Power UP NORTH 2022 is about reconnecting as we adjust to “The New Normal”, and that's why this years themes are centered around Adversity, Tourism, and The New Normal.

We are proud to welcome a wide range of engaging speakers and instructors to share their insights and knowledge to help you get energized at this year's conference.

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Olympic Gold Medalist | Host, The Amazing Race Canada

Keynote Speaker

Jon Montgomery captured the hearts of Canadians — and the attention of everyone —during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. After years of hard work, training, and perseverance, Montgomery won a gold medal in the skeleton, securing his place in history as one of the best. His celebratory walk through Whistler Village showcased his passion, spirit, and sense of humour — traits that he brings to every platform, whether in front of a live audience or as host of The Amazing Race Canada.


A casual trip to Canada Olympic Park left an indelible mark on Montgomery when he witnessed a skeleton race and immediately fell in love with the sport. In his rookie season, he kicked off his World Cup campaign with a bronze medal, going on to finish in the top ten three more times. He finished sixth overall. His sophomore season saw him earn five podium finishes, including his first World Cup victory and a silver medal at the World Championships. Montgomery placed second overall and from there went on to win his Olympic gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.


Today, Montgomery is the host of the hit TV show, The Amazing Race Canada, which has earned him two Canadian Screen Awards. He also co-hosted the Junos in 2016 with Jann Arden.


Montgomery embraces any opportunity to engage with live and virtual audiences, whether as a keynote or host. He shares his journey from the flatlands of the prairies to the top of the Olympic podium, reminding audiences why the goals we set for ourselves are only as achievable as we believe they are.


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Dr. Gregory Johnson - Athabasca Landing History  

Born and raised on the West Coast, Dr. Gregory Johnson graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and International Relations and then with a Master’s Degree in History. He then moved to Toronto and completed a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) at York University. He subsequently taught at the University of Victoria, Red Deer College and the University of Alberta before joining Athabasca University.


Although his primary field of study is 20th century Canadian Foreign Policy and International History, Dr. Johnson has produced works on aspects of local history, notably, Lac La Biche Chronicles, a history of Lac La Biche, Alberta; and Why Athabasca? A Brief History of the Origins of Athabasca Landing.


Today, Dr. Johnson will talk about the origins of the Town of Athabasca and he will offer up an interpretation that challenges the traditional view of the of the creation of the town.

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Carl-Éric Guertin  -   Economusee  (CDEA Speaker)

ÉCONOMUSÉE Network Society

Since 2013, Carl-Éric Guertin has been the Executive Director of the ÉCONOMUSÉE Network Society (ENS) overseeing the Canadian and International development of the organization.  Established in 1992, the ENS, a not-for-profit organisation, is the founder, owner and promoter of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® concept. Now grown into an international organization with its head office in Québec City, Canada, the network of partners shares the same goals – the continuation, protection and promotion of traditional trades and know-how in the craft and agri-food sectors.


He has established the partnership in Alberta with the CDÉA which a lead so far, the creation of 3 economusees in the province of Alberta and 3 new up-coming.


Carl-Éric Guertin has twenty-five years of experience in management positions within business associations. A recognized developer and visionary, a change agent, a leader with a collaborative approach, passionate about strategic planning and implementation, motivated by economic, regional and sustainable development, he has great ease in public speaking, persuasive communication and creating mobilizing partnerships

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Amy Pilat -  Wine Knows Canada   (Futurepreneur Speaker)

Amy Pilat is the founder of Wine Knows Canada ,a wine education company that facilitates small private wine events as well as large scale corporate events and non profit fundraisers throughout Canada.  With over 2 decades of experience in the wine industry Amy has completed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust level 1 and 2 courses through the Vancouver Art institute along with extensive international travel and training in the art of wine making.


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Quinn Magnuson - BDC Speaker

Being a former CFL player and lifetime athlete, Quinn understands the level of commitment and dedication it takes to be successful and he brings this to his clients as he advises them on the 5 critical functions of business.


After owning the successful 1-800-GOT-JUNK? North Sask territory for 6 years, Quinn sold the company and made the career move over to BDC in 2010 to best utilize his business acumen and coaching experience to help and develop SMEs and Entrepreneurs.


Quinn grew up in an entrepreneurial family and is familiar with the day to day struggles that business owners face. His position at BDC, Trusted Client Partner for Advisory Services, speaks volumes to the work that he and BDC Advisory have done over the 11 years he has been here.


After one year Quinn was promoted from Consulting / Advisory Manager to C/A Partner in 2012 to Senior Client Partner of Advisory Services in 2016.  Has lead the Saskatchewan Advisory team since with a Client Value Index (client satisfaction) rating of 92%.


