BIABC + IDA Pacific Northwest

 Regional Conference 2020

Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote: Monday May 4, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

The Power of Collaboration

Lisa Gibson

Although collaboration is hard work, collaboration is at the heart of creating thriving and sustainable communities. No one single organization can create the conditions for change alone. Rather it requires bringing together multiple perspectives, particularly the voices of those who often get excluded. However, there is limited expertise in the complex process of convening diverse groups to achieve common goals. How do we work with others when we have different perspectives and positions? How can we move beyond right and wrong to find middle ground that will create new possibilities for change? Collaboration requires us to unlearn our current ways of doing things, question assumptions and open ourselves to other ways of seeing the world. It takes time to build relationships of trust that allow collaborative work to have meaning and generate results. 

In this talk, Lisa will share her diverse experiences in supporting collaboration, particularly cross sectoral collaboration. She will share what she has learned about working across difference around complex social and sustainability issues, and about the skills needed for successful collaboration with allies and unusual suspects to create positive change.


About Lisa

Lisa Gibson is a transformative facilitator, coach and systems change consultant. She specializes in helping people and groups bring their whole hearts forward in creating a more just, caring and sustainable world. Through working with individual, organizational and policy misalignments Lisa is able to scale values, culture and systems change.

With over 20 years experience in local and international work at multiple scales, she specializes in working with individuals, organizations and communities to embed systemic change, transform belief systems, and construct alliances across diversity. Lisa’s work focuses on a range of issues, including facilitation of complex multistakeholder processes, creativity and innovation, leadership development, curriculum design, diversity and inclusion, individual and group coaching, and teaching mindfulness. In particular, she is passionate about creating transformative spaces that help to restore our connection with our selves, each other and the earth.

Lisa is a Certified Integral Facilitator, and holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria, and a Masters in Gender and Development from the University of Sussex. She also is a founder and instructor of the Social Innovation Certificate at Simon Fraser University. She is grateful to be based in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded Coast Salish lands and waters of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Wauthuth Nations with her two children, two stepchildren and partner.



Keynote: Wednesday May 6, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Building the Power of Tourism Together

Grant Mackay is the Vice President of Destination Management for Destination BC

For many years, Destination BC has been building the foundation for long term success in BC's tourism sector. In this talk, Grant Mackay will walk through the value of tourism, demonstrate how BC is marketed to the world, introduce the new Destination BC corporate strategy, and show how commercial districts fit into the future of sustainable tourism growth. This keynote address will highlight where the sector is heading - and how you can be involved - to ensure BC is competitive on a global scale and that tourism continues to benefit all British Columbians.

About Grant

Grant Mackay is the Vice President of Destination Management for Destination BC. Grant joined the BC Public Service in 1995 as a Business Unit Manager with Destination BC, after a long career in marketing and sales in the packaged goods industry with Scott Paper Limited. Prior to his current role, Grant had responsibility for all Global Marketing functions. In his current capacity, he is responsible for tourism industry development designed to increase BC’s worldwide competitive position. Grant holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia.

Keynote: Monday May 4, 12:15 - 1:00 p.m.

Getting from Diversity to Innovation

Alden Habacon, Diversity and Inclusion Strategist

Countless studies affirm that business innovation and growth in market share are tied to diversity.

However, the business case that diversity leads to innovation is only partly true. As local communities grow increasingly diverse, businesses across BC are faced with acquiring the intercultural acumen for successful cross-cultural interactions. Businesses that successfully navigate the intercultural turbulence are flush with new ideas and market growth potential, while those companies who do not possess these navigational skills struggle with converting BC's diversity into market share. Simply put, diversity on its own does not produce or automatically result in innovation.

This keynote explores the necessity to acknowledge the intercultural challenges of a super-diverse community, and the internationality needed to produce prosperity and socially and economically sustainable neighbourhoods.

About Alden

Pronouns: he/him/his

Alden E. Habacon is one of Canada’s leading diversity and inclusion strategists and facilitators. He is well known in this field and highly regarded for his fourteen years of impact, and his innovative work around inclusive leadership, unconscious bias and intercultural training.

He works with leadership in a wide range of professions and sectors throughout Canada, including the legal community, social services, the public sector, municipalities, first responders, and large private corporations.

Over the last few years he has delivered professional development to faculty and staff in almost every university in British Columbia and currently works with many universities across Canada, the US and Hong Kong. He is currently a Visiting Diversity & Inclusion Fellow at the University of Delaware.

He is the recipient of the 2010 Power of Peace Award of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, and the 2011 Leadership Honouree, in the area of Arts and Media, of the North American Association of Asian Professionals (NAAAP) of Vancouver. In 2012 Alden was the recipient of the Maharlika Award in Leadership, and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Award for his work in multiculturalism and intercultural understanding.

Alden has lived in Manila, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Regina and Burnaby (in that order), and currently resides in Vancouver with his wife and two sons.

Keynote: Tuesday May 5, 12:15 - 1:00p.m.

Linking Digital Fingerprints to Physical Footprints

The rise of ecommerce doesn’t spell the end of physical retail. But to thrive in a changing environment, BIA’s need to adapt and understand how to correctly leverage physical retail to avoid empty storefronts. This includes adding digital elements to conventional scenarios and engaging with people through memorable real-world experiences.

Linda Farha, Founder and Chief Connector of Pop-Up Go

During her 20-year tenure in the corporate world, Linda has devised successful strategic solutions for both national and international organizations. Her vast experience includes corporate and media relations, sales management, customer relations, license development, international business development and product branding energy, which has enabled her to understand specific organizational needs and budgetary constraints to deliver customized, successful marketing and communications campaigns. Linda started Zenergy with a team of seasoned professionals who have the complimentary skills to support all marketing and communications needs.

Linda also launched pop-up go, a trusted online space connector for commercial landlords and space seekers. Through pop-up go, people can list, discover and select spaces they deem fit for their growing business; pop-up go connects businesses across North America with their perfect short-term lease space. Making use of her marketing and communications expertise, she has further developed Make It Pop, a service to ensure that pop-up go spaces achieve their full potential, through creative design, branding, PR and social media strategies.

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