Sept 25-26, 2024   •   Rama Nation, ON

Forward Summit | EAST

Our biggest event of the year! Don’t miss out and join us at Casino Rama in Rama Nation, Orillia, Ontario on September 25 and 26, 2024. 

Save $300 by registering before June 11th:

Event Overview

overview

New This Year: Partnership with Workforce Forward!

We’re doing 2024 bigger and better than ever. We’re partnering with Workforce Forward to bring the Indigenous Inclusion community to Forward Summit.

Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with even more professionals:

Agenda Coming Soon

With the guidance of our Leadership Council, our conference agenda is in the works! Want to be the first to know when we release our agenda? Sign up to get updates:

Agenda

Day 1: May 14

Opening Blessings & Welcome Addresses

Speakers:

Chief Roy Whitney, Chief of Tsuut’ina Nation, Treaty 7

Grand Chief Arthur Noskey, Grand Chief of the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta

Keynote Speech

Speakers:

Coming soon

Building a Better Today: Voices of Indigenous Youth

Sponsor:

Speakers:

Speakers confirmed in partnership with Actua/CBE

Morning Coffee & Networking

Powering Canada Forward to Net Zero

Speakers:

Amber Big Plume, Manager, Business Development and Projects, First Nation Power Development Inc.

Former Chief Billy Morin, Managing Director, Axxcelus Capital

Digital Economy: The Impact of the Digital Divide and Technological Disruption on the Indigenous Economy in Canada, Including AI and Ethical AI

Speakers:

Moderator: Lawrence Gervais, Director, Indigenous Relations, Phoenix Energy Services, Inc.

Beyond the 5%: The Power of Procurement

Speakers:

Tim Laronde, National Director Indigenous Strategies, Chandos Construction

Aaron Lambie, CEO, Nisto

Jeff Provost, Leader Indigenous Relations, MCW Consultants Ltd.

Culture, Community and Kinship: Leveraging Tourism as an Economic Driver

Speakers:

Coming soon

Networking Lunch

Amplifying the Voices of Others: Indigenous Women as Trailblazers and Changemakers in a Quest for Progress

Speakers:

Moderator: Amanda Ens, Head Indigenous Talent Strategy, BMO Financial Group

Geena Jackson, Executive Producer, Bears Lair TV

Afternoon Coffee and Networking

Sustainable Forestry Initiatives

Speakers:

Moderator: Paul Robitaille, Manager, Indigenous and Youth Relations, Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Jacob Handel, Director, Forest Carbon Origination, Finite Carbon

Tanis OneSpot, Executive Director – Lands, Tsuut’ina Nation

Surviving to Thriving: Community Healing and Economic Development

Speakers:

Teresa Edwards, Executive Director & In-House Legal Counsel, Legacy of Hope Foundation

The Indigenous Conservation Economy and Ethical Finance

Speakers:

Devin Gambler, Principal Owner, Pamihtâw Consulting Inc.

Michael Robert, CFO, Willow Lake Métis Nation

 

Indigenous Energy: Continuing to Advance Indigenous Participation in the Oil & Gas Industry

Speakers:

Jennifer Ezekiel, Vice President, ESG & Strategy, CDN Controls

Jonathan Wright, NuVista Energy

Opening Night Reception

Day 2: May 15

Welcome Addresses

Speakers:

Conference Co-Chair

Keynote Speech

Speakers:

Coming soon

“Nothing About us Without us”: Drawing Strength from Diversity

Speakers:

Moderator: Michelle Fournie, Citizen of Métis Nation of Alberta (Sr. Consultant – Decolonization and Reciprocal Relations, Rise Consulting).

Deborah Green, National Specialist, Indigenous Workforce Development, Suncor Energy

Morning Coffee & Networking

Fueling a New Economy: Hydrogen and Nuclear Power

Speakers:

Guy Lonechild, Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Power Authority

Clayton Heck, C.E.T. / Senior Project Manager, Arrowhead Abandonments Inc

Kennedy Bear Robe, Partner, Gowling WLG

Ethics of Indigenous Engagement & Unconscious Bias

Speakers:

Jorge Avilés, Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations, AiM Land Services

Sheryl-Ann Carscadden, General Manager, The Indigenous Gathering Place

Buddie Dixon, ATCO Frontec

Crafting Indigenous Reconciliation Strategies

Sponsor:

Speakers:

Christy Morgan, Reconciliation Strategy Manager, TELUS  

Lisa San Filippo, Citizens’ Representative for Rocky View Métis District 4, Otipemisiwak Métis Government

Indigenous Technological Empowerment

Speakers:

Moderator:Dennis Kirkness, Council Member, Tataskweyak Cree Nation

Networking Lunch

Reshaping Modern Economies: Indigenous Economic Innovation

Speakers:

Cliffton Cross, Council Member, Frog Lake First Nation

Ted Bauer, VP, Engagement and External Relations, AIOC

Annmarie Garbie, National Practice Leader, Indigenous Services, BFL Canada

Afternoon Coffee and Networking

Bridging the Equity Gap: How to Structure Joint Ventures & Major Projects

Speakers:

Coming soon

Food Sovereignty & Agriculture: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Sponsor:

Speakers:

Elizabeth Romo-Rabago, Co-Founder, Ciclomanias

Indigenous and Industry Partnerships: Creating Economic and Employment Opportunities

Speakers:

Moderator: Jorge Avilés, Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations, AiM Land Services

Tanya Rexin, ATCO Frontec, Indigenous Relations Manager, ATCO Frontec
Don Ross, CEO, George Gordon Developments

Best Practices in Workforce Engagement – Clinics:
Cultural Awareness & Respect, Business Collaboration, & Allyship and Antiracism Training

Speakers:

Deanna Burgart, Associate Professor (Teaching), Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Teaching Chair, Weaving Indigenous Knowledge and Perspectives in Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering

Building Capacity in Community & Indigenous Inclusion

Speakers:

Deanna Dunham, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs, Kids Help Phone
JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
Patrick Hibbitts, Senior Vice President, Fort McKay Landing LP

Building Capacity in Community & Indigenous Inclusion

Speakers:

Deanna Dunham, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs, Kids Help Phone
JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
Patrick Hibbitts, Senior Vice President, Fort McKay Landing LP

Building Capacity in Community & Indigenous Inclusion

Speakers:

Deanna Dunham, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs, Kids Help Phone
JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
Patrick Hibbitts, Senior Vice President, Fort McKay Landing LP

Building Capacity in Community & Indigenous Inclusion

Speakers:

Deanna Dunham, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs, Kids Help Phone
JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
Patrick Hibbitts, Senior Vice President, Fort McKay Landing LP

Building Capacity in Community & Indigenous Inclusion

Speakers:

Deanna Dunham, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs, Kids Help Phone
JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
Patrick Hibbitts, Senior Vice President, Fort McKay Landing LP

Building Capacity in Community & Indigenous Inclusion

Speakers:

Deanna Dunham, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs, Kids Help Phone
JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
Patrick Hibbitts, Senior Vice President, Fort McKay Landing LP

Building Capacity in Community & Indigenous Inclusion

Speakers:

Deanna Dunham, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs, Kids Help Phone
JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
Patrick Hibbitts, Senior Vice President, Fort McKay Landing LP

speakers

Speakers Announcements
Coming in June 2024...

Industry experts and inspiring thought-leaders, our speakers are hand-selected by our Leadership Council to represent the topics that matter most right now. 

Guy Lonechild

CEO
First Nations Power Authority

Chief Billy Morin

Managing Director
Axxcelus Capital Advisory

Amber Big Plume

Manager, Business Development and Projects
First Nation Power Development Inc

Jorge Avilés

Manager, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations
ATCO Gas

Tim Laronde

National Director, Indigenous Strategies
Chandos Construction

Jeff Provost

Leader, Indigenous Relations
MCW Consultants Ltd.

Tanya Rexin

Indigenous Relations Manager
ATCO Frontec

Diane Gray

President
Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan)

Don Ross

CEO
George Gordon Developments Ltd.

Paul Robitaille

Senior Indigenous Relations Advisor
Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Amanda Ens

Head, Indigenous Talent Strategy
BMO

Aaron Lambie

CEO/President
Nisto

council

Leadership Council

Our content is guided and put together with the guidance of over twenty experts, community leaders, and passionate individuals recognized by the public.

