Mayor’s Event

Gateway Association is hosting the annual Mayor’s Luncheon to build momentum and leadership for a more inclusive business community that acknowledges and promotes marginalized communities in Alberta.

Enter the 9th Annual Mayor’s Event 50/50 Raffle by May 19th for your chance to win the 50/50 + $500 JW Marriott Stay and Play package! Join us in celebrating Equity Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace by purchasing tickets for our 50/50 Raffle to support Gateway Association.


Gateway’s 9th Annual Mayor’s Luncheon

This year’s theme is Future Proofing Your Workplace Through Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This is an opportunity for you to come together with leaders and changemakers to strengthen our workplaces and communities through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Gateway Association hosted its first Mayor’s Luncheon in partnership with the City of St. Albert in May of 2012. In part, the Luncheon began as a part of a legacy project after St. Albert hosted the 2012 Special Olympics Winter Games. Over the last 10 years, the luncheon has evolved to become the platform in Alberta to build momentum, leadership, and to learn from other employers and leaders who advocate for and hire inclusively from diverse populations. Join us May 17, 2022, for our 9th Annual Mayor’s Luncheon to collaborate, create awareness, and move ideas to action.


Supporting Inclusive Communities


Inclusive Workplaces

On a national scale, there is more innovation coming out of Alberta than any other province when it comes to inclusive workplaces. This innovation coincides with the recent investment and development in diversified industries, including a soon to be flourishing tech sector. To make space for great innovation, comes the need to evaluate areas that have room for growth, and this starts with our leaders! Join other leaders and changemakers to strengthen our workplaces and communities through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

You’ll leave this event with:

New connections and networks

Numerous inclusion resources, tools, and next steps

New and innovative insights and ideas


Future Proof Your Business with Equity, Diversity & Inclusion – Ideas To Action

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi

Amarjeet Sohi – Mayor Sponsor

Amarjeet Sohi was sworn in as the 36th mayor of Edmonton on October 26, 2021.

When I came here, I was 18 years old and had little to my name. But I was lucky. I wasn’t in just any city. I was in Edmonton.

Our schools and public libraries helped me learn to speak English. I found friendship and community playing sports and performing in the arts. And I got to discover the city through the windows of our buses – until one day I got a job driving one.

Eventually, my bus stopped at City Hall when Edmonton took a chance on me as a city councillor. It was my honour to work hard for a city that invested in me through public services. Every day was an opportunity to give back to a place that gave me so much, the place where my wife, Sarbjeet, and I raised our daughter.

My passion for Edmonton took me all the way to Ottawa. I served as the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Minister of Natural Resources, overseeing billions in investments in our economic future.

From bus driver to city councillor to member of parliament, my experiences have shown me what it takes to bring people together – and build a thriving city for all.

Mayor Cathy Heron

Cathy Heron – Mayor Sponsor

As the first female Mayor in 20 years, and only the second in the history of St. Albert, Cathy Heron represents the values of our modern community. She is proof that St. Albert has grown beyond the debate of women in politics and is ready to tackle the
rights of our LGBTQ+, environmental stewardship, responsible growth, and first nations through respectful engagement within our community.

A graduate of both the University of Alberta and NAIT, Mayor Heron values diverse knowledge, education, and experience in herself and those around her. In addition to her education, Mayor Heron has extensive experience in regional governance, including
2 terms as a city councillor and several years of volunteer work on committees.

Mayor Heron understands the value of leading by example. She serves as President at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Director of Alberta Recycling Management Association, 4 years as Director of the Alberta Capital Region Waste Water Commission, Capital Region Growth Plan Task Force and many more. The result is extensive and diverse relationships throughout the region with elected, civil, and
business stake holders that she can rely upon to help her further her goal of a stronger and more respected City of St. Albert.

Her personal life focuses on her relationship with her 3 adult children. Will, Heather, and Holly have continuously been a source of both strength and pride for Cathy. Sunday family dinners are dear to her, a value she hopes will carry forward into the next generation.

Raised in St. Albert, she is a graduate of Paul Kane high school. When it was time to start her own family and instill core values in her children, living in St. Albert was an obvious and non-negotiable choice. It takes a village to raise a child, and she strongly believes St. Albert offers the best values she wants in her own children.

It is her goal, as Mayor of St. Albert, to contribute to a community where her children will choose to raise their children. The strong values of community and diverse respect that drew her parents to raise her here remain the values she hopes St. Albert will continue to instill in future generations.

Elder Rick Lightning

Elder Rick Lightning – Speaker

Elder Rick (Patrick) Lightning is an Elder/Mosom from Maskwacis, raised in the traditions of Plains Cree, Nehiyaw. He is a third generation residential school survivor.

Rick has been a Cultural Support Worker to the Indian Residential School (IRS), Mental Health, Aboriginal Youth Communities Empowerment Strategy (AYCES), and the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) programs at Maskwacis.

Currently, Rick is the resident Elder, or Mosom, as he prefers to be called, for the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta.

Jason Pinnock

Jason Pincock – Speaker

Jason has been with DynaLIFE Medical Labs since its inception in 1996. Employing over 1400 Albertans, DynaLIFE is one of the region’s largest private employers. Over the last decade, Jason has dedicated his time to building relationships and working closely with executive team members within government and industry in order to structure and support new and innovative service models for health care, including the development of performance-based operating models for improving accountability and laboratory service to Albertans.

DynaLIFE has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, consistently as one of Alberta’s Top Employers, and is recognized for its culture and community leadership. Jason personally participates in and leads various bio‐tech related industry groups, works with Economic Development and participates on various community committees and boards including Health City, Applied Pharmaceuticals Innovation, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry University of Alberta, Health Analytics Diagnostics and Decision (HADD) Support Cluster Coalition, Innovation Masterminds Edmonton (imYEG), Little Warriors, the Bissell Centre, and various other non-profit organizations. Jason holds a CPA designation with the Certified Professional Accountants of Canada. Jason was born and raised in the Edmonton region where he is a husband and a father to six children.

Sean McEwen

Sean McEwan – Speaker

Sean is the Director of Gateway Association Calgary and the GEDI-Hub resource centre for employers across Alberta. He is also a Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and a Director at RealEyes Capacity Consultants. RealEyes supports organizations to build workforce sustainability through diverse and inclusive workplaces. Sean engages with service providers and businesses to build their capacity in these areas. 

Over the past 24 years Sean has been designing and overseeing Employment Inclusion services for groups under-represented in employment – while providing leadership and coaching to teams of Career Practitioners serving job-seekers and employers. Sean has developed and facilitated training for employment service providers across Canada and has helped develop regional, provincial and national networks dedicated to the Employment Inclusion of under-represented groups. 

Sean’s educational background is in Youth Services and Mental Health. He is a Certified Employment Specialist and has chaired the board of directors for both the Alberta Association for Supported Employment, as well as the Canadian Association of Supported Employment. Sean works across Canada but is based out of Calgary and has worked extensively with Indigenous communities in Southern Alberta. Sean’s Blackfoot (Niitsitapi) name is O’tsskoi piiksi (blue bird).

Elder Johnathon Red Gun

Jonathon Red Gun – Speaker

Jonathon Red Gun is the disability employment coordinator for Community Futures Treaty Seven. CFT7 is the southern Alberta Indigenous Skills Employment Training Strategy holder. Under the agreement with HRSDC – Service Canada. CFT7 allocates the resources to the sub-agreement holders of treaty 7 territories, consisting of the urban contracts of Calgary, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. First Nation sub-agreement holders are the First Nations of Siksika Nation, Blood Tribe, Piikani Nation, Tsuu Tina, and Stoney (Lakoda,) for labour market programs.

CFT7 works with two mandates. 1. Mandate is to provide employment and economic opportunities for First Nations individuals, on and off-reserve, including persons with disability. 2. Business Advisory Services, for individuals or groups that want to pursue entrepreneurship.

Mr. Red Gun has facilitated a number of workshops in the wellness stream, specifically, for those who are impacted by the Residential School legacy, and its intergenerational trauma. He now continues to use his wellness training, social work and judicial background to advocate for First Nations persons with a disablity.

