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Leadership and Advanced Economic Development Insights: ​An en​hanced learning experience with senior colleagues​

Join an experienced and enthusiastic group of colleagues to discuss the latest trends, develop your leadership abilities, and learn new skills in a collaborative team environment. Learn more about the course on the Economic Development Year 3 web page.

Date Location EDAC Tuition Non-EDAC Tuition* EDAC point value
October 28-31, 2014 Kitchener, ON $1750 $2250 Upgrade to EcD(F)

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Change Champions Panel: Making future opportunities a reality

  • Working with politicians
  • Mentoring colleagues, identifying career pathways
  • Creating and maintaining partnerships (across sectors, across the region)
  • Panel:
    • Marlene Coffey, CEO, Stratford Enterprise and Economic Development Corporation, Stratford, ON
    • Don Eastwood, Director of Development, Town of Innisfil, ON
    • Kathy Weiss, Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Regional Municipality of Durham, ON

Creativity to Solve Problems and Implement Change Geoff Malleck, Department of Economics, University of Waterloo

  • Learn to recognize the creativity preferences of those you work or partner with
  • Understanding and maximizing benefits from different preferences/skills
  • Self-assessment – identify your creative preferences and those of people around you

Complexity, Innovation and Demonstrating Social Impact Sean Geobey, Research Associate, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, University of Waterloo

  • Systems thinking and complexity
  • Social return on investment

Trends in Digital Manufacturing Tara Vinodrai, Director, Local Economic Development Program, University of Waterloo

  • Making sense of the maker economy
  • Strategies for bringing digital manufacturing to communities

Transformational Economic Development: From Plan to Investment Rod Regier, Director, Economic Development, City of Kitchener

  • Strategic economic planning to change the direction of the City and economy (sneak peek from TedxUW)
  • Creating, sharing and selling a vision
  • Leveraging partnerships

Global Ideas and Knowledge Trends - Brock Dickinson, Millier Dickinson Blais

  • Global economy:  latest trends
  • Business networks, city networks, idea generators          

Communitech Hub Programs and Partners Iain Klugman, Communitech

  • Creating an innovation ecosystem
  • International connections                                                    

Investment Trends Jim Podolak, JWP Strategy International Ltd.

  • Global competition for investment
  • What is working in Europe, South America and here?
  • The importance of delivery:  How vs what you do
  • Success stories: finding competitive advantages
  • Smart marketing

Foundation Business Strategies Geoff Malleck, Department of Economics, University of Waterloo

  • Problem identification, brainstorming, strategy development, implementation
  • Presentations


Marlene Coffey, CEO of the Stratford Economic Enterprise Development Corporation (SEED Co.)

Marlene CoffeyWorking in partnership with business, education and government, SEED Co. is the new not-for-profit corporation that will begin to build a strategic plan for moving forward with the community. Marlene joined the corporation as CEO in June 2014 to begin operations in the same year.

Marlene is a municipal expert and civic leader with over 20 years in ‘community building‘.  Marlene holds two master’s degrees from the University of Waterloo – in economic development and municipal finance - and is designated as a Registered Professional Planner.  As the former Director of Economic Development in Waterloo and most recently the lead in Milton’s new Milton Education Village (MEV) Innovation Centre, she has experience in bringing together multi-faceted teams and the many piece parts within a larger project – for advancement of community.  People, partnership and collaborations are central to Marlene’s approach.

Don Eastwood, Director of Development, Town of Innisfil, ON

Don EastwoodDon has had a long career in economic, tourism, and business development, working in communities across Ontario--including the City of Toronto, Regional Municipality of Halton, City of Cambridge, York Region, Oakville Economic Development Alliance, and City of Brampton. He also spent a number of years working with technology companies as the founding member of Canada's Technology Triangle and the start-up CEO of the Canada's Technology Triangle Accelerator Alliance.

He currently works with the Town of Innisfil as Director of Development Services responsible for municipal planning, buildings and by-law enforcement and economic and community development.

He is a two-time alum of the University of Waterloo, earning a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Master of Arts in Urban Geography.

Sean Geobey, Research Associate, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, University of Waterloo

Sean GeobeySean Geobey recently received his doctorate from the University of Waterloo and is a Research Associate with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, where his research is focused on social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social finance. He is also a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the author of their recent report, The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Ontario. He has played key roles in the founding of a number of organizations committed to social change including Sustainable Waterloo Region, the Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group and CANGO Consulting. 

