Terry Beech • Brenna Donoghue • Derek Dunfield • Kulvir Gill • Adam Goldenberg • Kyle Hill • Geordie Hungerford • Tiara Létourneau • Ali Okhowat • Phillippe Ouellette • Mark Podlasly • Scott Robertson • Samir Sinha • Erin Spink • François Vincent • Suzanne von der Porten • Shannon Wells
Terry Beech is currently CEO of Hiretheworld.com. HiretheWorld makes it easy to find, manage and pay an on-demand, global workforce. You can hire a single freelancer for a specific job or crowdsource a creative contest amongst many freelancers for a fraction of the traditional cost. HiretheWorld operates in 150+ countries, is funded by Oxford University and other investors, and was the 2010 winner of the prestigious New Ventures British Columbia competition. Terry is a Director for Lift Philanthropy Partners, a Vancouver based Venture Philanthropy Fund was birthed as a legacy of the 2010 Olympic Games. Terry is also co-founder and a Director of Twinbro Local Leaders, a non-profit society focused on student success and leadership education. Terry combines his passion for entrepreneurship and education by teaching Entrepreneurship and Strategy within the faculty of business at Simon Fraser University.
Terry holds an MBA from Oxford University and an economics and business degree from Simon Fraser University. Previous to completing his MBA, Terry was Director of Business Development for the Aquilini Investment Group, a private investment firm whose assets include real estate, agriculture, and the Vancouver Canucks NHL franchise. Terry also served in public office as Canada’s youngest elected official when he was elected to Nanaimo City Council at 18 years of age in 1999.
Terry spent a year studying and consulting in both Europe and East Asia. He is an avid traveler and enjoys golfing, skiing, backpacking, running and playing hockey. In 2009 Terry was the European Champion of the prestigious Venture Capital Investment Competition, and was the runner up in the World Championship Finals. Terry was a performer in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was also selected to film a pitch for the fall 2010 season of Dragons’ Den.
Terry has been featured as a Maclean’s top 30 under 30 Canadian Leader, and is the recipient of the Volunteer Vancouver Award, the Capilano University “One to Watch” award, the SFU Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award, and has also been featured on the CityTV “City Heroes” segment for his volunteer and charity work. Terry is humbled by the opportunity to join the Action Canada fellowship program and is particularly excited to contribute to this year’s theme centered around entrepreneurship and innovation.
In 2009, Brenna became the Director of Operations for Engineers Without Borders. Harnessing her passion for international development and her formal management education, Brenna is a key leader of the EWB management team. Prior to joining EWB as the Director of Communications (2005-2008), Brenna worked for the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Brenna is also engaged in her local community and is currently a member of the Nazareth House Board of Directors.
Brenna holds a Master of Business Administration (2009) and a Master of Arts in Political Studies (2004) from Queen’s University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economics (2003) from Bishop’s University. She has received a number of awards and scholarships including First Prize at the UCLA Global Leadership Business Competition (2009), the Tom Burns Prize in International Business (2009), and the QSB-MBA Class of 1981 Scholarship for academic excellence and social contribution (2008).
When she isn’t working, Brenna is an avid runner, tri-athlete, and painter.
Derek Dunfield holds a Doctorate in neuroscience from the University of British Columbia and an M.Sc. in physics from Queen’s University. He is currently a Visiting Scholar in behavioural economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. A relatively new discipline, behavioural economics combines neuroscience and experimental psychology to understand economic decisions and how these decisions affect financial markets. This research can help us identify specific policies that Canada can champion to regulate the core issues behind unacceptable financial risk-taking, including identifying hard-wired systematic irrational or emotional behaviours that promote unacceptable risk-taking. Dr. Dunfield’s Ph.D. and Master’s work has resulted in publications in the some of the best academic journals and recognition via numerous awards and scholarships, such as the British Columbia Industrial Innovation Scholarship, the NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship, the CIHR Brain Star award, and the Michael Smith Foundation Senior Trainee award. Outside of academia, Dr. Dunfield is an active member of the Canadian International Council (CIC), a non-partisan organization promoting research and dialogue on international affairs. Dr. Dunfield’s background offers a unique perspective to this year’s Economic Transformations theme.
Kulvir Singh Gill was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He graduated from the University of Calgary with undergraduate degrees in biology and commerce. Kulvir then relocated to Toronto and started off his career with Oliver Wyman (then known as Mercer Management Consulting) as a management consultant. From there, he moved on to Barrick Gold Corporation, spending seven years as part of their global Organizational Effectiveness team, working on strategic planning, organizational design, post-merger integrations and business performance management. Specifically, he played a key role in the establishment of Barrick’s global supply chain practice, developed a turnaround plan for the African business unit and managed the post-merger business integrations of Placer Dome and Cadence Energy. Late last year, he left Barrick and has launched his own independent management consulting and coaching firm.
