Symposium & Hall of Fame Awards Gala: Leading business transformation in an age of disruption

Please join us to honour the world’s first online MBA founders and distinguished alumni at our inaugural Symposium & Hall of Fame Awards Gala: Leading business transformation in an age of disruption

In 1994, Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business (AU-FB) launched the world’s first fully online MBA program. Many said the program would fail, but here we are today stronger than ever.

By offering our MBA program online, many learners gained access to a flexible, high quality, graduate-level business education, while still living their lives. We were and will continue to be the difference makers for individuals, organizations, and businesses.

Visit to learn more about the last 25 years and our exciting journey ahead.

We are boldly looking to the future, empowering our learners and alumni to continue leading business transformation in this age of disruption.

Dr. Deborah Hurst | Dean, Faculty of Business

When: October 17, 2019

Cost: Symposium and Hall of Fame Awards Gala $299+GST

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Matrix Hotel, 10640-100 Avenue, Edmonton, AB

Guest speakers

Keynote: Dr. Graham Lowe, PhD, The Graham Lowe Group

Graham Lowe has over 30 years of organizational, labour market, and policy consulting experience across Canada and internationally. He is president of The Graham Lowe Group Inc., a workplace consulting and research firm. He also was a founding partner (2005–08) of the Great Place to Work® Institute Canada, an affiliate of the U.S.-based global consulting firm specializing in cultural transformation. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta and has been a visiting professor, lecturer, and researcher at other universities in Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Graham is the author of Creating Healthy Organizations: How Vibrant Workplaces Inspire Employees to Achieve Sustainable Success. He currently is working on a thoroughly updated 2nd edition of this book. His latest book, with Frank Graves, is entitled Redesigning Work: A Blueprint for Canada’s Future Well-Being and Prosperity. Graham also has contributed articles to practitioner publications, including Policy Options, HR Professional, Health & Productivity Management, Canadian HR Reporter, Canadian Business, Healthcare Quarterly, Healthcare Papers and Qmentum Quarterly. He has given hundreds of conference talks and workshops across Canada and internationally.

Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Joe Cox, Canada Research Chair in Digital Disruption and Organizational Transformation, Athabasca University

Dr. Joe Cox is an economist working in the area of the digital economy. He holds a PhD from the University of Portsmouth and worked there for more than thirteen years, holding several key positions including Economics and Finance Research Lead and Director of Undergraduate Programs in Economics. He joined the Faculty of Business at Athabasca University in September 2018 in the prestigious role of Canada Research Chair.

Dr. Cox is an active researcher in the area of the digital economy and has regularly published his work in a range of leading journals, including Computers in Human Behavior, the European Journal of Operational Research, Kyklos, the Journal of Cultural Economics and Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly. He has also authored chapters appearing in edited books such as the economics of the video gaming leisure market in the Handbook on the Economics of Leisure and a chapter on crowdfunding in creative and cultural industries in the upcoming Handbook of Research on Crowdfunding.

In addition to his published work, Dr. Cox has been the principal investigator on a number of major research grants including ‘Volunteer and Crowdsourcing Economics (VOLCROWE)’, a $1.3m project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the UK involving collaborators from the Universities of Oxford, Manchester and Leeds. He was also the academic lead on the $500k ‘Landscape Watch’ project funded by Innovate UK, which involved collaboration between the University of Portsmouth, a small-medium enterprise and local government. He has been instrumental in establishing significant partnerships and research collaborations with external organizations such as Lendwithcare (part of CARE International), the Citizen Science Alliance and the Crowdfunding Centre.

Industry Panel Chair & Facilitator: Dr. Stephen Murgatroyd, PhD FBPsS FRSA, Founding Director of AU-FB’s MBA Program

Stephen has a long history of innovation. Stephen was the Founding Director of Athabasca University’s MBA (the first fully online MBA in the world, launched in 1994). He also created a work-based Masters in Leadership for Middlesex University (UK), innovated in digital consulting for Axia NetMedia / Lifeskills and founded a just-in-time publishing company – FutureThink Press.

He is now CEO of a technology company – the Collaborative Media Group Inc., which provides a collaborative sharing platform, used by ATB, Athabasca University, Scotiabank MD, REACH Edmonton, the CHL and many others. Stephen is the author of over forty books, and has consulted for thirty of the Fortune 100 companies and continues to consult around the world. In 2019 alone, he will have offered services in Canada, Dubai, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Paraguay. Stephen continues to teach in the MBA program and offers a course in strategic foresight for leadership at the University of Alberta.

