Nation Builder of the Year Award
Thursday, December 10, 2020 | 12 p.m. EST
The Nation Builder of the Year award formalizes what The Empire Club of Canada has been doing since 1903 – celebrating and providing a platform for people who are building our country.
Since its founding over a century ago, The Empire Club has played a pivotal role in many of our country’s major milestones. That’s why the focus of this award is on efforts by a Canadian individual or a group of individuals who are making a significant contribution to our country.
This individual or a group of individuals can be from any walk of life – a political official, a business leader, an artist, or a cultural figure – who has made a major contribution to our national identity during their nomination year.
Every spring, The Empire Club will publish a nomination form online accompanied by a selection criteria. A member of The Empire Club, a participant at any Empire Club events, and the general public are welcome to provide a nomination.
An independent panel, the Adjudication Committee, of 11 individuals selected by The Empire Club Board of Directors (six board members and five members of the public) will review the nominees. The choice of winner will be presented to The Empire Club Board of Directors for ratification.
In consultation with the nominated recipient, a date will be selected for the presentation of the award at a special ceremony.
Connect with us on social media!
Use the hashtag #NationBuilderHero to join the conversation.
The award ceremony will feature an impressive roster of speakers thanking and congratulating the men and women who have kept us safe and functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Actor and Activist
Shamier Anderson, Actor and Activist
Shamier Anderson transitions seamlessly from small to big screen in both the U.S. and Canada and is on a rapid rise. He can be seen as “Maceo Terry” on FOX’s critically acclaimed event series SHOTS FIRED, in the female-driven Major League Baseball drama PITCH playing the love interest opposite Kylie Burnbury, and in 3 seasons as “Agent Dolls” on the popular SyFy series WYNONNA EARP. Other select television credits include a recurring role on the comedy series THE TRAILER PARK BOYS for Netflix, in Season 2 of the Netflix hit DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, and the upcoming SOULMATES for AMC. Don’t miss Anderson in his series regular role opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid on season 3 of the hit series GOLIATH for Amazon streaming now. Next up Anderson stars as a lead in Simon Kinberg’s highly anticipated series INVASION for AppleTV+ which shoots in multiple locations around the world.
Feature film work includes Director X’s ACROSS THE LINE, the festival award-winning romantic comedy LOVE JACKED now on Netflix, and the Nazi-era historic biopic RACE about African-American Olympian Jesse Owens. Anderson can also be seen in the indie crime thriller DESTROYER (TIFF 2018) playing opposite Nicole Kidman, and opposite Johnny Depp and Forrest Whittaker in the Brad Furman directed CITY OF LIES for Open Road Films. Anderson also plays opposite Shalene Woodley, Sebastian Stan, and Jamie Dornan in the Drake Doremus directed feature ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS (TIFF 2019). More recently Anderson wrapped back-to-back features, the Spike Lee produced SON OF THE SOUTH directed by Barry Alexander Brown, and the outer space four-hander STOWAWAY opposite Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, and Daniel Dae Kim, directed by Joe Penna for XYZ Films. Anderson also stars in the science fiction thriller AWAKE alongside Gina Rodriguez for Netflix directed by Mark Raso. Anderson also stars in Halle Berry’s directorial debut BRUISED which is an official selection of TIFF 2020. Currently, Anderson is shooting Mo McRae’s directorial debut A LOT OF NOTHING opposite Y’Lan Noel, produced by David Oyelowo.
Anderson is a former TIFF Rising Star (2019), and was handpicked to be an official Ambassador of TIFF 2020. He and his brother Stephan James are co-founders of B.L.A.C.K., a not for profit community-oriented mentorship program for young creatives, with the mandate to shine a spotlight on an emerging generation of diverse performers in all areas of the arts community.
Anderson is also a writer and producer, with multiple projects in various stages of development. His comedy feature, SUPER HIGH which he is co-producing with the Lonely Island team and co-writing with Adam Mansbach (BARRY), has been picked up by New Line and will star Andy Samberg, Craig Robinson, and Common.
Anderson has recently been inducted to the Board of Directors for The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television a national, non-profit, professional association dedicated to the promotion, recognition, and celebration of exceptional achievements in Canadian film, television, and digital media.
Anderson divides his time between Los Angeles and Toronto.
AFN National Chief
Perry Bellegarde, AFN National Chief
Perry Bellegarde was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He holds a wealth of leadership experience, having spent the past three decades putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. At the community, national and international levels, Chief Bellegarde is recognized for sound fiscal management and skillfully navigating highly complex policy, political and legal matters to achieve meaningful change, while strengthening relationships along the way.
Originally from Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory, Chief Bellegarde served as Tribal Council Representative for the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), as well as Chief and Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation. In 2014, the Chiefs-in-Assembly elected Perry as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and re-elected him in 2018.
