Bestselling Author and Editor-at-Large at the National Post
Diane Francis is an expert on Silicon Valley, future technology, geopolitics, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Putin, energy, business, and white collar crime. Always provocative, her direct and forceful writing has established her international reputation in covering the personalities, trends, and financial backstories that affect companies, individuals, governments and societies.
An award-winning columnist, bestselling author, investigative journalist, television commentator, and screenplay writer, she writes pieces for newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Politico, The WorldPost, and Miami Herald, and is a regular contributor to the New York Post and The Guardian. She is Editor-at-Large at Canada’s National Post and writes for the US Edition of The Huffington Post. She is a regular contributor to Al Jazeera America and CCTV-America (China TV). She is also the author of ten books, including Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country (2013, featured in a cover story in Foreign Policy), Who Owns Canada Now?: Old Money, New Money and the Future of Canadian Business (2008), and Immigration: The Economic Case (2002).
Francis is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC within its Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, and sits on the Advisory Council of the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative. She is also Adjunct Faculty with Singularity University in Mountain View California, a Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, and has been a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.
In 1991, Francis became Editor of Canada’s Financial Post, the first woman editor of a national daily newspaper in Canada, a position she held until the paper was sold in 1998. Her latest major project is completion of a full-length motion picture script with Hollywood producers—an original concept and unlike other science fiction films in production. She is also working on a second movie project, based on her seventh book, Bre-X: The World’s Biggest Gold Swindle.
Exponential Co.: How to Win in the Age of Deflation
We’re living in an era of dramatic deflation, says Diane Francis. Technologies have driven down the price of goods and services across every industry. A simple GPS system cost $150,000 20 years ago—now it’s a $10 chip in your $700 iPhone. Scores of other formerly expensive technologies have undergone similar price compression. Services are being made redundant—newspapers, libraries, schools, hotels, and taxis have all fallen prey to digital disruption. Now, algorithms write news stories; AI performs legal research; robots dominate manufacturing; driverless cars threaten to slash 12 percent of jobs. Meanwhile, governments haven’t caught on. They’re printing money to generate inflation, and failing. Corporations are hoarding cash, and interest rates are plummeting. In such a chaotic market, what company survives?
The answer? Yours. In this talk, Francis introduces us to the organizations that are thriving in the age of compression. They’re called ‘exponential organizations’ (a term coined by Singularity University co-founder Salim Ismail), and they’re leveraging new media in ways traditional industries cannot. To survive the digital economy, Francis says, corporations and workers must reinvent themselves. And this keynote, full of cautionary tales and pragmatic strategies, will not only help your company stay afloat, but prosper in the era of disruption and deflation.
On Corruption: How to Prevent and Protect against it
The world’s now-globalized financial architecture is dangerously unregulated. Dirty capital flows through tax havens, secrecy havens, complicit banks, and money laundries, damaging nations both rich and poor. In developing nations, this “hot” money jumps offshore, markets crash, and mass emigration ensues; in developed countries, it clogs up real-estate markets (Toronto and Vancouver markets are up 14 and 30 percent, respectively, in the last year alone) and pushes locals out. Cybercrime, too, has taken off—email scams, identity theft, and online crime hubs like Silk Road are just the start.
Diane Francis is the author of three books on white collar crime, and specializes in fraud, money laundering, and the illicit transfer of funds worldwide. She is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasian section, where she focuses on Putin, Russian oligarchs, and Ukraine’s struggles against corruption. She also sits on the advisory board of the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, an organization dedicated to tracking kleptocrats—corrupt members of nations’ ruling classes—for the benefit of journalists, law enforcement, and investors. In this talk, Francis shines a light on corruption the world over, and calls for governments to “act in concert to bring about transparency, criminalization and information sharing.”
Reinventing You: Advice for Women and Men in Volatile Industries
Technology has decimated print journalism. Unemployment levels in the industry in North America hover near 50 percent, and writers are faced with a dilemma: reinvent themselves or be left behind. But it’s not just journalism. Every industry—energy, banking, education, law, medicine, entertainment—will soon be disrupted, and the journalist’s dilemma will soon be yours, too. Adapting to the new “new” is compulsory, and Diane Francis knows it firsthand. She’s Editor-at-Large of the Financial Post, but she’s also taken on a host of new opportunities, including an Adjunct Faculty position with Silicon Valley think-tank Singularity University, where she examines the world’s cutting-edge technology and trends. Furthermore, Francis has myriad advice for women in the new workplace; after all, she was the first female editor of a Canadian newspaper, recipient of Chatelaine’s Woman of the Year, and founder of the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year awards. In this timely keynote, Francis shows women (and men) that career reinvention in the digital age isn’t just advantageous, but necessary.