Quinn and his wife, Kirsten, are avid sports enthusiasts. They have two children, Annika (21) and Leif (19), who are both college athletes: Leif at University of Arizona (football) and Annika (U of S) track and field. Their passion for sports comes through in everything they do.


Specialties: Integrated Sales and Marketing (Traditional and Online), Operational Efficiencies, Productivity, Digital and Tech Adoption.

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James Leppan - Travel Alberta

JAMES LEPPAN is Travel Alberta’s Experience Development Manager for the North. His territory encompasses everything north of highway 16, east to Lloydminster and west to Grande Cache.

Formerly from Zimbabwe, James travelled to all seven continents before making Alberta his home. He is passionate about learning about the heritage and history of the communities in the north and taking that ‘pride of place’ and sharing it with visitors to the region.


Alberta’s North is a mecca of diverse landscapes and cultures – from the Ukrainian Village to Metis Crossing to Alberta’s oldest community of Fort Vermilion, to Wood Buffalo National Park – the second largest in the world and the world’s largest dark sky preserve. James enjoys working with tourism businesses and communities to help tell their stories and develop unique experiences to inspire return visitation and economic sustainability. When not on the road, James enjoys the ocean, musical theatre, and coffee, not necessarily in that order.



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Dusty &  Jonathan Hawkey of Hawkey Studios - The Rural Advantage

Dusty and Jonathan Hawkey are a two person puppet production company that live and work in the Town of Athabasca. They produce custom order puppets for marketing, television, commercials, movies, and social media campaigns as well as for general interest clients. They produce puppet shows and musicals with original music and scripts for events and schools. They also offer puppetry workshops, music and sewing lessons as well as custom clothing designs and alteration services. Their artistic vision is to provide experiences for children and adults alike in rural areas that people may not get a chance to see unless you go to an urban center and to produce puppets for clients both locally and internationally. Their puppets have sold internationally to places as far as Israel, all across Europe and North America. They both have backgrounds in Business, Fine Arts, Theatre, Music, Archeology and Anthropology that they incorporate into their business model.



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Brian Cardinal - Tipi Raising

Brian A. Cardinal is born and raised in Calling Lake, Alberta along with his two sisters and seven brothers. His family has spent most of their lives living off the land, hunting and trapping for most of the year.

Late at night after checking of checking traps and gathering food, wood and water, their father would tell them stories by the lantern light. He told wonderful legends and amazing tales of the supernatural so we always looked forward to hearing these stories.

Later on in life, Brian would remember how his imagination would take him far off to theses wonderful places so much so that he wrote a book of such wonders and named it, “The Wanderer.”

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Willy Grant – Great West Media

Willy has over 24 years of experience in marketing and advertising. She has helped thousands of businesses market themselves online effectively and is an established thought leader in the digital space. Currently, Willy is the Director of Digital for Great West Media L.P. and works to fuel the growth of small and medium sized businesses through digital marketing. Last, but not least, she was the 2021 Local Media Digital Innovator of the Year, LMA (Local Media Association).

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John Ritchie 

A former Office Administrator for Heavy Equipment House in Edmonton, he felt a growing disconnect in the urban lifestyle. “Living in the city, some kids don’t even have the privilege of cutting grass,” Ritchie says. “That was my first job as a kid.”


Of Metis descent, Ritchie has spent over a decade learning bush craft and reconnecting with his cultural roots. At Hideaway Adventure Grounds, he channels that traditional knowledge to share with his guests.


“That’s why I like to have grass, open spaces, so people can get dirty, get their fingernails dirty again, get some of that positive energy back from Mother Earth,” he says. “Let the land heal us - if we give it a chance, it will.”


It was realizing the power of that connection and that heritage that led Ritchie to establish Hideaway Adventure Grounds on his lands at the Kikino Metis Settlement.

He offers workshops, school programs and rustic camping experiences, with activities like making shelters, learning bushcraft or leatherworking. 

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David Bayda, Business Strategist Business Link

David provides exceptional client service leadership, collaborates with an amazing team, and offers one-on-one guidance and advice to entrepreneurs. He has extensive business knowledge covering areas like startup planning, trend research, Business Model Canvas, marketing, crowdfunding, event planning, and strategic growth.


David also loves innovation and has experience in product design, intellectual property and tech. If you need creative ideas, he can brainstorm with you! David’s past startup experience includes running his own handyman business. He is also actively involved in various community initiatives, social causes, and always has an invention on the go!



Kelly Harris Martin - Community Futures Tawatinaw Region

After purchasing her first business at the age of 20, Kelly has always enjoyed the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur. After obtaining her BA from Simon Fraser University, she relocated to Alberta in 2004. Since then, she has pursued her passion for training and economic development, through the University of Waterloo and SAIT. She looks forward to pursuing her Masters degree in the near future. In addition to her duties as General Manger at Community Futures Tawatinaw Region, she is actively involved in many projects throughout the region, and delivers a wide variety of our workshops and seminars.