Since his election in 2014, Chief Bellegarde has fostered an era of highly productive dialogue between AFN leadership and federal ministers. His first national platform and agenda, Closing the Gap, directly influenced the federal government’s planning and priorities, and his current platform, Honouring Promises, continues this momentum. After a 20-year-long federal funding cap, Closing the Gap resulted in investments over the last four budgets of more than $21 billion, which is four times what the 2006 Kelowna Accord was to have committed. Of this, $3.3 billion is committed to on-reserve education, and $1.4 billion to child welfare.
Chief Bellegarde’s focused approach has also resulted in:
- The passage of Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, which will support the reclamation, revitalization, maintaining and strengthening of Indigenous languages in Canada;
- The passage of Bill C-92: An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families;
- Upholding the right of First Nations to define our own paths to self-determination; and
- A new fiscal relationship with the Crown that treats First Nations as governments in fiscal matters.
Chief Bellegarde, an oskâpêwis or helper, uses his life to advance First Nations priorities. As the first Treaty Indian to graduate from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Administration, he led Little Black Bear First Nation out of third-party management within eight months of being elected Chief and facilitated Little Black Bear’s re-qualification for CMHC housing after a 13-year period with no new houses. At the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Chief Bellegarde worked to restore the original Treaty 4 grounds to reserve status in
the town of Fort Qu’Appelle. He also facilitated the transfer of the hospital to First Nations control leading the way to a new multi-million-dollar hospital—the All Nations Healing Hospital.
At FSIN, he negotiated a 25-year gaming agreement with the provincial government, stabilizing the Saskatchewan First Nations gaming industry which employs more than 2,000 people. As a Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, he worked alongside the National First Nations Veterans Association to spearhead the national compensation package for First Nations Veterans and their spouses.
In 2012, Chief Bellegarde graduated from the Certified Corporate Board Training through The Directors College sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business. He is an active champion of First Nations inclusion, and he has since served on a wide range of boards: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, YMCA Canada, YMCA Regina, the Globe Theatre, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and many more. `
Chief Bellegarde’s strategic diplomacy has built relationships, advanced understanding, and inspired action on the human rights situation of Indigenous peoples. He is always a willing partner in the global struggle to advance the enjoyment of human rights and ending all forms of discrimination. He has also raised the international profile of First Nations expertise on the climate crisis and sustainable development from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to the recently announced World Economic Forum’s initiative, The Great Reset, to promote meaningful sustainable development initiatives.
Recently, his sustained leadership has led to:
- Canada finally expressing unqualified support for the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- a federal litigation directive requiring Justice Canada to adopt an approach to litigation that more fully respects the inherent rights of First Nations
- historic advances in ending racial discrimination in federal funding of child and family services for First Nations.
- Inclusion of an Indigenous Chapter in the final Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), as a result of his advocacy as a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Advisory Council
Chief Bellegarde has been named the Stapleford Lecturer at the University of Regina, and has been awarded the Confederation Medal, the Saskatchewan Medal and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal on two separate occasions. In 2019, he was recognized with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and an Honourary Doctorate from Queen’s University.
Chief Bellegarde remains committed to leading and building consensus to resolve issues that benefit First Nations and inspire unity. Throughout his life, working within a variety of political processes, he remains grateful for the strength and vision he has gained from the Elders. He vows to always place great importance on respecting their teachings. Their guidance has made him a man of foresight and a leader for generations.
Former Governor General
Adrienne Clarkson, Former Governor General
The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson arrived in Canada from Hong Kong with her family in 1942 and made the astonishing journey from penniless child refugee to accomplished broadcaster, journalist, and distinguished public servant in a multi-faceted lifetime. Madame Clarkson was Canada’s 26th Governor General from 1999-2005. When she left Rideau Hall, she co-founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship which helps new citizens to feel involved and included in Canadian life. The ICC hosts annual 6 Degrees events — a global forum on citizenship, immigration, inclusion, and diversity in the 21st century – across many cities including Toronto, Mexico City, Berlin, Montreal and Calgary.
Madame Clarkson is the bestselling author of the 2014 CBC Massey Lectures Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship; Room for All of Us: Surprising Stories of Loss and Transformation; Heart Matters: A Memoir; and Extraordinary Canadians: Norman Bethune a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune.
President and CEO, CIBC
Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC
During his tenure, Victor has helped usher in a new era for the bank, positioning CIBC as a relationship-oriented bank for a modern world. In 2016, he led the acquisition of The PrivateBank, establishing a strong North American platform for CIBC to serve clients and deliver future growth.
Victor brings more than 25 years of extensive business and banking experience, having led CIBC’s Wealth Management, Asset Management, and Retail Banking businesses. Over the course of his career, Victor has also led several businesses with UBS and Merrill Lynch in Canada and internationally, and was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.
A member of CIBC’s Board of Directors, Victor also serves on the board of the C.D. Howe Institute and is Vice-Chair of the Business Council of Canada. A recipient of the 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours (Company Leader) Champion award, Victor is a vocal advocate for inclusion in the workplace, serving as a member of the global Catalyst Board of Directors, Past Chair of the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board, and Past Chair of the 30% Club Canada.
