David Adler

CEO and Founder, BizBash

David Adler, a lifelong media executive, is the CEO and founder of BizBash, the leading trade media for the event and meeting industry. He has also been an advisor to the State Department in areas of protocol and events. Previously, he was vice president of corporate communications for Primedia and Macmillan Publishers. Upon graduating from American University, he founded, operated, and successfully sold a society and political magazine for the nation’s capital called Washington Dossier.


Rob Barber

Vice President, Atomic Design, Inc.

Since joining ATOMIC in 2010 as vice president of rental solutions, Rob has implemented fundamental changes in the scenic rental industry while staying true to ATOMIC’s “Packs small, plays BIG” mantra. At ATOMIC, Rob has introduced over 70 new products and several new patented product lines, including Modular SuperLever, FASTwall, and SuperZipper. 
In addition to world headquarters in Lititz, PA, Rob and his team have successfully launched locations in Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Singapore. 


Terry Biddle

CEO and Founder, The Knell

Terry Biddle is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator, type designer, writer and humorist. A graduate of Howard University and Pratt Institute, Terry draws from a background in fine art, film production, writing and comedy performance. Terry has studied and performed sketch, improv and standup comedy at the DC Improv, The Peoples Improv Theater NYC, and Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Terry resides in Washington, D.C. where he is founder and CEO of entertainment-focused startup The Knell.

Peter Bishop

Partner/Director of Conversaion, ZGM

From UX design and illustration to inbound marketing and lead conversion, there’s almost no digital stone that Peter’s left unturned. His passion for innovative solutions has won him countless awards both locally and internationally as well as cemented relationships with brands such as British Telecom, Alberta Health Services, Government of Alberta, Time Life Warner and The BBC.

Peter currently is the President of Digital Alberta, Partner and Director of Conversion at ZGM and has his hands in multiple start-ups and products. He consults with the local universities on their digital curriculum, mentors students and is a regular judge with various interactive groups including Applied Arts and the Digital Marketing Association.

Johanna Blakley, PhD

Managing Director at the Norman Lear Center

Johanna Blakley, PhD, is the managing director at the Norman Lear Center, a research and public policy institute that explores the convergence of entertainment, commerce and society. Based at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Blakley performs research on a wide variety of topics, including measuring media impact, global entertainment, cultural diplomacy, entertainment education, fashion, digital media and intellectual property law. She has two talks on TED.com: Social Media & the End of Gender and Lessons from Fashion's Free Culture. She speaks frequently in the U.S. and abroad about her research and her work has been cited in Reuters, the New York TimesThe Economist, the Washington PostThe Atlantic, the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostPoliticoForbesEsquire, Business Week, PR Week and GOOD. She has appeared on Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera, and on several radio programs, including On the Media, Planet Money, Marketplace and the TED Radio Hour.

Matt Britton

CEO, CrowdTap

Matt Britton is America’s leading expert on the millennial generation having consulted for over half of the Fortune 500 over the past two decades. Matt's unique ability to connect the dots between the new consumer culture of today and the business trends of tomorrow is what separates him and offers unique value for his clients.

In 2016, Matt joined CrowdTap as CEO. a company he incubated and spun-off from MRY in 2011.  CrowdTap creates technology which allow for deeper engagement between brands and consumers for over 100 of the most prominent marketers in the world.


Jim Button

Evans Hunt, Village Brewery

For 30 years, Jim has been a leader in networked marketing. At Evans Hunt Group, a digital marketing firm, Jim gets to focus that networked background on a one-to-one relationship helping customers participate in the brands they engage with online.

As Co-Founder of Village Brewery, Jim is working hard to gather people around community. Using beer as a social lubricant, he is leveraging his many experiences in marketing and building communities to create a more connected Calgary.

Over his career, Jim has created countless festivals, conferences and programs that are building a better city – Circle the Wagons Travelling Food, Beer and Music Festival and Best of Calgary being two of the most recent successes.


Bob Carey

The Tutu Project

Photographer Bob Carey first took a self-portrait of himself in a pink tutu and nothing else after he and his wife Linda moved to New York in 2003. Eight months later, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, reminding Bob that laughter can really be the best medicine. Thus, the tutu returned, and Bob photographed himself wearing it in subway stations, amusement parks, parking lots—spreading laughter one image at a time to lift Linda’s spirits. The work, now referred to as the “Tutu Project,” went viral in 2012. The overwhelmingly positive reaction inspired them to take the project further. The Carey's self-published a book of the images entitled “Ballerina,” and created a non-profit, The Carey Foundation, which offers financial and emotional support to women and men with breast cancer.

