Speakers

Click for speaker biographies and session details.

MP Gudie Hutchings

MP, Long Range Mountains and Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism

National Tourism Panel
Date: Thursday, February 23
Time: 8:30 am-10:00 am
Location: Salon ABC, Albatross Hotel

First elected in the 2015 federal election, Gudie Hutchings is the Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains and serves as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business and Tourism. Prior to being elected, Gudie was a small business owner and an advocate for the Newfoundland and Labrador tourism industry. In her first year in parliament, Gudie has focused on improving fisheries management for Newfoundland and Labrador, promoting greater support for the Canadian tourism industry, and working to ensure the federal government provides support for rural regions such as Long Range Mountains by ensuring federal policies account for the realities facing rural communities. Gudie is honoured to represent the riding of Long Range Mountains and remains committed to being a consensus builder who is always accessible and available to all of her constituents.

The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore

Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development

Provincial Tourism Luncheon
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 12:30 pm-2:00 pm
Location: Hotel Gander

Christopher Mitchelmore was first elected to the House of Assembly in 2011 and was re-elected in November 2015. He is from Green Island Cove, a small fishing village on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Mr. Mitchelmore has a Bachelor of Commerce Honours (Co-op) degree from Memorial University, with international study experience in the United Kingdom and at the University of Economics in the Czech Republic. He worked with the Department of Innovation, Business, and Rural Development; the Newfoundland and Labrador Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB); and London Offshore Consultants.

Prior to entering politics, Mr. Mitchelmore worked as a client services officer and a youth ventures coordinator with the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) Nortip. He has an extensive track record of community involvement, including time as vice president of the Straits – St. Barbe Chronic Care Corporation and director and member of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network. He was appointed Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development on December 14, 2015.

Jesse Hirsh

Writer, Broadcastor & Futurist

Keynote Presentation – Tourism, Travel & the Sharing Economy
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 9:00 am-10:30 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Jesse owns and operates Metaviews Media Management Ltd., which focuses on research and consulting around new media business models, big data, and the strategic use of social media. He is also a co-founder of the Academy of the Impossible, a peer to peer lifelong learning facility. Because of the impact technology has on our relationship with the world, Jesse believes that it should be used in responsible and creative ways. He encourages audiences to use technology as the catalyst for collaboration, education, and growing thriving organizations. A speaker who brings excitement and curiosity to technical topics, Jesse is able to synthesize abstract concepts into digestible and actionable pieces of information. His insightful presentations feature valuable, unique, strategic insights relative to each audience. Jesse was educated at the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto. Jesse also recently completed a Masters degree at Ryerson University focusing on algorithms and predictive analytics.

David Robinson

Destination Canada

National Tourism Panel
Date: Thursday, February 23
Time: 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Prior to joining Destination Canada, Dave was Director General, Strategic Coordination at Veterans Affairs Canada, responsible for managing corporate governance, and the Department’s cabinet and parliamentary business. From 2001 to 2010 Dave lead the Government of Canada’s preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. He led the coordination of over 30 federal departments and agencies and worked with provinces, local municipalities and First Nations to make the 2010 Games, “Canada’s Games.” Along with his team, Dave created the strategies and sought the funding that allowed the Government of Canada to take full advantage of the unprecedented platform the Games provided for the promotion of Canada internationally. From 1999 to 2000 Dave was Director of Government Relations for the Canadian Bankers Association. Prior to that, from 1993 to 1999, Dave worked as a senior political advisor to the President of the Treasury Board, supporting the Minister with the development of the Canada Infrastructure Works Program, the Minister of International Trade supporting the Minister’s work on International Business Development and planning for the Team Canada Mission (1997) and finally as Chief of Staff to the Minister of National Defence. Married with three daughters and two grandsons.

Philip Mondor

President, Tourism HR Canada

National Tourism Panel
Date: Thursday, February 23
Time: 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Philip has worked on labour market projects for 25 years, and has been with Tourism HR Canada for 20 of those years, assuming the role of President of the organization one year ago. Philip has worked with foreign governments, pan-global organizations, Canadian and non-Canadian businesses, and various education and training bodies. He has presented at many conferences on topics related to tourism labour market issues and competency-based models for both regulated and non-regulated professions. His has done special projects in United States, United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Current or recent foreign projects are in Vietnam and Tanzania and Nigeria. Several of these projects are related to industrial sectors other than tourism.

