Women's Leadership Forum

Executive Table Hosts

Adam Pekarsky

Founding Partner & Executive Recruiter, Pekarsky & Co.

Adam Pekarsky is the Founding Partner of Pekarsky & Co. Adam has been recruiting executives, advising Boards and offering thought leadership in Western Canada for over 20 years. Widely regarded as the most connected person in the Alberta legal community, Adam has managed to keep the third generation of Pekarsky lawyers in Alberta relevant, albeit in a way that does not involve practicing law as both his father and grandfather did before him.

Adam holds an LL.B. from the University of Alberta and a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis on Canadian-American relations from Tufts University in Boston where he attained summa cum laude distinction for his undergraduate thesis.

Alison Jackson

Managing Partner, EY

Alison is the Managing Partner of EY in Calgary, she is responsible for office culture and market strategy. She brings a broad range of business experiences, including merger, acquisition and divestiture transactions, business transformation initiatives, developing risk, governance and regulatory frameworks, and advising on a range of taxation matters. She provides exceptional service to her clients and aspires to lead by example in everything she does. She is a proactive business partner and authentic, empowering leader. Alison values authenticity and transparency and strives to support her clients and colleagues to achieve their definition of success.

Audrey Mascarenhas

President & ChiefExecutive Officer, Questor Technology

Audrey Mascarenhas has worked in energy for more than 35 years with Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. and Questor Technology Inc. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from theUniversity of Toronto and a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering from theUniversity of Calgary. She is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineers. Audrey served as a distinguished lecturer with the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 2010/2011. She is a member of the Schulich Industry Engineering Advisory Council and currently chairs the Canadian federal government clean technology strategy table. Audrey was the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 Prairies Award for Clean tech and Environmental Services and received a national citation for Values-Based Innovation. She was also chosen by Business in Calgary as a 2014 Leaders of Tomorrow, is a 2014 Board Diversity 50 cohort and one of Canada’s 2017 Clean 50. Audrey is a fellow of the Energy Futures Lab and co-chairs the Governor General’s Innovation Awards assessment committee.

Beth Pollock

Vice President and Treasurer, Gibson Energy

Experienced finance executive with an energy sector and capital markets background. Currently oversee a team of 40 professionals across the Treasury (Corporate Finance, Cash Management, Accounts Receivable and Payable), Risk Management (Commodity Risk, Credit and Insurance) and Operational Accounting functions. Active non-for-profit volunteer board member.

Prior to her role at Gibson, Beth was the Vice President of Investment Banking & Corporate Banking at RBC and consultant with Deloitte.

Beth has her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Queens University and her MBA from Ivey Business School at Western University.

Celine Boston

Chief Financial Officer, Pason

Celine joined Pason in 2020 and brings significant knowledge in the energy services sector. She has a broad range of finance and accounting experience, including leadership in treasury, banking relations, and financial planning and analysis.

Before joining Pason, Celine was Director of Finance at CES Energy Solutions. Previously, Celine worked in the audit and advisory practice at Deloitte, where she obtained her Chartered Accountant designation.

Celine holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from the University of Manitoba.

David Smith

Board Chair Blumaple Capital

David brings 40 years of extensive experience in the energy sector to BluMaple Capital. As the Chief Executive Officer of Keyera Corp from 2015 until 2020, and a senior executive since the company’s inception in 1998, David specializes in building great teams and growing Canadian energy enterprises. He started his career with Imperial Oil in the early ‘80s before transitioning to Gulf Canada Resources Limited nearly a decade later. He has a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University, and the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, David has a big heart and finds different ways to give back to Calgary’s non-profit sector. He was Co-Chair of Calgary’s 2018 United Way campaign and he currently serves as a director on the boards of the Calgary United Way and Arts Commons.

Deborah Yedlin

President and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce

Deborah Yedlin joined the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in July, 2021 with a background that includes experience on Wall Street and Bay Street, and more than two decades as a business columnist for various media outlets, commenting on the nexus of business and politics since 1996.

Deb has been very active in the Calgary community - as a board member on a number of not-for-profit organizations including serving as the co-chair of the 2016 United Way Campaign. She served as the14th Chancellor of the University of Calgary and is currently one of three co-chairs of the $250 million Calgary Cancer Centre fundraising campaign.

A first-generation Canadian, born and raised in Edmonton, Deborah is a graduate of the University of Alberta and Queen’s University. She also completed her ICD.D designation through the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon

President Emerita, University of Calgary

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon is an expert in Geomatics Engineering and President Emerita of the University of Calgary. She served as the university's eighth president and vice-chancellor, the first alumna to hold that position.

