Communities in Conversation Speaker Video Series

Terry Cooke is President and CEO of Hamilton Community Foundation which has played a leading role in mobilizing the community to address issues like increasing access to post-secondary education, strengthening neighbourhoods and reducing poverty. 

Fred Eisenberger's experience, vision and leadership led him to a successful return to office as Hamilton's Mayor in October 2014. His passion for the city and plans for growth and prosperity support the desire to take Hamilton to new levels, firmly placing it as one of the 10th largest and most important municipalities in the country.

PJ Mercanti is the founder of GenNext United Way, is the current co-chair for the Charity of Hope, and has been involved with many community organizations such as The Good Shepherd, City Kidz, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton Community Foundation, and Theatre Aquarius.

John Ariyo is the Manager of Community Initiatives for the City of Hamilton. He is the City’s lead staff for corporate citizen engagement, local immigration partnership, older adult strategy and the youth advisory committee.


  • Economic Development, Prosperity & Opportunities
  • Community Assets & Critical Infrastructure
  • An Active & Healthy Society
  • Connected Communities & Safe Neighbourhoods
  • Cultural & Social Diversity
  • Environmental Responsibility & Stewardship
  • Engaged & Empowered Residents

Brock Dickinson is a Principal with MDB Insight, Canada’s largest specialist economic development consultancy, where he works with companies and communities across North America and around the world to accomplish their economic growth and development goals.

Trish Hennessy is the founding director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' (CCPA) Ontario office. She also founded and directed the CCPA's national project examining income inequality in Canada, which began in 2006. 


Paul Kershaw is a farmer morning and night. By day, he is a University of BC professor, public speaker, volunteer, and regular media contributor. Kershaw is one of Canada’s top thinkers about generational equity with Canadian Family magazine describing him as “the ‘Generation Squeeze’ guru.”

Ron is currently President of Mohawk College and Mohawk College Foundation in Hamilton, Ontario. Previously Ron served 10 years in the Ontario Public Service as Deputy Minister Open Government, Interim President of Ornge Air Ambulance, Deputy Minister, Government Services and, Corporate CIO and Chief Strategist for Ontario.

Over the course of an extensive career in public service, Michael Fenn has been an Ontario Deputy Minister under three Premiers, municipal chief administrator for Hamilton-Wentworth Region and the City of Burlington, and the founding CEO of both regional transportation authority Metrolinx and regional health authority Mississauga Halton LHIN.


Educated in Canada, the United States and Great Britain, Dr. Smith began his career in medical education, followed by leadership roles in university administration and academic hospitals and health systems. Kevin is professionally certified by the Institute of Corporate Directors and has completed the Harvard Program in Effective Governance.

Chris has been City Manager since January 1, 2009. He has spent considerable time moving forward on the City’s priorities and evaluating its delivery of citizen-centred services.

Dr. Gary Warner retired in 2006 from McMaster University where he taught courses on Francophone Literature and on peace and international development. He currently teaches a course on Global Justice, with a focus on Water.


Tim Potocic has sat on the boards of CIRPA and CARAS and has enjoyed a Canadian Music Industry Award for label of the year, a Hamilton Entrepreneur of the Year award, and having several of his artists acquire Juno nominations.

Rebecca Wilson-Sabo is a community activist who is involved in a number of planning and steering committees including Sisters in Spirit/Stolen Sisters, Professional Aboriginal Advocacy Networking Group, Black Brown Red Lives Matter Steering Committee and the Community Mental Health Resources Website Planning Table.