The National Board of Directors of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) is composed of outstanding members of Canada’s travel industry. They make up one of the most knowledgeable boards in Canada and each member has enviable experience in guiding their companies through years in this dynamic economic sector and beyond.
Not only does the board have a core of veterans, it has added members in the past several years from the top levels of the industry and its agency segment. The makeup of the national board is one of the key reasons why travel agency heads across the country should join ACTA and support the work inspired and directed by these stellar board members.
Board members in many cases serve as Chairs of ACTA Regional Councils in their regions which are: B.C. and Yukon, Alberta and NWT, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic. ACTA members can run for places on regional councils each year.
Mary Jane Hiebert, Manitoba & Nunavut Regions, ACTA Chair
Ms. Hiebert began her career in travel in 1994, with the purchase of Harvest Travel Ltd. In Steinbach, Manitoba. In 2009 Mary Jane merged Harvest Travel with Holiday Travel in Steinbach. In 2014, Holiday Travel was acquired by Canada One Travel, where she continues to fulfill her role as Manager.
During her time with ACTA National Board, Mary Jane has participated on the Board Strategy and Work Plans committee in 2012, and again 2014/2015. She participated in the review of the ACTA By-laws in 2014, and most recently a member of the Terms of Reference review committee.
Ms. Hiebert was the President of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce from 2001 – 2007, and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Eastman Education Center as well as the planning committee for the Summer In The City Festival, in Steinbach.
André Desmarais , Quebec Region , ACTA Vice Chair
André has worked in the travel industry for more than thirty years and founded AeroportVoyage.com fifteen years ago. AeroportVoyage.com is part of Voyage en Direct in Québec.
André has been involved in many organizations including one helping entrepreneurs, is currently the president of Montréal Investment Fund for PME Montréal Sud-Ouest with $2.5 million in assistance, was administrator on the Board of Verdun CLD and for the last two years as Treasurer, was president of C.A. of the F.C.A.Q. (Fédération des Clubs d’affaires du Québec) for two years, and president for five years of the SDC (Société de développement Commercial) Wellington.
Michael Thompson, ACTA Secretary
Mr. Thompson is a visionary and performance-focused leader with 20-plus years of experience building profitable businesses. With an exceptional track record in the Canadian technology and corporate marketplace, he is well known for his customer-centric approach, team building talent and ability to create a deep network of senior C-level relationships.
Prior to ISB, Mr. Thompson was at the helm of a major Canadian company specializing in Supply Chain Management and innovative 1:1 Marketing technology solutions. Before that, he had been vice president of a top-tier travel and leisure company, driving record growth and creating the largest wholly-owned consumer travel business in North America with $1B of network sales.
In addition to his leadership role at ACTA, Mr. Thompson participates on several boards and committees, including CEO Forum.
Louise Gardiner, Treasurer
Louise Gardiner is responsible for setting and implementing Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s leisure strategy for the Associate Franchise Program in Canada. She is responsible for the overall leisure operational execution of 120 leisure travel locations which represent over $1B in sales within Canada. Louise works closely with CWT’s Loyalty, Marketing and Leisure Supplier management teams to assist in developing existing and new associations with strategic loyalty and supplier partners. She sits on the Canadian Executive Team and has executive ownership of the CWT Canada Associate Program Leisure Operations Division.
Louise brings 35 years of experience in the Leisure travel industry and has a proven track record in running successful operations and building strong teams. Since joining CWT Canada in 2004, Gardiner managed branch fulfillment for both the leisure and mid-market corporate segments. She also oversaw the Company Owned Canada Leisure Division, Associate Franchise Network, and the North American Product Solutions Technology Team. She was instrumental in ensuring all branches delivered a consistent service and product offering across Canada for all CWT’s preferred membership customers.
Liz Fleming, B.C. and Yukon Territories
leadership skills to one of Western Canada’s largest independent management companies. Liz began as a front line corporate travel advisor with North South before moving in to management. That experience gives her a unique perspective on all aspects of agency operations from the service provision level through to the administrative challenges of running an agency in today’s environment. Although she has spent many years in the corporate world, first as a legal assistant specializing in corporate/commercial issues and subsequently in a management role with North South Travel, Liz’s first love and educational background is in the field of social services. Originally trained at the University of Victoria as a Social Worker, Liz has balanced her corporate work life with private volunteerism at both the service provision and Board of Directors level for several social service organizations.
On the corporate side, Liz has served on the ACTA Council for BC and Yukon since 2009 (as Vice-Chair since 2013 and as Chair since 2016). In addition, she also serves as ACTA’s representative to IATA’s APJC (Agency Program Joint Council) and its FAG (Financial Advisory Group) sub-committee.
