ELSCD Leadership & Planning

A board of directors governs Emerging Leaders' Dialogues Canada Inc. The board meets 3 times each year and has 10 directors who provide a balance of diverse experiences, and genders, and are supported by an executive director. Four of the directors are alumni of The Duke of Edinburgh's leadership programs, and 3 founded ELD Canada in 2010.

Each program is then planned and organized by a working committee and a management team. The working committee is comprised of past program alumni and representatives from a variety of sectors and organizations. 

Working Committee

Ben Almond


Ben leads the Canada Region for the Buildings & Infrastructure Americas Business Unit. Formerly, Ben was the Canadian Regional Managing Director for CH2M leading a team of 4,000 people across Canada and managing annual revenues of $1 billion. Prior to this role, Ben served as regional business group manager for CH2M's water business in Canada, as well as other leadership roles in CH2M's energy and industrial markets.

Before joining CH2M, Ben served in various program- and project-management posts with Suncor Energy and Imperial Oil. Ben was recently named one of Canada's Top 40 Leaders Under 40, which is a country-wide awards program that identifies outstanding young achievers in Canadian business, visionaries and innovators changing the way things are done. Ben B.S., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Manitoba. Ben is a Caribbean Canadian Emerging Leaders' Dialogues 2011 alum.

Paula Amos


Paula is of Hesquiaht and Squamish Nation descent, born and raised in the Nuu-chah-nulth territory on Vancouver Island. She has worked in leadership roles in the tourism industry for 20+ years. She has worked for the Indigenous Tourism Association of BC for the past 17 years and has been part of the industry's growth and success by driving results with strategies and marketing that work. Her extensive business development experience includes business planning, market research and market plans for Indigenous communities and businesses in every corner of the province.

She sat on the steering committee for the groundbreaking Blueprint Strategy for Aboriginal tourism in British Columbia. The Blueprint was the catalyst for developing Indigenous tourism in BC, and since its launch in 2006, the industry has grown by over 80 percent. Paula was also involved with the 2010 Aboriginal Tourism Working Group, in partnership with the 2010 Bid Corporation. Paula is an alum of the 2017 Emerging Leaders for Sustainable Community Development program.

Karen Byrk

Community Outreach and Stakeholder Relations - The Elevate Aviation Learning Centre

Karen's passion for aviation began at age 9 with her very first float plane ride, which prompted her to work as a flight attendant with Air Canada while attending university. Her government work in international relations kept her connected with the aviation and aerospace industry and resulted in her volunteering her project management services to the Northern Spirit Chapter of Women in Aviation International for its annual Girls in Aviation Day.

Today, Karen finds joy in helping young women find their life's passion by assisting the Elevate Aviation Learning Centre in finding the right partners. Karen is married to fellow avid traveller Michael, an Alex Trebeck look a like, and has one daughter who is a pursuing her PHd in concussion research.


Christina Clarke

Executive Director, Songhees Nation

Christina has been serving the Nation for four years in her current position, and a further 22 years in other professional capacities.Her experience includes First Nations governance, negotiations, law development and community engagement.

Christina's work guides the Songhees Nation in areas of finance and future economic development. She has been instrumental in developing a new philosophy toward business, reinvesting in youth, and how their innovative Wellness Centre has ushered in a new era of economic growth. She regularly consults on implementation of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and economics.

Christina is a board member of the South Island Prosperity Partnership and Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

The Honourable Mary Collins, PC

President of the BC Association of Police Boards

Mary Collins, PC, is a former Associate Minister of National Defence, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State for the Environment. 

Collins was President of the BC Health Association. She served as an honorary co-chair of the women's campaign school of the Canadian Women Voters Congress, and as a consultant in promoting women's political development in Vietnam and Ukraine. She then spent five years in Russia working on a health reform project in Chuvashia and for the World Health Organization in Moscow. Mary was a Director of Emerging Leaders' Dialogues Canada. 

Mary currently serves as a member of the Saanich Police Board and is the President of the BC Association of Police Boards. She also has received the Queen's Jubilee Award.

Valerie Durand

Director, Communications Optimization, Air Canada

Valerie works for Air Canada using her skills in Corporate Sustainability, Philanthropy, including responsibility for the Air Canada Foundation and Communication processes, including social media optimization. Previously she was a Senior Counsel for the airline, and provided primary legal counsel on airport matters, regional networks, real estate, and strategic procurement. 

Valerie is also the Administrator for Air Canada's participation in the The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, and volunteers with the Special Olympics. She is an avid athlete and enjoys swimming, cycling, and skiing. 

Valerie is an alum of the Caribbean Canada Emerging Leaders Dialogues 2019.

Andrea Kay

Manager, Labour Relations, East District Service Team, Ontario Nurses' Association

Andrea is a Labor Relations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry who has worked with the Ontario Nurses' Association for the past 6 years. Andrea is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Collective Bargaining, Coaching, Emergency Medicine, and Conflict Resolution. She is a strong healthcare services professional who graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College.

Andrea is an alum of the Caribbean Canada Emerging Leaders Dialogues 2019.

Glenn Mason

Assistant Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada, Lands and Minerals Sector 

Glenn Mason is the Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) Lands and Minerals Sector. From 2014 until 2018, he was Assistant Deputy Minister of NRCan's Canadian Forest Service. Prior to that, Glenn served as the Director of Strategic Operations for the Social Development Policy Secretariat in the Privy Council Officeand as the Director of Strategy at Human Resources Development Canada

Glenn is an alum of the Caribbean Canada Emerging Leaders Dialogues 2011.

Management Team

Joanne Hughes

Executive Director Emerging Leaders' Dialogues Canada

Joanne Hughes is an innovative leader of non-profit organizations and as the Executive Director for Emerging Leaders' Dialogues Canada, brings her expertise in organizational development, project implementation, revenue diversification and stakeholder partnerships. She is an Advisory Committee Member for the Gender Summit 18 and a former Director of the Association of Emerging Leaders' Dialogues

She has managed the operational requirements of an international secretariat, The Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management, and in this position liaised between foreign national ministries, the private sector, civil service organizations and donor agencies at senior levels in the planning and implementation of conferences and projects on public administration across the Commonwealth. 

Hughes was the Festival Producer for Ottawa Capital Pride, where she established the new organization's administrative office, received municipal and provincial grants, and offered 15 signature events. Joanne is the founder of two cultural festivals; Fernfest which was created in 1995, and the Ottawa Lumière Festival, started in 2004, which was voted one of the summers best festivals by the National Post in 2009.

Zoe MacLeod, PhD, CEC, ACC

Director, Professional and Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University

Zoë Macleod is a certified executive coach, change agent, and Director for Professional and Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University. As an educational consultant she works mainly in the fields of leadership, executive coaching, change management, and effective organization design and development. Through her extensive experience, including design and delivery of award-winning transformative leadership development programs for organizations across the globe, numerous graduate level certificate programs and the co-creation of a health leadership capabilities framework (LEADS) adopted across Canada, Zoë has come to believe that strong relationships and partnerships based on trust and collaboration are integral elements in the success of an organization.

Zoë is passionate about helping people and organizations cultivate creative intelligence and awaken to the possibility of happier, healthier, more productive and sustainable work environments. Zoë holds a Master of Arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University, a Master of Arts in Human Development and a PhD in Organization Development and Change from Fielding Graduate University.