Innovations in Business Models and Management

Plenary session – Friday, June 16 | 8:30 am

Keynote speaker: Carol Anne Hilton

Carol Anne Hilton

Carol Anne Hilton, MBA is the CEO of Transformation International an award winning Social and Economic development company. Carol Anne is a recognized leading First Nation’s business entrepreneur with an international Masters Degree in Business Management (MBA) from the University of Hertfordshire, England. Carol Anne is from the Nuu chah nulth Nation on Vancouver Island.

Carol Anne was recently appointed as an advisor on the Federal Economic Growth Council. The Council advises the Federal Finance Minsister Morneau on economic growth. Carol Anne is currently authoring ‘Indigenomics- a Global Power Shift’

Transformation’s work has been recognized with a BC Aboriginal Outstanding Business Achievement Award, a Creating Wealth Award from the National Indigenous Council of Elders and Business of the Year Award from the Nuu chah nulth Economic Development Corporation. In November 2015, Carol Anne was also recently nominated for work in multi-culturalism by the BC Government.

Carol Anne has been an instructor at Camosun Business School Leadership Program as well as at Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development Program, the University of Winnipeg’s Masters in Community Planning Program and most recently with the Banff Center’s Indigenous Business Program.

Carol Anne currently serves as Director on the Vancouver Island Investment Fund, the World Fisheries Trust, the Victoria Community Micro Lending Society, and was a Director on Community Social Planning Council as well as a past Director of the founding board for the First Nations Health Authority.


Keynote speaker: Jean-François Levasseur

Director, Innovation, Industry & Indigenous Programs, Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service

Forest Innovation – The Canadian Way
How a national commodity-focused industry has evolved into a world leader in sustainability and a global hub of innovation

The story of how Canada’s forest industry is transforming itself from a commodity producer into a global innovator is remarkable. And it is far from complete. Canada’s governments and industries have recognized the potential of working together in using renewable forest fibre and biomass as an economical and entirely sustainable substitute for non-renewable feedstocks. The Forest Industry is accomplishing this by looking beyond its traditional pathways and business models to identify opportunities for the development and commercialisation of new products, processes, markets and applications. This need for transformation brought together key stakeholders—private-sector competitors as well as representatives from Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments, each of which had a vested interest in the industry’s long-term prosperity—to develop an integrated system of innovation that drew on the best elements of the industry’s public and private-sector players.

One of many unique catalysts in the Industry’s transformation is NRCan’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Program which created new opportunities for Canadian companies to demonstrate their innovative technologies on the world stage and in the rapidly growing global market for carbon-beneficial products and processes The particular feature of this program is that it allowed the industry to concurrently pursue new business models and bridge the funding gap (e.g. “valley of death”) from research and development (R&D) to new bioproduct production. Through a few case specific examples that recently took form within Canada’s supporting forest sector innovation ecosystem elements; this presentation will be highlighting the different business models pursued, the new unconventional business partnerships created and some of the challenges faced by businesses  implementing transformative strategies.


Jean-François Levasseur

Jean-François Levasseur

Jean-François started his career as a chemical engineer with a variety of operational and managerial roles in Canadian pulp mills, including mill process optimization, bioenergy projects and environmental management systems.

With Environment Canada he assumed executive leadership roles on high profile issues concerning water pollutants, environmental effects monitoring, air contaminants, toxic substances and climate change related regulatory aspects applicable to the Canadian forest products industry.

Since joining Natural Resources Canada in 2009, Jean-François played an integral role around forest industry policy, design and implementation of funding programs supporting the transformation of the forest sector, such as the Pulp & Paper Green Transformation (PPGTP), the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program, the Forest Innovation Program supporting R&D for transformative technologies and most recently also leads on the implementation of the Indigenous Forestry Initiative.

Together, these programs provided more than $1.3B worth in strategic economic analysis, R&D and capital investments towards energy efficiency improvements, green energy production and the commercialization of innovative transformative technologies, such as advanced bioenergy, biomaterials, biochemicals and next-generation building products across industrial forest products facilities. Many of these first-in-kind projects help further demonstrate where forest biomass can be used to replace fossil fuel based feedstocks in the manufacture of a variety of products such as fuels, chemicals and specialty materials.