Develop your organization's advocacy voice
Learn how to do it effectively for the audiences that matter - including media, government, clients, and shareholders/stakeholders.
Our aim is simple – to help you move the needle and improve your community. How? By bringing you the people doing it best. We’ve assembled a roster of presenters who have recent, practical experience in modern methods of building successful advocacy initiatives in business, politics, public policy, and the social sector. Each and every speaker has contributed to challenging and shaping public opinions about important issues in our communities.
ADVOCATE! 2019 took place at Calgary’s renowned Central Library, named by the New York Times as one of 52 Places to Go in the World in 2019 and one of Time's Greatest Places 2019.
Attendees experienced a full day of presentations and panel discussions - leading to both creative inspiration and actionable insights. Watch this page for details about what to expect in 2020. In the meantime, learn about 2019 speakers below.
Cutting through the noise: The power of solutions journalismEmma Lacey-Bordeaux Senior Director of Standards & Practices, CNN (Washington, DC)Speaker Bio: Emma Lacey-Bordeaux
Emma Lacey-Bordeaux is a writer and journalist working for CNN based in Washington D.C.
At a moment of unparalleled political turmoil in the United States, she helps to ensure the integrity of CNN’s political coverage.
Working with reporters and producers, in the roll of Row Editor, Emma scrutinizes CNN’s reporting before it gets published on any platform to CNN’s global audience of millions online, on TV and across social and third party platforms.
Throughout her decade at the company, Emma has reported and produced award winning multimedia content, breaking news on numerous stories concerning America's justice system, gun laws and immigration system. She's covered Presidential elections, major protests and always seeks out the unexplored, human angles to the giant stories capturing the world’s attention.
Compassion and curiosity drive Emma’s journalist interests and passions. She's lived in various cities in the United States and around the globe and loves few things more than a leisurely dinner with new friends. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Narrative Non-Fiction from the University of Georgia and recently released a groundbreaking documentary exploring how restrictive notions of masculinity play out in America’s prisons. She’s also a passionate ADVOCATE of cross cultural exchanges and dialogues, especially in this unique and tumultuous global moment of challenge. Emma has delivered talks on various topic involving media, communications and her journalist projects around the world. She’s hosted journalists from South Africa, Uganda, Ukraine and Georgia and advises international new media start-ups and journalism associations in her spare time. Emma lives in DC with her husband and their dog, Scout, and two cats. She loves cooking, eating, biking and following her boundless curiosity to new delights.
Advocacy today: from Understanding to InsightClive Veroni Author of Spin: Politics And Marketing In A Divided Age (Toronto, ON)Speaker Bio: Clive Veroni
Clive Veroni is a leading marketing strategist and political commentator. He is a consultant on branding, marketing and advertising to a wide variety of blue-chip clients across North America, including Kellogg’s, RBC, BMO, Canada Post, Maple Leaf Foods, Wrigley, Panasonic and Shell, among many others. He founded Leap Consulting in 2000. Prior to that he worked in advertising, including six years as president of Stringer Veroni Ketchum Advertising, before selling it to Omnicom. His advertising career spanned work for clients from IBM to Apple, where he worked on the launch of the “Think Different” campaign. Clive is the author of Spin: Politics And Marketing In A Divided Age, which was a finalist for the National Business Book Award. He is also a frequent political analyst on radio and television.
The tools of 2020 and beyondPANEL: Digital advocacy - what's working todayJosh Hendler Partner, Purpose; Former CTO, Democratic National Committee (San Francisco, CA)Speaker Bio: Josh Hendler
Josh Hendler is Purpose's Chief Technology Officer & Head of Product. Josh joins Purpose after having worked at the intersection of social good and technology throughout his career. His sweet spot is technology leadership roles in politics, having served as the technology chief for the Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America. During the 2008 campaign, he was a consultant to the Obama campaign, managing technology for distributed organizing efforts. Most recently, Josh was the Chief Technology Officer at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global communications agency, where he led product and consulted with the Digital and Sustainability practice. Working across NGOs and startups, he has been at Rock the Vote, Jumo and Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
“My goal is to develop the next-generation of tools to empower people across the globe to build movements,” said Hendler. “Purpose is the place to do that. Its power lies in its incredible team—it’s a gathering place for world-changers, movement-makers and social entrepreneurs.”
