Speakers

Speaker biographies and photos will be added as they are confirmed.

Jeff Ansell

Principal, Jeff Ansell & Associates

Jeff Ansell of Jeff Ansell & Associates www.jeffansell.com has created a unique process for people to be compelling communicators, whether dealing with the media, answering challenging questions or facing a crisis. As a media trainer, Jeff is brought in on tough, high profile, no-win situations, including the Erin Brockovich case. During the BP oil spill, Jeff counseled BP's partner in the Gulf disaster. He also provided crisis communications counsel for the Vancouver Olympics, and has trained White House spokespeople. 

Prior to his consulting career, Jeff was an investigative journalist. In one investigation, Jeff revealed abuse taking place in a Toronto nursing home resulting in the closure of the home, as well as amendments to the Ontario Nursing Home Act. As a reporter, Jeff was honoured with the Radio and Television News Directors Association Award for the Most Significant Contribution to the Improvement of News Gathering in Canada and he was nominated for the Governor-General’s Award for public service in journalism.

Wanting to build on what he learned as a journalist, Jeff moved into public relations and served as senior vice president of Hill and Knowlton, where he created the company's media training department in Canada. Jeff has been an instructor of the Dealing with an Angry Public program at Harvard Law School and lectures annually in the Negotiation curriculum at Harvard Business School. 

Jeff is the author of When the Headline Is You: An Insider's Guide to Handling the Media www.whentheheadlineisyou.com.


Mauk Breukels

Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs, Finning International Inc.

Mauk Breukels has been responsible for Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs for Finning International Inc. since May 2009. Mauk joined Finning in 1988 and started his career in equipment sales and branch management. He worked in several locations before he moved to Finning Canada’s head office as Manager, Health and Safety. He subsequently held positions in Marketing, Project Management, and Organizational Development. In 2000, Mauk joined Finning International as Corporate Manager, Operations Review. He moved to Chile in 2003 to become Director, Inventory and Logistics for Finning South America and returned to Finning International in 2007 as Director of Strategic Planning.

Mauk holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance and Urban Land Economics from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.


Meghan Brown

Director, Investor Relations, Endeavour Silver Corp.

Meghan has over 20 years of experience in communications and investor relations in the resource sector and joined Endeavour Silver as Director of Investor Relations in March 2013. She started her career with Suncor Energy and has also worked in communications and investor relations for Transcanada, Placer Dome, Ventana Gold, and a number of publicly traded mineral exploration and development companies. Meghan has served six consecutive years on the CIRI BC board and is currently serving her final term as is President. She holds a BA from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from Queen’s University, and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. She has also completed the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Governance Essentials Program for Directors of Not-for-Profit Organizations and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.


David Bustos

Managing Director, Global Investment Banking, & Co-Head of RBC Capital Markets

David Bustos is a Managing Director, Global Investment Banking, and Co-Head of RBC Capital Markets in British Columbia.  He has 22 years investment banking experience with Canadian and U.S. investment banks in Vancouver, Toronto and New York.  Prior to joining RBC, Dave spent two years as EVP Business Development with Inwest Investments, a diversified holding company with significant interests in real estate and pharmaceutical finance. 

Dave is responsible for coverage of public and private corporations, private equity and family offices, and government entities.  His activities include coordination and execution of capital raising assignments (including both equity and debt offerings) and M&A advisory.  Dave is also actively involved in credit relationships with the bank’s larger clients in British Columbia.  He has developed relationships and relevant experience in a variety of sectors including forest products, mining, utilities, technology and industrial and consumer products. 

Dave holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia and is a Leslie Wong Fellow, graduating from UBC’s Portfolio Management Foundation.  Married with two children, he is a governor of Collingwood School and serves with the RBC Foundation.


David Carey

Senior Vice President, Capital Markets, ARC Resources Ltd.

David is Senior Vice President, Capital Markets at ARC Resources, where he is responsible for ARC's government and investor relations, as well as corporate governance activities. He has over 30 years of diverse experience in the Canadian and international energy industries covering exploration, project evaluations, production, finance and investor relations. From 1999 to 2001 he held the dual roles of Director, Investor Relations at Gulf Canada Resources Ltd., and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Athabasca Oil Sands Trust.

