Allard Chair in Business

For more than three decades, the Allard Chair in Business, in partnership with the Allard Foundation, has upheld Dr. Charles Allard’s vision to recognize a distinguished businessperson and community leader, and to provide students and faculty members an opportunity to meet an inspiring role model.

Individuals selected for this honour possess exemplary business acumen, demonstrate remarkable leadership skills and have made significant contributions to the community. We proudly continue to celebrate excellence in business with the addition of our 32nd Allard Chair in Business.


Allard Chair in Business, 2018

Teresa Spinelli

President, Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Allard Chair Teresa Spinelli Photo

In the early 1960s, Teresa Spinelli took her first steps in the pasta aisle of her family’s Edmonton grocery store, but never pictured herself stepping up as the president of the Italian Centre.

Spinelli grew up in the store and worked regularly as a cashier by the time she was 13, but harboured different dreams for her career. In 1983, she graduated from the University of Alberta with a psychology degree, planning to pursue social work.

Spinelli quickly discovered social work was not for her. A new path was set when her brother, who had planned on taking on the family business, and her father, both passed away.

In 2000, Spinelli stepped in as temporary president of the Italian Centre, which at the time had 30 employees and a net worth of $9 million. With her newfound position, she brought a hope for transforming the Italian Centre into something bigger and better.

Spinelli envisioned growing the business from a local grocery store to a major importer and distributor, and within one year led the business to $12 million in sales. Today, the company has grown by eight times and has four stores located in both Edmonton and Calgary, with over 500 employees and $70 million in sales.

Spinelli lives by her dad’s business philosophy - “the more you give, the more you get.” Today, her passion is revitalizing the McCauley community around Little Italy in Edmonton’s downtown, and volunteering with local organizations, including the Italian Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Task Force on Sustainable Communities, and the Edmonton City Manager’s Advisory Committee.

Spinelli’s notable awards and achievements include:

  • Canada’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs as ranked by Profit magazine, 10 years running

  • The People’s Choice Businesswoman of the Year

  • Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of contributions to Canada

  • One of 30 Canadians on the Prime Minister’s 2017 trade mission to Italy

About Dr. Charles Allard

In 2013, Alberta Venture profiled Edmonton’s Dr. Charles A. Allard as one of the five greatest Alberta entrepreneurs, arguably one of the greatest in Canadian history.

Dr. Allard was a man of many talents: a surgeon, broadcaster, property developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. A member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, he had very diversified business interests, including Canadian Western Bank, Seaboard Life, ITV (now Global Edmonton), Crosstown Motor City, and the Edmonton Oilers. Dr. Allard left an indelible mark on his community and continues to do so with a legacy of caring. In 1985, he established the Chair in Business honorary teaching award at the School of Business.

Dr. Allard’s vision was an award that would not only recognize a distinguished business and community leader, but would give students and faculty an opportunity to meet one-on-one with an inspiring role model. The Chair in Business program continues to be supported through the Allard Foundation.

The Story of Dr. Charles Allard

Dr. Charles Alexander Allard (1919-1991), a man who demonstrated tremendous vision throughout his professional career as both a doctor and businessman. He carried his vision through diverse experiences, including radio and television broadcasting and as well as one of the original owners of the Edmonton Oilers, then the Alberta Oilers of the World Hockey Association. As a philanthropist, innovator, and entrepreneur, Allard made major contributions to the medical and business fields – and to our community as a whole.

Allard graduated from the University of Alberta as a Medical Doctor and post-graduate studies in Montreal and Boston. Allard practiced medicine specializing in surgery at the Edmonton General Hospital.

Allard created Allarco Developments, a public conglomerate, which included Northwest Trust, Crosstown Motor City and International Jet Air. He founded the Northwest International Bank and co-founded The Canadian Western Bank.

In 1965, Allard became involved in broadcasting, establishing the first independent television station in western Canada, CITV. His company, Allarcom Limited, drew worldwide attention to Alberta, through the Celebrity Concert series and SCTV comedy television series.

Founder of CANCOM, Canadian Satellite Communications, Dr. Allard finalized the sale of his broadcast conglomerate including television stations CITV and CKRD, Allarcom Pay Television (Superchannel) and 50% of The Family Channel to WIC, in March 1991.

Allard was also a diplomat of The American Board of Surgery throughout his professional career, and a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and a lifelong supporter of Junior Achievement. The Allard Foundation still provides generous support for charities and arts organizations in the community.

Allard Chairs in Business since 1985

The Chair in Business program connects the business leaders of today with our students. MacEwan University School of Business has had the privilege to welcome these outstanding business leaders into our classrooms to inspire and ignite passion for careers in business.

Dr. Ray Muzyka, 2017
Nicole Bourque-Bouchier
, 2016
Simon O’Byrne, 2015
Dave Mowat, 2014
Dale Wishewan, 2013
Bill Comrie, 2012
Irv Kipnes, 2011
Liz O’Neill, 2010
Art Meyer, 2009
Diane Brickner, 2008
Robert Rosen, 2006-07
Ruth Kelly, 2005-06
Harry Buddle, 2004
Larry E. Anderson, 2002-03
Nizar J. Somji, 2001-02
Hon. Jim Edwards, 2000-01
Cheryl Knebel, 1999-00
Audrey Luft, 1998-99
Gary Ford, 1997-98
Gary Elliott, 1996-97
Laural Manegre, 1995-96
Martin McConnell, 1994-95
Margot Franssen, 1993-94
Stanley A. Brown, 11992-93
Sherry Ruteck-Orr, 1991-92
John R. McDougall, 1990-91
Barbara Rae, 1989-90
Donald Stanley, 1988-89
Mark Blumes, 1987-88
Jerry Goodis, 1986-87
Hugh Hardie, 1985-86