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Advisors by Industry +

Advisors

3.5Advisors

Some of the best entrepreneurial leaders in the industry are on hand to help propel DMZ members’ initiatives towards commercial success. The Zone’s unique roster of advisors spans across a variety of relevant sectors. DMZ members can meet with advisors for one-on-one consultations to leverage their experience and vast networks. The advisors also lend their expertise to the DMZ community by participating in speaker series, networking events and panel discussions.


Business Strategy

Mark Arnason

Mark Arnason

ClevrU

Mark has a 25-year high tech career, including 10 years in management consulting with companies like Accenture and Deloitte, and 15 years of senior executive experience in the enterprise software space. He was an Executive at IBM Software Group from 2002 to 2008 at the height of their acquisition spree. He has been on both sides of the acquisition process, first as a key member of the Executive team that spearheaded the integration of CrossWorlds Software and transformed the go-to-market approach for WebSphere Business Integration, and then as the transition exec for the acquisition of Holosophx by IBM. In his final three years at IBM he ran the $1.4B Communications Sector software business globally and has significant experience leading customer pursuits in most markets in the world including India, China, and the rest of Asia Pacific.

Mark is currently the President and CEO of ClevrU, a Waterloo based company that is a leader in the online delivery of World Class LearningTM. For the last 20 years he has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo where he teaches innovation and high tech entrepreneurship, as well as international business. He is well networked in the Canadian business and entrepreneurial community. He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Waterloo and an MBA from the Kellogg-Schulich global EMBA program.

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Alex Baker

Investor with Relay Ventures

Alex is a Principal at Relay Ventures, an early stage venture fund exclusively focused on mobile software. Alex oversees direct investments in a broad range of mobile payments, application and services companies. He is an active board member and observer in supporting Influitive, ClearFit, TribeHR, Payfone, Viewdle (acquired by Google) and Neuarlitic. Alex also oversees the Relay Ventures’ affiliate program investments, which include GrowLab, Extreme Startups and Next36, plus he is an advisor to ShopLocket.

Prior to joining the team in 2008, Alex worked as a management consultant with BearingPoint and PwC Consulting. As a senior manager, he led a wide range of consulting assignments covering business strategy and implementation of retail banking, consumer and commercial credit card and loyalty marketing solutions. Alex has managed large projects for some of the world’s most prominent financial institutions, including Visa, American Express, PayPal, Bank of America, BarclayCard and CIBC.  He began his career at The Loyalty Group where he helped launched the AIR MILES for Business program.

Alex is a graduate from the Schulich School of Business at York University and is a Kauffman Fellow.

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Richard Barber

Senior Director of Pricing and Bid Strategy, Wireless Business Segment, Rogers Communications

Richard Barber is Senior Director of Pricing and Bid Strategy in the Wireless Business Segment at Rogers Communications. He previously held a number of positions at Celestica including Senior Director of Global Sales Operations. Prior to joining Celestica, Richard worked in various roles at Nortel and IBM including Product Management, Supply Management, Semiconductor Design, and Quality Engineering.

His areas of expertise include global business development, profit and loss management, CRM systems, product management, predictive analytics and business intelligence. Richard is keenly interested in technology business, including best practices relating to profitable growth.

Richard has an MBA from Queens University and a B.Sc. in honours physics from Western University. He serves on the Board of Directors for the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club and for Scientists in School.

Alex Blom

Alex Blom

SalesChoice, Helix Commerce, Woolworths Ltd

Alex has built, sold and traded profitable technology companies, troubleshooted retail conglomerates, ran marketing/sales organizations, created music festivals and co-founded not-for-profits.

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Connie Bonello

Financial Services Sector Executive, IBM North America

As a seasoned management consultant, Connie Bonello has years of global executive level experience. In her current role with IBM, she provides analytic solutions and services to banking and insurance organizations.

Connie has deep experience in financial services including strategy, target operating model, governance and business case development, information management and data analytics, risk management and regulatory compliance, capital markets and business process management. Select clients include: Aviva Canada, ING Group, Bank of China, BMO, CIBC, Ontario Securities Commission, Scotiabank and TD Financial Group.

She has also worked for American Express Bank (Athens, Greece), Westpac Banking Corporation (Sydney, Australia), the Ministry of Treasury and Economics (Toronto) and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board (Toronto).

Connie holds a MBA, Schulich School of Business, York University and a BA (Honours) in Economics, York University.

CharlesButt Profile

Charles Butt

Principal, Business Consulting - Healthcare

Charles Butt is a seasoned healthcare consultant with extensive international and North American experience in public company management (including board directorship positions), operational management, marketing and sales. In addition to building business divisions and companies, he has successfully led and completed several financings in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Charles started his career in consumer products with Colgate Palmolive and the consumer division of American Cyanamid (now P&G) in the U.K. before moving to the U.S. and Canada where he was responsible for the development of American Cyanamid’s consumer health business (now Pfizer). Prior to setting up his consultancy practice, he was president and CEO of a dual-listed (TSX/NASDAQ) life sciences company based in Vancouver.

In his practice, Charles consults with senior management on mergers and acquisitions, strategy, business development and financial performance. He is driven by an ability to build, adapt and advance organizations in accordance with business requirements, as well as shifting environments and opportunities.

Battula Chakravarthy

Dr. Battula Chakravarthy

Dr. Battula Chakravarthy is a Professor at the Industrial Design Centre at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IITB). His research and teaching focus on bringing industry and academia together to foster innovation. He holds a Master of Design (M.Des) in Product Design from IIT Bombay. From 1988 to 2001, he worked at Larsen & Toubro and designed a number of innovative products, the most notable being the Z-Line petrol pump. Dr. Chakravarthy’s research interests lie in the areas of design strategy, humanizing technology, disruptive new product innovation and collaborative innovation methodologies. He consults for a number of national and international companies such as Whirlpool, Electrolux, and Hero Motors, and is the founder and head of the Shenoy Innovation Studio at IITB, which works towards developing innovative products and services by leveraging new and futuristic technologies developed at IITB and at other R&D organizations. In 2012, Dr. Chakravarthy was cross-appointed as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar for a one-year term in the Faculties of Engineering and Architectural Science, and Communication and Design at Ryerson University. He is keen to connect with Ryerson faculty with complimentary interests and to discuss opportunities for collaboration between Ryerson and IITB.

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Jeffrey Cling

Manager, Valuations, Fuller Landau LLP

Jeffrey is a chartered business valuator with expertise in preparing valuations of a diverse range of private companies and other assets/entities. He provides valuation advice and assists clients with acquisitions, divestitures, corporate reorganizations, financing, tax planning, succession planning and litigation support.

More specifically, Jeffrey’s experience includes valuing manufacturing, service and technology businesses (including websites and software companies), intellectual property, customer lists, stock and other compensation plans.

Jeffrey has also led seminars on the topic of business valuations for owners of startups, owner/managers, bankers, lawyers and insurance professionals.

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Andrea Corey

Technology Executive

Andrea is a technology executive who is skilled at building technical teams that can handle rapid growth. She joined Eloqua as employee number six in 2000 after several years consulting at various organizations in data-centric development roles. She has held leadership positions in Database Development, SaaS Operations and Quality Assurance at Eloqua. Since Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua in early 2013, she continues to play a key role in Product Development.

Andrea holds a degree in applied science, engineering physics from Queen’s University and maintains her professional engineer status with the Professional Engineers of Ontario.

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David D’Cruz

Partner, Audit & Assurance, Fuller Landau

David is a Partner in Fuller Landau’s Audit & Assurance division.  After joining the firm in 1990, he became a full-time team member upon graduating from the University of Waterloo and obtaining his CA designation in 1992. During David’s time with Fuller Landau he has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including technology & software, providing assurance services, along with audit-related tax advice.

David specializes in helping entrepreneurs build value and grow their business.   He is the trusted business advisor to many clients, working closely with them to understand and help achieve their goals.  He proactively services his clients — reviewing their files, maintaining constant awareness of their engagement’s progress, ensuring financial statements are prepared accurately and promptly, and communicating issues and recommendations to clients.

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Dr. Deborah de Lange

Assistant Professor, Global Management Studies

Dr. de Lange takes an interest in advising new clean tech and sustainability ventures on strategy. She is a former strategy consultant with broad experience in all business areas and is currently an assistant professor of global management studies at Ryerson University with a research focus on international entrepreneurship in clean tech in emerging economies. Her broader interests lie in smart cities and international organizations, especially in relation to mitigating climate change and its negative impacts. Her PhD is in strategic management from the University of Toronto where she also taught high tech strategy. She has an MBA for Science and Technology from Queen’s University and her undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto. She has also worked for Ontario Hydro, IBM, and Celestica. She looks forward to advising entrepreneurs committed to seeing their new enterprises succeed in the global marketplace.