In addition to his career, Kulvir has been actively involved in his local community. He has served in leadership roles with the Sikh Centennial Foundation, Spinning Wheel Film Festival, and Toronto Sikh Youth Retreats. Currently, he’s mobilizing a group of second-generation Sikh-Canadian youth to simultaneously launch several new non-profit organizations including the Sikh Arts Council and the Seva Food Bank. Kulvir also serves on the Board of Directors for the William Osler Health System Foundation and Habitat For Humanity – Brampton. Kulvir currently lives in Brampton, Ontario.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Adam was Principal Speechwriter and Special Assistant to Michael Ignatieff during his time as Leader of the Opposition. He later served as Senior Advisor to Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation in the Government of Ontario.
Adam is an Action Canada Fellow. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Harvard University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a John Harvard Scholar. He recently began his studies at Yale Law School.
A physicist from a family of fishermen in the bucolic environs of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Kyle Hill is a Rhodes Scholar currently completing a Ph.D. in University of Oxford’s Department of Surgery. His medical imaging research enables early-stage diagnosis of lung diseases such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis and, due to Oxford’s extensive research collaborations, much of his Ph.D. work has been completed in Paris. Son français s’améliore tous les jours et il s’immerge dans la culture française!
Outside the classroom, Kyle has embraced a wide-ranging set of activities and volunteer opportunities: in summer 2006, he was the only Canadian selected for the prestigious NASA Academy near Washington, DC; during his 2007 summer, Google noticed his keen interest in internet technology and hired him to do market research in London, England; in summer 2008, Kyle taught high school science to economically disadvantaged students in rural Jamaica; and, most recently, he spent his 2009 summer volunteering with the UNDP in Chernobyl, Ukraine, where he completed a health education project and promoted a healthy and active lifestyle to local youth. Kyle’s experience and passion for the intersection of technology and development has led to a 2010-2011 Sauvé Scholarship.
Kyle is also an award-winning jazz trombonist who recently recorded an album with the Donut Kings, an Oxford-based jazz combo. When not wracking his brain trying to apply his analytical training to abstract problems, Kyle can be found training for a marathon, adventuring through Europe with wild abandon, and cheering on the Habs and the Blue Jays.
Geordie Hungerford is a lawyer with a broad background in finance, technology, Asian business, and Aboriginal issues. He acts as senior legal counsel for the British Columbia Securities Commission in corporate finance where he creates and advises on securities policy and legislation. He was formerly a lawyer at a national law firm where he practiced corporate/commercial and Aboriginal law, a technology investment banker in Silicon Valley, and a management consultant in Greater China, where he lived for 4 years.
Geordie holds an MBA and MA (East Asian Studies) from Stanford University, an LLB from the University of British Columbia, a BEng (Electrical and Computer Engineering) from Queen’s University, and a certificate in Mandarin Chinese from IUP at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He speaks and reads Chinese proficiently. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
A fifth generation Vancouverite, Geordie volunteers and serves on numerous educational and non-profit boards and committees. He is a Gwich’in (Northwest Territories/Yukon Dene/Métis) and is active in the Aboriginal legal community.
Tiara Létourneau is a Commercial Account Manager for Aboriginal Markets with the Royal Bank of Canada, and a Masters Candidate in Development Studies. With a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta, Tiara traveled abroad to work in the field of international development, specializing in Micro-finance and Business Development Services for micro-entrepreneurs. In 2007 Tiara was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship for a Masters in South Africa, and in 2008 a Paul Harris Fellowship. Her masters research on the “informal economy” in South African townships, deepened her understanding of survival based entrepreneurship and poverty issues. Tiara’s interest in economic development and financial services extends from her passion for proactive citizenship and global prosperity. She has always been an active member of civil society, and has held leadership positions in a variety of organizations including Canada25, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and 4-H Canada. She is also a Director and Chair for Sustainable Economic Development with Compassionate Eye Foundation. Tiara currently resides in Vancouver with her three-year-old daughter.
