FEATURED SESSIONS & SPEAKERS

Nikolas Badminton, Keynote Speaker

Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected researcher, futurist, author, and teacher with over 20 years of research, writing, speaking, and technology implementation experience.

He travels the world wowing audiences with sharing research on: The Future of Work; The Sharing Economy; The Future of Cars; The Future of Cities; The Future of AI integrated with Life and Business; The Future of Education; Predictions for 2016 to 2020, 2021 to 2030, and beyond.

Nikolas splits his time between Canada (Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal), USA, UK, and regularly appears on the BBC, CBC, CTV, Global News, CHCH, CHED640, CKNW, Roundhouse Radio and writes for the Huffington Post, Forbes, Venturebeat, Betakit, TechVibes, Business.com, Vancouver is Awesome, and Vancity Buzz.


Wade Davis, Keynote Speaker

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Wade Davis is Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Between 1999 and 2013 he served as Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Author of 20 books, including One River, The Wayfinders and Into the Silence, winner of the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University.

His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the NGS. Davis is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees, as well as the 2009 Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the 2011 Explorers Medal, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration, and the 2015 Centennial Medal of Harvard University. In 2016 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.


Clint Fraser, Northern BC Tourism 

As the Chief Executive Officer, Clint works with the board and team at Northern BC Tourism to achieve the overall vision and mission for the organization. For over a decade Clint has been working to promote tourism experiences in the north and has excelled as an innovator in digital marketing practices.

Clint holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) from the University of Northern British Columbia and has also held positions in the brewing industry and economic development.


Grant Mackay, Destination BC

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Grant Mackay is currently the Vice President of Destination & Industry Development for Destination British Columbia. Grant joined the BC Public Service in 1995 as a Business Unit Manager with Tourism British Columbia after a long career in marketing and sales in the packaged goods industry with Scott Paper Limited. In 1997 Grant became Vice President of Marketing for Tourism British Columbia, responsible for world-wide consumer marketing and travel trade programs.  In April 2010, Grant was named Assistant Deputy Minister, Tourism Marketing with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. In his current capacity, Grant is responsible for tourism industry development designed to increase BC’s worldwide competitive position. Grant has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia.

Gary Ross, The Power of Story Workshop

Gary Ross is the former Director of Global Content at Destination BC. He now does storytelling workshops and brand-journalism training. 

Gary's workshop explains why stories engage people more deeply than facts or advertising, and shows operators how to tell a tourism story rather than sell a tourism product. “Storytelling” has long been a marketing buzzword. But what, exactly, is a story? It isn’t empty boosterism. It’s not a video of someone telling you how beautiful BC is and how much they love living here. That’s just a testimonial. That’s marketing.

Aristotle identified the key story elements in his “Golden Rules of Storytelling” more than 300 years before Christ. In the marketing world these days, his wisdom has been largely overlooked. Why are stories so powerful? Because they activate a part of the brain that information alone does not. They create an emotional connection, not just an intellectual one. Listening to a story, you empathize. Stories inspire people in ways that conventional marketing and advertising do not. So next time you engage with someone who’s planning a trip to BC, don’t give them a sales pitch. Tell them your story.

This workshop will teach you how to do that.


Joelle Rabu, Haida House at Tllaal

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As a youth growing up on Vancouver Island, Joelle’s intense curiosity of languages, civilizations and cultural diversity led her to travel to more than 50 countries, gaining management experience in restaurants, hotels, vineyards and remote floating lodges along the way. Her family-owned resort also offered Joelle an opportunity to appreciate every facet of the business. Her hands-on training in resorts from New Zealand to Nootka Sound, and observing numerous remote tourist destinations during her travels, confirmed her belief that industry practices should: respond to the needs of the community first, maintain the integrity of the citizens, and be considerate of sustainability prior to responding to the needs of the demographic the destination is attracting.

In 2011, Joelle accepted the task of transforming a then privately owned (and controversial) bear-hunting lodge on Haida Gwaii into a Cultural Tourism lodge for its new owners: the Council of Haida Nation. Now in its 6th season of operation, the award-winning Haida House at Tllaal is leading the way in sustainable Aboriginal tourism providing socio-economic results within the communities through onsite training, full time seasonal employment, opportunities for advancement and creating local partnerships within Haida Gwaii’s burgeoning cultural eco-tourism industry. 


Richard Bergen, Destination BC

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Richard Bergen is one of the newest members of the Destination BC Global Marketing division, and is part of the team working to onboard new marketing technology and develop a tagging strategy for the province. Prior to joining the DBC team, Richard worked in the advertising agency world in both Vancouver and New York, working with advertisers on marketing strategy and improvements to digital capabilities. 

Originally from Nanaimo BC, Richard holds a degree in Economics from the University of Calgary, and a diploma in Marketing Management from BCIT. After many years spent in Calgary, South Korea, and New York City, Richard has promised himself never to move away from British Columbia again.