Matt Dodds

Matt Dodds

Volaris Group

Matt Dodds is the Director of Corporate Ventures at Volaris Group where he invests in and acquires technology companies in a range of vertical markets, including people transportation, financial services, agriculture and asset management. Most recently, Matt led the acquisition of Canadian company RFind Systems Inc., a provider of wireless real-time location systems for vehicles and moveable assets. He has previously worked in software product management at Google and IDEO in London, United Kingdom and at Trapeze Group in Toronto. Earlier in his career he worked as an aerospace engineer at CAE in Montreal. Matt is a Professional Engineer and has an MBA from the University of Cambridge and an engineering degree from McGill University.

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Steven Ehrlick

Assistant Professor, RTA School of Media

Steven Ehrlick is currently an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University in the RTA School of Media. He has developed a number of new courses and in 2012-13, authored the proposal for a new BA in Sport Media. Steven teaches a variety of legal, business, media writing and media studies courses. Ehrlick is also a partner in the law firm, Stohn Hay Cafazzo Dembroski Richmond LLP, a Toronto boutique entertainment law firm that specializes in entertainment, copyright and technology law. Steven has over 25 years of experience in the music business having worked in-house at major record companies as well as having maintained a private practice during that time.

In 2003, Steven co-founded The Orange Record Label, a Canadian independent label distributed and c-owned by Universal Music Canada. Steven has also during his career been the Vice President of Business Affairs and Human Resources at BMG Music Canada, Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs at EMI Music Canada and the Vice President of Business Affair and Human Resources at The Enclave in New York.

In 2007 Steven entered the newly created Master of Media Production program offered by the then School and Radio and Television Arts and received his Master of Arts degree in 2008. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program at OISE, University of Toronto.

Steven holds an BA (Honours Equivalent)  in psychology from the University of Guelph and an J.D. from the University of Windsor. Steven is also a published author. His novel, The Channel, was published in 2000 while Out From The Woods was published in 2011. Steven is married with two sons and makes his home in Mississauga, Ontario.

Omar Elassar

Omar Elassar

Deloitte Consulting

Omar is a Strategy and Management professional within Deloitte’s Consulting practice in Toronto. His experience has spanned both the Technology and Corporate Strategy groups, and has been focused on developing and executing technology-enabled growth strategies, including business transformations through mergers & acquisitions, and new capability and operating model development.

Omar’s industry experience mainly lies within Financial Services. He has over 5 years of experience working with some of the world’s foremost banking institutions, most recently playing a vital role in launching a major Wealth Management business in the US. Prior to joining Deloitte, Omar was deeply immersed in the world of capital markets, where he spent time supporting major trading floors in London, New York and Toronto.

Omar is passionate about business model innovation in the digital space and is a tech enthusiast at heart. He is a strong believer in entrepreneurship as a means for economic development, and spends his spare time mentoring young entrepreneurs and advising small tech start-ups.

Omar holds a B.A.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Rich Emrich

Rich Emrich

Integran Technologies

Rich has over 13 years experience in product development and business development related to commercialization of technology products in a wide range of industries.

His business development experience is based in advanced materials applications in cleantech, aerospace, defense, electronics, and life sciences sectors. His product development experience, includes leading hardware and software teams, in developing highly sensitive mass spectrometry products for pharmaceutical research and optical networking/photonics products. With this experience, Rich has a unique perspective on development and launch strategies for speedy and successful new product introduction. He has also raised significant capital for research and development through grant/loan programs.

Rich has an undergraduate in Biological Engineering and a Masters in Applied Science from UBC, is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario and has gained “Project Management Professional” accreditation.

Darlene Gilliland Tonelli

Darlene Gilliland Tonelli

Darlene Gilliland Tonelli is a lawyer and digital media consultant. As part of her practice, Darlene assists in bringing new digital music and other media start-ups to market, through innovative licensing arrangements and deal facilitation. She also acts for established clients in the music and technology space. Darlene previously spent eight years at Universal Music Canada, where she was Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Affairs. At Universal, Darlene was tasked with building new digital business models within the recording industry. During this time, Darlene worked on several groundbreaking license deals with both new and established players to bring digital music to Canadian listeners in new ways.

Darlene believes all long-term business success is tied to two key intangible factors: 1) integrity as a core value; and 2) cultivation of authentic personal relationships.

Prior to Universal Music, Darlene was a lawyer at Goodmans LLP in Toronto. Darlene graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2001, and was called to the bar in 2003.

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Reuven Gorsht

Vice President, Customer Strategy at SAP

Reuven Gorsht is a strategy and transformation executive with over 15 years of experience in the enterprise software and professional services industries. Known for his ability to combine business, technical and design thinking skills to identify and solve business problems, Reuven has successfully taken a wide variety of business strategies from concept to realization.

As global vice president of customer strategy at SAP, he is responsible for SAP’s global go-to-market sales strategy, sales planning and sales communications initiatives.  He works with senior leadership teams to help them articulate and execute their strategies more effectively, and with all of SAP’s operating units in optimizing and innovating the way the company positions its solutions and engages with customers.

Prior to joining SAP, Reuven held progressive leadership roles in business and operations strategy. He regularly speaks at industry conferences and has been quoted in leading publications such as Forbes andBusinessWeek.

Reuven’s areas of expertise include: business and go-to-market strategy, market positioning and messaging, ideation, sales process/sales approaches, and value creation.

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Satish Kanwar

Jet Cooper

Satish Kanwar is an entrepreneur and an active member of the startup, technology and non-profit community. He is the co-founder of Jet Cooper, a design agency that builds smart, intuitive and beautiful experiences. His team of creative, technology experts and business professionals have worked on over 30 applications since 2009.

Satish is also the co-chair of TEDxToronto, a leading ideas conference for the city’s foremost thought leaders. He is also the co-founder of Task Ave., the inaugural winner of Startup Weekend Toronto. In addition, he is the co-organizer of Lean Coffee Toronto, a peer group for startup founders.

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Shelley Kirkbride

Innovation and Strategy Consultant

Shelley has experience in financial services, consulting, product launches, business reinvention and startups and small businesses. She has successfully driven product innovation and change initiatives in the payments space.

In a previous role as a leader at a major Canadian bank, Shelley reviewed business proposals and evaluated business ideas from a customer viewpoint, giving her unique perspective on how startups can best form pitch decks and sell into an enterprise. Shelley has also been on the other side of the table; her passion for innovation and design was the catalyst for her setting up two startups in the financial services space.

Shelley brings her dual experience to help startups with business plans, go-to-market strategies, client acquisition and delivery.

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George Kostiuk

Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

George Kostiuk is a seasoned software entrepreneur who started, grew, and sold several software startups (Lanworks Technologies was acquired by 3Com, emBoot was acquired by Double-Take Software). In his 28-year career he has considerable technical experience with client-server computing, network protocols, and virtualization.

Apart from technology, he has broad experience in creating and maintaining corporate culture, software licensing, and has filed several patents. He dabbles with home and building automation, is an avid cyclist, and completed the WSET Level 3 wine award.

George holds a Bachelor of Math (Computer Science) degree from the University of Waterloo.

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Jason S.T. Kotler

Technology Entrepreneur

Jason is a management consultant, and a board member at the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. He brings broad business, strategic and legal perspectives to the companies he works with. He has significant experience commercializing, licensing and deploying disruptive technologies and business models, and building emerging technology companies.

Jason was the entrepreneur driving NIMTech, an award-wining Canadian cleantech startup. Prior to that, he was vice-president, strategic projects, at AISystems, a Seattle airline technology company. Jason was a senior strategy & transformation consultant with Capgemini. He also practiced corporate commercial law, with an emphasis on M&A, technology, and IP law, at McMillan LLP, a leading Canadian law firm.

Jason is a member of the Bar of Ontario, holds an MBA (Deans Honours) from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University, a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, a bachelor’s degree in visual arts (with distinction) from Western University, and is a Certified Management Consultant.

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Richard Lee

Deloitte’s Technology

Richard Lee is a seasoned management consultant with very broad global experience that covers corporate strategy, customer and channel strategies, operational improvement, talent strategies and organizational design. He has worked with leading companies in a wide range of industry sectors including technology, telecommunications, media, pharmaceutical and the public sector.