Iain Klugman, President and CEO, Communitech

Iain KlugmanIain Klugman is the CEO of Communitech in Waterloo Region — Canada’s hottest technology cluster. Under Iain’s leadership, Communitech has become one of North America’s leading tech enabling organizations, supporting the growth of more than 1,000 small, mid-sized and large technology companies. He is the architect of Communitech’s five-year, $107 million digital strategy, which delivered more than $900 million in economic impact in 2012. He believes passionately in the power of the entrepreneur-driven economy, and its ability to deliver big results for Canada.

Before joining Communitech in 2004, Iain’s career spanned leadership roles in both the private and public sectors, including Director of Global Branding and Advertising for Nortel, Executive Director of Communications with CBC, CEO of a provincial crown corporation, and numerous roles with the Privy Council Office and Industry Canada.

Geoff Malleck, Department of Economics, University of Waterloo

Geoff MalleckGeoff’s primary focus is exploring the principles and conditions that drive the ‘Creativity-Innovation-Entrepreneurship’ Continuum and the relationship with economic prosperity and culture. In addition to teaching entrepreneurship, he works on personal and professional development and individual brand building. 

At the University of Waterloo, Geoff provides instruction in ‘Green Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Entrepreneurship and Economic Development’. He also holds an appointment as an associate director of the Economic Development Program. He is a founding director of the Research Entrepreneurs Advancing Prosperity, a unique and truly disruptive program. Geoff is also a key driver in the development of Waterloo’s sixth pillar in Entrepreneurship.

Off campus, Geoff is active in the private sector as a multiple board member and consultant.

Jim Podolak, President, JWP Strategy International Ltd.

Jim PodolakJim Podolak is founder and President of JWP Strategy International Ltd., a world-leader in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). With over 35 years of international marketing and business development experience, he advises and assists investment promotion agencies and economic development authorities around the world with their FDI attraction strategies and campaigns.

He has a stellar record of success for his clients in attracting new FDI to their regions, increasing their profile in the international market, and helping them retain and expand existing businesses. He has been instrumental in securing major investment projects across a wide range of industry sectors.

He has also advised and assisted corporate clients with their global marketing andbusiness development initiatives in a broad range of industry sectors, including transportation, environmental technologies, security, mining and construction equipment, information technology, and leisure and entertainment.

Mr. Podolak holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Toronto.

Rod Regier, Executive Director, City of Kitchener Economic Development

Rod RegierRod Regier, Executive Director of Economic Development for the City of Kitchener, received an Honours Bachelor degree in Geography at the University of Winnipeg, and a Masters in Regional Planning at the University of Waterloo. After graduating from Waterloo, Rod worked briefly with the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth in planning policy; then for 16 years with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in various capacities: municipal planning, regional economic development and provincial economic policy with a special focus on dialogue between business, labour and government on provincial competitiveness in global markets.

In his current position, Rod provides leadership to a staff team and community of stakeholders implementing the Kitchener’s Economic Development Strategy (KEDS.11). Key initiatives include Start Up City, Cluster Development, Talent, the Downtown Action Plan, and the Innovation District. Economic development services in Kitchener include the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, Business Development, Downtown, Special Events, Arts and Culture and the Kitchener Market. 

Tara Vinodrai, Director, Local Economic Development Program, University of Waterloo

Tara VinodraiAt the core of Tara's research program is a concern with understanding and theorizing the dynamics of contemporary economic change and the emerging and evolving geographies of the knowledge-based economy. Her research is highly interdisciplinary  in scope drawing on the social sciences, and innovation, organizational and management studies. Tara has a B.A. and a M.A in Geography from the University of Queens, and a PhD in Geography & Planning from the University of Toronto.

Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Regional Municipality of Durham, ON

Kathy WeissKathy is the Director Economic Development and Tourism for Durham. Previously, she was the Director of Economic Services for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, where she oversaw economic development, small business, and tourism. She also spent nine years with the City of Kitchener as the Manager then Director of Business Development. 

Kathy is the Past President of the Economic Development Council of Ontario Board of Directors where she actively served 8 years as a board member.

Kathy has earned a Masters in Municipal Leadership from York University, a diploma is Business Administration from Niagara College  and a certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo, and has completed an international Business Retention and Expansion Certification Program. 


The Walper Hotel, 20 Queen Street South, Kitchener, ON
Tel:  519-745-4321 / 1-800-265-8749
$119 per night (includes continental breakfast)


* Non EDAC members