BC Liquor Conference 2018 Speakers

Alexzander Samuelsson
Lead Chemist in Research and Development, Nextleaf Solutions

Alexzander Samuelsson is lead chemist in research and development at Nextleaf Solutions helping to develop, validate, and innovate the process of efficiently extracting cannabis into oils and concentrates. He has developed a career over the last three years in the medical cannabis industry through his company DevCat Consulting working with dispensaries, licensed producers, industry stakeholders, and various media outlets on contracts ranging from technical SOPs and industry advising, to writing on the science of cannabis under the moniker “Alex The Chemist”.

Alexzander holds a BSc. in Chemistry from Ryerson University and has focused his background toward innovation, research, and education in the medical cannabis industry after discovering first-hand the medical benefits of cannabis. His passion for cannabis education has brought him across the country discussing the science of cannabis in podcasts, media interviews, and presenting both private and public to audiences from the canna-curious, technical researchers, and C-level executives to everyone in between. You can follow him on Twitter @AlexTheChemist

Bert Hick
President, Rising Tide Consultants

Bert Hick founded Rising Tide Consultants Ltd. after serving 11 years with the British Columbia Government. Throughout Bert’s career with government, he held several key positions including the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, Executive Director of the Cabinet Secretariat, Secretary to Cabinet under Premier William (Bill) Bennett and General Manager of the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. Bert believes in giving back to the community and is an active member of the Board of Directors with several not-for-profit groups in BC.

With over 25 years of liquor licensing experience, Bert is widely respected throughout British Columbia’s hospitality industry and at all levels of local and provincial government. Bert completed his graduate studies at the University of Victoria.

Brad Bodnarchuk
Host, The Half a Dozen Hospitality Podcast & Restaurant Consultant

With twenty years experience in the Food & Beverage industry Brad is more passionate now than he has ever been. His passion has lead him to launch the successful podcast, The Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast, where he interviews key members from the industry creating a platform for them to tell their story. The podcast keeps him connected to what’s going on in the community and allows for him to deepen his love for this space.

Brad also runs his own Restaurant Consulting business where he works with new and experienced restaurant owners to strategically create opportunities to grow by building tailored systems based on people and process. Brad is fearlessly supported by his partner Lindsey and their daughter Lena.

Conner Galway
President, Junction YVR

Conner started building digital strategy, training, and speaking publicly very early on in his career, even guest lecturing at his university while still attending as a student.

He founded Junction Consulting in 2012, and has has always been the strategist – researching, digging deep and solving problems for clients to help them get where they’re going, and pushing the limits of what’s possible for their businesses.

Since then, he’s grown the team and his role, building strategy and training for brands like Destination BC, Happy Planet, and The Donnelly Group.

He’s also becoming one of Canada’s premiere digital & social media educators, developing curriculum and teaching at a variety of schools like Brainstation, Simon Fraser University, and Capilano University.

Damian Kettlewell
BlissCo CEO & Founder, JAK’s Director, and ABLE BC Director

Damian Kettlewell is the CEO & founder of BlissCo Cannabis Corp. (CSE: BLIS) (OTCQB: HSTRF) (FRA: GQ4B). BlissCo was founded in 2013 and is a wellness-focused, licensed producer and future distributor of ultra-premium cannabis products. BlissCo leverages the latest technology to deliver the best products and the best care to its patients and recreational customers.

Damian has a long history serving in regulated environments and has been a director with JAK’S Beer Wine Spirits for 12 years. He is also currently a director with ABLE BC (Association of Beverage Licenses of BC) and was a private sector spokesperson for the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of B.C. (RMRA). Damian has been a community organizer for over 20 years advocating for environmental, medical cannabis and hemp policy reform.

He has an MBA in Leadership from Royal Roads University and a Communications and Economics Degree from Simon Fraser University. Learn more: BlissCo.com

Grace Lanuza
Founder & CEO, Grace Lanuza Brand Strategy & Consulting Group

Grace brings over 18 years of experience in business specializing in brand strategy, shopper marketing, employment branding, and large-scale events. Some of her notable work includes: Procter & Gamble Beauty’s Olay For You digital space and Atlantic Canada House at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. In addition to the brands mentioned above, her past client mix includes Daimler-Chrysler, Rogers, Microsoft Xbox, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Adams, National Football League (NFL) / SuperBowl, and AB InBev/Labatt. Currently, she has a wide variety of clients that includes The Pacquiao Brand Group, ESPN, The Government of Rwanda, Beauty & Wellness TV, SwitzerCultCreative, Select Global, BC Food Processors Association, and The Government of Canada where she develops programs and initiatives in remote Indigenous communities.

Her parent company, Grace Lanuza Brand Strategy + Consulting Group, houses three subsidiaries; Brand Apiary (branding and digital marketing), Clickruit (employment branding, training & curriculum development) and Pelota (influencer and sports sponsorship brokerage). The companies have offices in Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Her work has been featured on numerous press outlets, such as Business Insider and is featured as an official partner on the AMA Feed.

