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Biography of Speakers For Peak Leadership Sessions


Robert Murray Biography: Keynote Speaker and storyteller. With more than twenty years of Senior Executive Business experience with Fortune 100 and small start-up organizations in Marketing, Sales, Operations, Business Development and General Management in over 12 countries, has enabled me to become a passionate storyteller and leadership mentor. Some of the 17 different start-up, integration and turn-a-round initiatives from concept to success in the toughest professional and personal scenarios imaginable, has given me an insight into leadership and life that you cannot get in a classroom. Riveting stories with drama, heartbreak, intensity, adventure and laughter that connect the everyday to everyone in business and leadership. Tried and tested models that make a difference to team engagement and success. And, insightful enlightenment to remind us about balance, love, life, being more conscious and not taking things too seriously. They are all waiting for you. Along the way, I have been the recipient of two New York Festival Awards and one Summit Award (in Portland, Oregon) for Marketing Innovation Excellence. Among the many hats I wear, each day you can find me being: • The Chairman of The GrowthPoint Group, a collection of the finest business minds to be found • Advisory Board Member for ElementFour, an innovative company that has developed technology to produce pure drinking water out of atmospheric air • Board Director for Russell Breweries, a Canadian Craft Beer producer • Associate Professor at the Sauder School of Business and the BCIT School of Business • Executive Advisor and Strategic Facilitator to many companies and5 • Author of the highly acclaimed book on leadership titled: “It’s Already Inside.”

Peter Legge O.B.C., LL.D. (HON.), D.Tech., CSP, CPAE, HoF

Peter Legge is an inspiration to anyone who meets him! He lives his life dream as an internationally acclaimed professional speaker, a bestselling author and as Chairman & CEO of the largest, independently owned magazine publishing company in Western Canada – Canada Wide Media Limited. He is a community leader, tirelessly devoting his time to many worthwhile organizations. This past June, Peter was named one of the top 25 immigrant entrepreneur’s in Canada. His presentations are based on his everyday experiences as a community leader, husband, father and CEO. Peter has published 15 books, including Make Your Life a Masterpiece, The Power of Tact and most recently, 365 Days of Insights. His books have motivated thousands of people towards positive change. Toastmasters International voted Peter "Golden Gavel Award Winner" and "Top Speaker in North America" and both the National Speakers Association and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers have inducted him into the Speakers Hall of Fame. Peter is also a member of the prestigious Speakers Roundtable, an invitation-only society comprising 20 of North American’s top professional speakers. Peter is the recipient of three honourary doctorate degrees and this June has been honoured by Douglas College in the announcement of the Peter Legge International Institute of Sales Excellence. In 2005, Peter was presented with the Nido Qubein Philanthropist of the Year Award in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2006, Peter was awarded the Ambassador of Free Enterprise by Sales and Marketing Executives International in Texas. In December 2006, the Peter Legge Philanthropist of the Year Award was introduced by the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Peter is the first recipient of this award. In June 2008, the province’s highest award, the Order of British Columbia, was presented to Peter for his lifelong commitment to serving the community.

Gail Sexsmith

Gail Sexsmith is a respected leader, experienced executive, business consultant and adult educator. Gail is known as a high-energy individual who inspires commitment, enhances personal development and achieves results in challenging environments. Following a career as an executive in BC Hydro, Gail established Kerrison Consulting in 1999 to help organizations, teams, and individuals realize measurable results. Services include strategic and business planning, facilitation, organizational development consulting, and coaching. Client organizations range across sectors and from small to large employers. A partial client list includes include VanCity, Science World of BC, Human Resources Development Canada, the BC Human Resources Management Association, Quebecor and the Centre for Educational Information Systems. Gail’s experience includes participation as a Director on Boards in the private and not-for-profit sectors. Executive Development Queens University University of Calgary Banff School of Advanced Management Post Secondary BCIT Areas of Expertise Leadership Management Human Resources Labour Relations Organizational Behaviour Marketing and Customer Operations

