Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Directors and Officers

Hon. John R. Baird P.C.
Canadian Co-Chair, Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum

John Baird is a Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP and a former Senior Cabinet Minister in the Government of Canada.

An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with ASEAN countries. In addition, Mr Baird has worked closely with international leaders to strengthen security and economic ties with the United States and Middle Eastern countries.

A native of Ottawa, Mr Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Foreign Minister. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. In 2010, he was selected by Members of Parliament from all parties as Parliamentarian of the Year. Prior to entering federal politics, Mr Baird spent ten years in the Ontario Legislature where he served as Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Energy, and Government House Leader.

In addition to his work with Bennett Jones, Mr Baird sits on the advisory board of Barrick Gold Corp., the corporate boards of Canadian Pacific, Canfor Corporation (as Chair), Osisko Gold Royalties, the FWD Group and PineBridge Investments. He also serves as a Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy.

Mr Baird also volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, an organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities, the Prince’s Trust Canada, the charitable office of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies and an Honourary Doctorate of Law from Queen’s University at Kingston.

The Hon. Julie Bishop
Australian Co-Chair, Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum

The Hon. Julie Bishop, Principal, Julie Bishop & Partners; Chancellor of Australian National University; and former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (2007-2018).

The Hon Julie Bishop served as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 until 2018. She was the first female to hold the role as well as the first female Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, serving for 11 years.

In a political career spanning over 20 years, Ms Bishop also served as Minister for Education, Science and Training, Minister for Women’s Issues and Minister for Ageing.

Before entering Parliament, Ms Bishop was a commercial litigation lawyer for national-based firm Clayton Utz, becoming a partner in 1985, and managing partner of the Perth office in 1994.

Ms Bishop is the Chancellor of Australian National University, Chair of Telethon Kids Institute, Chair of Prince’s Trust Australia, a member of the international advisory boards of Afiniti and the Human Vaccines Project and is the Patron of Shooting Stars – an education program for young aboriginal girls. She is also a member of the Global Board of Advisors of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2020, Ms Bishop was awarded a Fisher Family Fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School. In 2021, she was appointed by the UK Government to the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council. In 2021, Ms Bishop was awarded the Kissinger Fellowship at the McCain Institute of International Leadership at Arizona State University.

Mark Romoff
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum

President, MRInsights Inc. and former President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships

Mark Romoff is a senior international business strategist with proven success in developing and leading economic, political and stakeholder relations, earning multiple recognitions for his contributions to Canada’s economic prosperity, enhanced productivity and global competitiveness. Currently President of MRInsights Inc., he provides advice to government and industry on infrastructure sector-related business development strategies and public policy issues. He is the former President and CEO of The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships and before that Founding President and CEO of the Ontario Centres of Excellence. As a senior diplomat in Global Affairs Canada, he served in Nigeria, Mexico, Malaysia, Japan and the United States. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Infrastructure Ontario; First Nations Major Projects Coalition Advisory Centre; Buffalo Toronto Public Media Board of Trustees; Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum; i-CANADA Governors Council; Chair of the Central Canadian Public Television Association; former Vice[1]Chair of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships; Counsel at Gowling WLG; and a Senior Fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute. He also served as Chair of the Canadian Smart Cities Challenge Jury. He holds a Bachelor of Science from McGill University, a Masters in Applied Science from the University of Waterloo, and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives Program and the ICD Directors Education Program and holds the Certified Director designation. He is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Norman M. Steinberg
Vice-Chair, BFL Canada

Norman M. Steinberg is Vice-Chair of BFL Canada, where he also sits on the Board of Directors and chairs the Governance Committee.

From April 2017 to July 2019, Mr. Steinberg was Chair Emeritus of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada. Previously, Mr. Steinberg was Co-Chair and then Chair of Norton Rose Fulbright and its predecessor firm, Ogilvy Renault. He was also Global Chair of Norton Rose Fulbright, one of the largest law firms in the world with 4000 lawyers in 60 offices. At Norton Rose Fulbright and its predecessor firms, Mr. Steinberg focused on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, privatization and corporate governance.

Mr. Steinberg is also Co-Chair of Dorel Industries where he chairs the Nominating and Governance Committee, Director of Fiera Capital where he chairs the Nominating and Governance Committee, Director of ATCO where he chairs the Audit and Risk Committee and is a member of the Corporate Governance – Nomination, Compensation and Succession Committee, Senior Advisor of Persistence Capital Partners (private equity), Co-Chair of Women in Governance, Vice-Chair (former Chair) of The McGill University Health Centre Foundation, Director and member of the Organizing Committee as well as former Canadian Co-Chair of the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum, Strategic Advisor of Voyager Metals Inc., Senior Advisor of Teneo, and Vice Chair of the Board of Advisors of Alexa Translations.

He served as a director of numerous other boards, including Gildan Activewear, Canadian Marconi Company, Centraide of Montreal and the Foundation of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He was former Vice-Chair of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, former President of the Canadian Club of Montreal and former Chairman of the Mount Royal Club of Montreal.

Mr. Steinberg holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University in Montréal, Québec.

Julian Ovens
Partner, Crestview Strategy

Julian brings extensive experience as an international corporate development leader, a natural resources executive, and a senior political advisor. Julian sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), which assists Canadian exporters secure international contracts with foreign governments. Julian was Chief of Staff to two of Canada’s International Trade Ministers in the Trudeau government, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was Head of Strategy and Development, Potash (formerly Diamonds) at BHP in Saskatoon and Project Director, Iron Ore Africa, BHP Minerals Exploration, based in Singapore. He previously led commercial efforts for development projects and engaged in global mergers & acquisitions for BHP Billiton Aluminium in London. Julian received his ESG Global Competent Board Certificate (GCB.D) in 2021. He holds an Honours Business Administration degree from the Ivey Business School at Western University and studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. Julian is fluent in French.

