Next Up: The W. David Duckett Speakers Series

Next Up: The W. David Duckett Speaker Series

Critical issues. Candid conversations.

Bringing critical issues and candid conversations to Calgary

The Haskayne School of Business is thrilled to announce a new speaker series that brings visionaries from diverse business fields to Calgary for thought-provoking conversations you won’t hear anywhere else in town. Next Up: The W. David Duckett Speaker Series features high-profile speakers to address critical and emerging issues in business and society. Designed to bring together Calgarians from various business backgrounds, the series stimulates discussions to help inform decisions and create viable business solutions to better our community, business landscape and economy. This twice per year speaker series – happening in the spring and fall – is hosted at the University of Calgary in the brand new Mathison Hall Event Centre.

Creating Wonderland

Advanced robotics from the perspective of a deep tech architect

There will be more change in how humans interact with their world in the next 20 years than we’ve seen in the last 2,000 years, says renowned robotics expert Maurice Conti in his TED talk which has 12 million views. Robotics are set to disrupt not only industries, but also how humans interact with their world. What are the possibilities? How should we prepare?

Haskayne welcomes Maurice Conti as our keynote speaker for the third installment of Next Up: The W. David Duckett Speaker Series. Starting with a brief journey through the history of robotics and how we got to where we are today, our discussion continues with examples of the state of the art now. Maurice will examine the current capabilities of robotics in manufacturing, mobility, and human support, and consider its impact on economics, society, and culture. Looking towards the future, he will project the most important trends in robotics, including new classes of capabilities, demographic shifts in global populations, available computing power, and artificial intelligence.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 

Imperial Ballroom 5-7-9 
3rd floor, Hyatt Regency Calgary 
700 Centre Street S 
5:15 – 8:30 p.m. 

  • 5:15 p.m. | VIP reception, your exclusive opportunity to meet and mingle with the speaker
  • 6:00 p.m. | Program and introductions
  • 6:15 p.m. | keynote
  • 6:45 p.m. | 3-course dinner service 
  • 7:45 p.m. | Fireside chat
  • 8:30 p.m. | Event ends

Keynote speaker: Maurice Conti

Maurice Conti is a futurist, a deep tech authority and an innovation executive who has helped companies achieve truly disruptive innovations. In his labs at Alpha and Autodesk, Maurice has not only imagined future technologies, but actually built them. He holds multiple technology and design patents in AI, Virtual Reality, and Advanced Robotics.

Maurice has worked with Autodesk, Amazon, NIKE, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, lululemon, Airbus, Telefonica, the Navy SEALS, the Government of Japan, and many others, to help them use emerging technology to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. 

As a futurist, deep tech authority, innovation executive, and international keynote speaker he has helped companies achieve truly disruptive innovation. He is a rare blend of hands–on practitioner and big thinker.

Maurice's work focuses on Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Reality (AR/VR), Advanced Manufacturing, and other emerging technologies, and how organizations can best leverage them today and in the future. He has more than a dozen patents in this space, and his vision for how AI can help us build a better world can be seen in his TED talk, viewed more than 13 million times.

Maurice Conti

Previous keynote speakers

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

For the second installment of Next Up: The W. David Duckett Speaker Series on September 19, Haskayne welcomed technology executive, distinguished engineer and prolific inventor, Lisa Seacat DeLuca as the keynote speaker. During DeLuca’s keynote speech and fireside chat, she shared her story as an innovator in artificial intelligence technologies. With patented innovations in AI applications such as machine learning, weather systems and in aviation, she brought forth an inventor’s perspective and believes that the focus should be not on the technology itself, but rather on solving everyday problems.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca leads the engineering, design, and product management organization at Unstoppable Domains innovating the future of the decentralized web. She is the 2nd Most Prolific Female Inventor in the world and as a technology executive for the past decade, Lisa brings emerging technology to life. Previously, Lisa spent 16 years at IBM as a Distinguished Engineer and Director of Product Management. Lisa holds a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University with minors in Business Administration and Multimedia Productions.

Lisa is an Inductee into the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame, Entrepreneur Magazine listed Lisa as one of their "49 Female Entrepreneurs Who Are Reshaping the Business World", she's one of the 115 Most Inspirational Women in Web3 and the Metaverse, and she's been featured in #LinkedInTopVoices in Technology list three years (2019 #2, 2018 #1, 2017 #2), and was an MIT 35 under 35. She is a TED speaker, a self-published author of two children’s books titled "A Robot Story" and “The Internet of Mysterious Things”, and the most prolific female inventor in IBM history. Her innovation portfolio includes over 1,000 patents filed in the United States and abroad, of which, over 650 have been granted, to date. The topic of her innovations include cloud, mobile, IoT, social, security, AI, commerce, blockchain, web3. Lisa is an AAAS-Lemelson Inventor Ambassador where she increases visibility to the importance of innovation. Lisa has spoken at numerous tech conferences and written articles to share her technology and innovation passion with others.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

Frances Haugen, Making Tech Healthier

For Next Up: The W. David Duckett Speaker Series’ inaugural event on April 6, Haskayne welcomed Facebook whistleblower, data scientist and accountability and transparency in social media advocate, Frances Haugen as the keynote speaker. During Haugen’s 30-minute keynote speech, she discussed what propelled her to act as a whistleblower against Facebook and drew on her experience and expertise to shed light on how technology can be made healthier and how social media platforms can work for humanity – work she is set to embark on through her new not-for-profit, Beyond the Screen.

Keynote speaker: Frances Haugen, Making Tech Healthier

Our generous sponsors

To become a sponsor or learn more, please contact Gladys Loo at

Next Up Sponsors
David Duckett and family

About W. David Duckett

Next Up: The W. David Duckett Speaker Series was made possible by energy business leader, entrepreneur, philanthropist and alumnus David Duckett.

“Bringing our diverse business community together to hear thought leaders share their incredible stories, experiences and insights and then to take those learnings to inform business decisions and solutions locally is what excited me most about supporting this project,” says Duckett. “I look forward to hearing the important dialogue that will emerge from these critical conversations and the positive impact it will have on our city.”