David holds both an Honours BSc in Geological Engineering and an MBA from Queen's University. He is a member of CIRI's Board of Directors and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, and the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta.


Shirley Chenier 

Senior Director, Investor Relations, Bombardier, Inc.

Shirley Chénier was appointed Senior Director, Investor Relations in February 2007 after five years as Director, Investor Relations. She is in charge of Investor Relations for Bombardier globally, thus providing strategic direction and guidance for the company’s position in the financial markets as well as managing the company’s relationships with its various investors and analysts. She also reports regularly to the Senior Management Team and the Board of Directors on events affecting Bombardier and/or its share price.

Shirley has been with Bombardier Inc. since January 1995 and has risen in the ranks to her present level. Prior to her appointment in Investor Relations, she was Manager of Strategic Initiatives, also at Bombardier Inc.’s corporate office.
Before joining Bombardier, she was Head of Accounting for a small lighting equipment manufacturer located in the Montreal region.

She graduated with a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from l’École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC), the business school affiliated to the Université de Montréal.


Rebecca Corbin

Founder and President, Corbin Perception Group

Rebecca Corbin is Founder and President of Corbin Perception Group, an IR research and advisory firm specializing in perception studies and assisting public companies with shareholder value creation.

Over the past decade, Rebecca has provided strategic counsel to hundreds of companies worldwide and across diverse sectors.  Her areas of expertise include institutional investor research, strategy and message development/positioning, investor outreach and marketing, as well as IR best practices in general.  Ms. Corbin has extensive C-suite and board-level experience and, as a subject matter expert, has served as panelist and guest speaker at numerous corporate meetings and industry conferences.

Rebecca also serves as Editor-in-chief of Inside The Buy-side®, Corbin Perception’s quarterly research report that tracks changes in investor sentiment, excerpts of which have been published in WSJ’s MarketWatch, Bloomberg’s Businessweek, CNBC.com, MSNBC.com, Yahoo! Finance and other financial journals.

Prior to founding Corbin Perception in 2007, Ms. Corbin was a vice president with Thomson Reuters.  She started her career as a stock surveillance analyst covering media and cable stocks.  In 2003, Rebecca established and led Thomson Financial Perception, a start-up consulting division specializing in buy side research and perception studies.

Ms. Corbin received a B.A. in Business Management from Washington College, where she graduated cum laude and with thesis honors.  She was the first recipient of the Schottland Business Leadership Award and was also presented with the Department of Business Management Award, the department's highest continuing honor.  Recently, she was the third recipient of the The Alumni Horizon Ribbon Award, presented to an alumnus/na of the past 15 years who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, service and scholarship.

Ms. Corbin is an active member of her community and serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Women’s Hall Fame, Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and Hartford Symphony Orchestra, all non-for-profit organizations.  As well, she is a member of the President’s Leadership Council of Washington College and President of the Jim and Rebecca Loree Foundation, a charitable organization that she co-founded with her husband in 2009.  They reside in Central Connecticut with their two daughters.


Richard Downey

Vice President, Investor/Corporate Relations & Market Research,
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.


Tom Enright

Chairman & CEO, Enright Management Coaching & Consulting, Inc.

Tom is a proven leader with extensive C-suite and board experience serving most recently as President & CEO of CIRI.

Prior to CIRI, Tom was President & CEO of CNW Group for fourteen years and led that organization through a major expansion of electronic communication services for public companies and played a leading role in developing new platforms for professional communicators. Tom also served as an independent director of the CNW Group board in the role of Deputy Chairman. Prior to joining CNW Group, Tom had extensive experience working with public companies having spent fifteen years with the Toronto Stock Exchange and three years with the Financial Post.

In 2008, Tom was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in investor relations by IR Magazine. He is also the recipient of an Arbor Award from the University of Toronto in 2003. Tom received the University of Toronto Scarborough Alumni Award in 2004. Tom was the first Honorary Chair of the University of Toronto at Scarborough Mentorship Program. Tom is an Honorary Lifetime member of CIRI.


Terry Foster

President, Cision Canada

After a successful management career in public relations and marketing in the United States and the United Kingdom, Terry joined Cision Canada as president in 2011.

A former executive vice president and chief operating officer at BurrellesLuce from 2006 to 2009, Terry most recently served as CEO of a Toronto company that uses social media, traditional media and viral video to support enterprise public relations, corporate communications and marketing strategies.

A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Terry began his career at Durrants in London, United Kingdom, where he rose from account manager to director of client services. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, the Institute of Public Relations, and the Software & Information Industry Association.Terry is an entrepreneur and an advisor to a numerous social tech startups in Toronto. He is the author of Fender, The Golden Age 1946 – 1970, which chronicles the history of the iconic electric guitar.


Wesley Gee

Director, Sustainability, The Works Design Communications

Wesley Gee, M.Sc., AIEMA, is Director of Sustainability at The Works Design Communication Ltd. He has worked in management consulting and sustainability for 14 years, and has substantial knowledge of and experience in areas including strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, materiality and performance analysis, corporate governance, CSR/sustainability reporting, and management systems.

Most recently Wesley was a Senior Sustainability Consultant at Stantec Consulting Ltd. and Senior Corporate Social Responsibility Advisor at Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR). In these roles, Wesley advised leading companies including Loblaw Companies Limited, Scotiabank, Xstrata Nickel, Bombardier, Hydro-Quebec, and Stantec at executive and operational levels to improve their identification of key business risks and opportunities, and approaches toward leadership in sustainability.

Wesley has extensive professional and academic backgrounds in sustainability, as an Associate of the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment, participant in the Business Leaders Program at the Sustainable Enterprise Academy (Schulich School of Business), and graduate of the Masters in Sustainable Business program from the University of Leeds.

He is a recognized expert in corporate reporting, as judging panellist (sustainability focus) for the annual CPA Canada corporate reporting awards, and as working group member of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Wesley is also an accredited verification service provider of the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program.


Jerry Grandey

Former Chief Executive Officer, Cameco Corporation

Jerry Grandey retired on June 30, 2011, stepping down from his role as the chief executive officer of Cameco Corporation, one of the world’s largest uranium producers and a growing nuclear energy company. During more than 30 years in the mining industry, Jerry acquired a broad range of experience, from a practicing lawyer specializing in resource and environmental law, to senior executive of several mining companies.

He currently serves on the boards of Canadian Oil Sands Limited, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., Sandspring Resources Ltd., Institute of Corporate Directors, Saskatoon YMCA and Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Colorado School of Mines, on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Edwards School of Business and is chairman emeritus of the World Nuclear Association.

Jerry was awarded the Ian McRae Award in recognition of his leadership and contributions to the advancement of nuclear energy in Canada and was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in January 2013.

Jerry holds a degree in geophysical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a law degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. As well, Jerry spent two years in the US military in the late 1960s.


Fiona Grant Leydier

Director, Investor Relations, Eco Oro Minerals Corp.

Ms. Grant Leydier is a corporate communications professional specializing in investor and corporate relations for the mining industry. She has overseen the development and management of investor relations and strategic communications efforts for a variety of publicly-traded companies in the precious metals exploration, development and production arenas. Over the course of her seven year career, she has gained experience in the areas of corporate finance, capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and capital markets regulation. Ms. Grant Leydier holds degrees in Sociology and Marketing Communications, and is currently working towards the CPIR certification in Investor Relations.


AJ Grewal

Sr. Research Analyst, Financial Services, BC Investment
Management Corporation

AJ Grewal has over 16 years of experience analyzing financial services companies on both the buy-side and sell-side. He has examined banks, property and casualty insurers, life insurers, wealth management, and diversified financial companies. AJ also led the building of Credit-Suisse HOLT’s financial services equity valuation model, which is used by many institutional investors. He is well-versed in a number of analytical and valuation frameworks that include EVA, CFROI, and Modelware, among others. AJ joined British Columbia Investment Management Corporation in May 2010 and is currently the firm’s Sr. Research Analyst, Financial Services.


Carol Hansell 

Senior Partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP  

Carol Hansell is a senior partner with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.  Over her more than 25 years in practice, she has led major transactions for public and private corporations and for government. In the last ten years, her practice has been increasingly dedicated to advising boards, management teams, institutional shareholders and regulators in connection with special governance challenges. These have included conflicts of interest, special committee mandates, board investigations, insider trading, disclosure issues  dissident engagements with boards and proxy fights.

