Board of Directors

Bob Thompson

Foundation Board Chair

Bob has a strong background in finance, management and board governance, and is founder, president and CEO of Brownstone Asset Management, a Calgary-based investment counsel firm. Bob is a passionate supporter of Alberta’s rural roots and agricultural backdrop. Bob is a member of Calgary Economic Development's Financial Sector Advisory Committee. A strong believer in the volunteer system, Bob has been a volunteer with the Stampede since 1987 and was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for Community Service. He served as Stampede president and chairman of the board from 2013-2015.

Mel E. Benson

President Mel E. Benson Management Services Inc.

Mel is president of Mel E. Benson Management Services Inc. an international consulting firm working in various countries with a focus on First Nations/Corporate negotiations.  Mel is part owner of a private energy  company Tenax Energy.

Mel has been a director of Suncor Energy since 2000, serving on the compensation, audit and environment, health and safety committees. Mel also sits as a Director of the Fort McKay Group of Companies a community   investment organization.

Mel retired from an International energy company in 2000 after a long career as an operations manager and senior member of project management based in Houston, TX, where he worked on international projects based in Africa and the former Soviet Union.

A member of several charitable organizations, Mel prides himself on being active in his community.  Mel has been a past Director of Hull Child and Family Services, Stars, NAIT and the University of Alberta land institute.

Mel is a member of Beaver Lake Cree Nation, located in northeastern Alberta.

Kay Best

Corporate Director and Community volunteer

Kay Best, FCA, ICD.D, is currently a Corporate Director at Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Superior Plus Corporation, AltaGas Ltd., Wawanesa Insurance, and Badger Daylighting Ltd. Previously, Kay was the Executive Vice-President, Risk Management and Chief Financial Officer of the Calgary Health Region and was named the interim CFO of Alberta Health Services, which was formed by the integration of all Alberta health regions.

Kay, a chartered accountant, was a partner with Ernst & Young in Calgary where she worked for nineteen years, the last ten as Corporate Audit Partner.

Kay is an active member of the volunteer community having served in a number of positions with the United Way of Calgary, including a term as Chair of the Board of Directors. She has held several positions with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta, including serving as an elected representative on the Institute’s Governing Council. Currently, Kay is a director of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Calgary Foundation.

Susan Brown

Senior Vice President, Alberta and Northwest Territories Division, BMO

Susan Brown recently retired as the Senior Vice President of the Alberta and Northwest Territories Division with BMO Bank of Montreal. In that role, Susan  was responsible for the financial services the bank provides to its personal and commercial customers across the division.

Susan was with BMO for 25 years and worked in several markets across Canada during her career.  Her first executive appointment with BMO was in 2001, as Vice President, Saskatchewan District, followed by roles as Vice President, Calgary District; Senior Vice President, Ontario Regional Division; Senior Vice President, Southwestern Ontario Division; and Senior Vice President, Alberta Northwest Territories Division.

Susan has always been active in the business and not for profit community.  In addition to her Board work with the Calgary Stampede Foundation, she currently serves on the Board of Northstar Trade Finance in Canada and Chairs the Board of Northstar Europe in Luxembourg. 
Over the years, as she moved across Canada, Susan served as a Board member and Chaired the Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation, and also served on the Boards of Heritage Park Society (Calgary), THEMUSEUM (Kitchener), Canada’s Technology Triangle (Waterloo Region), the Chamber of Commerce (Calgary), Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital Health Foundation (Saskatoon), and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation (Saskatoon). 

Susan was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016 by Women’s Executive Network.  She was also been recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA in 2012, and one of Saskatchewan’s Top 10 Women of Influence by Saskatchewan Business Magazine in 2004. 
Susan attended the University of Manitoba, where she completed Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business Administration degrees.  She has holds the ICD.D designation after successful completion of the Institute of Corporate Directors - Directors’ Education Program in 2018.  Susan resides in Calgary with her husband Terry.

Wayne Chiu

Founder and president and CEO Trico Homes

Wayne Chiu is a highly respected Canadian business leader and philanthropist who founded Trico Homes in 1992. Wayne’s corporate and entrepreneurial acumen have reinforced his desire to support the communities that have contributed to his success. In 2008, Wayne and his wife and business partner, Eleanor, founded the Trico Charitable Foundation as a way to fulfill their passion for social entrepreneurship. The Trico Charitable Foundation is focused on provoking innovation and building capacity in social entrepreneurship, and does so through a number of programs and initiatives, including Enterprising Non-Profits Canada and the Social Enterprise World Forum.

