John Vaillant is a writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Outside, among others. His first book, The Golden Spruce (Knopf, 2005), was a bestseller and won several awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction (Canada). His most recent book, The Tiger (Knopf, 2010), is also an award-winning bestseller. His first novel, The Jaguar’s Children, will be published by Knopf in spring, 2014. Of particular interest to Vaillant are stories that explore collisions between human ambition and the natural world.
Not only is David Cramb a Professor and Head of the Department of Chemistry, but he is also the Director of the Nanoscience Program at the University of Calgary. Between coordinating undergraduate classes and mentoring his graduate students, Cramb has published over 60 manuscripts.
Cramb studies the behavior of nanoparticles in blood vessels. His group has developed sophisticated fluorescence spectroscopy technology, used to analyze complex nanoparticle mixtures, that is unique in the world. For his work, David Cramb has won the Thermo-Fisher Prize in Spectroscopy in 2010.
In 2004, Josh was in a life-changing accident that left him as a T11 full paraplegic. From his hospital bed with the long months of recovery ahead, it was the initial encouragement from his mentor Rick Hansen who helped Josh re-dedicate his life to freedom, adventure and helping those who can learn from his example. By 2009, Josh was the Para-Alpine World Champion; he won a silver medal for Canada at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics; and followed that performance with an X Games gold medal. He then landed the first back flip on a sit-ski.
Today, Josh is an ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation, a 2012 finalist for National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year, and the documentary, Freedom Chair, won just about every film festival award possible.
Maurice F. Strong is a Canadian entrepreneur, a former under-secretary general of the United Nations and is widely recognized as one of the leaders of the global sustainability movement. Mr. Strong brings a historical insider’s perspective on Calgary’s oil patch, Canada’s role in the world and the rising global influence of China.
Some of his most notable achievements include establishing and leading the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); being appointed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as CEO of Petro-Canada (1976); founding President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Secretary general of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka Earth Summit); longtime foundation director of the World Economic Forum and the International Institute for Sustainable Development; senior advisor to the president of the World Bank; a member of the Advisory Council for the Center for International Development of Harvard University and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; and national president and chairman of the Extension Committee of the World Alliance of YMCAs.
Presently he is an active honorary professor at Peking University and honorary chairman of its Environmental Foundation, as well as chairman of the advisory board for the Institute for Research on Security and Sustainability for Northeast Asia.
Kate McKenzie is a Storyteller, Artist and Junior High School Teacher. In 2012, she founded Worldviews Project as a way to combine all of these passions. Using storytelling and the art of videography she travelled to nine countries over seven months to capture the inspiring stories of people who were making their communities better through positive change. Alberta Council for Global Cooperation recognized Kate as a Top 30 Under 30 in 2012. She is actively involved in her community as a facilitator for Aboriginal Youth Empowerment, an event organizer for Acumen Fund in Calgary and through her love of coaching sports.
Rollin Stanley is an accomplished City Planner who has lectured and consulted widely throughout China, Canada, England and the United States and leads professional volunteer consultation teams for the American Planning Association in Atlanta, Shouzhou, China and currently in Jintang, China. Since June 2012, Stanley has served as General Manager of Planning, Development & Assessment at the City of Calgary.
Previously, Stanley held top planning jobs in Montgomery County, Maryland, St. Louis and Toronto.
During Stanley’s term in Montgomery County his work resulted in transforming the face of a predominantly suburban county by creating opportunities around metro stations for higher density.
In St. Louis he prepared a strategic plan outlining ways to revitalize the historic city including working with foundations to create major interactive public spaces and package innovative neighbourhood revitalization projects using tax incentives, visualization and other funding tools. Before his stint in St. Louis, Stanley spent 20 years in Toronto as a planner who was instrumental in transforming the city’s industrial district into a mix of residential and retail.
Rebecca Northan is a renaissance woman and theatrical innovator. She works simultaneously as a writer, producer, director, actor, improviser, corporate trainer, and teacher. Rebecca grew up in Calgary and trained with international improv guru, Keith Johnstone, at the Loose Moose Theatre Company.
She works across Canada and the States, having been the lead in two television series (“Alice, I Think” – CTV, “The Foundation” – Showcase). Her groundbreaking and daring one-woman show, “Blind Date” was picked up by Broadway Producer, Kevin McCollum (RENT, Avenue Q). Rebecca is the winner of two Canadian Comedy Awards and has been nominated for a Gemini Award. She is also an alumna of the world famous Second City and has appeared several times at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival.
Chris Adamkowski is a business builder. He has spent the past ten years helping businesses improve their performance using a variety of different frameworks and evidence based models. His background is in strategy, sales, and marketing. He has worked both in industry and consulting, and been based out of Canada as well as the United States. Chris is presently the Head of Government and Energy at Google Canada. Specific to the Canadian Oil Sands, Chris brings an interesting philosophical and evidence based perspective on winning the social license to operate.
Sunday Omony is an international Plus-Size Supermodel, talk show host and a speaker for humanitarian causes. Called a "fiercely real role model" by the Calgary Herald, she was selected as a Woman of Vision by Global TV, and was an Ambassador for Calgary 2012, the FEED 1 Project, and serves as a spokesperson for We Can Rise Up as well as Hearts 4 Peace.
Through her work as a plus-size model, Omony has become an advocate for positive body image and women's empowerment. She has modeled for well-known labels such as Old Navy, Penningtons, Toni+ Plus, The Hudson Bay Company and has been featured in VOGUE Italia's VOGUE Curvy, Reader's Digest, ELLE Magazine South Africa and a variety of fashion magazines in North America, Europe and Africa. She has been featured in diverse publications as the Toronto Sun, the Ottawa Sun, the Observer, the Calgary Herald, the Weekly Albertan, Afrikamerik and more. Television appearances include ET Canada, MTV Canada, CTV News, Global TV, and City TV. Omony was also a guest on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), CJSW and CMRC radio.
Career accomplishments aside, Omony is deeply involved in her community -- founding a non-profit organization in 2004 called Immigrant Youth Empowerment Society. She was recognized by the University of Calgary for her community service and continues to partner with organizations promoting peace and human rights, such as GuluWalk, a campaign that supports war affected youth in northern Uganda by focusing on providing sports, culture, peace-building and agricultural opportunities.
Chris Turner is one of Canada's leading voices on sustainability, livable cities and the global cleantech boom. His most recent book, The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy, was published in 2011; the Globe and Mail called it "one of the most arresting arguments for building a green economy yet in print." He is also the author of the bestsellers The Geography of Hope and Planet Simpson, and his feature writing has earned eight National Magazine Awards. He is a frequent contributor to The Walrus, The Globe & Mail, Alberta Views and Canadian Geographic, and a featured blogger at MNN.com.
Turner was the Green Party candidate in the 2012 Calgary Centre byelection and a 2013 Berton House writer-in-residence in Dawson City, Yukon. His new book, The War On Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper's Canada, is out in October. He lives in Calgary with his wife and two children.