2017 Annual Conference Speakers

Visit this page often to learn more about who is speaking at this year's Annual Conference. Speaker biographies and photos will be added as they are confirmed.


Janet Craig
Vice President, Investor Relations, Fortis Inc.

Ms. Craig joined the Fortis Group in 2015 with more than 20 years in the investor relations field. She was Senior Vice President of Investor Relations for Loblaw Companies Limited and Vice President of Investor Relations for Nexen Inc., a global energy company based in Calgary. She also managed investor relations for Nortel Networks. She earned a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology and English) from the University of Toronto. Ms. Craig serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of IR Magazine and is a frequent speaker on investor relations and shareholder engagement, including IR Think Tanks and Executive Management Programs. She holds numerous awards and recognition for investor relations, including over 20 #1 awards in Canada. In 2012 Janet was named one of the “Top 25 Investor Relations Officers of All Time” in a global ranking of investor relations officers by Investor Relations magazine.

Michelle De Cordova
Director, Corporate Engagement & Public Policy, NEI Investments

For the last eight years, Michelle has worked within the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Services team at NEI Investments, where she is responsible for the Corporate Engagement program. NEI’s comprehensive Corporate Engagement program integrates targeted, in-depth dialogues with companies; engaged proxy voting according to guidelines promoting sustainability and good governance; responding to proactive requests from leading companies and industry associations for an investor perspective on ESG issues; public policy engagement on corporate regulations and standards to create sector and economy-wide change; and participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives to find practical solutions to sustainability problems. She has authored and co-authored a variety of publications on responsible investment topics ranging from oil sands to executive compensation. Before joining NEI Investments, Michelle served as a diplomat and worked as a staff member and consultant for environment and social development organizations in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Mary-Jo Dionne
Mary-Jo Dionne Productions

Mary-Jo Dionne is an award-winning writer who has worked as a copywriter and strategist on some of North America’s biggest brands -- ranging from Nike Canada to Bell to various Olympic-sponsorships. Her work was called "A masterpiece in urban satire that will have you laughing so hard you'll glow," by the Globe and Mail. She is a contributor to The Huffington Post and as a dabbling comedian, she’s performed in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, and LA and was a finalist for Vancouver's Funniest New Female Comedian. Her one-woman show “Glowing: A Reproduction Production” was hailed a “real crowd pleaser” by the CBC and her recent TEDx Talk was deemed a “crowd favourite”. In print, she has interviewed notable greats like Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Goodall, and Martha Stewart, among others. She’s creator and host of “Tea with a Titan”, a weekly podcast during which Mary-Jo has tea with those people – Olympians, actors, entrepreneurs, executives, thought-leaders -- who have one thing in common: The quest for greatness despite the hurdles. She is thrilled to be a presenter at CIRI’s 2017 National Conference.

Neil Downey
Managing Director, Global Equity Research, RBC Capital Markets

Neil is a Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets and also serves as Associate Head of Canadian Research. As a senior member of Global Equity Research, Neil is responsible for the firm's coverage of the Canadian real estate and related sectors. With twenty years of experience and more than 30 REITs and REOCs in his coverage universe, Neil has significant breadth and depth of knowledge of the real estate sector. His research is highly valued by institutional investors, consistently ranking him highly in industry surveys. Most recently, he was ranked #1 in both the 2016 Greenwich survey and the 2015 Brendan Woods International survey. Prior to joining RBC Capital Markets in 1996, Neil spent five years with Ernst & Young Canada as a senior staff accountant in the financial services and capital markets groups. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University in 1993 with an honours bachelor of business administration, Neil received his CA designation in 1995 and was awarded his CFA charter in 1997.

Richard Downey
Vice President, Investor & Corporate Relations, Agrium Inc.

