Summit Countdown:


Glenn Squires

Conference Chair

On behalf of the Board and staff of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, I would like to welcome you to the 2017 Tourism Summit – Tourism Impact. This year’s Summit features impressive keynote presentations from national and regional leaders, industry-specific educational sessions, networking opportunities and important updates from our key stakeholders. TIANS is honoured to host this event on behalf of industry and we look forward to seeing you soon.

keynote speakers

the honourable scott brison

president of the treasury board of canada and member of parliament for kings – hants (nova scotia)

Scott Brison, the Member of Parliament for Kings–Hants (Nova Scotia), has been elected to Canada’s House of Commons in seven general elections between June 1997 and October 2015.

Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Mr. Brison to the federal cabinet as President of the Treasury Board in November 2015. He serves as a member of the key Cabinet Committee on Agenda, Results and Communications that tracks progress on the government’s priorities; the Cabinet Committee on Growing the Middle Class that considers strategies to promote inclusive economic growth, opportunity, employment, and social security; and as Vice-Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Defence Procurement. During his years in opposition, he notably served as Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. On the international scene, he served as a member of the Trilateral Commission, and he was named by the World Economic Forum of Davos, Switzerland, as one of its “Young Global Leaders.”

In Paul Martin’s government, he served as Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and Receiver General of Canada from 2004 to 2006 and previous to that as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister with special emphasis on Canada-U.S. relations.  Mr. Brison has had extensive private sector experience as an entrepreneur and investment banker. He has served as Vice-President of a Canadian investment bank and as Chairman of SeaFort Capital Inc., a Canadian private equity firm.

Mr. Brison and his partner, Maxime St-Pierre live in Cheverie, Nova Scotia, on the shores of the Minas Basin, home of the world’s highest tides. He was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, on May 10, 1967, and in 1989 graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance. He has completed the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century Executive Education Program at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

In his spare time, he enjoys economics, foreign policy, sea kayaking, downhill skiing, and growing apples, and has recently planted a small vineyard.

the honourable geoff maclellan

minister of business, mla glace bay

Geoff MacLellan is the MLA for Glace Bay and Minister responsible for Tourism Nova Scotia. He was first elected in a 2010 by-election and subsequently re-elected in 2013 and 2017.

He currently serves as Minister of Business, Energy and Service Nova Scotia in addition to his tourism responsibilities and other duties. He has served as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and Minister Responsible for Sydney Tar Ponds Agency.

Mr. MacLellan has served as the director of Business Development, Maritime Environmental Training Institute in Sydney as well as the Cape Breton University Representative and Program Coordinator for the Canadian International College (CIC) in Cairo, Egypt. He also worked as assistant to MP Rodger Cuzner.


internationally renowned explorer & award winning filmmaker

Called ‘Canada’s most diverse adventurer’ by Canoe & Kayak Magazine, Frank has done an impressive single-season canoe expedition across Canada, whitewater kayaked in Cambodia and Laos, cycled the frozen Yukon River in the dead of winter, sea kayaked around British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii, hiked, pack rafted and sea kayaked the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and supertanker route from Alberta’s tar sands to the Pacific Ocean, and attempted to row the Northwest Passage.

The common thread between all of Wolf’s expeditions is a mind-boggling degree of difficulty, revealed through creative (some might say impossible) route selection and personal suffering. He has overcome adversity so many times he considers himself an expert on the topic but what is even more impressive is Wolf’s ability to film insightful and humorous award-winning documentaries along the way.

judy saunders

chairman, tourism industry association of nova scotia

From 1973 until 2012, Judy was affiliated with the management of the Old Orchard Inn and since 1989 she has served as President and majority shareholder of the Slumber Inn Ltd in New Minas.

Judy has been an active member of the tourism community, involved in numerous associations and efforts to improve the business environment for tourism. Judy has been active on a number of Boards over the years – Tourism Partnership Council, TIANS, and Board of Directors/Secretary Treasurer for the former Evangeline Trail Tourism Association and Destination Southwest Nova Tourism Association. Judy was an interim Board member of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, instrumental in establishing the operating guidelines. Judy has had a long-time commitment and involvement with Choice Hotels International, Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce and the Nova Scotia Innkeepers Guild. In 2009 Judy was recipient of the Crystal Award of Excellence, Tourism Person of the Year.

michele saran

Ceo, tourism nova scotia

Michele joined Tourism Nova Scotia in May 2016 after 17 years with Destination Canada. During her 11 years as Director of Incentive Sales Development, Michele became the organization’s go-to expert for incentive travel and was instrumental in developing the Midwest U.S. corporate market for Canada.