Josh is a graduate of the Gallatin School at New York University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, son and two cats.
PANEL: Non-profit advocacy successesPatricia Pelton President at World YMCA; Senior Leadership Consultant (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Patricia Pelton
Patricia Pelton is currently the President of World YMCA. Elected in Thailand in 2018, Patricia is the first woman and the first Canadian to hold this position since its founding 175 years ago.
She has extensive governance experience some of which include: Chair, YMCA Canada, Vice Chair SEARCH Canada, Canada’s representative on the Executive Committee, World Alliance of YMCA’s and Vice Chair, Health Quality Council of Alberta.
She is a Senior Healthcare Professional based in Alberta and has held numerous operational leadership positions including CEO of two of Alberta’s Health Authorities. Patricia served as advisor and facilitator for the National Patient Safety Consortium, Canadian Patient Safety Institute and continues to consult in the healthcare sector.
Patricia is currently a member of the YMCA Calgary Strategy Committee, serves as a Director of a Health Professional Regulatory College in Alberta and participates on several Advisory Committees. Patricia finds she is heavily booked due to the extensive time commitment and travelling required for the World YMCA, but in her spare time, she reads, bikes, runs and spends as much time as she can with family and friends. And always, she ADVOCATEs for inclusivity, decent work for youth and opportunities for young leaders.
Patricia has been a long-time volunteer, is a recipient of the YMCA Fellowship of Honour, the highest level of recognition in Canada as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.How we crated an advocacy campaign (with literally no money!) to stand up for CanadiansAvnish Nanda Civil Rights Lawyer, Co-founder of Everyone's Canada (Edmonton, AB)Speaker Bio: Avnish Nanda
Avnish Nanda is a civil rights lawyer based in Alberta and British Columbia. Nanda teaches constitutional and environmental law at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Law. Nanda has also been involved in a variety of community organizing and political advocacy initiatives, including Everyone's Canada, an organization that promotes multiculturalism, pluralism, and increased immigration to Canada.PANEL: Using our businesses for advocacyLourdes Juan Urban Planner, Entrepreneur, Non-profit Founder (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Lourdes Juan
Lourdes Juan is an Urban Planner and Calgary based entrepreneur. With a Masters in Environmental Design, she shares her time with the diverse companies and non-profits she founded, Hive Developments, Soma Spa, the Leftovers Foundation, Fresh Routes, and Moonlight Market Foundation. She sits on the board of directors of HomeSpace Society, and is a Commissioner with Calgary Planning Commission. Her work and career accomplishments have received multiple accolades, including being part of Avenue’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, being featured on the cover of Business in Calgary Magazine, CBC's Top 10 Changemakers, L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth award, Western Livings’s Foodie of the Year Award, a Celebrated Almuni Award from the University of Calgary Faculty of Arts, and as a Distinguished Graduate from the University of Calgary. She continues to be involved with community work and give back to her profession.Advocating while owning your own businessMike Morrison Writer; Activist; Founder of Bloggity Inc. (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Mike Morrison
Mike Morrison is the author of Mike's Bloggity Blog and the president of Bloggity, a modern media company that runs events for marketers and entrepreneurs across Canada. Those events include SocialWest in Calgary and SocialEast in Halifax. He also runs a podcast called I Quit, aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs encouraging them to quit their jobs.PANEL: Using our businesses for advocacyLeor Rotchild Executive Director, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Leor Rotchild
Leor Rotchild is the Executive Director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), a non-profit professional association for forward thinking companies from across Canada, championing business as a force for good. Earlier this year, CBSR led a national campaign called ‘Do Business Like A Canadian’, which challenged Canadian businesses to raise their ambition levels and be not only the best in the world but also best for the world.
Leor’s background includes a decade in the energy sector as Corporate Responsibility Advisor to two of Canada’s largest energy companies, Co-Founder of the International Youth Committee for the World Petroleum Council, and Consultant to the Energy Futures Lab.