Panelist: Curtis Stange, President and CEO, ATB Financial

If there’s one thing that 30-plus years in the financial industry in Canada has taught Curtis Stange, it’s that people are at the heart of everything. It’s with courage, disciplined thought and precise action that Curtis leads 5,500 team members at ATB Financial as President & CEO. ATB is Alberta’s largest financial institution and provides personal, business, agriculture, corporate, investment banking, and wealth management services to nearly 770,000 customers.

Curtis has led teams across diverse geographic markets and through various economic cycles. He has touched every major province in the country—always with an inquisitive nature and a desire to get to know the people and places around him.

Alberta, with its broad diversity in both people and landscapes, is where Curtis calls home. Here, at ATB, he created a new line of business focused on Alberta entrepreneurs and played a key role in the transformation of ATB’s banking systems—the company’s biggest technology challenge in a generation.

He has received the Order of Athabasca University for public service and is a strong advocate for mental health. When he’s not speaking with customers, reading their letters and chatting with them on Twitter, Curtis maintains a healthy and active lifestyle and focuses on connecting with family.

Curtis is piloting ATB into Alberta’s banking future—a future where he sees people and technology as equally as important. Because he believes behind every new technology disruption is a person with a bright idea to grow and develop and a customer who is expecting a remarkable experience.

About ATB Financial

ATB Financial is a financial institution and Crown corporation owned by the Province of Alberta. ATB Financial operates in Alberta only, providing financial services to over 753,000 Albertans and Alberta-based businesses. ATB has 175 branches and 141 agencies, serving a total of 243 communities in Alberta.

Headquartered in Edmonton, with total assets of $51.9 billion (2018 Annual Report), ATB Financial is the largest Alberta-based financial institution. ATB Financial is not a chartered bank and, unlike all banks operating in Canada, is regulated entirely by the Government of Alberta under the authority of the Alberta Treasury Branches Act, RSA 2000, c. A-37, and Treasury Branches Regulation 187/97. The legislation is modeled on the statutes and regulations governing other financial institutions and other guidelines to financial institutions issued by the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. ATB Financial is also one of fifteen financial institutions that participates in Canada’s Large Value Transfer System.

ATB Financial is consistently ranked as amongst the best places to work in Canada – 2nd in 2019 and 1st in Alberta.

Panelist: Victoria Grainger, Founder, Wellness Works Canada

Victoria is a passionate advocate for the impact health has on performance. Her passion for promoting health started at a young age from watching her mom suffer from obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and depression and her sudden passing at the young age of 37. Since about 2006, Victoria has been advocating for the profound impact that health has on performance and productivity in the workplace setting. Supporting the >90% of working population that often spend more time with colleagues then family is vital to help reduce the 70% of premature deaths due to preventable disease while creating more awareness and adoption of the effectiveness of workplace health and performance strategies.

She has worked in the field of health promotion and population health for close to 20 years. Most of that time has been spent working with the public, not-for-profit and private organizations in developing, implementing and evaluating comprehensive workplace wellness strategies. She also has several years of experience working with non-profit and government organizations.

As the founder of Wellness Works Canada, she is living her dream of making a true impact in the new and growing industry of workplace health and performance.

She has an MBA (2018) from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Physical Education specializing in health promotion from the University of Alberta.

About Wellness Works Canada

Wellness Works Canada (WWC) is the first and only national not-for-profit membership-based organization to provide thought leadership, certifications, education and advocacy dedicated solely to effective, sustainable workplace health and performance strategies.

Focusing on small-medium sized organizations, Wellness Works bridges the gap between employee health, organizational performance and our national economy. Organizations can become certified as Partners, Ambassadors, Masters or Mentors to showcase their commitment to health and performance while gaining access to services and products that are evidence-informed, simple, results-based and cost-effective. Simply put, WWC bolsters organizational performance through better health and a focus on wellness.

Panelist: Dan Giurescu, CEO/Founder of TerraHub

Visionary. Strategizer. Idea Accelerator. Serial Entrepreneur. Dan is the Founder of TerraHub. Dan created TerraHub after his own attempt to build a blockchain product and struggling to find realistic, knowledgeable sources. Dan saw the need for a company to help cut through the myths and provide real world advice and guidance.

Dan thrives on the challenge of commercializing new concepts, guiding teams and inspiring action by creating an environment where taking risks in pursuit of success is encouraged. Community focused. Dan supports numerous local charities and is a member of the A100, TEC Canada Blockchain Advisor, Athabasca University Faculty of Business’ Business Leadership Advisory Council and Mentor with IBM-District Ventures.

About TerraHub

TerraHub is a product company that creates value for enterprises by commercializing the most compelling blockchain and AI ideas. With over 1,600 professionals trained in blockchain, 85+ conference presentations and keynotes in 2018 alone. TerraHub has now begun a new journey of building the first digital platform developed with private blockchain and artificial intelligence technology, giving companies a secure and significantly more efficient supply chain. Four Links (credential, cost, asset and market) connect core business functions and enable workflow automation, collaboration, intelligence with context, price transparency and the development of strong suppliers that fuel industry with their solutions.

Panelist: Alexandra Cutean, Senior Director of Research and Policy, Information and Communications Technology Council

Alexandra is the Senior Director of Research and Policy at the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Her work experience extends across Canada, the US and Europe with a basis on research, policy development, and consulting. Authoring reports including the Canadian Digital Innovation Measure, The Digital Talent Dividend, Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Work in Canada, and Mapping Calgary’s Digital Future, Alexandra’s role at ICTC focuses on providing in-depth research, analysis and policy considerations for the Canadian digital economy.

About ICTC

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit national centre of expertise for the digital economy. ICTC is a large network of industry, educational institutions, and policy makers representing the digital economy in Canada. It is an independent and neutral policy advisor to business and governments across Canada and an authoritative source of technology, economic, and labour market research. ICTC is a leader in capacity building programs and solutions for the digital economy.

Panelist: Adriano Marini, Senior Technology Consultant, Ernst and Young LLP

Adriano is a Senior Consultant from the Technology Advisory practice at Ernst and Young LLP. He is focused on providing leading-edge digital solutions to clients who seek to adapt and transform their business to suit the rapidly changing world of modern business. During his tenure at EY, Adriano has worked on a variety of Analytics and Information Management (IM). Specifically, IM is the core subject of a long-term project of his involving an industry-leading tool implementation in a government organization. Prior to joining EY, Adriano was a program coordinator at a provincial public university, focused on providing services to new undergraduate students. His role centred on program development and administration, as well as the management and development of people core to the programs execution.

About Ernst and Young LLP

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY better-connected consultants help EY clients thrive in the Transformative Age.

EY asks better questions to help find answers to some of the world’s toughest challenges by connecting with each other, EY clients, market influencers and strategic alliances globally to help build a better working world. The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

Panelist: Rod Schatz, Managing Director, Alidade Strategies

Rod is a senior executive and serial entrepreneur with an information management focus where he delivers value to organizations through the use of data in unique and creative ways by leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Rod has presented over 20 conference presentations dealing with applied use of innovative information technologies to empower business growth through new business models and digital transformation. In 2016, Rod co-edited a book (Phantom ex Machina) which focused on digital transformations effects on business models and the outcomes of digital disruption in the 4th Industrial era. Rod’s most recent business venture assists multi-billion dollar organizations to apply digital technologies and information management techniques to provide new value to their customers and employees for superior business outcomes. This work assists organizations on their digital transformation journey where information is the lifeblood to their organizations and their new strategic asset.

About Alidade Strategies Inc.

Alidade Strategies is a technology management consulting company focused on assisting organizations with their transformation from industrial processes to a completely digital business. Alidade Strategies specializes in building information based technology strategies to align and support an organization’s key performance indicators. They assist organizations with empowering their information through the use of advanced analytics (A.I. / Machine Learning, Business Intelligence and Visualizations) and other digitization technologies (Robotic Process Automation and Low-code development). In addition, Alidade Strategies offers several services including the short to medium-term support of a virtual chief information officer and technology management consulting.


1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.RegistrationAmber Room
1:30 p.m. - 1:40 p.m.Welcome and Introductions
Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Joe Cox
1:40 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.Opening Comments
Dr. Matthew Prineas and Dr. Deborah Hurst
Amber Room
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.Keynote and Q&A
Keynote: Dr. Graham Lowe
Amber Room
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.Networking Break
3:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Panel Discussion and Q&A
Facilitator: Dr. Stephen Murgatroyd
Panelists: Curtis Stange, Victoria Grainger, Dan Giurescu, Alexandra Cutean, Adriano Marini, Rod Schatz
Amber Room
5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.Networking Break
5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.Cocktail Reception  Quartz Ballroom
6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.25th Anniversary Video Viewing
Remarks from Dr. Neil Fassina and Dr. Deborah Hurst
Quartz Ballroom
7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.DinnerQuartz Ballroom
7:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.Presentation of Awards to Hall of Fame Inductees and MBA Builders


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Thank you to our Symposium Partners!

There is a special rate for the Matrix Hotel at $160/night (plus GST). This rate includes an executive breakfast buffet and self-parking. If you are interested, please use this link