Carol is an experienced director, having served on boards of organizations across a variety of sectors – public company, Crown corporation, health care, not-for-profit and the arts. She has recently retired as a director of the Bank of Canada and currently serves on the boards of the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the International Corporate Governance Network.

Carol has been involved in governance education and thought leadership throughout her career.  Most notably, she served as the Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee of the American Bar Association (Business Law Section), the only non-American ever to hold that position and has participated in the education of over 1500 directors as an instructor in the Director Education Programs offered in Toronto and Vancouver by the Institute of Corporate Directors.

She has received a number of awards and recognitions. Mostly recently she was named as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence and as a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.  In May 2013, she will be inducted as a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors.


Mélanie Hennessey

Vice President, Corporate Communications, NOVAGOLD Resources Inc.

Mélanie is NOVAGOLD’s Vice President, Corporate Communications, responsible for all aspects of the Company's internal and external communications functions, working closely with Greg Lang, President & CEO, and the NOVAGOLD Board of Directors in developing and implementing an Investor Relations and Communications plan focused on advancing its flagship 50%-owned Donlin Gold Project in Alaska. Mélanie has extensive experience within the precious metals mining industry particularly in investor relations, corporate communications, crisis management as well as mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining the Company, she served in a variety of senior roles with such precious metals companies as Goldcorp Inc., New Gold Inc., and Hecla Mining Company. Mélanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Ottawa.


Todd Hirsch

Senior Economic, ATB Financial

In May 2007, Todd became Senior Economist at ATB Financial. He holds a BA Honours in Economics from the University of Alberta and an MA in Economics from the University of Calgary. For over 20 years he’s worked as an economist at several different companies including Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada. For almost a decade, Todd taught economics at the University of Calgary.

Todd regularly provides economic commentary for CBC, CTV, The Globe and Mail and other local and national news outlets. In 2011, he was recognized as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People by Alberta Venture magazine.

In February, Todd released his first book titled, The Boiling Frog Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline.


Ellis Jacob

President & Chief Executive Officer, Cineplex Inc.

Mr. Jacob has 25 years’ experience in the motion picture exhibition industry.  In his current position as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cineplex Inc. and its subsidiaries, Mr. Jacob leads Canada’s largest motion picture exhibition company.  Prior to his current role, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Galaxy Entertainment Inc. which he co-founded in 1999.  Before founding Galaxy, Mr. Jacob represented Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. as Head of Integration.  From 1987 to 1998, Mr. Jacob held various positions with Cineplex Odeon Corporation culminating in the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Mr. Jacob was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in December, 2010.  He is a Director of Cineplex Inc. as well as a member of the Board of Directors and a member of the Finance and Audit Committee for the Toronto International Film Festival. He is a Director of the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) in the United States and a member of NATO’s Executive Committee. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee for Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. and a member of the Board of Directors and a member of the Audit Committee for both Dundee Corporation and Dundee Capital Markets Inc.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Baycrest, a member of Baycrest’s Strategic Planning Committee and is the Chair of Baycrest’s Finance and Audit Committee.  Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Governors for Mount Sinai Hospital.

Mr. Jacob holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and is an FCA and FCMA.


Angela Joyce

Consultant, Investor Relations and Strategic Financial Analysis 

Angela Joyce is a consultant providing investor relations and strategic financial analysis advisory services. Her clients have included global competitors in industries including beverages, food service, financial services, manufacturing, entertainment, retail, health care, mining, oil and gas, aerospace and technology.

Angela was one of Canada's leading investment analysts, working for 14 years at Burns Fry Limited, a predecessor company to BMO Capital Markets. She was an analyst of consumer products, retailing and conglomerate companies, and was ranked in the top three by Brendan Woods throughout her career.

Angela leveraged this expertise gained over two cycles on the sell side and in 1994 she established a consulting practice dedicated to assisting companies in their relationships with the capital markets. Specifically, she advises executive management on how their companies are analysed and how their shares are valued, and how to position corporate developments to maximize valuation. Her customized Capital Market Research includes perception research, valuation and financial analysis, and an analysis of value drivers in order to ensure that there is agreement among management, the board, the buy side and the sell side as to what is driving value in a company and what metrics are being used to monitor performance.

Angela was a member of the board of directors and of the executive committee of the Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) for 10 years and she is a frequent speaker at CIRI events. In 2009, Angela was awarded the CIRI Award for Excellence in Investor Relations.


