The Walrus Talks is a national series of events about Canada and its place in the world. Each event offers thoughtful, inspiring thinking from scholars, writers, performers, scientists, artists, and business leaders.
Questions about the Walrus Talks? Read our FAQ here.
General Admission: $20
Theatre Junction Grand
608 1 St. S.W.
The rapidly-changing landscapes of technology, learning, research, identity, and more.
- David Allison, marketing and consumer behaviour expert
- Shari Austin, CEO, Century Initiative
- Paul Brandt, country music artist
- Ann-Louise Davidson, associate professor of Education and Concordia University Research Chair in Maker Culture
- Elizabeth Fast, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences, Concordia University
- Mathew Ingram, chief digital writer, Columbia Journalism Review
- Kylie Woods, founder and executive director, Chic Geek
David Allison leads David Allison Inc, a boutique global advisory helping organizations in multiple industry sectors use data and science to take the guesswork out of talking to their target audiences. He’s a frequent keynote speaker, represented by the National Speakers Bureau and the Global Speakers Agency. His fourth book, We Are All the Same Age Now is about Valuegraphics: a data tool that can detect what a target audience wants and what messages will motivate them most.
Shari Austin is the CEO of Century Initiative, a Canadian charity working to enhance Canada’s long-term prosperity through proactive and responsible population growth. Shari retired from RBC in 2015, after a twenty-year career with the bank that included senior roles in payments, regulatory compliance, public policy, industry affairs, and risk management. From 2008 to 2015, she was vice-president of corporate citizenship at RBC and executive director of the RBC Foundation, with global responsibility for RBC’s philanthropy, employee volunteerism and fundraising, environmental affairs, and social finance. Shari currently serves on the boards of The Walrus, the Nature Conservancy Canada, the Futurpreneur Foundation, and the Medavie Health Foundation and is an advisor to the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto on corporate citizenship. In 2016/2017, she served on the Canada Revenue Agency’s advisory panel on the political activities of charities.
Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer, husband, father, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and philanthropist Paul Brandt draws on his musical experiences and abilities as well as his role as a former registered nurse at Alberta’s Children’s Hospital to engage his audiences and
challenge them to be more outward looking and to create “stuff the world needs.”
Having served as Calgary’s Mount Royal University’s storyteller in residence in a recurring role at MRU’s Bissett School of Business, Paul has lead students through an entrepreneurial process of developing new business and social enterprises, including the
successful anti-human-trafficking movement #NotInMyCity. Through storytelling and song, Paul draws on his experiences to help his audiences understand that every person has a unique purpose full of potential.
Ann-Louise Davidson is a professor of education at Concordia University and holds a Concordia University research chair in maker culture. She is the associate director of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, and Technology and director of #MilieuxMake, the Milieux maker-space initiative. Ann-Louise leads several research projects on the potential of maker education, which can be found on educationmakers.ca. She investigates how persistent problem solving, iterative design, and the creative-thinking aspects of maker education help bridge inequalities to give makers a better chance of accessing twenty-first-century STEAM jobs.
She is an avid practical problem solver who grew up as a maker. Her motto is “DYI and recycle and fix rather than buy new.” She loves to empower people through the ethos of making.
Elizabeth Fast is MÃ©tis from St. FranÃ§ois Xavier, Manitoba. She has a PhD in social work from McGill University and was hired as a strategic hire for Indigenous youth at Concordia University in 2015 as a professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences. From 2016 to 2017, Elizabeth served as the special advisor to the provost on Indigenous directions at Concordia. Before returning to school, Elizabeth worked with youth that were transitioning out of care from the child-welfare system and as a social worker. Elizabeth is currently the principal investigator on a research grant that seeks to understand how “legacy education” can be used to strengthen cultural pride among urban Indigenous youth, and she is leading an action research project on improving child-welfare services for Indigenous families in Montreal in partnership with the Native Women’s Shelter. @elizabeth_fast
>b>Mathew Ingram is an award-winning journalist and media consultant who has spent the past two decades writing about business, technology, and new media as well as advising companies on their digital and social-media strategies. He is currently the chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review and prior to that was a senior writer with Fortune magazine, where he wrote about the evolution of media and web culture. Matthew spent fifteen years as a reporter and columnist at the Globe and Mail, becoming its first online columnist and then its social-media editor-one of the first social-media editors at a major newspaper in North America. He developed the newspaper’s approach to online comments and moderation, launched its Facebook page, pioneered a wiki-style site devoted to political discussion, and helped dozens of writers and editors figure out Twitter. He also helped develop digital strategy for the paper. Mathew’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New Zealand Herald, as well as on Bloomberg and Reuters. Among the media outlets he has advised on digital strategy are the Toronto Star, Postmedia, and the CBC.
Kylie Woods is passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and community building. She’s the founder of Chic Geek, a non-profit that curates content, people, and companies to build a supportive community where tech-enabled women advance their careers. Through its mentorship program, technical talks, and conference, Chic Geek helps women build their confidence to learn new technology skills and profiles women as leaders in the tech space.
Kylie is the host of Startup Canada’s national #StartupChats, which take place on Twitter every Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. MT / 12 p.m. ET. Kylie was named Top Forty Under Forty by Avenue Magazine and has been profiled in Metro News as one of the “Calgary Heroes.” In 2016, Kylie represented Alberta in the prestigious International Visitors Leadership Program hosted by the US Department of State and was a voice for women in STEM on an international stage.