Anthony Tonkinson, Alberta/Northwest Territories
Born and raised in the UK, Anthony Tonkinson attended the London Hotel School in Chiswick, London before immigrating to Canada in 1967. In 1979, he started his own business and by 1985, he bought and opened a Goliger’s Travel franchise in Calgary with his wife Bev.
Having known each other from the London Hotel School, Michael Broadhurst decided to join Anthony in 1986 in running and building the agency. In 2000, Anthony and Michael moved the business away from the franchise and joined three other agencies to become Vision 2000 Travel Group. Anthony is currently the company's VP of Administration. Anthony brings a wealth of experience to the ACTA Board of Directors, having been involved with many boards including being President of the Squamish (in B.C.) Chamber of Commerce, Chinook Rotary, and the Skål Club of Calgary. He also sat on the SAIT Travel & Tourism Advisory Committee for over twenty years and the ACTA Alberta Council for over 5 years.
Barbara Lee-White, Atlantic Region
Barbara began her career in the travel business in 1985 as owner of UNIGLOBE Direct Travel in Saint John New Brunswick. In 2000, she merged forces with UNIGLOBE River Valley Travel becoming the sole owner in 2004. With the introduction of new technologies over the past 20 years, the travel business rapidly changed making for newer and more exciting challenges. Barbara’s keen interest in both international and domestic travel combined with a passion for problem solving have served her well in her capacity as a board member of ACTA Atlantic since 2007. In 2013, Maritime Travel acquired UNIGLOBE River Valley where Barbara continues to sell leisure travel.
Mike Foster, Ontario Region
Mike Foster opened Nexion Canada. The company specializes in travel agency services to small to mid-sized corporate clients and leisure passengers with annual system-wide sales volume of C$2.7 billion. Mike has served in a variety of roles for both the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) and the Travel Industry Council of Ontario. A resident of London, Mike has been an active volunteer with many local organizations.
Barbara Crowe, Saskatchewan Region
Barb Crowe's career in the travel industry started in 1981. In 2008, Barb purchased Ixtapa Travel, Saskatoon. At the time the office was a three person entity. Today, Ixtapa Travel has offices in Saskatoon and Winnipeg employing over 35 Travel Advisors and support staff. Under her progressive leadership, the company has pending initiatives in other markets including business diversification.
Barb’s experience on Boards/Committees include terms with the Saskatoon Airport Authority Marketing Initiative Committee, Tourism Saskatoon, Tourism Saskatchewan, SKAL, Vacation.com Advisory Committee, Junior Achievement Saskatoon, ACTA Saskatchewan and 4 years on the Ensemble Travel Group Board.
Cyrus K Rustamji CTM, CCTA Representative
Cyrus has been with UNIGLOBE Premiere Travel since 1989 with experience spanning Corporate Travel Management, sales and account management, agency acquisitions/mergers, international incentive and group tour sales and leisure agency management including sales automation and facilitation for home-based independent agents.
One of his major roles with UNIGLOBE The Premiere Travel Group has been vendor management and negotiations with airlines and the other important travel industry suppliers. With a passion for travel from an early age, he has travelled extensively in over 50 countries. Since 1995 Cyrus has been based in the Toronto office of UNIGLOBE The Premiere Travel Group, a CCTA member and one of Canada’s leading privately held travel companies.
Richard Vanderlubbe, Director
Richard Vanderlubbe is the founder and owner of tripcentral.ca, a travel agency with 26 locations and a national website. It has been in business under prior trade names since 1989 where it began as a single startup travel agency in Hamilton. Richard has participated in industry affairs for many years dating back to the late 1990s. He was elected the Chair of ACTA Ontario, sat on the national board, and chaired ACTA National for a couple of years. Richard also served on the TICO board since 2001 in various capacities including Chair, Vice Chair and currently Chair of the Legislative and Regulatory Modernization Committee looking at an overhaul of the Travel Industry Act.
Over the years, Richard has garnered a rare understanding of both the detailed fundamentals of the Canadian retail travel business, and a bigger picture view of the industry and trends.
Andrew Enns, Director
Andrew has worked with NRG Research Group (NRG) for seventeen years. He joined NRG in January of 2000 as a Senior Research Consultant. In 2005, Andrew became a partner in the firm and, in early 2012, he assumed the role of President of the company. In this role, Andrew directs and manages NRG’s complement of professional researchers across the three offices located in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. While Andrew has assumed increasingly larger corporate management responsibilities, he still maintains his role as an active senior researcher with the company and an important source of revenue generation.
Prior to joining NRG in 2000, Andrew spent almost a decade working as a political assistant in the governments of Canada, Ontario and Manitoba. In this capacity, Andrew worked in the offices of Minister’s of the Crowns and several Premiers providing briefing and advice on an array of different public affairs topics.