He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA and was recognized as a Baker Scholar. Victor holds a diploma from the Institut d’études politiques in Paris and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto (St. Michael’s College) in Commerce. He has received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Ryerson University.
Victor resides in Toronto with his wife, Maureen. They are the proud parents of four children.
Laurent Duvernay, Football Legend
His meteoric rise has been so remarkable that the Kansas City Star called him “the most interesting man in the NFL.” And for good reason: not only does Laurent Duvernay-Tardif play for the Kansas City Chiefs, he is also studying medicine at McGill University. In May 2018, he graduated with his doctorate in medicine, earning one of the biggest accomplishments of his life.
In May 2014, at the age of only 23, the Mont-Saint-Hilaire native became the 10th Canadian to be drafted by an NFL team from a Canadian university. In his second season in Kansas City, the six-foot-five-inch 320-pound player earned the position of right guard on the team.
Passionate about both football and medicine, Laurent turned a deaf ear when counsellors and family members advised him to choose between sports and studies. And it proved to be the right choice! “It’s all about balance. Don’t give up on your passions!” he tells the young people he meets at the many talks he gives at schools.
Duvernay-Tardif played university football with McGill University (2010 to 2013) after his college career with the Phénix at Collège André-Grasset (2008-2009). Previously, he played three seasons with the Richelieu Pirates in Beloeil.
From the beginning of his career, he has been honoured with awards, both athletic and academic. In February 2020, he was an integral part of the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl winning team.
During the spring of 2020, Laurent lent a helping hand during the Covid-19 pandemic by working as an orderly at a long term care facility in the Montreal area. In July 2020, Laurent announced that he was opting out of the 2020 NFL season due to Covid-19, becoming the 1st player of the 2020 NFL season to announce his decision to opt-out.
Already very involved in his community despite his grueling schedule, Laurent is driven by the desire to get young people excited about physical activity and art as well as promoting balance between sports, arts and studies. In 2017, his longtime girlfriend Florence and him cofounded the Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Foundation, its mission being to encourage sports, arts and studies for kids.
An avid sailor—he spent many summers as a camp counselor—and fan of contemporary art, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is as charismatic as he is physically imposing, and his future holds great promise.
Atom Egoyan, Film Director
With eighteen feature films, Atom Egoyan has won numerous awards including five prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and two Academy Award® nominations. His acclaimed theatre and opera productions have been performed at venues around the world. Egoyan’s art installations have been presented at the Venice Biennale and other institutions, including the Tate Collection. His latest film, GUEST OF HONOUR, stars David Thewlis and premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Lion.
Photo credit: Sophie Giraud
Doug Ford, Ontario Premier
Doug Ford is the Premier of Ontario. He was also elected as the MPP for Etobicoke-North in 2018.
Previously, Doug Ford served as Toronto city councillor from 2010-2014, and was vice-chair of the Budget Committee, where he delivered hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. While on city council, Ford served on the board of Build Toronto, and was a director of the Canadian National Exhibition. He also served on the Civic Appointments Committee and the Government Management Committee at Council.
A dedicated community leader, successful businessman with Deco Labels and passionate advocate for the people, Doug’s commitment to public service runs in the family. Three generations of Fords have served the people of Ontario in elected office.
Doug is a life-long resident of the community of Etobicoke, and lives there with his wife Karla and four daughters. His commitment to public service includes over 20 years of dedicated work with the Toronto West Rotary Club and serving as a proud member of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General, World Health Organization
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as WHO Director-General for five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017. He is the first WHO Director-General to have been elected from multiple candidates by the World Health Assembly, and is the first person from the WHO African Region to serve as WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer.
Immediately after taking office on 1 July 2017 Dr Tedros outlined five key priorities for the Organization: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and a transformed WHO.
Prior to his election as WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016. In this role he led efforts to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005–2012, where he led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system. All roads lead to universal health coverage for Dr Tedros, and he has demonstrated what it takes to expand access to health care with limited resources.
The transformation he led as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health improved access to health care for millions of people. Under his leadership Ethiopia invested in critical health infrastructure, expanded its health workforce, and developed innovative health financing mechanisms.
Beyond Ethiopia, Dr Tedros’ global leadership on malaria, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child health has been immensely impactful. He was elected as Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Board in 2009, and previously served as Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board, and Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Board.
Born in the city of Asmara, Eritrea, Dr Tedros holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London. Dr Tedros is globally recognised as a health scholar, researcher, and diplomat with first-hand experience in research, operations, and leadership in emergency responses to epidemics.
Throughout his career Dr Tedros has published numerous articles in prominent scientific journals, and received awards and recognition from across the globe. He received the Decoration of the Order of Serbian Flag in 2016, and was awarded the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of public health in 2011.