Harvey Cohen

Vice President, Live Nation Canada

As Vice-President of Talent for Live Nation Canada, Harvey oversees touring shows and festivals from across the country for the worlds largest entertainment company. Harvey was Co-Founder and Director of Union Events, which grew to become Canada's largest independent concert promoter, prior to being acquired by Live Nation in early 2016.  Harvey is responsible for the curation of talent for a number of Canada’s premiere music festivals including Chasing Summer (Calgary), Center of Gravity Sports & Music Festival (Kelowna), and One Love Music Festival (Calgary). 

In addition to his duties at Live Nation, Harvey wears many other hats.  He has ownership interests in Edmonton’s premiere live venue The Starlite Room, Alberta’s largest event labour & security solution Backstage Support Services, and has also dabbled in movie production, including acting as an Executive Producer of Kevin Smith’s film, Red State, which premiered at the famed Sundance Film Festival.

Nigel Collin

Strategic Consultant

Nigel has been involved in live events for over two decades. In the 90’s he created Absurd Entertainment, an entertainment deign company before passing the baton on in 2004. He then started Nigel Collin Creative, working as a content director and creative strategist. He holds the accolade of being show director for Australia's largest ever corporate event in 2005, worked extensively on the 2000 Olympic Games, and was recently awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to Meetings and Events’ by MEA (Meetings and Events Australia).

Apart from working with a few select Nigel now works predominately as a professional speaker and facilitator in the area of Creativity and Innovation. His latest book, published by Wiley being ‘The Game of Inches; why small changes win big results’.

Robert Dunsmore

Independent Creative Director

Robert Dunsmore is a freelance Creative Director – and a past Board member of ILEA UK Chapter. Everyone wants big ideas. The story that connects an event or product to their audience - story “showing” over story “telling” - will builds the rationale to engage.

He is a self-proclaimed ‘call guy’, a creative leader and ideas professional from the experience and events sector called to identify and generate the ideas, write the proposals, lead the pitches and to deliver “one new thing” to every event.

Tahira Endean, CMP, DES, CED

Independent Event Producer

A curious event producer, passionate about how technology enhances the human experience, Tahira is continually creating meaningful and creative event environments. She has worked as a corporate, agency and DMC based Event Producer and understands how to sell creative value to internal stakeholders and potential, nervous, clients.

Among other awards, Tahira has been named to MeetingsNet Changemakers of the Year 2016,  was one of the “Top 5 Women in Event Technology” and was inducted into the Meetings Canada Hall of Fame in the Big Idea category. She loves writing and was a contributing author to several areas of the ninth edition of the Convention Industry Council manual, in particular Domain G: Meeting Design. 

Jocelyn Flanagan, CSEP

Founder & CEO, e=mc2 events

Jocelyn Flanagan is the Founder and CEO of e=mc2 events, and is also an idea initiator, a strategic wizard and a choreographer of things that matter.

Jocelyn is a founder of International Live Events Association (ILEA) Canada and past chair, has served as the Canadian representative on the International Relations Committee of ILEA. She is a two-time winner of the Canadian Event Producer of the Year award and was presented the “Spirit of the Industry Award” at the Canadian Special Events Industry Awards in 2015.

Founded in 2001, e=mc2 events has grown to be one of the leading event design, production and conference management companies in Canada with 30 full time employees in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary.

Richard Foulkes, CSEP

Independent Producer and Founder of The Paradise Experiment

Richard Foulkes is the founder of The Paradise Experiment. The Paradise Experiment was born in 2012 as a hub and consultancy in events including; strategic thinking, creative inspiration, and practical insights to improve application.

Richard has more than 30 years in the exhibition, live events, and experiential industry where he led globally based teams on brand communication programs for Ford, Shell, Ericsson and many other Blue Chip Clients.

He worked at the world’s largest independent creative agency, The Imagination Group, with 15 years as a Board Director responsible for special events, and live communication activity.

In 2012, Meeting and Incentive Travel Magazine recognized Richard's contribution to the events industry and awarded him “Event Industry Personality of the Year.”

Mark Freeman

Senior Manager of Global Dining, Catering & Events, Microsoft

Mark Freeman overseas the dining, catering and event departments at Microsoft. This award-winning program features many advancements in the corporate dining and foodservice industries.

