Event Date:


Join us on Wednesday, February 9th for the second installment of our ongoing 2022 Market Update Series, Retail & the Future of Downtowns and Malls. Due to the many changes we’ve witnessed across all sectors in 2021, we broke apart our annual forecast into a 3-part series, allowing us to dig deeper into the data and predictions of our panelists. Our first installment in this series, Residential & Transportation, was held in January; you can access the recording of our panel discussion HERE. Our third and final panel, Office/Commercial, and Industrial, will be coming in March.

Joining our panel of retail industry leaders this February is Michael LeBlanc (M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc, Retail Council of Canada), Laura Poland (Central Walk, Mayfair Shopping Centre), and Bruce Williams (The Greater Victoria Chamber); leading our dialog this year will be UDI – Capital Region Board Chair, Adam Cooper (Abstract Developments).

Event Details

Zoom Webinar
February 9, 2022
Tickets $40* +GST
*Special pricing for Mayors and Councillors, please email emilyd@udi.org



Bruce Williams
CEO, The Greater Victoria Chamber

Bruce is the CEO of Greater Victoria’s Chamber of Commerce, supporting the vast and diverse local business community. His past career in broadcasting involved being an on air host for radio and television, a content producer, government liaison, business development manager, and a member of the senior management team with Bell Media on Vancouver Island. Bruce is a champion of community volunteering who remains connected to and understands business and issues in communities across Vancouver Island.

Laura Poland
General Manager, Central Walk, Mayfair Shopping Centre

Laura has been the General Manager at Mayfair Shopping Centre for 9 years and while not Island born and raised, she has been so fortunate that her working career in shopping centres has solely been in the Victoria area.   She began working at Mayfair in a leasing role in the early 1990s, moved on to shopping centre marketing with RioCan Property Services, and then on to her first General Manager role with Bentall Kennedy at Westshore Town Centre.  Working for 10 years on the Westshore she turned full circle and returned to Mayfair with Ivanhoe Cambridge.  With the recent sale of Mayfair, Laura now works for Central Walk and is looking forward to working with them as they plan an extensive contribution to the site to create a true community centre for living, working, leisure, culture and shopping.  Laura holds both designations as a Certified Shopping Centre Manager and a Certified Retail Real Estate Professional with the association of Innovating Commerce Servicing Communities and she has also held her property management license with Real Estate B.C.

Michael LeBlanc
Founder & President, M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc
Senior Advisor, Retail Council of Canada

Michael is the Founder & President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc. and a Senior Advisor to Retail Council of Canada and the Bank of Canada as part of his advisory and consulting practice. He brings 25+ years of brand/retail/marketing & eCommerce leadership experience and has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career. He has delivered keynotes, hosted fire-side discussions with C-level executives and participated worldwide in thought leadership panels. ReThink Retail has added Michael to their prestigious Top 100 Global Retail Influencers list for 2022 for the second year in a row.
Michael is also the president of Maven Media, which produces a network of leading podcasts, including Canada’s top retail industry podcast, The Voice of Retail, plus the Dallas-based Remarkable Retail with author Steve Dennis, now ranked one of the top ten retail podcasts in the world.
The Food Professor with Dr. Sylvain Charlebois explores the critical issues in food, grocery and foodservice, along with a popular YouTube segment where we sample and try new foods to the market called “Trying Stuff.”  The Food Professor podcast is listed as one of Apple Podcasts top 50 management recommended podcasts.
Based in San Francisco, Global E-Commerce Tech Talks explores global cross-border issues and opportunities for eCommerce brands and retailers.
Based in New York, Conversations with CommerceNext is a podcast focusing on retail eCommerce, digital marketing and retail careers with episodes talking with C-level executives operating in the U.S. and internationally.  Maven also produces podcasts for several clients outside of the retail industry, including financial institutions and not-for-profits. All available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music and all major podcast platforms.
Last but not least, Michael is also the producer and host of the “Last Request Barbeque” channel on YouTube, where he cooks meals to die for – and collaborates with top brands as a food and product influencer.