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Diana Noble 

Diana Noble is a self-professed serial entrepreneur living with her family in Fort McMurray. At the tender age of 24, she stumbled into the world of entrepreneurship by accident when an opportunity landed at her feet. Instead of counting all the reasons why she wasn’t qualified or educated enough to start her own business, she tossed out the rule book and dove right in. Since then, she has successfully owned 5 separate businesses in the past 11 years spanning a variety of industries including legal, media, marketing, real estate and coaching/consulting. Her passion for business led her to becoming an ICF Certified Business Coach where she uses her skills to help entrepreneurs take a 360° view of their business to address the gaps between where they are and where they want to be. Through her own experience she knows that the only limits to what someone can achieve are the ones we impose on ourselves, and she enjoys partnering with entrepreneurs to bring their wildest dreams to fruition.

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Lise Danyluk

Lise has been helping rural small businesses improve their digital marketing through programs like Alberta iMarket, Digital Main Street, and the Canadian Digital Adoption program. She’s excited to see businesses find efficiencies and improve their bottom line by adopting new technologies and marketing strategies. Lise lives with her family in the rural Bonnyville area and enjoys visiting the area’s many lakes in her spare time.

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Karen Harps - Deep in the Trees

My name is Karen I reside literally “deep in the trees” in rural Alberta and I have been crafting hand made products for over 20 years!

My soap journey started mainly because I could not find any natural products for my skin so I decided the only way to know what is in the products was to make them myself and I have done so ever since. I started out only making soap but have since graduated into an assortment of body care products. I am fortunate enough to source a lot of my ingredients locally such as honey/wax from a local bee farmer and an assortment of beneficial wild herbs, flowers and plants that grown in my own yard that I harvest every season! I use natural ingredients with the use of no synthetics, dyes, perfumes or parabens. My products are all made in small batches that I hand pour, hand cut and hand wrap to ensure quality. I love what I do and I absolutely love to create! My mission is simple really, to provide you and your family a safer, natural choice.


Cliff Turner -  ATB Financial

As an Entrepreneur Strategist with ATB Financial, Cliff functions as a thinking partner and guide for small businesses and their owners. With a strategic and creative approach, he helps entrepreneurs deal with the challenges their business must face.


Cliff has been a part of the small business ecosystem for the past 17 years. He has founded and operated 2 business ventures, worked with a national small business advocacy group as well as in small business banking. During this time he has also delivered workshops and lectures for several business organizations and post secondary institutions. 

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Gil Williams 

Gil Williams is semiretired now and has been driving school bus for the last few years. Driving school bus has afforded him the time to be involved with the Amber Valley Museum while also staying busy during retirement. 

Like most, he doesn’t like talking about himself, but has found it very important to talk about his late wife, Barb and his family.  Gil and Barb have been involved with the Amber Valley Community Association since 1988. They were also involved in the grant application that helped build the new Amber Valley Hall. Since then, Gil has stepped down as the AV president to focus on promoting the AV Museum. 

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Monica Wolanuk

Monica Wolanuk is a past-President and ongoing member of the Athabasca Pottery Club. After enjoying ‘making mud’ as a child, and later, the ceramics modules in EPC high school Art and Shop class, Monica joined the Athabasca Pottery Club in 1985. She has shown work in the Clubs’ Annual Show and Sale, the Big River Arts Society event, and as part of the Town’s 100th Anniversary celebrations. Monica enjoys wheeling and sculpture

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Chris Down - Travel Alberta

Chris has over 19 years of experience developing local/regional government policy and legislation to implement and advance provincial and territorial responsibilities affecting land use and land use assessments.   Before joining Travel Alberta, Chris held the position of Manager of Industry Policy and Land-use with the Department of Jobs Economy and Innovation (JEI).

Chris worked and lived in Iqaluit, Nunavut, for over four years. In the role as Senior Advisor for the Energy Secretariat with the Government of Nunavut, he gained insight and deep appreciation for the importance of advancing land use planning through dialogue and relationship building between governments, Inuit governments, communities, and industry. And as Manager of Environmental Assessment and Regulations, he reviewed and coordinated socio-economic impacts for resource development projects in Nunavut. 

Please Note Speakers may change without notice.


Ian Hill

 CEO of the National Grassroots Media Corporation

Welcoming Address

Humanitarian, Business Leader, Award Winning Social Innovator, Professional Development Pioneer, and World Record Breaker; these are some of the words often used when referring to Ian Hill. Whether running a multi-million-dollar business operation with over 1000 employees or spearheading first-of-their-kind life-changing community projects, Ian Hill is recognized for being a catalyst for positive change throughout the world.