Prior to her appointment as president, Cannon was the dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. Her research has been on the forefront of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) since 1984 and she has commercialized technology to over 200 agencies worldwide. She previously held the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Prairie Region.

Her support for advancing women has spanned decades and taken many forms including raising public awareness about science and engineering careers for women and developing programs to encourage women to explore careers in STEM fields (Women in STEM), mentoring programs and as a community role model.  She is a business leader, independent board member and vested in Calgary’s economic diversification.

Geri Greenall

Chief Financial Officer, Spartan Delta

Geri Greenall is a capital markets executive with over 20 years of experience in the energy and financial sectors. Ms. Greenall has over a decade of experience as a Portfolio Manager and Chief Compliance Officer for investment fund managers. Most recently, Ms. Greenall co-founded and was the Chief Financial Officer at Camber Capital Corp., a fund manager offering private client & institutional fund management services.

Prior thereto, Ms. Greenall was the Chief Compliance Officer and an energy portfolio manager with Canoe Financial. Ms. Greenall is currently an independent director of Kelt Exploration Ltd. ("Kelt") also serving as the Chair of the Reserves Evaluation Committee and a member of the Audit Committee.

Ms. Greenall holds a B.Comm. in Finance from the University of Calgary as well as the Chartered Financial Analyst and Institute of Corporate Directors designations.

Heather Culbert

Co-founder, Axis Connects

Heather is also co-founder of Board Ready Women, a non-profit focused on raising awareness of women on boards in Alberta and assisting with opportunities for women to serve on Boards.

Heather currently serves as Vice-Chair of Export Development Canada (EDC), Board Member of The Fraser Institute, Chair of United Way World Leadership Council and as a co-fellow of the Jarislowsky Foundation, benefiting the MBA program of the Haskayne School of business at the University of Calgary.

Heather Culbert is the former Senior VP of Corporate Services of Enerplus Corporation. Over her 27 years in the oil and gas sector, Ms. Culbert has held senior management positions at Cody Energy, Suncor and for clients of her own IT Management Consulting firm.

Hilary Foulkes

Board Chair, Enerplus

Foulkes continues to serve as an independent director for Enerplus Corporation (ERF.CN), Modern Resources and Let’s Talk Science. Previously, Foulkes was Executive Vice President and COO at PennWest Exploration.

Before that, Foulkes served as a Managing Director at Scotia Waterous and started her career as an exploration geologist at BP Canada.

She earned a BSc with Honours in Earth Science from the University of Waterloo and is a Professional Geologist.

Jane Fedoretz

Executive Vice President of People, Talent and Transformation at TransAlta

Jane is responsible for oversight and governance of all Human Resource matters including, people, talent, executive compensation, disability, benefits and pensions, recruitment, organizational health, TransAlta’s Transformation Office and corporate communications. Jane has over 18 years of legal experience in the energy industry and as a private practitioner.

Prior to joining TransAlta, Jane held the role of Counsel, in the Energy Group at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes), a Canadian corporate law firm. Additionally, she held the role of Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Privacy Officer at CEDA International Corporation, a privately-held oil field and maintenance services company.

Jim Dewald

dean of the Haskayne School of Business

Jim Dewald is the dean of the Haskayne School of Business and a professor in the strategy and entrepreneurship. A business leader who can provide an effective bridge between strategy theory and on-the-ground practice, his research interests are related to the micro-foundations of strategy formulation and implementation. Specifically, his work has contributed to the constructs of cognitive resilience, entrepreneurial thinking and strategic response to disruptive innovations, most specifically business model innovations.

John Kousinioris

Presidentand CEO, TransAlta

John Kousinioris is responsible for overseeing operations, shared services, commercial, trading, customer solutions, hedging and optimization at TransAlta.He is also the President of TransAlta Renewables Inc.

Prior to joining TransAlta, John was a partner and co-head of the corporate commercial department at Bennett Jones LLP. He has 30 years of experience insecurities law, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance matters.

John has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Business Administration degree from York University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. John has also attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.

John Osler

Partner at McCarthy Tétrault

John Osler, QC is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault’s Business Law Group in Calgary, a member of their board of directors and the chair of the McCarthy Tétrault Foundation. John's practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate law matters for senior issuers. He has represented many of Canada’s largest corporations in a variety of public and private transactions.

John also received the Male Champion award at the Calgary Influential Women inBusiness Awards where he was honoured for being an ally and supporter of corporate female executives advocating for men and women to work together towards gender parity and demonstrates a commitment to champion diversity in the workplace and community.

Karen Young

President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area

A visionary leader who knows the power of partnership and collaboration to achieve a common purpose. Karen joined UWCA as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2014, before becoming President and Chief Executive Officer in 2017. Under her leadership, UWCA has raised more than $312 million for the local Calgary community, delivering a profound impact to people in all walks of life.