In October 2009 Michele was promoted to Executive Director of Business Events Canada (BEC), a unit of Destination Canada. In this role she oversaw the development of a new brand and led her team in implementing a refreshed strategy that targeted priority markets for Canada’s private-sector trade and investment growth. She also oversaw the expansion of BEC’s target markets from a US-only focus to include the UK, Germany, France and Belgium. Michele holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Ryerson University. Her background includes sales positions with Tourism Toronto, Schenker International and several major hotel chains.



Since joining the organization in 2009, Carrie has been a strategic lead in all areas of the business with a core responsibility for ensuing the efficient delivery of corporate and operational initiatives to support business growth and success. Prior to becoming President & CEO, she was CFO and led the Corporate Services teams (Finance, HR and Technology). Most recently, she was appointed the lead executive responsible for the development and activation of a co-ordinated and cross functional approach to organizational readiness that positions the team and its operations for future opportunities, with a specific emphasis on the transition to the new corporate structure and opening of the Halifax Convention Centre. Having been involved since the new convention centre project began, she works closely with our partners, staff and the design team to ensure the facility meets client and community expectations.

Carrie brings a diverse business background, including over two decades of management experience with a concentration in financial and operational leadership. Prior to joining Events East, Carrie held executive leadership and finance roles in a variety of public and private sector organizations including the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, the CCL Group and Ernst and Young. She has played a lead advisory role on business strategy, measurement and financial reporting.

A graduate of Acadia University, she received her CPA, CA designation in 1991, and in 2015, she completed the Director’s Education Program through the Institute of Corporate Directors.

buhle dlamini


Raised in a rural village in South Africa, Buhle Dlamini beat the odds to become a top South African entrepreneur and international speaker. He has met iconic leaders like Nelson Mandela and received an award from Desmond Tutu. Now based in Canada with an office also in South Africa, Buhle regularly travels between the two countries as well as other nations. He weaves his background and personal story of triumph over struggle into all his presentations.

educational Session Speakers

andrew prossin

managing director, one ocean expeditions

Andrew Prossin, Managing Director of One Ocean Expeditions, operates a dynamic polar expedition cruise company. They offer unique, once-in-a-lifetime voyages to Antarctica, the Canadian Arctic, and Canada’s East Coast. Growing up on Cape Breton Island, Andrew has brought his East Coast sense of humour and an expertise and passion for sailing to his business. With a shipping career spanning more than 25 years, One Ocean Expeditions is Andrew’s 2nd successful venture managing expedition vessels.  One Ocean Expeditions operates two of the most well-known polar expedition vessels in the world and has built a reputation for innovation, attention to detail, with an unparalleled commitment to safety and service.

He is a keen supporter of worthy causes, having raised literally millions of dollars over the years for wildlife conservation. He regularly provides more than 120 days per year of ship time for accredited scientific projects. An adventurer in his own right, Andrew is an accomplished ocean-racing sailor winning a race across the Atlantic Ocean in a 30-foot sailboat, sailing around Cape Horn in a Southern Ocean gale and competitively racing all over the world. Andrew was recognized for this contribution to Canada’s Polar Story by the presentation of the Erebus Medal to him by The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of

In 2014, Andrew was honoured to volunteer his company’s support in the search for HMS Erebus by supplying the One Ocean Voyager as a platform for the Victoria Strait Expedition. He is a Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and sits on the executive of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO)- the expedition cruise industry’s most prominent trade association.

andrew wiens

international dmo manager, tripadvisor

International DMO Manager for TripAdvisor since 2012, Andrew has spoken about digital media, travel marketing, and reputation management in destinations as far flung as Gander, Newfoundland and Sao Pablo, Brazil. Andrew’s media background comes from working with large country level DMOs as well as smaller local city level partners and companies like; Toyota, Patagonia, and United Airlines.

amanda STAGER, cpa, ca

manager, tax services, grant thornton

As a 2011 graduate from Saint Mary’s University Amanda immediately began working in Grant Thornton’s Tax Group.  From there, she went on to receive her chartered accountant designation and complete the CPA Canada In-depth Tax Program.  Amanda’s primary focus is on small to medium sized owner-managed companies,  tax compliance and succession and estate planning, at both the corporate and personal levels; as well as reorganizations and trusts.

bert van der stege

vice president, business development & chief commercial officer, halifax international airport authority

Halifax Stanfield, managed and developed by Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA), is the eighth busiest airport in Canada and largest airport in Atlantic Canada. Bert joined HIAA in 2016 and is responsible for the customer airport experience and all revenue development, both aeronautical and non-aeronautical. This includes overseeing strategies to increase flights, destinations, passengers and cargo numbers; and to grow revenue from non-aeronautical sources including parking, shops, restaurants, advertising, and vehicle rentals. He also takes the lead to attract and retain terminal building tenants as well as the commercial development of airport property.