In his professional work, he leads teams of multi-disciplined professionals to deliver complex, deadline-driven projects.  He works with senior leadership teams to help them execute their strategies more effectively.

He is adept at clarifying a wide range of complex business issues and developing and communicating solutions; he acts as an effective conduit between senior executives and other stakeholders. He is recognized as a supportive leader and coach to his teams.

Richard started his career with Deloitte in the UK nearly 30 years ago. After two years in Australia in the early 1990s, he moved to Toronto to serve clients in Canada and the US.  He is currently a Partner in Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting practice, specializing in strategic change and talent.

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Rajah Lehal

Multiplicity Accelerator, Cobalt Business Counsel PC

Rajah is a co-founder of the Multiplicity Accelerator, a not-for-profit group supporting education in the Toronto’s startup community. He is also a Technology and Small Business Lawyer for the Venture Law Practice Group at Cobalt Business Counsel, a sponsor of Multiplicity.

Rajah worked for more than a decade in the information technology industry, including three years in software development and seven years as an Information Systems and Technology manager at a major telecommunications company and at a financial services company.

Rajah received his M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Faculty of Law respectively, as well as an honours philosophy degree from the University of Waterloo. He is currently on the board of directors of Sky’s the Limit, a charity that provides laptops to youth in need.

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Drew Lindsay

Co-Founder, GuruLink

Drew Lindsay co-founded GuruLink in 2002 and has grown it into one of the leading technology recruitment firms in Canada. Their clients include some of the most high profile Canadian startups, award-winning and rapidly growing SMBs, as well as large enterprise clients.  GuruLink was recognized recently by PROFIT Magazine as one of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies. Drew was also nominated as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008.

Having grown up in family businesses, entrepreneurialism is in Drew’s blood.  He was instrumental in the family’s accounting firm becoming the first ISO-9001 registered accounting firm in Canada.

Drew’s expertise lies in business strategy, process optimization, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, operations, hiring, training, developing and retaining employees, and developing unique solutions to complex problems.

A graduate of Queen’s University, Drew is an investor in multiple startups, a mentor and advisor and a NACCB Board Member.

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Andrew Lo

Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Kanetix

As Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, Andrew leads all marketing and corporate development initiatives for Kanetix Ltd., Canada’s largest online marketplace for financial services.

Prior to joining Kanetix in 2011 as CIO, Andrew enjoyed years of success leading the development of financial services technology in North America. He co-founded GUI Software Systems in the early 90s, building leading edge productivity software for the North American real estate industry. Market leadership early on led to the pursuance of a vision to build an end-to-end network that supports a fully electronic real estate transaction from purchase to financing.

Industry recognition and acclaim resulted in acquisition by Filogix Inc.

There, Andrew led the team that built the SaaS-based technology platform that processes $85 billion in mortgages, accounting for over 40 per cent of Canada’s total volume.

In 2006, Filogix was acquired by D+H where, in addition to serving as technology leader, Andrew led the corporate development team that completed several merger and acquisition deals and transformed D+H into a leading provider of FinTech in North America.

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Henry Long

Investment Officer, British Consulate General, UK Trade & Investment

Henry Long joined the British Consulate General/UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in 2008 as Head of Investment after several years in the ICT industry. Henry currently manages a diversified portfolio of sectors including ICT, software, creative media, entertainment, electronics and business services for the province of Ontario.

During his tenure, Henry has advised numerous clients spanning from entrepreneurs to global multinationals about the merits of the UK. He is also responsible for driving corporate strategy, migration policy, business and economic development for UK Trade & Investment and the Foreign Commonwealth Office.

In December 2012, Henry was appointed to the board of directors for Electronic Transaction Clearing Canada, Inc. and ETC Global Holdings Canada Inc.

Henry attended the University of Waterloo, where he received a master’s degree in business, entrepreneurship and technology. He also holds a bachelor of commerce degree (with honours) from the University of Guelph.

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Sue McGill

MaRS

Sue McGill leads MaRS’ effort in the consumer digital and mobile marketplace. Drawing on her experience working in technology and media, both as an entrepreneur and builder of brands.

Sue lends a global point of view on the challenges and opportunities facing MaRS’ entrepreneurs in the digital media space media fragmentation, the pervasiveness of new technologies, changing consumer behaviours and evolving business models.

Murray McKercher

Murray McKercher

Telecommunications Professional

Murray is interested in bridging talented young mobile enthusiasts with people and companies that need their help.

John Myers

John Myers

CoreFour

John is a co-founder and president of CoreFour, the makers of Edsby – a new social learning platform that transforms how teachers, students, parents and administrators engage with each other. Previously, John was the CEO of Centrinity (the makers of FirstClass) and helped lead the sale of that business to Open Text. Prior to Centrinity, John spent many years toiling at a now obscure company called Nortel Networks.

Paul Nagpal

Paul Nagpal

Strateva Partners

Paul is a serial entrepreneur who currently runs a small to mid-market advisory firm helping companies with revenue and profit growth as well as M&A and financial strategy. He has developed go-to-market, customer acquisition, and new market-entry strategies; he also helps companies with merger integration, restructuring, and turnarounds. Paul’s assistance spans from the design and development stage through implementation and execution. His experience crosses most industries, but his current focuses are in tech, food, health, and energy.

Paul has over a decade of experience in Management Consulting, working at Deloitte, AT Kearney, and at Strateva Partners. He is also on a number of boards and acts as an advisor for startups. He has an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto and an Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo.

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Adam Nanjee

Vice-president, Business Development, MasterCard Canada

Adam is the vice-president of business development at MasterCard Canada, responsible for driving MasterCard’s strategic partnerships portfolio with a focus on mobile and eCommerce. Adam’s team is also responsible for identifying strategic and corporate development opportunities in payment areas including gaming, multimedia and social networking. Prior to MasterCard, Adam was the global head of social networking partnerships for BlackBerry, spending much of his time in Silicon Valley growing BlackBerry’s consumer application portfolio and managing the overall strategic direction with partners such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Adam holds a masters of business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and an honours systems and computer engineering degree from the University of Guelph.

Alex Norman

Alex Norman

Homesav

Alex is an experienced entrepreneur who has built several online businesses and advised many large enterprises as a consultant and investment banker. Alex most recently co-founded HomeSav, where he built a team and raised the funds required to establish Canada’s leading home furnishing ecommerce site.

Alex has over 13 years of online marketing and product development experience. He has lead marketing or product development efforts at four companies in the UK, the United States and Canada with products in a large range of sectors including finance, business services, travel and retail.

Alex also has deep strategy and finance expertise from serving multi-national clients while working at McKinsey & Co and Lehman Brothers. Alex has a BCom from McGill University and graduated with an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Ian Orfanides

Director, Canadian Banking Operations at RBC

Ian is a strategy and product director with broad experience in both strategic development and implementation in the finance and technology industries. He has direct experience in managing and working on teams to develop, support and implement strategies to facilitate corporate, segment and product growth. Ian has worked with international cross-functional teams with people in the U.S, Europe and South America on initiatives in the areas of global custody, wealth management, capital markets, retail banking and risk.

His specialities include corporate strategy, product management, valuations, program management, and financial markets.

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Alper Ozdemir

Acklands Grainger

Alper Ozdemir is a Business Strategy and Operations Executive with 15+ years of experience leading strategic transformational change initiatives in Fortune 500 and industry leading companies. He is a results-oriented leader with a progressive track record in procurement and supply chain, operations management, global process standardization and implementation in complex matrix and multi-disciplinary environments.

Alper is currently the Director of Enterprise Process Integration for Acklands Grainger, a wholesale distributor part of W.W. Grainger Inc., responsible for standardizing country processes and aligning them to the global strategy.

Before Grainger, he was the Director for Replenishment and Inventory Planning at Home Depot Canada where he developed a new corporate purchasing strategy to achieve greater efficiencies, overseeing $4B CAN annual purchases and customer service. Prior to joining Home Depot, he held progressive management roles at Indigo Books and Music, Canadian Tire, as well as starting up and running a supply chain strategy consulting firm working with clients in Canada, US and Netherlands.

Alper holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, a Masters in Industrial Engineering from University of Windsor and an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey.

Michael Petrov

Michael Petrov

Consultant

Michael Petrov is a software consultant based in Ontario, Canada. Michael specializes in iPhone application development, C/C++ development, PHP web development, and FileMaker database web integration.