Jennifer Gervès-Keen, MA

Jennifer Gervès-Keen, M.A. is a talented facilitator and professional coach with over 15 years experience helping organizations and individuals become more effective. Using a variety of delivery methods, Jennifer is highly successful in resolving workplace issues and helping organizations, teams and individuals discover their true leadership capabilities. Her areas of expertise include professional coaching, customized training design and delivery, and meeting facilitation skills. Jennifer’s experience includes management and development positions in corporate training and non-profit in a variety of countries. Her diverse background touches on many sectors including manufacturing, law, communications, higher education and politics, and her cultural sensitivity has been honed through working in Canada, Europe and Iran. Her workshops are rich with practical, real-life business knowledge and experience. A motivating speaker and coach, Jennifer takes great pleasure in empowering her clients to reach their full potential. Jennifer also works with both emerging and established leaders, helping them find their own unique voice and leadership style. Her previous clients include Airbus, Alcan, BOSCH, L’Oreal, Scania Production and Toshiba. She has also worked in organizations such as Canadian Blood Services, the Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn (Paris office), the Wall Street Journal Europe and the B.C. Legislature where she began her career. Her current clients include Deloitte, the City of Vancouver, the British Columbia Human Resources Management Association and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Jennifer holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Learning from the UK, and a BA in History from the University of Victoria. Jennifer spent 12 years living and working in France, and is fluent in French. She is the President of the Board of the Canadian Women Voters Congress, and is a Board member of XYBoom, a non-profit dedicated to intergenerational research and action. You can contact Jennifer at: Office: 604-275-9898 Cell:604-802-8268 Email:

Scott Blythe

Scott Blythe is the Director of Alumni Relations at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and holds a Bachelor Arts in Archaeology with a minor in Philosophy. He has spent 10 years working in student organizations within education building engagement strategies at the University of Saskatchewan, SAIT and BCIT. Scott’s experience and passion for generating collaborative community based engagement opportunities led to the establishment of student alumni partnerships at SAIT and BCIT. Scott took a brief leave from post-secondary to lead the transition from an operation board model to a governance model for the Vancouver Pride Society. Scott is excited to return to post-secondary alongside a team of talented engagement and fundraising professionals to engage alumni and students to participate with BCIT today and throughout their careers.

Peter Hrdlitschka

President, Western Canada, Ledcor Construction Limited A graduate of the Building Technology program at BCIT (1978), Peter has overseen stunning leading edge real estate developments such as The Bow, in Calgary, the Edmonton Art Gallery, and the ShangriLa in Vancouver – the city’s tallest structure at 196.9 meters. Over the years, Peter’s desire to be an architect transformed into a passion for the business side of construction. He began estimating buildings soon after graduating from BCIT and now manages Ledcor’s overall strategy for sustainable success. As President of the Canadian Construction Group, Peter oversees operations in Western Canada, Bahamas, National Accounts including Costco, and our newest initiative, Ledcor Renew, green solutions to optimize building performance. In Peter’s 21 years with Ledcor, he has held progressively responsible positions in both the field and the office and is Gold Seal Certified. He currently manages over 450 employees who provide complete construction services from pre-construction through postconstruction. In October 2011, BCIT awarded Peter with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Leadership. Peter is a Past Director of the Amalgamated Construction Association and Vancouver Regional Construction Association and has affiliations with Quantity Surveyors Society of BC and the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors. Past affiliations include BC Building Envelope Council, Urban Development Institute and Building Safety Advisory Council of BC. In addition, Peter actively gives back to the community participating in various charitable organizations such as Kids Help Phone, BC Children's Hospital, United Way, The Zajac Foundation and The Looking Glass Foundation.

Ray Williams

Ray Williams is President and CEO of Ray Williams Associates, a company with offices in Vancouver and Phoenix, providing leadership training and executive coaching services, and brings more than 35 years of experience as a CEO, HR Executive and Management Consultant. He specializes in working with a wide variety of high performing executives, business owners and professionals internationally. He is the recipient of the Master Educator Award from the American Society of Education Executives, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Board of Master Educators, and Mentor of the Year for the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Leaders of Tomorrow. Ray has served as Governor of the National Staff Development Council, and President of the International Coaching Federation. He is a Certified Management Consultant, Certified Master Executive Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist. Ray is a platform speaker and trainer in demand throughout North America and is known as one the top CEO executive coaches and mentors. Ray is a prolific author, having written two books on leadership, The Leadership Edge and Systemic Change, a book on personal performance, Breaking Bad Habits, a novel and screenplay entitled Dragon Tamer, and more than 250 articles on leadership, management, the workplace and the psychology of performance in such publications as The National Post, The Financial Post, Psychology Today, Salon, Fast Company as well as professional journals. A new book that he has co-authored, Chaos to Calm: What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do, is forthcoming in October. He has been seen and heard on CBC radio and TV, NBC Today, The Vicki Gabareau Show, CFUN and CISLE Radio and the internationally syndicated Good Life Radio Show. Ray is and has been an active member of the Vancouver Board of Trade at the World Trade Center as Vice-Chair.