Amy Wing

Amy Wing – Speaker

Amy Wing is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and mental health barriers. As well, Amy has a deep understanding of the intersectionality between the disability and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

Amy consults with organizations and businesses in the area of disability inclusion and has been a speaker at many disability inclusion events over the last 10 years.

Amy is the past president of the Gateway Association Board and currently sits on various committees. She has worked at ATCO Electric for 2 years and this year moved into a full time role as a clerk 3.

Sarah Chan

Sarah Chan – EMCEE

Sarah is the Lead of Community Engagement and Relationships at Alberta Mentoring Partnership.

Sarah co-Chaired United Way’s campaign cabinet for three years from 2016-2018. As a social advocate with a deep understanding of Edmonton’s charitable sector, she currently sits as a director on both the CN and Telus Community Giving Boards, in Edmonton. 

With a particular interest in the wellbeing of children and youth, Sarah has been a longstanding volunteer mentor with BGCBIGS, Honorary Patron for YESS, advocate for the Edmonton Public Library, and a member of the Mentor team at Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta. Over the past decade she has successfully collaborated to fundraise millions for our community’s most vulnerable populations. 

In 2015 Sarah was named a Top 40 Under 40 by Edify Magazine. She is also the recipient of a philanthropy award in Community Enrichment from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2020.


Building Momentum & Leadership

Mayors Pledge Videos: Beaumont, Devon, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Morinville, Spruce Grover, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Strathcona County and Sturgeon County.


Mayor's Event

Implementing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in a work place specifically starts with leadership. The tone and example that leaders of communities and organizations set is essential. Remembering that disability is the largest minority group when thinking about EDI is also essential. This year Capital Region Mayors pledged their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in their communities and workplaces. The pledge videos were sponsored by Pan Disability Connection and Baat Cheet Films.


    On a national scale, there is more innovation coming out of Alberta than any other province when it comes to Inclusive Workplaces. This innovation coincides with the recent investment and development in diversified industries, including a soon to be flourishing tech sector. To make space for great innovation, comes the need to evaluate areas that have room for growth, and this starts with our leaders! Join other leaders and changemakers to strengthen our workplaces and communities through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

    In line with our original mission, “transform community through the lens of disability”, and its evolving mission which includes a wider lens that takes into account all those who are from all marginalized communities, Gateway Association hosts the annual Mayor’s Luncheon to build momentum and leadership for a more inclusive business community. This is the platform in Alberta to build momentum, evolve leadership practices, and learn from fellow employers and leaders who advocate for and hire inclusively from all members of the marginalized population. Local politicians and forward-thinking business leaders from across the province come to connect with others who support inclusive hiring. Last year, Capital Region Mayor’s pledged their support to Workplace Inclusion through individual video pledges, as well as, a video supporting workplace inclusion: (less then 1.5 minutes) 2021 Mayor’s Event Video

    Workplace inclusion is the answer to meeting labour market needs, employee retention, diversification of products – all of these are necessary to a growing Alberta. Along with the opportunity to network, the yearly event is an opportunity to build momentum, leadership and to learn from other employers and leaders who advocate for and hire inclusively.


    You’ll leave this event with:

    • New connections and networks
    • Numerous inclusion resources, tools, and next steps
    • New and innovative insights and ideas


    Gateway Association is a family and employment resource centre based in Edmonton has acted to support the capital region over the last 47 years. Gateway has taken a lead in influencing policy, creating programs, and building capacity in the Edmonton capital region for individuals and their families living with disability-based and/or mental health-based challenges. This impact has only grown with the opening of our Calgary office and the introduction of our Alberta-Wide new initiative: Gateway to Equity Diversity and Inclusivity initiative- GEDI-Hub.


    9th Annual Mayor’s Luncheon

    Future Proof Your Business Through Equity, Diversity, And Inclusion-Ideas To Action

    May 17, 11:30-1pm

    J.W. Marriott-Edmonton Ice District

    Online attendance available

    Get Your Tickets!

