Executive Management Team
Warren Connell, chief executive officer
Warren Connell became chief executive officer (CEO) of the Calgary Stampede in 2015. As CEO, he is responsible to the board of directors for leading the organization. Before taking on the role of CEO, Warren spent nine years as vice-president Park Development and Community Relations. In that role he oversaw the construction of numerous additions to Stampede Park, most recently the Agrium Western Event Centre and the early stages of Youth Campus.
Warren joined the Stampede in 1984 and four years later became head of the Operations division. His role expanded in 1995 when he became the Stampede’s liaison for the World Fair bid, a role that eventually expanded into Park Development and Community Relations. Warren is a graduate of the Calgary ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.
Paul Rosenberg, chief operating officer
Paul Rosenberg joined the Calgary Stampede in 1986 and has held positions in marketing, sponsorship and programming. As COO, Paul oversees Stampede time entertainment programming, including midway and attractions, premium seating venues, entertainment, western events, the Stampede Rodeo, GMC Rangeland Derby and TransAlta Evening Show. Additionally, Paul directs the year-round Agriculture, Food & Beverage, Sales & Event Management, People Services and Park & Facility Services businesses and is also a director of Stampede Entertainment Inc.
Shelly Flint, vice president and chief financial officer
Shelly is responsible for leading our finance, technology and business services teams. She joined Calgary Stampede in 2013 following 10 years of executive leadership in the finance, banking and insurance industry. Shelly became treasurer for the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2014, and sits on the board of the Stampede Casino (GP). She is also responsible for Enterprise Risk Management, Insurance Services and the Stampede Casino. In her role as chief financial officer, Shelly reports to the chief executive officer, Warren Connell. A Chartered Professional Accountant, Shelly grew up on an acreage in central Alberta, counting eggs not beans. She has a degree in Business and a Diploma in Computer Science. She loves taking on new challenges, travel, adventure, solving problems and learning about what makes us all unique and different.
Jim Laurendeau, vice-president, Events & Park Services
Jim Laurendeau is responsible for leading our events, services and operations teams toward the Stampede’s vision of becoming a year-round, world-class gathering place for the community. As vice-president, Events & Park Services Jim oversees our Sales & Event Management, Food & Beverage, and Park & Facility Services divisions. Since joining the Stampede in 1999, Jim has held increasingly senior roles in various departments. Prior to his current role, Jim was director, Park & Facility Services, and helped lead the operational response that allowed more than 1.1 million visitors to attend The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth just 14 days after the worst flood in Canadian history. Jim is president of the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions.
Sarah Hayes, vice-president, foundation
Sarah Hayes has more than 20 years’ experience working in the charitable sector. A specialist in fundraising and capital campaigns, Sarah served as executive director of The Banff Centre Foundation and director of development for nine years. In this capacity, she directed The Banff Centre’s $127-million campaign with a national campaign cabinet. Prior to joining The Banff Centre, Sarah served as vice-president of research for KCI (Ketchum Canada), a national fund-raising consulting firm. She oversaw the firm’s feasibility studies, audits and its national research department. Sarah started her career working with the The University of Calgary’s Building on the Vision campaign and The Banff Centre’s Creative Edge campaign. Sarah serves on the board of the Alberta Jubilee Auditoria and has served on the boards of several industry associations, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Raised in Calgary, she holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree from Queen’s University. She was appointed executive director of the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2010 and vice-president in 2015.
LaVonne Walt, corporate secretary
LaVonne joined the Calgary Stampede in 2012 as the executive assistant for three vice-presidents. Her breadth of knowledge about Stampede operations is extensive, as she has supported the departments of Park Development and Community Relations, People Services, Accounting & Finance and Business Services. She has further supported and acted as recording secretary for all of the Stampede’s Strategic Board committees, board of director meetings, annual general meeting and the Stampede Casino (GP) board of director meetings. LaVonne has a Master’s degree in Communications and Technology from the University of Alberta. She became the executive assistant to the chief executive officer and president & chairman of the board in January 2015. LaVonne was appointed as corporate secretary by the Calgary Stampede board of directors in March 2015.