Chief Darby Allen
In emergency situations, you need a calm, cool and collected man with a plan.. someone like Chief Darby Allen. After decades of fighting fires, first in his native England before immigrating to Canada, he climbed the ranks to become the Fire Chief at Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
As the Chief, he earned international attention and praise for his handling of the Fort McMurray wildfire, where he spearheaded the evacuation of thousands of residents to safety, working tirelessly with first responders and volunteers who came from across the nation to assist in the fight against "The Beast" as Darby appropriately dubbed the fire. As people around the world watched in horror at the wildfire's capacity for devastation, Chief Allen's updates were not only a means of information, but provided thousands across the country with a sense of hope and optimism.
In his talks, Darby draws from his career to share guidelines for effective emergency response planning and management, as well as offers timeless tips on how to remain a calm, stoic and quick-thinking leader in urgent situations.
We all encounter crises.. the trick is handling them with aplomb.
Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia (B.A., M.A.) is the President and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia (DNS), the industry association for Nova Scotia’s digital technologies sector. Under Ulrike’s leadership DNS has reached new heights with unprecedented growth, increased visibility and achieved sustainability.
While Ulrike has been at the helm of DNS, the non-profit industry association has increased programming and advocacy to support the needs of Nova Scotia’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry. For a sector short on skilled-talent, Ulrike has been a strong proponent for diversity and inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment and innovation. As such, she’s led the charge on a number of impactful programs aimed at attracting and retaining women, youth and immigrants in Nova Scotia’s ICT sector.
Ulrike is a multilingual senior level executive with over 20 years of combined experience in the private, public and academic sectors. Her career spans five geographic regions: North America, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
Thriving on new challenges, Ulrike is proven in International Marketing, Business and Economic Development, Channel Management, Government/Stakeholder Relations, Board Governance, Fundraising, Organizational Growth and Public Speaking. She is a true game-changer. Having lived, worked and studied in the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Israel and now Canada, Ulrike has combined her passion for inclusive diversity, entrepreneurship, innovation, new technologies and STEAM-education with her keen ambition to help individuals and businesses succeed in local and global markets.
Ulrike has worked in executive leadership roles at the headquarters of prominent technology multinationals, SMEs and Startups, including Intel, Compaq/HP, RAD Data Communications, Madge Networks, McAfee, Commtouch Software, CarteNav and Seaside Wireless. Her diverse sector expertise in software, hardware and networking products in ICT companies, and software development in med-tech, aerospace and defense industries, provides her with first-hand experience and insight into the multi-sectorial facets of the ICT sector and its magnitude of opportunities.
In recognition of her leadership with DNS and her advocacy for diversity and inclusion, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation, Ulrike has received a number of regional and national awards and recognitions, including:
- 2016 WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award
- 2015 WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award
- 2015 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award
- 2015 Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) Top 15 Leadership Excellence Award: Innovator
- 2015 Atlantic Business Magazine Top 50 CEO Award
- 2014 Progress Women of Excellence Award: Innovator/Entrepreneur
- 2014 Canada’s top 40 Change-Makers by Canadian Living
- Mannesmann Teaching Award (USA) and Fulbright Scholarship (USA) while pursuing her M.A.
Ulrike is an elected member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) and sits on Industry Advisory Boards with Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Computer Science, Saint Mary's University's M.Sc. in Computing & Data Analytics, and the Saint Mary's University Sobey School of Business. She is also a mentor with FUSION Halifax, and a member of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce task force "Grow and Nurture the Skilled Workforce".
Amongst all of her achievements, Ulrike is most proud of her family. Married with a son and a daughter, she moved from Israel to Nova Scotia in 2002, and very much enjoys Canadian life.
Ulrike’s favourite quote and own mantra: "The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before." - Albert Einstein
Dr. Paul van Donkelaar and Karen Mason
Dr. Paul van Donkelaar is the Associate Vice-Principal, Research at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus and a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. His research team examines the mechanisms and effects of traumatic brain injury on cerebrovascular, sensorimotor, and neurocognitive function. They use these approaches to better understand head impacts in contact sport athletes, and the interface between traumatic brain injury and intimate partner violence.
Karen Mason is executive director of Kelowna Women’s Shelter, a non-profit organization that provides emergency and transitional housing, food, clothing, counselling support and education to women and their children who have experienced intimate partner violence. A former journalist and communications professional, Karen is a dedicated community collaborator driven by a desire to help change lives by working on behalf of causes and organizations she believes in.
As partners in life, Karen and Paul are enjoying the unique opportunity to bring together their professional expertise and commitment to helping others by undertaking a community-based research study focusing on traumatic brain injury in victims of intimate partner violence. They hope the research sheds more light on the still relatively unknown prevalence, and impacts, of concussion on victims of intimate partner violence, and leads to improved education and training for shelter staff and others who work with women who have experienced violence and abuse at the hands of their partner.
The Dufour-Lapointe Sisters
Outstanding acrobatic skiers and worldwide Olympic idols, Maxime, Chloé and Justine Dufour-Lapointe are known for hitting the slopes with unstoppable dedication. Their ultimate goal? The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.
