Chair & Moderator

Perry Spitznagel

Vice Chair, Bennett Jones LLP

Perry Spitznagel is Vice Chair of Bennett Jones, a former longstanding Managing Partner of the Calgary office and a senior corporate lawyer with extensive national and cross-border experience in a broad range of matters. Perry has acted for clients in some of the largest transactions in Canada, including many of Canada’s and North America’s largest national and cross-border financings and mergers. He has been recognized by Financial Post Magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in corporate Canada. He is also widely recognized as a leading lawyer in his areas of expertise.

Perry is a director of a large private holding company and is a director and past Chair of WinSport which manages the legacy assets and programs of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. He is also a director of the Calgary Zoological Society and a member of the Advisory Board of the Samara Centre for Democracy, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Canada’s democracy. He is a past member of the Alberta Securities Commission Advisory Committee, a past Co-Chair of the Pipestone Securities Law Conference and a past director of Alpine Canada, the governing body for alpine ski racing in Canada.

A former international ski racer, Perry remains active in skiing.

Perry is a graduate of McGill University, BA (Economics), 1979, with great distinction, and Osgoode Hall Law School, LLB, 1982.

He is a frequent speaker and has chaired national and international conferences on a variety of topics. Perry speaks French and German.

Keynote Speaker

George Friedman

Geopolitical Forecaster, Author & Strategist on International Affairs

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs and the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures.

Dr. Friedman is a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: America’s Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond, published February 25, describes how “the United States periodically reaches a point of crisis in which it appears to be at war with itself, yet after an extended period it reinvents itself, in a form both faithful to its founding and radically different from what it had been.” The decade 2020-2030 is such a period which will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture.

His most popular book, The Next 100 Years, is kept alive by the prescience of its predictions. Other best-selling books include Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, The Next Decade, America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Dr. Friedman has briefed numerous military and government organizations in the United States and overseas and appears regularly as an expert on international affairs, foreign policy and intelligence in major media.

For almost 20 years before resigning in May 2015, Dr. Friedman was CEO and then chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996. Friedman received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University. 


Geopolitical Insights

H.E. Sabine Sparwasser

Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Canada
Professional Experience:
2015 – 2017 Ambassador Assistant Deputy Minister for Africa, Asia, Latin America, Near and Middle East, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin Special Representative of the Federal Government for Afghanistan and Pakistan
2014 – 2015 Ambassador, Head of the Foreign Service Academy, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
2013 – 2014 Ambassador, Director for Communication, Germany’s Image abroad and German as a Foreign Language, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
2009 – 2013 Consul General in Toronto
2006 – 2009 Director of Middle East and Maghreb Division, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
2003 – 2006 Chargé d’Affaires / Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy Ottawa
2002 – 2003 Exchange Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa
1999 – 2002 Deputy Spokesperson of the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
1996 – 1999 Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy in San José, Costa Rica
1993 – 1996 Counsellor, Press Department, dealing with United Nations, North and Latin America, near and Middle East, Federal Foreign Office, Bonn
1991 – 1993 First Secretary, Political Section, German Embassy London
1989 – 1991 Second Secretary, Political Section, German EC-Representation, Brussels
1987 – 1989 Third Secretary, Public Relations Department, Federal Foreign Office, Bonn
1985 – 1987 Attachée, Federal Foreign Office, Bonn
1984 – 1985 Research Assistant on European Integration to Professor Joseph Rovan, Paris
1981 – 1984 Free Lance Journalist for German Television
Educational Background:
1981 – 1983 Diplôme de l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris Study of Political Sciences with specialization in International Relations, Paris
1976 – 1981 Johannes-Gutenberg-University Mainz, Studies of German, French, English Literature and Linguistics
Languages: German, English, French, Spanish

Hon. Anne McLellan

Former Deputy Prime Minster of Canada

The Honourable A. Anne McLellan joined the firm after a distinguished career in federal politics, where she served four terms as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre from 1993-2006. Ms. McLellan provides national and international strategic planning assistance to the firm’s clients.

During her political career, Ms. McLellan was Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Minister of Health, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Natural Resources and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians. As Deputy Prime Minister, she chaired two Cabinet committees: the Operations Committee and the Security, Public Health and Emergencies Committee.