George Kesteven

Manager, Corporate & Investor Relations, Sterling Resources Ltd.

George is currently Manager, Corporate and Investor Relations with Calgary-based Sterling Resources Ltd., an international junior oil and gas company with operations in the United Kingdom, Romania, and France. Prior to joining Sterling in mid 2008 he was Manager, Investor Relations at PrimeWest Energy Trust, a position he had held since 2001. Concurrent to much of his tenure with PrimeWest he served as President of the Canadian Association of Income Funds (CAIF) from 2004 to 2006, and assumed the role of Chair from early 2007 until year-end 2008. Prior to his involvement with the income trust world he held senior roles in corporate finance and investor relations with TransCanada Pipelines and Petro-Canada respectively. George is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds both an MBA (Finance) and a B.Comm. (Marketing) from the University of Calgary. He is an active member of CIRI Alberta and the Calgary CFA Society. He and his wife Nancy and daughter Paige reside on Vancouver Island, and he commutes to Calgary, Aberdeen, and Bucharest as required.


Stephanie MacVicar

Director, Investor Relations, Newalta Corporation

Ms. Stephanie MacVicar started with Newalta in 2012 and is responsible for investor relations activities. She previously held roles in operations, finance and IR with a Canadian railway company.







Joe Mazumdar

Senior Mining Analyst, Canaccord Genuity 

Joe Mazumdar joined Canaccord Genuity in December 2012 from Haywood Securities where he was also a Senior Mining Analyst focused on the junior gold market (3 years). His industry experience includes corporate roles (7 years) as Director of Strategic Planning, Corporate Development at Newmont (Denver) and Senior Market Analyst/Trader at Phelps Dodge (Phoenix). In addition, Mr. Mazumdar has served in technical roles (10 years) as a Consulting Geologist for IAMGold (Ecuador), Senior Geologist for North Minerals (Argentina/Chile and Peru), Project Geologist for RTZ Mining and Exploration (Argentina), and Regional Geologist for MIM Exploration and Mining (Queensland, Australia), among others. Joe has a BSc in Geology from the University of Alberta (1989), an MSc in Geology and Mining from James Cook University (Australia) and an MSc in Mineral Economics from the Colorado School of Mines (USA). Joe is also fluent in Spanish after spending 7 years in Argentina.


Jim Mustard

VP, Investment Banking, Mining, PI Financial Corp.

Jim joined PI in October, 2009 and brings an extensive range of capital market and industry experience that spans a full range of resource development on a global basis. Prior to joining PI, Jim was President of Canada Zinc Metals Corporation for two years and prior to that was a VP and Senior Mining Analyst at Haywood Securities Inc. for 11 years. Previous work included exploration/development in Latin American, 2 years with the Canadian Federal Government and several years in mine development/engineering work in North America on several mines and projects. Jim’s core strengths are the identification of early to advanced stage resource investment opportunities by focusing on technical and economic factors in the context of his leadership of the investment banking mining team.

Jim has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Geological Engineering from Queens University, Kingston. He is a registered Professional Engineer with the Associated of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC.


Paul Quinn

Paper & Forest Product Analyst, RBC Capital Markets

Paul Quinn became RBC Capital Markets' paper and forest products analyst in 2008. Based in Vancouver, he also has responsibility for covering the US Forestry sector in addition to his Canadian coverage. Paul brings with him an extensive background in the forestry industry, including positions with MacMillan Bloedel and Weyerhaeuser. Prior to joining RBC Capital Markets, he covered the paper and forest products sector as well as being Assistant Director of Research at Salman Partners. Over the past several years, Paul has achieved consistently high rankings for stock picking (StarMine) and is top-ranked with institutional investors (Brendan Wood). 


Smooch Repovich Reynolds

Managing Partner, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, Practice Group/The Caldwell Partners International

Smooch Repovich Reynolds is a partner in the Encino office of Caldwell Partners, and is the leader of the firm’s Investor Relations & Communications Practice. Specializing in the investor relations, communications and marketing functions, she has served clients across a broad range of industries and ranging from pre-IPO start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations; academic institutions and universities; and, non-profit and industry associations.