Featured Members:

Mary French

President
All Nations United

Alita Murowchuk

Indigenous Community Engagement Advisor Canada
AECOM

Mindy Henyu

Indigenous & Community Relations
Infinitely Iskwew Consulting Ltd

Tim Laronde

National Director, Indigenous Strategies
Chandos Construction

Stay at the venue!

Casino Rama Resort is a premier gaming & entertainment destination and Ontario‘s only First Nations Resort casino. Located on Rama First Nation, a progressive community rich in history, the property was built and designed to pay homage to the culture and proud heritage of Rama First Nation.

Get a reduced rate by calling 1-800-832-7529 and using the Forward Summit Reference code

Want to Take Part? Become a Partner!

We have three events happening across Canada this year. Learn more about the high level Indigenous and non-indigenous industry and community leaders that your brand will get exposed to.

Popular spot go fast! Find out what opportunities are remaining by having our team reach out to you to connect.

Come as a Team

Come as a team, leave empowered with a shared vision!

Download our Corporate Kit today to learn more about exclusive discounts for teams of four or more!

Join as an Artisan

Showcase your handmade and artisanal works at Forward Summit to connect with a vibrant community dedicated to cultural exchange

Apply to join the Artisan Fair

networking

Get a Jump Start on Networking

See who’s attending and prebook your meetings using the app! 

This platform is available to registered participants.

See what forward summit is all about!

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Blessings & Welcome Address

Opening Blessings & Welcome Address

Day 1    8:30AM – 8:45AM

Honouring the Land:

The conference will commence with the opening blessings from local Indigenous leaders in recognition of their land.

Grand Chief Arthur Noskey

Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta

Chief Roy Whitney

Chief of Tsuut’ina Nation, Treaty 7

Keynote

Keynote Speech

Day 1    8:45AM – 9:00AM

Kicking off the Conference:

We will have the opportunity to hear some gracious and motivational remarks that will set the tone and inspire us for the upcoming experience that is the two days at Forward Summit |WEST 2024!

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Panel Discussion

Building a Better Today: Voices of Indigenous Youth

Day 1   |   9:00AM – 10:15AM

Session Description:

There is great potential for Indigenous youth and their active participation in economic and leadership roles. In an era of Truth and Reconciliation fostering inclusivity and creating space for Indigenous youth in the workforce is crucial for building a more equitable and sustainable future. Hear from young Calgary Board of Education Indigenous leaders about what Economic Reconciliation means to them and how Industry can be more inclusive.

Sponsor:

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Panel Discussion

Powering Canada Forward to Net Zero

Day 1   |   9:00AM – 10:15AM

Session Description:

By aligning interests, fostering collaboration, and creating opportunities; institutional investors, Indigenous communities, and industry can collectively drive transition towards a net zero economy while advancing a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable energy future. This session will focus on wind and solar, critical minerals and other natural resource projects and initiatives 

Former Chief Billy Morin

Managing Director
Axxcelus Capital Advisory

Amber Big Plume

Manager, Business Development & Projects
First Nation Power Development Inc.

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Digital Economy: The Impact of the Digital Divide and Technological Disruption on the Indigenous Economy in Canada, Including AI and Ethical AI

Day 1   |   9:00AM – 10:15AM

Session Description:

Addressing the digital divide and leveraging technology, including AI, in an ethical manner, can present both challenges and opportunities for Indigenous communities in Canada. Strategic initiatives that prioritize inclusivity, respect cultural values, and empower Indigenous participation in the digital economy are essential for ensuring a positive impact. This cutting-edge session discusses: Investment in Infrastructure, Digital Literacy Programs, Cultural Inclusion in Tech Development, and Support for Indigenous Innovation.

Lawrence Gervais

Director, Indigenous Relations
Phoenix energy Services, Inc.

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Beyond the 5%: The Power of Procurement

Day 1   |   10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

the power of Indigenous procurement goes beyond economic transactions; it has the potential to foster self-determination, cultural preservation, and holistic community development. By recognizing and supporting Indigenous businesses, societies can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable future. This informative session provides insights into Industry responsibilities and keeping up with federal mandates, Procurement readiness for communities, measuring and monitoring the procurement process, and the challenges and opportunities associated with the Indigenous Business directory.

Tim Laronde

National Director, Indigenous Strategies
Chandos Construction

Jeff Provost

Leader Indigenous Relations
MCW Consultants Ltd.

