Our 2021 Featured Speakers

Andrew Petter

Munk Chair of Innovation, University of Toronto

Andrew Petter, CM, OBC, QC, is President Emeritus of Simon Fraser University and a professor in its School of Public Policy. He also serves as Board Chair of Innovate BC. Before joining SFU, Andrew taught at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law where he was dean from 2001 to 2008. From 1991 to 2001, he served as a BCM and held numerous cabinet portfolios, including Finance, Advanced Education and Attorney General. 

As SFU President, Andrew oversaw the implementation of a strategic vision to establish SFU as Canada’s most community-engaged research university. Under his leadership, SFU was regularly named Canada’s top comprehensive university in the Macleans’ Rankings and placed first globally for its impact on sustainable cities and communities in the 2020 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings.

Andrew will be speaking on the panel Humans Wanted: BC’s War for Talent.

Cynthia Leach

Senior Director, Economic Thought Leadership, at RBC

Cynthia is the Senior Director, Economic Thought Leadership, at RBC. In this role, she helps shape the narratives and research agenda around the RBC Economics and Thought Leadership team’s forward-looking economic and policy analysis, covering topics such as the future of work, innovation, and the net-zero transition. 

Previously, Cynthia was an executive at Finance Canada, most recently heading a team responsible for housing finance policy. She also has experience in current economic analysis and fiscal policy. She holds an M.A. Economics degree from the University of Toronto

Cynthia will be speaking on the panel Humans Wanted: BC’s War for Talent.

Gerri Sinclair

B.C. Innovation Commissioner — Province of British Columbia

Dr. Gerri Sinclair is British Columbia’s Innovation Commissioner. Prior to taking on this role, she was a Venture Capitalist responsible for managing the $100 million BC Technology fund. Her cross-domain career spans the fields of Internet, mobile and digital media technologies, entrepreneurial business, university research and government policy.

Gerri was founder and CEO of NCompass Labs, acquired by Microsoft. A former Visiting Scientist at IBM Research in New York, she was also the first president of the BC Premier’s Technology Council and Chair of the Canadian federal government’s Telecom Policy Review Panel. Gerri is the recipient of many awards in business, entrepreneurship and technology innovation.

Gerri Sinclair will be moderating the panel From Disruption to Innovation: B.C.’s Shifting Natural Resources Sector.