About Us

The Bennett Jones Business Forum provides an exclusive opportunity for the country’s leading executives to engage in thought provoking discussions on topics that are relevant to the current landscape of Canadian and international business. Going into its 20th year, the event is known to be one of the premier business forums in Canada.

Established in 2003 by a committee of dedicated and influential individuals with a passion for Canadian sport, this event is aligned with the Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup, hosting the first men’s downhill and super-G races of the season. This last year, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we transformed our traditionally annual live event into a virtual experience for everyone’s safety and comfort. We look forward to returning to a live event, where participants will enjoy a unique weekend exchanging ideas, building relationships and socializing with fine wines and spirits.

Topic and speakers for this year are under consideration and will be announced soon.

Chair & Moderator

Perry Spitznagel

Vice Chair, Bennett Jones LLP

Perry Spitznagel is Vice Chair of Bennett Jones, a former longstanding Managing Partner of the Calgary office and a senior corporate lawyer with extensive national and cross-border experience in a broad range of matters. Perry has acted for clients in some of the largest transactions in Canada, including many of Canada’s and North America’s largest national and cross-border financings and mergers. He has been recognized by Financial Post Magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in corporate Canada. He is also widely recognized as a leading lawyer in his areas of expertise.

Perry is a director of a large private holding company and is a director and past Chair of WinSport which manages the legacy assets and programs of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. He is also a director of the Calgary Zoological Society and a member of the Advisory Board of the Samara Centre for Democracy, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Canada’s democracy. He is a past member of the Alberta Securities Commission Advisory Committee, a past Co-Chair of the Pipestone Securities Law Conference and a past director of Alpine Canada, the governing body for alpine ski racing in Canada.

A former international ski racer, Perry remains active in skiing.

Perry is a graduate of McGill University, BA (Economics), 1979, with great distinction, and Osgoode Hall Law School, LLB, 1982.

He is a frequent speaker and has chaired national and international conferences on a variety of topics. Perry speaks French and German.

Committee

John Cassels

Principal, The CFO Centre

John is currently a Principal with The CFO Centre which is Canadaís leading provider of part time CFO services. The CFO Centre is a global organization with highly skilled individuals providing financial expertise and guidance to small and medium sized public and private corporations.

John was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bishopís University in Quebec and moved to Calgary in 1972 where he became a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young (then Clarkson Gordon).

As a volunteer in ski racing, John served on the board of the Alberta Alpine Ski Association from 1984 to 1990, volunteered at the 1988 Calgary OWG at the alpine venue at Nakiska and became Race Chairman of the Lake Louise World Cup ROC in 1994.

John is now Chairman of the Board of Directors of Winterstart Events Ltd., the company responsible for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Lake Louise.

Wayne Henuset

President, Paradise Spirits Inc.

Wayne Henuset epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates Western Canada’s economy. His enterprise of private companies encompasses a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines. Wayne brings his fearless attitude, thirst for knowledge and relentless work ethic to all of his business initiatives.

As an avid water-skier, race car driver and downhill skier Wayne enjoys the thrill of pushing boundaries and the road to success. Wayne is a trailblazer whose leadership, business acumen and passion have been critical to the success of his companies. He founded private companies which spans oil & gas, nuclear energy, land & commercial development and the retail sector.

An astute investor and keen business entrepreneur, he has been in the beverage alcohol industry for the past 23 years. In 1994, he opened Willow Park Wines & Spirits, which has become the largest privately-owned retail liquor store in Canada garnering world attention.

Wayne has been recognized as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People, a “liquor store mogul”, the “Nuclear Cowboy” and the “philanthropic owner of Willow Park Wines & Spirits”. Today, Wayne is the President and CEO of Paradise Spirits, a newly formed company with strategic partners who are leveraging their worldwide industry network and business experience to produce and distribute high-quality spirits globally. In 2017, Paradise Spirits acquired El Tequileño, a 60-year-old tequila distillery and brand. Since acquisition, El Tequileno has grown five-fold and is now distributed in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and soon in Italy and Spain.

Wes Jardine

Managing Director and Head of Diversified Industries and Oilfield Services, ATB Financial

Wes Jardine is the Managing Director and Head of Diversified Industries and Oilfield Services with ATB Business Banking. He is responsible for the strategy, direction and leadership of ATB’s market presence in the commercial space across Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Under his leadership, a team of industry specialists and financial service experts utilize a relationship-centric model to transform how mid-market businesses operating throughout Alberta are served.

Wes has 14 years of commercial and corporate banking experience with ATB, where his relationship-first approach has provided industry-leading advisory services to many of ATB’s choice clients across the Exploration and Production, Oilfield Services, Midstream and Diversified industries. Prior to banking, Wes’ background was in software engineering, where he worked as a developer, project lead and account manager for a global realtime IT company servicing the pipeline, utility and transportation sectors.

