Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development Director
The Honourable Maryam Monsef was first elected in 2015 as the Member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha.
Minister Monsef is a dedicated community organizer, a former Peterborough mayoral candidate, and a co-recipient of the YMCA’s Peace Medallion.
A passionate volunteer, Minister Monsef has sat on the boards and committees of several high-profile organizations. She was the Vice-President of the YWCA of Peterborough and Haliburton Board of Directors, and a former director of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group as well as the New Canadians Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers in the Peterborough and Northumberland regions.
Minister Monsef was also the co-founder of the Red Pashmina Campaign, a grassroots initiative she started while at Trent University, which has successfully raised over $150,000 to date to help support women in Afghanistan.
Minister Monsef has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Trent University, and speaks English, Farsi, and Dari.
President and CEO of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg
Mariette Mulaire, President and CEO of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg, presents interprovincial and international trade as it relates to rural Manitoba. Ms. Mulaire will inform participants on how the World Trade Centre can help expand their business activities beyond Manitoba’s borders.
Ms. Mulaire is the President and CEO of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg since its official opening in April 2013. Prior to that, she was the President and CEO of ANIM since its inception in 2007, where she was involved in numerous economic development initiatives on behalf of Manitoba, including helping to spearhead the creation and hosting of Centrallia, the first international B2B forum of its kind in Western Canada. Her previous economic development experience includes occupying the position of Executive Director for the Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities for ten years, and employment with both the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada as well as the Department of Canadian Heritage.
A graduate from Polytechnique, Jean Bélanger completed his internship at Premier Tech, in Rivière-du-Loup, with several classmates following him into the family business to start their own careers. Since becoming president of Premier Tech in 1999, Jean Bélanger has made no less than 25 acquisitions and transformed the business—which produced mainly peat moss up until then—into an industrial multinational with 35 plants in 23 countries. Premier Tech employs 4,600 workers, 1,300 of whom come from the MRC de Rivière-du-Loup where Premier Tech acts as a real industrial driver.
Ms. LaBillois is a Mi’gmaq entrepreneur from Listuguj, in the traditional territory of Gespe’gewa’gi, the seventh and largest district of the Mi’gmaq. In addition to being the President of Wejuseg Construction, Ms. LaBillois is also the owner/President of Wejipeg Excavation Inc. Wejipeg was opened in 2011 to assist with the excavation needs of wind park development across the territory. Ms. LaBillois is very active in her community and has served in First Nations public service, working at the Band level as well as regional and national levels. She holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree and M.B.A. from the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton. She also holds a contractor’s license from the Régie du bâtiment du Québec.
Associate Director, CERMIM
A graduate in industrial design from the Université de Montréal and a holder of a Master of Science degree in Applied Sustainable Development from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC), Ms. Thibodeau guides her vocational practice according to the principles of applied sustainable development. Interested in alternative methods of addressing hyper-consumption, she discovered innovative potential in anticipating the obsolescence of everyday goods and examining the life cycle of products. Over the last eight years, Ms. Thibodeau has developed several innovative, multidisciplinary projects in response to the interdependency of social, ecological, and economic issues of environmental problems, notably in residual waste management.
President & CEO, Steel River Group
A proud Indigenous entrepreneur and business leader with 23 years of experience with some of Canada’s most prominent pipeline, infrastructure, and mining companies, Mr. Fequet founded Steel River Group 3 years ago based on the belief that there has never been a better time to reimagine how a private Indigenous business defines, creates and captures value for Indigenous communities’ & people. To achieve this goal, Mr. Fequet centered his company around Governing Principles, which are deeply rooted in Indigenous values, beliefs, and culture. The foundation is grounded by a strong sense of community, centered around people and relationships. These relationships are premised around creating alignment between three critical groups: Steel River Companies; Indigenous Communities; and Alliance Partners through Steel River Group’s Inclusion Ecosystem Model.
Steel River Group brings these entities together under a shared vision and common goals and facilitates agreements, partnerships, and the creation of new companies. As a management entity, Steel River Group provides corporate governance, structure, and support to its group of companies as well as to its Ecosystem partners.
As President and CEO, Mr. Fequet drives Steel River Group’s vision and provides support and guidance to his team and Ecosystem partners. He believes strongly in helping those around him to succeed and spends countless hours supporting and enabling his staff and mentoring entrepreneurs and individuals around him. His vision for the organization’s future is to support the process of collaborative engagement, foster the preservation of cultural and traditional values, and champion social sovereignty and economic sustainability for his people.