2018 - 2019 Program

June 13, 2019

CHRISTOPHER USIH - Chief Superintendent, CBE

Christopher Usih is the Chief Superintendent of Schools at the Calgary Board of Education, a position he has held since December 2018. He has more than 28 years of experience as an educator. He began teaching in an Indigenous community in Northern Manitoba but spent the majority of his career in diverse roles with the Toronto school district including teacher, principal, superintendent of student success, and other executive roles.

A champion of public education, Mr. Usih is highly regarded for his commitment to equity, raising academic standards and addressing achievement and opportunity gaps. His responsive and collaborative approach has brought change to how students are supported.


May 15, 2019


Dr. Carolyn Emery is a physiotherapist and injury epidemiologist. She is a Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and in Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. She is a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, O’Brien Institute for Public Health, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. Dr. Emery is the Chair of the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (1 of 10 International Olympic Committee Research Centres for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health) and holds a Chair in Pediatric Rehabilitation at the University of Calgary. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Christensen Fellow at Oxford, and member of the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada.

The focus of Dr Emery’s research program is in injury prevention in youth sport and recreation and pediatric rehabilitation; aimed to reduce the public health burden of injuries and specifically concussions and their long-term consequences. Dr. Emery is best known for her research program in injury and concussion risk in youth ice hockey including evaluation of policy related to body checking. In addition, her research associated with the development and evaluation of prevention strategies to decrease the risk of injuries in soccer and basketball and junior high school physical education has led to a significant public health impact in injury reduction in youth sport.

In 2018, Carolyn was awarded a Canada Instituted for Health Research Foundation grant (SHRed injuries – Surveillance in High Schools to Prevent Injuries and their Consequences in Youth Sport). Her pan-Canadian research team recently received significant funding from the National Football League Scientific Advisory Board for SHRed Concussions aimed to reduce the significant burden of concussions and their consequences in youth sport. Carolyn will highlight the opportunities for moving upstream towards prevention to ensure the greatest public heath impact in reducing the burden of concussions and their consequences in youth. This includes prevention of reduced levels of physical activity, overweight and obesity, early osteoarthritis, post-concussion syndrome, and chronic illness.



April 16, 2019

CHRIS SLUBICKI - President, CEO & Director - Modern Resources Inc.

In recent years, Canada’s focus on being a leading environmental citizen has come into apparent conflict with our desire to responsibly provide clean, affordable energy for a growing world that demands a higher standard of living for all.  In this talk, Mr. Slubicki will discuss the uncomfortable reality of energy and the environment in Canada and around the world.  Canada’s unique combination of resources, policy and technology position our nation to be a leader in the future energy landscape; if we have the courage to stand up for our industry and way of doing things.

Mr. Slubicki has more than 35 years of experience in the business sector.  From 2009 to 2011, Chris was Chief Executive Officer of OPTI Canada, where he was brought into a distressed situation, stabilized the company and sold it to CNOOC for $2.1 billion in late 2011. Chris is the former Vice-Chairman of Scotia Waterous and was one of the four original founders of Waterous and Co., a private global oil and gas mergers and acquisitions firm, starting the firm in Calgary in 1989.  Prior to selling the firm to Bank of Nova Scotia in 2005, the firm expanded to offices in five countries with a staff of 88 and completed hundreds of oil and gas transactions over its 17-year tenure.  Chris has held operations management and engineering positions within the oil and gas industry at Placer CEGO Petroleum Ltd. and Chevron Canada Resources Ltd.

Chris graduated with a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from the University of Calgary. He is a Professional Engineer in Alberta, and a member of APEGA. Chris is currently on the boards of Bonavista Energy Corporation and the Emily Brydon Youth Foundation.  Chris served on the board of Alpine Canada Alpin for seven years, the last two as Chair.  Chris coached young ski racers with the Fernie Alpine Ski Team for 14 years, and served as President of the club for three years.



March 21, 2019

STEVE ALLAN - Executive Chair, Calgary Economic Development

Steve's family settled in Calgary in the 1880s, making him a proud member of the Southern Alberta Pioneers and Their Descendants. He fondly remembers growing up in the much smaller Calgary of the 1950s.  He is a respected chartered accountant, tireless volunteer and community leader who advocates for economic development, poverty reduction, sports and the arts.

Steve is a distinguished business and community leader and has served as Board Chair for Calgary Economic Development since 2014. Its purpose is to serve as a conduit, connector and catalyst to work collaboratively with the many business interests in the city. A primary purpose is to attract talented people to move and stay here.

He is a Governor of the University of Calgary, a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta and serves on numerous boards; including the McMahon Stadium Society and the Neyaskweyahk Trust of the Ermineskin Cree Nation.

Steve was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2017.  He is also an Honorary Treaty Seven Chief with the name “Rides Many Horses.”



February 13, 2019

DAVID DOCHERTY, PhD - President, Mount Royal University

Dr. David Docherty became the ninth president of Mount Royal University in 2011 and is currently serving his second term. He considers this the best job in the country and particularly enjoys playing the bagpipes for graduating students at each convocation.

David comes to Mount Royal from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, where in addition to teaching from 1994 to 2011, he was senior advisor for campus initiatives and governance in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President: Academic, dean of the Faculty of Arts and chair of the Department of Political Science.