He was a also Co-Founder of a clean tech and zero-waste events company called Do It Green (DIG), which received a City of Calgary award for diverting more than 100 tonnes of waste from city landfills.PANEL: Using our businesses for advocacyUsman Tahir Jutt President, Chirp Foods - One of Canada's largest McDonalds owner/operators (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio:Usman Tahir Jutt
Usman Jutt is one of Canada’s largest and most ambitious operators within the McDonald’s business. At the start of Usman’s franchise journey in 2013, he believed that through focusing on his people, his guests, and the health of his community, that he could take the McDonald’s business to the next level in his markets. Fast forward 5 years and Usman now owns multiple different locations across Southern Alberta and has seen some of the highest same-store sales growth numbers from his locations in the country. A leader whose community shines through in everything he does, Usman now mentors and speaks across the country on how they connect with their communities through innovation and digital.PANEL: Non-profit advocacy successesChristy Morgan Director, Indigenous Initiatives at Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Christy Morgan
Christy Morgan is a proud First Nations woman from the Bonaparte Band, which is a part of the Shuswap Nation, in British Columbia. She holds a Degree in Social Work from the University of Calgary and is the current Director for Indigenous Initiatives with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary. She was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine in 2011 and was awarded the Dr Douglas Cardinal award for Community Leadership in 2015 by the University of Calgary Student Association and Native Centre. Christy sits on a variety of committees and boards in Calgary and enjoys networking with others.PANEL: Digital advocacy - what's working todayNabeel Ramji Founder, Pedesting (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Nabeel Ramji
Nabeel lives with Cerebral Palsy and has merged his unique personal and professional experience to form a nonprofit organization Bricolage Calgary in 2017 to increase accessibility awareness across public and private sectors. One of the first initiatives is to create a prototype navigation app called Pedesting to help identify the most accessible route for anyone who walks or rolls.
To further this work, Nabeel joined RK Access as an Accessibility Infrastructure Specialist in 2017, and has also been a committee member with The City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility for the past five years.
Nabeel received the Canada 150th Medal from the Senate of Canada in November 2017 for his dedication and volunteerism towards the creation of a more accessible and inclusive province. Most recently, Nabeel was also named to Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2019.
Beyond being passionate about accessibility, Nabeel also has experience in the acquisition, disposition, development, and asset management of commercial and multi-family properties.PANEL: Digital advocacy - what's working todayThevishka Kanishkan Former Digital Communications Manager, Future Majority (Toronto, ON)Speaker Bio: Thevishka Kanishkan
Thevishka is a designer and based in Toronto. Most recently, she managed Future Majority's digital communications, working to engage, entertain, and grow an audience of thousands of young people across Canada. She has diverse experiences working in communications at other civics-minded organizations, including Cycle Toronto, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and the Greenbelt Foundation. She holds a BScH in Environmental Biology from Queen's University, and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto. In her practice as a designer, Thevishka's focus is on the intersection between accessibility, equity, and the public realm.Advocacy 360: Two unique perspectives to being ADVOCATEdRyan Androsoff Founder, Canadian Digital Service; Director, Digital Leadership at Institute on Governance (Ottawa, ON)Speaker Bio: Ryan Androsoff
Ryan Androsoff is an international expert on digital government and an enthusiastic ADVOCATE for the modernization of public sector organizations through the use of digital technology and user-centred design approaches. With a passion for public sector entrepreneurship, Ryan has nearly two decades of experience working with a variety of government and international organizations, as well as elected officials, in Canada, the United States, and Europe. For the past 10 years, Ryan has been specifically focused on leading public sector digital transformation initiatives. Currently Ryan has partnered with the Institute on Governance to lead their Digital Executive Leadership Program for public sector executives, and is serving as a consultant for government organizations to advise on their digital transformation efforts.
