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Ken Coates

Program Chair of Indigenous Governance
Yukon University
  • Ken Coates

    Ken Coates is a rare public commentator who brings deep understanding of past and present realities together with compelling ideas about Canada’s future. His passionate and highly engaging talks have captivated diverse audiences across the country, from college administrators and economic development officers to Aboriginal entrepreneurs and community activists. Ken is Canada’s Research Chair in Regional Innovation and brings his experience in East Asia and around the Circumpolar world to bear on his understanding of Canada’s strengths and weaknesses. Ken combines irreverence, insight and a sense of humour in his conversations about the issues that matter most to Canadians.

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J.P. Gervais

Vice-President & Chief Economist
  • J.P. Gervais

    J.P. Gervais is Vice-President and Chief Economist at FCC. He has over 25 years of experience analyzing economic trends in agriculture and food markets, and his insights help guide strategy and monitor risk throughout the corporation. He’s frequently a featured speaker at national and international conferences related to the agriculture and food industry. In addition to acting as an FCC spokesperson on economic matters, J.P. provides timely commentary through videos and the FCC Economics blog.

    Prior to joining FCC in 2010, J.P. was a professor of agricultural economics at North Carolina State University and Laval University. He also held the Canada Research Chair in Agri-Industries and International Trade at Laval. J.P. is a past president of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society. He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University in 1999.

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Kristjan Hebert

President & CEO and Managing Partner
The Hebert Group and Hebert Grain Ventures
  • Kristjan Hebert

    Kristjan Hebert is the President and CEO of The Hebert Group and Managing Partner of Hebert Grain Ventures, a 30,000 acre grain and oilseed operation in southeast Saskatchewan, Canada. He is also the co-founder of Maverick Ag Consulting which provides custom designed lending, accounting and insurance solutions to producers and Farmer Coach, a business management coaching program for farmers.

    Hebert was born and raised on a family farm. He left the farm to get his business degree with a major in accounting & finance, and obtained his CPA with Meyers Norris Penny, a large accounting firm in Canada.

     In 2008 he returned to the family farm - Hebert Grain Ventures - in partnership with his wife, and his parents.

    At the farm, Hebert’s passion is solving agriculture’s puzzles in order to fulfill HGV’s purpose of “Respect the past, grow the future!”

    Hebert received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Prairies in 2022 and the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for his contributions to agriculture. He was recognized internationally as a Global Climate Positive Leader by Corteva Agriscience in 2021 and received the Top Producer Award in 2020. He is also a lifetime member of the Global Farmer Network.

    A sought after speaker, mentor and agri-business leader, Hebert is passionate about advancing agriculture in Canada and globally.

    Besides farming, he most enjoys coaching hockey, travelling and creating experiences with his son Bentley, his daughter Ivy, and wife Theresa.

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David Herle

Owner & Host
The Gandalf Group, The Curse of Politics and The Herle Burly podcasts
  • David Herle

    David Herle has been around Liberal politics for a long time, starting as a kid in Saskatchewan organizing ridings for provincial leader Ralph Goodale in the early 80’s to working on campaigns with Paul Martin and Kathleen Wynne among others. He commented on politics for ten years on CBC’s The National.

    He is known for strategic thinking, blunt talk, lifelong passions (Liberal Party, Riders, Habs, Hawkins Cheezies, Lemon Hart rum, and black licorice), and occasionally saying something he wished he could take back.

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Shachi Kurl

Angus Reid Institute
  • Shachi Kurl

    Shachi Kurl is President of the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research. She works with public opinion data to further public knowledge and enhance the national understanding of issues that matter to Canada and the world.

    Kurl is often found offering analysis on CBC’s “Power and Politics”, in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and on the editorial pages of the Ottawa Citizen, among other places. In October 2020, she moderated BC’s only televised provincial election debate, presented by the British Columbia Broadcast Consortium.

    She spent the first part of her career as political reporter and holds a degree in Journalism and Political Science from Carleton University. She returned to Carleton University as an Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication in 2022.

    Kurl is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster Award for Best TV Reporting. Along with former Australian and UK Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and Margaret Thatcher, she is an Alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. She is also national co-chair of the Canadian Cancer Society.

    Kurl moderated the 2021 English language leaders debate during the 44th federal election. She also won the Industry Marvel Award from Darpan Magazine in October of that year.

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Emily Rees

President & CEO
CropLife International
  • Emily Rees

    Emily Rees is the President & CEO of CropLife International, the global advocate for the plant science industry, where she leads the organization’s efforts in championing innovative technologies that enable farmers to sustainably increase productivity, while managing the critical challenges facing our climate and the environment.

    An economist by training, Emily’s expertise lies at the intersection of trade, climate and agriculture. A Franco-British national, Emily comes from an extensive career in economic diplomacy, having served as Trade Attaché of France to Brazil and led Brazil’s Trade and Investment Agency’s relations with the European Union. She began her career at the European Commission and specializes in tackling sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade.

    Prior to joining CropLife International, Emily was a Senior Fellow at the European Centre for International Political Economy and served as a Member of the United Kingdom’s Trade and Agriculture Commission. A specialist in Latin America, she is fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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Elia Saikaly

Social Entrepreneur, Award-Winning Filmmaker & Global Adventurer
  • Elia Saikaly

    Elia Saikaly is an award-winning adventure filmmaker and high-altitude mountaineer. His global adventures inspire others to find their most meaningful life and spark positive change. Having reached the summit of Mount Everest five times (a Canadian record), scaled the world’s second tallest peak, and completed over 25 world-class expeditions, Saikaly has proven he has the determination, stamina, skill, resourcefulness, and vision required to meet the greatest of challenges, and shows audiences how to do the same.

