Atlantic Canada’s Economy and Stories of Innovation


Richard Saillant

Richard Saillant is a Moncton-based economic consultant and a Ph.D candidate in political science at Dalhousie University. Richard is a former vice-president of the Université de Moncton and director of the Donald J. Savoie Institute, a public policy research organization. He has spent nearly fifteen years in Ottawa in various departments, including the Privy Council Office, Industry Canada and Transport Canada. Richard has published four books since 2014, including Over the Cliff?: Acting Now to Avoid New Brunswick's Bankruptcy. His most recent book, A Tale of Two Countries: How the Great Demographic Imbalance is Pulling Canada Apart (2016) was a finalist for the National Business Book Award.


Mike Davis

Mike Davis is a Partner with and the Managing Director of Davis Pier Consulting.  He has over 15-years of experience in consulting and public sector roles, having worked with government clients in Canada, and in 15 countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia.  He has expertise in strategy, design, and implementation of transformational change within government, in policy areas such as social services, education, labour market development, healthcare, public safety, economic development, and public-sector service delivery.   Mike’s most recent areas of focus include evidence-based policy and the application of behavioural insights to policy and program design.   He has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering, a certification in Behavioral Insights from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Behavioural Sciences at the London School of Economics.  Mike is on the Board of Directors for Kids Help Phone and Inspiring Communities.


Alex MacBeath

Alex MacBeath received his B.Sc. from UPEI and his MBA from Dalhousie University. A member of the Canadian, Ontario and Prince Edward Island Institutes of Chartered Accountants, he received his C.A. designation in 1979 and was awarded his FCA in 2003. He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and holds his ICD.D designation through the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He has completed Executive Education Programs at Harvard Business School, Oxford University and Kellogg School of Business. 

Mr. MacBeath was with Grant Thornton LLP for 35 years, 26 of those as partner. He was CEO and Executive Partner of Grant Thornton LLP from 2001 – 2008. From 2008 until his retirement in 2012, he was ‘Global Leader, Markets’ and ‘Regional Leader, Asia Pacific’ at Grant Thornton International based in London, UK. He has extensive experience in business strategy, risk management, national and international markets and managing change in large and complex organizations. 

Mr. MacBeath is currently the Founder and Managing Partner of Island Capital Partners, a seed capital investment fund; Chair of the StartUp Zone, an incubator in Charlottetown; Director, Island Water Technologies; Chair of Wallace McCain Institute; Executive Director, PEI Bridge; Board of Governors, Executive Committee, Chair Finance Committee, University of Prince Edward Island; advisory board member, UPEI School of Mathematics and Computational Sciences; Director, Chair Finance Committee, National Angel Capital Organization; advisory board member, Island Advance; Director, Chair of Audit Committee and member of Executive Committee of MedicAlert Foundation of Canada; Vice-chair, Confederation Center of the Arts; past chair, past chair of the audit committee and past chair of the long term vision task force of Health PEI. 

He lives in Gladstone, PEI with his wife, Nancy. They have one adult daughter, Amy. 


Thomas Storring

Thomas Storring is the Director of Economics and Statistics with the Nova Scotia Department of Finance and Treasury Board.  He studied economics at Acadia and Oxford and has worked in Provincial Finance Departments for over 20 years.  He is an adjunct to the School of Public Administration and teaches regularly at both Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie. 

Expert Panel on International Trade


Maryscott Greenwood

Maryscott “Scotty” Greenwood is a principal in Dentons' Public Policy group and co-leader of the group’s Federal Advocacy and Government Affairs team. A former American diplomat to Canada and a frequent media commentator and public speaker, Scotty serves as a business and public policy advocate, communications expert and political strategist to Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and nonprofit organizations. She assists clients with their legislative and public policy challenges in the United States. Her experience cuts across sectors, including energy, transportation, life sciences, professional sports and others.

As the Chief Executive officer of the Canadian-American Business Council, she has repeatedly been recognized by Canadian newsweekly The Hill Times, which has named her one of the country's "Top 100 Lobbyists" (2017), "Top 100 People Influencing Canadian Foreign Policy" (2014) and "Top 100 Most Influential People in Government and Politics" (2010).