Aaron Lambie

CEO & President
Nisto

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Culture, Community and Kinship: Leveraging Tourism as an Economic Driver​

Day 1   |   10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

Tourism in Alberta continues to soar and is a driver for economic gain throughout the entire province. Indigenous communities in Alberta have been increasingly leveraging the tourism industry to share their cultural traditions and generate economic benefits. Through storytelling, successful projects, and forward-thinking plans, they are creating opportunities for cultural exchange while contributing to community prosperity.

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Panel Discussion

Amplifying the Voices of Others: Indigenous Women as Trailblazers and Changemakers in a Quest for Progress

Day 1   |  1:30PM – 3:00PM

Session Description:

Indigenous women have played a crucial role in shaping their communities and contributing to the broader economic landscape. Their resilience, wisdom, and unique perspectives bring valuable insights to various sectors. Hear from these inspirational Indigenous women who have made significant contributions and their perspectives on the current economic landscape.

Geena Jackson

Executive Producer, Creator, & Core Judge
Bear’s Lair

Amandas Ens

Head, Indigenous Talent Strategy
BMO

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Sustainable Forestry Initiatives

Day 1   |  3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

This session brings together forest sector organizations, communities, and non-profits to discuss what true partnerships and collaboration can look like that balance effective environmental stewardship with economic and community interests. Through effective collaboration, sustainable forest management can help address a myriad of local and global issues, including carbon capture, biodiversity and climate resiliency, and economic self-determination in Indigenous communities.

Paul Robitaille

Senior Indigenous Relations Advisor
Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Jacob Handel

Director, Forest Carbon Origination
Finite Carbon

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Surviving to Thriving: Community Healing and Economic Development

Day 1   |  3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

The health and prosperity of Indigenous communities are intertwined, emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive approach that addresses not only physical health but also cultural, economic, and environmental factors. Recognizing and respecting the unique values and traditions of each Indigenous community is crucial in developing policies and initiatives aimed at fostering holistic well-being and prosperity. 

Teresa Edwards

Executive Director, In-House Legal Counsel
Legacy of Hope Foundation

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

The Indigenous Conservation Economy and Ethical Finance

Day 1   |  3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

The Indigenous Conservation Economy and sustainable finance mechanisms work hand in hand to promote environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and economic development in Indigenous communities. By acknowledging the value of traditional knowledge and integrating it with modern conservation strategies, these approaches contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable model of development.

Devin Gambler

Principal Owner
Pamihtâw Consulting Inc.

Michael Robert

CFO
Willow Lake Métis Nation

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Indigenous Energy: Continuing to Advance Indigenous Participation in the Oil & Gas Industry

Day 1   |  3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Meaningful Indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry involves not only economic partnerships but also a commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility (ESG), and the empowerment of Indigenous Peoples in decision-making processes. Organizations that invest in authentic relationships contribute not only to the well-being of Indigenous communities but also to the long-term success and sustainability of the energy industry.  

Jonathan Wright

President & CEO
NuVista Energy Ltd.

Jennifer Ezekiel

Vice President, ESG & Strategy
CDN Controls

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Panel Discussion

“Nothing About us Without us”: Drawing Strength from Diversity

Day 2    9:00AM – 10:15AM

Session Description:

The process of decolonizing spaces and policies requires a deep commitment, ongoing education, and collaborative efforts with Indigenous communities. This panel dives into key points and models related to adopting and implementing principles of Reconciliation and fostering a culture of inclusion. 

Deborah Green

Senior Specialist Advisor, Indigenous Workforce Development
Suncor Energy

Michelle Fournie

Sr. Consultant – Decolonization and Reciprocal Relations
Rise Consulting

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Fueling a New Economy: Hydrogen and Nuclear Power

Day 2    10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

By actively participating in the development and management of hydrogen and nuclear energy projects, Indigenous communities can not only contribute to clean energy solutions but also enhance their economic well-being and self-determination. Collaboration with external partners and a focus on sustainability and cultural considerations are key elements in maximizing the benefits of these opportunities. Hear from key players behind these exciting fuels: what are the challenges, opportunities, and regulatory hurdles.   