Formerly, Reynolds was senior vice president of Communications at The Irvine Company; CEO of The Repovich-Reynolds Group, a recognized North American executive search firm that specialized in investor relations, finance, and corporate communications recruitment and consulting with companies that ranged in size from pre-IPO to the mega-cap entities in all industry sectors; and, earlier in her career she served as a senior executive at Hill & Knowlton, Inc.

She was also the creator, producer and host of “Navigating Your Career,” a live, call-in radio show in Phoenix in the late 90's. She wrote Be Hunted! 12 Secrets to Getting on the Headhunter’s Radar Screen, and is a contributing author to Navigating Your Career, in which she wrote the chapter, “How to Take Charge When a Headhunter Calls.” 


Darren Seed

Vice President, Investor Relations & Communications, Westport Innovations Inc.

Darren Seed is the Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications at Westport Innovations, a dual-listed company and the global leader in natural gas engines. Darren's key role at Westport has been the establishment of the Company's U.S. listing and shareholder base since the Company's Nasdaq listing in the summer of 2008. Westport's shareholder base has grown from 10,000 shareholders in 2008 to over 60,000 in 2012. Prior to joining Westport, Darren was the Director of IR for Forbes Medi-Tech where he developed an investor relations program which helped increase Forbes' shareholder base. He has worked extensively in both the Canadian and American markets with over 15 years IR experience across various industries including Biotech, Fuel Cell, High Tech and the venture capital arena. Prior to joining Forbes, Darren was Manager, Investor Relations for TeraGlobal Communications Corp.

He completed CIRI's Strategic Management of Investor Relations Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Darren is the National Membership Chair for CIRI and Past President of the B.C. Chapter and has been a board member since 2005.


Neil Stewart

Editorial and Research Director, IR Magazine

Neil is a roving editor and spokesman for IR Magazine, a global print and online magazine based in New York and London, currently celebrating its 25th year. As editorial and research director, Neil also oversees the research behind the IR Magazine Awards world-wide. In 2002 he helped launch IR Magazine’s sister publication Corporate Secretary, the governance, risk and compliance monthly. Originally from Montreal, Neil has chaired IR Magazine conferences and spoken at other events around the world during his more than 18 years as a financial journalist. He has been featured on CNBC Europe, CNBC Asia, CNBC Australia, Canada’s BNN, TheStreet.com TV and Bloomberg Television. 


Walied Soliman

Co-chair, Special Situations Team, Norton Rose Canada LLP

Walied Soliman is Co-Chair of the Norton Rose Canada LLP Special Situations Team which encompasses on Canada’s leading shareholder activist and defense mandates and complex reorganization transactions. Over the past several years, Walied has been involved in almost every major proxy battle in Canada acting for both issuers and activists.  He is widely regarded as one of the leading practitioners in this area in Canada. In addition, his practice focuses on public and private mergers and acquisitions, financings, corporate governance, and structured products. Mr. Soliman has been named to Lexpert Magazine's Top 40 under 40 lawyers in Canada.

Among other philanthropic endeavours, Walied is a board member of the Toronto SickKids Hospital Foundation. Mr. Soliman holds an LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School.


Andrew Sweeney

Vice President, Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management,
RBC Global Asset Management Inc

Andrew Sweeney: CFA (1996); CA (1994); BBA (1993), Simon Fraser University.  Andrew is a portfolio manager with responsibilities for Canadian and U.S. equity portfolios with an emphasis on Canadian income oriented equities. He joined Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management in 2007, having previously been a portfolio manager of large capitalization Canadian equities with a well-respected Canadian investment management firm and the manager of its successful dividend income fund.  Since entering the industry in 1995, Andrew has had analytical research responsibilities for a range of sectors.  Andrew is also an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University in the Beedie School of Business.


Laurie Thomas

Senior Specialist, Investor Relations, Cameco Corporation

Laurie Thomas is a Senior Specialist, Investor Relations at Cameco Corporation – one of the world’s largest uranium producers and a growing nuclear energy company whose shares trade on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

Laurie is responsible for developing, executing and measuring the success of the IR marketing strategy. Her role sees her spending a great deal of time on the road, managing investor road shows and conferences attended by Cameco’s senior executive. She held a number of accounting positions before starting with Cameco in 2006 in the Finance department and ultimately joining the investor relations team in 2007.

Her background is in accounting, holding both a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in accounting from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. She is also one of the first graduates of the CIRI/Ivey Business School Investor Relations Certification Program (CPIR).