    As a storyteller and mountaineer, Saikaly survived and documented the 2014, 2015, and 2019 disasters on the world’s tallest peak. His Everest imagery is regularly licensed by networks including National Geographic, Discovery, ESPN, Netflix, BBC, and many more. He also produced the reality television series, Everest: On the Top, which garnered him a CINE Golden Eagle Award, and won a Canadian Screen Award for his work with Rogers Sportsnet on the documentary, Limitless. In 2016, Saikaly co-created and co-starred in Discovery Channel’s Unclimbed: Reaching the Summit.

    Saikaly spends most of his time working with NGOs and causes close to his heart. Through his storytelling and camera, he has supported Indigenous people in Canada, the Peuls people of the Sahara in Niger, Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, persons with albinism in Africa, the Dinka and Nuer in South Sudan, and beyond. For a decade, he ran his FindingLife educational program that connected tens of thousands of students to interactive real-time learning adventures. He currently sits on the board of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada that supports the Sherpa people of Nepal.

    As an inspirational speaker, Saikaly has spoken to dozens of corporations and organizations, including high schools and universities, and is fluent in both English and French. Whether inspiring people through his camera or on-stage, Saikaly’s core mission is to elevate, inspire, and help make the world a better place.

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Dr. Niigaan Sinclair

Professor of Indigenous Knowledge and Aesthetics, Head of the Department of Indigenous Studies
University of Manitoba
  • Dr. Niigaan Sinclair

    Niigaan Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) and a professor at the University of Manitoba, where he holds the Faculty of Arts Professorship in Indigenous Knowledge and Aesthetics and is currently Head of the Department of Indigenous Studies.

    Niigaan is also an award-winning writer, editor and activist who was recently named to the “Power List” by Maclean’s magazine as one of the most influential individuals in Canada. In 2018, he won Canadian columnist of the year at the National Newspaper Awards for his bi-weekly columns in The Winnipeg Free Press and is a featured member of the Friday "Power Panel" on CBC's Power & Politics. 

    A former secondary school teacher, he won the 2019 Peace Educator of the Year from the Peace and Justice Studies Association based at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. 

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John Stackhouse

Senior Vice President, Office of the CEO
Royal Bank of Canada
  • John Stackhouse

    John Stackhouse heads RBC’s Economics and Thought Leadership group, leading the organization’s work on economic, technological and social issues. He also heads the new RBC Climate Action Institute, which aims to inform and inspire Canadians on pathways to net zero. John is an internationally recognized author and speaker on a range of issues and events. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail and editor of Report on Business. He also serves as a senior fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. John has written four books and co-authored four others. His latest, Planet Canada: How Our Expats Are Shaping the Future, explores the untapped resource of the millions of Canadians who don't live here but exert their influence from afar.

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Elly Vandenberg

Director, Global Office Canada
World Food Programme
  • Elly Vandenberg

    As Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Global Office in Canada, Elly Vandenberg is a champion for global sustainable food security and nutrition. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and building resilient communities that can respond to the shocks of conflict, rising costs and impact of climate change. WFP works in over 120 countries and territories and assisted more than 160 million people in 2022.

    In 2020, Elly established an official WFP presence in Canada by formally opening a national Global Office based in Ottawa, reaffirming the longstanding partnership between WFP and the Government of Canada. This enables WFP to engage more directly with Canadian parliamentarians, civil servants, non-governmental organizations, universities, research institutions, foundations, private sector and the Canadian public and to leverage Canadian philanthropy, innovation, technology, evidence, and expertise. Elly leads an effective Canadian hub that provides WFP visibility and builds Canadian partnerships.

    Elly has over three decades of international humanitarian and development and advocacy experience including roles in national, international and multilateral global development organizations and field work in peace building and human rights. Elly holds a degree in international development from the University of Toronto and professional executive coaching certification from Integral Coaching Canada. Elly is mother to three grown sons. She enjoys spending time in her large vegetable garden and collecting eggs from her chickens.

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Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft

Executive Director
NASA Harvest
  • Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft

    Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft is a Geographer who synthesizes Earth observation (EO), agriculture, and interdisciplinary development scholarship together to positively impact agriculture, food security, and sustainability. Her core areas of work have included program development, leadership of research teams on novel methods and applications of satellite EO in agriculture, and translating science and user needs into requirements for current and future satellite observation systems.

    As Programme Scientist for the G20 Global Agriculture Monitoring (GEOGLAM) Programme, Dr. Whitcraft has made important contributions to bringing the value of satellite data to global policy drivers including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

    As the founding Executive Director of NASA Acres and co-founding Deputy Director of NASA Harvest, respectively the U.S.-focused and global NASA Applied Sciences Consortia on food security and agriculture, Dr. Whitcraft has gained recognition internationally as a thought-leader in the monitoring and measurement of agricultural productivity, land use, and sustainability from field to global scales. She is a vocal proponent of the value of public-good science as a vital, precompetitive driver of innovation and societal benefit, demonstrating notable public-private partnership success through founding and directing the nonprofit Harvest Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture Initiative.

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