Travel Alberta team members


Meet the passionate group leading Travel Alberta.

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We’re in the people business; what we do is tourism. Royce Chwin, Travel Alberta CEO

Board of Directors

Members of the Board of Directors, appointed by the Government of Alberta, are recruited from qualified applicants who collectively have the full range of competencies, experience or personal attributes required to provide effective governance of Travel Alberta.

photo of Board Chair

Linda A. Southern-Heathcott ICD.D


Linda Southern-Heathcott is President & Chief Executive Officer of Spruce Meadows Ltd., an internationally recognized equestrian facility in Calgary, Alberta. As a former professional equestrian rider, Ms. Southern-Heathcott was a member of the Canadian Equestrian Team for nine years and competed in the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Southern-Heathcott was appointed Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of ATCO in November 2016 and of Canadian Utilities and CU Inc. in March 2017. Ms. Southern-Heathcott is a founding director, and currently serves as Board Chair of AKITA Drilling Ltd. She also serves on the Boards of ATCO Structures & Logistics Ltd., Sentgraf Enterprises Ltd, TELUS Calgary Community Board and is a member of the National Music Centre Benefit Auction Committee. In 2010, Ms. Southern-Heathcott received her ICD.D certification from the Director Education Program of the Institute of Corporate Directors. In 2018, Ms. Southern-Heathcott was named an Honourary Lieutenant Colonel of the King’s Own Calgary Regiment.

Board member David McKenna

David McKenna


David Charles McKenna is president of the Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit. David also currently serves as Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Board of Directors. David is a native of Ottawa, Ontario where he pursued Biotechnology at Carleton University (1987-90) and served as Vice President Academic (89/90) of the Carleton University Students' Association. With a passion for the outdoors, David traveled to Banff, Alberta in 1991, and spent the next seven years leading various hospitality and ski patrol teams prior to undertaking several entrepreneurial ventures. Starting in 2001, David further honed his hospitality skills as Director of Food & Beverage at the Rimrock Resort Hotel and Director of Operations with the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis. David joined the Pursuit team in 2006 as General Manager of the Mount Royal Hotel. In 2008 he led the hospitality and attractions team as Vice President until being promoted to Banff Jasper Collection President in 2013. David has played a critical role in projects including the approval and construction of the Glacier Skywalk, the Banff Gondola expansion, as well as the acquisition and integration of the Lake Minnewanka Cruise, Elk & Avenue Hotel (formerly Banff International Hotel), FlyOver Canada, Maligne Lake Tours, Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen and Maligne Canyon Icewalks. David is a dedicated member of the Canadian Tourism and Rocky Mountain communities and has served or is serving on the Board of Directors for many groups including the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), Canadian Passenger Vessel Association, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, Tourism Jasper and the Banff Canmore Community Foundation. In 2017 Dave was elected TIAC Vice Chair and elected to Chairperson in 2018. David is a recognized driver of innovation within the tourism industry. From hotels, food and beverage, attractions, retail, transportation and interpretive engagement, he brings a new vision centered in experiential product development and integration. David works with many advocacy, industry segment and marketing agencies to focus on the core human elements of Tourism: colleague development, recruitment and greater engagement with regional First Nations as industry partners. David and his wife, Julie Canning, live in Banff where they are also proud partners in Banff Trail Riders western outfitting operations and a working ranch located in Mountain View County, Alberta.

photo of Suromitra Sanatani

Suromitra Sanatani LL.B, ICD.D


A seasoned corporate director, Suromitra Sanatani is currently a board member of Canada Post, Edmonton International Airport, United Way Alberta Capital Region and CN’s first Community Foundation. She is also a member of the Royal Bank GAM Independent Review Committee. Previously, she served on various boards, including as chair of the Royal BC Museum, director of Canadian Blood Services and member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Suromitra began her career in litigation before transitioning from the practice of law to senior corporate positions in the non-profit, public and private sectors. In her role as BC and Yukon Vice President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Suromitra represented the interests of small- and medium-sized businesses. Later, as Vice President, Corporate and Government Relations at Partnerships BC, she played a pivotal role in establishing this Crown corporation, which specializes in public-private partnerships. Her subsequent consulting practice included leading First Nations consultations across British Columbia, and providing strategic advice to senior executives in the financial, utilities and transportation sectors. Suromitra is fluent in French and German and has a conversational ability in Bengali. She has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts (French Literature) from the University of Victoria.

