Ahead of the Curve

Economics and Accounting Leadership Forum

May 3, 2024

Register Now!

Get ready for Ahead of the Curve, our annual thought leadership event designed to captivate Canada’s economics and accounting teaching community.

One of this year's big themes is Generative AI in the Classroom: Disruption or Changemaker?

Join us for a day of learning, networking, and idea sharing with your fellow instructors. We have developed engaging sessions to fuel your creativity, boost learner outcomes, and enrich your teaching experience.

We will be having general sessions for both economics and accounting instructors, as well as discipline-specific sessions that address each group’s needs. We will share more information on our Keynote Speakers and sessions very soon. Stay tuned!

To secure your attendance at this event, please make sure to register as soon as possible. Register by March 29th for a chance to win 1 of 10 gift cards, distributed at the event.

Event Details


Friday May 3, 2024

  • 9:30- 5:00 PM for the Sessions
  • 5:00 - 7:00 PM for the Reception

Radisson Blu Toronto Downtown, 249 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2N5

Leadership Forum 2023

Event Highlights

What to expect

Time Activity
7:30-9 AM Breakfast
8:30-9:15 AM Registration
9:15-9:30 AM Opening Remarks
9:30-10:30 AM
 General Session 1:
The impact of AI on In-demand Workplace Skills with Val Walker and Matthew McKean
10:30-10:45 AM
Morning coffee break
10:45-12 PM General Session 2:
AI Roundtable and discussion
12-1 PM Lunch
1-2 PM General Session 3:
“Will Canadian Housing Ever Be Affordable Again?” with Chris Ragan
2-2:30 PM General Session 4:
Representation in the classroom with Justin Molander
2:30-3:30 PM Tradeshow and afternoon coffee break
3:30-4:30 PM Discipline Breakout Sessions
Leverage Excel with AI and ChatGPT with Wendy Tietz
Monetary Policy Has Changed -- Has Your Teaching? with Scott Wolla
4:30-5 PM Closing Remarks
5-7 PM Networking Reception

About the Speakers

Val Walker

Chief Executive Officer

Val Walker leads the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER), a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that brings together some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. As CEO, Val drives BHER’s strategic direction, member and stakeholder relations, and a high-performing team committed to creating opportunity through collaboration in Canada’s skills, talent, and innovation ecosystems.

Val was inaugural co-chair of the Future Skills Council, a group established by the Government of Canada to advise on national and regional skills development and training priorities. She has also served as a member of the Guiding Coalition to the Government of Alberta’s Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative and of Employment and Social Development Canada’s Advisory Committee on Learning.

Val Walker

Prior to leading BHER, Val was Vice President, Innovation and Skills, at the Business Council of Canada where BHER was founded and Director of Policy at Mitacs. She holds a PhD from McGill University and is an alumna of the Government of Canada’s Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program.

Matthew McKean

Chief R&D Officer

Matthew McKean is BHER's Chief R&D Officer. He leads BHER with Val and Jenn and oversees the organization's diverse and growing member-driven research and programming agendas. Areas of focus include work-integrated learning (WIL), upskilling/reskilling, international talent recruitment, training, and retention, accessibility and EDI, the transition to net zero, and navigating the AI revolution.

Prior to joining BHER, he was Director of Education & Skills and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at the Conference Board of Canada. He led a multi-year Skills and Post-Secondary Education (SPSE) research and convening initiative and the Council of University Executives (CUE), a pan-Canadian network of Provosts and Vice-Presidents. He was a founding member of the consortium team that was selected to set up and run the Future Skills Centre (FSC), a multi-year initiative funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills program.

Matthew McKean

Matthew has authored, co-authored, and directed hundreds of research deliverables, from infographics, briefings, and door-stop reports to podcasts, presentations, and op-eds. He writes, speaks publicly, and is a regular commentator and contributor to media, mostly on skills, talent, and education topics. His writing has appeared in The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star, The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, The Hill Times, The Conversation (Canada), This Magazine, Exclaim!, and elsewhere.

Matthew holds a PhD in History from Queen's University, Kingston, and is an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of History at Carleton University, where he taught for many years. He was a board member of the Ottawa International Writers Festival; a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Education; and the National Advisory Committee for People for Education.

Justin Molander

J​​​​ustin Molander, CPA, CMA, is a member of the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. He teaches in the business and accounting departments at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Langara College. His 20+ years of experience spans from financial analysis and market research to financing high growth, capital intensive companies in a broad range of industries. Early in his career, Justin also worked with the B.C. Legislature supporting MLA’s and Cabinet Ministers in a variety of capacities.

Justin Molander

Chris Ragan

Associate Professor and Founding Director of McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy

Chris Ragan, PhD is an enthusiastic teacher and public communicator. In 2007 he was awarded the Noel Fieldhouse teaching prize at McGill. He is the author of Economics (formerly co-authored with Richard Lipsey), which after sixteen editions is still the most widely used introductory economics textbook in Canada. Ragan also writes frequent columns for newspapers, most often in The Globe and Mail. He teaches in several MBA and Executive MBA programs, including at McGill, EDHEC in France, and in special courses offered by McKinsey & Company. He gives dozens of public speeches every year.

Chris Ragan

Wendy Tietz

Professor at Kent State University

Wendy Tietz, PhD, CPA, CMA, CGMA, CSCA, is a professor at Kent State University. She teaches introductory financial and managerial accounting in a variety of formats. She also teaches advanced management accounting and advanced accounting analytics and technology. She is the co-author of two Pearson introductory accounting textbooks and has won numerous teaching awards. Dr. Tietz authors a blog, Accounting in the Headlines, which contains real-life accounting stories for use in the introductory accounting classroom.

Wendy Tietz

Scott Wolla

Scott Wolla is a nationally recognized, award-winning economic educator. Currently Scott is the Economic Education Officer, at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He has published articles in journals such as Journal of Economic Education and his work to modernize the teaching of monetary policy has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and The Economist. He has a PhD in curriculum and instruction from Saint Louis University, MA in economics for educators from the University of Delaware. Scott teaches economics as an adjunct at Washington University in St. Louis.

Wendy Tietz

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Mobolu Coker or Ghida Barraj