Team

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 order in council by the Government of Alberta, were recruited from qualified applicants who collectively have the full range of competencies, experience or personal attributes required to provide effective governance of Travel Alberta.

Bernie Kollman

Bernie Kollman

Chair

Bernie Kollman has started her own consulting firm after a distinguished career at IBM, most recently as Vice-President for IBM’s Public Sector division, representing one of IBM’s largest client groups in Canada. Throughout her 30-year career in the Information Technology industry, Ms. Kollman has demonstrated a keen understanding of her clients’ business strategies and challenges. She has both strategic leadership and innovation expertise, bringing a global perspective to Alberta’s public sector, as well as a long list of charitable and business organizations. Recognition of her commitment to community includes being named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Albertans (Alberta Venture Magazine, 2006) and a Global TV Women of Vision award in 2007. She became a Fellow of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) in 2013 for her contributions in advancing the IT profession for young women. In 2016, Ms. Kollman completed the Institute of Corporate Directors designation program, designed to enhance the contribution of those serving on boards. An active community volunteer, Kollman also sits on the board for the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, and is a former board member for the Alberta Centre for Advanced Studies and Alberta’s Promise.

Tracey Scarlett

Tracey Scarlett

Vice Chair

Tracey Scarlett is the President of BioQuest Ventures Inc., providing consulting services for entrepreneurial companies looking to develop and expand their businesses as well as for organizations looking to build more effective and inclusive programs for innovators and entrepreneurs. Previously, she was Dean of the JR Shaw School of Business at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) where she established the Mawji Centre for New Venture and Student Entrepreneurship, a campus wide initiative to build entrepreneurial mindset into polytechnic education for students. As Chief Executive Officer of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, she led development of entrepreneurship programs focused on enabling women to achieve their full entrepreneurial potential. She was also Chief Operating Officer of KMT Hepatech Inc., a biotechnology start-up, and previously co-founded an electrical contracting company. Ms. Scarlett is a Director of the Business Development Bank of Canada and is Vice Chair of Travel Alberta. She is a past Council member of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, a current member of the Committee for Research Partnerships for NSERC and has held Director positions on numerous other non-profit and economic development boards including Edmonton Global, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. Ms. Scarlett holds a diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology from NAIT, a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science from the University of Alberta and an MBA with a specialization in Technology Commercialization from the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta.

Kiren Singh

Kiren Singh, CFA, ICD.D

Chair of Audit and Finance Committee

Kiren Singh is the Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee for Travel Alberta and on the Board of the Agriculture Financial Services Corp (AFSC) (Member of the Risk Committee). Ms. Singh has served in senior financial executive roles including CFO and Vice President Risk Management and Treasurer in publicly traded and privately held companies over her 30 year global career. Ms. Singh’s areas of focus include capital markets, corporate and project finance, and risk management across E&P, midstream, downstream and integrated energy companies 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, holds a MBA and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of Calgary, and also holds the 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.

Charmaine Toms

Charmaine Toms

Chair of Governance and Human Resources Committee

Charmaine Toms is General Counsel for MNP LLP, a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm, with its head office located in Calgary, Alberta. Charmaine leads the firm’s Risk Management and Professional Liability Insurance program and is a member of MNP’s Management Committee and Operations Committee. Throughout her 25 year legal career Charmaine has worked at the Federal Court, in private practice at national law firms, and in-house for professional services firms and national energy companies. Leveraging this experience, she delivers practical business solutions to mitigate and manage risk and address legal concerns efficiently and effectively. Active in her community, Charmaine serves on the ACC Alberta Board, and in past served as Board President of Alberta Theatre Projects as well as Run Director for Calgary’s CIBC Run for the Cure. Charmaine also has held the role of Chair for the Young Lawyers sub-section in Calgary for the Canadian Bar Association.

Anubhav Chaitanya

Anubhav Chaitanya

Member

Anubhav (Anu) Chaitanya is a lawyer practising in Calgary, Alberta. His focus is on commercial real estate development. Anu is a graduate from the Faculties of Law (LLB) and Business (MBA) at the University of Alberta. Anu is currently employed as Legal Counsel with First Capital Realty and also currently serves as Vice Chair and Pro Bono Counsel for Habitat For Humanity Southern Alberta Society.

Jim Hill

Jim Hill

Member

Jim Hill is a lodging and hospitality services professional currently living in Edmonton. Recognized for a positive, results-oriented leadership style, he has a broad-based background having worked across Canada, the USA and South Korea. Jim has held senior leadership positions with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Casino Nova Scotia and Royal Caribbean International. Most recently, in Alberta he has led the hospitality divisions of the Sawridge Group of Companies, Black Diamond Group Logistics and the Mouallem Management Group. Jim is involved with several non-profit groups including sitting on the board of the Canterbury Foundation.

