Keynote Speakers

Keynote: Monday May 3, 8:40 - 9:25 a.m.

Downtown Retail Amidst and Beyond COVID-19: The Emergence of a New Paradigm

Michael Berne

So you are wringing your hands about retail, right?  Well, so is just about everyone else.  But in this perceptive and ultimately uplifting keynote, Michael Berne, President of MJB Consulting and one of North America's leading retail thinkers, will talk about where Downtown retail has been over the last year and where it appears to be headed now.  In the process, he will correct a few of the prevailing narratives, delve into some of the remaining uncertainties and peer inside his crystal ball to offer a preview of what tomorrow's retail mixes might look like.

About Michael

Michael J. Berne is one of North America’s leading experts and futurists on Downtown and Main Street business districts as well as the retail industry more generally.
In addition to his widely-read “Retail Contrarian” blog, Michael is a founding member and contributor to the American Downtown Revitalization Review (ADRR), has penned numerous articles for Urban Land and wrote the chapter on retail for Suburban Remix: Crafting the Next Generation of Urban Places (edited by David Dixon and Jason Beske; Island Press, 2018).  

He served two terms on IDA’s Board of Directors, including two years as a Vice Chair of its Executive Committee.  During his time on the Board, he was the lone U.S. member on the Canadian Issues Task Force.  

Michael received a B.A. degree from Columbia University (Columbia College) in New York City, and an M.Phil degree from Cambridge University (Gonville & Caius College) in the U.K.

Keynote: Monday May 3, 11:40 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.

Thriving together: Building resilience and anti-fragility in an uncertain time

Lisa Gibson

In this keynote, we will look at the impact of the pandemic on our communities and on us as individuals. We will explore the concepts of anti-fragility and resilience, and we will explore how to build individuals, families, communities and systems that can thrive even in the midst of - and because of - intensity and complexity. 

About Lisa

Lisa Gibson is a transformative coach, facilitator and systems change consultant. With 25 years experience in local and international work at multiple scales, she specializes in working with individuals, organizations and communities to embed systemic change, transform belief systems, and construct alliances across diversity. Lisa’s work focuses on a range of issues, including facilitation of complex multistakeholder processes, social justice, individual and group coaching, leadership development, curriculum design, and mindfulness for changemakers.

Lisa is a founder and instructor of the Social Innovation Certificate at Simon Fraser University, and Scale Your Impact, a Community Systems Change Certificate based in Vancouver through Collingwood Neighbourhood House. Through her consulting work, Lisa works with a diverse range of clients including nonprofits, government, and foundations, and has particular expertise in working with diverse multistakeholders around complex social and sustainability issues.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria, and a Masters in Gender and Development from the University of Sussex. She is based in Vancouver, Canada with her family on the unceded Coast Salish lands and waters of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Wauthuth Nations. For more information, go to Lisa’s website at

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