    This year’s program includes:

    • Networking opportunities
    • Mayoral Welcome- Mayor Heron, Mayor of St. Albert
    • Keynote speech -Inclusion Champion-Chantelle Painter, HR Recruitment & Engagement Manager, The Brick
    • Chantelle will share The Brick’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and their inclusive recruitment and workplace culture strategies they use.
    • Panel discussion with Capital Region Mayors “Business
    • Resiliency through Community and Inclusion”. Moderated by MacEwan University.
    • This Panel of Mayors will discuss their thoughts on how to continue to support more inclusive communities and workplaces and they will share some of the ways this is being done in their own communities including any new initiatives they implementing or planning.
    • Closing remarks and Mayor’s video messages.


    Event Partners & Sponsors:

    For more information please do not hesitate to contact Renate Burwash, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Gateway Association: [email protected]

    This year's program includes:

    • Hear from our Keynote Speaker:

    Mark Wafer is a disability rights activist. Until recently he was the owner of six highly successful Tim Hortons locations in Toronto. During his 25 years in the business Mark employed over 200 workers with disabilities in all areas of the operation including senior management.  At any given time approximately 17% of his workforce identified as having a disability.

    Mark is an internationally recognized expert on the economics of inclusion. He is an advisor to governments around the world and is responsible for Canada’s national disability employment strategy.

    Mark has received many awards and recognition for his work most notably from her majesty,  Queen Elizabeth II.  He was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2014

    Mark is also a Motorsports enthusiast, former race car driver and 2008 Canadian historic sports car champion.


    Tentative Agenda: (finalized by March 1st)

    • Welcoming
    • Address from Mayor Heron
    • Lunch
    • Keynote Speaker
    • Presentation from Gateway & Partnerships

    Lunch Includes 1 Workshop Ticket (workshops to be updated) Limited seating.

    Our Mayors Luncheon has grown into a must-attend event for politicians and business leaders from across the province who see the value in building diversity into strong hiring strategies.

    The theme for #MayorsLunch2018 is Leaders of Diversity and Inclusion.

    This year we are excited to welcome keynote speaker Neil Hunter, a Director at Deloitte LLP, which is one of Canada’s leading professional services firms.

    Last year we welcomed over 200 mayors and business leaders from across the province: Edmonton’s Deputy Mayor Michael Walters; St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse; Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke; Spruce Grove Mayor Stuart Houston; MLA Ronald Orr; MLA David Shepherd; MLA Erin Babcock; MLA Jon Carson; MLA Thomas Dang; MLA Dr. Bob Turner; and many more.

    Gateway Association works with job seekers who live with developmental disabilities and employers that value diversity to build and support meaningful, paid employment relationships.

    Gateway’s Mayors Luncheon, in its sixth year, has grown into a must-attend event for politicians and business leaders across the province who see the value in building diversity into strong hiring strategies.

    Gateway Association is proud to host #MayorsLunch2017 in partnership with Prospect. Gateway works with job seekers who live with disabilities and employers that value diversity to build and support meaningful, paid employment relationships. Prospect helps people who face barriers to employment overcome those obstacles by supporting individual skill development and creating workplace capacity. We’re excited to work together as like-minded social service organizations to keep building capacity in community toward belonging for all people.

    The topic at #MayorsLunch2017 will be: Navigating Complex Relationships in Business – How to work together to build successful diversity strategies.

    This year we’re excited to welcome keynote speaker Maureen HalldorsonRBC’s Regional Vice President, Financial Planning, who will talk about RBC’s values and innovation around inclusion and diversity and how to build diversity into a strong business model.

    We’re also pleased to celebrate the City of Edmonton’s leadership in this area with its pioneering [email protected] program, presented by Mark Farr, the City’s Diversity Recruitment Consultant, along with a union representative, to talk about how municipalities and unions can work together to achieve success with diversity and hiring.

    Last year we welcomed 200 mayors and business leaders from across the province: Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson; St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse, the mayor who started our yearly Mayors Luncheon with us in 2012; Strathcona County Mayor Roxanne Carr; Mayor Mike Bradley from Sarnia, Ont.; Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given; Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke; Stony Plain Mayor William Choy; Devon Mayor Stephen Lindop; Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliot; and Westlock Mayor Ralph Leriger.

