Spo Ho Xperience™ Co-Chairs Announce Preliminary Speaker Line-Up

DISRUPTERS, FORWARD-THINKERS and CHANGEMAKERS lead sport hosting discussions in Ottawa

June 15, 2023 ….The three Co-Chairs of Spo Ho Xperience™ (SPOHOX23™) have announced thepreliminary speaker lineup who will lead provocative discussions and tackle difficult topics during the two-day program taking place at Ottawa’s Infinity Convention Centre on October 11-12, 2023.

“The goal of SPOHOX™ is to shake things up in the sport hosting industry, to spark debate and see where that will take us,” said Gary Curgin, sport and event management consultant and one of the three co-chairs of SPOHOX23™ along with Wayne Long, Manager, Economic, Tourism and Cultural Development, City of Charlottetown and Janice Barresi, Vice-President of Brand and Social Impact, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG). “Each one of our keynote speakers and discussion leaders will not shy away from controversy but will challenge norms and stimulate engaging dialogue designed to stimulate change in Canada’s sport hosting industry.”

Day 1 Host
Multi-platform Senior Contributor with CBC Sports and award-winning sports activist, Shireen Ahmed, will kick-off SPOHOX23™ in the opening plenary on Day 1. Shireen will set the tone for the event with her unique perspectives, candid approach, and passion for sports culture in Canada.

Keynote Speakers
Social Media Influencer & Motivational Speaker Oorbee Roy, known as Aunty Skates, a mom, who began skateboarding at age 43, will tell her story of reinvention to begin Day 1. Through her experiences, Oorbee will demonstrate how it’s within us all to follow our passion, chase our dreams, and what it actually means to live our best lives, no matter our age. An uplifting speaker, Oorbee will show what’s possible, and inspire attendees to be their 100% authentic selves.

Award winning director, writer and film-maker Justin Kingsley, headlines as the keynote speaker on Day 2. With a bold take on business, creativity, culture, sales & marketing and sports, his high-octane keynote style has earned him a reputation as an insightful, authentic, straight-shooter, whose vocation is the tell the right stories, in the best way. Justin’s message will motivate the audience members to be part of changing the sport hosting game in Canada.

Closing out the Spo Ho Xperience™  will be Oluseyi (Seyi) Smith, a retired two-time summer (London-2012) and winter (Pyeongchang-2018) Olympian in athletics and bobsleigh. Also a professional engineer, his passion for environmental sustainability alongside his love for sport led him to found Racing to Zero, a sports focused sustainability consultancy. Seyi will take part in a panel discussion focused on how unsustainable practices in sport event hosting have contributed to the climate change crisis, the barriers to change, and how sport hosting professionals can step up their game.

The Scrum™ Topic Hosts
The Scrum™ features a series of engaging workshops where the topic hosts will manage lively discussions on spicey topics impacting the sport hosting industry – where things may get awkward or be magical – or maybe a little bit of both.

  • Sport & Truth & Reconciliation: Marc Forgette of Makatew Workshops will bring his Apitipi Anicinapek Nation culture to this unique interactive session that will include stitching medicine bags.
  • The ‘Win at All Costs’ versus ‘Everyone Gets a Medal’ Mentality: Former Team Canada Snowboarder & Sports Creator Natalie Allport will question people’s thinking on this topic.
  • Sex Trafficking at Sport Events: Sandy Biback, Founder, Meeting Professionals against Human Trafficking (MPAHT) will bring this often avoided issue into the light.
  • The Opportunity of the 55+ Market: The Editor, Adrenalin magazine Angela Kryhul, will explore the sport hosting prospects for an often over-looked and lucrative segment of the sport hosting industry.
  • Hosting Major Sport Events & the Media: An insightful look led by Chris Wilson, Executive Director, CBC Sports & General Manager, Olympics.
  • Accessibility & Events: Retired NHL Hockey Player, Jim Kyte, Inclusion Advocate & Dean, Algonquin College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism, will challenge sport hosts to stage inclusive and accessible events.

With topics still to be confirmed, Peter Montopoli and Shireen Ahmedare alsoplanning on adding to The Scrum™ lineupwith timely and insightful topics.

Activity Host
Greg Amiel will be keeping things lively during both the day and evening activities as host of the Spo Ho SKillz Competition™. His upbeat style will cheer on the Spo Ho X™ Players (and evening guests) as they compete in interactive gamified activities and challenges earning points to win the coveted Spo Ho X™ MVP Award.

SPOHOX™ is an exclusive, invite only gathering of sport hosting professionals from across Canada and the United States who represent destinations, sport event organizers, venues, hospitality & travel professionals, and the education sector of the industry. More details, including how to apply to attend, are available at: www.SpoHoXperience.ca. The list of sport hosting professionals who have already confirmed to join the gathering can be found here.

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