Keynote Speakers

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Foreign Investment: Friend or Foe for Neighbourhood Development?

Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author and leading visionary on community economics. He’s a Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital and at the Post-Carbon Institute, and a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). He is credited with being one of the architects of the 2012 JOBS Act and dozens of state laws overhauling securities regulation of crowdfunding. His most recent book is The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative, Self-Financing Pollinator Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity. 

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What Advocacy Chill? Winning CED Policy

Courtney Hare leads Public Policy work at Momentum, a Calgary-based social enterprise, which is focused on systemic and root causes of poverty. She is a Director of Connect First Credit Union and co-founder of The Calgary Tool Library and Bridgeland Farmers Market. Her talk will focus on the right and responsibility of charities to do advocacy work. In it she will describe three recent policy wins in important economic justice areas: predatory lending, social housing and tax credits for community economic development investments. 

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Pow Wow Pitch: Case Study of Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship

Sunshine Tenasco is the founder of Her Braids, Quemeez and Pow Wow Pitch. Her Braids is a social enterprise that raises awareness about clean drinking water in First Nations communities. Pow Wow Pitch helps other entrepreneurs dream. In this presentation she will highlight stories from Pow Wow Pitch and share her vision for building a national ecosystem for Indigenous social entrepreneurship. 

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Connecting Community to Local Impact Investing

There are few people in BC who have one foot firmly rooted in impact investing and another foot rooted in local investing. Brian Smith is one those people. Brian founded Rhiza Capital, Coast Investment Co-op, Persephone Brewing and the Gibsons Public Market to name a few recent social ventures. The focus of this talk will be on building an ecosystem for local impact investing in BC. 

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Good Jobs + Good Business = Better Community

Mayor Helps has championed both citizen-led and local-business-led initiatives in a variety of areas. She's leading a transformation at City Hall in order to foster a more innovative, proactive and responsive culture to meet and exceed the needs of residents and the business community. Mayor Helps will present the process, priorities and actions of the Mayor’s Task Force on Social Enterprise and Social Procurement. 

Click here to learn more about the draft action plan.


How Rising Commercial Rents are Threatening Independent Businesses & What Cities Can Do About It

Olivia is a researcher with the Community-Scaled Economy Initiative of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, where she produces articles and analysis that make the case for curbing economic consolidation and strengthening community-rooted enterprise, and spotlight public policy tools to do so. Her reporting and writing have won national recognition in the U.S., including the 2014 "Media for a Just Society" award. Olivia lives in Minneapolis.

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Aboriginal Social Enterprise Opportunities for Reconciliation

Danielle Levine is the CEO of Kanuu Indigenous Innovation Society, a social enterprise, founded by Urban Matters CCC. Danielle also serves on the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Native Housing Society. She most recently she ran the Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education program at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia where she coached and inspired Indigenous leaders and entrepreneurs from across Canada. Danielle’s presentation will outline social enterprise opportunities that have the most potential for large impact in the area of economic empowerment and reconciliation.

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An Army of Problem Solvers: Reconciliation & the Solutions Based Economy

Just who are the problem solvers? Loney makes the case that social enterprises, social entrepreneurs and the small farm movement comprise the “solutions economy”. Governments will soon understand that it is their job to “make it easy for problem solvers.” Shaun has co-founded and mentored 11 social enterprises, including BUILD Inc, which won the 2011 Scotia Bank EcoLiving Green Business of the Year, and the 2013 Manitoba Apprenticeship Employer of the Year.  Loney is the first prairie Canadian to be awarded an Ashoka Fellowship (2015) and was Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. An Army of Problem Solvers is Shaun’s second book. 

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The Case for a More Compassionate, Sustainable & Place-based Economy

Judy will talk about re-imagining growth to build local self-reliance and resilience, as well as greater health and happiness. With examples from her own business career, she shows how cooperation, sharing and making business decisions with a balance of head and heart are necessary to address the urgent challenges of our times. An author, activist and entrepreneur, Judy Wicks founded Philadelphia’s iconic White Dog Cafe in 1983, becoming a pioneer in the farm to table movement and a model in sustainable business practices.  She founded Fair Food Philly (2000), the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (2001) and the nationwide (BALLE) Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (2001).