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Nikita Poplavsky

Multiplicity Accelerator, Cobalt Business Counsel PC

Nikita Poplavsky is an active member of the startup community, both through his involvement with Multiplicity and through his work with Cobalt Business Counsel PC on startup-related projects. Cobalt mentors early-stage companies through its sponsorship of Multiplicity, Startup Weekend Toronto, Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition, Ivey Venture Forum, Ladies Learning Code and other initiatives.

Prior to joining Cobalt, Nikita worked in a number of large law firms, both Canadian and international. Nikita obtained his first law degree from the Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia, as well as J.D. and LL.M. degrees from the University of Toronto.

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Brian Pullen

Playground Inc.

Brian is the CEO and lead UX developer at Playground Inc. Before joining the founding team at Playground, Brian was an artist and world creator for Bioware Canada and a consultant at Sony Computer Entertainment America. He has over 8 years of product and graphic design experience and brings game design conventions to the world of web and product design. His unique experiences lend themselves well at a strategic level, having advised startups in Toronto and Silicon Valley, including several in the Y Combinator incubator program.

Sabaa Quao

Sabaa Quao

The Hive Inc.

Sabaa is a creative director and business strategist. He was 16 years old when he started his first business. He has a passion for emerging platforms in the digital media and marketing space. From cloud-inspired business models, to bending (and sometimes breaking) Facebook, to building social media-driven transactions — Sabaa managed teams dedicated to the future of marketing and advertising, and we make that future work for big brands.

Vishal Ratti

Vishal Ratti

Managing Director, Accenture

Vishal Ratti is Managing Director within Accenture’s Technology practice. He is responsible for Accenture’s Emerging Technology business in Canada, working with clients across all industries to illustrate how technologies such as cloud, social and mobility can enable them to solve their current challenges but also explore new business models.

In addition, Vishal also serves as the Technology Lead for Accenture’s healthcare practice in Canada, working with leading healthcare organizations to solve issues related to access to care and enabling the “electronic health record.” His work in healthcare has supported Accenture being recognized as the Canadian healthcare firm of the year and winning the prestigious Canadian Information Productivity Award for implementing the solution to capture medical wait times in Ontario.

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Mark Ruddock

Wonga Canada Inc

Mark is a serial entrepreneur with two successful exits and more than 10 years of experience at the helm of VC-backed technology startups.

In November 2011, Mark was recruited by Wonga, a company founded in the UK, to head up their Canadian operations. Wonga’s mission is to solve people’s short term and urgent cash flow problems with a short term and responsible lending solution.

Mark was the founder and CEO of INEA, a software company focused on the financial services industry. It was acquired by Cartesis in 2005. In 2007, he became CEO at Viigo, which was eventually acquired by RIM in March 2010. Prior to joining Wonga, Mark served as CEO of StatusNet. There, he helped launch a world-class social software offering in July 2011 that saw more than 10,000 communities sign up in the first 12 weeks.

 

 

 

Bob Rushby

Bob Rushby

Christie Digital

Bob retired from Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. in February 2011 after an exciting career leading talented teams in the creation of ground-breaking high technology products. Christie is a global leader in projection and electronic display products and has the world’s largest installed base of digital cinema projection systems.

As chief technology officer, Bob guided Christie’s technology roadmap to help enable Christie’s rapid expansion. As vice-president of research and development, he led the planning and exploration of new technologies. Recently, Bob co-invented Christie MicroTiles™, an award-winning modular digital display technology designed for digital-out-of-home (DOOH), architecture, event production and command-and-control environments. More recently, he led Christie’s research into the use of laser technology for advanced projection systems.

Bob holds a B.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Ontario and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He is a licensed professional engineer with the Professional Engineers of Ontario. Bob has four patents with three more filed.

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Joanne Rusnell

WhoPlusYou

Joanne Rusnell is a senior executive with 30 years of experience in strategy, corporate development, finance, law, operations and governance. Joanne is CFO and General Counsel of WhoPlusYou Inc. Since 2007, she has provided COO, CFO, general counsel and advisory services to early-stage technology businesses. Her career includes experience in multiple industries from technology and entertainment to brewing and food.

Past positions include Vice President, General Counsel and CFO of Alias, the Oscar-winning developer of 3D computer graphics software for the global entertainment and design markets; Vice President of SkyDome, where she led the financial restructuring of the facility through insolvency under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act, and a series of progressively senior legal and corporate development roles at John Labatt Limited.

Joanne earned her B.A. from the University of Toronto (1975) and her J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School (1978). She is a member of the Ontario bar and an ICD.D certified Director.

Vicki Saunders

Vicki Saunders

Council of Canadian Academics

Vicki is an entrepreneur who has started and run several companies (not-for-profit, for-profit and public). Her strengths lie in conceptualizing and moving ideas into action, business startups, creative partnership building, personal development, innovation, marketing and business development.

Vicki is fascinated with how to create high performance teams, and how to build a culture that supports human potential and challenges everyone to be their best while having a positive impact on society.

She’s a passionate mentor to many women-led and youth-led enterprises.

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David Schifman

Business Development Executive

David Schifman is a business development leader with 15 years of experience at RIM/BlackBerry and Palm in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has managed key account relationships and built high performance sales and product teams. David has expertise in product management and marketing, telecommunications, mobile technology and hardware.

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Andrew Schmied

CEO, Careerleaf

Andrew is the CEO of Careerleaf, an Advisor with Jaguar Capital, a Mentor with the Canadian Youth Business Fountation and a contributor to the Toronto Product Management Association.

As an Entrepreneur, Educator, Chief Strategic Officer and Corporate Vice President, Andrew has a comprehensive background in corporate and business development, with extensive experience in business and partnership strategy for companies in the US, Europe, Israel and Asia.

He has developed new business units, startups and distribution networks; designed and executed multiple go-to-market strategies and industry partnerships; led corporate communications and fund raising; and managed global Marketing, Engineering and Sales teams to revenues of $250M.

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David Senior

Playground Inc.

David has been deeply involved in the entrepreneurial space his entire professional life. As the co-founder of photo sharing application Burstn, he was part of the inaugural incubation round at the Ryerson Digital Media Zone.

From pitch meetings in Silicon Valley to visting startups in the EU, David has collected a global understanding of the entrepreneurial space to bring home to Canadian innovators looking to navigate these sometimes dicey waters. Today he leverages his skills and network as a business strategist at Playground Inc. Helping teach startups to think like big business and big businesses to think like startups.

Tomer Strolight

Tomer Strolight

Creator of great Canadian digital businesses

Tomer is a dog lover, intellectual, scuba diver, leader of leaders, devoted husband and father, strategic revolutionary, mentor, philosopher, joker, chef, partner and friend. He is also a really good businessperson, particularly when it comes to building brand new digital businesses and growing them into market leaders.

Tomer has previously worked at Arlene Dickinson Enterprises and Torstar Digital.

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Ann Sutton

Principal, Catalyst Management Consulting Inc.

Ann Sutton is a surveyor of people and operations who has invested much of her 15 (plus) year career into strategic enterprise transformation and consultation.

Charismatic, introspective and analytic, Ann has helped drive the implementation of a $13 million commercial lines insurance program as well as a series of revenue growth and competitive marketplace initiatives. Her ability to align project complexity with management rigour is complemented by a leadership style that inspires and motivates project and program teams.

Ann’s portfolio of corporate and business relationships includes Aviva Canada, Toronto Star, MacLaren McCann Direct & Interactive, Wunderman and digital@JWT. With each undertaking, she coalesces and applies learnings from her MBA with her bachelor’s degree in journalism, her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and her project management professional certification.

Derek Szeto

Derek Szeto

Red Flag Deals

Derek Szeto is the founder of RedFlagDeals.com, Canada’s largest bargain-shopping community. The site was launched in November 2000 to address the lack of online shopping information available to Canadians and provides a targeted channel for advertisers to reach Canadian shoppers on the web. RedFlagDeals receives over 2.5 million monthly unique visitors and according to Alexa.com, RedFlagDeals is one of the 100 most popular websites in Canada.

RedFlagDeals was acquired by Yellow Pages Group in February of 2010. Post-acquisition, Derek launched Yellow Pages Group’s foray into group buying with Deal of the Day and Promo Du Jour, as well as integrating deals into the Yellow Pages online ecosystem.

Derek is currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kinetic Café, an angel investor focused on Internet-related startups, a mentor at Extreme Startups and the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University, and a proud dad.

Jay Tanner

Jay Tanner

Co-Founder

Jay is currently the Co-Founder and CTO of WhoPlusYou. He is a developer of leading-edge software solutions, which include the air redemption system for Air Miles, plus a web-based negotiated fare system adopted by American Express and Sabre for which he was awarded a US patent.

