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  • NEXT Leaders' Council

    NEXT is a forum for emerging business leaders to engage in constructive, fact-based dialogue, debate, and advocacy around economic and public policy issues

We think business matters

Join other emerging business leaders in a conversation about the future of our workplaces, economy, communities and our generation. 

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Who we are

NEXT is a forum for emerging business leaders to engage in constructive, fact-based dialogue, debate, and advocacy around economic and public policy issues that are key to investment, growth, and a sustainable, competitive economy in British Columbia.

What we believe:

We believe the time has come to take a leadership role in shaping a more engaged and inclusive dialogue and debate around economic and public policy issues in B.C., one that represent the full spectrum of B.C.’s diverse population base.

We believe a strong, sustainable and diversified economy is the foundation for healthy communities, prosperous families and reliable social programs.

We believe British Columbia’s future is one of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, responsible natural resource development, creativity, and innovation.

We believe business has a vital leadership role to play in driving innovation, creating strong communities and being responsible stewards of our environment.

We believe it is time for business, environmental and community groups to work together to find shared values and objectives that benefit all British Columbians.

We believe that each of us has a responsibility to be active and informed contributors to public policy debate in B.C.

What we do:

We provide an open platform for Next Leaders to learn, question, form opinions and formulate approaches to the challenges and opportunities facing our province.

We share our knowledge and our opinions with our peer networks to foster improved awareness, understanding, and engagement around the policy and economic issues important to the future of British Columbia.

We engage with trail blazing business and community leaders to learn from each other and transition into informed stewards of our economy and our environment.

We provide opinions and perspectives regarding specific public policy matters in order to communicate our shared belief that a strong, sustainable economy is key to a prosperous province.


Who are the NEXT Leaders

  • Carling Dick

    As Chair of the NEXT Leaders' Council, Carling serves on the Business Council of British Columbia's Executive Committee and Board of Governors.

    Carling is a Principal with Earnscliffe Strategy Group. She is an accomplished project and campaign manager with expertise in public policy, government relations, stakeholder engagement and communications. Having spent 10 years driving results on a variety of projects, she has developed an excellent understanding of the operations and culture of non-profits, companies and government.

    Carling provides her expertise and advice to clients in the energy, technology, film & television, transportation, healthcare and solid waste management sectors.

    Previously, Carling spent time strategizing and executing key events for two B.C. Premiers. She was focused on stakeholder and intergovernmental issues. During her time in the Premier’s office she planned the Western Premiers’ Conference, the 2011 Olympic Anniversary celebration, a joint Province of B.C. and Washington State cabinet meeting, and a Metro Vancouver Mayors Council Meeting.

    Learn more and connect with Carling on LinkedIn.

  • Ted Lau

    CEO & Co-Founder, Ballistic Arts Media Studios
    Immediate Past Chair, NEXT Leaders' Council

    What do you do as your day job?

    I’m the Co-Founder and Owner of the award-winning digital marketing agency BallisticArts. Over our 18 years in business, we’ve been blessed to collaborate with many of B.C.’s top brands, some of whom like Seaspan, the Port of Vancouver, and Vancity Credit Union are Business Council of British Columbia members. We have 4 great creative teams (web, video, graphics and social media marketing) all working together to serve our clients in real estate development, large industry, and trade associations.

    What do you get from being part of NEXT?

    The best part of my job as CEO of Ballistic Arts is that I get to go around constantly engaging and networking with many of B.C.’s top businesses. I have a passion for learning what the important issues are for our economy and our society as a whole and seeing how my company can work meaningfully alongside these extraordinary companies. NEXT continues to give me front-row access to learning from B.C.’s brightest business minds. We’ve heard from subject matter experts on various topics such as politics, the economy, finance, the rural/urban divide, diversity, and intergenerational issues.

  • Tara Knight

    Senior Manager, ESG Reporting

    What do you do as your day job?

    I manage ESG reporting and disclosures for the Bank. I am responsible for developing Scotiabank’s annual sustainability reporting and interactions with ESG raters and rankers.

    Why NEXT?

    How will we build a strong province that finds a prosperous balance for economic, social and environmental opportunities? NEXT is your opportunity to engage in dialogue, expose yourself to different issues and perspectives outside of your day-to-day, and to bring your voice to inform and influence what B.C.'s sustainable economic future can be.

    What do you get from being part of NEXT?

    NEXT is one of my best professional life hacks. Participating provides me with a deeper understanding of critical strategic business issues and emerging trends across sectors, pops in policy education, adds insight from senior business leaders and mixes it all up with bright, diverse and thoughtful people. I have a curious mind, and NEXT sparks up something new for me every time I attend an event.

  • Alysia MacGrotty

    Specialist, Stakeholder Engagement & Communications
    Trans Mountain Corporation

    What do you do as your day job?

    Alongside a great team, I work as a stakeholder engagement and communications specialist for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. I manage relationships with key stakeholders to help tell their story about why they support the construction of a twinned pipeline and ensure those who are interested in the Project are equipped with the most update-to-date information.

      Why NEXT?

      Whether you are in finance, natural resources, tech, healthcare or not-for-profit sector, NEXT will engage you in every part of B.C.’s economy and helps you understand the importance of public policy issues towards the B.C.’s continued investment, growth, sustainability and competitive edge.

        What do you get from being part of NEXT?

        Attending NEXT events is like participating in an MBA program. The calibre of speakers is incredible as each describe their own real-life experiences of being B.C.’s top C-suite executives in an atmosphere that is intimate and exclusive. I always learn something new and meet bright-minded young professionals at every event.

        • Sherry Zhao

          Senior Director, Strategic Accounts & Business Development

          What do you do as your day job?

          I work in the innovation space, helping businesses advance their innovation pipeline by leveraging Mitacs’s national network across more than 100 Canadian post-secondary institutions.

            Why NEXT?

            Because business matters and our voice as the younger generation matters. Business could and should take leadership in improving people’s lives and making our province a better place. NEXT is a channel where our thoughts and actions influence business decisions.

              What do you get from being part of NEXT?

              Network. Ideas. Friendships. And more importantly, a place where like-minded emerging leaders receive judgment-free feedback from each other.

              • Ashley Ahrens

                Department Head, Biological Services

                Keystone Environmental

                What do you do as your day job?

                In my day job, I co-lead the biological services team at Keystone Environmental. My role involves leading and mentoring the team, providing resourcing support to project managers, executing operational initiatives, chairing the Keystone PMO, hiring, recruitment, business development, providing health and safety leadership and quality assurance/control. I also contribute to key projects and support successful project delivery. Currently, I am supporting BHP to provide permitting assurance support to BHP for Westshore Terminals potash export facility development project.

                Why NEXT?

                I have been involved in NEXT for several years. NEXT is an excellent forum to network and meet professionals throughout B.C. NEXT hosts a number of interesting and informative sessions throughout the year and it's a great opportunity to collaborate to discuss solutions to common challenges.

                What do you get from being a part of NEXT?

                I enjoy contributing to the group, building confidence and learning from others through NEXT. NEXT also provides connections to various BCBC committees or contacts.

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