SAM BELZBERG, Action Canada Co-Founder; Co-Chair of the Board
Samuel Belzberg, O.C., O.B.C. Hugely successful in international business, Samuel Belzberg is also one of British Columbia’s most forward-thinking philanthropists. Mr. Belzberg specializes in ambitious and innovative solutions to pressing issues, focusing his prodigious efforts on causes that appeal to his deep caring for humanity. He is the founder and chair of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, which has invested more than $25 million in research and outreach. He inspired and led Simon Fraser University’s first fundraising campaign, which raised $68 million in three years. As founding chairman, he has invested time and money in the humanitarian work of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. He established, in partnership with Canada’s federal government, the Action Canada fellowship program which fosters leadership among up to 20 outstanding young Canadians each year. In banking, real estate and investment, Mr. Belzberg built a strong reputation for success including founding Gibralt Capital, which today owns and successfully manages real estate and capital investments. Mr. Belzberg’s enlightened and generous contributions have been acknowledged through numerous awards and honours over the years, including an honorary doctorate from Simon Fraser University. Mr. Belzberg is a member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to the officer category in 2002. The Order of BC was also awarded to Mr. Belzberg in September 2009 for his extraordinary philanthropy and community leadership in BC.
DAVID AISENSTAT, Co-Chair of the Board
Leading Canadian businessman and philanthropist David Aisenstat has spent a lifetime in the restaurant business and his passion for it shows. In addition to being the owner and CEO of The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, Canada’s premier casual dining brand, his restaurant collection includes Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar, Ki modern japanese + bar, The Shore Club, and Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar.
In a business well known for its unusually high turnover of both management and staff, David has been able to recognize and retain talented people. In fact, The Keg has been named as one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers by ROB Magazine for the last 7 years, a feat that is especially impressive for a restaurant company. Management teams and executives within David’s restaurants, foster a unique culture that, in turn, enhances the experience of the millions of guests who visit his restaurants each year.
David has a passion for art and design that is evident in the look and feel of his restaurants. From the stunning urban patios in downtown Keg locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, to the cutting edge design of KI, David’s flair for art and design is evident. This keen interest is highlighted in his role as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Vancouver Art Gallery, one of Canada’s most highly regarded cultural institutions.
A key element in all of David’s endeavours is a strong focus on giving back. This is most clearly evident in The Keg Spirit Foundation, which was established in 2001 to commemorate The Keg’s 30th anniversary. The Foundation focuses on helping charitable organizations that develop and mentor young people – something that The Keg has long been successful at with thousands of young staff every year. The $4 million distributed since The Keg Spirit Foundation’s inception is a source of great pride for David and to all those involved with the Foundation. Most importantly, the Foundation has been an inspiration for thousands of staff to reach beyond themselves and give back to those less fortunate both in their communities and around the world.
CLAY HORNER, Past Chair
Clay Horner is the Toronto based Chair of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, a leading law firm with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and New York City. He served as lead counsel (2003) to the Wise Persons’ Committee, established by the Canadian Deputy Prime Minister, to recommend the best securities regulatory structure for Canada. The committee’s report, It’s Time, called for the establishment of a national securities regulator. Mr. Horner is widely recognized as a leading Canadian and international advisor on mergers and acquisitions transactions. He has acted as counsel in many significant transactions involving Canadian companies, including Placer Dome Inc.’s response to an unsolicited offer by Barrick Gold; China National Petroleum Corp. International’s acquisition of Petrokazakhstan (largest ever public company acquisition by a Chinese company); the Coors merger with Molson; and IPSCO, Inc.’s acquisition by SSAB of Sweden. He is the immediate past president of the Alumni Association at the University of Toronto Law School; vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Woodbine Entertainment Group and chairman of the Board of Directors of Action Canada. He holds degrees from Queen’s University, The University of Toronto Law School and The Harvard Law School.
JACK BLANEY, Action Canada Co-Founder
Dr. Blaney, O.B.C., is a co-founder of Action Canada. He is President Emeritus, Simon Fraser University, a member of several boards and recently concluded an eight-year appointment as a Commissioner with the International Joint Commission.