Canada and the United States are sibling nations and, along with Mexico, have been involved in NAFTA since 1994. The three form a symbiotic economic and social relationship that is frayed and uncertain. Geopolitically, the world is dividing into more regional blocks, but those blocks that already exist may divide under nativist and protectionist pressures from local politicians.
What does the short term future look like for Canada and the US, whose socio-economic interdependence is among the most intense in the world? What is the future of NAFTA, based on who controls the Presidency and Congress? Moreover, what is the impact of technology, harmful global trade, illicit financial flows, real estate bubbles caused by foreign money laundering, employment, educational systems, deflation, Putin, the EU's challenges, Brexit, China's slowdown and the pushback toward global trade in general?
Diane Francis draws upon her knowledge, writings and relationships concerning geopolitics, business, white collar crime and technology to present the scenarios, warnings, trends and solutions for corporate and individual audiences.
Your comments, insights, and perspectives on the electricity industry as well as the global economy were certainly thought provoking and enjoyed by all who attended. We have received a great deal of positive feedback from those who attended. We found your delivery to be very entertaining and your candor was appreciated.
Canadian Marketing Association
Refreshing insightful and a delight to listen. I am honored to have the experience of listening and participating. Very dynamic speaker, great global perspective.
British Columbia Tourism Industry Conference
Your knowledge and perspective helped to make the conference informative, interactive and entertaining. With your help, we set a new standard of excellence for this major conference.
Diane's speech was very well received by our management team. Her breadth of knowledge on many subjects was appreciated and her honest perspective was refreshing.
Ontario Nursing Home Association
The anecdotal feedback we have received so far indicates that your speech was the highlight of the Convention. We appreciate all the effort that went into preparing and presenting your session.
Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Ad
Our membership thought you were the best!
I would like to extend our sincere thanks for the tremendous contribution that you made to our session. The feedback weâ€™ve received to date suggests that this was one of our best seminars yet and your after luncheon speech was the highlight of the day.
National Event Management
Thank you very much for being our keynote speaker at our Halifax, Ottawa, and Calgary Financial Solutions Shows. You were an excellent draw and the crowd seemed very inspired by your educational outlook on the future of the markets.
Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country
No two nations in the world are as integrated, economically and socially, as are the United States and Canada. We share geography, values and the largest unprotected border in the world. Regardless of this close friendship, our two countries are on a slow-motion collision course—with each other and with the rest of the world. While we wrestle with internal political gridlock and fiscal challenges and clash over border problems, the economies of the larger world change and flourish. Emerging economies sailed through the financial meltdown of 2008. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that by 2018, China’s economy will be bigger than that of the United States; when combined with India, Japan and the four Asian Tigers—South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong—China’s economy will be bigger than that of the G8 (minus Japan).
Rather than continuing on this road to mutual decline, our two nations should chart a new course. Bestselling author Diane Francis proposes a simple and obvious solution: What if the United States and Canada merged into one country? The most audacious initiative since the Louisiana Purchase would solve the biggest problems each country expects to face: the U.S.’s nation- al security threats and declining living standards; and Canada’s difficulty controlling and developing its huge landmass, stemming from a lack of capital, workers, technology and military might. Merger of the Century builds both a strong political argument and a compel- ling business case, treating our two countries not only as sovereign entities but as merging companies.
We stand on the cusp of a new world order. Together, by marshaling resources and combining efforts, Canada and America have a greater chance of succeeding. As separate nations, the future is in much greater doubt indeed.
Who Owns Canada Now?
Back in 1986, Diane Francis's hard-hitting Controlling Interest revealed the startling fact that one-third of Canada's wealth was in the hands of just 32 families and five conglomerates. At the time, Bernie Ghert, president of Cadillac Fairview, prophesized, "In a number of years, there will be six groups running the country." Was he right? Media coverage would have us believe that the last two decades have only increased the concentration of power. Diane Francis disagrees, and she's here to deliver some good news: a positive transformation has taken place in Canada, with both free trade and tough competition legislation creating a new and better nation.
This time the country is driven by players who are ready to offer innovative policies and visions for the 21st century. Combining extensive interviews with Canada's economic leaders - from individuals to families to international conglomerates - with Francis's hallmark incisive analysis, Who Owns Canada Now? will be the most important and talked-about business book of the year. - Of the 32 families who were profiled in Controlling Interest, fewer than half remain major players. - Of the five conglomerates profiled, only one remains intact. - Canadians have been successful at building world-class businesses and investing globally. - A look at 70 of the most successful Canadians, most of whom are billionaires, shows that many are self-made; 11 were still in school or in foreign countries when Francis wrote Controlling Interest in 1986. - Financial reforms have shifted the balance away from an old boys' network of risk-averse investors towards daring Canadian innovators.
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