Mark’s global responsibilities encompass the design, construction, and procurement activities around the world, from the US to China, Ireland, UK, and Canadian operations. In the Puget Sound alone, he oversees the foodservice program which includes 33 café’s, 32 espresso locations, 20+ 24/7 markets, a state-of-the-art retail town center and food court called The Commons and Eventions, the catering and event production department on campus.

Most recently Mark received the 2016 Richard Ysmael distinguished service award from SHFM and was installed in the 2017 Hall of Fame for Foodservice Equipment and Supply Magazine.  Additionally, he received his first ILEA Seattle Emerald City Applause Award in May 2017.


Chris Gerhart

President, Crescent Event Productions Inc.

Chris quite literally grew up in the events industry. The first working event he ever attended was when he was 5 years old. Amazed by the lighting, the excitement of being behind-the-scenes and the way the event seemed to impact everyone who attended, he knew this would be his world. At 14 he began working in his Father’s Audio Visual company’s warehouse. And there he stayed, working every summer, all the way through college (where he even missed writing finals to work on a show). By 2013, Chris was a leading expert in audio visual industry. It was at this time he made the decision to buy and take over the family business. Since then, he’s built Crescent into the success it is today, with 97% of his customers becoming repeat customers. 

Sara Grauf, CSEP

Vice President of Event Strategy and Services, Giants Enterprises

As the Vice President of Event Strategy and Services for the San Francisco Giants, Sara is responsible for business development and operational management of all non-baseball ventures for the organization.

Sara has produced a variety of events, including the Giants’ three recent World Series Galas and Parades, numerous concerts international sporting events, and marquee corporate events for Super Bowl 50. 

Sara is currently the Treasurer on the International Board of Governors for the International Live Events Association, and is the Development Chair for the Leadership San Francisco Board of Directors. She sits on the advisory committee for California Polytechnic University’s Experience Industry Management Department, and is a participating member of the Stadium Manager’s Association, the University of California at Berkeley's Big C Society, and Women in Sports and Events.

Ciaran Gribbin

Recording Artist, Most Recent Lead Singer of INXS

Ciaran Gribbin is a Grammy nominated songwriter and performer who, in addition to working with word class artists such as Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney, Snow Patrol and Al Pacino, has toured the world as the singer of INXS. Ciaran’s first big break came in 2010 when he received a Grammy nomination for Madonna’s worldwide hit single ‘Celebration’, which he co-wrote with Madonna and Oakenfold. Since then, in addition to performing at many music festivals including Brazil’s ‘Rock in Rio’, Ciaran has opened shows for Paul McCartney, Crowded House, The Script and Gotye. In 2011 Ciaran became the singer of the legendary Australian band INXS. Read more.

Todd Hirsch

Chief Economist, ATB Financial

For almost a decade, Todd taught economics at the University of Calgary. He released his first book, The Boiling Frog Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline in 2012, his second, Halfway Home in 2016 and his third, Spiders in Space: Successfully Adapting to Unwanted Change in 2017.
Todd provides economic commentary for many Canadian media outlets and is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail. He currently serves on the University of Calgary Board of Governors and is the chair of the Calgary Arts Academy. Todd recently received the University of Alberta's Alumni Honour Award. 

To book Todd to speak at your upcoming event, please submit a Speaker Request Form. To receive Todd's daily economic updates via email, subscribe to ATB Financial's daily economic update, The Owl.

Fritha Knudsen

Independent Producer: DreamForce, Virgin Galactic

Fritha's life in events began in the theatre, as a Costume Designer and Costume Director. The scope was big, the audience discerning and the budget small – all a perfect match for the transference of skills to corporate events. 

Fritha was fortunate to have been the Director of the Swatch Olympic Project in Atlanta 1996, managing a $120 million sponsorship followed by 2010 Vancouver Games as a Producer of the Official Olympic Film in 3-D.

Tapping into Fritha's love of science & space are the events for Virgin Galactic - from the unveil of SpaceShip One and Space Ship Two, to the dedication of Spaceport America and an upcoming “Glamping” adventure for the great Eclipse of 2017.


Jonathan Love

Marketing Strategist, Mount Royal University

Jonathan Love is his own brand, but he has played many roles.

He’s currently the Marketing Strategist for The Conservatory at Mount Royal University. As a journalist, he has been a co-host and associate producer for The Calgary Eyeopener and The Homestretch on CBC Calgary where he is also a featured columnist with his theatre reviews from The Cheapseats. In addition to his voiceover/production business ToonVox (www.toonvox.com), he voices and produces videos, commercials and cartoons. Onscreen, he has worked with visionaries like Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) and Kevin Costner (Open Range) and has appeared in television hits including Touch the Top of the World and Hell on Wheels. He is also a founding member of Calgary’s comic a cappella group, the Heebee-jeebees (www.heebee-jeebees.com) who have 8 CDs available on iTunes. Jonathan is pleased to share his experiences on the challenges and rewards of personal branding in today’s marketplace.

Lisa Marks

Manager of Corporate Events, Shaw Communications

A self-described “employed entrepreneur,” Lisa brings independence and entrepreneurialism to her role at Shaw and within the events industry. Since 2013, Lisa has been the Manager of Corporate Events for Shaw Communications, acting as chief counsel on live experiences to the executive team, and leading event strategy and production for the corporation.

Lisa graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary in 2008 and began her work in the industry immediately following, with e=mcevents, where she spent four years on the production team. While later employed at POP Kollaborative, Lisa achieved her Certified Special Events Professional designation in 2012 at the age of 27, among the youngest to achieve this certification globally. In both 2013 and 2014, Marks was recognized in Special Events Magazine on the Top 25 Young Professionals to Watch list as the first ever Canadian to be included.

Lara McCulloch

Brand Consultant

A renowned, results-driven marketing expert with over 20 years as a Brand Consultant for multinationals like Cadbury-Adams, Unilever and Shell, Lara brings ‘Big Brand Thinking’ to small business.

Lara’s been touted as a pioneering force in the marketing revolution, founding one of the world’s first twitter communities, #eventprofs, which was featured in Tim O'Reilly's The Twitter Book and producing the New & Noteworthy Start Some Shift podcast. She’s travelled throughout the world as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, changing the way that companies think about their brands.

The culmination of Lara’s passion and experience has heralded leadership posts on numerous industry Advisory Boards, a monthly column for an international magazine and recognition by ILEA for dedication, spirit and leadership. She was named Top 40 under 40 by Ignite and Rejuvenate Magazines, honored with the Spirit of the Industry award by CEI and was esteemed with the title of Industry Innovator by BizBash Magazine.

Jason McKay

Director of Food & Beverages and Sales, WinSport

Jason McKay spent his youth passionately competing in diving until a severe back injury forced him to retire from the sport at the age of 14. A chef by trade, his passion for high performance sport led him to join WinSport nearly 20 years ago, where he moved his way through the ranks to his current role as Director of Food & Beverages and Sales. Jason has spent a large part of both his career at WinSport as and his personal time helping amateur sport and amateur athletes to reach their goals. In addition to the day-to-day operations of WinSport’s food and beverage and catering departments, Jason and his team at WinSport have been responsible for the organization and execution of the VIP event management of Calgary World Cups in bobsleigh, skeleton, luge, freestyle skiing and snowboard, as well as numerous large sporting and non-sporting events.


Keri Miller, CSEP

Partner & Chief Executive Strategist, e=mc2 events

With over 15 years of award winning event design and production experience Keri recently took the lead of the companies creative services. As a managing partner of the company she has been integral in its success and growth and focuses on cultivating and maintaining their enviable internal culture. 

With offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary, e=mc2 events has grown to be one of the leading event design, production and conference management companies in Canada. The team has been honoured with over 43 national and international awards and is the only Canadian firm showcased on the Special Events Top 50 Event Companies list in 2016.

Keri was presented with the Canadian Event Professional of The Year Award in 2014 and cheerleads feverishly as the ILEA Brand Champion for Canada on the ILEA International MARCOM Committee.  

Taka Mukono

Shaw Communications, Takaboom

Taka is a passionate, visionary and collaborative leader, leveraging over 25 years of experience in consulting and coaching. Taka’s approach provides learning and development solutions for complex issues related to managing personal and organizational development. He has a wealth of experience working at the executive level to bridge organizational gaps between leadership and individual contributors. The three focus areas of his work are on building capacity (bench strength), influencing culture and creating sustainable climate for organizations. He has authored many courses and workshops (including assessment tools) on different topics to help leaders achieve measurable results. Taka is passionate about helping people find their purpose and ways to derive joy from their work.

Taka is an engaging facilitator as well as a keynote speaker. He is also the principal at Takaboom.

Dan O'Brien

Interactive Apparel
Olympic Gold Medalist

Dan’s career has been a versatile and adventurous as the 10-event decathlon he once dominated. Having experienced the highest highs, and the lowest lows, Dan’s life tells a story that the road to success is not easy, and failure, being the ultimate price to pay, can lead to major success in the long run.

“My success on the track has taught me the lessons needed to be successful in life. Although I am done competing, the Olympic spirit is a constant inspiration for me each and every day.”