Charlotte Bell

President & CEO, TIAC

National Tourism Panel
Date: Thursday, February 23
Time: 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Charlotte was appointed President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) in April 2015 where she is responsible for the overall leadership of the organization representing tourism interests at the national level. Canada’s tourism success stems from its unique and plentiful attributes as a destination, the professionalism and dedication of operators and the tourism workforce, as well as a cohesive national association of tourism businesses that gets results on behalf of its members. Having spent more than 25 years in the broadcasting sector in Canada prior to this, Charlotte has an extensive background in advocacy, strategic planning and public affairs.

Keith Henry

President & CEO, Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada

Aboriginal Tourism
Date: Thursday, February 23
Time: 10:30 am – 11:45 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Mr. Keith Henry is a Métis person that was born in Thompson, Manitoba and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr. Henry achieved a B.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995. Mr. Henry began his career in 1995 with teaching positions and has become well known for his strategic administrative and negotiations skills. Since 1998 Mr. Henry has led numerous provincial, federal and industry negotiations on a variety of issues. He has been directly responsible for financial administration of a number of Aboriginal non-profits and has a proven track record of success. Mr. Henry has become an international Aboriginal cultural tourism leader receiving Aboriginal/Indigenous recognition as the former CEO for Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). In April 2014, the inaugural World Indigenous Tourism Alliance award recognized the work of AtBC and Mr. Henry’s leadership. Mr. Henry has been spearheading the growth of authentic Aboriginal tourism in Canada as he worked to redevelop the national Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada as elected chair when this organization incorporated in April 2015. In October 2015 Mr. Henry took the full time role as the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada’s CEO.

Don Barnes

VP of Customer Experience, Marine Atlantic Inc.

Keynote Sponsor Address
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 8:45 am-9:00 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Don is Vice President of Customer Experience at Marine Atlantic, where he leads the development and delivery of a high quality experience to the company’s passenger and commercial customers. His specific areas of responsibility include onboard services, reservations, customer service and relations, revenue generation, stakeholder relations, corporate communications, and marketing. Prior to joining Marine Atlantic in July 2009, Don worked in Canada and internationally in a career that has spanned business, education, the not-for-profit sector, and government. A marketer and researcher, he has consulted with companies on three continents, including such recognisable firms as Shell, Chevron, Tesco, Xerox, Eli Lilly, Hudson’s Bay Company, T Mobile, and Bell Aliant. Don holds a BA in psychology and an MBA from Memorial University.

Dave Lane

Councillor, City of St. John’s

Sharing Economy Panel
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 11:00 am-11:45 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Councillor Dave Lane graduated from Memorial University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Computer Science and spent five years as a business analyst and web developer at Group zed., an IT consulting firm in St. John’s. He is currently Development Partner at Dc Design House, a local marketing and design firm, and a Councillor at Large in St. John’s Councillor Lane is co-chair of the Economic Development, Tourism and Public Engagement Standing Committee with Councillor Bruce Tilley; co-chair of the Heritage Advisory Committee with Councillor Sandy Hickman; chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee; and council representative for Downtown St. John’s, St. John’s Clean & Beautiful, and the Railway Coastal Museum. His primary focus is on creating a long-term, sustainable and happy city by making it easier for citizens to be a part of the decision-making process. Prior to running for council, Councillor Lane was chair of Happy City St. John’s, leading a group of dedicated volunteers in an effort to encourage and enhance, by example, public engagement at a municipal level. The group’s endeavours continue today and range from unique twists on public meeting formats to intensive social media dialogues to networking and think-tanking with community and business groups. Dave has served on the boards of Downtown St. John’s and the Newfoundland Historic Trust, and has served on committees with St. John’s Clean & Beautiful, the St. John’s Board of Trade, and St. John’s Northwest Rotary Music Festival. Dave is also a musician, having spent years singing in successful choral groups Quintessential Vocal Ensemble (QVE), Newman Sound Men’s Choir, and Innismara Vocal Ensemble. He was also the drummer for local rock band Hey Rosetta! as well as groups such as Jazz East and Pilot to Bombardier.

Cathy Duke

CEO, Destination St. John’s

Sharing Economy Panel
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 11:00 am-11:45 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Cathy Duke is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Destination St. John’s (DSJ), a position which she has held for six years. In this role, Ms. Duke directs the sales and marketing efforts of the organization in attracting group travel to the St. John’s region, primarily in the areas of meetings and conventions, leisure travel and sport tourism. Prior to her current position, Ms. Duke served for several years with Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, four years as Deputy Minister in the Departments of Tourism Culture and Recreation (TCR) and Innovation Trade and Rural Development (INTRD).

Ms. Duke has considerable previous experience in the tourism industry, serving eight years as President of Sports Villas Resort Inc., the operator of the Terra Nova Golf Resort and the Clarenville Inn, and two years as Executive Director of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL). Among her former board appointments were positions with the St. John’s International Airport Authority, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, and the St. John’s Board of Trade. Her current board appointments include St. John’s Sports and Entertainment, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), the Destination Marketing Association of Canada (DMAC), the Shorefast Foundation and the Stella Burry Foundation. Ms. Duke holds an undergraduate degree and a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Courtney Howell

Owner/Operator, Grates Cove Studios

Sharing Economy Panel Discussion
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 11:00 am-11:45 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Grates Cove Studios is owned and operated by Artist/Designer Terrence Howell and Courtney Howell, Newfoundland and South Louisiana natives, who met in, traveled around and ate their way through South Korea. In 2009, they pitched their family in the historic site of Grates Cove, the birthplace of Terrence’s father, grandmother and many ancestors. Soon after, they bought the old school house in Grates Cove and in 2011 started Grates Cove Studios.

Deborah Bourden

Owner/Operator, Anchor Inn Hotel & Suites

The Sharing Economy Panel
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 11:00 am-11:45 am
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Deborah is a passionate promoter of Newfoundland and Labrador as a unique tourism destination and especially her hometown of “Twillingate”. The first summer after High School she worked at the Twillingate Museum under the careful direction of Twillingate Tourism pioneer Lorna Stuckless and was forever bitten by the tourism bug. It just took her a while to find her way back to the industry that she first loved. She is the co-owner/operator of the award-winning Anchor Inn Hotel and Suites, Vacation Homes; Amber Retreat and Above the Tickle and the Bed and Breakfast, Alphabet Fleet Inn, all located in Twillingate. In 1998 Deborah established Newfoundland’s first interactive marketing agency where she helped to lead the way in online marketing and social media for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. Her vision and entrepreneurship have been recognized with an Entrepreneur of the Year Award from NLOWE and a Tourism Business Award and Accommodator of the Year Award from HNL. She currently serves on the Tourism Quality Assurance board, Gander Airport Air Service Development Committee and co-chairs the board of the Twillingate Unscripted Digital Art Festival.

Carol-Ann Gilliard

Director of Strategic Product Development, Department of Business, Tourism, Culture & Rural Development

Product Development Strategy
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 2:30 pm-3:30 pm
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Carol-Ann Gilliard is the Director of Strategic Tourism Product Development with the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development. Formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, Carol-Ann has extensive experience in tourism strategic planning, analysis and implementation. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Carol-Ann has served as Chair of the Provincial and Territorial Tourism Industry Associations and the Atlantic Canada Tourism Caucus.

Glenn Keough

Visitor Experience Manager, Newfoundland East Field Unit, Parks Canada

People & Programs – Experience Development Best Practices Panel
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Glenn Keough began working at the Visitor Experience Manager with the Newfoundland East Field Unit of Parks Canada in 2009. Glenn has Worked in tourism all his life, starting in 1978 in various positions at hotels in St. John’s, Gander and Fredericton. Glenn has also worked in the cultural sector with the former Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, as well as Provincial Historic Sites and community museums (Botwood Heritage Centre & Admiralty House Museum) from 1989-2009. Glenn holds a BA(Hons) in NL history (MUN); MA History (UNB); Diploma in Cultural Resource Management (University of Victoria). In his spare time, Glenn enjoys working  to restore his ancestral home in Calvert, NL.

Chef Todd Perrin

Mallard Cottage

People & Programs – Experience Development Best Practices Panel
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Canadian foodies know Todd Perrin as the burly, entertaining, larger than life Newfoundlander who made it to the top 8 in The Food Network’s hit series Top Chef Canada 2011. Todd graduated from The Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College in PEI and went on to work at The Lodge at Kananaskis in Alberta and then at a private hotel near Zurich, Switzerland. In 2001, he opened Two Chefs, a fine dining eatery in St. John’s that in its first year, was listed as one of the country’s “Top 50 New Restaurants” in enRoute Magazine.

Todd’s latest project is Mallard Cottage, in Quidi Vidi Village, St. John’s. The painstakingly restored 18th century cottage opened as a restaurant in November 2013 after much anticipation. Serving local ingredients in traditional and non traditional ways, Mallard Cottage uses the bounty of Newfoundland land and sea to create a daily changing menu. In it’s first year Mallard was recognized by Enroute Magazine as #5 on it’s list of Top Ten Best New Restaurants in Canada 2014. In 2016 Mallard Cottage continued to be recognized as one of Canada’s top eateries, coming in at No. 22 on the Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants.