Kiren Singh

Kiren Singh, CFA, ICD.D


Kiren Singh serves on the Boards of Dynamic Risk (Chair, Finance and Risk) and Agriculture Financial Services Corp (AFSC) (Member, Risk Committee). Ms. Singh has served in senior financial executive roles including Chief Financial Officer, Vice President Risk Management and Treasurer in publicly traded and privately held companies over her 30 year global career. Kiren's areas of focus include capital markets activities to support corporate and project (infrastructure) financings, financial risk management and new technology commercialization in the energy industry, representing Gibson Energy, Opti Canada, Value Creation Inc., Exxon Mobil and Mobil Corporation. In addition to her current board appointments, Ms. Singh has also served on the board of Financial Executives International (FEI) and the Treasury Management Association (now AFP), Calgary. Ms. Singh is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of Calgary, and also holds the Institute of Corporate Directors ICD.D designation. Ms. Singh is an active leader in the community, serving as the Executive Sponsor for the 2016 United Way campaign, which received the Outstanding Workplace Campaign award for the Oil and Gas industry division, and is an advocate for sustainable land development through her work on her organic farm near Rimbey, Alberta. Ms. Singh is a resident of Canmore, Alberta.

Neil Yeates head shot

Neil Yeates


Neil Yeates is a retired Federal Deputy Minister whose career spanned more than 30 years in the Government of Canada and in the Government of Saskatchewan. Graduating from Queen’s University, Neil began his career as a policy analyst with the Saskatchewan Department of Health eventually serving as the Associate Deputy Minister. He also worked for a number of years in Saskatchewan Social Services in the young offenders and child welfare programs and later as the Assistant Deputy Minister for all programs. He became a Deputy Minister in Post-Secondary Education and Skills Training, and also served at that level in the then newly-formed Department of Corrections and Public Safety. Moving to the Government of Canada Neil worked in Industry Canada, Health Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs and most recently served for four years as the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Neil has had a lifelong interest in accountability regimes, planning and the role of the public service. He currently is the Chair of the Trans Canada Trail Board, Co-Chair of the C.D. Howe Human Capital Council, member of the Justice Canada Audit Committee, a mentor with the Trudeau Foundation and has served as an advisor to the Treasury Board Secretariat, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and the National Research Council.

Leadership Team

The team approach governs everything we do at Travel Alberta, from working with each other to collaborating with our many partners, and aligning with our sole source of funding, the Government of Alberta. Learn more about the leaders behind the brand.

royce chwin

Royce Chwin

Chief Executive Officer

Royce Chwin is the CEO of Travel Alberta, an award-winning provincial crown corporation mandated to market Alberta as a premier tourist destination. Royce leads a team responsible for Alberta’s regional, national and international tourism marketing, as well as Alberta-focussed tourism industry development. Prior to joining Travel Alberta, Royce was the Executive Director, Global Brand Integration at the Canadian Tourism Commission. There, he was instrumental in bringing the Canada brand to life for millions of viewers in support of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Royce brings over 20 years’ leadership experience in the retail and hospitality industries. He successfully led and executed business strategy and operations for organizations including Starbucks, Blockbuster Video, Boston Pizza International and a retail start-up. A graduate of the Queens University Executive Program and CommunityShift, a C-level leadership development program founded by KPMG Enterprise and Ivey Business School, Royce also volunteers as a member of the Edmonton International Airport Business Advisory Committee, the Calgary International Airport Business Development Advisory Council, and the Hospitality and Tourism Management Advisory Committees at both the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Olds College.