Bert brings 20 years of industry experience to Halifax. He has a diverse background in airline and airport management in both strategic and operational roles. Bert was awarded ‘Canada’s 2016 top talent in aviation under 40 by Wings Magazine. Before coming to Canada, Bert travelled extensively and worked on six of the seven continents of the world. He spent 10 years at Lufthansa in a number of leadership positions and was Vice President Commercial and Chief Restructuring Officer with several regional carriers before joining Halifax Stanfield.  Born in the Netherlands, he studied international business at universities in Groningen (NL), Auckland (NZ), Mainz (DE) and London (UK) with a BSc and MSc degree. Bert lives in Halifax with his wife and two sons. Bert is one of the Halifax representatives of the Board of Directors of TIANS.

cody lohnes, cpa, ca

senior manager, tax services, grant thornton

Cody graduated from Acadia University and began his career with Grant Thornton in 2009. Cody went on to receive his CA designation and complete the CICA in-depth tax course as well as the advanced tax issues for owner managed businesses. Cody’s primary workstream is in advising small businesses on tax and estate planning matters.



Emile Gourieux is Hotel Sector Business Development Executive for STR (STR, Inc.). STR provides clients from multiple market sectors with premium, global data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 15 countries around the world with a corporate North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and an international headquarters in London, England. Mr. Gourieux is responsible for growing STR’s network of hotel partners and strengthening their overall data set. Along with increasing the volume of hotel room-related data, Mr. Gourieux also champions efforts to expand benchmark reporting in categories such as Food & Beverage, Guest Segmentation, and Operating Statistics.

Prior to joining STR, Mr. Gourieux managed luxury hotels on California’s Central Coast for nearly 15 years. Most recently he was Director of Business Development at JPMorgan Chase where he designed marketing campaigns for hotels and resorts around the world. Mr. Gourieux holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University in Liberal Studies and Spanish. He resides in Nashville, TN with his wife and daughter.

greg dickie

vice president, nova scotia, business development bank of canada

Greg Dickie began his career at BDC Halifax in 2002 and held positions of increasing responsibility at BDC before being appointed the Vice President, Nova Scotia, in 2013. Throughout his career, he has been a key contributor to BDC’s efforts to support the success of entrepreneurs. Greg holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University. With his role, Greg leads and develops BDC’s team in Nova Scotia in its efforts to help entrepreneurs build stronger, more growth-oriented businesses. Greg is passionate about small business and the competitiveness of Nova Scotia and Canadian companies.

joann fitzgerald

Chief marketing officer, tourism nova scotia

Joann joined Tourism Nova Scotia in January 2017 as Chief Marketing Officer. In this role she is responsible for destination marketing and sales strategies designed to promote Nova Scotia as a leisure travel destination. Joann is a marketing professional with over 16 years of marketing experience. She completed her MBA at Dalhousie University and has worked for a range of recognized brands including Unilever, Pepsi-QTG, Kruger Products, Sobeys and Cadbury. After a stint in Toronto, she returned to her home province of Newfoundland where she helped guide the marketing of the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University. In 2013, she moved back to Nova Scotia to work with Johnson Insurance, leading the marketing for Atlantic Canada as their Atlantic Head of Marketing.


DIRECTOR, SECTOR development, tourism nova scotia

As Tourism Nova Scotia’s Director of Sector Development, Darlene is responsible for tourism experience development and sector development initiatives aimed at improving Nova Scotia’s competitiveness as a tourism destination.

With over two decades of tourism experience, Darlene has extensive experience working with organizations, businesses and communities to ensure the growth, market-readiness and sustainability of Nova Scotia’s tourism products and experiences.