Guy Lonechild

CEO
First Nations Power Authority

Kennedy Bear Robe

Partner
Gowling WLG

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Ethics of Indigenous Engagement & Unconscious Bias

Day 2    10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

Addressing unconscious bias in Indigenous engagement is an ongoing process that requires commitment, self-awareness, and a genuine willingness to learn and adapt. By incorporating these principles into engagement practices, individuals and organizations can contribute to more respectful and equitable relationships with Indigenous communities. 

Jorge Avilés

Senior advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations
AiM Land Services

Sheryl-Ann Carscadden

General Manager
The Indigenous Gathering place

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Crafting Indigenous Reconciliation Strategies

Day 2    10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

Aligning organizational initiatives with the recommendations of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action can demonstrate a commitment to addressing the legacy of colonialism and promoting reconciliation. Going beyond this commitment is ACTION. This session reflects on creating pathways for Indigenous peoples to succeed within organizations through mentorship programs, leadership training and blending Indigenous values and Indigenous processes into employment and leadership development.  

Sponsor:

Christy Morgan

Reconciliation Strategy Manager, TELUS 

Lisa San Filippo

Citizens’ Representative for Rocky View Métis District 4, Otipemisiwak Métis Government

Roundtable

Indigenous Technological Empowerment

Day 2    10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

The integration of Indigenous perspectives into STEM and the future of work is not only an ethical imperative but also a pathway to innovation and sustainable development. Collaborative efforts from governments, educational institutions, industries, and Indigenous communities are essential to ensure a more inclusive and equitable future.

Dennis Kirkness

Council Member, Tataskweyak Cree Nation

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Panel Discussion

Reshaping Modern Economies: Indigenous Economic Innovation

Day 2    3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

The key to self-governance and self-determination is economic development. Hear from a panel of nationally recognised Indigenous Leaders sharing their knowledge and thoughts with us on what shape economic development could take, leaving us with food for thought as we move towards Economic Reconciliation.

Cliffton Cross

Council Member
Frog Lake First Nations

Annmarie Garby

National Practice Leader
BFL Canada

Ted Bauer

Vice President, Engagement and External Relations
AIOC

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Bridging the Equity Gap: How to Structure Joint Ventures & Major Projects

Day 2    3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Bridging the equity gap in joint ventures and major projects involving Indigenous communities requires a thoughtful and inclusive approach. successful collaboration with Indigenous communities requires a commitment to building relationships based on trust, respect, and shared benefits. Engaging in open and transparent communication, valuing Indigenous perspectives, and adapting project structures to accommodate diverse needs. 

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Food Sovereignty & Agriculture: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Day 2    3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Agriculture, rooted in Traditional Ecological Knowledge, represent holistic and sustainable approaches to managing and nourishing communities in harmony with the environment. The preservation and revitalization of these practices are crucial for the well-being of Indigenous peoples and the broader goal of achieving global food security in a sustainable manner. This session highlights learning from Indigenous practices for environmental sustainability, learning from Indigenous way of living off the land for self-sufficiency and how land-based learning promotes the wellbeing of the economy.

Sponsor:

Elizabeth Romo Rábago

Environmental Practitioner & Impact Entreprenuer
Ciclomanias LP

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Indigenous and Industry Partnerships: Creating Economic and Employment Opportunities

Day 2    3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

This valuable session will highlight case studies of how Indigenous and industry partnerships can create economic and employment opportunities that allow nations to develop capacity, learn from one another, and develop long-term, meaningful, and sustainable outcomes. Learn about partnerships and working in tandem, providing “wrap around support” to increase employee retention, and implementing successful training programs.  

Jorge Avilés

Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations
AiM Land Services

Tanya Rexin

Indigenous Relations Manager
ATCO Frontec

Don Ross

CEO
George Gordon Developments

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Best Practices in Workforce Engagement – Clinics: Cultural Awareness & Respect, Business Collaboration, & Allyship and Antiracism Training

Day 2    3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Cultural Awareness & Respect: Indigenous Awareness and Education, Indigenous Customs and Protocol, Creating Safe Workplaces, redefining professionalism in the context of equity & cultural safety.

Business Collaboration: Employment Strategies– Recruitment, Retention, Mentoring and developing Indigenous Talent.

Allyship and Antiracism Training: Allyship and antiracism training focused on Indigenous ways of thinking is an important step towards fostering understanding, respect, and collaboration between Indigenous communities and the broader society.

Deanna Burgart

Co-Founder & President
IndigiSTEAM

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced