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Faculty of Management
UNB Fredericton

Back to Intl. Business & Entrepreneurship Centre

Speaker Series

Sean Dunbar

Real-world experience from the business community

Since 2016, the International Business & Entrepreneurship Centre’s Speaker Series has hosted numerous individuals from the business community to speak with students, faculty and the surrounding community about their experiences and visions.

The topics and themes range from each speaker’s personal and professional experience, to the important role business plays in today’s economy. These speakers help provide the real-world experience that many students are currently studying and help provide insight on the various components of business and entrepreneurship.

Courtney Larkin

Sept. 11

Courtney Larkin is an entrepreneur living in Fredericton, NB with her spouse (Jonathan) and son (Reid). Ms. Larkin is the Owner of ‘Happy Hour Club’, an event planning company that specializes in hosting networking events for women in Fredericton to celebrate their accomplishments; Happy Hour Club has recently expanded to both Moncton and Saint John with events planned for later this year. She is also the Owner of ‘Luna Baby’ which designed and manufactures their luna pillow, a uniquely designed breastfeeding and bottle feeding pillow which is helping families across Canada feed their babies in comfort.

Prior to moving to Fredericton, she lived in Halifax, NS and worked in fundraising, recruiting, and career services. In 2010, Courtney received a Bachelor of Management and was also awarded the ‘Lily Ju Lifetime Achievement Award’ and ‘Malcolm Honour Award’ by the Dalhousie Student Union, and the ‘Community Contribution Award’ and ‘Mentor of the Year Award’ by the Faculty of Management.

Prior to graduating, she served on the Dalhousie Student Union as Vice President Student Life (2007-08) and President (2008-09), and volunteered for over 20 student clubs and events. Additionally she has been an avid volunteer throughout her career, most notably serving on the Dalhousie Alumni Association’s Board of Directors from 2010-2017; she was elected the Executive Vice President (2013-15) and President (2015-17).

Courtney will be speaking on the intrapreneur to entrepreneur journey.

Bill MacMackin

Sept. 18

Bill MacMackin is from Saint John and lives there with his wife (Patti Boyles) and has two grown children Christopher and Nick. Bill and his brother have owned & operated Brenan’s Funeral Homes in Saint John since 1987 and as partners have expanded the business, buying over 20 additional locations in four provinces through their other company, Select Community Funeral Homes.

Select has developed an innovative ownership model in their sector where local funeral directors can gain ownership with the support of Select, which provides centralized business support services out of Saint John. They are Canada’s largest privately-owned firm in the funeral services business.

Bill has been an active volunteer all his working life volunteering with numerous business groups. He is a Past President of both the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Saint John Board of Trade and other economic development groups.

Bill will be speaking about the hidden opportunities for entrepreneurship within traditional sectors.

Chris Wilson

Oct. 9

Christopher Wilson graduated from UNB in 2001 with his BBA and continued with his education at UMEA University in Sweden by participating in a finance exchange program. Chris later received his MBA from Aalto University in Finland. Since graduating, Chris has had a successful career in finance where he worked with Export Development Canada as an Asset Manager and has since worked his way up to become the Senior Financing Manager.

Chris continues to give back to his former alma mater by creating and funding an International Study Award at the University of New Brunswick. This award provides funding for 2 students, per academic year, to study abroad as part of the University’s international student exchange program.

Chris will be sharing tips on professional development.

Kent Murphy

Oct. 23

Kent graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1989 and has spent his entire career in Sales and has been helping start-ups, SMBs, and mature companies grow globally for the past two decades.

In 2013, he helped start Atlantic Growth Solutions. The company was recognized by Progress Magazine as one of the Best Places to Work in 2015. Today, Atlantic Growth Solutions is recognized as the results-driven sales process expert in North America and the partner of choice for companies in growth mode.

Kent will be speaking about positioning in the market place.

Betty Blanchard

Nov. 6

Betty Blanchard – Owner of My Closet Consignment Inc

At the age of 53 Betty decided after her long career in Hospitality Sales and Marketing to leave that industry and open her own consignment store. September 2017, she and her husband Rob open their doors to record breaking crowds. As things continue to thrive at My Closet, plans have started for expansion in Fredericton and other New Brunswick locations.

In 2018 Betty was recognized as one of Canada’s 50 over 50 entrepreneurs. Recently, My Closet Consignment was awarded the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards in the Start Up category. Rob and Betty are parents to two grown children that currently live in Ottawa starting their careers.

Betty wil be discussing how her business plan developed over time.

Tim Powers

Nov. 20


"Adventures in Investing – as an entrepreneur himself and an investor in a variety of different ventures. Tim hopes to share some of the lessons he has learned and the adventures he has had from lingerie to the craft brewing industry with a few stops in between."

Tim Powers is Vice-Chairman of Summa Strategies, a leading Canadian public affairs consulting firm, and the Managing Director of Abacus Data, an opinion research company, both headquartered in Ottawa. He offers clients a wide range of experience and expertise in the fields of business, communications and public policy.
Mr. Powers is also a media commentator, appearing frequently on CBC’s “Power and Politics”. He is also a writer for the Hill Times newspaper in the nation’s capital.

He is the Chairman of Rugby Canada, Lead Director for Park Lawn Corporation and a former trustee at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH).