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Government Relations Forum 2022 Speakers

Expert speakers focused on politics, the economy, open banking and government relations strategies will share their insights as a part of this exciting and engaging event. Speaker biographies can be found below, with more speaker bios coming soon!

For more details on the event and to register, visit the event page here.

Speaker Bios

Benjamin Chappell, President & CEO, Alberta Central

Biography

Ben joined Alberta Central in September 2021 and is excited to be working in the province’s vibrant and successful credit union system. In his role as President & CEO, he is focused on engaging with credit unions to understand their perspectives and needs to ensure they are connected to the products, services, expertise and thought leadership they require to be successful.

Ben comes to Alberta Central from the Balancing Pool, a major crown corporation in Alberta’s electricity industry, where he served as its President and CEO. Following significant changes in the sector, he charted a new strategic direction for the Balancing Pool, launched major initiatives in key markets, enhanced stakeholder relationships, and fostered a collaborative corporate culture within the organization. He also served as a board member for SPARK The Energy Credit Union.

Ben brings more than 13 years of experience to Alberta Central that includes roles in strategic planning, asset optimization, portfolio management, risk and compliance. He holds Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and Bachelor of Arts (Economics) degrees from the University of Calgary, both with distinction. He also has his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and his Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D) designation.

Janet Brown, Principal, Janet Brown Opinion Research

Biography

Janet Brown has been examining and tracking public opinion in Alberta for more than 25 years. Throughout her career, Janet has managed research assignments for all levels of government and numerous private sector organizations. She has extensive experience in both quantitative and qualitative research, having designed and managed hundreds of custom research projects.

Janet’s current practice focuses on helping clients better understand key audiences and stakeholder groups they are trying to influence. This could include customers, potential customers, employees, association members, voters, or the general public.

Together with Trend Research, Janet Brown conducted the only poll during the 2019 Alberta provincial election with results that were within the margin of error for all political parties.

She has also led a large-scale public opinion research project for CBC Calgary in Spring 2018, as part of their series “Calgary: The Road Ahead“. This research went beyond the “horse race” numbers to identify the underlying dynamics that are driving public opinion in Alberta ahead of the 2019 provincial election.

Janet is often invited to speak about political and social trends. She is a regular commentator on the CBC Calgary News at SixAlberta Primetime on CTV2 in Alberta, and The Weekend Morning News on Global News Calgary.

She also continues to be active in the academic community and has delivered guest lectures at the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, and Concordia University in Montreal. Janet is co-author of a chapter in “Orange Chinook: Politics in the New Alberta,” which was released by the University of Calgary Press in January 2019. Janet’s chapter is titled “Marginally Better,” and it analyses the publicly released polling from the 2015 Alberta election.

Janet Brown has a B.A. (Hons) in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She also undertook graduate studies in Political Science at York University in Toronto, and studied International Development and International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London, England.

Charles St-Arnaud

Chief Economist, Alberta Central

Biography

An experienced Economist with econometric, modelling and research skills, Charles has the ability to take a global macro view as well as look at country specific issues. He combines expertise in macroeconomics, international economics, economic policy and financial markets with the ability to develop and disseminate innovative trade and investment strategies to a variety of audiences.
Charles brings experience with the Bank of Canada and Ministry of Finance to his role with Alberta Central and has an acute understanding of how monetary and fiscal policy decisions are made and offers credit union stakeholders ongoing assessments on how policymakers and market participants will view and react to economic developments in Alberta and beyond.
A regular contributor on market trends for print and television media, Charles is an advocate for credit union interests and voice of expertise on financial trends on behalf of the system. Charles holds a Master of Science in Economics from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Eyal Sivan

Head of Open Banking, Axway

Biography

Eyal Sivan is the Head of Open Banking at Axway, where he is responsible for positioning the firm as the number one thought leader and integration solution provider in the open banking space. As a member of the elite Catalyst team, he brings a high-degree of specialization in API and microservices technologies within the FSI sector, with a particular focus on how they accelerate
digital transformation.

In his efforts to drive advancements in open banking around the world, Eyal has also created the unique personal brand Mr. Open Banking. Under this name, Eyal hosts the only podcast dedicated to the open banking community, where he interviews the key leaders, innovators and influencers who are driving and shaping the global emergence of open banking.

Athana Mentzelopoulos

Deputy Minister, Treasury Board and Finance

Biography

Athana has extensive public service experience in federal and provincial governments, including serving as deputy minister of Finance in BC, where she was also responsible for the BC Securities Commission and the credit union regulator, the Financial Institutions Commission.

She also served in deputy minister roles in the BC ministries of Intergovernmental Relations; Government Communications; Tourism, Skills Training and Labour; and in many senior roles in the federal government. She holds an Honours BA in political science and economics from Carleton University and an MA in contemporary social and political thought from the University of Victoria.

Matea Maric

Senior Government Relations Advisor, Alberta Central

Biography

Matea Maric is the Senior Government Relations Advisor at Alberta Central, and is responsible for coordinating the Alberta credit union system’s provincial and federal policy and advocacy work. Matea joined Alberta Central in March 2020. Prior to joining Central, Matea worked for a Crown Corporation in the provincially regulated pension sector, as a manager of several public sector pension plan boards and committees. Raised in Alberta, Matea holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Business Law & Economics from the University of Alberta. Matea is dedicated to representing the interests of Alberta credit unions with government, and connecting credit unions to strategic system partners to enhance the competitiveness of the sector.

Kate Hill, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, Alberta Central

Biography

Kate joined Alberta Central because she knows credit unions are unlike any other financial institution out there. For her, the credit union governance model is a unique and important value proposition and she believes the system is at its best when collaborating and solving problems together.

With experience working in federal politics, for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and within the credit union systems in British Columbia and Ontario, Kate’s background gives her the ability to view issues from multiple perspectives and to represent the interests of Alberta credit unions with government, system partners and other centrals.  A continuous learner, Kate is driven to achieve results and challenge the status quo as she leads the audit services, risk management and market research teams.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Queen’s University and a Masters of Public Policy and Public Administration from Ryerson University. Kate also holds an Institute of Corporate Directors Designation (ICD) and a Masters Certificate in Risk Management and Business Performance from York University.