Ken Bell PEng PE FEC Product and Pitch Strategist

Ken has over thirty years’ worldwide experience as a consultant, salesman, business owner, product designer, marketer, and writer. He is a graduate electrical engineer, with international credentials in machine automation and facility backbones. He has at various times been a member of IEEE, USITT, AES, and ACM. At one time he chaired the Technical Standards Board of the MIDI Manufacturers Association. He has designed stadium-scale audio and video systems, commissioned cruise liners, and helped to power Broadway and Las Vegas shows. He has written scores of technical articles. Ken is also an “entrepreneur in recovery” with intimate experience in product development and software launch. He has watched numerous start-ups explode, including two of his own. As a charter member of Entrepreneurs International Organization, he spends time each week steering nascent businesses away from disaster. At Incentive Access Group, he advises industrial clients on R&D strategies. His portfolio includes cosmetic formulations, pharmaceuticals, assistive and medical devices, traditional and alternate energy, wireless communications, entertainment, food processing, avionics and jet engines. In the community, Ken reviews candidates for registration with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, and disarms science for Grade 7 and 8 students with Scientists and Innovators in the Schools. In today’s economy, just being good at what you do is no longer sufficiently compelling. With over twenty-five years as a public speaker, Ken will share tips and techniques for making positive and powerful impressions.

Jim Francis

Jim Francis is the founder of Wavemaker Consulting, a management and educational consulting firm specializing in enhancing individual, team and organizational performance, and cofounder of Wavemaker Adventure Learning, an outdoor learning company specializing in planning sessions, team building and leadership development. Jim has spent most of his career in a variety of human resources, knowledge management and sales & service quality roles in the financial services industry. His work has provided him with several opportunities to present on a variety of topics across Canada as well as in such far-flung locations as Amsterdam, Dublin, Buenos Aries, Nassau, London and Hong Kong. An Easterner by birth and Westerner by choice, Jim and his family have lived in various Canadian cities to include: Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. They also spent 3 very memorable years in the UK. Jim now spends much of his time teaching business communications, customer experience and public speaking courses at local colleges and universities in the Vancouver area.

Larry D. Vezina

As Director of Student Services at BCIT, Larry has functional responsibility for various departments including Aboriginal Services, Counselling and Student Development, Disability Resources Services, Housing, Recreation Services, Student Financial Aid and Awards, and Student Health Services. Larry works closely with the BCIT Student Association to plan and coordinate activities and services designed to support student success. Prior to coming to BCIT, Larry was the Director of Student Success at Confederation College of Applied Arts & Technology in Thunder Bay, ON. He was also an Adjunct Professor at Lakehead University and Confederation College in Thunder Bay, teaching in the Schools of Kinesiology, Outdoor Recreation and Recreation Leisure. In 2004, the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario presented Larry with the Art King Award, an award given annually in recognition of outstanding service to students in the Province of Ontario. Larry’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts (Physical Education; Geography) from Minnesota State University – Moorhead; a Masters of Arts in Education from Central Michigan University (Community College Administration); and a Doctorate in Education from the Ontario Institute in Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Larry is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Master of Education (Med) Educational Leadership, Student Affairs & Services program offered by Simon Fraser University. Married with three grown children and two grandchildren, Larry enjoys lawn bowling, travelling to visit family throughout Canada, the United States and Australia plus exploring the many interesting areas throughout the Lower Mainland in BC.

Brent Charleton

Mr. Brent Charleton joined EnWave Corporation, a publicly traded technology company, in 2010 after graduating as a top scholar in the Marketing Management program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Over the past two years, he has moved from the position of Marketing Coordinator to Director of Marketing & Corporate Affairs for the company. Prior to B.C.I.T., Brent played four years of professional basketball in Asia and Australiasia. Mr. Charleton also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Communications from Simon Fraser University and is a Director for the BCIT Alumni Association. Brent currently volunteers as an Executive Committee Member with both the Vancouver Board of Trade's Company of Young Professionals Program and Vancouver Enterprise Forum's Momentum Group.

About Debbie Debbie Palmer is a 25 year veteran of award-winning sales. Debbie now offers her unique selling style to professional salespeople and entrepreneurs so they too can achieve the same success. Debbie has owned and managed several successful start-up businesses including Coldwell Banker real estate offices and an import/export business. She was also a top salesperson in the home renovation industry, a business consultant, a costumer and performer in theatre and film, a gymnastics coach and a successful realtor. Twenty five years ago she started her career in sales knocking on doors with determination and persistence. That, a concrete plan and a great attitude was her key to success. Debbie holds a B.C. Provincial Instructor Diploma and along with years in sales has experience in both theatre and film offering up entertaining, interactive, retainable, relevant keynotes and workshops. As a former sales manager, business consultant and business owner Debbie delivers sales training and keynotes to corporations, individuals and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries to provide them the skills to self-motivate and push forward with a winning attitude. One common problem with sales teams is the withholding of valuable techniques, sales people don’t like to share their techniques in such a competitive industry. Debbie shares it all and is devoted to the motivation, inspiration and excellence of entrepreneurs and professional sales people.

If you’re in Business…you’re in Sales!