Pierre Pettigrew

The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew is Executive Advisor, International at Deloitte Canada. He is also the Government of Canada Special Envoy for the Canada-European Union Trade Agreement (CETA).

Pierre has had success in both the public and private sectors. While a consultant at the Deloitte Montreal office from 1985-1995, he emerged as a strong voice for business on international trade issues and unity matters that brought him an appointment to the Federal cabinet in 1996.

Pierre served as a Minister for 10 years, most notably as Minister of Human Resources Development, as Minister for International Trade and Foreign Minister. He represented in Parliament the Montreal district of Papineau now represented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Pierre is on the advisory board of Forbes Manhattan, a Toronto-based private merchant bank specialized in commodities. He sits on a number of profit and non-profit boards. He is the only Canadian on the board of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

Pierre regularly arbitrates international trade disputes between countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.


Colin Robertson


A former Canadian diplomat, Colin Robertson is Vice President and Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and hosts its regular Global Exchange podcast.  He is an Executive Fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.  Robertson sits on the advisory councils of  the Johnson-Shoyama School of Public Policy,  North  American Research Partnership, the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa and the Conference of Defence Associations Institute  He is an Honorary Captain (Royal Canadian Navy) assigned to the Strategic Communications Directorate. During his foreign service career, he served as first Head of the Advocacy Secretariat and Minister at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and Consul General in Los Angeles, as Consul and Counsellor in Hong Kong and in New York at the UN and Consulate General. A member of the teams that negotiated the Canada-U.S. FTA and then the NAFTA, he is a member of the Deputy Minister of International Trade’s NAFTA Advisory Council and the North American Forum.  He writes on foreign affairs for  the Globe and Mail and he is a frequent contributor to other media. The Hill Times has named him as one of those that influence Canadian foreign policy, most recently in their 2018 'top forty'.

Networking Social Event:


Presented by the Government of Nova Scotia

Mr. Simon d’Entremont, Deputy Minister of the Department of Seniors

Prior to this appointment, Simon was the Deputy Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. Previous to that, Simon worked for the Federal Government for 17 years. He was the Regional Director General, Atlantic for Health Canada; the Regional Director, Policy and Communications, for Industry Canada, Atlantic Region; and the Manager of the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). His first position with the federal government was with ACOA as the Account Manager responsible for Southwest Nova Scotia, and located in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Simon began his career as a stockbroker with the investment firm, Scotia MacLeod Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Education from l'Université Ste-Anne and a Bachelor of Business Administration, major in Finance, from Acadia University. He has previously been on the board of directors of Nova Scotia Business Inc.; Innovacorp; Trade Centre Limited; Nova Scotia Tourism Agency; Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia; and Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd. Simon is married with two children. His hobbies include playing guitar, astronomy, and wildlife photography.

Panel: Innovation for the Future of Healthy Communities


Dr. Robert Strang

Dr. Robert Strang is Chief Medical Officer of Health in Nova Scotia appointed in August 2007.  He received his medical degree from University of British Columbia and completed Family Practice and Community Medicine residencies at UBC.  Dr. Strang was an Associate Medical Officer of Health in South Fraser Health, BC, from 1997-1999 and in 1999, he moved to Halifax to become Medical Officer of Health for Capital District Health Authority. He was acting provincial Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health prior to his CMOH appointment.   As CMOH, he has provided leadership around the renewal of the public health system in Nova Scotia as well as raising awareness around the importance of creating policies and environments that support better health for Nova Scotian families and communities.  He is passionate about public health and has worked with non-government organizations such as Smoke Free Nova Scotia, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Public Health Association of Nova Scotia.    Dr. Strang has an adjunct appointment with Dalhousie University, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology.  


Dr. Lois Jackson

Lois Jackson, PhD, is a Professor of Health Promotion at Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS) where she has taught and conducted research for over 20 years. Her research is focused on understanding how the health of marginalized populations, including people who use substances, is shaped by their social conditions.  Much of her work has highlighted barriers to accessing health services, and in particular harm reduction services. Her research also draws attention to specific challenges of access for those living in rural places. She has led a number of nationally-funded, community-based studies (including research in the Atlantic provinces), and has published widely locally and internationally.