Ryan was a Co-Founder of the Canadian Digital Service, a startup organization within the federal government launched in 2017 with the mission of helping government design, prototype, and build better digital services. Previously, he had been a Senior Advisor in the Government of Canada's Treasury Board Secretariat since 2010, where he worked on initiatives to improve digital service delivery capacity across the federal government, led the development of the first government-wide social media policies, and managed the GCTools team responsible developing the Government of Canada's internal on-line collaborative platforms (GCpedia and GCconnex) - a set of open source technology pilots that are now used by over 100,000 public servants across Canada. In 2015, Ryan spent a year with the OECD’s Digital Government Team in Paris, France where he was involved in a number of projects including reviews in Northern Ireland and Slovakia as well as open data and digital capacity building in the Latin American, Middle Eastern and North African regions. An experienced and dynamic presenter, Ryan has delivered hundreds of presentations over the past decade on various aspects of digital transformation and public sector innovation to audiences ranging from senior executive committees, to keynote addresses at conferences, to live webinar training sessions. For his leadership and expertise in digital transformation initiatives, Ryan has been recognized by twice receiving the Treasury Board of Canada Merit Award (2013 & 2017), the GTEC (Government Technology Exhibition and Conference) Next Generation Leadership Award (2011), and in 2017 was named one of the 75 most distinguished alumni of Carleton University’s Faculty of Public Affairs.
Ryan’s career has also included serving as a policy advisor to Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, as well as working at the World Bank in Washington, DC on initiatives to promote results-based management in international development. Having also spent a number of years working with political office holders, he has extensive experience as a communications, policy and campaign manager at the national, provincial, and municipal level in Canada. Ryan is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he earned a Master in Public Policy degree, with research focused on the impacts for governments of new digital technologies. Ryan also has an Honours degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University in Ottawa. He was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.Advocacy 360: Two unique perspectives to being ADVOCATEdAnne McGrath Former Chief of Staff to Jack Layton; Associate, Hill+Knowlton Strategies (Ottawa, ON)Speaker Bio: Anne McGrath
Anne McGrath has been actively involved in all levels of the NDP, federally and provincially. She was Chief of Staff to federal NDP Leader Jack Layton and a key strategist in all his campaigns. As Chief of Staff she is credited with professionalizing caucus operations and with helping organize the party’s historic breakthrough to Official Opposition status. Following Layton’s untimely death she served as the National Director of the federal NDP and Campaign Manager in the 2015 election campaign. She was portrayed by Wendy Crewson in the 2013 CBC Television film Jack. McGrath was a key member of Rachel Notley’s transition team when the Alberta NDP formed government in 2015 and was a trusted advisor to Premier Notley in a variety of roles including Deputy Chief of Staff, Principal Secretary, and Executive Director for southern Alberta. She has been a frequent commentator in the national media and has been identified as one of the 100 most influential people in government and politics in Ottawa. She was the NDP candidate in Calgary-Varsity in the May 2019 Alberta election.PANEL: Non-profit advocacy successesAnila Umar Lee Yuen President & CEO, Centre for Newcomers (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Anila Umar Lee Yuen
Anila is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Newcomers. She has 24 years of experience in the settlement sector. Beyond traditional settlement services, Anila has spearheaded programming to include volunteer-led refugee supports; indigenous integration for newcomers; LGBTQ+ supports, domestic violence, homeless and mental health support services and broadened vulnerable youth programming and social venture opportunities.
Amongst many volunteer positions, Anila is the Co-Chair of the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP) and is the Vice Chair of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA).
Anila holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology (Behavioural Neuroscience) and a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She is an alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program and is a featured author in the International Museum of Women's anthology Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women and the recipient of the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case in 2001 for her work advocating for the rights of immigrant and minority women and children in Canada. In 2017 she was honoured with receiving the University of Calgary Alumni Award and Top 40 Under 40 designation.PANEL: Non-profit advocacy successesAllan Northcott President at Max Bell Foundation; Board Chair at Philanthropic Foundations Canada (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Allan Northcott
Allan has a deep understanding of Canada’s charitable sector developed over more than 25 years in post-secondary, think tank, and Foundation settings. He has advised on strategy, communications, and program & project design for a range of organizations including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Imagine Canada, Philanthropic Foundations Canada (where he currently serves as Board Chair), and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network (where he served as Board Chair from 2009-2012). Over those years, he has developed an extensive network of contacts within Canada’s community of charitable organizations.
Allan has been with Max Bell Foundation since 1998. He has overseen the development and execution of over 200 grants aimed at informing public policy at all levels of government across Canada. His work also includes directing the Foundation’s Public Policy Training Institute.