Considering how the three of them recently swept the podium at the World Cup in Val Saint-Côme in addition to exceptional performances around the globe, it’s safe to say they’re onto an extremely successful path to leave their mark in sport history! In addition to their training, the trio also has a profound love for... fashion! Just by looking at the three women when they are off the slopes, it’s clear that they are as comfortable in their skis as they are with their style. Although the Dufour-Lapointe sisters share many common interests –their thousands of loyal fans across the world will certainly agree on that –each one of them still has her very own personality.
Justine may be the youngest one of the family, but she moves mountains (and alot of snow) with an indefatigable fervor. Throughout the past years, she’s lined uphonors, her most famous one being her gold medal at the Sochi Olympic Games.This historical achievement made her the youngest Olympic freestyle skier to win firstplace. Totally in tune with her spontaneous personality, she expressed her excitementat the end of her very last slope by playing air guitar, a moment that will not beforgotten any time soon. That joie de vivre and unexpected spark is without a doubtthe skier’s trademark.
Chloé, the middle one, is the first in the family to have experienced the Olympicadventure in Vancouver back in 2010. Finishing 5th, she conquered theSochi Olympic Games like a champ and reached for a silver medal, thus joiningher little sister Justine on the podium. Her most recent achievement was the 2016Crystal Globe, which she won after a season highlighted with exceptional resultsproving, once again, her formidable talent.
For someone who started skiing just because her friend was doing it, Maxime hastransformed her then-hobby into a full-time career. The eldest of the three describesherself as determined and hard-working and you only have to look at her fourascensions on the podium during World Cups to believe her every word.Her schedule is a matter of balance – she splits it between her passion for skiingand her love for horseback riding, surfing and the arts. The common denominator?Excellence. She often teams up with her sisters to encourage girls to get movingthrough different initiatives. By focusing on constantly improving herself, Maxime sets an example to follow.
Tasha Kheiriddin is a writer, broadcaster, and political analyst from Toronto, Canada. Named one of Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016 by WXN, she is the host of the daily radio program The Tasha Kheiriddin Show on AM640. Fluently bilingual in English and French, Tasha provides political analysis to Global Television's Morning Show, CBC's The National, and RDI's Le Telejournal. She writes a weekly column for iPolitics.ca which can also be found in French on her website, www.tashakheiriddin.com
An accomplished author, in 2005 Tasha co-wrote the bestseller, Rescuing Canada’s Right: Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution. She has contributed chapters on tax policy and justice to two other books, How To Cut Public Spending (and still win an election) (2010), and The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy (2016).
Tasha became passionate about politics and current affairs at an early age. She joined the former Progressive Conservative Party at the age of 14, and served as national President of the PC Youth Federation in her 20’s. She worked in Ottawa for cabinet ministers Barbara MacDougall and Bernard Valcourt, in Toronto for Ontario Attorney General Charles Harnick, and in Montreal for tax and litigation firm Spiegel Sohmer, after graduating from McGill Law School in 1993.
In 1998, Tasha left active politics and her legal career for journalism with CBC Newsworld, and then the Law Times and CPAC, where her work earned her the Justicia Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2003. She subsequently served as Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, vice-president of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), and director for Quebec of the Fraser Institute, while lecturing on conservative politics at her alma mater, McGill University.
In 2009, Tasha was recognized by the United States government’s International Visitor Leadership Program, and was awarded a professional exchange with think tanks and media organizations in Washington, D.C., and New York. After returning to Toronto, she hosted a weekend radio program for NewsTalk 1010 and co-hosted a live television current affairs program for CTV NewsChannel, National Affairs, while writing columns and editorials for The National Post newspaper, for which the MEI awarded her its Economic Education Prize in 2012.
Tasha is also passionate about children’s issues, including child care, education, and supporting kids with special needs. She is the proud mom and stepmom of three great children aged 7 to 20.
Dr. John Klironomos
Dr. John Klironomos is a Professor of Biology at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus) in Kelowna, BC, Canada. His research is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of plant and fungal diversity in terrestrial ecosystems. He is recognized for his studies on feedback between plant and fungal populations and communities, the effect of soil microbes on plant diversity and ecosystem services, the potential for microbes to enhance productivity in agriculture and forestry and to restore disturbed ecosystems. He received his training at Concordia University (B.Sc., 1987-90), the University of Waterloo (Ph.D., 1990-94), and San Diego State University (post-doctoral fellow, 1994-96). He then joined the faculty at the University of Guelph (1996-2009), and then relocated to the UBC Okanagan campus. He has been awarded over $20 million in research grants, has trained 53 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and has published 149 peer-reviewed papers, including 8 papers in the leading journals, Nature and Science. He was recently President of the International Soil Ecology Society. He has received a number of fellowships and awards for his research in plant and microbial ecology, including the Harvard Bullard Fellowship, Humboldt Research Fellowship, NSERC Steacie Fellowship, and a Canada Research Chair in Soil Biodiversity. He was recently elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and presented with the Professional Achievement Award by the International Soil Ecology Society for outstanding contributions in research, student mentorship and service.
In 2013 Lane founded Wheelhouse, an organization that supports early stage technology companies and entrepreneurs through mentorship, access to early stage investment capital, and connections to global business networks and executive expertise.
His teams have won dozens of awards including a BAFTA Award and a Webby Award. Lane has received an Honorary Fellows Award, several leadership awards, and was listed as one of The Hollywood Reporters Top 35 Executives under 35.
Lane has served on several technology boards, the University of British Columbia’s Board of Governors, and was most recently appointed to the Premier's Technology Council