Dr. Ron Milne

Family physician in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Physician for Nova Scotia Brotherhood since inception in 2016. I have also worked in a First Nations community in Northern Ontario as well as locums at a community health centre in Jane Finch area of Toronto. I’ve  volunteered for humanitarian work in Honduras, Costa Rica and Belize, Central America. Currently I’m also working at Veteran’s Memorial Building in Halifax.

Solution Rooms


Annika Voltan

Annika Voltan is Executive Director of Inspiring Communities, a network of projects and partners committed to changing the way government, residents, communities, and businesses tackle complex problems such as poverty, addictions, and isolation in Nova Scotia. In this role she works closely with provincial stakeholders in government, the community sector, academia and business to develop partnerships and identify opportunities to maximize social impact. Her experience across federal and provincial government departments, academia and businesses enables her to skillfully build bridges between sectors. Annika brings inspirational energy to building a transparent learning environment with a long-term focus on systems change. She is a PhD Candidate at Saint Mary’s University, focusing on social entrepreneurship and social impact assessment. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, she is dedicated to breaking down barriers that stand in the way of creating equal opportunities for all.


Paul Shakotko

Paul supports our community initiatives by leading the early phases of the work, coaching backbone staff, and building connections within and across sites. Known as a calm, caring and compassionate trust builder with a strong sense of humour, Paul brings a holistic, ecosystem approach to tackling tough, systemic challenges in our communities. He is an expert in community engagement and mobilization with over 30 years’ experience, and an acute ability to bring  government and community together for social change. He considers himself an ‘ancestor-in-training’ and a life long learner dedicated to his family and building stronger communities.


Dr. Christine Saulnier

Christine Saulnier has been the Nova Scotia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA-NS) for ten years. She has a doctorate in Political Science from York University. She leads the publication of the Nova Scotia Alternative Budget, and the living wage calculations for various communities in the Maritimes. She is co-author of the annual child and family poverty report card for Nova Scotia. She is active in several anti-poverty advocacy organizations including the Benefits Reform Action Group and the NS Action Coalition for Community Well-Being.


Jennifer McGill

Jennifer has over 20 years of diverse experience, working in both public sector and consulting, leading complex change initiatives focused in areas of natural resources management, geomatics, health care, education, and community development. She is a strategic leader, who has a proven ability to co-create and implement innovative solutions to complex system and societal challenges. She has expertise in strategic planning and policy, program design, information systems, performance management and evaluation, value realization and management, agency governance, and organizational learning.  Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Saint Mary's University, Masters of Business Administration from Athabasca University, and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management.


Jane Ouillette


Jane Ouillette has a background in mechanical engineering and product design. She brings a unique and analytical perspective to service design work in the public sector. She has worked on multiple service and program design projects related to employment, community services, and healthcare using design methods for user engagement, complex problem solving, and prototype testing. Jane is a current fellow with the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors social innovation lab, working with a team of diverse people for one year to explore the challenges of the provinces aging population through stakeholder engagement and testing prototypes. She holds a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Dalhousie University.

Soap Box


Tina Hennigar

When Tina Hennigar accepted the position of population growth coordinator for NOW Lunenburg County, a grass-roots group formed as a result of the report; NOW or NEVER- An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians, in the fall of 2016, she had no idea she'd be peddling her community throughout the country, France and Belgium. But she knew one thing was certain: Sitting behind a desk hoping that people will come was likely not going to be affective. "I need to talk to people and share with them why our community is so amazing and how they can create a life they love in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, by using good-old-fashioned social media, as in, being actually social," she thought. So she hopped in a donated Ford Escape and hitched up a 1976 Boler camper turned 'lifestyle information centre' and set off to share, learn and sell! And boy, did she come back with a story to tell! What she has shared upon her return with her community, local employers and elected officials is worth hearing and what she and her team at NOW Lunenburg County is changing the game.