The Speakers from the 2017 CANCON Summit

CANCON speakers are selected to inspire tomorrow’s leaders. Attendees will hear from keynote speakers and will have a number of workshops to choose from during the day on Saturday. The workshops will cover a variety of topics with a focus on leadership, service, personal and professional development, and academic excellence.

The speakers for the 2018 CANCON have not yet been announced but you can read about the speakers from our last summit below.

CANCON 2017 (completed summit that was held in Edmonton this past February)

Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, QC, PC, OC (Keynote)





The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, QC, PC, OC is perhaps most recognizable for being the 19th Prime Minister of Canada, but her great achievements certainly do not start or end there. She is a notable Canadian writer, an inspiring leader, a passionate advocate, and a dedicated member of her community. She has served at all levels of government in Canada and spent many years as a diplomat. Currently, she holds the position of Chairperson for Canada’s Supreme Court Advisory Board as well as the Founding Principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College (PLLC) at the University of Alberta. As Canada’s first, and to date only, female Prime Minister, she is a true trailblazer who has spent most of her life working toward the advancement and empowerment of women. She was the first woman to hold the Justice and Defence portfolios as a Member of Parliament, the first female Defence Minister of any NATO country, a member and chair emerita of the Council of Women World Leaders, and a member of the International Women’s Forum. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Churchill Society Award of Excellence, the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, and so much more, and we know that you will leave her keynote speech truly inspired.


Patricia Paradis (Keynote)

Patricia Paradis is the Executive Director of the Centre for Constitutional Studies at the University of Alberta and an expert in human rights. She is also a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, teaching courses on human rights. She has served as the National Board Chair for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (“LEAF”), and she received a Life Time Achievement Award for her work with LEAF in 2010. Recently, she participated in a meeting of the Electoral Reform Committee. Ms. Paradis’ keynote will not only inspire you, it will also set the tone and ground work for polite, productive and engaging discussion for CANCON 2017 and beyond.


Marina Banister & Claire Edwards (Workshop)




If you are at all interested in policy and politics in Edmonton, you will undoubtedly be familiar with Marina Banister. Marina Banister is a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, youth engagement, and gender politics. She is the currently serving as the Vice President Academic of the University of Alberta Student’s Union, as well as the Chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council. In the past she has held roles as the President of the Political Science Undergraduate Association and the University of Alberta Senate, The Vice President External of the University of Alberta Sustainable Food Initiative, the Vice President External of the Collective Body for Arts Students, and Intern at the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. She has moderated a Federal MP Candidate debate in the Edmonton-Strathcona Riding. You may also recognize her as a panelist from the 2015 #GirlBossYEG Event, and the International Day of the Girl presentation.



Likewise, engaged Edmontonians should be familiar with Claire Edwards. Claire Edwards is a driven and outspoken activist with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alberta. She is currently employed as the Program Coordinator for Camp fYrefly Edmonton, a leadership retreat for LGBTQ+ and allied youth. Prior to this, she interned at SEIU Healthcare 1199 in New York City, and NARAL Pro-Choice America in Washington DC. She has also served as the Chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council, and sat of the Board of Directors for both the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and the Downtown Edmonton Community League. Claire was recently named one of Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 under 40, as well as one of The Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s Top 30 under 30.


Dr. Martin Ferguson-Pell (Workshop)




Dr. Martin Ferguson-Pell is biomedical engineer and credentialed clinical scientist at the University of Alberta, who studies secondary complications of physical disability and their underlying causes. Dr. Ferguson-Pell’s research is anything but low-tech. He has designed and developed a Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory at the Edmonton Clinical Health Academy (ECHA), and regularly works with virtual reality systems. Dr. Ferguson-Pell has been recognized as an outstanding researcher and academic, having served as founding ASPIRE Chair in Neuromuscular Restoration and Rehabilitation (Disability and Technology) at the Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science at University College London, the Director of Research for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (NHS Trust), and Director of the Center for Rehabilitation Technology (New York State’s Helen Hayes Hospital).