Richard has held roles of increasing responsibility since joining Agrium in 1996. In his current role of Vice President, Investor and Corporate Relations he is responsible for interactions with investors, media and internal corporate communications. He is also responsible for overseeing Agrium’s market analysis and outlook duties. Previously, Richard held the role of Director of Strategic Planning and Market Research at Agrium. Prior to joining Agrium, Richard worked for various organizations such as the Canadian Wheat Board, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in France, specializing in international agricultural policies, trade and economic research. Richard is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, where he earned his Masters degree in Agriculture Economics.

Chris Lawless
Chief Economist, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC)

A seasoned forecaster and observer of the BC and Canadian economies, Chris also served as chief economist with the British Columbia Ministry of Finance, with the Library of Parliament economic research service, and as an advisor to House of Commons and Senate committees. Chris has an M.A. in economics from Carleton University in Ottawa, and holds the Certified Business Economist designation from the National Association for Business Economics in the United States. He is a director and past-president of the Canadian Association for Business Economics, director and secretary of the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference, and a member of the advisory board of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University.

Jason Milne
Vice President, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management

Jason is Vice President, Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment for RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM). Jason joined the private client department of PH&N IM in 2000 and took on the role of Corporate Governance Analyst two years later. He assumed his current role in 2008 when PH&N was acquired by RBC GAM and is now part of the Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment Group within RBC GAM which is responsible for the integration of environmental, social, and governance factors into the investment process.

Prior to joining the firm, Jason worked in the corporate finance department of a national brokerage and as a mutual fund accountant. Jason became a CFA charterholder in 2001, and is currently the chair of the board of the Responsible Investment Association of Canada (RIA Canada).

Randy Smallwood
President & CEO, Silver Wheaton Corp.

Mr. Smallwood holds a geological engineering degree from the University of British Columbia. Mr. Smallwood was involved in the founding of Silver Wheaton and in 2007 he joined Silver Wheaton full time as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, primarily focusing on growing the Company through the evaluation and acquisition of silver stream opportunities. In January 2010, he was appointed President, and in April 2011 he was appointed Silver Wheaton’s Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Smallwood originally started as an exploration geologist with Wheaton River Minerals Ltd., and in 2001 was promoted to Director of Project Development, his role through its 2005 merger with Goldcorp. Before joining the original Wheaton River group in 1993, Mr. Smallwood also worked with Homestake Mining Company, Teck Corp. and Westmin Resources. Mr. Smallwood was an instrumental part of the team that built Wheaton River / Goldcorp into one of the largest, and more importantly most profitable gold companies in the world, and he is now focused on continuing to add to the impressive growth profile of Silver Wheaton. In 2015, Mr. Smallwood received the British Columbia Institute of Technology Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Jennifer Stevenson
Vice President & Portfolio Manager, 1832 Asset Management L.P.

Jennifer Stevenson joined Dynamic in 2010 as a portfolio manager and member of the award-winning Equity Income team. She brings 26 years of experience in the energy sector, most recently in the role of Managing Director, Portfolio Management at a Calgary-based investment management company where she was responsible for the identification and selection of oil and gas investment opportunities. In addition, Jennifer has a wealth of energy investment banking experience that includes senior positions with Dundee Capital Markets, Merrill Lynch/Midland Walwyn Capital Inc. and FirstEnergy Capital Corp. A well respected oil and gas professional, she began her career with positions at leading Canadian oil and gas producers Amoco Canada and Petro-Canada. Jennifer has an Advanced Certificate in Petroleum Land Contract Administration, a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of commerce degree in Marketing & Finance from the University of Calgary.

2017 Speaker Line Up

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Janet Craig
Michelle de Cordova
Mary-Jo Dionne
Neil Downey
Richard Downey
Chris Lawless
Jason Milne
Randy Smallwood
Jennifer Stevenson

See What Past Conference Attendees Have to Say

My 9th CIRI conference and I always walk away having met a few new faces and learned some new things. Plan to attend next year and can't wait for it! ”

2016 Conference Delegate - Laurie Thomas, CPIR
Manager, IR, Cameco Corporation

  • Thank You To CIRI's 2010 National Strategic Partners
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