Prior to joining United Way, Karen worked with The City of Calgary for 26 years as an award-winning leader. As director of Community and Neighbourhood Services, she was instrumental in securing $480M to build four new recreation facilities in Calgary and led the Emergency Social Services efforts during the historic 2013 Alberta Floods. Karen worked closely with United Way over the years on many projects, including the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, Calgary AfterSchool, and the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership.

Katherine Emberly

President, Business, Shaw Communications

Katherine serves as President, Business where she is responsible for leading the go-to-market strategy, including all sales channels, pricing, promotions and packaging sales, marketing and customer care for the Shaw Business division.Katherine has been at Shaw since 2004 and has held a variety of roles across the organization, including President, Business, Brand Marketing & Communications; Senior Vice President, Marketing; Vice President, Operations and Vice President, Communications and Public Relations. Prior to joining Shaw, Katherine worked at several top advertising agencies in Canada and holds a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics degree from the University of Alberta.

Kathleen Dixon

Director A&D Advisory Energy, BMO Capital Markets

Kathleen Dixon is a Director with BMO Capital Markets in Acquisitions and Divestitures since 2010 where she has been part of over $20 billion in energy sector transactions. She a geologist by training, however in addition to providing technical input on the assets, she has a strong foundation in business (MBA) to help translate the technical details to value and economics. In 2019, Kathleen had an opportunity to take a 3 month leave of absence to pursue her passion for politics and run as a Candidate in Vancouver for the Conservative Party of Canada. After the election, she returned to BMO A&D and completed her ICD.D designation through Haskayne School of Business in 2022.

Kathleen sits on 3 not-for-profit boards, most notably The Glencoe Club.

Keith Chiasson

Executive Vice President, Downstream, Cenovus

Keith joined Cenovus in 2016 to lead oil sands production operations. He’s a mechanical engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in the oil industry, primarily with Imperial Oil and ExxonMobil. Keith has led various operational teams both locally and internationally, focused on safely improving efficiencies and driving increased value. He also offers global perspective through his experience as Planning and Business Analysis Manager for ExxonMobil and has experience in project management and internal audit.

Kent Ferguson

Co-Head, Global Energy, RBC

Kent Ferguson is Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Energy at RBC Capital Markets.  He is responsible for the firm’s efforts in energy, including energy transition and project finance and is involved with internal committees for sustainable finance, diversity and inclusion and charitable giving.  Kent is located in Calgary, Alberta, has approximately 25 years of experience, and is active in the community with United Way and UNICEF.

Kerry O'Reilly Wilks

Executive Vice President of Legal, Commercial and External Affairs at TransAlta

Kerry’s portfolio spans legal, commercial, sustainability (ESG), government relations, stakeholder engagement, indigenous affairs, regulatory and market policy, corporate secretarial, governance and trading compliance. Kerry also sits on the Board of Directors of the public company TransAlta Renewables Inc.

Prior to this position, Kerry was Head of Legal, North Atlantic & UK, for Vale. Kerry also sat as the Head of Legal, Corporate & Marketing, as well as the Global Chief IT Counsel for Vale globally across all business lines. Prior to joining Vale, Kerry was a partner with Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP.

Kirstie Boyle

CEO, Envirosoft Corporation

Kirstie Boyle, BSc, MBA, is a board director and technology executive focused on building high performing teams to drive business growth. She has broad experience partnering with organizations and leveraging new technologies to solve significant problems in global industries. She is a leader and mentor in the technology community, sitting on several Boards including the TELUS Spark Science Centre.

Kirstie has become an expert on how to leverage new technologies to solve significant problems, and offers a compelling perspective on the massive transformation underway across the global energy industry. Her talent for translating complicated concepts into tangible business outcomes has guided both entrepreneurs and organizations into a more collaborative and profitable new era.

Linda Hohol

Independent Director

Linda Hohol serves on the boards of NAV Canada , Canadian Western Bank (CWB) and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). She Chairs the Board of the ICD, Chairs the Audit and Finance Committee of NAV Canada and serves on both the Risk Committee and the Human Resource and Compensation Committees of CWB.

She was the President of the TSX Venture Exchange at the TMX Group Inc. from 2002 until 2007.  Prior to this she was Executive Vice-President, Wealth Management, CIBC and Senior Vice President Alta and NWT, CIBC. Ms. Hohol has served on the boards of many for-profit, not-for-profit boards and Crown corporations including Export Development Canada, ATB Financial, Calgary Airport Authority, Canada Foundation for Innovation, EllisDon Construction, and  Alberta Health Services. Ms Hohol chaired the board of the United Way of Calgary.