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Good Food is Just the Beginning

The Alex Community Food Centre opened in September 2016. Renee Mackillop is the farmer and program manager who launched it, raising over $2.5 million dollars to convert a former White Spot restaurant to this neighbourhood hub that has social justice and food sustainability at its heart. Renée grew up on a family farm near High River, Alberta and returned after studying community economic development at Simon Fraser University. Her family farms grass-fed, pasture-raised Highland beef in the Calgary area. 

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The Need for Innovation in Refugee Settlement in Canada

Gulalai Habib has been working with displaced populations for over 25 years; including the UNDP and community centered engagement. She is on the Board of Directors of Women’s Economic Council and Common Thread Co-operative in BC. Gulalai will speak on the changes in refugees experiences in Canada since 2000, and the pressing need for social innovation and holistic approaches to ensure immigrant and refugee success in Canada. 

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Places Matters: Ecological Restoration & Whole Systems Economics

Sean is an Associate Professor with the School of Resource and Environmental Management at SFU. He is the author and editor of six books and numerous articles, reports related to sustainable community economic development, and rural and small town development. Sean teaches with the SFU Community Economic Development Program; serves on the Board of the Vancity Community Foundation and the Silva Forest Foundation. Sean's talk will highlight ecosystem conservation in the Still Creek watershed, drawing connections between healthy ecosystems and healthy economies. 

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The Tsleil-Waututh Vision for the Economic Future

Charlene Aleck is a Granddaughter of Chief Dan George; an elected Councillor for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) and spokesperson for the TWN Sacred Trust Initiative.  She is dedicated to the protection and restoration of the land and water her people have been the stewards of since time immemorial. Charlene will present the Tsleil-Waututh's vision for the economic future of the TWN. TWN does not view economic development separately from social, ecological or spiritual development. TWN is leading the opposition to Kinder Morgan Pipeline on behalf of the members of TWN, Squamish and Cold Water. TWN is also developing several projects that create long term benefits such as restoration of the shellfish beds in the Burrard Inlet and TWN Wind Power to name a few.          

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How the Squamish People and the Taicheng Development Corporation are Co-creating an Inclusive, Sustainable Community

Sheryl Rivers has been acting as a cultural business consultant to Taicheng Development Corporation which has ensured that Squamish history and art, economic and social concerns are integrated throughout a new sustainable community. An elders advisory group works with the development team on all aspects of the project. Notably, the developer recognizes and acknowledges that this project is built on Squamish Traditional Territory although it is not part of ‘reserve lands’ and therefore has chosen to follow Squamish protocol.


Entrepreneurship, Placemaking & Identity

Josie Osborne is the Mayor of Tofino, a resort municipality in the heart of Clayoquot Sound in unceded Nuu-chah-nulth territory. Tofino’s traditional resource-based economy, established after contact, has transformed in recent decades to a successful tourism economy, one which may have the highest concentration of independent, locally-owned businesses of any community in BC. Josie will describe how Tofino’s economy is a product of its natural environment, cultural histories, and purposeful place-making, and how it may be on the verge of transformation yet again.

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Indigenomics: Raising Our Understanding, Raising Our Relationships

Carol Anne Hilton was recently appointed Senior Advisor to the Federal Finance Minister. CEO of Transformation, Carol Anne teaches Indigenomics at Simon Fraser University. Carol Anne is a recognized leading First Nation’s business entrepreneur with a Masters Degree in Business Management (MBA) from the University of Hertfordshire, England. Carol Anne is from the Nuu chah nulth Nation on Vancouver Island. Carol Anne is currently authoring ‘Indigenomics – a Global Power Shift’ and her presentation will offer a sneak peak at the introductory chapter.

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