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Swapna Nair
Senior Economist and 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.


Michael Burt
Vice President

Michael Burt is a Vice President at The Conference Board of Canada and leads several Knowledge Areas, including Education & Skills, Inclusion, Innovation & Technology, and Sustainability. He is also the executive lead for the work CBoC does with the Future Skills Centre. In his role, Michael oversees the convening and research activities of these different areas.

Michael has more than 20 years of experience conducting and leading research activities. Before joining The Conference Board, he worked with an economic consulting firm in the United States. In 2004, he joined CBoC as a Senior Economist and has moved progressively into more senior positions since.

Michael has a passion for building things, albeit in a figurative sense:

“I enjoy building things, I find it exciting and rewarding to build something from the ground up; a great team for example, or an insightful research project, or long-term viability for our organization. At CBoC, we’re constantly building, and one of my focus areas is to build strong relationships internally between our different Knowledge Areas, and with external partners. Our array of expertise is a core strength, and by continuously improving our collaboration efforts, we’ll increase our impact on Canadian lives and Canada’s leaders.”

Michael holds a BComm and an MBA from the University of Windsor, and a MA in Economics from the University of Toronto. Michael is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.


Sohaib Shahid

Director, Economic Innovation

As part of CBoC’s Economic Forecasting Knowledge Area, Sohaib leads the Economic Innovation Team and their new economic product research and development initiatives. Sohaib is an economic thought leader with experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining the Board, he was a Senior Economist at TD Bank leading TD’s global economic forecast. He also worked as an Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington, DC. At both organizations, Sohaib worked on a wide variety of economic issues for a diverse set of countries.

Sohaib holds a MA and a PhD in Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.


Leane Swales
Senior Coordinator

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, labour relations, 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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