The Victoria Forum 2024
The Victoria Forum 2024 - Building Trust for a Shared Future

The future of business and banking, post-pandemic


The future of business and banking, post-pandemic

Date: Sep 17, 2020

Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated the divides facing our world, and businesses are considering how to recover from the immediate effects, respond to medium- and long-term changes that the pandemic may have precipitated, and use the opportunity to redress some of the imbalances that existed previously. Financial institutions are key players in responding to these changes.

The immediate effects of the pandemic have been felt in economic contraction, disruption of supply chains and an increase in overall uncertainty. Coming out of the pandemic there may be long-lasting changes as a consequence of work-from-home becoming a more acceptable mode of operation, risk aversion and a reversal of globalization, and fiscal pressures globally as countries try to reduce public debt. Rebuilding better raises questions about the sustainability of past practices in terms of climate change, inequality and a loss of trust in business.

The pandemic has reinforced the need for resilience to deal with the uncertain changes we face, both individual and organizational, and an ability to respond to increasing fragility of our economic system. But, as Nicholas Nassim Taleb writes, “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”1

In this webinar we explore two main go-forward directions:

  1. What has changed during the pandemic that provides new opportunities or irreversible change in how business will operate in the future?
  2. Given the prospect of future pandemics and other major disruptions, how do we make our businesses and our economies more than resilient? How do we make them anti-fragile?


  • Impact on supply chains
  • Impact of work from home
  • Driving more sustainable practices


Jim Dewald
Dean of the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary (introduces topic and moderator)

Saul Klein
Chair of the Victoria Forum and Dean of the Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria

1Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Random House, 2012.


Senator Pamela Wallin

Senate of Canada

The Honourable Pamela Wallin, O.C., S.O.M. was appointed to the Senate of Canada on December 22, 2008. Pamela is an Officer of the Order of Canada, this country’s highest civilian honour (2007) and a member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (1999). She has fourteen Honourary Doctorates and was Chancellor of the University of Guelph.

Pamela served as Canada’s Consul General in New York from 2002-2006, in the wake of the tragic and tumultuous events of 9/11.

Among many other honours, she has been named to the Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame; she received a national Visionary Award in Canada; and has been recognized four times by Queen Elizabeth II for her public service and achievements.

Pamela served as the first Honorary Colonel for the RCAF and has an on-going commitment to the men and women of the military. She traveled to Afghanistan on several occasions and to bases across the country and throughout the U.S.A. She was one of five eminent persons on the Special Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan who successfully recommended support and airlift for our serving men and women. She is committed to building and enhancing the military/civilian understanding and continues to work with veterans and serves as the Service Officer for her Legion Branch #62.

In 1995, the citizens of her hometown of Wadena, Saskatchewan dedicated a street in her honour, Pamela Wallin Drive. She is the author of three books, including her best-selling autobiography Since you Asked (1998).

The wide-ranging career of the journalist, diplomat, entrepreneur and Senator has spanned more than nearly 40 years, several continents, and always with a focus on politics and foreign policy. She worked for CBC radio, the Toronto Star and CTV, where she hosted Canada AM and went on to become the Ottawa Bureau chief, and anchor of the CTV weekend news. In 1992, she became the first Canadian woman to co-anchor the nightly national television newscast Prime Time News. In 1995, Pamela founded an independent television company, Pamela Wallin Productions. Her media background has proved invaluable in her subsequent public service.


Lila Karbassi

Chief of Programmes, UN Global Compact

In her current capacity as Chief of Programmes, Lila Karbassi oversees the entire work programme of the UN Global Compact on environment, social, governance and finance issues.

Ms. Karbassi has been instrumental in the work of the UN Global Compact on the environment and climate change and has been responsible for the participation of the UN Global Compact in key UN conferences.

In her 13 years at the organization, Ms. Karbassi has lead numerous successful programmes that have driven businesses to engage with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact worldwide.

In 2016, Ms. Karbassi worked in the Office of the Secretary-General to provide support and advice on business engagement on the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to joining the UN Global Compact, Ms. Karbassi held positions on policy regulation at Sanofi-Aventis.

Ms. Karbassi holds a Master of Business Administration from the Bocconi School of Management. She also holds a Doctorate in Biology from the University of Paris and a Master of Biology from the University of Grenoble.

Martin Rohner

Executive Director, Global Alliance for Banking on Values

Martin Rohner is the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values a practitioners’ network of 62 banks worldwide dedicated to inclusive and sustainable finance, serving over 30 million clients and representing over USD 200 billion combined assets.

Martin has served as CEO of Alternative Bank Schweiz, Switzerland’s frontrunner bank in sustainable and ethical finance, as CEO of Max Havelaar Foundation Switzerland and Board Member of Fairtrade International. Further stations of his career in development finance and sustainable development include the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen and in Environment and Development from the University of Cambridge, and as well as a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Executive Banking from the University of Bern.

Josh Blair

Chair, TELUS International; Vice Chair, Carebook; Partner, Esplanade Health Tech Ventures

Josh serves as the Chair of the Board for TELUS International, a global leader in the provision of business services, such as customer experience, digital transformation, IT solutions, content moderation and back-office support. TELUS International’s almost 50,000 team members provide differentiated customer experiences in over 50 languages from more than 50 delivery centres in 20 countries across North and Central America, Europe and Asia.

He also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board for Carebook, a Canadian leader in providing digital healthcare solutions for pharmacies, insurance providers, governments, businesses and other stakeholders across customer engagement and loyalty, vitals screening, personal health records and chronic disease management.

Additionally, Josh is a Partner at Esplanade Ventures, a leading health-tech venture capital firm that empowers innovative digital health entrepreneurs globally by using their deep industry knowledge and network, actively providing strategic direction and establishing key partnerships and distribution channels.

Prior to 2020, Josh served at TELUS in diverse leadership capacities over a quarter of a century. From 2014 to 2019, he was Group President, overseeing the successful progression of TELUS International, TELUS Health, TELUS Business Solutions, TELUS Agriculture and TELUS Ventures – all leaders in leveraging advanced technologies in order to help their clients achieve new levels of success.

Earlier in his career, Josh proved himself to also be a successful entrepreneur, leading a start-up business that developed network management software until he orchestrated a sale of the company to Verisign.

Josh has served in many board and advisory capacities over his career, supporting organizations such as the Business Council of British Columbia and Canada’s Health and Biosciences Economic Strategy Table.

In 2015, Josh received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Victoria (having graduated from its Engineering faculty). Josh is also a graduate of the Executive Program at Queen’s School of Business.

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