To read Grace’s full bio, please click here.

Jeff Guignard
Executive Director, BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees

Jeff is a dynamic leader and communicator with extensive experience in government relations, strategic communications, and association management. As Executive Director of BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC), Jeff advocates for BC’s multi-billion dollar private liquor industry, including liquor stores, neighbourhood pubs, bars, nightclubs, and hotels.

Initially from New Brunswick, Jeff spent a decade working in Ottawa as senior staff to several Members of Parliament before moving to BC in 2014. He is currently the Chair of the Coalition of BC Businesses and Vice Chair of the BC Hospitality Foundation.

To learn more about BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees, please visit the association’s website.

Jen McCreath
Owner/Operator, Kelly O’Bryan’s Restaurant & Pub in New Westminster

Jennifer McCreath has been in the hospitality industry for 25 years and is the owner/operator of Kelly O’Bryan’s Restaurant & Pub in New Westminster. Throughout the years Jennifer has always been a hard working and dedicated mother, while embracing an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped her navigate her way through this industry in many facets of the business.

In 2012, these efforts led to her role as the General Manager of Dublin Crossing Irish Pub in Surrey and she later partnered with the Kelly O’Bryan’s group in the Spring of 2017. Jennifer’s new Kelly O’Bryan’s location in New Westminster opened in December 2017 and she has enjoyed an exciting first year of business so far!

Jennifer is a steadfast and supportive leader with a progressive perspective on how to build loyalty and motivate her team. She is truly driven to build leaders, embrace teamwork and develop her employees. Through it all, she still has a remarkable love for an industry that can wear down even the keenest of people!

Josh Vanderheide
Owner/Operator, Field House Brewing Co.

Josh Vanderheide is a passionate entrepreneur and creative professional with over 15 years of marketing, advertising, brand and packaging design experience. As a creative professional, he has worked with both large national advertising clients as various small to medium sized businesses across BC, helping them to bring their ideas and companies to life through brand identity strategy and design – his work has been featured internationally in various books, magazines and websites.

As an entrepreneur, Josh has led Field House Brewing Co. to a successful start, growing the company to over 45 employees in just over 2 years and winning awards at the BC Beer Awards, including Best New Brewery in BC 2016, Awards at Canadian Brewing Awards and personally as Abbotsford’s U40 Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.

Josh also teaches Brand Identity & Packaging Design as part of the UFV Graphic Design Program and is part of the UFV Graphic Design Program Advisory Group.

Having grown up in Abbotsford, he has strong connections to the community and is passionate about finding ways for Abbotsford to realize it’s potential as a community.

To learn more about Field House Brewing, please visit their website.

Kim Haakstad
Vice President, Government Relations & General Manager, Global Public Affairs

Kim Haakstad uses two decades of experience as a senior political aide and advisor for public, private and business organizations to provide insight to Global clients. She has built a reputation of maintaining integrity through adversity and brings a first-hand understanding of the inner workings of government to the issues management and government relations services she provides.

Prior to joining Global, Kim got her start as a political advisor as a constituency assistant in the mid-’90’s. She was Ministerial Assistant in the Ministries of Education and Family and Children before being appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations for the Premier’s Office in 2011—one of a handful of senior political advisors to the government. She also worked as Manager of Local and Aboriginal Content Strategy for Spectra Energy’s Western Canadian business where her work ensured Aboriginal communities could more fully participate in projects occurring in their Traditional Territory. Kim also served nearly four years as the Executive Director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC).

Kim currently serves as the BC Chapter President of the Public Affairs Association of Canada.

Lorne Folick
Defense Lawyer, Dolden Wallace Folick LLP

Lorne Folick is an insurance defense lawyer who specializes in defending restaurant, bars, pubs and hotels.  Lorne has argued many of the leading cases in this area and routinely provides risk management presentations and materials for the industry.  Recently, Lorne authored the definitive textbook in liquor liability exposures in Canada.

To learn more about Lorne, please visit the Dolden Wallace Folick website.

Morgan Thomas, RID, LEED AP
Interior Designer, Business Development, Cutler

Morgan is an interior designer and project manager at Cutler, an award-winning interior design, architecture and project management firm based in Vancouver. With a passion for helping brands exceed in their design and business objectives, she develops memorable experiences based on strategy.

After completing a Bachelors of Fine Art, she moved to NYC where she spent several years designing the physical experiences of Fortune 500 brands within retail, airport and hospitality sectors. A societally focused philosophy constantly moves Morgan to find ways to enrich peoples’ lives through the spaces they experience and the behaviours that those inspire.

Paul Rickett
Private Liquor Store Operator, Bowen Beer and Wine Cellar and Principal, VARKeting

Paul Rickett is principal of VARKeting! A company specialising in turning liquor industry data analytics into effective business strategies. He also runs a median-sized LRS in the Lower Mainland.

