Board of Directors
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, FCA, ICD.D
Corporate Director and Community volunteer
Kay Best, is currently a Corporate Director at Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Superior Plus Corporation, 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 recently retired after a 25 year career with BMO Bank of Montreal. Over the course of her career, Susan held several senior executive positions in markets across Canada, including Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Waterloo. In her last position with BMO, Susan served as Senior Vice President of Alberta and Northwest Territories Division.
Susan has always been active in the business and not for profit community. Over the years, as she moved across Canada, Susan has served on the Boards of public utility and private corporations, as well as many hospital foundations, museums, and other not for profit organizations.
Susan was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016 by Women’s Executive Network. She has 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 also 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.
Mr. Coutu is the former Chairman of Syncrude Canada Ltd., one of Canada’s largest oil sands projects and is past President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Oil Sands Limited. He was previously Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Gulf Canada Resources Limited, and prior to that held various positions in the areas of corporate finance, investment banking, and mining and oil and gas exploration and development.
Mr. Coutu is a director of IG Wealth Management, Mackenzie Inc., Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life, Empower Retirement and Putnam. He is also a director of Power Corporation, Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Enbridge Inc., and is a past member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. He has also held board positions with Gulf Indonesia Resources Limited, TransCanada Power Limited Partnership and the Board of Governors of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. In addition, Marcel has been a longtime member of the Stampede family, having held a position on the Calgary Stampede Board of Directors from 2014 – 2020.
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.
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 from March 2015 to March 2017. He joined the Calgary Stampede Foundation Board in 2017 and is the current chair of the Governance and Strategy Committee for the Foundation.
He is a member of the Vantage Foods Advisory Board and the Calgary Sports & Major Events Committee and is a former member of the Saddledome Foundation Board and the board of 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 University of Calgary Board of Governors, 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, Sinneave Foundation 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 a champion for the cause of advanced education and research, Ann has strong ties to the University of Calgary where she is Chancellor Emeritus and a former member of the Board of Governors. In 2016 the University named a road in their new West Campus development ‘McCaig Street’ in honour of Ann’s contributions. Ann is also a Director Emeritus of the Gairdner Foundation, a former Trustee of the Killam Trusts and a former Director of the Banff Centre Foundation.
Ann has an equally strong passion for health care and community development. She is the Honourary Chair of the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute and Chair Emeritus of the Calgary Health Trust. Ann also served as the Chair of the Calgary Foundation and she was a Cabinet member for the Resolve Campaign to End Homelessness.
Western heritage and the development of a vibrant arts and culture sector are important to Ann. She has been a devoted and long time volunteer with the Calgary Stampede Foundation. She currently serves as the Foundation’s Chair Emeritus after having helped raise over $100 million as Co-chair of the ‘We’re Greatest Together’ capital campaign.
In the last 30 years, Ann has lead successful campaigns for numerous major institutions in Calgary. She is the recipient of the Order of Canada, the Alberta Order of Excellence and two honorary degrees. In 2012 she received the Generosity of Spirit Award for Outstanding Lifetime Philanthropist and in 2015 Ann was given the name ‘White Wolf Woman’ by Blackfoot Elder Casey Eaglespeaker in recognition of her support for Alberta’s First Nations people.
Founder and former CEO AdFarm
Kim McConnell is a founder and the former CEO of AdFarm, one of the largest agricultural marketing communications firms in North America and a recipient of many personal and business honours including a Member of 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 agri-food companies. 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.
Under Mr. McConnell’s leadership AdFarm was recognized 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 active in Canada’s agribusiness community and is director on a number of corporate and volunteer boards.
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.
CFO and Director of Whitehorn Resources Ltd., Portfolio Manager for Priviti Capital Corp. and Director of Whitewater Ski Resort.
Independent businessman, Advisor for Manitou Investment Management, Portfolio Manager for Priviti Capital Corp. and President of Jowidana Hotels Ltd.
Previously employed as President and sole owner of UTA Asset Management, a registered Portfolio Manager who acted as Sub-advisor for Dynamic Mutual Funds. UTA was responsible for the investment decisions with respect to Oil and Gas investments for several Dynamic portfolios.
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. All businesses were focused in the Canadian Energy Sector, specifically in the public markets.
Current board positions on several private companies including Chair of the Board for Cool It Systems Inc., Jowidana Hotels Ltd., Chatter Creek Mountain Lodges Ltd.. Also active on the Advisory Board of Priviti Capital Corp. Past public company board experiences include Macro Energy Services, NQL Energy Services, Gentry Exploration and Nexstar Energy. Other board and volunteer activities in the not-for-profit sector include a current position as a Director of The Palix Foundation, a Director of the Calgary Stampede Foundation, member of the Investment Committee for the Max Bell Foundation, a member of the Alberta Regional Board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada as well a member of the NCC Investment Committee.
Past volunteer positions include Chair and Director of the Calgary Arts Development Authority, Chair and Director of The Calgary Foundation, Chair and Director of the Alberta Performing Arts Stabilization Fund, Director of the Norlien Foundation as well as member of the Investment Committee, President and Director of Quest Theater Company, Director of Calgary Social Venture Partners and a member of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Altalink
Mr. Thon has served as AltaLink's President and Chief Executive Officer since 2002 and he has been the President of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Canada since 2014. 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. He has lead the investment and construction of significant energy infrastructure developments in Alberta, Canada and globally.
Mr. Thon is the Chair of Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust. Mr. Thon sits on not-for-profit boards, as Chair of Alberta Blue Cross and as a director of the Calgary Stampede Foundation. Mr. Thon is the immediate Past-Chair of the Canadian Electricity Association’s Board of Directors and maintains a seat on the Board.
In 2017, Mr. Thon was recognized by Business in Calgary magazine with their Leaders award. 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 also a graduate of the Executive Program from the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business. In 2015, Mr. Thon completed the Institute of Corporate Director’s Directors Education Program receiving his ICD.D designation.