Prior to entering politics, Ms. McLellan was a professor of law at the University of Alberta, where she served at various times as Associate Dean and Acting Dean. In 2006, she was appointed as the first distinguished scholar at the University of Alberta’s Institute for American Studies. In 2007, the University of Alberta awarded Ms. McLellan an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree. Ms. McLellan retired from the University of Alberta effective June 30, 2013.

In May 2015, Ms. McLellan became Dalhousie University’s seventh chancellor, with her term ending May 2020. 

In July 2009, Ms. McLellan was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, recognized “for her leadership and dedication as a politician and law professor, and for her contributions as a community volunteer.” Cape Breton University conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree on Ms. McLellan in October 2010.  In October 2013, Ms. McLellan was awarded the Alberta Order of Excellence, the Province’s highest honour.

Ms. McLellan is on the boards of:
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research;
Dalhousie University, where she chairs the Dalhousie Advisory Council and was Chancellor from May 2015 to May 2020;
Institute for Research for Public Policy, where she is chair;
Invest Alberta Corporation, where she is vice chair;
Pearson College – United World College, where she is chair; and
TELUS Edmonton Community Board, where she is chair.

In October 2020, Ms. McLellan was appointed to The Committee on the Future of Corporate Governance in Canada created by TMX Group and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). The Committee provides updated guidance on corporate governance for Canadian companies in an era of profound change.

She is a former board member of Nexen, a Canadian-based global energy company; the Edmonton Airports Regional Authority; Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services; Cameco Corp., the world’s largest publicly-traded uranium mining company, where she was chair of the Nominating, Corporate Governance and Risk Committee; and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.

In March 2011, Ms. McLellan was appointed by the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) to the Advisory Panel that was created to provide advice to the HQCA in its review of the quality of care and safety of patients requiring access to emergency department care and cancer surgery and the role and process of physician advocacy. She was a member of the Premier’s Council for Economic Strategy, a group of 12 advisors providing “guidance on actions the Alberta government can take to best position the province for the future” and which issued its report, Shaping Alberta’s Future, in May 2011.

Sir John Bell

Immunologist & Geneticist
Sir John Bell GBE, FRS is Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University. President of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2006 to 2011); Chair, Office for the Strategic Coordination of Health Research until 2017; Chair, Rhodes Trust; UK Life Sciences Champion since 2011. Appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 2015 for services to medicine, medical research and the life science industry. Co-developed and wrote both 2017 UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and 2021 Life Sciences Vision providing recommendations to HM Government on ensuring the long-term success of the life sciences sector.

Industry Perspectives

Alexis von Hoensbroech

CEO, WestJet

Alexis began his role as Chief Executive Officer, WestJet on February 15, 2022. 

Born in Cologne, Germany, Alexis attended the University of Bonn, where he received his Physics diploma in 1995 and later, completed his PhD at Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in 1999. Alexis spent his early career at The Boston Consulting Group, a management consultancy company, working out of their Munich and Tokyo offices, with clients primarily from the aviation industry. 

In 2005, Alexis joined the Lufthansa Group as head of strategy and investment management for Lufthansa. From there, Alexis ran various integration projects; became head of commercial at the airline’s biggest hub in Frankfurt, before becoming CCO of Lufthansa Cargo AG. Alexis went on to become Austrian Airlines CEO and CFO in 2018, and during his three-and-a-half-year tenure, he restructured the airline and its network to compete with ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) competition in Austria and successfully led the company through the COVID-19 crisis.  

Hon. John Baird

Chairman, Canfor; Director, CP Rail; Former Senior Cabinet Minister, Government of Canada

John Baird is a Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP and a former Senior Cabinet Minister in the Government of Canada.

An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr. Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with ASEAN countries. In addition, Mr. Baird has worked closely with international leaders to strengthen security and economic ties with the United States and Middle Eastern countries.

A native of Ottawa, Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Foreign Minister. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. In 2010, he was selected by Members of Parliament from all parties as Parliamentarian of the Year. Prior to entering federal politics, Mr. Baird spent ten years in the Ontario Legislature where he served as Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Energy, and Government House Leader.

In addition to his work with Bennett Jones, Mr. Baird sits on the advisory board of Barrick Gold Corp., the corporate boards of Canadian Pacific, Canfor Corporation (as Chair), Osisko Gold Royalties, the FWD Group and PineBridge Investments. He also serves as a Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy.

Mr. Baird also volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, an organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities, the Prince’s Trust Canada, the charitable office of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies and an Honourary Doctorate of Law from Queen’s University at Kingston.

