Keynote Tuesday, November 19 - Sharon Wood

Sharon Wood

Sharon has never considered herself a hero, but in 1986, she became the first woman in North America to climb Mount Everest– the world’s highest peak. It was an astonishing personal and team accomplishment under conditions of extreme physical and mental duress. It was an example of ordinary people achieving extraordinary results.

Sharon’s climb of Everest was only one facet of more than 20 years experience as a professional and elite mountaineer, with numerous ascents of summits over 20,000 feet to her credit.

In the last decade, Sharon has shared her story of achievement with hundreds of organizations throughout North America. She skillfully connects the powerful metaphor of Mount Everest to the challenges faced by individuals and teams striving for excellence in their own endeavors.

Sharon has been to the top of the world and back. For anyone wanting to be more effective in their life; her story is a powerful inspiration.

Speaker Tuesday, November 19 - Dr. Patti LaBoucane-Benson

Dr. Patti Laboucane-Benson

Patti is a Métis-Ukrainian Senator who grew up on Treaty 6 Territory. She previously worked for Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) for 23 years leading research projects, video productions, and historic trauma-informed service delivery.

Patti was recently a mentor and lecturer for the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, a lecturer for the University of Alberta Executive Education, and the Conference Director and Lead Facilitator for the Nelson Mandela Dialogues, Canada 2017. She recently sat on the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention for the province of Alberta.

Based on her PhD research, her first novel The Outside Circle is a work of creative non-fiction about healing and reconciliation for an inner-city Aboriginal family. The Outside Circle was on the Globe and Mail’s Top 10 Canadian books and was named a CBC “Best Books of 2015”, an Outstanding International Books 2016 by the United States Board on Books for Young People, and winner of the Burt Award for First Nations and Metis Literature.

Patti has been awarded the Alberta Aboriginal Role Model Award for Education, the Legal Aid Access to Justice Award, and the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.

Speaker Tuesday, November 19 - Hal Danchilla

Hal Danchilla

Almost every political event in Alberta over the last 30 years has been shaped, advised, managed, directed or informed by Hal Danchilla. He has managed leadership and election campaigns nationally, provincially and locally including as a Chief of Staff and political advisor during the Klein administration, managing the successful underdog campaign of Stephen Mandel to become Mayor of Edmonton, the leadership and national campaign for Stockwell Day and the Canadian Alliance, and most recently a trusted advisor and campaign strategist for Jason Kenney.

Hal founded Danchilla Strategies in 1998, then with Michael Lohner, cofounded Canadian Strategy Group in 2008. His successful consulting practice has delivered results for his clients, not just in government relations, but strategic and crisis communications, negotiations, advocacy, and influencing public opinion.

He has led challenging campaigns including negotiating the Edmonton Downtown Arena, reclaiming contaminated sites, forming and leading industry associations, securing access for rare pharmaceuticals, and leading professional compensation strategies.

Hal is a frequent guest media commentator and panelist, executive and board speaker, and guest lecturer at the University of Alberta.