Keynote speaker:

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Environmental, Cultural and Human Rights Advocate

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier is in the business of transforming public opinion into public policy. Experienced in working with global decision makers for over a decade, Watt-Cloutier offers a new model for 21st century leadership. She speaks with passion and urgency on the issues of today—the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health, and sustainability—not as separate concerns, but as a deeply interconnected whole.  At a time when people are seeking solutions, direction, and a sense of hope, this global leader provides a big picture of where we are and where we’re headed.

In 2007, Watt-Cloutier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work in showing the impact of global climate change on human rights—especially in the Arctic, where it is felt more immediately, and more dramatically, than anywhere else in the world. Watt-Cloutier an Officer of the Order of Canada; the recipient of the Aboriginal Achievement Award; the UN Champion of the Earth Award; the Norwegian Sophie Prize; and the Right Livelihood Award, which she won in November, 2015 and is widely considered the “Nobel Alternative”.

From 1995-2002, Watt-Cloutier was elected the Canadian President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). She was later elected in 2002 to become the International Chair of the ICC, representing the 155,000 Inuit from Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia–she held this post until 2006.

Watt-Cloutier is the author of the memoir, The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet, published in 2015. The book was nominated for the 2016 BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. In 2017, the book was shortlisted for CBC Canada Reads, defended by Chantal Kreviazuk. Watt-Cloutier was also shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.


Hilde Bergebakken

Hilde Bergebakken started a Development company in 2016 with her experience from:

Destinasjon Røros 2009-2016
  • Development Manager 2012-2016
  • CEO development company Visit Røros AS
  • Project Manager National Pilot Sustainable tourism
  • Director of Tourism in 2011
  • Project Manager Norwegian Travel Workshop

Sustainable tourism development that led the destination to 3 finals in global travel Awards in Sustainable Tourism and the Certification Sustainable Destination.

LHL Group 2005-2009
  • Group Purchasing Manager
  • Business Development Namibia
HÅG a.s.a 1987 -2005
  • Purchasing Manager Production and Logistics
  • International experience Supplier Development
  • Task Force Project manager
  • Environmental Coordinator (achieved EMAS in 1996)

In addition to experience in the development of environmentally friendly industry, NGOs and tourism – I have board experience from several industries as well as and long political experience. I am a frequent speaker, used for inspiration of sustainable development. I am educated Purchasing Economist, holds a number of courses in Development, Environment, Chairman Education Management (BI) and is Certified Process Supervisor in Destination Development (IN). Complete CV and list of courses, skills, talks and lectures can be forwarded. I was an exchange student in Brazil – and speak Portuguese in addition to Norwegian, English and some German.


Jim Byers

Jim Byers is someone who was born to travel. He was apparently conceived (too much information?) in Rome, which oddly enough is where he met his future wife 23 years later. A California native, he moved to Toronto at age 25 to marry a Canadian girl and hasn’t looked back. He covered everything from politics to the Blue Jays to six Olympics for the Toronto Star before taking over as travel editor in 2008. He held that job for five years before leaving the paper to work as a freelance travel writer. His work can be found now in the Postmedia papers across Canada, as well as in The Dallas News, National Geographic, WestJet magazine and many other publications. Jim loves seeing what’s around the bend and the people he meets on the road; Austrian yodelers in British Columbia, German immigrants working on organic farms in the Yukon and Alberta doctors turned brewmasters. More importantly for you, he’s been a full-time travel writer and editor for nearly 10 years. He knows how the industry works and he knows what editors and writers want and he knows how to get their attention. He also wanted to pass along a note that he loves the spirit of the people in the Yukon but figured that goes without saying….

Twitter: @JimByersTravel • Facebook: jimbyerstravel • Instagram: @jimbyerstravel1


Mike and Jeanne Reimer

Churchill Wild owners/operators Mike and Jeanne Reimer grew up in the northern Manitoba lodge industry. Jeanne’s parents started a hunting and fishing company, based in Churchill, Manitoba, in the 1970s and between her background in the lodge industry and Mike’s passion for the wilds of Manitoba and his entrepreneurial spirit, Churchill Wild has been destined for success.

Living and working in northern Manitoba before establishing Churchill Wild allowed Mike and Jeanne to observe wildlife behavior and they saw a huge opportunity to do something different from what other polar bear tourism companies were doing. They saw a distinct pattern to the route the polar bears followed after coming off the Hudson Bay in early summer and bought their first lodge in the early 1990s right in the path the bears trekked. With this, their dream of polar bear walking safaris became a reality. Since then, the company has grown to include two other fly-in eco-lodges located on the Hudson Bay coastline from which Churchill Wild conducts ground-level Arctic safaris and marine tours.

Mike and Jeanne’s vision, dedication, and passion for the wilds of northern Manitoba have turned Churchill Wild into the premier Arctic safari company, attracting guests from across the globe.