Actor and Activist
Stephan James, Actor and Activist
Stephan James has quickly established himself as an incredibly dynamic lead talent in both film and television. James, a native of Canada, has held the honor of portraying several real-life figures in African American history. He starred as Olympics hero Jesse Owens in Race, directed by Stephen Hopkins, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination and won a Canadian Screen Award. In Ava DuVernay’s, acclaimed Selma, James portrayed John Lewis, the son of sharecroppers and a student activist with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; Mr. Lewis later became a U.S. Congressman. The drama illuminated the progress of protest marches in Selma, Alabama.
In January Stephan received his first Golden Globe nomination for his starring role opposite Julia Roberts in Amazon Prime’s hit drama series Homecoming, a psychological thriller based on the hit podcast of the same name and developed by Sam Esmail. The Prime Video series also received Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for Best Drama Series. James was recently seen in theatres as the male lead in Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed, Golden-Globe, Film Independent Spirit Award and Critics’ Choice Award-nominated film, If Beale Street Could Talk. The film was also named one of the American Film Institute’s Top 10 Films of the Year, one of the top Films of 2018 by the National Board of Review. In 2019, James was honored at the Canadian Screen Awards as the first ever recipient of the Radius Award, given to a Canadian film or television professional who is making waves internationally.
James recently concluded filming Season Two of Homecoming and can recently be seen in the crime thriller 21 Bridges alongside Chadwick Boseman and J.K. Simmons which released in theatres November 22nd. Next, James will star in #FreeRayShawn a drama from producer Antione Fuqua, set to premiere on the new platform Quibi from Jeffery Katzenberg, launching in April 2020.
His other credits include FOX’s limited series, Shots Fired, biopic When the Game Stands Tall, Perfect Sisters, alongside Georgie Henley and Abigail Breslin, Director X’s Undone (also known as Across the Line), and David Sutherland’s Home Again, for which he earned his first Canadian Screen Award nomination. James is currently Executive Producer and starring in the Canadian Feature film Delia’s Gone, with Marissa Tomei, Paul Walter Hauser and Travis Fimmel.
His other awards include the Discovery Award at the 2019 Savannah Film Festival, a Rising Star Award at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and, with his fellow Selma actors, the Black Film Critics Circle Award for Best Ensemble.
True to his roots, James co-founded an initiative over four years ago that is now a non-profit, B.L.A.C.K. with the goal of creating opportunities and building bridges for aspiring Canadian artists of color to gain access to the entertainment industry. At the 2019 Toronto Film Festival the B.L.A.C.K. team announced their inaugural Monologue Slam Program, intended to give inner-city kids a voice to be heard.
This year, James was inducted into the Board of Directors for The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, who are responsible for The Canadian Screen Awards. These awards honor excellence in Canadian Film, TV and digital media productions.
James currently shares his time between his native Toronto and Los Angeles.
Kayla Grey, Host/Reporter
Kayla Grey is a host and reporter for TSN. She appears regularly as a host of SPORTSCENTRE, as a reporter on TSN’s live coverage of the Toronto Raptors, and hosts weekend editions of SPORTS AM BY TSN, the network’s daily sports news program on the mobile video platform Quibi.
She also makes frequent appearances on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto and TSN Radio 1150 in Hamilton covering the Raptors, and contributes regular sports updates to CTV’s YOUR MORNING.
Grey reported on the Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA championship run for TSN in 2019, and also joined CTV’s fan-favourite reality series THE AMAZING RACE CANADA as an official race correspondent for THE AMAZING RACE CANADA: RIDE ALONG.
In 2019, Grey was awarded the By Blacks magazine People’s Choice Award in the TV Personality category.
A graduate of Toronto’s College of Sports Media, Grey began her broadcasting career as an analyst for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and various university varsity sports. She then moved to Winnipeg as a Digital Broadcast Journalist for Global News, and to Prince Rupert, BC to become a senior reporter for CFTK-TV news.
The Toronto native joined TSN in 2015 as an on-air update anchor for TSN 1050.
CTV News Anchor
Lisa Laflamme, CTV News Anchor
As Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV NATIONAL NEWS WITH LISA LAFLAMME since 2011, Lisa LaFlamme leads the country’s #1 newscast where she has cemented her role as the face of news in Canada.
Never far from the heart of the story, LaFlamme brings Canadians an up-close look at the biggest stories unfolding across Canada and around the world. In May 2018, LaFlamme travelled to Windsor to lead CTV News’ live special of the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In 2017, she reported from the devastated flood regions of Texas and Florida, and travelled to northern France to lead CTV News’ special coverage of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Led by LaFlamme, CTV News delivered live coverage of the inauguration of Donald Trump from Washington D.C. in January 2017; reported on the death of Fidel Castro from Havana in November 2016; and broadcast live from Paris in November 2015 in the aftermath of the coordinated terrorist attacks across the city.