Kristin LaGrange (Workshop)



Kristin LaGrange, BA ’15, is the Assistant Program Lead for Student Group Services at the University of Alberta Students’ Union. As an undergraduate student, she held leadership positions in a women’s fraternity, the Mixed Chorus, and the Arts faculty association at the University of Alberta. These experiences led her to pursue a career in student affairs. Kristin is passionate about servant leadership and helping students find their ‘homes’ in clubs and involvements on campus. Her most rewarding roles to date are co-facilitating the Emerging Leaders Program, and delivering a keynote address at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Institute in 2016. She also spends time volunteering with local charities in Edmonton: the Boys and Girls Club, and the Edmonton Potterwatch Institute for Charity (EPIC).


 Danielle Fuechtmann (Workshop)




Danielle Fuechtmann is a freelance writer, design student, and current Editor-in-Chief at the NAIT Nugget. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a B.A. in English with an Individualized Minor in Fashion, Design and Media, she worked as a content writer and social media manager before eagerly jumping back into school for visual communication design. She divides her time between her studies, herding cats and writing at the Nugget, building her freelance business, and volunteering. Danielle’s client list includes Western Canada Fashion, Bridal Fantasy, Phabrik Magazine, and the Old Strathcona Business Association. She is a current board member of the Canadian University Press and served as the Communications Director for the Holyrood Community League. Danielle celebrates taking the unconventional route and embracing discomfort.


Dr. Irwindeep Sandhu (Workshop)




A must see presenter for those CANCON attendees with an interest in studying Medicine. Dr. Irwindeep Sandhu is an Associate Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Alberta. He was recently a part of an innovative hybrid clinic, known as ENCORE, that combined the expertise of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Cross Cancer Institute to improve patient outcomes.


Paula Simons (Workshop)





Whether you get your news from the paper (digital or in print) or from Twitter, you are likely familiar with the work of Paula Simons. Paula Simons is the City Columnist for the Edmonton Journal, and has written about important local stories, trials at the court house, politics, and so much more for a number of years. If anyone has their finger on the pulse of this city, it’s Paula Simons. She holds degrees from the University of Alberta and Stanford University, and was a post-graduate fellow at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. She has earned numerous awards for her journalistic work, including five National Newspaper Award citations of merit, a National Newspaper Award for investigative journalism, an International EPPY Award, and a silver medal at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards. She has also been honored by the Edmonton Historical Board, the American Society for Features Journalism, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Alberta Centre for Civil Liberties Research, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Governor-General.


Tim Young (Workshop)




Tim Young lives life to its fullest in the fast lane. Tim is a webmaster, vegan, and an elite tower runner. What is a tower runner you ask? It involves running races up the stairs of massive towers and skyscrapers. It’s a hobby that Tim started over 22 years ago to stay fit and train for figure skating and dancing, but it has become so much more than that. Nearly every day Tim runs up the 14 Floors of the Henry Marshall Tory Building an astonishing 15 times during his 1 hour lunch break. His daily total averages out at 16,000 stairs/day! In 2015, Tim came 7th in the 103 storey Willis Tower Skyrise Chicago race. Later that same day, after having just run 103 storeys, Tim completed the 58 storey Climb for Life stair race, coming in 1st by four whole seconds. Tim is a phenomenal example of using exercise to maintain good physical and mental health, and demonstrates, quite literally, how you can train to rise above even the biggest obstacles.


#MakeItAwkward Panel (Workshop)



Rebecca Lee is a third year law student at the University of Alberta and the co-founder of Law Students for Inclusion and Diversity (LSID). Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta and has received an education in Music and Music History in accordance with Royal Conservatory piano curriculum from MacEwan. She is the University of Alberta Student Director of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL), a volunteer at the Edmonton Community Legal Centre, and an Assistant Case Manager at the Municipal Government Board. She is dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion in the legal profession through awareness, advocacy, and community involvement.


Arundeep Singh Sandhu

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