Colleen Vancha

President, Creative Advantage Consulting

Colleen Vancha is President of Creative Advantage Consulting Ltd., a strategic communications, investor relations and marketing firm serving clients throughout Western Canada. 

Colleen Vancha has thirty years of experience as a seasoned corporate communications and investor relations professional responsible for financial and investor relations leadership, strategic communications, public affairs, stakeholder relationships, brand management and corporate social responsibility. She is a national leader in the field of Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs serving on various Boards and Committees focused on communications best practices in Canada and the advancement of the investor relations profession.

In 2011, Ms. Vancha retired from her role as Viterra’s Senior Vice-President of Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs. She managed the company's investor relations program, and oversaw the company's global public affairs, brand and sustainability programs. Ms. Vancha established the Investor Relations Division when the company went public in 1996 and in 2009 played a key role in the purchase of ABB Grain in Australia and its rebranding under the Viterra banner. She was also central in the company’s restructuring, recapitalization and acquisition of Agricore United in 2007.

In addition to serving on CIRI’s Board of Directors including as Chair, Ms. Vancha co-chaired the Resource and Education Committee and Membership Committees. She has served on the Board and the Executive Committee of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce as Second Vice President. In 2008, she was recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s Top Ten Women of Influence by Saskatchewan Business Magazine. In 2010, she was nominated for a South Saskatchewan YWCA Woman of Distinction award for business leadership and management and in 2011 was nominated by Viterra’s Board as one of the top 100 Women of Leadership in Canada.


Victoria Vargas

Vice President, Investor Relations, Scorpio Gold Corporation

Mrs. Victoria Vargas de Szarzynski is currently Vice President Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Scorpio Mining, a silver/base metal producing company listed on the TSX with operations in Mexico. Victoria joined Scorpio in 2011 and has led the effort to restore investor confidence. With nearly 18 years of business experience, Victoria started her career at Kinross Gold Corporation when their sole asset was Hoyle Pond, in Timmins, Ontario, producing only 27,000 ounces of gold per year. When she left the Company, Kinross was the 5th largest producer in North America. During Victoria’s 9 years at Kinross, she was promoted several times and held the title of Corporate Development Analyst at the end of her tenure. 

Victoria is a tested and proven Investor Relations professional who has been on the front line during many challenging situations such as: a slide in the commodities markets, public hearings, non-activist shareholders situations, change of control and M&A deals. She has infused strategic thinking and long-term planning into the IR departments where she has worked. No matter the size and stage by of company, she developed and executed fully integrated Investor Relations and Corporate Communications programs for companies in the mining industry that resulted in improved access to the capital markets, expanded analyst coverage and increased institutional investor support. Additional benefits from these programs included improved government relations and access to strategic partners. She has also provided strategic counsel, government affairs council, crisis management and strategic communication to executive management and Board of Directors.

Victoria’s experience also spans the full spectrum of Corporate Communications functions including media relations as well as managing the Company's internal and external communications program with the investment community, government, shareholders and employees, in addition to maintaining disclosure and corporate governance policies. Victoria earned an honors B.Sc. in Economics and an MBA in Finance. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Mines of Mexico, Committee of Environment and Communications and has previously served as chairwoman at the Social Responsibility PDAC’s Sections. In addition, Victoria has also held senior communications roles with industry advocacy associations and held several advisory board capacities with Peruvian, Mexican and Canadian mining industry organizations. She is also a member of the Canadian Mining Task Force in Mexico and has been part of the organizing committee of the PDAC and Gold Symposium.


Janet Weiss

Former Vice President, Investor Relations, Canadian Pacific Railway Limited

Janet Weiss was appointed Vice President, Investor Relations in May 2012. Janet manages Canadian Pacific’s relationship with the investment community.  Janet’s extensive experience with CP gives her a deep understanding of our company and the rail industry. Janet is focused on clearly communicating to CP shareholders our financial and operating results, strategic initiatives, and how CP is improving the operating ratio.

Janet joined CP as a Grain Marketing Analyst in Winnipeg in 1986. In the course of her career, she has held a number of positions including Senior Manager of Strategy Development, Director of Asset Management, General Manager of Automotive, General Manager of Grain and most recently Assistant Vice-President, Investor Relations. She was actively involved in developing CP’s network strategy, implementing a global sourcing plan for intermodal equipment and implementing new technology in CP’s automotive compounds. 

