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Scenario sessions

Harris Centre connects with local experts on N.L. economy post COVID-19

By Cathy Newhook and Dr. Mandy Rowsell

Trying to predict the economic future of Newfoundland and Labrador has never been an easy task.

And given the current global situation, assessing what the future might hold has become even more difficult – but essential.

To explore and elaborate on this important topic, Memorial’s Harris Centre has launched a special series of public forums.

For the past several weeks, the Harris Centre, in partnership with Conference and Event Services at Signal Hill Campus, has held bi-weekly webinars delving into the challenges and opportunities facing Newfoundland and Labrador businesses, workers and sectors since COVID-19 changed the way we work and live.

Dr. Greenwood speaks with a guestusing the Webex platform
Dr. Rob Greenwood speaks with Kay Riggs and Dr. Tom Power during Episode 1: Businesses.
Photo: Submitted

In each webcast session, Dr. Rob Greenwood, director of the Harris Centre, speaks with local experts related to specific sectors and industries in the province.

“We wanted to find a way to talk to the local experts, sector by sector, to get a local perspective on the impacts, as well as hear about how industries were being creative and finding innovative solutions.”

Episode 3: Tourism Guest, Zita Cobb, on the Webex platform
Zita Cobb, Shorefast Foundation, takes part in Episode 3: Tourism.
Photo: Submitted

The series covered five areas over the spring and early summer: small- and medium-sized businesses; tourism; mining; clean growth; and fishery and aquaculture.

“Entrepreneurs in this province never waste a crisis.” – Dr. Rob Greenwood

Guest speakers included faculty and leaders from Memorial, like Dr. Tom Cooper, Faculty of Business Administration; Dr. Derek Wilton, Department of Earth Sciences; and Kevin Anderson, head, School of Fisheries, Marine Institute; industry leaders such as Ed Moriarity, Mining Industry N.L., and Cathy Duke, Destination St. John’s; and local business owners, such as Laura Halfyard, Connaigre Fish; Kay Riggs, Dynamic Air Shelters; Dr. Zita Cobb, Shorefast Foundation; Robert Woolgar, Growler Energy; and Ashley Smith, Fundamental Inc.

Dr. Greenwood speaks to his guests using the Webex platform, at Emera Innovation Exchange
Dr. Rob Greenwood speaks to guests using technology set up by Conference and Event Services, Signal Hill Campus.
Photo: Submitted

“While the initial focus of every session is on the impact and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversation quickly moves to longer-term opportunities for industries here in Newfoundland and Labrador,” explained Dr. Greenwood.

“It’s easy to become bogged down in all the challenges, but entrepreneurs in this province never waste a crisis, and you can really see that in the way people are responding with innovation and ideas.”

All of the sessions were aired live using the Webex virtual conference platform; more than 500 people registered to attend the live sessions.

The sessions were also streamed on Facebook Live and were recorded for future viewing on the Harris Centre’s webpage, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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