Cher Przelomski, CSEP

CEO, Planning Factory International; VP, Planning Factory Bermuda

Cher pioneered the Events Industry beginning 1982 and was a Founding Member of the (original) International Special Events Society. Cher served the industry most notably as VP of Education, under whose direction the first Certification Program was born. Today, the ILEA Certification is still the Hallmark of professionalism in the industry.

Planning Factory International and Planning Factory Bermuda are award-winning companies for their creative, cutting edge strategic event designs. 

What has made Planning Factory one of the most successful and in-demand companies in the US and Bermuda is the commitment to quality, service, fairness and education while maintaining strong client and vendor relationships.

Srinivas Rao

Host and Founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast and Author of Unmistakable

Srinivas Rao is the author of the WSJ Bestselling book The Art of Being Unmistakable and his next book Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best is due out August 2016.

He regularly speaks with audiences about creating work that’s so distinctive that it makes your competition irrelevant, productivity, creativity and digital storytelling. His work has been featured on the CBS Sunday Morning Show, USA Today, The Blaze and Wall Street Journal.  He was a keynote speaker for Podcast Movement 2014 and has spoken at Social Media Marketing World, New Media Expo, Misfit Conf, and The Green Township School District.

He’s also the founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast where he’s interviewed more than 600 creative professionals including entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, venture capitalists and artists. Today the show has a global audience and over 500 5-star reviews in iTunes.

Lianna Robberecht

Executive Chef, WinSport

Liana Robberecht, one of Canada’s distinguished leaders in the culinary industry, is the executive chef at WinSport. The native of Smithers, B.C., joined WinSport in June 2015 after spending nearly two decades at the prestigious Calgary Petroleum Club, including 13 years as the executive chef. She began her career in the professional cooking program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology more than 20 years ago. She also earned her professional pastry diploma from Vancouver’s Dubrulle French Culinary School and studied various mediums at the Alberta College of Art and Design, which is reflected in her menu and plating designs. Robberecht was named Chef of the Year in 2011 by the Alberta Foodservice Expos and Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice News magazine and received the 2010 Golden Whisk Award from the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, for which she is a long-standing member. She is a regular contributor to the CBC Radio Homestretch Show, as well as a contributing food writer for Restaurantcentral.ca. Robberecht is passionate for local and Canadian cuisine. This passion lad her to Slow Food’s Terra Madre in 2006 and 2008.

Dustin Westling, CSEP

Owner, OneWest Event Design & Logistics

Dustin Westling, CSEP, is the owner of Calgary-based OneWest Event Design & Logistics. A self-described ‘Senior Millennial,’ Dustin brings his tongue-in-cheek humour and engaged energy to his role as commander-in-chief of OneWest, where he leads a team of talented and talked-about event profs to collaborate with clients and partners on over 300 innovative and award-winning projects each year. 

Dustin’s breadth of experience in roles at hotels, convention centres, and public attractions gave him an inside knowledge of special events that ultimately laid the foundation for building a one-of-a-kind events company. He successfully achieved a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation, and is consistently recognized as an industry leader. A curator of talent and creativity, Dustin is passionate about driving the events industry forward, and currently serves as Chair-Elect for ILEA Canada and was formerly President of the ILEA Calgary chapter. His energies extend to his community, where Dustin is a longtime supporter of numerous non-profits such as Mealshare, The SEARCH Foundation, and The Banff Centre’s Artists Fund.

Kevin White, CSEP

Founder and Chief Strategist, XPL

Kevin White has been a storyteller his entire life. That love of capturing attention and engaging people is what brought him to a decades-long career in experiential design.

In 2011 he founded XPL, a boundary-pushing agency that delivers bold, powerful live events that transform audiences around the world. 

Kevin’s commitment to his industry is demonstrated by his willingness to give back.  He was selected by his peers to serve as international president of the International Live Events Association (ILEA).  He currently teaches event students through the Event Leadership Institute and has been a professor at New York University.

Paul Whitney

Executive Producer, bluemedia

After nearly 20 years creating interactive experiences for audiences across the country, Paul is a true pioneer and leader within the Out-of-Home, non-traditional segment of Outdoor Advertising. As the former CEO and founder of Digital Media Etc., known worldwide for 3D projection, immersive 360° domes, building illumination, and more, there’s no better authority on creating engaging, shareable experiences for top national brands like Nike, Southwest Airlines, Lexus, Target, Lucasfilm, and Toyota, among others.