Janet holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Masters of Business Administration from Santa Clara University. 


John Wheeler

Vice President, Investor Relations, TELUS Corporation 

John is responsible for developing and directing the investor relations strategies and activities at TELUS Corporation. He brings many years of investor relations (IR), finance and communications experience to this role.  

At TELUS, John has managed major investor transitions including the early 1990’s move from a government owned to public company, the 1999 BC TELECOM and TELUS merger, the 2000 move to a national growth strategy and large C$6.6 billion acquisition of Clearnet Communications. During 2012, TELUS had two dissident proxy fights and numerous legal battles on its way to successfully exchanging its non-voting shares into common shares on a one-for-one basis in early 2013. The organization has been repeatedly recognized in Canada and internationally for the excellence of its financial reporting, investor web-site and overall communications.

Before joining TELUS in 1991, John was director, investments at Rogers Communications, where he was responsible for investor relations and projects including equity financings, acquisitions and divestitures.  From 1983 to 1986, he held positions at Rogers Cablesystems as an operations analyst and marketing manager.

John earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) degree from the University of British Columbia.

John has been active with the 800 member Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) at the Alberta branch and national level, including 10 years on the Board of Directors. In 2006, he received their highest award, the CIRI Award of Excellence and in 2012, he was recognized for lifetime achievement in investor relations at the Annual IR Magazine Canada Awards.


Nancy Woo

Vice President, Investor Relations, Eldorado Gold Corporation

Nancy Woo is Vice President Investor Relations for Eldorado Gold Corporation, a gold producer active in exploration and development with mines in Turkey, China and Brazil. Eldorado Gold is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange.

Nancy holds an MSc in Public Relations from the American University Washington, DC and a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute and is accredited in public relations. 


Jennifer Woofter

President, Strategic Sustainability Consulting

Jennifer Woofter is the founder and president of Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC). In this role she draws upon more than a decade of experience in the fields of organizational sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and socially responsible investing. 

She has worked with more than 50 clients on projects including Green Auditing, Sustainability Planning, Carbon Footprint Analysis, Stakeholder Engagement, Training and Facilitation, and Sustainability Reporting. She currently manages the SSC Consultant Network, an association of more than 650 professionals with expertise in virtually every area of sustainability.
Jennifer is a member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) and Net Impact, and has authored a number of sustainability-related articles and reports. She speaks regularly on panels, working groups, webinars and at conferences. She is a regular contributor to publications including Environmental Leader, CSRwire, and the Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series.

Jennifer has been featured in a variety of publications, including a profile article in the Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Deliver Magazine, Sprig.com, SustainLane, Management Consultant Quarterly, and the Maryland Daily Record. In 2007, she received a citation from Maryland State for her contributions to promoting green business.
Her leadership helped SSC become a B Corporation and an EPA EnergyStar Partner. She also acts as an independent verifier to Maryland’s Montgomery County Green Business Program.

Prior to starting SSC, Jennifer worked for Calvert Group, the nation’s largest family of socially responsible mutual funds. She worked directly with portfolio managers, and oversaw the ethical decision-making process for the $36 million Calvert Social Index Fund. She spearheaded the firm’s transparency and disclosure initiative, encouraging companies to produce sustainability reports using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). She filed more than a dozen shareholder resolutions, achieving some of the highest shareholder votes for sustainability initiatives ever recorded.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon, and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Virginia Tech. She also holds a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden, where she studied under Karl-Henrik Robert, founder of The Natural Step.


Max Zehrt

Senior Manager, Advisory Services, Sustainalytics

Max assists global clients in integrating Sustainalytics’ research within their investment processes. He brings to this role an understanding of the dynamics involved in developing an RI program. He spent a number of years at TD Asset Management, where he focused on developing processes to assist the integration of ESG factors into the investment process, leading corporate engagement efforts and supporting the management of its sustainable investment products. Most recently he was the manager of a multi-asset class responsible investing group for an Ontario-based pension plan.

Following his Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Administration from the University of Windsor, he fulfilled the necessary requirements for the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation offered by the Canadian Securities Institute. Max is a CFA charterholder. He is fluent in both English and French.

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