He has been recognized with numerous awards, most recently being appointed as Member of the Order of Canada. Wayne has also been awarded with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Other awards of note are the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of Year Award, the SAIT President’s Partnership Award, the Immigrant of Distinction Award, the Generosity of Spirit Award, Alberta Centennial Medal and the Calgary Citizenship Award.

Mr. Chiu holds an Institute Certified Director Designation and has extensive board governance expertise in both the public sector and business community. Wayne currently serves on the TELUS Community Board; United Way of Calgary Board of Director’s; Bow Valley College Campaign Advisory Council; Stampede Foundation Board; Alberta Champions Society for Community Enrichment; and the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta Strategic Advisory Board. Wayne is also the Executive Chairman of the Trico Charitable Foundation.

Susan Church

Susan Church has worked extensively with Alberta’s agriculture and food industry for 40 years. Prior to retiring in 2009, she helped position Alberta livestock producers as leaders in animal care issues throughout Canada and the US.  She is now a proud volunteer with the Calgary Stampede on its Animal Care Advisory Council.

Susan has been recognized by her peers in the agriculture industry and has received the first Friend of the Industry Award from Alberta Pork, the Canadian Veterinarian Medical Association’s Humane Care Award, the Alberta Dairy Industry Achievement Award, and the Leadership Award of Distinction from Alberta Farm Animal Care.

Susan was a strong ambassador for the We’re Greatest Together campaign and has dedicated hours of her time to the Stampede Foundation. She brings with her diverse experience as a board member of the William Herron Family Foundation, farm member for the Agriculture Service Board of Rocky View County, past board member of Heritage Park, Community Representative for the U of C Veterinary Medicine Animal Care Committee, and a helper on her husband’s cattle ranch.

Bill Gray

Partner, Miles Davison LLP

Bill Gray is a partner and a member of the Executive Committee with Calgary law firm Miles Davison LLP and he has more than 35 years of experience in corporate and commercial law. He is known for his strong management style, problem solving and strategic thinking. Mr. Gray has extensive experience in the analysis and resolution of a wide range of operational and legal issues. He regularly advises on leasing, financing and estate issues and has been involved in many large and small corporate mergers, acquisitions and other business transactions. In January 2010, Mr. Gray received a Queen’s Counsel designation from the Province of Alberta, in recognition of his contribution to the legal profession and the community. Mr. Gray completed the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Not-for-Profit Governance Essentials Program in 2014 and has attended a number of other ICD and professional development courses throughout the last number of years. 

Mr. Gray started as a Calgary Stampede volunteer in 1986 and eventually chaired the Courtesy Car Committee before being elected to the Stampede Board in 2006. In 2011, He was elected as a vice-chairman and he became the Calgary Stampede president and chairman of the Board, a position he held until March of 2017.

He is a member of the Vantage Foods Advisory Board, The Saddledome Foundation Board and remains a director of the Quest Theatre Society.

Fauzia Lalani

P. Eng, Director of transportation, travel and strategy, Suncor Energy

Fauzia Lalani is an accomplished and energetic business and community leader. Ms Lalani is currently a senior business leader working with Suncor Energy Inc.,  Canada’s largest Oil and Gas company. Prior to joining Suncor, she was Vice President in the Technology and Operations area at TELUS. TELUS is the second largest telecommunications company in Canada. She led the end-to-end service fulfillment team for TELUS’ 10.5 million customers.

She moved to TELUS, after being President and Chief Executive Officer of Aquila Canada, a Calgary-based Venture 100 energy company. 

Prior to joining Aquila, Ms Lalani held a variety of leadership and management roles with Dow Chemical, Alberta Treasury and TransAlta Corporation in areas including EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction), Operations, project management, retail, sales and marketing.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta and an Executive MBA from University of Western Ontario.

Active in numerous national and community organizations, Ms Lalani currently serves as President, Aga Khan Ismaili Council for the Prairies, Director on the Sinneave Foundation, and has served as Chair of the Canada Revenue (CRA) Agency Board, and Chair of the Workers Compensation Board, Director on the STARS Air Ambulance and the Calgary YMCA Boards. Ms. Lalani has been recognized with the 50 Key Women in Energy Award – Leadership Category

M. Ann McCaig, C.M., A.O.E., LL.D.

Foundation Board Chair Emeritus

Mrs. McCaig is one of Canada’s most prominent leaders in the not-for-profit sector, a well-known advocate in the areas of youth, education and health and an accomplished fundraiser. Born and raised in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Ann has maintained a life-long commitment to caring about others and giving back to her community, she is passionate about continuous learning and works tirelessly to ensure the highest possible quality of life for future generations.

As Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Calgary, Ann has a long history as a champion for the cause of advanced education and research. She was Chancellor from 1994 to 1998 after having served as a member of the University's Board of Governors for 10 years. Ann is a Trustee of the $400 million Killam Estate, a Director of the Gairdner Foundation and a former director of the Banff Centre Foundation.

Ann has an equally strong passion for advancing health care and developing a strong healthy community with an emphasis on helping youth. She is the Chair of the Calgary Health Trust and the Honourary Chair of the Alberta Bone and Joint Institute. She also Chairs the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC). She is an honourary member of the Calgary Stampede Foundation and she has served as the Chair of the Calgary Foundation and the City of Calgary Police Interpretive Centre. Ann is a long-time supporter of the Famous 5 Foundation.

Kim McConnell

Founder and former CEO AdFarm

Kim McConnell is the founder and the former CEO of AdFarm, one of the largest agricultural marketing communications firms in North America and was recently named to the Order of Canada. In 1984, Mr. McConnell started the business in the basement of his house. In 2007, he stepped down as CEO.  Over the years, Mr. McConnell has led many national and international brand and marketing assignments for several respected companies including Farm Credit Canada, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer CropScience, Agrium and RBC Royal Bank. He has been the catalyst behind many industry initiatives including advancing the Canadian beef industry, the Canadian seed industry and recently has spearheaded an initiative to build greater public trust in food and farming.

In addition to numerous creative and marketing awards, under Mr. McConnell’s leadership AdFarm was recognized for three years as one of “Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies”, and in 2006 was recognized as the 3rd Best Place to Work in Canada. Mr. McConnell is also the recipient of many national business awards including ‘Agri-Marketer of the Year’, finalist for the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year”, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation “Mentor of the Year” and in 2012 he received one of the industry’s highest awards when he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. Mr. McConnell remains involved with AdFarm and is also director on a number of corporate and volunteer boards.

Shelly Norris

Community Volunteer

Shelly Norris obtained her CGA designation in 1983. Ms. Norris was Controller for Canadian operations of NuWest Homes following which she was second in charge at National Trust in Calgary, responsible for organizing accounting and establishing controls.

Ms. Norris and her husband jointly own an investment holding company of which she is President and maintains an income tax practice.

She has been involved in the non-profit sector for a number of years, primarily in the area of fundraising and has served as co-chair of a major gifts campaign for the Canadian Cancer Society (Alberta and NWT Divisions) for a number of years. She also helped organize the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s major fundraising event. Shelly is the current president of the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter Board of Directors, and has been a Board member for the last six years. She is a descendant of the McDougall and MacKenzie pioneering families.

Dean Prodan

CFO and Director of Whitehorn Resources Ltd., Portfolio Manager for Priviti Capital Corp. and Director of Whitewater Ski Resort.

Mr. Prodan is most recently employed as President and sole owner of UTA Asset Management. Previous employment from 1989 to 2009 consists of four years as an Institutional Salesmen for Peters & Co. Ltd., five years as Managing Director and co-founder of FirstEnergy Capital Corp., four years as President and Portfolio Manager of Dominion Equity Resource Fund and Managing Director of Canfund VE Management Corp.

He has current board positions on several private companies including Chair of the Board for Markwater Handling Systems and Cool It Systems Inc., Director of Canadian Energy Acquisition Corp. Also active on the Advisory Board of Priviti Capital Corp. Other board and volunteer activities in the not-for-profit sector dean is involved in include his current position as Board Chair of the Calgary Arts Development Authority, a Director of The Palix Foundation,  member of the Investment Committee for the Max Bell Foundation and a member of the Regional Board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Scott Thon

President and Chief Executive Officer, Altalink

Scott Thon has served as AltaLink's President and Chief Executive Officer since 2002. For over 30 years he has held a variety of senior positions in the electricity industry, from operations and engineering to market design and financial management.

Mr. Thon is current chair of the Canadian Electricity Association Board of Directors. He is a Director on the Board of Alberta Blue Cross and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust. Mr. Thon also serves as a member of the Canadian Athletic Foundation Board of Trustees.

In 2013, Bow Valley College awarded Mr. Thon their Distinguished Citizen Award honouring his commitment to the College. In 2011, Mr. Thon was recognized by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce for his business and community leadership with the Sherrold Moore Award. In 2005, The Government of Alberta presented Mr. Thon with the Alberta Centennial Medal in recognition of outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta.

Mr. Thon is a registered Professional Engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan. He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business Executive Program. In 2015, Mr. Thon completed the Institute of Corporate Director’s Directors Education Program receiving his ICD.D designation.