LaFlamme is known for landing exclusive interviews with leading global figures, including every Canadian Prime Minister since Brian Mulroney; sitting down to discuss international aid with Bill Gates at his headquarters in Seattle and at New York’s United Nations General Assembly; an in-depth conversation with Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai; an exclusive interview with former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on maternal and child health; leading CTV NATIONAL NEWS to Jerusalem for an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and to Shenzhen, China to sit down with Ren Zhengfei, reclusive founder of Huawei. Among her long list of primetime broadcast specials was a visit to Prince Harry at his home in London’s Kensington Palace.
Prior to assuming the Anchor chair in 2011, LaFlamme spent more than a decade on the road as CTV News’ National Affairs Correspondent, travelling to some of the world’s most dangerous locations to cover everything from wars to elections to natural disasters. She was in Rome to report on the death of Pope John Paul II; has reported from Sri Lanka on the devastation from the Tsunami that hit South Asia; was in New Orleans to cover the impact Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans; and has journeyed to Haiti several times to cover the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and political turmoil gripping the country.
One of Canada’s top journalists, LaFlamme is a trailblazer for women in Canadian news broadcasting, covering some of the biggest stories of the times. LaFlamme has covered every Canadian federal election since 1997, and anchored CTV’s non-stop coverage of the Royal Wedding of William and Kate, live from Buckingham Palace in 2011. Having covered every Olympics since 2008, she played an integral part of CTV’s national broadcast team at Vancouver 2010 as Co-Host of OLYMPIC DAYTIME, and helmed CTV NATIONAL NEWS from London during the 2012 Olympic Games.
From the heart of the G20 riots that shook Toronto in 2010 to the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and from the World Cup in South Africa to the miracle of the Chilean miners, LaFlamme has had a front row seat to some of the most compelling stories of a generation. She has covered every angle of the aftermath of 9/11 – from New York to Afghanistan, Iraq to Guantanamo Bay. Over the years, LaFlamme has reported extensively on the Canadian mission in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the humanitarian crisis facing the Afghan people.
A graduate of the University of Ottawa, LaFlamme began her broadcasting career in 1989 at CTV Kitchener (then named CKCO) in her hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. In addition to multiple awards for broadcasting and journalism over her career, she has received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater University of Ottawa, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. and the University of Windsor. She is the recipient of the Order of Ontario and was awarded the Distinguished Canadian Award from the University of Ottawa. On June 27, 2019, LaFlamme was named Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.), one of Canada’s highest honours.
A passionate advocate of democracy in journalism, LaFlamme volunteers for Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and has traveled with the organization to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013 to mentor and train young journalists in Goma, in the heart of the conflict zone. LaFlamme also championed a program with CTV News to identify eligible and deserving staff journalists to participate in JHR missions around the world, and serves as honorary co-chair of the annual JHR Night for Rights event.
LaFlamme is also an ambassador of PLAN International, traveling to remote areas to promote child rights and to end poverty around the world, and volunteers with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, which works to advance education and educational opportunities for Afghan women and their families.
She speaks English and French.
- 2019: Named Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.)
- 2018: Best National Newscast, Canadian Screen Awards
- 2018: Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of Windsor
- 2017: Best National News Anchor, Canadian Screen Awards
- 2016: Appointed to the Order of Ontario
- 2016: President’s Award, Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)
- 2016: Best National Newscast, Canadian Screen Awards
- 2015: Appointed to the International UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Jury
- 2015: Best National News Anchor, Canadian Screen Awards
- 2014: Best National Newscast, Best National News Anchor, Canadian Screen Awards
- 2014: Honoured by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women
- 2014: University of Ottawa Honorary Doctorate
- 2014: Daughters for Life, Industry Luminary Award
- 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012: Radio-Television News Directors Association Bert Canning Award for Best Newscast
- 2010: Appointed successor to Lloyd Robertson as full-time anchor of CTV NATIONAL NEWS
- 2006: Wilfrid Laurier University Honorary Doctorate
- 2003-2010: National Affairs Correspondent, CTV NATIONAL NEWS WITH LLOYD ROBERTSON
- 2001-2003: Co-Host of CANADA AM
- 2000-2001: Parliamentary Correspondent, CTV News
- 1998-2000: Prime News Anchor for CTV Newsnet (now CTV News Channel)
- 1997-1998: Consumer Reporter, CTV News
- 1997-1998: Weekend Anchor/Reporter for CTV Newsnet
- 1991-1997: Reporter and News Anchor for CKCO
- 1989-1999: Radio News Reporter for CFCA/AM109
- 1988: Joined CKCO as copy writer and script assistant
Michael Medline, CEO, Sobey's
Michael Medline is a Canadian business leader recognized for spearheading historic, transformational change at two of Canada’s biggest retail companies. When COVID-19 spread throughout the world this year, his strengths as a team leader shone as never before. Medline’s ability to act decisively and communicate transparently motivated and inspired his 123,000 employees to work through a period of unprecedented challenge and rapid change.