As an expert in parliamentary government in Canada, David is the author of two books, including Mr. Smith Goes to Ottawa: Life in the House of Commons and Legislatures. He has written many articles and chapters on Canadian legislatures and is a media commentator on provincial and national politics. David spoke to the Senate Chamber as part of a symposium celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

With a deep commitment to embracing Indigenous knowledge and perspectives, he was humbled to receive a Blackfoot name and headdress in 2018. He is also a strong advocate for the importance of mental health well-being, including reducing stigma and providing the necessary supports.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts — Political Science (Honours) from Wilfrid Laurier University (1984), a Master of Arts — Political Science from McMaster University (1990) and a Doctorate — Political Science from the University of Toronto (1995).



January 23, 2019

BILL PTACEK - CEO, Calgary Public Library

Bill joined the Calgary Public Library as its CEO in early 2014. Previously, Bill was the Director of the King County Library System in western Washington state, where he led King County to become the Library Journal's "Library of the Year" in 2011.

In his time at the Calgary Public Library, Bill has been busy. He is working hard on developing relationships for the Library with government and community groups and partnerships with the school boards. Among his other initiatives are a full rebranding, a new catalogue and website, a focus on safety at the Central Library, free library cards for all, the growth of the Library’s Foundation, and a refresh in the design and collections at all libraries in the system.



 December 13, 2018

STEVE DONGWORTH - Fire Chief, Calgary Fire Department

The City of Calgary announced Steve Dongworth as Calgary’s new Fire Chief effective January 1, 2015.   He joined the Calgary Fire Department in 1992, was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2000 and has more than 35 years’ experience in municipal fire and emergency services.

Previously, Dongworth was the Deputy Chief of Community Standards, Recruitment and Training, overseeing the Calgary Fire Department’s Inspection & Investigation sections, Fire Investigators, the Accelerant Detection Canine program and the Fire Cadet program.

Prior to this, Dongworth served in a variety of Deputy Chief commands including Operations, Training, Community Services, Administration and Emergency Management. He has led a wide variety of projects from the development of false alarm fees to the creation of the Community Safety section.

Between 2009 and 2014, Dongworth completed two separate terms as Commander of Calgary 9-1-1. During his time as Commander he worked to provide better services to citizens through a number of initiatives such as a new call evaluation process and becoming one of the first nation-wide safety centres to institute text with 9-1-1.

In recognition for his exemplary work, Dongworth has been awarded The City of Calgary Protective Services Medal, the Alberta Emergency Services Medal, the Slave Lake Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He also has been awarded the Chief Fire Officer designation by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.

Originally from Plymouth, England, he immigrated to Canada with his family in 1991.  Dongworth is married, has two adult children and one grandchild.



November 14, 2018


Jurgen Manfred Willie (Joe) Schulz served 30 years in the Canadian Army with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). During the Cold War, he participated in three peacekeeping missions, and trained for different types of warfare including combatting terrorists.

He was born in East Prussia in 1943 in the middle of World War II.  As a child, his family was evacuated from East Prussia to evade advancing Russian soldiers.  Later, his family was accepted into this country through Canada’s Refugee program in 1953. For a variety of reasons over the following years, school was not my priority and he was asked to leave the school in grade 7.

Joe shares with us that "I’m not political correct.  I prefer the term brutally honest or that 'I refuse to bow down to the enforcers of thought and speech control'.I have a loving wife Shaaron and we had two children together.  We are still happily married (after 50+ years) and have 5 granddaughters. Shaaron and I moved 17 times with our two children during my time in the army. My hobbies include walking and volunteering with Calgary Public Schools, the Military Museums in Calgary and my church. My most important hobby is being a grandfather and believe me those girls are a full time job."

October 16, 2018

JASON KENNEY, MLA PC, Leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta

Jason committed himself to public life in the early 1990s as President of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, where he fought hard for lower taxes and fiscal responsibility.

In 1997, Calgary voters elected him to Parliament where he worked to unite conservatives nationally. Since then, he’s been voted the “best overall,” “hardest working,” and “most knowledgeable” MP by his colleagues. Jason was called “perhaps Canada’s best immigration minister" by the National Post, and also led Canada’s two largest ministries: Employment and Social Development, and National Defence.  As Multiculturalism Minister, he helped to double the Conservative Party’s support amongst new Canadians.

In March of 2017, Jason was elected leader of PC Alberta. He successfully negotiated a unity agreement between PC Alberta and the Wildrose Party, which was supported by 95% of members in both parties.

On December 14, 2017, Jason was elected to represent the people of Calgary-Lougheed and became Leader of the Official Opposition.



September 12, 2018

MARTHA HALL FINDLAY, President and CEO of Canada West Foundation

Martha Hall Findlay joined the Canada West Foundation as President and CEO on September 1, 2016.

Martha is a thought leader whose insight on issues such as pipelines, international trade, foreign investment and foreign affairs, energy and the environment, and supply management have framed the debate for decision-makers and everyday Canadians. Her career has been diverse, spanning law, technology, politics and public policy.

Previously, Martha was the Chief Legal Officer of EnStream, a Rogers/Bell/TELUS mobile payments joint venture. As a lawyer, senior business executive and successful entrepreneur, Martha has more than 25 years of domestic and international experience with major multinationals as well as startups, primarily in telecommunications and technology.

As an Executive Fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, Martha focused on Canadian economic, social and environmental prosperity in a global context.

She was a member of Parliament from 2008 to 2011, and served as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committees for Finance; Transport; Government Operations and International Trade.

Martha has served as a board director and executive for several policy, environmental, community and cultural organizations, including the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs; the Canadian Centre for Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P) at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs; the Georgian Bay Association and Alberta’s CKUA not-for-profit radio network. She is currently Chair of the Board of Alpine Canada and a member of the Advisory Council for the University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy project.