Ken Seitz

President & CEO, Nutrien

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Seitz served as Interim President and CEO for a period of seven months. Ken joined Nutrien in 2019 as Executive Vice President and CEO of Potash. He brings over 25 years of global management experience working across more than 60 countries, with an extensive background in agriculture and mining. Earlier in his career, Mr. Seitz served as President and CEO of Canpotex, one of the world’s largest suppliers of Potash, giving him deep experience in global fertilizer marketing and logistics and strong connections within the industry.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, a Bachelor of Engineering, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Saskatchewan. He is a Professional Engineer with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan and is a Professional Agrologist with the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists. Ken also holds a Certificate in Management from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Capital Formation

Blake Hutcheson

President & CEO, OMERS

Blake Hutcheson is President and CEO of OMERS. He is responsible for the overall leadership and performance of the OMERS enterprise.

He was appointed OMERS President and Chief Pension Officer in 2018. His mandate included leading OMERS pension business, Strategy, Communications & Public Affairs, Legal, Technology and Operations, in addition to Asset Liability Management.

Blake previously served as President and CEO of Oxford Properties Group since 2010, and in 2014 he also became Chief Investment Officer, Real Estate and Strategic Investments and added the OMERS Platform Investments portfolio, an integral part of the OMERS innovative agenda.

Prior to OMERS, Blake was the Head of Global Real Estate with Mount Kellett Capital Management, a New York-based private equity firm with offices in key locations around the globe. Previously, he was Chairman and President of the Canadian, Latin American, and Mexican operations for CB Richard Ellis, the world’s largest real estate services company.

A former recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, Blake is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. He also completed a Graduate Diploma in International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics (with Distinction) and a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development at Columbia University (where he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2017).

Blake continues to play Masters Lacrosse every summer for his home town of Huntsville, Ontario. He is married and has two children.

Tim Hodgson

Chair, National Self Regulatory Organization – Investment Industry; Former Special Advisor, Bank of Canada

Timothy Hodgson is a corporate director. He currently serves as Chair of Hydro One Limited and Chair of the New Self-Regulatory Organization of Canada for investment products. Mr. Hodgson also serves on the boards of Dialogue Health Technologies, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and the Property and Casualty Insurance Compensation Corporation. Mr. Hodgson was formerly Managing Partner of Alignvest Management Corporation from 2012 until his retirement in August 2019. He was Special Advisor to Mr. Mark Carney, the then Governor of the Bank of Canada from 2010 to 2012. From 1990 to 2010, Mr. Hodgson held various positions in New York, London, Silicon Valley, and Toronto with Goldman Sachs and served as Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Canada from 2005 to 2010.

His prior directorships include PSP Investments, Sagicor Financial Corporation, Sagicor Group Jamaica, MEG Energy, Alignvest Acquisition Corporation, Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation, The Global Risk Institute, KGS-Alpha Capital Markets, Next Canada, the Ivey School of Business, and Bridgepoint Health.

Mr. Hodgson holds a Masters of Business Administration from The Ivey School of Business at Western University and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Manitoba. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants (FCPA) and holds his ICD.D.

Michelle Scarborough

Managing Partner, Thrive and Women in Technology Venture Funds, BDC Capital

Michelle Scarborough is Managing Partner of the Thrive Venture Fund and Women in Technology Venture Fund at BDC Capital. She leads the world’s two largest venture funds dedicated to supporting and investing in women-led technology businesses and is recognized as an influential leader in venture capital in Canada.

An accomplished entrepreneur and investor, Michelle is passionate about leadership, innovation, and creating a more diverse and inclusive business culture. She joined BDC in 2017 from Kensington Capital Partners, where she managed its fund of funds and direct investment activity in Western Canada.

Throughout her career, Michelle has been a founder and co-founder in several private and public companies, including Rodeo Capital Corp III and Bonita Capital Inc., all of which have been acquired and successfully exited. She founded one of the first technology accelerators in Ontario and structured the $250M Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund. She has sat on the board of directors of both public and private companies, and currently sits on the board of Tealbook, Manifest Climate, Sheertex and Swift Medical, among others.

Michelle regularly volunteers her time and expertise to the entrepreneur and investment community. She currently serves on the Creative Destruction Lab Advisory Board and the Venture Capital Association of Alberta’s Board of Directors. She is former Chair of the National Angel Capital Organization and a founder of the Women’s Angel Network in Canada. Michelle is also a sought-after speaker and thought leader in the areas of capital formation, technology innovation, leadership, and DEI.

