Western Staff and Leaders' ConferenceWestern University

Coming February 21-23, 2018

Mark it in your calendars - the Western Staff & Leaders' Conference is coming February 21-23, 2018.

2018 Keynote Speakers


Darby Allen

Darby Allen - Feb. 21, 9am
Fort McMurray Fire Chief (Ret.)
Courage Inside the Fire

The 2016 Albertan wildfire was the costliest disaster in Canadian history—destroying 2,400 buildings and homes and displacing the entire community of Fort McMurray. And through it all was Fire Chief Darby Allen. A figure of stability to his community, a reliable source of information to the press, and a humble leader, Chief Allen became the human face of both incredible tragedy and courage. With Allen’s leadership, Fort McMurray was successfully evacuated—and the fire claimed zero lives. How did he maintain composure in life-or-death circumstances? What is it like to endure, and overcome, a disaster of such magnitude in one’s own backyard? Hear Chief Allen's inside story of this incredible event.

Jesse Brown

Jesse Brown - Feb. 21, 1pm
Digital Media Expert, Journalist, Futurist
The Next Canada: Disruptive Innovation

From business to government to education, disruption is coming.  Canadian journalist and digital media expert, Jesse Brown, is no stranger to disruption. Known for his work as a rebel journalist and media critic, Jesse is also an entrepreneur who runs the crowd-funded news site Canadaland (and it’s companion #1 podcast) that has disrupted the way Canadian media works. Drawing on his experiences in technology and media, using examples like Uber and AirBnb, and the Internet of Things, Jesse will discuss an environment that rewards experimentation in a country that is traditionally “wait and see."  How will we fare in a time of rapid change?

Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale - Feb. 22, 9am
National Geographic Photojournalist
Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions

Working in more than 90 countries, through the war in Kosovo to tense border disputes between India and Pakistan, Ami Vitale has lived in mud huts, traveled via rickshaw, and even donned a panda suit to live the story. Recently, she has covered groundbreaking efforts to reintroduce endangered animals to the wild to halt the threat of extinction.  See the world through the eyes of a photojournalist whose career has brought her face-to-face with violence as well as the enduring power of the human spirit. (Photo credit: Sarah Isaacs)


Check back in January 2018 for the full program!


Conference Registration

Registration opens February 1, 2018, 9:00am.

About the Western Staff & Leaders' Conference

Western is committed to the personal and professional development of our employees. The Western Staff & Leaders’ Conference is held on campus each year during Reading Week. The conference features keynote speakers, workshops, a wellness fair, and site tours of some of the great facilities and work taking place at Western. The conference is free to all participants.