breakout season by achieving five podium finishes, including his first World Cup victory and a silver medal at the World Championships. He placed second overall on the World Cup, and from there he went on to win his first Olympic gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
Since 2013, Montgomery has acted as the host of the hit television program, The Amazing Race Canada, which sees teams of contestants competing with one other as they race to travel the country.
Co-Owner, Tool Shed Brewing Company
Graham Sherman is a self-professed “high level geek” who has used his love of technology to help him master the craft of brewing artisan beer. Together with his partner, Graham launched the Tool Shed Brewery four years ago, and has never looked back. Speaking on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, Graham’s passion comes through in every talk.
Prior to starting Tool Shed, Graham and his Tool Shed partner worked on contracts for the Canadian and US governments and military forces, installing encrypted, tactical communication networks. By day, they rolled around Afghanistan in armoured vehicles, “geeking out” in the world of satellite communications. By night, they aimed their obsessive, high-level thinking at mastering everyday tasks such as coffee, learning to control their homes in Canada remotely with their iPhones....and finally, perfecting batches of beer.
Now sold in over 1000 locations in Western Canada, Tool Shed has its 15,000 square foot headquarters in Calgary, and the team behind the brand has also been nominated as Canadian Entrepreneur of the year, the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, with programs in 145 cities in 60 countries. They were also named as two co-winners of the “40 Under 40” recognition from Avenue magazine.
KRISTOF VAN ASSCHE
University of Alberta; Faculties of Science and Extension
Kristof Van Assche is professor at the University of the Alberta, affiliated with the Faculties of Science and Extension.
He is interested in evolution and innovation in governance, with focus areas in spatial planning and design, economic development and environmental policy. He worked in various countries, and often combines fieldwork with theoretical reflection: systems theories, interpretive policy analysis, institutional economics, post- structuralism. He held visiting positions at McGill University, Krakov Agricultural University, Wageningen University, Bonn University, Groningen University. Geographically, his work spans Europe, the America’s, Central Asia and the Caucasus, and recently Africa. He published widely on these topics.
In Canada, he has worked over the last 5 years on issue of community development, reinvention, strategy, with a focus on northern, rural and resource communities.
Kristof is also associated with Bonn University, where he is Senior Research Fellow at ZEF/ Institute for Development Research.
Curtis Weber comes from Battleford, Sask., where he has been inspiring and influencing change in safety behaviours across Canada and the U.S. for over 10 years. Working as a trainer, consultant, safety officer and speaker following his near-fatal workplace incident, he’s developed a unique way of challenging audiences to change the way they perceive safety. Curtis believes that before we can develop or change a safety culture, first we must understand and influence human behaviour.