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary and holds the Corporate Director (ICD.D) designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. She is also a Kauffman Fellow, part of a global network of venture capital investors and innovators. 

Jos Schmitt

President & CEO, NEO Exchange & Head of Global Listings, Cboe Global Markets

Jos Schmitt is President of NEO, a bold and disruptive capital markets fintech organization comprised of the NEO Exchange – a Tier 1 stock exchange fueling the innovation economy, and NEO Connect – a multi-asset distribution platform supporting mutual funds and private offerings. NEO was acquired in 2022 by Cboe Global Markets, one of the largest global market infrastructure providers, and Jos now also leads Cboe’s global listings strategy.

Prior to NEO, and in the role of President & CEO, Jos formed the Alpha Group of companies, including the Alpha Stock Exchange. This followed his role as EVP Head of the Americas and Global Head of Capital Markets for a global professional services company focused on the financial services industry, where he acted as strategic advisor and Director of Operational and Technology Programs for some of the largest stock and derivatives exchanges, clearing houses, alternative markets, data vendors, and broker-dealers around the globe.

Energy Transformation

Alex Pourbaix

President & CEO, Cenovus

As President & Chief Executive Officer of Cenovus Energy, Alex is responsible for establishing the strategic direction for the company and delivering strong financial, operational and sustainability performance. Alex took on the leadership role in November 2017. He is also a Director of the company.

Prior to joining Cenovus, Alex spent 27 years with TC Energy and its affiliates in a broad range of leadership roles including Chief Operating Officer, where he was responsible for the company’s commercial activity and overseeing major energy infrastructure projects and operations. He also has experience in corporate strategy, business development, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as stakeholder relations.

Alex currently serves on the boards of Canadian Utilities Limited, the Business Council of Canada, and the Board of Governors at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) as Past Chair. He is Board Chair at Mount Royal University and a member of the Business Council of Alberta. Alex also serves on the Alberta Regional Board of Nature Conservancy Canada. He was previously Board Chair for the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and a board member at Trican Well Service Ltd.

Alex is active in the community, having served on the boards of several local charities, including many years as a dedicated volunteer for the United Way.

Alex earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Alberta.

Martha Hall Findlay

Chief Climate Officer, Suncor

Martha Hall Findlay is the Chief Climate Officer at Suncor Energy, Canada’s leading fully integrated energy company. She leads Suncor’s efforts to address the nexus of climate and energy, including the work of the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance. Her climate-specific role emerged from two years as Suncor’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Before joining Suncor, Martha was the President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation, one of Canada’s most important public policy think tanks.

Her business career (primarily in telecommunications and fintech) has included senior executive roles in law, management and strategy. She was twice elected as a Member of Parliament; served in several capacities in the Shadow Cabinet, and served as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committees for Finance; Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; Government Operations; and International Trade. She remains a member of the Minister of International Trade’s Trade Expert Advisory Council. She has her BA (International Relations), LLB and ICD.D designation. 

Peter Tertzakian

Energy Economist & Bestselling Author

Peter Tertzakian is an economist, investment strategist, author, podcaster, and dynamic public speaker. Using entertaining stories, he has a unique ability to distil, clarify, and communicate complicated issues surrounding energy, economics, and the environment. His presentations inspire, guide, and spark discussion on some of the most important topics of today.

A respected industry leader, Tertzakian is frequently called on to share his knowledge of strategic business issues with investors, corporate leaders, policy makers, and educators. His Energyphile project, including his latest book, The Investor Visit, and Other Stories: Disruption, Denial, and Transition in the Energy Business, embodies his unique approach to analyzing today’s challenges. Tertzakian’s previous books – A Thousand Barrels a Second and The End of Energy Obesity – were both international bestsellers.

Tertzakian has more than 30 years of experience in the business of energy, spanning all systems, from oil and gas to renewables. His holistic knowledge of finance, physics, innovation, and economics forms a foundation for his unvarnished, balanced, and thought-provoking presentations on how audiences should think about sustainable energy solutions.

A graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Tertzakian is currently the deputy director of ARC Energy Research Institute, an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary, and an Executive-in-Residence at the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre.


A special thank you to our sponsors.

Bennett Jones Lake Louise Business Forum would like to thank all of our sponsors for their generous support.