Keynote and Plenary Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Scott Stratten
President, Un-Marketing
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The Business of Awesome (and UnAwesome). This talk from his book covers key business concepts related to marketing, branding, public relations, social media, human resources and customer service. It's about the authentic touch, and the ability to connect technology with engagement to the level of Awesome. It includes case studies of successful businesses that gained exposure through being awesome and effective. This talk provides actionable tools enabling audience members to apply the concepts immediately to their own businesses. The flip side The Business of UnAwesome, shares the train-wreck stories of unsuccessful businesses and showcases what not to do.

You will learn:

  • Why things go viral when they follow the Third Circle rule
  • How companies look Awesome when they do something UnAwesome
  • Why Social Media isn't the answer to everything

Keynote Speaker

Gabe Zichermann
CEO of
Chair, GSummit
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Gamification: Strategies and Visions for the Future

Gamification is one of the most powerful and most talked-about design concepts of this decade. Thousands of organizations and communication professionals across industries have leveraged the power of game mechanics to transform their brand marketing, consumer loyalty and engagement strategies. In this fast paced session, join Gabe Zichermann - chair of the GSummit, author and top experience designer at Dopamine - to learn the key techniques of engagement experts. Find out what works and what doesn't, investigate startling examples, and take away key patterns you can apply to your efforts right away.

Keynote Speaker

Anna Kapiniari
Director of Communications
Canadian Space Agency
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To Infinity and Beyond – The Communications Campaign Behind Commander Hadfield's Amazing Space Adventure

Astronaut Chris Hadfield captured the world's attention by sharing the joys and challenges of living and working in weightlessness during his five-month stay on the International Space Station. Behind the scenes, the Canadian Space Agency organised weekly student events, created over 85 videos, conducted live interviews and ran national contests as part of a diversified and sustained outreach campaign. The strategy was to encourage young Canadians to view science and technology in a fresh light. Seeking new ways to connect young people with space exploration, the Agency created both entertaining and informative content, with a humorous tone not often seen in rocket science. The Agency worked with national partners like Let's Talk Science, the National Film Board and the Coalition for Music Education to expand its reach and bring meaningful engagement programs to students and educators. Anna will share the work done during Chris Hadfield's mission - the projects, technologies and partnerships that were critical in executing an outreach campaign that inspired a new generation of engineers, scientists and explorers.

Panel Discussion

Jane Stoneman McNichol
Chair, Public Relations Program
Faculty of Communication Studies
Mount Royal University

Contemporary Public Relations: Ethics, Leadership and Accountability

This Plenary Session explores the role of ethical leadership in the context of government, business and educational practice. Poor ethical decision-making costs industry billions of dollars annually and damages the image and reputation of public, private and non-profit organizations. Financial, political and corporate scandals permeate our international media while business leaders and scholars engage in public dialogue on the challenge of ethical leadership in the everyday conduct of business. Effective communications focused on transparency, responsibility and accountability underscore the important role the public relations function assumes in organizational decision-making. This discussion will focus on ethical practice and its evolution from mere compliance to a business imperative.


  • James Arends, Arends Law Office
  • Karen McDonald, Dean, Graduate Studies and Program Development, Concordia University College of Alberta

Panel Discussion 

Public Relations Strategies for Finding Common Ground

Beth Diamond, Managing Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations – Calgary

In the past decade, we have seen public relations move through several models as organizations look for ways to work more effectively with stakeholders who can impact their businesses. The stakes for clearly defining and building common ground have never been higher than at the present time. We are long past the one-way "give them more information" model and the "dialogue/conversation" approach to PR. Successful projects are now using a third iteration of PR – collaboration and co-creation.

Join Beth Diamond, Calgary Managing Partner of NATIONAL Public Relations, and a panel of experts as they discuss collaboration and co-creation and how to move stakeholder discussions from "if" we can work together on projects to "how" we can get projects done and meet shared goals.


  • Janet Annesley, Vice President, Communications, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  • Annie Korver, Principal, Rise Consulting (Aboriginal engagement/economic development/energy industry)
  • Garth Rowan, President, Beready Inc

Panel Discussion 

Crisis Communications Panel

The 2013 Alberta floods, the worst in the province's history, sent many organizations into crisis mode between June and July. From various levels of government to non-profits and first responders, all had to react in the wake of this disaster. Behind the crisis are those who manage its response. Moderator Heather Coleman, Senior Account Director, Hill + Knowlton Edmonton, will lead an afternoon panel discussion on the Alberta crisis and the broader theme of crisis communications. Panel members Benjamin Morgan, Supervisor, Crisis Communication, City of Calgary and Heidi Pfeiffer Sparks, Communications Director, Western Canada, Canadian Red Cross, will offer their views on how their organizations responded to the 2013 Alberta floods.

Moderator: Heather Coleman, Senior Account Director, Hill + Knowlton Edmonton


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