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Cal Huntley

Mayor, City of Flin Flon (Chair)

Born and raised in Flin Flon, Manitoba, Cal has spent most of his life experiencing Manitoba’s northern communities. In addition to serving in his second term as the Mayor of Flin Flon, Cal is the chair of several initiatives and organizations in the north, including the Northern Regional Health Authority, Flin Flon and District Assessment and Referral Service, and most recently, the MMDF Application Review Committee. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Mining Association of Manitoba, Community Futures Greenstone, SJHL Flin Flon Junior Bombers, and One North Rail.

Professionally, Cal works as the HR Special Projects Superintendent at Hudbay Minerals Inc. Cal is the proud father of two beautiful grown daughters, Sydnie and Mallory, and grandfather to four wonderful grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys time with his family at the cottage and the occasional game of golf.

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Kathy Valentino

Councillor, City of Thompson (Vice-Chair)

Born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba, Kathy has an in-depth knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in northern Manitoba. She has knowledge and experience in the resource sector, tourism, and relationship-building with Indigenous partners and remote communities.

In addition to a 27-year career in the financial industry, Kathy is a passionate volunteer for recreation in the north. In the summer months, Kathy can be found at her remote cabin at Paint Lake.

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Ron Evans

President of R.G. Evans Indigenous Solutions

Ron Evans is the President of R.G. EVANS Indigenous Solutions, a private sector consulting company with corporate offices in both Norway House Cree Nation and the Long Plains First Nation Urban Reserve on Madison Avenue in Winnipeg. The company is active in leadership in Indigenous economic issues particularly in the formation of partnerships between government and private sector interests, including the establishment and formation of Action Plans, Truth and Reconciliation, through a joint initiative with the newly acquired TIPI Group, the Legacy Bowes Group.

Mr. Evans was instrumental in preparing the current protocol for decisions by Indigenous communities in determining mining initiatives in Indigenous communities. Mr. Evans is well-known through a lifelong history of Indigenous leadership, both in Manitoba and across Canada, having been active as a Councillor and the elected Chief of Norway House Cree Nation, as the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and as a key participant in national issues through his work with the federal government. His record of leadership and accomplishment is recognized both provincially and nationally. Mr. Evans is well respected across the Indigenous leadership spectrum as indicated by his continuing involvement in consultative bodies such as his role of board member of Manitoba Hydro and The Winnipeg Airports Authority Community Consultative Committee. Mr. Evans is also recognized as a religious and spiritual leader having been awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

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Becky Cianflone

Executive Director, Community Futures Greenstone

Becky grew up in a small Metis commercial fishing community on Lake Winnipeg and chose to make Northern Manitoba her home five years ago. Becky understands the importance of community and the power of rural and northern people. Early in her career as a chamber of commerce manager, Becky discovered a passion for supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration.

This led to a career with Community Futures and eventually, the position of manager for Community Futures Greenstone, based in Flin Flon. Becky was instrumental in founding the Infusion Entrepreneurship Conference, which recently won a Provincial Community Futures Innovation and Excellence Award. Under her direction, Greenstone also launched the BizKidz Program to develop entrepreneurial skills and creative thinking in youth. Becky sits on the Board of Directors for Communities Economic Development Fund and Governing Council for University College of the North. She is also involved with the Flin Flon & District Chamber of Commerce, Northern Manitoba Tourism Advisory Committee, and the Rotary Club of Flin Flon. Along with husband and their two children, Becky shares an enthusiasm for the outdoors, and you can often find her four-wheel quadding or fishing. Becky sees a north that is rich in resources, experience, and opportunities, and she believes its greatest asset is its people.

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Rob Penner BSc, MSc

Associate Vice President of Community and Industry Solutions at University College of the North

Rob is currently the Associate Vice-President of Community and Industry Solutions at UCN. Prior to this, Rob was AVP of Workforce Development, Executive Director of the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy, Chair of Sciences within the Faculty of Arts and Science at UCN, and also served UCN as the Dean of Health and Applied Science, Head of the Department of Renewable Resources, and Ecotourism Project Manager within the Northern Forest Diversification Centre.

His academic training and experiences are within the areas of biology, ecology, and natural resources management. In addition to his career in education, administration, and research, Rob has a diversity of experiences spanning from his start as a motorcycle mechanic to computer software technician, farmer, canoe guide, biologist, and instructor, among others jobs. This multiplicity of experiences have convinced him of the power of ‘cross-pollination’ in working with diverse groups and people.

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Chris Thevenot

CEO, Communities Economic Development Fund

Raised in Thompson, Manitoba, Chris grew up taking advantage of all the North has to offer; fishing, camping, boating and skiing.  Chris has been with CEDF since 2012 and has over 15 years of experience in the field of finance.  He spent the majority of his time at CEDF in the CFO position until December 2021 when he was appointed to his current role as CEO.  Since entering the industry, he has found working in the field of economic development rewarding, seeing the impact it can leave on a community and an individual.

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Brian Ross

Former Vice President, Gardewine Group

Brian recently retired from his role as Vice President of Gardewine Group in Winnipeg. Brian’s history includes nearly 20 years of experience in leading health and safety, operations, sales and marketing, billing, traffic, customer service, and building and fleet maintenance in the transportation industry. Previously, Brian worked for more than 25 years in logistics management in the mining industry in Canada and internationally.