Jon Montgomery, Keynote Speaker
Jon Montgomery captured the hearts of Canadians – and the attention of everyone – during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. After years of hard work, training and perseverance, Montgomery won a gold medal in the skeleton, securing his place in history as one of the best. His celebratory walk through Whistler showcased his passion, spirit, and sense of humour – traits that he brings to every platform, whether in front of a live audience or acting as the host of The Amazing Race Canada.
A casual trip to Canada Olympic Park left an indelible mark on Montgomery when he witnessed a skeleton race and immediately fell in love with the sport. Shortly thereafter, he began competing competitively and enjoying quick success.
Montgomery’s start to his rookie season on the World Cup could not have been drawn more perfectly, and he kicked off his World Cup campaign with a bronze-medal finish on his home track in Calgary. He went on to finish in the top ten three more times during the season, finishing sixth overall in the World Cup standings. His sophomore season was equally remarkable where he enjoyed a breakout season by achieving five podium finishes, including his first World Cup victory and a silver medal at the World Championships. He placed second overall on the World Cup, and from there he went on to win his first Olympic gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
Since 2013, Montgomery has acted as the host of the hit television program, The Amazing Race Canada, which sees teams of contestants competing with one other as they race to travel the country.
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.
Annie Doran, Tourism Prince George
Raised in Armstrong, BC, Annie grew up on a farm in the interior, until moving to Prince George in 2004 to attend UNBC. She is well-versed in the tourism field, completing her Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management in 2008. Annie first started as a visitor counsellor at Tourism Prince George in 2007, then became Marketing Coordinator in 2008 and took on the role of Manager, Marketing and Communication in 2014.
Annie has a passion for running and has completed three half marathons and two Labour Day Classic races to date. Prince George lends itself to many foot race opportunities within the city, especially given the expansive green spaces and multitude of parks.
Marsha Walden, Destination BC
Marsha Walden is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Destination British Columbia. A life-long British Columbian, Marsha’s career spans corporate leadership roles in marketing, strategy, transformation, operations, communications and social responsibility.
Marsha holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia, loves to travel, and takes full advantage of family life in our extraordinary province.
A lifelong resident of northern British Columbia, Wayne Sawchuk has worked as a logger, trapper, sawmill worker and wilderness guide. He is also a conservationist, author and photographer who has fought to protect the country he once logged. Today he owns and operates an ecotourism business that offers expeditions and camps deep in Canada’s Northern Rockies.
Sawchuk participated in several Land and Resource Management Plans, or LRMP’s. These consensus based public land use planning tables gave birth to the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, an innovative land use planning and management model. He is the recipient of the federal Canadian Environment Award, and the Province of British Columbia Minister’s Environmental Achievement Award, both given in recognition of his conservation work.
His photographs have been widely published and collected, and he is the author and photographer of Muskwa-Kechika, The Wild Heart of the Northern Rockies.
Wayne is a Fellow International of the Explorers Club of New York, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Justine Crawford, Cassiar Cannery
Justine has always enjoyed tourism. She like the smiles on people’s faces as they see new things and experience even more. Over 15 years as part of the tourism sector, on both the front end and the back end, working with industry, DMOs, business and leisure travellers, she's gained a great perspective on how to create a fantastic tourism experience catering to each traveler.
In Vancouver, Justine owned part of high-end adventure, sightseeing and transportation company with a fleet of Suburbans and a Hummer. She then moved to the historic Cassiar Cannery at the mouth of the Skeena River in 2006. Since then, she and Mark Bell have been restoring and diversifying this remarkable place into the conservation economy. Tourism is one of their sectors and, over the years, they have built up an incredible trade with a high percentage of repeat clientele. It is growing each year and they have diversified within the sector to offer experiential programs and retreats.
Laura has been fortunate enough to work in the tourism industry since 1999 (longer if you count her years on the front lines of customer service in Whistler). She enjoys seeing people recognize the role that tourism plays in improving the social, environmental and economic aspects of their communities. But even more she enjoys assisting organizations with delivering on the business of tourism.
While working with Destination British Columbia (formerly Tourism BC) for over 12 years, she managed the Community Tourism Foundations program that assisted in creating over 95 tourism plans in BC, many resulting in the creation of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). The accompanying Community Tourism Opportunities cooperative marketing program assisted with hundreds of tourism destination marketing projects each year by matching funds with local projects.
In addition, she managed the sport tourism program that worked with community DMOs in BC and assisted in growing the Tourism Business Essentials series of guides from two to over 10 titles. These guides, and some accompanying workshops, are aimed at tourism operators to assist them with learning more about the tourism industry and how to build their businesses.
Teresa Ryder, Aboriginal Tourism BC
Teresa is of Musqueam descent, born in the Lower Mainland and raised on Vancouver Island. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Criminology from Simon Fraser University. Before her career with Aboriginal Tourism BC, she worked in the hospitality / service industry. With Aboriginal Tourism BC, Teresa has worked as a project manager for several initiatives, including Klahowya Village in Stanley Park.
Teresa's current role is Manager of Training & Experience Development, working with entrepreneurs and champions at the community level to meet market-ready standards and bring their tourism ideas to life.
Dennis Green, go2HR
Dennis is responsible for go2HR's industry training initiatives, which includes liaising on behalf of industry with secondary and post-secondary tourism and hospitality training providers.
Dennis has more than 20 years’ experience as a Red Seal chef and left his position as Executive Chef at Bishop’s Restaurant in Vancouver in 2007 to join go2HR’s industry training team. Dennis was inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2015 in recognition of his contribution to the cook apprenticeship training system in BC.
Mike Seehagel is a photographer, motion designer, and Great North Collective co-founder who currently calls the road his home. Living between the West Coast of Canada, Iceland and the United States, Mike has shot and produced commercial work for Google, Mercedes-Benz, American Express, Twitter, Airbnb, and Squarespace.