Additionally, Jay also designed and developed the trouble management system for the General Motors voice network in North America. This system supported a billion dollar outsourcing contract from EDS to Ameritech, and a system for the House of Commons which automates the publishing of the Hansard. More so, Jay has been the recipient of a 1.2 million dollar research grant from Department of National Defense (CRAD) Canada based on his work within the system support and ILS areas.

Within the new media sphere, Jay has cofounded an online technical magazine that generated over a million dollars per year in ad revenue and developed a readership in both Europe and North America.

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Bob Tarle

Director of Innovation and Technology

Bob Tarle is a multi-disciplined professional in educational media and technology, multi-platform strategy and innovation. He currently works as the Director of Innovation and Technology at Toronto French School. Bob previously worked as a member of TVO’s leadership team, leading digital strategy, partnership development and the licensing of TVO’s multi-platform content.

Mike Velshi

Mike Velshi

Outside Intelligence Inc.

Mike has over 30 years of experience as an executive in the financial services sector. He has worked in Africa, Europe, North America and India. In Canada, he has been the CTO of Royal Bank of Canada, and prior to that CIO at National Trust and Royal Trust.  He is currently on the board of Outside Intelligence, a Search-based Application (SBA) company, where he has worked for the last two years in growing the company. He has consulted for the Government of Canada, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, and Brookfield Asset Management, both as Chairman of their VC Fund and creating their outsourcing and real estate services in India.

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Doug Walker

Co-Founder

In his 30 year career in the Canadian technology industry Doug has been a motivational leader in some of Canada’s most innovative and successful technology businesses.

Currently, Doug is serving as the founder and CEO of WhoPlusYou – an internet based company providing a revolutionary new approach to “connecting” individuals, employers, small businesses and investors in the employment and career management marketplace. Prior to this, Doug was the CEO of BitTorrent, the world’s largest file sharing Software Company, with over 130M users.

For 5 years Doug served as president and CEO of Alias Systems – the world’s dominant provider of 3D software technology to the entertainment and product design industries. Alias operated in over 50 countries and its customers included the world’s most creative business entities, examples include Disney, Industrial Light and Magic, Dreamworks, Pixar, Electronic Arts, Sony, Nike, Motorola, Apple, and “every automotive company in the world.”

Especially noteworthy is an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement, and being named as one of Canada’s Top 100 companies to work for the last 3 years in a row. He was also awarded an alumni achievement award from Ryerson University in 2004.

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Mardi Walker

Human resources executive

Mardi spent more than 15 years as Senior Vice President, People, at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) Ltd. MLSE directly controls one of the largest and broadest pro team sports & entertainment portfolio in North America, with over 600 full-time and 3,000 part time professionals committed to a vision to win.
At MLSE, Mardi was responsible for leading all aspects of the human resources strategy for the organization. This included recruitment, performance management, learning and engagement, compensation, pension & benefits, health & safety, and labour relations. Additionally, she led the internal communications for the company primarily through the design, development, and execution of the company’s intranet.
Arnold Wytenburg

Arnold Wytenburg

Tech Entrepreneur

Arnold Wytenburg is a technology entrepreneur, consultant, educator, evangelist, and advisor. His business and entrepreneurial experience encompasses more than 100 projects and ventures in North America, Europe, and the UK in more than a dozen industries over the past three decades. Arnold’s unique expertise lies in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing innovative business models with a particular emphasis on systemically-optimized market strategies and operational architectures.

Noted in the Toronto Star as “bringing a new way of thinking to business,” Arnold is a past fellow of the Institute for Studies in Coherence and Emergence where he published on the practical applications of complexity and chaos theories toward improving organizational knowledge and performance. Arnold is also a contributor to the highly popular book ‘Business Model Generation’ by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.

Arnold also teaches an advanced course in software entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto and has frequently spoken and lectured at Sheridan College, the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, and numerous scientific, business, and arts-related conferences in Canada, Europe, and the US. He studied media, culture, and human/computer interaction at the University of Toronto, law at Carleton University in Ottawa, information sciences, finance, and economics at Algonquin College, also in Ottawa, and fine arts at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Arnold is also a professionally-trained chef and an accomplished fine artist.

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Jason Zan

Startup CFO

Jason Zan has over 15 years of investing, corporate operating, and startup experience. In his last role, Jason was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and actively managing investments for Rogers Ventures, where he sat on the board of Scribble Technologies and was the board observer for Payfone and Gridcentric.

Prior to joining Rogers Ventures, he held a variety of senior level corporate and business development roles at Rogers Communications. During his tenure, Jason was responsible for launching Zoocasa.com, restructuring and re-financing Rogers Medical Solutions (acquired by Thomson), developing Rogers initial IPTV strategy, and negotiating the VOD rights with first-tier movie studios (Universal, Sony, Warner, and Disney).

Jason was also CEO and co-founder of Tokiva Technologies, a mobile VoIP app.  He grew the business to over one million users in under 12 months.

In his down time, Jason is a founding member of Palindrome Advisors and an avid performer of the circus arts.

His specialties include due diligence, financial modelling and analysis, fundraising, internet technology, digital advertising/media, wireline and wireless platforms, business plan development and pitch deck development.

Derek Smyth

Derek Smyth

Executive Vice President, Vision Capital

Derek is currently the Executive Vice President of Vision Capital — a software company that builds online platforms that facilitates two-way communications with customers, employees and citizens in contexts ranging from market research to civic engagement. Vision Capital currently serves over 600 organizations around the globe and has over 500 employees.

In his previous role, Derek was Managing Director of OMERS Ventures, where he led investment activities in the North American market focusing on high-growth companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors. He is a venture capital and technology industry veteran with deep operational experience and investment expertise.

Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Derek co-managed two VC funds in his role as Partner at Edgestone Capital Partners. He led numerous successful investments for Edgestone, and acted as a board member for many of its funds’ portfolio companies. His extensive operational experience also includes his former roles as President and CEO of solutions provider Bridgewater Systems, and as COO of California-based Ironside Technologies Inc.

Derek holds a bachelor of arts (commerce and economics) degree from the University of Toronto, and completed Stanford University’s executive enterprise program for growing companies.

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Matthew Saunders

President, Ryerson Futures

Matthew oversees Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI), an accelerator for early stage companies connected to the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University. RFI, through a fund it manages called DMZ Investments, invests seed capital into companies with exceptional founding teams and helps them develop and take their products to market through an extensive global network.

Matthew has over 17 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and executive working with various companies in the technology and service-based sectors. He brings operations, finance, business development and strategic planning experience. Matthew has held progressively senior roles that have focused on managing the day to day operations and finance of companies in the following sectors: hardware/software; telecommunications; HR; and marketing and communications.

Matthew was a founder and co-CEO of NRG Group which he ran between 1997 and 2001. During this period, NRG raised over $30M in financing (including NRG’s IPO) and invested in several startups and early stage Internet-based operating companies.

Matthew has an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management, and an MBA from Northeastern University.

Michael Carter

Michael Carter

Program Manager

Michael Carter (Hon. B.A. University of Western Ontario, Post-Graduate Certificate in Computer Graphics, Sheridan College, Post-Graduate Diploma in Computer Animation, Sheridan College, M.Ed. University of Toronto) is a Ph.D. candidate in Archaeology and Bioarchaeology at the University of Western Ontario. He has developed and taught college and undergraduate courses in digital media, film & television production, animation and computer graphics, as well as maintained a successful 16 year career in the Film & Television business as a Producer, Executive Producer and Executive.

Michael has spent his professional career immersed in the creative, technical and business aspects of animation production. Since graduating from Sheridan College’s Computer Animation Program in the mid 1990’s, he has held a number of progressive positions both locally and internationally which have propelled him to the role of Executive Producer for Ace Lightning II and Shoebox Zoo I, as well as the stop motion series Henry’s World II. Recently, Michael oversaw the series animation servicing of the CGI animated series Handy Manny I & II, and the Gemini Award-winning 2008 2D digital animation series Will & Dewitt.


Finance

Robin Axon

Robin Axon

Mantella Venture Partners

Robin is a founding General Partner at Mantella Venture Partners. Robin was previously a partner at Ventures West where he was a part of the IT and communications team with a focus on wireless technology investments.

Prior to joining Ventures West, Robin was at MD Robotics (formerly Spar Aerospace) and the Canadian Space Agency where he helped to prepare the Canadarm2 for installation onto the International Space Station.

