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Plenary Session, Thursday, Feb 28, 9:45am

BC's Biz Experts Review the Year Ahead
If you're uncertain about your business prospects and the economy right now, you're not alone.  Despite leading growth in Canada and near historic unemployment, there are signs that BC's economy is softening.  Throw in a federal election (and Alberta election), strained relations with China and other factors, it's easy to wonder about what comes next.

Join BC's business experts for a discussion on what lies ahead for the province, and how these and other issues will impact BC's visitor economy. This session will include research results from the BC Chamber's Collective Perspective annual economic pulse-check, the BC Business Council's economic outlook, and of course deep insight from the Mustel Group.  

And the Presenters...

Jock Finlayson
Jock Finlayson is Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Business Council of British Columbia. He directs the Business Council's work on economic, fiscal, tax, environmental, regulatory and human capital issues of interest to the province's business community. He manages the Council's policy and research staff and oversees the organization's publications, presentations and other outputs. Mr. Finlayson previously served as Vice President of Research at Canadian Council of Chief Executives (since renamed the Business Council of Canada), a leading national business association in Ottawa. Prior to that, he worked in the market research field and gained experience at two Canadian consulting firms.
Mr. Finlayson holds a master's degree in business from Yale University, undergraduate and M.A. degrees from UBC, and a post-graduate diploma in economics from the University of London. He received an honorary doctorate of laws from Royal Roads University in 2014. He is the author/co-author of two books and more than 60 published articles, book chapters and monographs. A frequent commentator on economic, business, and public policy issues, Mr. Finlayson writes regularly for the Vancouver Sun, Troy Media, and Business in Vancouver. 

Evi Mustel

Evi Mustel is the owner and President of Mustel Group, a Vancouver-based market and opinion research company. She has over 30 years experience in the research industry. Her clients include provincial, regional and municipal governments, federal government agencies, corporations, not-for-profit organizations and business and professional associations. Evi has designed and conducted studies on many of today's most important economic, environmental and social issues.

Ms Mustel is a Certified Market Research Professional (CMRP). She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from McMaster University and is Vice-Chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, director of the International Women's Forum (IWF), director of 58 West Hastings, and past director of Easy Park, and the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. She is Chair the Board of Trade's Policy Council which oversees all policies initiatives of the board, and was Chair of the 2018 Economic Scorecard committee which ranks Metro Vancouver to 17 other similar international cities on over 30 economic and social indicators.

Ms Mustel is also a member of the Metro Vancouver Regional Prosperity Initiative Steering Committee, a group of stakeholders that are committed to improving and expanding the prosperity of the Metro Vancouver region through the creation of a collaborative entity that will bring together businesses, local governments, academia, professional associations and civic organizations.


Val Litwin

Val Litwin is the President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.  Previous to this role, Val served as CEO of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce for three years. During this time, he grew its membership base, launched a world-class educational partnership with the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria (which was featured on and reinvigorated the Chamber's brand to the point where Whistler had one of the fastest growing membership bases last year.

In 2007, Val co-founded a first-to-market concept, Blo Blow Dry Bar, which has since grown to more than 70 locations worldwide.  In 2011, as Vice President of Franchise Operations at Nurse Next Door, Canada's largest homecare company, he helped drive the franchise system's fast growth into the US market - adding almost 70 locations to the brand in under 3 years.

Val is also well-versed in the social enterprise space. In 2002, he co-founded Extreme Kindness and launched volunteer tours and a web series based on committing random act of kindness across Canada and the U.S. The tours evolved into a best-selling book on corporate social responsibility and the power of communities to build social capital.


Don't forget to check out the rest of the Tourism Industry Conference Program
as it develops!


Thank you to our generous conference sponsors, 
without whom this event would not be possible.

Hosted By:

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  Conference Contact

Nora Cumming, Conference Manager
Chemistry Consulting Group