Debbie gives back to the community by providing her expertise for the CYBF (Canadian Youth Business Foundation), YMCA, BCIT, YWCA, SEEDS (Self-employment and Entrepreneurial Development Society) and EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society). She also instructs at Capilano University and runs a successful sales training business, Debbie Palmer presents, providing corporate sales training workshops and keynotes.


604.569.1797 mobile: 604.992.0029 Fax: 604.921.2217


Eric Sorensen

Eric is the CEO and Managing Partner of Del Sur Brands, a consulting firm that enables foreign brands to develop business in Canada. He has had extensive career in consumer packaged goods and with startup companies. Highlights of Eric’s accomplished career include: President Warner Lambert Canada ( now Pfizer ), which was one of Canada’s largest pharmaceutical, consumer health and confectionery companies; CEO and President Sun Rype Products, a leading juice and healthy snack organization that trades on the TSX. His experience in the startup field includes being a founding member of the Okanagan Angel Network, Chairman of Wear Air Oxygen and Industrial and Chairman Esporta Wash Systems. Eric’s exemplary record of community involvement has included Director BC Lottery Corporation, Director Central Okanagan Economic Commission, Co-Chair of the Value Added Agriculture Cluster of the Okanagan Partnership, member of the UBC Okanagan Presidents Advisory Council and was Chairman of the Penticton Vees BCHL hockey franchise. Mr Sorensen is a Marketing Management graduate from BCIT and completed the Executive Program for Smaller Companies at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In 2009, he was recognized by the BCIT Alumni Association with a Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Leadership. Eric is a resident of British Columbia living in the Okanagan Valley.

Sabina Nawaz

Sabina Nawaz’s best days are those that contribute to the growth of others, whether they are senior leaders, frontline managers, or her young children. Sabina grows through pushing the limits of her comfort zone and helps others learn to do the same. Sabina works with leaders and organizations that are very successful, yet, find themselves being held back from delivering fully on their winning strategies because of the lack of a fully developed pipeline for their next generation of leaders. Sabina has developed a three pronged approach to address this issue. 1. Help leaders already in place, and push them to: • Increase their self awareness and operate from their strengths and values • Deepen their courage • Build lasting relationships • Take charge of their future instead of abdicating responsibility or assigning blame to the organization at large • Change the status quo if they are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs 2. Create custom leadership development programs that focus on identifying and then developing future leaders who are most likely to succeed over the long term regardless of the current business challenges and the ruling political relationships. 3. Assess trends in the organization’s culture, integrate the leadership development work and identify potential barriers to success. Prior to starting her own business in 2005, Sabina spent 15 years at Microsoft, first in software development and then in Human Resources. As Senior Director of Leadership, Management, Employee Development and then of Succession Planning, Sabina launched several worldwide programs to help identify and cultivate Microsoft’s current and future leaders. Sabina holds a B.A. in Computer Science with a minor in Electronics from Smith College, an M.S. in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and several certifications and advanced training in leadership development. (206) 295-9750

Scott Armstrong

Scott has over 25 years of diversified and progressive business experience at the planning and strategic levels and is currently the Director of Venture Development and Corporate Training at BCIT. Scott is a professional speaker and offers impactful growth oriented workshops to small executive teams and audiences of over 500 delegates, customizing the content to be directly applicable to his audience. He is a published author and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs helping audiences to view their business challenges from an intrapreneurial perspective.

Terry Rogocki

Terry Rogocki holds an M.A. in Leadership and Training (Royal Roads University), a B.A. in Anthropology (University of Alberta), and a Certificate in Intercultural Studies (UBC). Over the past 18 years, his professional experience has included work as a Trainer/Peer Educator at the University of Alberta’s International Centre, an English Teacher and researcher in Japan, the Director of a Vancouver-based private school, and a Livelihoods Advisor in Sri Lanka. Terry currently runs Global Outlook Consulting, a small-business focused on intercultural skills training. Public sector contracts for Global Outlook Consulting include his work with the UBC community as Head Instructor for the International Teaching Assistant Program (Centre for Intercultural Communication), and as an instructor with Global Tech Programs and the International Graduate Student Preparation Program (Continuing Studies). He also facilitates intercultural skills workshops in a range of departments at UBC with faculty, administrators, and graduate students. Terry has also worked with the BCIT community as a part-time instructor of Organizational Behaviour. Private sector contracts for Global Outlook Consulting include ongoing soft-skills training at SAP Software and intercultural training in the language school industry. Terry is the current vice-president of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) B.C. and Co-Chair of the Regional Steering Committee for the Oxfam BC/Yukon region. In working across a variety of sectors Terry has developed a skill-set in leadership, intercultural communication, organizational culture/behaviour, and critical thinking. Along with his work and studies in Canada, Terry has been fortunate to enhance his experience through work, study, volunteer placements, and travel in over eighty countries.

Speakers biography  

2012-2013 speaker's biography

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