Atlantic Newsletter #6: People-centric economic development & taking stock of all things skills
Plus: talking to employers, entrepreneurship and Atlantic Conference 2020Thursday February 13, 2020
On May 15, PPF will celebrate Fred Hyndman, Zita Cobb, Louis R. Comeau, Karen Oldfield and Karina LeBlanc – leaders who have made Canada and the Atlantic region richer through their ingenuity and initiative throughout their careers.
Zita Cobb is Founder and CEO of Shorefast and Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn. A registered Canadian charity, Shorefast uses business-minded means to help secure economic and cultural resilience for Fogo Island, Newfoundland: one of Canada’s oldest settlements. Following a successful career in high-tech, Zita returned to her home of Fogo Island to help grow another leg on the economy of this singular rural place. Shorefast’s notable achievements to date comprise a holistic set of charitable initiatives, including the world-class artist-in-residence program Fogo Island Arts, and three innovative social businesses whose operating surpluses are returned to Shorefast for reinvestment in further community development work. Specifically, Shorefast is behind the award-winning, 29-suite Fogo Island Inn, the Woodshop on Fogo Island, and Fogo Island Fish. Shorefast has pioneered the innovative practice of economic nutrition labelling for its social businesses, transparently demonstrating “where the money goes.”
In 2016, Zita was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of Shorefast’s work in collaboration with the community of Fogo Island to help secure a more resilient future for this singular rural place.
Under Karen Oldfield’s leadership, the Port of Halifax team has transformed the traditional port business lines through a dynamic diversification strategy leading to a tripling of revenues. The Port of Halifax is a regional economic engine generating more than 12,400 jobs from port operations and contributing over $1.7 billion in annual economic impact. Ms. Oldfield is guiding the Halifax Port Authority as it develops a new infrastructure plan to maintain its strong position as Canada’s Ultra Atlantic Gateway.
Ms. Oldfield is a board member for the Conference Board of Canada. She recently served as the President of the International Women’s Forum of Canada. She was also a member of the Advisory Council on National Security which provided advice through the National Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada. Locally, Ms. Oldfield sits as Chair of the Board of Governors for Saint Mary’s University and is a member of the Halifax Gateway Council Board of Directors.
Fred Hyndman is a proud Prince Edward Islander who has served Canada in the insurance industry, higher education, civil society and philanthropy. He was described as a “pillar of the community in Prince Edward Island” by the Governor General’s Office when he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2011.
A decorated insurance broker until his retirement in 2017, he was the Managing Director and CEO of Hyndman and Company Ltd and won an Insurance Institute of Canada Fellowship in 1975 and an Award of Merit in 1997.
He shared his knowledge of the insurance business widely and served on a number of corporate boards including Maritime Electric Co. and at Padinox Inc. – the maker of Paderno cookware.
Mr. Hyndman also served in a number of public institutions and in civil society, including as director at Holland College, the Bank of Canada, and the Canadian Blood Services. Most recently, he served as the Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Prince Edward Island.
He is now retired with his wife Shirley, and has two daughters.
Karina LeBlanc is the Executive Director of both the Pond-Deshpande Centre (PDC) at the University of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network (NB-SPRN).
With a passion for supporting the growth and development of motivated systems change makers, Karina is invested in inspiring our youth, fuelling the growth of the Impact Economy in Atlantic Canada and creating the connections between sectors necessary to drive evidence-based public policy and programming. She is working to build a more equitable and sustainable economy with the creation of such initiatives as the Student Ambassador Program, the Be.For.Change Social Venture Accelerator, the Change Maker Seed Funding Program, and NouLAB, a Public and Social Innovation Lab.
Karina has a degree in engineering from Western University and an MBA from York University. She has worked in both manufacturing and marketing for Procter & Gamble before getting hooked on the start-up community. She has worked for, and as a consultant to, six different tech start-up companies in Atlantic Canada before taking on the inaugural role of Executive Director for the PDC and the Executive Director role with NB-SPRN.
Karina is a mom to three teenagers and is passionate about social innovation, snowboarding, and being a lifelong student.
Tracing his Acadian roots back to the early 1600s, Louis R. Comeau served his community and Canada in industry, government and education sectors.
Mr. Comeau began his career as a math and science teacher, before being elected as an MLA from 1968 to 1972 under the Hon. Robert L Stanfield. He returned to teaching when the province of Nova Scotia appointed him the President of Collège Sainte-Anne, where he led the college as it became bilingual and would go on to reinvigorate the French learning program.
His early career offered him many unique opportunities, not least of all, attending the first International United Nations Conference on Environment as the only North American parliamentary delegate.
Mr. Comeau moved into business when he purchased his family’s timber and building supplies company. He ran the successful business for five years before assuming an even bigger responsibility: the $650 million privatization of Nova Scotia Power Inc. He would serve as the President & CEO of the electric utility for 13 years.
In 1995 he was asked by the Government of Canada to participate in the $3 billion privatization of NAV Canada. The not-for-profit company has since gone on to win awards for the best run navigation system in the world.
M. Comeau is an Order of Canada recipient in 2002. He and Clarice Theriault raised three children and are proud grandparents to five grandchildren.