Portia Maier
Barrister-at-Law and Former Australian Consul-General and Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner to Canada

Portia is a barrister admitted to practice in the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Queensland, specialising in commercial, corporations, trade and investment law. She is also a lecturer and Canadian law course convenor at a leading Australian university’s Canadian Law program. In 2012- 2017, she served as the Australian Consul-General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Canada, leading Australian Government activities in investment, trade, education and consular services. In 2016, she served as Dean and Chair of the Board of the Consular Corps of Toronto. Previously, Portia was Executive Director for UBS Private Banking and UBS Warburg Investment Banking in Zurich, Geneva and London and a senior management consultant in North America, Europe and Asia. Portia holds a Master of Laws and a Juris Doctor from the University of Queensland, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of New South Wales with postgraduate study in international law with Cornell University Law School in Paris.


Peter MacArthur
Executive Director, Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum

During Peter’s prior foreign service career he served 4 years as Global Affairs Canada Director General for South, Southeast Asia and Oceania where he oversaw bilateral relations with a range of countries including Australia. His experience included 3 years as Canada’s Senior Official to the Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC). Peter also supported federal ministers for the 2015 AusCan Forum in Vancouver.

In another Director General role in Ottawa, Peter helped advance global opportunities in science and technology, international education and industry sector cooperation. Early in his career Peter completed a 2 year secondment to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. This Australia-focused experience was complemented diplomatic assignments around the Indo-Pacific region from Russia to India, Hong Kong and Japan. After serving as Ambassador of Canada to Indonesia, Timor Leste and the Philippines from 2016-2022, Peter retired from the federal public service. He joins AusCan following its highly successful July 2023 8th Forum meeting in Toronto, excited to continue strengthening the relationship between two of the world’s most similar and like-minded countries on common challenges in the mutual interest. The next AusCan Forum is scheduled for February 2025 in Sydney, New South Wales.

Directeur Exécutif du Forum de Leadership Économique Australie-Canada

Au cours de sa carrière antérieure au service extérieur, Peter a occupé le poste de directeur général d’Affaires mondiales Canada pour l’Asie du Sud, du Sud-Est et l’Océanie, où il a supervisé les relations bilatérales avec divers pays, dont l’Australie, pendant quatre ans. Son expérience comprend trois années en tant que haut fonctionnaire du Canada au Forum économique de la Coopération économique pour l’Asie-Pacifique (APEC). Peter a également soutenu les ministres fédéraux lors du Forum AusCan de 2015 à Vancouver.

Dans un autre rôle de directeur général à Ottawa, Peter a contribué à promouvoir les opportunités mondiales dans les domaines de la science et de la technologie, de l’éducation internationale et de la coopération sectorielle. En début de carrière, Peter a effectué un détachement de deux ans au ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Commerce de l’Australie à Canberra. Cette expérience axée sur l’Australie a été complétée par des missions diplomatiques dans la région indo-pacifique, de la Russie à l’Inde, en passant par Hong Kong et le Japon. Après avoir été ambassadeur du Canada en Indonésie, au Timor-Leste et aux Philippines de 2016 à 2022, Peter a pris sa retraite de la fonction publique fédérale. Il rejoint AusCan après sa réunion très réussie en juillet 2023 lors du 8e Forum à Toronto, enthousiaste à l’idée de continuer à renforcer la relation entre deux des pays les plus similaires et compatibles du monde face à des défis communs dans l’intérêt mutuel. Le prochain Forum AusCan est prévu pour février 2025 à Sydney, en Nouvelle-Galles du Sud.

Tannis Wengel
Director of Events & Communications, Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum

As a seasoned senior marketing and fundraising professional with a wealth of experience spanning over two decades, Tannis’s expertise extends across strategic planning, project management, event execution, and corporate partnership cultivation.

Tannis has a proven track record in the conceptualization and execution of comprehensive national marketing plans, pioneering fundraising initiatives, and the successful management of large-scale special events. Her leadership has played a crucial role in driving impactful rebranding initiatives aligned with organizational goals. Tannis has overseen a diverse portfolio of signature fundraising events, showcasing her ability to navigate and excel in various environments, from orchestrating fundraising galas to facilitating global forums and educational initiatives, prestigious national award shows, and corporate symposiums. Notably, her commitment to excellence is evident in all her work showcasing her dedication to creating inclusive and impactful experiences.

Directeur des Événements et de la Communication, Forum de Leadership Économique Australie-Canada

En tant que professionnelle chevronnée du marketing et de la collecte de fonds avec une riche expérience s’étendant sur plus de deux décennies, Tannis excelle dans la planification stratégique, la gestion de projets, l’exécution d’événements, et le développement de partenariats corporatifs.

Tannis possède un bilan éprouvé dans la conceptualisation et la réalisation de plans marketing nationaux complets, l’initiation de levées de fonds novatrices, et la gestion réussie d’événements spéciaux à grande échelle. Son leadership a joué un rôle crucial dans la mise en œuvre d’initiatives de rebranding impactantes alignées sur les objectifs organisationnels. Tannis supervise un portefeuille diversifié d’événements de collecte de fonds de renom, démontrant sa capacité à naviguer et exceller dans divers environnements, que ce soit pour orchestrer des galas de levée de fonds, faciliter des forums mondiaux et des initiatives éducatives, organiser des remises de prix nationales prestigieuses, ou coordonner des symposiums d’entreprise. Notamment, son engagement envers l’excellence transparaît dans l’ensemble de son travail, mettant en lumière sa détermination à créer des expériences inclusives et impactantes.