Meet the moderator
Community leader and Calgary journalist Deborah Yedlin was elected the 14th chancellor of the University of Calgary, effective July 1st, 2018.
Yedlin has been observing, commenting and writing about business and politics for more than two decades, as a journalist for the Financial Post, Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald newspapers. In addition to her writing, she has been a regular commentator for CBC Radio and Television, and CTV since 1996.
Her journey to becoming a business columnist was unconventional – but an undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta in Economics and English in 1984, coupled with her business experience that was augmented with an MBA from Queen’s University in 1991, have all built towards a resume that includes working on Wall Street and Bay Street.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Yedlin witnessed firsthand the power of education to provide the opportunity to rebuild a life in a new country, as the daughter of immigrants. As both her parents went on to become educators – in the public primary system and at the post-secondary level – Yedlin grew up immersed in the academic world.
Since moving to Calgary in 1992, Yedlin has been very active in the Calgary community. She was co-chair of the 2016 United Way Campaign, which raised more than $55 million during a difficult economic time for the city. She has served on the board of a number of arts and community organizations, including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Opera, YMCA Calgary, United Way Calgary, and Winsport. She was previously a member of the President’s Advisory Council at the University of Alberta and served on the Deans’ Advisory Council for the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary.
Meet the guest
Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is a passionate Calgarian, an accomplished business professional and a community leader with a solid track record of getting things done. He’s run a large non-profit, he’s been a trusted advisor to corporate leaders in Canada and the U.S., and he literally wrote the book on Canadian cities.
Nenshi spent many years at the international business consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, where he advised large telecommunications, banking, retail, and oil and gas companies in corporate strategy. After leaving McKinsey, he formed his own business, the Ascend Group, a consultancy that helps public, private, and non-profit organizations to grow. In this role, he designed major policy for the Alberta government; helped create a Canadian strategy for The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy; and worked with the United Nations to determine how global business can help the poorest people on the planet.
His real passion, though, is making cities, especially Calgary, work better. He’s the lead author of Building Up: Making Canada’s Cities Engines of Growth and Magnets of Development, and has long been putting his ideas to work in Calgary — most notably as Calgary’s 36th mayor, a position he held from 2010 to 2021.
Nenshi has been the chairman of the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts (now Arts Commons), and has lent his expertise to non-profits across the city, including the Calgary Foundation, the United Way, the Coral Springs Community Association and Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids.
He grew up in Calgary and lived and worked in cities around the world before coming back to make his home here. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary, where he was president of the Students’ Union, and a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he studied as a Kennedy Fellow.
Nenshi also served on the leadership team of imagineCalgary, where he was a primary author of Calgary’s 100-year vision.