JODI WHITE, Director, Secretary Treasurer
Jodi White’s career spans the nexus of journalism, government, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector, providing a unique skill set and knowledge surrounding governance and public policy issues. She has worked at the most senior levels of government and the private sector.
Ms. White is currently the president of Sydney House consultants and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Carleton University’s Norman Patterson School of International Affairs and the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs.
Previously, she was President of the Public Policy Forum, one of Canada’s foremost think tanks. In the private sector, she was Vice-President at Imasco, a major Canadian conglomerate. In government, she served as Chief of Staff to the Foreign minister and chief of staff to the Prime Minister.
In 2009, she was appointed a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
Throughout Ms. White’s career she has committed time and energy to the not-for-profit and voluntary sector. Currently she is Chair of the Board of Governors of the National Theatre School of Canada, in Montreal. She also sits on several national boards: Canadian International Council; the Trans Canada Trail; Tides Canada; Action Canada and the Canadian Journalism Foundation.
In 2007, Ms. White received the Public Service Citation from the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada.
In 2008, she was named one of the top 100 most influential women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network.
She holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
FRANCES BELZBERG, Advisory Council
Frances (Cooper) Belzberg, C.M., was born in Los Angeles, California and by her teens was involved with controversial racial issues in that area. She also actively petitioned for the Balfour Declaration toward the establishment of the State of Israel. In October 1950, Fran married Sam Belzberg and settled in Edmonton, Alberta. Along with the many charitable organizations she was involved in, she was active in amateur theatre. The family moved to Vancouver in 1968 and Frances sat on the boards of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Vancouver Playhouse and the Vancouver Children’s Hospital. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1995. Her most valued contribution to society, she says, are their four children, each of whom are actively involved in their communities.
ANN COWAN, Advisory Council
Ann Cowan was the executive director of Simon Fraser University’s Vancouver campus and director of program development with SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. She joined the university as the director of program information in Continuing Studies in 1977. In 1979 she was the founding director of the Writing and Publishing Program, which continues to flourish, out of which grew the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing. In 1998, the YWCA recognized her contributions to education with a Woman of Distinction award. Before settling in Vancouver in 1976, she worked for the National Museum of Man (now Civilization) as project director of Canada’s Visual History. Her degrees are from the University of Toronto and Carleton University and she also is a by-fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.
LISA BELZBERG, Member, Advisory Council
Dr. Lisa Belzberg is the Founder and Chair Emeritus of the non-profit organization PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning, www.pencil.org).
She began her career working for political campaign consultant David Garth and as a producer of the Charlie Rose TV show. She has been a Principal at Leeds Equity Partners, LLP, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.
She is an acting Board member for JDC and OneFamily Fund, and she sits on the Dean’s Council for NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education.
In 1999, she was presented with the John Stanford Education Heroes Award from the U.S. Department of Education for her ‘extraordinary work in helping children learn’. Crain’s New York Business included her in its list of ’40 Under 40′. Lisa was honored as one of Redbook’s ‘Mothers and Shakers’, was featured in Harper’s Bazaar’s ‘A View From The Top: Seven Power Women’, was named NY Magazine’s ‘New Yorker of the Year’, and one of George magazine’s ‘Citizens of the Year’.
Dr. Belzberg holds a B.A. from Barnard College, an M.Sc. from The London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in Education from New York University. Lisa most recently co-created koobli (www.koobli.com), a chic and cozy time-saving product for parents.
CATHY BEEHAN, Founding Chief Executive Officer
A former senior public servant, Cathy Beehan received the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Public Service Excellence, the highest award for persons holding executive positions in the federal public service. Cathy was the first Canadian head of the NAFTA Secretariat and has expertise in NAFTA dispute settlement. She has also served as senior policy advisor to a federal Minister. She holds degrees in law and music, graduating with distinction in both. Since 2002 she has been the Founding Chief Executive Officer of Action Canada. In this capacity she has played a key role in designing and implementing the Action Canada program. Cathy continues to play violin in the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, which she joined in 1976.