TD Presents

The Walrus Talks Resilience

Toronto Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 6:30 p.m.



  • When All Is Lost, Mustafa Ahmed, poet and student
  • Enacting the Possibilities We Envison: Improvisation, Resilience, Hope, Ajay Heble, University of Guelph
  • Community Transformation with Internet of Everything, Rick Huijbregts, Cisco Canada
  • Schools: The Perfect Resilience Training Grounds, Annie Kidder, People for Education
  • Driving Resilience for Cities and Nature, David Miller, WWF Canada
  • Cultural Community, Gabrielle Scrimshaw, Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada
  • Creativity and the Art of Resilience, Matthew Teitelbaum, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Organizational Resilience and Its Traps, Frances Westley, SIG@Waterloo


Mustafa Ahmed started writing at the age of ten as a means of expressing himself and reflecting on society. His poetry touches on the subjects of poverty, drugs, violence, and immigration. Living in Regent Park, Canada’s first inner-city housing project, Mustafa was exposed to the experiences and lifestyles he writes about. Mustafa has performed in association with the Children’s Aid Society, the Toronto District School Board, Hot Docs, and TEDxToronto. You can now purchase his debut EP, either as a CD or digital download, at


Ajay Heble is an English professor at the University of Guelph and the founding director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. He is the author or editor of several books, including Landing on the Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance, and Critical Practice, The Tumble of Reason: Alice Munro’s Discourse of Absence, and Rebel Musics: Human Rights, Resistant Sounds, and the Politics of Music Making, co-edited with Daniel Fischlin. Ajay is the founder and artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival and a founding co-editor of the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation. As a pianist, he has released three LPs: a live recording of improvised music with percussionist Jesse Stewart, entitled Different Windows, and two albums with his quartet, the Vertical Squirrels. Earlier this year, Ajay received the Dr. William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Involvement Award.

Rick Huijbregts is the vice-president, industry transformation, at Cisco Canada, were he oversees two of the company’s top priorities: Smart and Connected Communities and the Internet of Things. Prior to joining Cisco, Rick was executive director of the Center for Design Informatics at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he worked in innovation, technology, change management, and real estate. Rick is currently a faculty member at Harvard University GSD Executive Education, an executive-in-residence for George Brown College, a member of the industry advisory board for the University of Toronto’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, a founding member of the Evergreen CityWorks Leaders Council, and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his groundbreaking work in Canadian community innovation.


Annie Kidder is the executive director of People for Education, an independent organization supporting public education in Ontario’s English, French, and Catholic schools. A former theatre director, she got involved in education originally through her children’s school. She has since received advocacy awards from the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Principals’ Council, and the Toronto Community Foundation. She has spoken at conferences across the country and is regularly quoted in the media as an expert on education issues.


David Miller is a Canadian politician and the president and CEO of WWF Canada. He was the mayor of Toronto from 2003 to 2010 and chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2008 to 2010. During his mayoralty, Toronto gained an international reputation for its environmental leadership, economic strength, and social integration. David continues to work with public and private boards and is the Future of Cities Global Fellow at NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering. In his former capacity as counsel, international business and sustainability, at Aird and Berlis LLP, he advised companies and organizations on issues relating to sustainable urban economies.


Gabrielle Scrimshaw is the co-founder of the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada—the first organization of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area—which offers services and programming to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit professionals. She was previously a program leader and volunteer with Junior Team Canada, where she led trade missions to Peru, China, and Malaysia. In 2010, Gabrielle was selected as a Canadian representative for the G8/G20 My Summits program, where she worked with over 120 international youth delegates. She has received a Civic Action DiverseCity Fellowship and an Indspire Award, the highest honour the Indigenous community bestows upon its own achievers.


Matthew Teitelbaum is director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario, a leading North American art museum with over 800,000 annual visitors. He has received the RCA Medal from the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art Award, and the Canadian Centre for Diversity’s Human Relations Award, and he is a chevalier of the French government’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Matthew is past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, and he is a member of both the Canadian Art Museum Directors’ Organization and the Bizot Group.


Frances Westley is the JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo. She is also one of the principal leads in Social Innovation Generation, a multi-sector partnership supporting social innovation in Canada. Her most recent book, Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed, focuses on the dynamics of social innovation and institutional entrepreneurship in complex adaptive systems. Before joining the University of Waterloo, Frances directed the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She serves on advisory boards associated with the Resilience Alliance, the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, the Stockholm Resilience Center, SARAS, and Evergreen Canada.

The Walrus
Cities for People
Art Gallery of Ontario

The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation as part of an educational mandate to provide forums for conversation on matters vital to Canadians. The Walrus Foundation produces The Walrus magazine, the most awarded publication in Canada, as well as producing content at, on Walrus TV, and on stages from coast to coast to coast.

The Walrus Talks format features eight speakers for seven minutes each on various themes relating to a single topic. Each event offers lively, thoughtful, inspiring, riveting, smart, new thinking from scientists, writers, performers, scholars, and leaders of business and the arts. Each Talks event is followed by a spirited reception with attendees and participants.

The Walrus Talks delivers fresh ideas and new ways of looking at big issues. The Walrus has no “wings.” Our speakers are chosen to reflect a range of experiences and viewpoints, but they all have one thing in common: the desire for real conversation about issues that affect the future of Canada. Our goal is for audience members to think “I never thought about it that way” when the Talks are over.

Dates, details, and ticket information are available at