Keynotes

Alex Benay

Partner, Digital and Government Solutions at KPMG AI & Former Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada

Alex Benay is an avid user of technology and he often voices the importance of taking risks, failing fast and challenging the status quo when it comes to technological innovation. Benay believes in the strength of social media channels to communicate to Canadians and engage them on shaping the way forward. He also uses social media as an outlet to offer a running commentary on the big initiatives and projects he’s involved in. Benay is not your typical executive!

At KPMG he helps the firms public sector clients effectively implement key digital technologies and solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (including ethical AI), Blockchain, Cloud computing, Data Security and Privacy, Digital Identification, Digital Integrity and Assurance.

In his previous role as Canada’s CIO, Benay was responsible for a broad portfolio with a budget of $6 billion, 17 thousand employees and countless vendors. With technology and change as constants, Benay balanced the needs of government information systems with the demands of an increasingly dynamic, digitally-savvy and on-demand population.

His previous roles have included that of President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, and Vice-President, Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText, Canada’s largest software company.

Benay’s authored a few books including: “Canadian Failures: Stories of Building toward Success”. He brings together successful Canadians such as astronauts and gold medal athletes to explore how failure got them to where they are today, in an effort to remove the national stigma surrounding the term ‘to fail’. He’s also released “Government Digital: The Quest to Regain Public Trust” that will lay down a blueprint for digital change for other governments and organizations.


Kathy Macdonald

Cyber Security, Online Safety and Fraud Prevention Expert 

Kathy Macdonald is an expert on both the legal and criminal aspects of cyber-security, cyber-crime and hacking. She has spent considerable time with the Calgary Police Force as an undercover officer to investigate and prosecute those who commit cyber related offences. 

Kathy Macdonald’s passion for cybercrime prevention inspires audiences to become better informed about the Internet and better armed against the pitfalls. She shares her wisdom from her police officer experience. Her engaging presentation will show why you need to be diligent and skeptical online. 

Kathy has seen firsthand the devastating and long-term damage cybercrime produces during her experience as a former police officer. Kathy’s knowledge of cybercrime prevention has led to a national award as well as global speaking engagements with law enforcement, the corporate sector, security groups, government and academia. The information she shares in her speeches and upcoming book serves to advance national cybercrime strategies or what she refers to as ‘predatory Cybercrime’. 

In 2009, Kathy was honoured when the Governor General of Canada Invested her with the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (M.O.M.), an award recognizing service and commitment to the community. Kathy strongly supports Stop. Think. Connect., a global messaging convention that unifies the response to cybercrime to millions of people worldwide. 

Kathy Macdonald’s academic credentials are impressive. She holds a Masters of Security Risk Management with Merit (MSc.) from the University of Leicester, is a Certified Protection Professional (C.P.P.) from ASIS International, achieved a Security Management Certificate and General Management Certificate from the University of Calgary, and holds a Senior Police Management Certificate (SPAC). Kathy has successfully completed many courses and specialized training on topics including media relations, business leadership, open source intelligence gathering and fraud investigations. 


Chris Howard

Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner

Chris Howard is Gartner’s Chief of Research. In that role, Mr. Howard ensures that Gartner research meets the general and industry-specific needs of senior executives, with emphasis on both technical and business leadership. Mr. Howard leads the Senior Content Leadership Board at Gartner where he is responsible for the development of integrated topics that cross all of Gartner’s research. In that capacity, he regularly interacts with and advises CEOs, board members and other senior executives at the world’s largest enterprises. 

His extensive professional background includes 5 years at Burton Group, VP and Research Director,  10 years at Silverstreet Productions, Owner, and 5 years at US Bank, VP, Information Delivery and Payment Systems. He is the recipient of several Gartner thought leadership awards. 

Mr. Howard has been involved in multiple areas of technology as a consultant, teacher, developer, architect and analyst. His experience covers enterprise application architecture, program management, multimedia and training. At U.S. Bank, he was responsible for development framework architecture, branch renewal and emerging technology. Prior to joining the bank, he owned his own company specializing in technology applications for multimedia and performance.