Geoff Powter

Geoff Powter

Member

Geoff Powter is a founding partner of the Watershed Organizational Development Group, and has 30+ years of experience developing leaders and teams in a broad range of sectors across North America. He is a faculty member in Leadership Development at the Banff Centre, and an adjunct faculty in the Executive Education program at the University of Alberta. He is a clinical psychologist, and worked for many years with Alberta Health Services. Geoff is a widely known expert in the psychology of risk-taking – a passion that naturally developed from his deep and long involvement in Western Canada’s outdoor adventure community. He is a long-time contributor to the literature of adventure, serving for 13 years as the editor of the Canadian Alpine Journal, writing an award-winning book on the psychology of adventure, and writing regularly for outdoor publications around the globe. He has won 10 National Magazine Awards for his writing about adventure and adventurers. Geoff has also been a committed contributor to Western Canada’s mountain travel and learning community. He was a board member of the Enviros Wilderness School, a long-term board member, and eventually President of The Canadian Himalayan Foundation, and was a founding member, and then President, of the National Mountain Centre initiative in Canmore. Geoff’s contributions to Canada’s mountains was recognized through his receipt of the prestigious Summit of Excellence Award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in 2012.

Nicole Robertson

Nicole Robertson

Member

Nicole Robertson has dedicated her life to creating awareness about Indigenous Peoples through the media. Nicole’s career has taken her across North America and the United Kingdom, writing, directing, producing, and reporting on issues that encompass Indigenous communities. Her on-air work experiences include working with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), A-Channel, Global, CBC and CTV in the capacity as of reporter, video journalist, producer, anchor, associate producer and writer. In 2002, Nicole created and established “Muskwa Productions & Consulting” which specializes in communication advisory services that include; media and public relations, media training, marketing, social media, event and video productions, public speaking, speech writing, cross-cultural communications training and strategies. Muskwa Productions is assisting businesses, governments, First Nations and industries in their communication strategies to create a true reflection of their values and stories through news, storytelling and social media. In 2009, Nicole’s company was recognized through the Alberta Chamber of Commerce as the Aboriginal Woman Entrepreneur Award of Distinction. The award recognizes the outstanding achievement by an Indigenous woman entrepreneur who exemplifies effective leadership, innovation, and a commitment to enhancing the well-being of the larger Indigenous community. Nicole Robertson was profiled in a book entitled “Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs” by Second Story Press. The Communications Specialist served as a member of the First Nations Women’s Council on Economic Security through the Province of Alberta and was able to achieve several milestones with the very first team of Indigenous women to advise the Minister of Indigenous Relations.

Margot Ross-Graham

Margot Ross-Graham

Member

Margot Ross-Graham, (CPHR, CPCC) is the owner of Sandbar Coaching and Consulting. Prior to building her own firm, Margot spent several years in senior executive roles with small and mid size Alberta companies. She has extensive background and expertise leading change and process improvement initiatives as companies move through their organizational lifecycle and has particular expertise in human resources, leadership, integration, and organizational development. Margot provides consulting and facilitation services in areas such as Strategic Planning, Leadership Development, Succession Planning and Change and Transition. She is a Certified Executive Coach and throughout her career has worked with leaders from private, public and non-profit organizations across Canada. Margot is currently featured every Tuesday as the Workplace Columnist for CBC Radio’s Edmonton morning show. In addition to her work with industry Margot is an instructor with the U of A Executive program and is regularly invited to speak at conferences on topics ranging from Leadership Credibility to Workplace Culture. A dedicated community volunteer, Margot, is a University of Alberta VMS Mentor and is the past president of the Edmonton Glenora Rotary Club where she has been a member for over 20 years. She also served on the board of the Edmonton Citadel Theatre and MacEwan University School of Business Advisory Committee.

Will Sawchyn

Will Sawchyn

Member

Mr. Will Sawchyn has been a Chartered Public Accountant since 1993, obtaining his designation while with the Auditor General of Canada. Will has over 20 years of corporate leadership experience, having held roles as Director, Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Over the course of his professional career, Will has worked in the utility, equipment and construction industries in Alberta. Will brings a breadth of financial, business and industry acumen and experience to the board, along with a love for Alberta and all it offers. Will has also served as an independent Director on boards of a number of public and private companies.

Karl Schwonik

Karl Schwonik

Member

Albertan Karl Schwonik has had an extensive and successful career in the arts, education and entrepreneurial sectors. In 2008, he founded the Wetaskiwin Jazz Society (WJS): a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing education to rural Alberta. While serving as President and Artistic Director, the WJS’s programs reached nearly 20,000 rural students and collaborated with stakeholders from local small businesses to international banks and multinational energy companies. Karl has served on a plethora of boards including appointments to the Government of Alberta’s Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Travel Alberta. In addition to teaching and working at several prominent post-secondary institutions, Karl currently serves as an Associate Dean at Medicine Hat College. He has completed studies in music, business and arts leadership at Cambridge University, University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of Calgary. Additionally, he has received numerous awards and honours including: the Lt. Governor of Alberta’s award, Queen’s Jubilee award, Canada Council and SSHRC grants, and was named one of Calgary’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ by Avenue magazine.

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 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 leads Travel Alberta’s Industry Development team, which supports the marketing development of the tourism industry through education and investment programs. Shelley joined Travel Alberta in 2006 and has held a number of positions, including leading the North America Marketing team as Executive Director. Prior to joining Travel Alberta, Shelley spent 12 years in management with in the Alberta hotel sector working for the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort and Holiday Inn. Shelley is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP).

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.