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Aug 13, 2013

Timesaver's guide to the 2013 CSCS Conference

This year’s CSCS conference will focus on three themes: critical issues in governance, the board and the corporate secretary, and practical matters for the corporate secretary

Halifax, Nova Scotia is the setting for the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries’ (CSCS) 15th Annual Corporate Governance Conference, to be held August 18-21. This year’s conference will focus on three themes: critical issues in governance, the board and the corporate secretary, and practical matters for the corporate secretary.

High-level keynote speakers, hands-on workshops and valuable networking with peers will keep conference attendees engaged. Optional activities for families, including whale watching from Halifax Harbor and tours of the wineries of Annapolis Valley, Peggy’s Cove and the final resting place of the Titanic, will ensure a superior conference experience.

The conference kicks off on Sunday evening with a gala dinner and inaugural presentation of the CSCS Excellence in Governance Awards, hosted by David Beatty, professor of strategy and governance at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The dinner will also feature the presentation of the Gavel Awards by the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance. On Monday, after a welcome from CSCS board chairman David Masse and president Lynn Beauregard, Peter Dey, chairman of Paradigm Capital and former chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, will offer a keynote address.

Compelling workshops

Conference panels will discuss everything from how corporate governance is evolving amid regulatory changes and increased shareholder activism to the board’s role in innovation and how companies can develop a culture of ethics and integrity. As in the past, the conference provides topics relevant to governance and risk management in public and private companies, as well as non-profit organizations. Highlights include:

  • An opening panel featuring Gigi Dawe of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, Sylvia Groves of Governance Studio and Andrew MacDougall of Spencer Stuart, discussing the current state of corporate governance
  • Stephen Griggs, CEO of Smoothwater Capital, and Carol Hansell, senior partner of Davies Ward Phillip & Vineberg, in a session on director independence
  • John Rahie and Dr Jose Hernandez, managing director and senior adviser, respectively, of Freeh Group International Solutions, and Andreas Pohlmann, chief compliance officer of SNC-Lavalin, in a session on anti-corruption and anti-fraud risk assessment
  • A closing keynote address by Robert Patzelt QC, vice president of risk management and general counsel at Scotia Investments, on the corporate secretary’s role in developing a culture of ethics and integrity
  • Paul Gryglewiz of Global Governance Advisors, Paul Beauregard of MTS Allstream and Darren Novak of Houlihan Lokey in a talk on governance practices to protect against shareholder activists.

The more practical sessions this year include ‘The new age of board assessments, skills, recruitment and competencies’ and ‘Running a board without walking on eggshells’. Breakfast and luncheon sessions will be held in the Exhibitor Hall, giving attendees more time to learn how suppliers of critical products and strategic solutions can make a corporate secretary more efficient at his or her job. Opportunities for networking abound, so do make plans to attend.

David Bogoslaw

Associate Editor and Online features producer for Corporate Secretary