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Swapna Nair

Swapna Nair

Senior Economist and GCC Lead
The Conference Board of Canada

Swapna Nair is Senior Economist and the Global Commerce Centre (GCC) Lead. As part of the GCC, she leads research on trade, investment, and trade policies. As a senior economist at the Conference Board, she has worked on multiple custom research projects including estimating the impact of the National Shipbuilding Strategy on the Canadian economy.

She has previously worked with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in New Delhi working closely with the Indian government on developing trade policy and with industry stakeholders to develop trade related capacity building. She has worked with policy institutes such as the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in UK and with Geopolicity World in UAE and has worked with governments in the U.K., UAE, Mauritius, Afghanistan, and Iraq on trade-related projects. She has presented at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public forum in Geneva on BRICS negotiating stances.

Swapna holds an MSc in development studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, U.K. and an MA in Economics from University of Hyderabad, India.

Brenda Lafleur

Brenda Lafleur

Director
The Conference Board of Canada

As Director of International Programs, Brenda has significant experience leading international development projects. She most recently oversaw teams for two five-year projects with Global Affairs Canada in Ukraine and Indonesia to increase sustainable economic growth in those two countries through the expansion of exports and the attraction of FDI. In an earlier project in Ukraine, she developed a program for benchmarking at the regional level in Ukraine and trained government officials to support the move from a centrally planned economy to adopting evidence-based policy.

Brenda developed the first benchmarking framework for Canada in the flagship Performance and Potential reports in the early 2000s, eventually spinning the benchmarking chapter into its own stand-alone product How Canada Performs. Brenda directed the work for five years on How Canada Performs, and produced a web-based product that compared Canada's national and provincial socio-economic performance against those of 15 peer countries and their regions. Other benchmarking work included a major contract for Western Economic Diversification Canada and a contract for the Business Council of Australia.

From 2003 to 2007, Brenda reported directly to the president as director of the three-year funded flagship project The Canada Project that produced three seminal compendium reports: Mission Possible: Sustainable Prosperity for Canada, Mission Possible: Sustainable Canadian Cities, and Mission Possible: A Canadian Resources Strategy for the Boom and Beyond.

Brenda began her career at the Conference Board as an economist in the economic forecasting group, working on both the national and provincial forecasts. She then moved to the custom economic services group where she worked on a myriad of custom forecasts and research projects.

Prior to the Conference Board, Brenda worked as an economist at Finance Canada and taught economics and statistics at the University College of Cape Breton in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Leane Swales

Leane Swales

Senior Coordinator, Human Capital Research
The Conference Board of Canada

Leane is currently a Senior Coordinator with the Conference Board of Canada’s Human Capital Research Group. Since joining the Conference Board in 2000, Leane has been actively involved in event management, project coordination and administrative support, in the areas of compensation, governance education (Directors College), health and wellness, strategic human resource management, attracting and retaining talent, learning and development, leadership, work-life effectiveness, and diversity.

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