Alex Benay was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation (CSTMC) by the Minister of Canadian Heritage in July 2014. The CSTMC operates three national museums: the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, as well as the Canada Science and Technology Museum, and reached close to 14 million Canadians last year. A native of Quebec City, Mr. Benay grew up in Ottawa and attended the University of Ottawa, where he studied history. He is a community volunteer and an active hockey coach for close to 20 years. In addition to his current position, Mr. Benay acts as Director on the Board of the Canadian Association of Science Centres, is an advisory board member on Algonquin College's Applied Museum Studies program, and is an active member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). Mr Benay lives in Ottawa with his wife and two children.


After joining the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1990, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Maryse Carmichael was quickly assigned increasingly more challenging leadership positions. She became the Snowbird’s first female pilot in November 2000 and was appointed commanding officer of the Snowbirds in May 2010 — a world’s first for a female aviator. Over her 22-year career she accumulated nearly 3,500 hours flying. The recipient of many awards, Maryse was recognized in 2006 as one of the Top 100 of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women Executive Network and in 2013 as the recipient of the Elsie MacGil Northern Lights Award. Now retired from the RCAF, Maryse still shares her passion for aviation with her husband, Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) Scott Greenough, a former RCAF fighter pilot, and their two daughters.


The 4th Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15), George Elliott Clarke is an Africadian (African-Nova Scotian).  A prized poet, his 13th work is Traverse (Exile, 2014), an autobiographical poem.  His forthcoming title is the epic, "Canticles," whose subject is slavery and imperialism, to be published, over five years, in three parts, beginning in Fall 2016.  Currently the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has also taught at Duke University (1994-99), McGill University (1998-99), the University of British Columbia (2002), and Harvard University (2013-14).  He has won several awards for his poetry and a novel, and received eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer.

  Named by the National Geographic Society as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, Canadian Wade Davis is perhaps the most articulate and influential western advocate for the world's indigenous cultures. Trained in anthropology and botany at Harvard, he travels the globe to live alongside indigenous people, and document their cultural practices in books, photographs, and film. His stunning photographs and evocative stories capture the viewer's imagination. As a speaker, he parlays that sense of wonder into passionate concern over the rate at which cultures and languages are disappearing -- 50 percent of the world's 7,000 languages, he says, are no longer taught to children. He argues that language is much more than vocabulary and grammatical rules. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind.  Davis is the author of 15 books including The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, and The Wayfinders. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, and he is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers’ Club, and the 2012 recipient of the Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration. His latest books are Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest and The Sacred Headwaters: the Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena and the Nass.

  Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne is the author of  Leading the Historical Enterprise: Strategic Creativity, Planning, and Advocacy for the Digital Age , published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2015. He has written dozens of article and other books on leadership and management of public history, archives, and library and information programs. Dearstyne holds a PhD in History from Syracuse University. He was on the staff of the New York Office of State History, a program director at the New York State Archives, and has taught history courses at the State University of New York at Albany and other institutions. He was also a professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, where he continues to teach as an adjunct professor. 

  Ursula Johnson is an emerging performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and has participated in over 30 group shows and 5 solo exhibitions. Her performances are often place-based and employ cooperative didactic intervention. Recent works include various mediums of sculpture that create consideration from her audience about aspects of intangible cultural heritage as it pertains to the consumption of traditional knowledge within the context of colonial institutions. Mi’kwite’tmn: Do You Remember (hosted by SMU Art Gallery) is a solo exhibition currently on a Canadian National Tour.


Laura Penny teaches in the Contemporary and Early Modern Studies Programmes at the University of King's College in Halifax, N.S.. She is the author of  Your Call is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit (2005) and  More Money than Brains: Why School Sucks, College is Crap, and Idiots Think They're Right (2010). Her writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Ottawa Citizen, The National Post, The Literary Review of Canada, The Chronicle Herald, and on CBC Radio One's  Ideas .


A museologist who has managed projects at the Cultura consulting firm since 1987, René Rivard (FCMA) has 45 years of experience in museology and exhibition development, as well as promoting and interpreting heritage in Quebec, Canada, France, the United States and other countries around the world. He began his career in 1970 as a superintendent of National Historic Sites for Quebec and Ontario. In 1973, he created an Interpretation Services department for Parks Canada’s Quebec region, which he managed until 1980. From 1978 to 1985, he was deployed by UNESCO as a consultant in various African countries. Over the course of his 45-year career, he has contributed to establishing or revamping over 200 museums.