Darlene began her career with Industry Canada in the regional tourism office responsible for implementing federal–provincial tourism development agreements and leading sector development initiatives. In 1995, she joined the provincial tourism department as a tourism development officer and later advanced her career by working in other branches of government with a focus on tourism product development. Darlene has a degree in Science from Dalhousie University (1988), and a degree in Tourism & Hospitality Management (1992) from Mount Saint Vincent University.

neAl alderson

manager of events, communities, COMMUNITIES, CULTURE AND HERITAGE

Neal has more than 15 years in the major event industry as a consultant, marketing and communications professional and volunteer. As a national leader in Canada’s event hosting industry he’s assisted business, government and communities to attract and deliver numerous sport and culture related events. Neal has consulted and volunteered for several major national and international events including; IIHF World Junior, Women’s and Men’s Hockey Championships, 15th Asian Games Doha, Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Canadian Country Music Awards and the TOUR. Neal is a member of the Board of the Directors of the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance and Vice-Chair of Event Atlantic.


president, tourism hr canada

Philip has worked on labour market projects for 25 years. His work spans over 15 industrial sectors and in 11 countries, having worked with foreign governments, pan-global organizations, industry associations, corporations, and various education and training bodies. His has done special projects in United States, United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Last year Philip completed foreign projects in Vietnam and Tanzania, both concerning the development of a modern education and training system.

Philip is consulted on subjects include the mobility of learners and workers, qualifications frameworks, setting occupational standards, assessment, and comprehensive labour market research models. Currently, Philip is an advisory member of the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ryerson University. He is a Board member of the Events Management Body of Knowledge (EMBOK), and international group tasked with facilitating global standards of practice. Philip is a technical advisor to INSSO (International Network of Skills Sector Organizations) concerning methodologies for setting competency (industry) standards.

Robert bernard

president & ceo, diversity management group (dmg)/cHAIR, INDIGENOUS TOURISM ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

Robert Bernard is a business owner of Diversity Management Group (DMG), an Aboriginal consulting firm which is based out of We’koqma’q First Nation in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Since starting his business in 2000 DMG has created numerous partnerships with both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal companies with one goal in mind – to help create capacity building opportunities for Aboriginal people, businesses and communities. One of his greatest accomplishments on a business level has been leading the development of the first Aboriginal Business Association created in Atlantic Canada. Robert sits on the TIANS Board of Directors and in 2017 was named Chair of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada.

Ross simmonds

digital marketing strategist

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing strategist who has worked in social media for the last decade. He’s worked with brands that range from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and medium sized businesses. Over the last few years, Ross has been an active member in the Tourism community sharing insights on how they can better use social media to achieve meaningful and measurable goals.



Susie Grynol is an accomplished association executive with over 12 years of experience managing complex industry issues and delivering successful political outcomes. Susie’s political career began in 2000, where she served as a Page in the Canadian Parliament, followed by 5 years of political legislative and parliamentary committee work on the Hill. While on the Hill she also completed a degree in Political Science and History.

In 2005, Susie launched her career in the association sector, where she rose to Vice‐President at two national trade associations, managing federal advocacy issues for engineering firms and retail companies. Susie has received multiple awards of recognition for both academic and professional performance. In 2010 she was named Valedictorian of her Certified Association Executive Program, has won national awards for her work on advocacy issue campaigns, two Programs of the Year awards from the Canadian Society of Association Executives and was honoured with the Chairman’s Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Consulting Engineering Industry.

An avid volunteer, Susie served as the 2014 elected President of the Canadian Society of Association Executives National Chapter and she currently sits on the Board of the Government Relations Institute of Canada, the Tourism HR Canada, the Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management Program Advisory Committee at Algonquin College, and the University of Guelph Hospitality, Food & Tourism Management Policy Advisory Board. She also holds a professional designation in Association Management. Susie joined the Hotel Association of Canada as President in the fall of 2016 with a mandate to bolster the Association’s profile, streamline its advocacy objectives and build winning strategies.

stacey oxner


Stacey is passionate about Nova Scotia and after more than 15 years in the broadcast industry, she joined the provincial government and helped provide the province with significant exposure at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Halifax 2010 Canada Games, and the World Sprint Canoe Kayak Championships in 2009. In 2015, Stacey helped put Nova Scotia on the national stage, managing hundreds of volunteers and a Host Committee as Chair of Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards show. Stacey now leads the Event Division at Communities, Culture and Heritage, helping the province attract, host and develop events that will deliver economic and social benefits for all Nova Scotians.