Robin has served on the boards of a number of technology companies including: PushLife (acq Google ’11), Brave Commerce (acq Rogers Media ’12), Unata, ShopCastr, Flixel, QuickPlay Media, RapidMind (acq Intel ’09), AudienceView, Fortiva (acq Proofpoint ’08), Chantry Networks (acq Siemens ’04), Belair Networks and Instrumar. Robin is a founder of CVCA´s Young Venture Capitalists (YVC) Committee.

Robin holds a B.A.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto and a MBA from Queen´s University.

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Richard Barber

Senior Director of Pricing and Bid Strategy, Wireless Business Segment, Rogers Communications

Richard Barber is Senior Director of Pricing and Bid Strategy in the Wireless Business Segment at Rogers Communications. He previously held a number of positions at Celestica including Senior Director of Global Sales Operations. Prior to joining Celestica, Richard worked in various roles at Nortel and IBM including Product Management, Supply Management, Semiconductor Design, and Quality Engineering.

His areas of expertise include global business development, profit and loss management, CRM systems, product management, predictive analytics and business intelligence. Richard is keenly interested in technology business, including best practices relating to profitable growth.

Richard has an MBA from Queens University and a B.Sc. in honours physics from Western University. He serves on the Board of Directors for the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club and for Scientists in School.

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Connie Bonello

Financial Services Sector Executive, IBM North America

As a seasoned management consultant, Connie Bonello has years of global executive level experience. In her current role with IBM, she provides analytic solutions and services to banking and insurance organizations.

Connie has deep experience in financial services including strategy, target operating model, governance and business case development, information management and data analytics, risk management and regulatory compliance, capital markets and business process management. Select clients include: Aviva Canada, ING Group, Bank of China, BMO, CIBC, Ontario Securities Commission, Scotiabank and TD Financial Group.

She has also worked for American Express Bank (Athens, Greece), Westpac Banking Corporation (Sydney, Australia), the Ministry of Treasury and Economics (Toronto) and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board (Toronto).

Connie holds a MBA, Schulich School of Business, York University and a BA (Honours) in Economics, York University.

Garry Foster

Garry Foster

Deloitte

Garry Foster is a senior leader of Deloitte, responsible for ensuring the delivery of exceptional service to clients through collaboration across multiple disciplines in order to address and resolve client business issues. Clients served include some of Canada’s largest and most prestigious companies.

He is a results-oriented, business leader with extensive experience in board governance, and facilitating the growth and transformation of complex businesses. His expertise include: audit and accounting, risk management, technology implementation, strategy and tax.

Matt Golden

Matt Golden

Golden Venture Partners

Matt Golden is a long time mobile entrepreneur and investor and is the Managing Director of Golden Venture Partners, a mobile focused seed and early stage venture capital fund based in Toronto, Canada. Golden Venture Partners has invested in a number of companies focused on breakthrough innovations in the mobile and smartphone ecosystem including Toronto based Guardly and Wattpad and Boston based, Yesware.

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Matthew Johnson

Ontario Centres for Excellence (OCE)

Matthew Johnson has 10 years of experience in research and development, project development and management, primarily in the life sciences. As a Business Development Manager with The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Matt works to fulfill OCE’s mandate by creating synergistic connections between academia and industry and by facilitating access to OCE’s various funding programs designed to drive economic impact through innovation. Previously with the Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI), he worked closely with researchers and their host institutions to develop project proposals for large-scale research funding in genomics, as well as to administer funded projects in Ontario. Matt also has start-up experience in the form of a 4-year stint as a development scientist with Xceed Molecular, a small venture-funded biotech here in Toronto. Matt is a graduate of McMaster University with honours Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biology.

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Shelley Kirkbride

Innovation and Strategy Consultant

Shelley has experience in financial services, consulting, product launches, business reinvention and startups and small businesses. She has successfully driven product innovation and change initiatives in the payments space.

In a previous role as a leader at a major Canadian bank, Shelley reviewed business proposals and evaluated business ideas from a customer viewpoint, giving her unique perspective on how startups can best form pitch decks and sell into an enterprise. Shelley has also been on the other side of the table; her passion for innovation and design was the catalyst for her setting up two startups in the financial services space.

Shelley brings her dual experience to help startups with business plans, go-to-market strategies, client acquisition and delivery.

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Denis Paganelli

Chartered Accountant

Denis Paganelli has been a Chartered Accountant since 1992. He has his own practice specializing in Owner/Managed Businesses, Personal and Corporate Income taxes and Not-for-profits, and charitable organizations. He provides both compliance services, such as financial statements preparation, corporate income tax filings and personal income tax filings. Denis also offers consulting services such as tax planning and advice, sales tax advice and bookkeeping services. His practice specializes in building relationships with clients by offering his expertise and availability at reasonable rates.

Katie Pal

Katie Pal

Pal Insurance

Katie Pal specializes in tax planning, estate preservation, succession related issues, and philanthropy. She offers a range of life insurance and living benefits products through most major insurers in Canada. Katie has abundant experience working with business owners and understands the opportunities and challenges that entrepreneurship presents. Katie joined Pal Insurance as a Financial Planner in 2010. Prior to joining Pal, Katie spent five years overseas financing private companies in developing countries.

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Avi Pollock

Royal Bank of Canada

As Vice-President of Innovation and Strategic Planning at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Avi represents the Technology and Operations (T&O) organization as the platform strategist. He supports the Chief Information and Operations Officer, as well as the T&O leadership team in developing, driving and communicating the organization’s mandate, priorities, operating model and strategic plan. Avi’s Applied Innovation team has an enterprise-wide mandate to stimulate innovative activity by identifying and validating emerging technologies and opportunities that have the potential to drive client value and differentiate RBC from its competitors. He is a member of the senior executive team that operates T&O and is a frequent speaker on innovation, as well as mobile and social media strategies.

Avi currently serves on the Private Sector Advisory Board for the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada. He has sat for more than eight years on the Loan Review Committee for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, which provides loans to young entrepreneurs. He is also on the Board of Directors for Hillel of Greater Toronto where he leads the strategy committee.

Avi has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Western Ontario, is a graduate of the joint LLB-MBA program at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business, and is a member of the New York State Bar Association. Avi resides in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two sons.


Legal

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Ralph Lean

Senior Legal Advisor

Ralph was called one of Canada’s “most influential” business people by the National Post newspaper. His reputation as a trusted advisor is well known to clients ranging in size from global multinationals to entrepreneurs. As a key figure in their dealings with the municipal, provincial and federal government, clients appreciate the fact that Ralph gets the job done.

Ralph possesses the largest business card Rolodex of any lawyer at Cassels Brock and arguably in Canada. He takes pride in using his network of contacts throughout the province, Canada, and the world to bring companies together in profitable alliances that are mutually beneficial. In his own words, “This is the most rewarding part of my work with companies”.

Ralph has recently been appointed Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Morocco in Toronto. Ralph is proud to be a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. He teaches a course at the University – “Law, Business, Politics “The Real World”.

Arshia Tabrizi

Arshia Tabrizi

Tabrizi Law Office

Arshia is a technology lawyer: a business and intellectual property lawyer in one. As a Computer Engineer, former technology transactions attorney at the renowned Silicon Valley law firm of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, and former software engineer at IBM, he brings a unique and value-add perspective to his clients. Arshia founded TLO in September 2002, and since then, he has provided strategic and practical advice to leading start-up and established knowledge-based companies, as well as angel investors and venture capitalists. His clients are drawn from various sectors including software, semiconductor, communications, mobile, semiconductor, nanotechnology, clean tech, green IT, Internet and e-commerce.


Marketing

Kevin Bartus

Kevin Bartus

Ideon Media

Kevin is a transplanted American with deep expertise in the Toronto new media industry. Currently Kevin owns and runs Ideon Media, a Toronto digital advertising company which sells Canadian impressions on US and Canadian websites, networks and exchanges. Ideon was named top 10 on PROFIT Magazine’s HOT50 list for 2012. Ideon also owns half a dozen major websites, which have grown through investment from the Ontario government and from acquisitions. Ideon’s clients include Mediacom, Mindshare, ZenithOptimedia, and Starcom Mediavest.

Prior to launching Ideon Media in 2009, Kevin was the founding VP of Digital Media for Rogers Media, with over 150 websites and $50M in revenues. At Rogers, Kevin grew the original team from zero to 150 employees, including sales, content, and technology functions. During that time Kevin doubled revenues and drove multiple investments and acquisitions.