Ali Okhowat is passionate about improving access to essential medicines, technologies, and quality healthcare in Canada and around the world. A medical resident and fellow of the Humanitarian Studies Initiative at McGill University and Master’s student in Bioethics at the Université de Montréal, Ali has had a long-standing interest in global health and health policy issues and is a linguaphile, speaking Farsi, Mandarin, Spanish, and French and currently studying Arabic and Russian. As a past Valedictorian at the University of Toronto Medical School and founder of numerous global health and social justice initiatives, Ali has always viewed his participation in student governance and civil society organizations as an integral part of his education. He is currently an intern at the Institute for Health and Social Policy in Montreal, where he is studying the association between healthcare expenditures by OECD countries and healthcare access, quality and outcomes, in order to discern best practices and ethical principles to guide healthcare spending.
Phillippe thinks it’s time for Canada to begin fulfilling its potential through the dedication and ambition of those who choose to contribute. He’s one of those people. Through his work as a director with the Government of New Brunswick’s Population Growth Secretariat, he’s making a much-needed contribution by helping develop the province’s plans to recruit and retain more people. Phillippe holds a Master of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s University, where he focused on the relationship between the Canadian Charter of Rights and minority language communities. Phillippe was also elected to the highest post of the Canadian student movement as the National Director for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. His leadership and advocacy qualities resulted in positive outcomes for the over 300,000 students he represented when the federal government reviewed and expanded existing financial aid programs.
Mr. Ouellette currently resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he continues to develop his community leadership abilities. On his spare time, Phillippe can be found practicing his drumming, rock climbing, volunteering for local organizations, or looking through his camera lens. Through the Action Canada experience, Phillippe hopes to gain insight from the other participants and to partake in a pan-Canadian discussion on pertinent public policy issues.
Mark Podlasly is currently a co-founder and lead Principal at PPA-Limited.com, an Aboriginal co-venture environmental management consultancy based in Vancouver that specializes in the permitting of large-scale capital projects. He has extensive international experience in the planning, permitting and construction of multi-million dollar projects including pipeline, mining, power generation facilities and community infrastructure.
An active member of the N’laka’pamux First Nation in South Central BC, Mark is experienced in addressing Aboriginal interests in project development. He is particularly skilled in helping project proponents and local communities reach agreement around land use and development issues. His understanding of project development, Aboriginal consultation and government permitting processes allows him to offer unique and timely solutions to corporate and community challenges.
Mark returned to Canada in 2008 after 10 years in the USA where he ran a successful executive education consulting practice that developed and delivered finance, leadership and globalization programs to senior management at international multinational corporations working at the intersection of corporate strategy and public policy. His client base includes worldwide companies such as GE, Unilever, Clorox, Goldman Sachs and General Mills.
He is a board member at Ecotrust Canada, a non-profit organization that promotes innovative conservation and green community economic development among rural and First Nations communities in British Columbia and the western USA. Mark holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University.
Born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Scott Robertson attended the University of Calgary where he earned a Bachelor of Nursing degree. Returning to the North he applied his skills in the Emergency Department at Stanton Territorial Hospital and worked throughout the Northwest Territories and Nunavut delivering primary health care in community health centres. Experiencing the importance of connecting policy with practice, he accepted a position as a Senior Nursing Consultant with the Government of the Northwest Territories and now leads the Primary Care Unit as the Territorial Chief Nursing Officer. Chair of the Northern Nursing Leadership Network, Scott is also a member of Health Canada’s Principal Nursing Advisors, and participates in the Canadian Health Services Foundation expert group on advancing primary health care initiatives.
With a love of the outdoors, he grew up on Great Slave Lake working as a fishing guide with his father. Not finding what he wanted in Yellowknife housing Scott turned to the lake and built a floating home on Yellowknife Bay where he resided completely off the grid for 5 years. In addition to his work in nursing, he leveraged his interest in flying and logistics while operating the world’s only floating wind and solar-powered travel agency from the houseboat. Now living on dry land, Scott still spends a few weeks every summer showcasing his guiding expertise preparing traditional shore lunches and entertaining visitors to the North. He may also be spotted on radar putting his private pilot’s license to good use.
A Rhodes Scholar, after pursuing his undergraduate medical studies at the University of Western Ontario he obtained a Masters in Medical History and a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Ageing. After returning to pursue postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto, he went on to the US where he most recently served as the Erickson/Reynolds Fellow in Clinical Geriatrics, Education and Leadership at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Sinha’s breadth of training has contributed to his growing expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly. Dr. Sinha has consulted with hospitals and health authorities in Britain, Canada, the United States and China around the implementation and administration of unique, integrated and innovative models of geriatric care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity and ultimately promote health.