Lisa Watson

VP Human Resources and Corporate Services, Crescent Point

Lisa Watson is Crescent Point’s Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services, possessing over 20 years of experience as a legal and HR professional. Prior to joining Crescent Point, she was VP & Chief People Officer at Bethany Care Society and also served as in-house legal counsel and a senior human resources leader with Nutrien. Her professional experience includes working internationally as a commercial lawyer based in Sydney, Australia.

Ms. Watson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of New South Wales and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) with CPHR Alberta. She is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and a CPHR Alberta Board member.

Marnie Smith

Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates

Marnie, is a Managing Director at Russell Reynolds Associates, a top global executive search firm based in New York, NY, leading its Western Canadian team, Canadian Energy Practice and as a member of its Board & CEO Advisory Partners and Global Industrial and Natural Resources Practice.  Prior to her executive search career, she was Managing Director and Head of Canadian Energy at a global bank where she provided dynamic corporate finance solutions, advice in relation to valuation, strategy and mergers and acquisitions, and the execution of principal investments.

With a passion for human equity and advancing women in business, Marnie dedicates her time to GROW and Axis Connects where she was a founding member of each. Today she serves on the Board of Directors of both STARS and Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd.

Martha Hall Findlay

Chief Climate Officer, Suncor Energy

Martha leads Suncor’s efforts to address the nexus of climate and energy. Martha was instrumental in the development of, and plays a critical leadership role on, the multi-company Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 initiative.

She was named a Canadian Climate Champion in 2021 by the British High Commission and the Canada Climate Law Initiative; she was named as one of Canada’s Clean50 for 2022; she was named by the Energy Council as a top global female oil and gas executive and one of the top 275 women influencers.

Prior to joining Suncor, Martha was the President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation. She has over 30 years of experience as a corporate lawyer, international trade expert, senior executive and successful entrepreneur, supporting major multinationals as well as start-ups, both in Canada and in Europe.

Melinda Park

Partner and Past Chair, BLG LLP

Melinda has practised securities and corporate law for over 20 years, with a focus on securities, corporate finance and commercial transactions.

She represents corporate clients on securities and corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions and reverse take-overs (RTOs), going public in Canada, and financings by way of prospectus and private placement offerings.

She regularly advises boards of directors and committees of public and private companies.

Rick Koshman

Managing Director and Founder, BluMaple Capital Partners

Rick is a dynamic team-oriented executive and Board member with a proven track record of building high performing teams across multiple facets of the energy sector. Throughout his 25 years of experience, he’s held a broad range of leadership roles within operations, engineering, and business strategy in Keyera Corp., Athabasca Oil Corp., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., and PetroKazakhstan.

He’s a long-term member of the Canadian Energy Executive Association serving on its Board for five years and also currently sits on the Board of Advisors for Mayfair Lumber. He has also been a strong advocate for men’s health through his previous board and fund-raising involvement with Prostate Cancer Canada. Rick has an MBA from IMD Business School in Switzerland, a Bachelor Mechanical Engineering from Lakehead University, completed the FSE program at Harvard Business School, and is a registered professional engineer (P.Eng) in the Province of Alberta.

Sean Brown

Senior Vice President & CFO, Gibson Energy

Sean Brown is Gibson's Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer. In his role, he oversees the financial management of the company including, finance, accounting, tax, treasury and capital market financings as well as corporate planning and development, investor relations and enterprise risk management.

Prior to joining Gibsons, Sean spent fifteen years in investment banking where he provided strategic, financial and capital raising advice to companies in the energy infrastructure sector across North America. Most recently he was a Managing Director in the Power & Energy Infrastructure Group at BMO Capital Markets, based in Calgary, and prior to that was with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., based in New York. Sean holds a Business degree from Acadia University, an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and is a CFA charter holder.

Shelly Witwer

Vice President of Land, Crescent Point

Shelly Witwer is Crescent Point’s Vice President, Business Development, a role she has held since 2019. Since joining the company in 2007, she has held a number of senior management roles, including Vice President, Land. Ms. Witwer has significant experience in land and business development roles, having worked with companies such as BP Energy, Burlington Resources and Bear Ridge Resources.

Ms. Witwer is a member of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen and the Petroleum and Acquisition Divestment Association. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Energy Economics from the University of Calgary.

Stella Thompson

Board Director, ConnectFirst

Stella is the former President of Stellar Energy Ltd. and she was Vice-President, Planning, Business Information & Systems of Petro-Canada Products. Ms. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a Master of Arts degree in Economics and has been awarded the ICD.D designation by the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Thank you to our sponsors

This event is powered by these sponsors and the sponsors of Axis Connects and the Calgary Influential Women in Business Awards.