    We hope to see new and familiar faces at #MayorsLunch2017!

    Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for helping make this happen: Prospect; City of Edmonton; City of St. Albert; Home Depot; and Ready, Willing & Able!

    Our theme this year is: “Achieving Diversity Through Great Partnerships.”

    Keynote speaker Mike Bradley, Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, challenged the mayors of all the municipalities across the province of Ontario to get every person who lives with a disability working in their communities. He will share the ins and outs of how building and leaning on good partnerships is the key to success with diversity in business, and how mayors can play a key role in that process. “We don’t hire, but we create the culture,” he says.

    We are excited to welcome Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse, and Strathcona County Mayor Roxanne Carr.

    Guest speaker Michael Liber, owner of Baseline Dairy Queen in Sherwood Park, is a huge champion of diversity who believes wholeheartedly in inclusive hiring and trains managers at Dairy Queens across Canada on how to do it well.

    Guest speaker Corbin Bourree, managing director of’s Edmonton shop, is proud of the organic online grocer’s diverse workplace culture, one the company has spent much time and energy nurturing, of which inclusive hiring is an important part.

    Join Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson & St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse at the Gateway Mayor’s Luncheon & Workshop celebrating inclusive hiring

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    At … the Ramada Edmonton Hotel & Conference Centre, 11834 Kingsway Avenue

    Featuring … Canadian business leader Mark Wafer as keynote speaker and local business leader Jay Quintal, founder of X-Calibur, as master of ceremonies.

    Luncheon: The Business Case for Inclusion

    11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Discover how your business can tap into a $26-billion market that is often overlooked. Keynote speaker Mark Wafer, a national disability advocate, will share how he boosted his bottom line by championing inclusive hiring. Wafer owns six Tim Hortons locations in Toronto. Over the past 20 years, he has hired 107 people with disabilities.

    Tickets: $40, or $300/table of eight.

    Workshop: The Approach to Business That Works

     1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    The workshop offers strategies and best practices to employers interested in inclusive hiring. Facilitator Mark Wafer is on the federal government’s Panel on Labour Market Opportunities; is cofounder of national organization Canadian Business SenseAbility; and was recently inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame.

    Tickets: $40 each.

    Are you a business that wants to be a leader in inclusive hiring?  Come to learn more at our annual St. Albert Mayor’s Luncheon, with special guest, Mayor Nolan Crouse.

    • Hear from local businesses and organization who already hire inclusively and learn about their experiences
    • Debunk common myths and preconceptions about intellectual disabilities and hiring inclusively
    • Find out where employers can go for support in inclusive hiring and hear about a different approach that focuses on empowering both the job-seeker and employer to work together


    **Great for Human Resources employees and Management teams looking to diversify their labour force **

    For alternative payment arrangements, or to notify us of any special dietary requirements, please call Gateway Association at 780-454-0701.

    Since 2012 Gateway Association has hosted a yearly luncheon in partnership with local politicians and forward-thinking business leaders. The Mayors Luncheon serves as a networking opportunity and a connecting place for those in the business community who support inclusion in hiring.

    For the first time the Mayors Luncheon is going to become the Mayors Mixer! This afternoon event will encourage learning, development, networking, and much more. Stay tuned for the official release of tickets!

    Our goal is to keep working with partners to nurture diverse and inclusive communities across the province. We provide ongoing support to municipalities and employers who see the cultural and financial benefits of creating a sense of belonging for all people.

    The Mayors Luncheon began in 2012 with the support of former St. Alberta Mayor, Nolan Crouse. The Luncheon continues with major contributions from current St. Alberta Mayor, Cathy Heron.


    Transformation of community through the lens of disability.

    Contact Us

    201- 10941 120 Street NW
    Edmonton, AB  T5H 3R3
    Tel: 780-454-0701


    1206 20 Ave SE
    Calgary, AB  T2G 1M8
    Tel:  587-779-7888



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