When he took over the helm in 2017, Medline rallied Empire’s workforce behind his sweeping vision to revive the retailer, and executed one of the most effective turnaround strategies in Canadian retail history. He enacted a series of dramatic changes, engaging communication between previously siloed parts of the business, restructuring operations, developing a successful three-year plan to restore the company’s balance sheet and empowering its business leaders to make and execute smart decisions based on innovation and growth. Employee spirit soared. As the business worked through Medline’s restructuring roadmap, it launched a major sustainability initiative as the first national grocer to ban plastic bags, introduced a sensory-friendly shopping hour for those with autism and other sensory issues, and invested in a world-leading online grocery platform – Voilà by Sobeys. Voilà has completely disrupted the online grocery delivery space and offers Canadians a grocery shopping experience unparalleled to anything currently in market.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought Medline’s ability to inspire and empower his people into even sharper focus. With the grocer transforming into an essential service overnight, Medline acted quickly to steer employees through a challenging period that brought unprecedented surge in business. He mobilized leaders across the globe and at Empire’s national brands to be the first in Canada to implement new safety protocols, including plexiglass shields for cashiers and floor markers to encourage physical distancing. He cast a net out to struggling businesses to provide employment opportunities to Canadians. And he developed the Community Action Fund, empowering frontline managers at 1,500 stores across Canada to allocate millions of dollars of the retailer’s funds to causes most in need of help in their regions.
Medline began his career practicing law, working at the Ontario Securities Commission and PepsiCo Canada before moving into strategic executive roles at Abitibi Consolidated and Canadian Tire, where he spent 13 years in a range of senior positions prior to being named President and CEO.
Beyond his business accomplishments, Medline is active in the community. He serves as a member of the Board of the SickKids Foundation and is a past Chair and current board member of the Retail Council of Canada. He completed the Directors Education Program at the Rotman School of Management; holds an MBA from Raymond A. Mason School of Business, William & Mary; an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and a BA from Huron University College at Western University.
Juno Award Winner
Sophie Milman, Juno Award Winner
Sophie Milman is a Juno Award-winning, GRAMMY- nominated jazz singer and recording artist who has had a meteoric rise through the jazz ranks since the launch of her self-titled album in 2005. The Russian-born, Israeli-raised and Toronto based chanteuse has graced some of the most prestigious stages around the world, including the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and the International House of Music in Moscow. She’s enjoyed numerous sold out appearances at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Blue Note Clubs in New York and Tokyo, and Toronto’s famed Massey Hall.
Her four studio albums – Sophie Milman, Make Someone Happy, Take Love Easy and In the Moonlight – spent weeks at the top of the jazz charts around the world and the reviews of her live and recorded work have been glowing: JazzTimes, compared her vocal stylings to Peggy Lee and the L.A. Times declared “not the next Ella or Sarah, but the first Sophie Milman”
In 2010, Milman returned to the University of Toronto to complete her Bachelor of Commerce degree and did so with high academic distinction, earning Victoria College’s prestigious Rundle Gold Medal. Her participation in the critically acclaimed project Yiddish Glory- The Lost Songs of World War II helped draw attention to the experience of Soviet Jewry during WWII and earned her a nomination for World Music Album of The Year at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards.
She considers her kids, Jacob, born in 2013 and Talia, born in 2015, her best productions to date and saw her capacity to love expand beyond her wildest dreams.
John Ralston Saul
John Ralston Saul, Author
John Ralston Saul is an award-winning essayist and novelist. His works of ideas, history and philosophy are constantly being reissued and translated for a broad readership, as well as taught around the world. A long-time champion of freedom of expression, he was the elected President of PEN International from 2009 to 2015. He is a leading voice in the international movement supporting immigrants and refugees. Saul is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of both 6 Degrees, the Global Forum for Inclusion, and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), a national organization promoting the inclusion of new citizens.
Declared a “prophet” by TIME magazine, his 14 works have been translated into 28 languages in 37 countries. Saul is perhaps best known for his philosophical trilogy – Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense and The Unconscious Civilization.
Dragon’s Den Star
Michele Romanow, Dragon’s Den Star
Tech titan Michele Romanow is a serial entrepreneur who started five companies before her 33rd birthday. A “Dragon” on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Romanow is the Co-founder and President of Clearbanc. Clearbanc has invested more than $1B into 3,300 companies making them the biggest ecommerce investor in the world. She previously co-founded SnapSaves, acquired by American tech giant, Groupon, and Buytopia.ca, which acquired ten competitors, including Shop.ca and WagJag.
In 2015, Michele became the youngest judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den (Canada’s Shark Tank), and has been a ‘Dragon’ for the last six seasons. A prolific investor, Michele was recently named Fortune’s 40 under 40, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women and Canada’s Angel Investor of the Year.