In 1998 Kevin founded Blue Spark, one of Toronto’s first interactive agencies, with clients including Rogers Media, Bell, The Score, Harlequin, and TVO. In 2005 Kevin sold Blue Spark to OnX, then a publicly-traded company, where he became VP Sales.

Prior to founding Blue Spark, Kevin was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and Accenture, and held a VP position at Compugen. Kevin has also worked with JLA Ventures and XDL Capital.

Kevin holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from MIT.

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Trina Boos

Ad Lounge and Boost Agents

Known as one of the most well connected people in Canada’s advertising and marketing industry, Trina has earned this reputation by founding Ad Lounge (a now 5,500+ member community-based organization), which exists to provide a platform for key decision makers in the industry to connect, stay ahead of the curve, and to help them remember why they love the industry that we play in. She is also the president of Boost Agents, a specialist recruitment provider to the marketing and creative services industry.

Prior to being a business owner, Trina spent ten years driving marketing strategy, and worked on the agency side of brands such as OLG, Johnston & Johnson, Roots Canada, Columbia House, and Alliance Atlantis. Trina is an avid networker and new business developer, creating unique ways to make connections every single day. She is co-creator of DishCourse, where CEO’s and VP’s of established organizations discuss business over dinner, uninterrupted. In addition, she is a fan of mentoring and supporting the next generation of talent and feeds this passion as creator of the Next Gen Dinner Series.

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Ian Chalmers

Creative Director, Founder, PIVOT Design Group

Ian is a creative entrepreneur whose keen energy and passion for design have sparked many innovative startups. Ian’s mission is to use design as a strategic driver to improve the health and well-being of people, services, and organizations.

A graduate of OCADU in both fine arts and communication design, Ian has over 20 years of expertise in creative problem finding & solving, user-centred design, digital platforms and healthcare design.

Ian founded the Design Meets community events, which have been held in cities across Ontario and Quebec. Event themes have focused on healthcare, public policy and social change.

Over the past five years, Ian’s philanthropic desire has found him lending his design hands as a Communications Director for Pencils for Kids, which provides scholarships and sewing programs for girls in a small community in Nigér, Africa.

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Lina Duque

Marketing and Social Media Strategist

Lina Duque is a marketing and social media strategist with over 10 years of experience at top-ranking firms in the B2B environment. Lina helps startups with developing and executing integrated marketing campaigns, including e-mail list building and CRM, achieving media coverage and building online presence. She is specialized in social media strategy, implementation, measurement, policy drafting and staff training.

Lina is a regular speaker on social media, most recently at the Rotman School of Management. She has an executive MBA from the Ivey Business School.

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Nicole German

Global Business Strategy and Marketing Executive

Nicole is a marketing and communications executive with over 15 years of experience building brands and marketing enterprise B2B technology solutions around the globe. Her experience and strengths include strategic development and delivery of global marketing and communications strategies; execution of integrated international marketing plans that provide high impact in a short period of time with limited resources; building and managing world class marketing teams that surpass objectives and expectations and have fun along the way; developing international strategic contacts and nurturing direct and indirect channels for business development; liaising between cross cultural businesses and individuals.

Malgosia Green

Malgosia Green

Savvica

Malgosia Green is the Founder & CEO of Savvica, an online marketing company focused on international education. Savvica is funded by Educomp Solutions Ltd., India’s largest education company.

Savvica launched LearnHub.com in 2008, a higher education, test prep and career network for Indian students. It is the most visited education site in India, the world’s largest student market, with over 2.5 million monthly visitors.

Previously, Malgosia was the Director of Product Management at Affinity Labs, an online communities company. It was acquired after 14 months by Monster Worldwide for $61MM.

Malgosia holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in System Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

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Kerri Henneberry

Consultant

An impassioned entrepreneur, Kerri Henneberry is an expert in media finance
strategy and partnerships with more than a decade of experience helping
independent and corporate technology companies work together to create new
revenue streams.

Prior to launching a successful career in TV and film production, Kerri earned
an MBA from Saint Mary’s University. She became a trailblazer in multi platform
syndication as the Director of Broadband and Digital Services for the CBC, where her partnership strategies helped the 2006 Olympics access mobile and Video
On Demand screens.

Her special ties to social media, gaming, fashion and custom content development led her to facilitate the acquisition and integration of The Kit magazine and brand for Star Media Group as its Director of Partnerships and Acquisitions. Recently, Kerri worked alongside Sean “Puffy” Combs’ label Bad Boy while at Ossian Media to combine music and proprietary technology, for new branded content opportunities.

Kerri remains a consultant for the Canadian digital media landscape, specializing
in strategic planning, marketing, financial analysis and forecasting.

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Jaigris Hodson

Social Media Advisor

Jaigris Hodson (B.A. Royal Roads University, MA York University) is a PhD Candidate in Communication Studies in the York/Ryerson Joint program in Communication and Culture. She has developed and taught several courses for both Ryerson and Royal Roads Universities, notably Social Media for Business at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School, Digital Skills and Innovation for the Global Economy in the Ryerson Digital Specialization Program, and Foundations in Digital Media for Ryerson’s new Masters in Digital Media program. Her MA research examined the democratic potential of Facebook groups, and her PhD research involves a detailed analysis of the Google, Facebook and Twitter corporate blogs, a subject on which she has presented for numerous academic and professional conferences.

In addition to her MA and PhD research on social media platforms and the communication occurring withing them, Jaigris works as a social media consultant and has advised various non-profit organizations, businesses, and young entrepreneurs. Notable clients include the Canadian Country Music Association, Feisty Entertainment, Cinema Canadiana, and Ryerson University. In addition, she has commented on social media issues in the popular media, serving as a subject matter expert for news stories published in Xtra, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail as well as being broadcast on Zoomer Radio, City TV and Global News.

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Matt Kaine

Account Director, PIVOT Design Group

Matt is Account Director at Pivot Design Group, a user experience and design-thinking studio where he oversees business development initiatives, strategy and partnerships.

Matt has long admired brands that have had a way of creating an emotional connection with their audience through a well-designed marketing and experiential strategy. Over the last 10 years, he has worked within marketing and creative agencies in Toronto, New York and Miami, partnering with international retailers and global agencies in creating solutions and solving problems to better understand and unify audiences across markets.

Within the creative community, Matt is a co-organizer of Design Meets. He also serves as mentor and advisor to Hacking Health.

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Philip Marmina

VP Sales Marketing

Philip is a sales, business development and marketing professional. He has experience with startups, small-midsized companies and multinationals.

His passion for people, customers and business has helped him lead and positively impact many successful organizations. He believes in clarity of strategy and implementation and has acted as the voice of the customer in developing effective marketing and sales development initiatives. He has been recognized for his business leadership skills and brings a collaborative and entrepreneurial approach to driving sales success. He firmly believes that marketing / sales alignments are fundamental to business success.

Previously, Philip was VP Sales / VP Sales & Marketing for ArjoHuntleigh (medical devices), Managing Director for Azonic Networks (telecom startup), held various sales and business development roles in the pharmaceutical industry and ran the business consulting groups at Ryerson and Dalhousie Universities.

Philip is involved in his local community as a coach, holds a Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) from Ryerson University in Toronto, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Joe Mazzei

Joe Mazzei

City of Toronto

Joe Mazzei is an experienced public servant with a client service orientation. He has solid experience interacting with a variety of internal and external stakeholders ranging from private sector firms to municipalities and the federal government. Joe has held a number of roles within a number of ministries and offers a variety of expertise ranging from applied information technology, marketing, program delivery, and management. He has been directly involved in the development and on-going delivery of web enabled services and has managed IT staff to provide products and results.

Joe’s formal education includes B.A., M.A., and M.B.A. His specialties include public administration, government and services liaison with the city’s IT community.

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John McCauley

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

With 12 years of extensive expertise in Sports Media, Content, Digital and Marketing faculties, John is a heavy hitter in the digital landscape with experience in five different leagues, including the NHL, MLS, AHL and MLB.

Working in one of the most premier sports and entertainment companies in the world, he currently oversees all digital content and business development for multiple brands at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

Taking pride in new business and new media models his specialties include content creation, multi-platform sponsor integration, digital business development and social media.

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Talia Mohns

Manager, Accenture Interactive

Talia is an executive within Accenture Digital Practice – Accenture Interactive.  She is a skilled management consulting practitioner, with a passion for people and business transformations. Over the course of her career, she has focused on supporting global transformation efforts within the marketing and digital spaces, for clients in industries such as pharmaceutical, government, healthcare, financial services, and telecommunications.

Talia brings extensive experience in marketing operations, effectiveness & execution, vendor strategy and management, change management and stakeholder engagement, all underpinned by deep project management expertise.