Jonathan Foster

Executive Director, Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism

Professional Development Luncheon

Date: Thursday, February 23
Time: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Salon ABCD, Hotel Gander

Jonathan Foster is the Executive Director of the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism. Jonathan has been involved in the tourism industry as both an operator and advocate having worked in the private sector, government and university settings over the past 20 years. Having studied and worked across Canada and New Zealand, Jonathan has been exposed to many destinations and ways of doing business. It is this exposure that has helped shape his understanding and passion regarding sustainable tourism development. This passion has led him to become heavily involved regionally working with communities and businesses to help facilitate and grow their sustainable tourism experiences. Jonathan strongly believes that by utilizing the talents and skills of people within communities that businesses and destinations all around Atlantic Canada can flourish in a very globally competitive marketplace.

Jill Curran

Maxxim Vacations

People & Programs – Experience Development Best Practices Panel
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Jill Curran is a hands-on owner operator who believes in providing every customer with the kind of conversation you would like to have with a friend. A friend who has the inside track on that destination you are considering. Having developed one of the most unique experiential tourism products in Canada in Lighthouse Picnics, Jill has special insight into what makes travels memorable and why there is a journey of self-discovery around the corner.

Ian Stone

Taste of Gros Morne

People & Programs – Experience Development Best Practices Panel
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
Location: Albatross Hotel-ABC

Born and raised in Newfoundland, after graduating from Memorial University he moved to work in western Canada for 12 years and jumped at the chance to return home 6 years ago. His sense of place that all Newfoundlanders embrace makes him a passionate promoter of Newfoundland and Labrador in his rolls with Parks Canada and as part of the multi award winning team at Gros Morne Cooperating Association. Residing in Gros Morne National Park has inspired Ian and his wife to start a new company, Tour Gros Morne which includes Taste of Gros Morne culinary tours and events. Living in a world-class national park they develop sustainable tourism experiences and are passionate about creating new customized experiences by developing strong partnerships.

Dion Finlay

The Leaside Group

Chair, Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador

Hospitality NL Annual General Meeting
Date: Tuesday, February 21
Time: 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Location: Hotel Gander-Theatre

Dion Finlay, like many tourism operators, was drawn to the tourism industry by a passion and pride for who we are as a people and province. With a background in finance as a Consultant with Investors Group Financial Services Inc., Dion saw firsthand the opportunities for business growth and success within the tourism industry. In 2010, Dion and his wife Dora made the decision to invest in a well-known B & B in St. John’s; his entrepreneurial spirit was called to the tourism industry and it has proven to be a natural fit! That investment has since lead him to expand the business and acquire other properties morphing in to what is now known as The Leaside Group, delivering hospitality experiences in St. John’s through Leaside Suites and Executive Apartments,  Compton House and Monastery Spa and Suites  as well as a property located outside the city, The Arnold’s Cove Inn.

Dion has embraced the tourism industry and is committed to doing his part to ensure the success of Uncommon Potential: A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (Vision 2020). A tireless volunteer, Dion served as President of the Bed and Breakfast Association of NL as well as sitting on the Board of Directors of Hospitality NL in the role of Secretary/Treasurer, Vice-Chair and now Chair.

Scott Hillyer

Owner/Operator, Coffee Matters

Vice-Chair, Hospitality NL

Vice-Chair, Hospitality NL

Hospitality NL Annual General Meeting
Date: Tuesday, February 21
Time: 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Location: Hotel Gander-Theatre

Scott Hillyer is a proud father, volunteer, and businessman who likes to give back to the community. Scott has worked in the food service community since the age of 15. During his time in the hospitality & restaurant industry, Scott has learned what matters most – great customer service, top-notch quality food & a clean and friendly environment. Scott loves people and likes to get to know his customers on a one on one basis. On any given day, you’ll find Scott serving up coffee, making sandwiches, and clearing the odd table! He believes on a truly hands on approach. With 6 locations in and around St. John’s, Scott has poured his heart and soul into Coffee Matters and enjoys taking a leadership role with both the Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador board and the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. Scott is the proud father of two sons and a daughter who keep him on his toes.

Craig Foley

Chief Executive Officer, Hospitality NL

Hospitality NL Annual General Meeting
Date: Tuesday, February 21
Time: 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Location: Hotel Gander-Theatre

Craig Foley, Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, has been working within Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism industry for more than fifteen years.

Having held numerous positions on industry boards and committees, Craig believes collaborative partnerships are the best approach to advance the tourism industry and the operations of those working within it.

Recognizing the potential of tourism to positively impact the economy and way of life for resident of Newfoundland and Labrador, and with extensive experience in strategic planning, development and implementation, Craig works tirelessly to ensure sustainable industry development and growth.

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