Before joining Max Bell Foundation, Allan taught a range of communications courses at the University of Calgary, the University of Illinois, and Old Sun College on the Siksika Nation. He has worked at the Calgary-based policy think tank Canada West Foundation, where his responsibilities included managing a project aimed at ensuring broad citizen access to the internet.
He regularly daydreams about snowboarding.Co-host and moderator of ADVOCATE! 2019Zain Velji VP at Northweather; Campaign Manager for Naheed Nenshi (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Zain Velji
As VP Strategy for Northweather, Zain brings a decade of experience in political, business, and non-profit communications and marketing, with a specific focus on mobilization and engagement.
Zain is also a regular political commentator who appears weekly on CBC radio and television. In addition, Zain serves on the board of the YMCA Calgary, and The Canadian Children's Book Centre. In 2017, he served as the campaign manager for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's successful election bid.Host of ADVOCATE! 2019Pam Rocker Pam Rocker is an atypical activist, speaker, award-winning writer, and musician (Calgary, AB)Speaker Bio: Pam Rocker
Pam Rocker is an atypical activist, award winning writer, speaker, and musician. Pam has worked for almost a decade for the full inclusion of LGBTQ2S+ people in faith communities and beyond. She was chosen as one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Calgary, and as one of the top 30 activists in Canada in THIS Magazine. She is a frequent panelist on CBC Radio's Unconventional Panel, the Chair of Broadview Magazine, and a committee member of PechaKucha Calgary, and she writes and performs original queer feminist ukulele comedy music! She is currently the Director of Affirming Connections and speaks and plays across the country.
TicketsTicket info available soon ADVOCATE! 2019 sold out in advance. Join our email list to be notified when tickets for ADVOCATE! 2020 are released.
LocationCalgary Central Library 800 3 St SE, Calgary, Alberta View Directions
Why attend the ADVOCATE! Conference?
ADVOCATE! is a one-day conference on the state of the union of advocacy.
Whether you are a non-profit executive, a stakeholder or public / government relations professional, serve on or lead a marketing team, or help a suite of clients at an agency, ADVOCATE! is right for you.
Here are five reasons we think you should attend:
Develop your organization's advocacy voice
Learn how to do it effectively for the audiences that matter - including media, government, clients, and shareholders/stakeholders.
Learn from the game tape
Learn from successful brands, political campaigns, advocacy efforts, and non-profit campaigns -- how they have succeeded, what they did, and how they made their communities better.
Learn from the best
Our speakers are all practitioners, not motivational speakers. That means, they are not just pontificating on stage, they are talking about real lessons, real truths, and the real practicalities of how to advocate and drive meaningful change in your community.
The best strategies, the best tools
Advocacy is quickly growing, but that means it is also quickly changing. ADVOCATE! will ensure you have a keen understanding of the best emerging strategies, tools, and organizing principles.
Learn from each other
ADVOCATE! will allow for tons of time for you to get to know your fellow attendees, learn from them, get inspired, and establish contacts for your work going forward.
Put simply, ADVOCATE! will arm you with the right strategies, tools, and contacts needed to enhance and inspire your (and your organization’s) advocacy actions. We hope to see you in November!Convince Your Boss
Who Should Attend?
ADVOCATE! brings together people working to improve their communities in roles like:Get Updates
- Nonprofit & for-profit founders/leaders
- Community organizing
- Public policy development
- Public relations
- Government relations
- Cause marketing
- Political organizing
- Digital marketing
Wondering if you’re right for the ADVOCATE! Conference?
You definitely are if: you’re driven; keen to know how others have achieved success; want to know the best tools, technologies and strategies available; and most importantly, you’re passionate about your cause and your community.
Transportation & Accommodations
The brand new Alt Hotel East Village, located a short walk from Calgary Central Library, is offering ADVOCATE! 2019 guests a special room rate of just $119/night. To book your room, call 587.441.6635 or 1.833.258.6635 and mention Group Reservation ID: ADVOCATE 2019. Book by October 1, 2019 to take advantage of the group rate.
WestJet is also offering guests 5% off Econo and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares for travel within Canada and 2% off Econo, 5% off EconoFlex and 10% off Premium base fares for guests travelling Trans-border into and out of Calgary, Alberta. To take advantage of this offer, visit www.westjet.com/conventions to make a booking online. Use code: 166BP28