Over the past 15 years, Erin has been passionately involved as a volunteer, advocate and employee in the social profit sector spanning work with animals, Special Olympic athletes, seniors and more. Her current role is Senior Coordinator, Volunteer Engagement for the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. There she is involved with a team to lead a program of approximately 65,000 volunteers across the province. Spink completed an Honours Sociology Degree, participating in the Ontario-Rhône Alpes exchange to L’Université Pierre Mendes France, working towards a License de Sociologie, before receiving her Certificate with Distinction in Volunteer Program Management from Conestoga College. She later joined the faculty and has been Associate Faculty for the past 4 years. In 2008, Erin completed an M.A. (Leadership), submitting a major research project which was the first ever academic work to quantify the concept of ‘Volunteer Engagement’. Through this program she was one of two students awarded the Co-operators Insurance Scholarship. Erin’s research has been published in both Canadian and international journals. She is currently involved on the Board of Directors for her professional association as Director, Strategic Partnerships, which includes leading advocacy strategies across Ontario. Spink’s interest in volunteers began at the age of six, when she pronounced that while it was wrong to eat animals, hamburgers at McDonald’s came from “volunteer cows,” and therefore an exception could be made. Spink currently lives in Toronto, no longer believes in eating volunteers and hopes neither is held against her.
François Vincent believes that our actions can have an influence on governments’ public policies, as well as a positive impact on our community. For this reason, he works as a policy analyst at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). He sees small and medium enterprises as a crucial element of Canada’s economic development and, therefore, an asset for all citizens.
His passion for public affairs led him to serve as Chair and Coordinator of the Youth Advisory Committee, Commission des partenaires du marché du travail from 2004 to 2009. He also worked for two university students associations, including as President of the Quebec Federation of University Students (QFUS), the largest youth group in Québec from 2005 to 2006. In this position, François was deeply involved in the Québec government’s work on its youth strategy, as the spokesman for Concertation jeunesse, a coalition of 13 Québec youth groups.
François Vincent also served as an Intern with the France-Québec political action committee, Aile parlementaire du Nouveau Centre, Assemblée nationale de la République française, and went to Israel on a study tour for young Québec leaders.
M. Vincent is a dedicated and involved person. He has sat on various boards of directors and is currently a member of the Comité national d’éthique sur le vieillissement de la population et sur les changements démographiques, in Québec. His passion for politics has led him to participate in numerous parliamentary simulations, including the Simulation of the European Parliament-Canada-Québec-Europe (SPECQUE) where his peers voted him best negotiator (2007) and best public speaker (2008).
François Vincent holds a Bachelor’s Degree in communications and politics and a Law Certificate from the University de Montréal. He is currently pursuing a specialized graduate diploma in management at HEC Montréal.
Suzanne von der Porten
Suzanne von der Porten is a PhD student in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies, and a researcher with the Water Policy and Governance Group at the University of Waterloo. Her area of scholarship is in the field of Water Governance as it relates to First Nations communities in Canada. Suzanne was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and has a B.Sc. and an MBA from the University of Victoria. Over the last four years she worked as a first and second year Economics Instructor at Selkirk College in rural British Columbia and taught courses ranging from Money & Banking to Environmental Economics. She regularly contributes publications in the forms of business cases and articles on subjects of water management issues in industrial development in Canada. She also spent three years working as a “helitack” forest fire fighter in northern British Columbia, and has since worked as a lead Fire Information Officer for the BC Ministry of Forests and Range during the peak season ‘fire storms’. This year, Suzanne will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of her all-women’s “Powershift” cycling trip across Canada to promote alternative transportation.
Shannon Wells, of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, is a research and policy analyst with Intergovernmental Affairs, Privy Council Office, in Ottawa. Shannon has been privileged to observe and participate in Canada’s public policy process from many vantage points, including while providing strategic advice to the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada, the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal, and Samara Canada. While participating in the Parliamentary Internship Programme in Ottawa, she worked with the Hon. Don Boudria, M.P. and Michael Ignatieff, M.P. on a wide range of public issues including procedural reform in the House of Commons, human capital policy, justice and human rights. Shannon is passionate about mobilizing collaborative networks and as Chairperson of the 2009 Walter Gordon Massey Symposium in Public Policy, she brought together academics, journalists and practitioners from Canada, the U.S. and Europe to debate and discuss practical solutions to tackle rising economic inequality. She has also assisted in the creation of a Web 2.0 portal to connect students, scholars, and practitioners of public policy and administration from across Canada. She has received several honours for her commitment to public service and for academic excellence, including Junior Fellowships from Massey College (University of Toronto) and Green College (University of British Columbia), a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. She holds graduate degrees from the School of Public Policy and Governance in the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and a BA (First Class Honours) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.