Wenran Jiang, Age: 57
Hometown: Harbin, China
Influential Because: He connects Alberta to China behind the scenes

We rarely celebrate those working the backrooms. But when the backroom is China and those working it are doing so to help the Alberta government and the energy industry, it’s a no-brainer. Since 2004, Wenran Jiang has run the Canada-China Energy and Environment Forum and its annual conference. But his influence comes in advising the Alberta government and Alberta companies on how to best navigate the Chinese market.

Back in 2012, when then-premier Alison Redford went to China on a trade mission, Jiang was instrumental in bringing it all together. He’s also an accomplished academic – the Mactaggart research chair of the China Institute at the University of Alberta and the senior fellow of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, as well as a professor. What else? Well, he writes op-eds for Bloomberg and often appears in media interviews about China. That few know his name is not a mark against him, but rather just his style.