Rikka Bouseh, CPHR
Founder/Lead HR Strategist, Surge HR Solutions Ltd.

Throughout her career, Rikka worked in companies of all sizes and saw first-hand the impact of not having an HR department can have on an organization. Disgruntled employees and high turnover rates impeded company’s growth and ability to service their customers. The toughest part was knowing the leaders of these companies wanted to do the right thing but didn’t know how to do it and thought they could not afford to hire a Human Resources professional to help them sort out their problems.

As a result, Rikka was driven to create a different solution for businesses; an external HR solution, which gives companies the same support of an internal team. Through Surge, Rikka gives employers the flexibility to choose the right solution to fill the gaps in their business and gain the long-term stability of an HR department at the fraction of the cost of a full-time senior HR professional.

Rikka’s approach is personalized, taking into consideration companies’ employees, budget and strategic objectives. She develops long term partnerships with her clients and as a result, is able to see their initiatives through.

To learn more about Surge HR Solutions, please visit their website.

Rob Hill
Chief Financial Officer, Emerald Health Therapeutics

Mr. Hill brings more than 20 years of accounting, finance, and senior leadership experience to Emerald as a seasoned manager of private and publicly traded technology and financial services businesses in Canada, USA, and Asia. Prior to joining Emerald, Mr. Hill was the Chief Financial Officer of Tokyo-based Minkabu, a technology company advancing sophisticated stock market intelligence and financial data solutions.

Before that, he held financial leadership positions at Haywood Securities in Vancouver, Vignette Corp. and Trilogy Software in Austin, Texas. Mr. Hill earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia and his certification from the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia, Canada while articling with KPMG LLP.

Sabrine Dhaliwal, BHM, CSS
Bartender of the Year 2017 | Vancouver Magazine
Canadian Ambassador | Belvedere Vodka
Global Winner | Belvedere Challenge 2015

Armed with an exhaustive knowledge of cocktail lore and a reputation for shaking up unique, elegant-yet-funky twists on traditional drinks, Sabrine Dhaliwal has quickly established herself as a top-shelf talent not just in her adopted hometown of Vancouver but the world over.

Since her arrival to Vancouver in 2009, Sabrine enrolled into Vancouver Community College Hospitality Management Program complimented with levels 1-3 of Wine & Spirits Education Trust and a Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS).

Sabrine’s passion and appreciation for hospitality and bar tending grew during her extensive training for the opening of Reflections Outdoor Restaurant and Lounge at the Hotel Rosewood Georgia in 2011.  She expanded on her bartender training in 2012 once she joined the esteemed bar team at West Restaurant.

The novice became the mentor herself when she stepped into Wolowidnyk’s shoes as bar manager at West in 2015, a banner year in which she claimed top spot at the Global Belvedere Challenge in London. During the same year, she also won the inaugural Vancouver Molinari Sambuca Cocktail Competition before joining fellow global bartending talent Lauren Mote as lead bartender at UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar.

In 2017, Dhaliwal — a Canadian brand ambassador for Belvedere Vodka who also mentors young up-and-coming bartenders as a WSET Level 2 Spirits instructor — was singled out by her peers at the prestigious Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards as Bartender of the Year, becoming only the third woman to claim the Best Bartender crown in the 28-year history of the annual awards ceremony.

Continuing to push the envelop; she has lead her team to be one of Canada’s Top 50 Bars 2018 by American Express being placed 22 and Top Ten Best Restaurant Bar- The Americas by Tales of The Cocktail Foundation.

Sara Mohsin
Client Relations Officer, Rising Tide Consultants

Sara brings a considerable knowledge of customer service and administrative experience to Rising Tide Consultants. Sara’s past work was based in California and took her across North America in the agricultural industry. She has expansive experience in food safety, food packaging and food service customer relations. Her background in the agricultural industry is well suited for her work at Rising Tide on cannabis applications across Canada.

Shea Coulson
Partner, Dentons Canada LLP

Shea Coulson is a partner in the Dentons Canada LLP Litigation and Dispute Resolution group. Based in Dentons’ Vancouver office, Shea’s practice focuses on commercial, real estate, regulatory and constitutional litigation.

Shea brings a practical business sense with a deep knowledge and understanding of both commercial law, and the complex legal doctrines and political environments that govern regulatory decision-making by provincial and federal governments and their agencies. This unique combination of skills translates into real, business-facing results for clients confronting nuanced, complex litigation. Shea has appeared in significant, precedent-setting cases at the Supreme Court of Canada, the BC Court of Appeal, the BC Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Canada. His core philosophy is to develop efficient, effective strategy that meets the business goals of his clients.

With 10 years’ experience working for the hospitality industry, Shea has developed a special capability in BC liquor law and regulation, as well as the new cannabis laws and regulations, including distribution, sale and licensing.

To read Shea’s full bio and learn more about his experience please visit the Dentons website.