Ottawa 2017

Ottawa 2017 Board of Directors

Mayor - Jim Watson

Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa (Co-Chair)

Mayor Watson has dedicated most of his career to public service in Canada’s capital. First elected as a Councillor in 1991, he was re-elected in 1994. Three years later, he was elected as the youngest Mayor in Ottawa’s history. Following the amalgamation of Ottawa and surrounding communities, Mayor Watson was appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission, a federal crown corporation dedicated to promoting Canada as a tourism destination, where he served from 2000 to 2003. In 2003, he was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean, a riding he would represent until 2010. Over the course of his two mandates at Queen’s Park, he served as Minister of Consumer and Business services, Minister of Health Promotion and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Following his time in provincial politics, Watson was elected Mayor of the City of Ottawa in October 2010. In his first term, Mayor Watson oversaw the beginning of construction of the Confederation Line LRT. He also presided over the opening of the Shaw Centre, the EY Centre, TD Place and the revitalized Lansdowne Park. In 2012, Mayor Watson was recognized for his support of the tourism industry by being named Ottawa Tourism Leader of the Year. Jim Watson was re-elected Mayor of the City of Ottawa on October 27, 2014 with more than 76% of the popular vote.


Steve Ball, President of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association (Co-Chair)

Steve Ball grew up in Ottawa’s west end and is the current President of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association. He is a graduate of Carleton University and spent the first 25 years of his career in the publishing industry producing consumer magazines and industry publications. He left that business in 2006 to become the Vice President of Media at the Canadian Medical Association where he launched a national consumer health publication called “Canadian Health”. Steve has returned to the hospitality and tourism industry where he says “his passion is and where all the fun people work”. Steve enjoys spending down time on his boat and any other available time on the golf course.

Steve Ball
Mat Fleury

Councillor Mathieu Fleury

Councillor Fleury grew up in Ottawa and lived in Sandy Hill and Lowertown neighbourhoods for the majority of his life. He is a graduate of the University of Ottawa, where he completed a Masters degree in sports management. After completing his studies, Mathieu decided to take a leap into municipal politics. In 2010, he won the municipal election for the Rideau-Vanier ward and became the youngest Councillor at the City Council table at the age of 25. Since coming to City Hall, Mathieu has worked for the betterment and beautification of the National Capital and the Rideau Vanier Ward, which is home to Lowertown, Sandy Hill and Vanier.


Councillor Jean Cloutier

Councillor Cloutier is Vice Chair of the City of Ottawa’s Audit Committee and a member of the Environment and Planning Committees and Transit Commission. A professional accountant by trade, he is an active and dedicated community volunteer. He has served as Director of Finance at the Canterbury Community Association and was elected President from 2010 to 2014. An avid movie fan and entrepreneur, Jean bought the Nelson Cinema on Rideau Street in 1988 with a partner and the landmark ByTowne Cinema was born. Jean currently enjoys singing with the choir at St-François d’Assise Church on Wellington Street, cycling and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Jean Cloutier
Bernie Ashe

Bernie Ashe, CEO, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group

Bernie Ashe oversees all facets of OSEG’s business operations and works closely with the City of Ottawa to ensure the new Lansdowne stands as a model of modern-day innovation in an urban form. Under his leadership, OSEG launched the Ottawa REDBLACKS (CFL) and Ottawa Fury FC (NASL), re-launched the Ottawa 67’s (OHL) and transformed Lansdowne Park into an award-winning live, work, play destination. Prior to joining OSEG, Mr. Ashe served as CEO of KOTT Group, President and CEO of AiT (now 3M-AiT Ltd) and Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. A graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, Mr. Ashe currently serves on the Board of Directors for Celebrations Ottawa and the Board of the Ottawa Convention Centre. He is also a former trustee and Chairman of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).


Christina Ruddy, Operations Manager, Omamiwinini Pimadjwowin

As a proud Algonquin woman, Christina has spent the majority of her career working to empower Indigenous youth through education, language and capacity-building. She has worked in grass roots movements such as Friendship Centres, in post-secondary institutions such as Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario and with Lakehead University in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Education. Christina is a successful alumni of the first graduating class of the Native Community and Social Development program from Georgian College and in 2012 received the Board of Governor’s award of Excellence – Distinguished Alumni for her work with Indigenous people. Christina’s invaluable work in the promotion of Anishnibemowin have added to efforts to preserve this endangered language both within her own community and outside. She has worked to bring about change in Indigenous education and to make schooling more inclusive and Indigenous-focused through a project with Ontario teachers to incorporate indigenous ways of teaching into the Ontario mathematics curriculum. Christina’s dedication to the celebration of Indigenous culture has resulted in many successful events and projects. Through empowering Indigenous youth to celebrate their identity, language and culture made visible in their daily lives, she embodies the tradition of passing on culture and the skills needed to preserve it to the younger generations.


Michael Crockatt, President & CEO, Ottawa Tourism

Michael is a recognized leader in tourism and aviation in Canada. Prior to joining Ottawa Tourism, Michael served as Senior Vice President with InterVISTAS Consulting, where he was responsible for the firm’s airline, air service development, and tourism practices in Canada. Michael has over 15 years experience at the management level with two of Canada’s major airports, the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

He is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the immediate past-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), and a past-Chair of the Board of Directors of Ottawa Tourism.

Michael has a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Manitoba.

B Forsyth

Brittany Forsyth, Vice President of Human Relations, Shopify

Brittany Forsyth grew up in Ottawa’s east end and is the VP of Human Relations at Shopify. She is a graduate of Carleton University and joined Shopify, as an early stage startup in May 2010. Since joining, she has built the HR team to support the growth and innovation that we see today. Throughout her career she has focused on creating a team obsessed with the importance of culture, personal development and high performance. More specifically she and her team have supported the growth of Shopify from a team of 20 to over 600, while maintaining its passionate and vibrant culture.


Nina Kressler,President and CEO the Shaw Centre

Nina assumed the role of President and CEO on June 1, 2015. Prior to her appointment, Nina was the General Manager of the Centre’s Food and Facilities operation managed by Aramark Sports and Entertainment. With over 25 years in the hospitality industry predominately in senior roles in Sales and Marketing, Nina began her career with the Sheraton Halifax Hotel as Director of Sales and Marketing, and moved on to senior sales and marketing and operations roles with Trade Centre Limited and the World Trade and Convention Centre Halifax as Vice President Sales and Marketing. In this role, Nina’s primary goal was to secure and introduce Halifax as a premier destination to host national and international conferences and events. Prior to moving to Ottawa to join the Shaw Centre team, Nina held the position of Vice President Business Development for the Toronto Congress Centre. Nina’s passion for always delivering an exceptional customer experience is engrained in her DNA and remains part of her personal brand each and every day.

Nina Kressler
Mark Laroch

Mark Laroche, President, Ottawa International Airport Authority

In March 2013, Mark Laroche joined the Ottawa International Airport Authority as President & CEO.
Previously, Mr. Laroche served in several senior positions in various municipal governments and with Canada Lands Company Limited. His accomplishments include several award-wining community development projects in major cities across Canada, operating unique assets such as the CN Tower and Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto, launching of new tourism attractions such as EdgeWalk on the CN Tower and the successful negotiation of a long-term land lease with Ripley Entertainment for the construction of the world class aquarium also in Toronto. Mr. Laroche holds a master’s degree in business administration and a civil engineering degree. He also served on various boards.


Cyril M. Leeder, FCPA, FCA

Cyril Leeder was one of a small group of people who brought the NHL franchise to Ottawa in 1990. Cyril has also been a major force that won the bid to host the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend and the 2013 World Women’s Hockey Championship. In 2012 Cyril was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, in 2008 Cyril was honoured as the Business Person of the Year at the Ottawa Business Achievement Awards and in 2006 was named Ottawa Tourism’s Leader of the Year. He is active in a number of local community and charitable initiatives including; the Ottawa Senators Foundation, Algonquin College Sports Management Program, Ottawa Carleton Ice Partnership and the Bell Capital Cup.

Cyril Leeder
Carol Ann Piccinin

Carole Anne Piccinin, Executive Director, Ottawa Festivals

A University of Ottawa alumnus, Carole Anne has spent her career balancing not-for-profit sector roles and her life as a dance artist and producer. She understands first-hand the many facets of the cultural community, and more importantly the opportunities it offers. She is Vice President of the Canada Dance Festival, and the founder of the Ottawa Rhythm Initiative – a community dedicated to the art of rhythm tap. With a strong sense of “what could be”, Carole Anne brings people and ideas together to make great things happen. She is attuned to delivering greater value for the festival, special events and fairs industry, while strengthening the City’s socio-economic potential.

Cam Cameron

Cam Cameron
Partner, Gowlings Ottawa

Cam Cameron is a partner in the Gowlings Ottawa office in both the business law and aboriginal law groups. His current practice focuses on gaming law, consumer protection, advertising and promotional/contest law. In addition to providing corporate/commercial services, he also has particular experience establishing Aboriginal businesses, not-for-profit organizations and charities.

Prior to joining Gowlings, Cam worked as a federal consultant lobbyist in an international law firm and at a specialized agency of the United Nations in Rome (Italy). He has experience in government relations (lobbying), issues management as well as strategic and crisis communications with various crown corporations and government departments.

Cam is licensed to practice law in both Ontario and Québec and practises law in both official languages. He is a proud member of the Haida Gwaii First Nation in British Columbia.


Debbie Jewell, Senior Manager, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (Observer)

Debbie Jewell is representing the Province of Ontario as a non-voting member of the Ottawa 2017 Board. Debbie has been a Senior Manager in the Investment and Development Office, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport since 2000. She is responsible for managing annual grant programs for festivals and events, conventions, tourism investment and product development across Ontario. Through the Ministry’s Celebrate Ontario program, Ottawa has benefited through grants totaling over $18 million since 2007 including support for Blockbuster events like the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend, 2013 IIHF World Women’s Championship, 2013 Canada Skates and the 2014 Ontario Scene at the National Arts Centre. Prior to her current position, Debbie worked for 10 years in economic development for the Food Industry Division of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Debbie Jewell
Guy LaFlamme

Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of Ottawa 2017 (Ex Officio)

Guy Laflamme has extensive experience producing major events and commemorations. His previous successes have included Canada Day Celebrations, the Winterlude Festival, Mosaika (the incredible Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill) as the Senior Vice President of Capital Experience at the NCC and the spectacular H2K, Millennium show produced at the Casino Lac Leamy. He also acted as Chair of the JUNO Awards Host Committee in 2003 and 2012 and the Genie Awards Host Committee in 2009. For the last 25 years he has been a professor with the Telfer school of Management in the Executive MBA program and has also been teaching for the last 8 years with the University of Bucharest Business School. In addition to his role of Head of Celebrations for Ottawa 2017, he is also the chair-elect of International Festival and Events Association.