Keynote Speakers

Very interesting keynotes are to be expected!
Dr. June Francis (PhD, MBA, LLB) | Co-Founder and Principal

Dr. June Francis is Co-Founder of The Co-Laboratorio (CoLab / CoLab Advantage Ltd.), Director of the Institute for Black and African Diaspora Research and Engagement, Cofounder of the Black Caucus at SFU and a Professor in the Beedie School of Business, and was the Special Advisor to the President of Simon Fraser University on Anti-Racism. She is also Board Chair of The Hogan’s Alley Society, an organization whose mission is to advance the economic and cultural well-being of people of African Descent. In 2022, Dr. Francis was appointed Chair of the Anti-Racism Data Committee by the Province of BC, which is mandated to collaborate with the Province on initiatives to help identify and eliminate systemic racism in the public sector. She is an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion for racialized groups as well as human rights through her research, consulting, the media and as a volunteer. Dr. Francis’ extensive experience spans the private sector, public sector national, regional and local, as an entrepreneur with civil society on governance boards and as an academic.

Through the CoLab, June Francis works with a wide range of organizations to audit and address structural barriers to participation of Indigenous, Black and other racialized groups – in workplace culture, supply-chains, policy, programs, partnerships and service designs. She works with municipalities, school boards and cross sector bodies to address racism in education and for newcomers and immigrants. June has been recognized by the Province of British Columbia and the National Congress of Black Women as a Trailblazer and was named to Vancouver Magazine’s 2022 and 2023 Power 50 lists. The City of Vancouver also recognized her for her contributions to education and to the City, and she is the recipient of the 2021 Rosemary Brown Award for her exemplary work to bring equality for girls and women and received the Service Award from the Beedie School of Business for her contributions to the community, among other accolades. An award-winning professor, June served on the Steering committee for the Beedie School EMBA in Indigenous Business Leadership program and has taught in the program since its inception. Her teaching pioneers decolonization and anti-racism in the context of business.

Dr. Francis’s research focuses on the intersection between racism in academia and marketing, diversity, inter-culturality, leadership and participatory engagement approaches, as well as the advancement of non-traditional intellectual property law, including traditional knowledge. She has published influential papers on Black Lives Matter, racism in the marketplace, Covid 19 from community, business and national perspectives.

She is frequently sought out as a thought leader and subject matter expert, serving and advising numerous committees and has given over one hundred public lectures, media appearances and other contributions over the past three years. She serves as the Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Vancouver. A former netball player, she was named to the Jamaican national squad and captained her university team. She has three children and two grandchildren.

The title of Dr. Francis' keynote is "Leading Change: Macromarketing's pivotal role in fostering anti-racism within the academy and marketing practices".

Heikki Hiilamo, PhD | FIHW, University of Helsinki

PhD Heikki Hiilamo works as a research professor at Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and as a professor of social policy at University of Helsinki. Previously Hiilamo has worked as research professor at Social Insurance Institution on Finland. He has worked as visiting professor at University of California San Francisco and VID Specialized University Oslo. Hiilamo has the title of Docent from University of Tampere and University of Eastern Finland. Hiilamo’s research interests include family policy, poverty, inequality, comparative welfare state research and tobacco control. 

The title of PhD Hiilamo's keynote is "Do We Need GDP Growth to Make Nordic Welfare State Sustainable?"
The keynote introduces the core principles of the Nordic welfare model, outlining its reliance on economic activity funded through high taxation. It sets the stage to question the traditional dependency on GDP growth for the sustainability of this model in the face of modern challenges like aging populations and environmental degradation. The lecture concludes by reaffirming the importance of economic growth for the sustainability of the Nordic welfare model, especially in a global context where environmental and social challenges require substantial investment. A call to action encourages continued exploration of how economic growth can be managed responsibly and sustainably to support welfare systems.