Wes earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Engineering from the University of Calgary. He attended and graduated from the Haskayne School of Business’ Masters of Business Administration program with honors distinction.

When outside of the office, Wes is an active volunteer in the community. He sits on the finance committee of CUPS Calgary, a charitable organization that provides education, healthcare, and various other resources to at-risk Calgarians. Wes is also the Vice-President for the Southwest Cougars Hockey Association and head coaches both of his children’s minor hockey teams in the Southwest Cougars and Girls Hockey Calgary minor hockey associations.

Jeff Lyons

CPA CBV, Senior Partner, Deloitte

Jeff is a senior partner at Deloitte, with over 20 years of experience serving the firms’ most strategic clients. Know for his forward-thinking leadership and building high-performance teams, he currently serves as Global Lead Client Service Partner for some of the firms most important clients.

Jeff is focused on the marketplace to develop long-term relationships, and leverages his vast expertise and deep industry knowledge to support companies resolve their most complex challenges, optimize performance, drive innovation and improve shareholder value. Leading a myriad of high-profile projects, Jeff has worked extensively with Deloitte’s global clients; providing them with timely advice on strategy, valuation, capex optimization, opex reduction, mergers, dispute resolution, and adoption of digital assets to enhance business performance.

Jeff has held several leadership roles within Deloitte, including serving as the Canadian National O&G leader, West Regional Managing partner for the Financial Advisory practice and West Regional Managing Partner M&A.

Peggy Perry

President, Willow Park Wines & Spirits

Peggy Perry is the President of Willow Park Wines & Spirits, the largest privately-owned liquor store in Canada. Peggy has been the company’s principal wine buyer and marketing director since its founding in 1994. In August 2020, she was awarded the title of Market Leader by New York based, Market Watch magazine, a first for a Canadian beverage retailer.

A native of Prince Edward Island, Peggy received her formal education, degrees in both business and education, at the University of PEI, but her palate was honed in France. She first discovered her love of wine while studying French at the University of Strasbourg. She began working in the wine business in Alberta in 1985 and later spent time working in the French regions of Bordeaux and Champagne. She started working with the Henuset family at Willow Park Wines & Spirits when they purchased the business from the Alberta Liquor Control Commission in March 1994.

Peggy has been the driving force behind Willow Park Wines & Spirits’ 25 years of philanthropic focus which has raised more than $5 million dollars for local charities. She developed a unique wine tasting event curriculum as the single wine educator that became the most comprehensive educational wine, beer and spirits offer in the industry.

Her drive to share her love of wine resulted in the creation of Corkscrew Media in 1999. This company went on to produce over 500 TV shows on wine, beer and spirits, which have aired on 54 networks worldwide. She has written numerous articles for wine and spirit publications.

In 2007, Peggy launched the “Travel with the Trusted Expert” program. In the past 14 years, she and her team have hosted over 2,000 wine, beer and spirit loving customers in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Chile, Argentina, South America, Canada, California and South Africa.

A more recent passion for Peggy has been the development of Willow Park Wines & Spirit’s e-commerce division. Peggy has led her team to recognize the importance of this platform, significantly increasing both customer base and overall profits.

Peggy’s best advice? “Every wine has it’s time, but great wines are great all the time!”

Bob Thompson

Chairman & Director, Brownstone Asset Management

Bob is Chairman and Director of Brownstone Asset Management, a Calgary based investment management firm he founded in 2003. The firm conducts independent research and develops portfolios for investors across Canada, with investments spanning multiple sectors in both the Canadian and U.S. markets. Previously, Bob was Vice-President and Portfolio Manager at Bissett Investment Management for eight years, prior to the company’s sale to Franklin Templeton Inc.

Bob has held senior roles in project development and investor relations with a major publicly traded oil and gas corporation developing investments in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide. He is on the organizing Committee of the Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum, bringing executives worldwide together to share economic views each year at a summit held at Lake Louise Alberta.

Bob was President and Chairman of the Board of the Calgary Stampede over 2013 – 2014. He led the community through the “Hell or High Water” flood year. He has served on the Board of Directors since 1997 serving in a variety of capacities including participation on numerous strategic Board committees. Bob was involved in the execution of the Calgary Stampede strategic plan which includes business development activities associated with a significant planned park expansion. Bob was instrumental in the acquisition of the 6000 acre OH ranch for the Calgary Stampede.

Bob currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Calgary Stampede Foundation. The organization has an independent Board of Directors consisting of successful community citizens, and works towards the advancement of youth programs at the Calgary Stampede.

Bob earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in 1982, a Masters of Business Administration from European University, Geneva Switzerland in 1989, and the Canadian Investment Manager designation in 1997. Bob earned the Institute of Corporate Director (ICD) designation in 2011, and received the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for recognition of outstanding community service.

Sponsors

A special thank you to our sponsors.

Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum would like to thank all of our sponsors for their generous support.