Kara Claypool

Kara Claypool

Vice President, Finance & Corporate Operations

Kara Claypool leads the Finance, Operations and Human Resources teams at Travel Alberta. This robust portfolio is core to Travel Alberta’s strategic objective to Drive Organizational Excellence. Kara has been a leader in strategic financial growth with an emphasis on financial management, strategic leadership and excellence in corporate administration, operations and marketing. Previous to Travel Alberta, Kara was the CFO/COO at Calgary's Vintage Group, Executive Vice President with Jugo Juice, and the Senior Manager, Finance and Strategic Planning with Big Rock Brewery. In 2011, Kara was named one of Calgary's Top 40 Under 40, and in 2012, named Top 10 Rising Stars Under 40. Additionally, as a female executive, Kara has had the privilege of participating in speaking engagements for Women's Executive Network (WXN), Women of Influence (WOI) and Women in Leadership (WIL).

Tannis Gaffney

Tannis Gaffney

Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing

Tannis Gaffney brings more than 15 years of marketing acumen to the role of Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing at Travel Alberta, with an expert focus on brand, research and insights, content, and digital platforms in destination marketing. Under her direction, the Travel Alberta global consumer marketing team is actively pursuing a goal of growing tourism revenues in Alberta by leading the shift to an always-on content strategy. Tannis is a Canadian Advertising Accredited Professional (CAAP), and sits as a member of Destination Canada’s Research Advisory and 10x marketing committees. She also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies, a Certification in Digital Marketing, and a Certification in Strategic Leadership.

Shelley Grollmuss

Shelley Grollmuss

Vice President, Industry Development

Shelley Grollmuss has been a senior executive in the tourism industry for more than 25 years. As Vice President of Industry Development at Travel Alberta, she contributes to the organization’s strategic direction and is accountable for the marketing development of tourism business and destination organizations in an effort to grow the visitor economy in Alberta. A passionate supporter of Alberta tourism businesses, Shelley has held a variety of positions at Travel Alberta over the past 13 years, including Executive Director of Marketing for North America. Prior to joining Travel Alberta, Shelley spent 10 years working in management at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. Shelley is a graduate of Tourism Marketing at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and has received multiple accreditations, including a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation by the Events Industry Council, an executive certificate in General Management from Queens University and a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation from Destinations International. She is a “free spirit” that enjoys spending time with family and travelling. Shelley also enjoys creating and indulging in culinary delights. She lives by the mantra – “do what you love, love what you do”.

Karen Soyka

Karen Soyka

Vice President, Business Development

Karen leads Travel Alberta’s global business relations team, including Travel Trade and MICE (meetings, incentive, conventions and events) within Canada and six international markets. Business Development is not new to Travel Alberta, although naming Business Development as a dedicated line of business is a new direction for the organization that ensures a devoted focus on key areas that drive room nights and visitation to the province. The Business Development team works in concert with Consumer Marketing, and the strength of the Alberta brand, to build out awareness of Alberta as a leisure and business travel destination. Karen has been with the Travel Alberta team since 2007 in previous roles responsible for consumer marketing, travel trade and media within North America, Asia and Latin America. She has spent the majority of her career as part of the Alberta tourism industry working in marketing, sales and resort operations.

Chris Heseltine

Chris Heseltine

Vice President, Economic Development & Community Engagement

Chris Heseltine has over 25 years of international business development experience within both the public and private sectors. As Vice President of Economic Development & Community Engagement, Chris provides advice and guidance to Travel Alberta and tourism industry stakeholders on the development and delivery of tourism programs and services in support of economic and community development. Chris joined the Government of Alberta in 1998 as Executive Director of Investment Attraction for Economic Development & Tourism. In 2003 he was appointed Managing Director of the Alberta UK Office and took on the responsibility of opening and managing Alberta’s international office in London. In 2014 he joined Alberta Tourism, Parks & Recreation as the Assistant Deputy Minister for Tourism and in 2020 moved over to Travel Alberta. Chris has a degree in economics from Acadia University and has served on numerous boards and advisory committees including: University of Calgary International Business Advisory Committee; Calgary Chamber of Commerce International Business Committee; Hong Kong Canada Business Association; and the Canadian Council for the Americas. Chris and his family enjoy skiing, hiking, paddling, cycling and getting lost in the mountains.