Michele has created digital solutions for many of the world’s leading brands, including P&G, Netflix, Starbucks, and Cirque du Soleil. In the media, Michele’s work has been profiled in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, TechCrunch, and The Globe and Mail.
Michele is a director for Vail Resorts, Freshii, BBTV and League of Innovators. Previously she was a director for Whistler Blackcomb and SHAD International. Michele also co-founded the Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative non profit with Sir Richard Branson.
The Hon. Anthony Rota
Speaker of the House
The Hon. Anthony Rota, Speaker of the House
On December 5, 2019, the Honourable Anthony Rota was elected as the 37th Speaker of the House of Commons for the 43rd Parliament.
On April 20, 2020, he was also appointed Chair of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic (COVI). The Special Committee was established to examine the government response to the pandemic and includes all Members of the House of Commons.
Mr. Rota, Member for the electoral district of Nipissing—Timiskaming, was first elected in 2004, and served in the 38th Parliament as Chair of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs of the Standing Committee on National Defence.
Re-elected in 2006, he was Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs and from 2007 to 2011, he served as the Liberal Party caucus chair. During that time, Mr. Rota also served as critic for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario. In the 40th Parliament, he was Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
In 2011, Mr. Rota joined Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, where he served as Director of Government Relations. He ran for re-election in 2015 and won his seat for the 42nd Parliament. On December 9, 2015, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Speaker and Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole.
Prior to his election to the House of Commons in 2004, Mr. Rota worked for the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program as Regional Manager for Ontario and in the field of international technology transfer. He also worked as an entrepreneur in the financial and real estate sector, during which time he served as President of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce. He was subsequently elected to city council for the City of North Bay, where he served as Chair for Planning and Economic Development.
Mr. Rota holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master of Business Administration. He is fluent in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
President and CEO, CN
Jean-Jacques Ruest, President and CEO, CN
Jean-Jacques Ruest was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in July 2018, after having served as Interim President and CEO since March 2018. He was previously Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer since January 2010, with responsibility for providing the strategic direction and leadership for CN’s Sales, Marketing and CN Supply Chain Solutions groups.
Mr. Ruest joined CN in 1996 at the time of the privatization. Prior to this, Mr. Ruest worked for 16 years at a major international chemical company.
Mr. Ruest holds a Masters in Business Administration in Marketing from HEC Montréal (Université de Montréal) and a Bachelor of Science degree in applied chemistry from Université de Sherbrooke. He also completed the executive program of the University of Michigan Business School, and CN’s Railroad MBA program.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Ruest has been honoured many times by the business community, notably as 2019 Railroader of the Year and an Inductee to the International Maritime Hall of Fame in 2017.
Opera Singer and Songwriter
Charlotte Siegel, Opera Singer and Songwriter
Charlotte Siegel is a soprano and singer/songwriter from Toronto. She just completed a Graduate Diploma in Opera and Voice from McGill University where she also holds a Masters in Opera and Voice studying with Dominique Labelle, and John Mac Master. She obtained her Bachelors of Classical Voice Performance from the University of Toronto where she studied under Frédérique Vézina. Charlotte placed 3rd in the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio Competition 2019 and was also a finalist in the Atelier Lyrique National Auditions 2019 (Opéra de Montréal). She recently performed the roles of Rose Maurrant (Street Scene), Nancy (Albert Herring), Elle (Knoxville: Summer of 1915), and covered Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) with Opera McGill. Other role highlights include Micaëla (Carmen) with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, and Mère Marie (Dialogues des Carmélites) with Opera McGill. In 2018 Charlotte attended the Chautauqua Institute Voice Program run by Marlena Malas. In July 2016 she completed the Bel Canto Opera Program in Munich, Germany, where she sang Mozart excerpts including Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Zerlina (Don Giovanni). She is currently part of Pacific Opera Victoria’s Civic Engagement Quartet and looks forward to joining them this summer for their 41 days of Opera Program. Opera
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Medical Health Officer
Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Medical Health Officer
Dr. Theresa Tam was named Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) on June 26, 2017. She is a physician with expertise in immunization, infectious disease, emergency preparedness and global health security.
As the federal government’s lead health professional, Dr. Tam provides advice to the Minister of Health, supports and provides advice to the President of the Public Health Agency of Canada, and works in collaboration with the President in the leadership and management of the Agency.
The Public Health Agency of Canada Act empowers the CPHO to communicate with other levels of government, voluntary organizations, the private sector and Canadians on public health issues. Each year, the CPHO is required to submit a report to the Minister of Health on the state of public health in Canada.
John Tory, Toronto Mayor
Born and raised in Toronto, Mayor Tory has spent his life giving back to the city he loves, through his tireless work in public, private sector and philanthropic roles.
Elected as the 65th Mayor of Toronto in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, John Tory is making the city more liveable, affordable and functional.
He has improved the way people move around this city, fighting traffic congestion and speeding up major construction projects; introducing free transit for kids 12 and under and discounted transit for low income residents; championing a transit network expansion plan that includes the Relief Line, SmartTrack, the Eglinton East and Eglinton West LRT, Bloor Danforth Subway Extension to Scarborough and the Waterfront Transit Network; and securing $9 billion in transit investments from other levels of government – the single biggest infrastructure investment in this city’s history.
He has kept taxes low, while investing in priority services including affordable housing and poverty reduction, and modernizing the government services on which people rely.
Under his leadership, Toronto has attracted jobs and investment and emerged as an undisputed centre of innovation and opportunity on the world stage.
Mayor Tory and his wife Barbara have been married for 42 years and have four children and five grandchildren.
Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau (born December 25, 1971) is Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister.
Justin’s vision of Canada is a country where everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed. His experiences as a teacher, father, leader, and advocate for youth have shaped his dedication to Canadians – and his commitment to make Canada a place where everyone has the opportunities they need to thrive.
The oldest of three boys, Justin grew up with the profound influence of his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and his mother, Margaret Trudeau. He was raised speaking both French and English and has family roots in both Eastern and Western Canada. This background helped spark his passion for public service and shaped his conviction that diversity is Canada’s strength.
Justin studied literature at McGill University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in 1994. He went on to complete the University of British Columbia’s education program, and spent several years teaching French, math, and other subjects in Vancouver. Teaching allowed him to make a positive impact in the lives of young people. He remains committed to hearing the voices of young Canadians, from the classroom to Parliament Hill.
In 2002, Justin returned home to Montréal, where he met Sophie Grégoire, a Quebec TV and radio host. They married in 2005 and are now the proud parents of Xavier, Ella-Grace, and Hadrien.
Before entering politics, Justin served as the Chair of Katimavik, on the board for the Canadian Avalanche Foundation, and as an advocate for young people and the environment. As a speaker at events and conferences around the country, he encouraged young people to engage with the issues important to them and participate as active citizens. These experiences made it increasingly clear to him that the issues young Canadians care about – education, the environment, and their generation’s economic prospects – needed a stronger voice.
Justin entered politics to make change that would better serve all Canadians. In 2007, he built a community-based, grassroots campaign to win the Liberal Party nomination in the Montréal riding of Papineau. He was elected in 2008, and re-elected in 2011, 2015, and 2019.
Justin was elected Leader of the Liberal Party in April 2013. His leadership campaign focused on building a new, truly national movement of progressive Canadians, bringing hundreds of thousands of Canadians into politics, most for the first time. He worked closely with his team to build a plan to create jobs, grow the economy, protect the environment, and strengthen the middle class. With Justin’s leadership, the Liberal plan emphasized fair economic opportunity for everyone, respect for and promotion of freedom and diversity, and a more democratic government that truly represents Canadians.
On October 19, 2015, Justin led his party to victory, winning a majority government with seats in every province and territory across the country. He was sworn in on November 4, 2015.
On October 21, 2019, Justin led the Liberal Party to re-election, earning a second mandate from Canadians.
As Prime Minister, Justin leads a government that works hard every day to continue moving Canada forward. His team is focused on creating good middle class jobs, making life more affordable, keeping Canada’s communities safe, fighting climate change, and moving forward on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. A proud feminist, Justin appointed Canada’s first gender balanced Cabinet.
IBK Capital President
Mike White, IBK Capital President
Mr. White has been with IBK Capital since 1991. During this time, Mr. White has been involved in private placement financings totalling over $600 million for emerging companies in mining and metals and technology. He has also been active in financial advisory assignments and industry developments including: advisory and financing services to Great Bear Resources regarding its Red Lake gold discovery and partnership with Rob McEwen; advisory and financing services to POET Technologies Inc. for its disruptive photonics solutions for data communications; advisory services to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador with respect to its arrangements with Inco Ltd. over the development of the nickel deposit at Voisey’s Bay; advisory and financing services to Western Goldfields Inc. (now NewGold Inc.) on its purchase and development of the Mesquite gold mine in south-eastern California; advisory services to Cobalt Blockchain Inc. and the development of The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s artisanal mineral wealth; and, acting as financial advisor to Noront Resources Ltd. in the wake of a major nickel discovery at its Double Eagle Project in Northern Ontario, Canada.
Mr. White graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology from the University of Western Ontario in 1994, and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in 2000.
Use the hashtag #NationBuilderHero to join the conversation.
#Business & #IT need to operate together more than ever. We need business leaders who understand IT & IT teams that understand business for agility in adapting.
There’s so much #opportunity with #tech & it’s an important journey to take.
🗣️Kevin Strain, @SunLife
We’ve had no choice but to #workfromhome over the past 18 mths. I’m excited to have a choice moving forward for working in the office or #WFH to find what’s most productive. We’re creating an environment that is flexible so employees can find a balance.
🗣️Kevin Strain, @SunLife