Toronto’s Economy in 2025 – Bios

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Amanda Lang, Host

Award-winning business journalist Amanda Lang is CBC’s senior business correspondent, reporting for its flagship nightly news program, The National. She is also host of The Exchange with Amanda Lang, a daily business program airing on CBC News Network. She also occasionally anchors The National.

Lang studied architecture at the University of Manitoba before becoming a journalist. Her first job in journalism was for the Globe and Mail, and subsequently Lang joined the Financial Post newspaper, where she became the paper’s New York correspondent. In New York she made the leap to television, where she first was part of the team that launched BNN, and before long wound up at CNN as a reporter and anchor. She returned to Canada in 2002 to re-join BNN and has been with CBC since 2009. Her latest book, The Power of Why, (HarperCollins, October 2012) explores the connection between curiosity and success.

Janet Ecker, Panellist

Janet L. Ecker is president and CEO of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA), a growing public-private partnership dedicated to building Toronto as an international financial services centre. With government and industry support, she has also established the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services to leverage the sector’s global reputation for stability, as well as the Centre of Excellence in Financial Services Education to capitalize on the region’s talent advantages. The Centre has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a best practice in collaborative public-private partnerships.

A former Ontario finance minister and the first woman to actually deliver a budget in the province, Ecker also delivered significant public policy reforms as the minister of education, the minister of community and social services and government house leader. Before entering public life, Ecker was the director of policy for the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the doctors’ regulatory body.

She currently sits on a number of boards and agencies and is also a member of the Ontario Finance Minister’s Economic Advisory Panel, the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets and C.D. Howe Institute’s National Council. A frequent public speaker and media commentator, she was recognized as one of the “Most Influential People in the World’s Financial Centres” by Financial Centres International in 2010 and received a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award from the Women’s Executive Network and the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2003. In 2014, she received the Excellence in Leadership award from the Transformation Institute for Leadership and Innovation. In 2012, she received a Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee Medal for her public service. Ecker is also one of the founders of Equal Voice, a national, multi-partisan organization working to elect more women.

Jennifer Keesmaat, Panellist

As the recently engaged chief planner for the City of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat is committed to creating places where people flourish. Over the past decade Keesmaat has been repeatedly recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners and OPPI for her innovative work in Canadian municipalities. Most recently, Keesmaat was named one of the most influential people in Toronto by Toronto Life magazine and one of the most powerful people in Canada by Maclean’s magazine.

Her planning practice is characterized by an emphasis on collaborations across sectors, and broad engagement with municipal staff, councils, developers, business leaders, NGOs and residents’ associations. Her priorities include implementing a divisional strategic plan, leading an Official Plan review process, refining public consultation to provide more access to city building conversations, transit planning, mid-rise development on Toronto’s many avenues, and overseeing development review for over 4000 applications annually.

Keesmaat is the founder of Project Walk, which premiered its first short film in 2011 as an official selection at TIFF. In 2012 Keesmaat debuted her first TED talk, “Walk to School” and in 2013 she delivered her second, “Own Your City”. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (combined honours English and philosophy) and has a master’s in environmental studies (politics and planning) from York University.

Jeff Rubin, Panellist

Jeff Rubin is an award-winning economist and author who lives in Toronto. During his two-decade career at the investment bank CIBC World Markets, Rubin was selected as the top economist on Bay Street on no less than ten separate occasions by the Brendan Wood poll of institutional investors. He resigned his position as chief economist, chief strategist and managing director at CIBC World Markets in 2009 to pursue a new career as an author. Since then, he has written two number-one national bestsellers.

His first book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, won the National Business Book Award in Canada in 2010 and was a runner-up for the Goldman Sachs and Financial Times best business book in the U.K. The book has been published in 15 countries and in seven different languages.

In 2012, Random House published Rubin’s second book, The End of Growth, which was also a number-one bestseller in Canada. The book was published in the U.S. (as The Big Flatline) and in China.

In May 2015, Random House will publish his third book, The Carbon Bubble. Rubin has a regular column, which appears on the Globe and Mail’s website, as well as in the Huffington Post.

Carol Wilding, Panellist

Carol Wilding is president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. Over the past seven years Wilding has harnessed the energy of Canada’s largest urban Chamber of Commerce and its 12,000 members to position the board as an influential thought leader on key business and public policy issues impacting the Toronto region’s globally competitive economy.

Under her leadership, the board has also enhanced the benefits of members through the introduction of key industry speaker series, business-to-business networking events, partnered-learning opportunities and business development tools.

Wilding currently serves as a director on the boards of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Foundation, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance. She is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization as well as an advisory board member for the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation.

Prior to joining the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Wilding was president of the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, and president of Plan Canada (formerly Foster Parents Plan). She travelled extensively in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America in her work with Plan Canada.

For her leadership in the not-for-profit sector, Wilding was named to the Top 25 Women of Influence TM in 2014, awarded the Public Affairs Association of Canada’s 2011 Award of Distinction and named to the Top 100 list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for 2010. She is a recipient of the Schulich Business School’s Outstanding Public Contribution Alumni Award, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Public Sector Excellence Award for Technology.

As a Chartered Accountant, she was named a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 2009, and now holds an FCPA, FCA with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. Wilding holds an honours degree in business administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Michael Williams, Panellist

General Manager
Economic Development & Culture Division
City of Toronto

Michael Williams joined the City of Toronto in February of 2009. His main responsibilities include the implementation of the city’s economic development strategy, Collaborating for Competitiveness, and its culture plan, Creative Capital Gains. He also sits on the boards of a number of local agencies connected to the City of Toronto. Williams has spent the majority of his career in consulting, marketing and general management, locally and internationally.


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