Nathan Monk

Nathan Monk

MaRS

Nathan is a relevant and progressive strategic leader with nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing, business development, strategy at large corporations and recently entered the media and entertainment technology startup community.

He is fortunate to have successfully helped launch some of Canada’s largest digital media initiatives and help’s technology startups solidify their business models while connecting them with the broader investment community.

Nathan is passionate about people and gives back to the community. His volunteer experience feeds his soul where he lives by JFK’s philosophy: ‘Only one person can make a difference, but everyone should try.’

Nathan graduated with an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, at The University of Western, Ontario. He is also a graduate of Fanshawe College’s Business Marketing program where he won the President’s award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

Ramona Pringle

Ramona Pringle

Assistant Professor, RTA School of Media

Ramona Pringle (MPS, BFA.) is a producer, interactive video artist and host. She specializes in digital multiplatform production and has developed and produced work for CBC, TVO, CTV and PBS where she worked as interactive producer on Frontline’s Digital Nation.

Ramona is currently in production on Rdigitalife.com, which explores the evolving relationship between people and technology, and an interactive documentary project based on her research project Avatar Secrets which has been featured in the New York Times, and presented at events including SXSW, TEDx and Ignite.

As a video artist, she has produced several installations including her Master’s thesis Paranoia, exploring emotional perception in the interactive cinematic experience, and Rdigitalive, a live documentary remix presented at Nuit Blanche. Installations produced with the PeakMedia Collective have been exhibited at the New York Hall of Science, Sherway Gardens and Casino Niagara.

As an actress, she has enjoyed numerous roles alongside some of Hollywood’s top stars on such films as Shoot’em Up and Cinderella Man. Her hosting work includes CBC’s daily pop culture show The X, and the webcast of Idea City.

Ramona has a Master’s Degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, and a BFA Honours Degree in Film & Video from York University.

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Samantha Reid

Mitacs, York University

Samantha joined Mitacs in October 2010 and is the Director of Business Development for Toronto/GTA. In her role as the Director, she is creating and facilitating strategic partnerships and collaborations between industry, universities, and government across all sectors/academic disciplines.

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David Schifman

Business Development Executive

David Schifman is a business development leader with 15 years of experience at RIM/BlackBerry and Palm in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has managed key account relationships and built high performance sales and product teams. David has expertise in product management and marketing, telecommunications, mobile technology and hardware.

Jed Schneiderman

Jed Schneiderman

Startup Advisor

Jed Schneiderman is a proven leader in the traditional and new media space with expertise in digital marketing, brand marketing, and loyalty and permission based marketing. He is a proven marketer who loves to build and grow businesses.

Currently, Jed is working with several startups leading their marketing and business development efforts. Prior to joining the startup world, Jed was the On Line Business Group Lead at Microsoft Canada where he was responsible for driving the business and marketing strategies for the Windows Live, Search and Mobile Services businesses.

Prior to joining Microsoft Canada, Jed worked at CTV Television Inc., where he was instrumental in launching CTV’s digital media group and launching MTV across TV, Mobile and on-line.

Jed has also worked at several direct marketing agencies specializing in loyalty and permission marketing, as well as Procter & Gamble and AOL Canada.

Daniel Shain

Daniel Shain

Founder

Daniel Shain is a serial entrepreneur with several ventures under his belt. He was most recently the Founder and CEO of Finizi.com, Canada’s first and only online reverse auction platform for financial products. The company was acquired in May 2012 by a private financial services company only 8 months after officially launching. Daniel has since accepted a position with Canada’s largest insurance marketplace, Kanetix.ca, to head all their non-insurance financial products. Daniel holds a BBA from the Schulich School of Business and has completed Levels I and II of the CFA Program. He has been featured in the Financial Post, Investment Executive, BNN, Yahoo Finance, and various online personal finance and tech publications.

Rick Shea

Rick Shea

Optiv8 Consulting

Rick is a leading Canadian expert on consumer promotions, particularly in couponing, but also other promotional tactics including contests, rebates, loyalty programs and direct marketing. Throughout his 18-year career in senior management roles focusing on strategic account management in the consumer promotion industry, Rick has advised hundreds of consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers and agencies on promotional marketing effectiveness strategies.

From his consumer promotions advisory work, Rick recognized the challenge marketers face in determining the best ways to spend their budgets, and created Optiv8 to help solve that problem, particularly for small to mid-sized businesses.

Optiv8 delivers a practical and cost-effective decision support tool that uses one consistent methodology to measure all types of marketing programs. That consistency makes the results of diverse programs comparable and enables ranking the programs, to identify winners and losers and to optimize strategies.

Aside from being a marketing effectiveness consultant and business problem solver, Rick is a writer, an advisor and mentor, a photographer, and a lover of music, travel, food and wine.

Takara Small

Takara Small

Metro News Canada

Takara Small is a reporter with Metro News Canada whose passion for the written word extends to startups and small businesses. Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, AOL Canada, Huffington Post Canada as well as CBC.ca and Canadian Immigrant Magazine.

As a journalist and entrepreneur she uses her real-life experiences reporting on new startup trends in Toronto to shed light on burgeoning talent and up-and-coming companies through her weekly column and and accompanying stories.

Laura Sousa

Laura Sousa

Change Agent

Laura Sousa’s rich career covers marketing and information technology as executive, strategist, program manager and consultant. She is a visionary and pragmatic leader with an established foundation of IT expertise acquired through 10 years of progressive management consulting roles at Accenture.

Most recently, in her role as VP Strategic Initiatives with Canadian Tire, Laura spearheaded the implementation of a new card-based Loyalty program (to replace paper Canadian Tire money). The program is actively running in pilot mode in the province of Nova Scotia.

Prior to joining Canadian Tire, Laura has held senior roles in IT with Marsh Canada Ltd, a $320 MM risk management and brokerage firm, Digital 4Sight, a $40MM internet research and strategy management consulting firm, and Accenture.

Laura holds an MBA from the University of Ottawa, and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Chris Stefanyk

Chris Stefanyk

Independent

Chris is a digital strategist with a proven track record of creating strategies and implementing changes for technology startups and Fortune 500 companies in Canada and internationally. Chris is currently Manager, Corporate Development at TorStar Digital where he oversees acquisition, investment and partnership opportunities for TorStar Digital and collaborates with their portfolio companies on strategic planning. Prior to his role at TorStar Digital, he helped accelerate the growth of a fashion e-commerce organization in Malaysia where he contributed to business development and operations management. Prior to advising in the startup community, Chris specialized in digital experience and sales strategy consulting at Accenture. Chris is passionate about innovative technology & business models and greatly enjoys talking to new and emerging businesses about their most difficult problems.

Daniel Warner

Daniel Warner

SnapSaves

Daniel has eight years of marketing and sales experience cultivated from within the corporate, entrepreneurship and volunteer worlds. As the Director of Marketing & Sales at SnapSaves, a new mobile coupon company aimed at transforming the old-school coupon space, Daniel drives brand partnerships and consumer awareness on a national level. Before joining SnapSaves, Daniel led BD for Smartslips, a cloud-based paperless receipts startup that grew up in the DMZ and successfully achieved a signed term sheet for seed investment. His other business and social entrepreneurial pursuits have included founding a national student portal that was the first to feature ‘photo-tagging’ in 2004, a campus marketing company in 2007, an annual multi-city charity fundraiser in 2008, and an OOH hand sanitizer media business in 2010 –  during H1N1. He has developed marketing campaigns for many top brands including Apple, Axe, Mazda, H&M and Gillette. He has received two ACE CIBC student entrepreneur awards, three Interactive Media Awards and several community involvement recognitions. Most recently, Daniel received a Canadian Young Professional Award in Marketing from Lexus and Notable.ca and an Ontario Volunteer Services Award from the provincial government.

Daniel holds an MBA in Marketing and Strategic Management from the Schulich School of Business, a Marketing Management post-graduate diploma from Seneca College and a Bachelor of Management and Operational Studies from Western University. He is currently completing his Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification and then plans to take a long hiatus from academia.

David Wright

David Wright

Independent Consultant

David Wright has over thirty years of experience in sales, marketing and operations in high technology. He enjoyed a 15 year career with Apple Canada that included sales, marketing, and channel roles. He was a member of Apple Canada’s senior management team for five years and served as Vice-President of Marketing for three years. David led the Canadian subsidiary of Citrix Systems, Inc. for ten years and contributed to the company’s success through building the team and promoting the company’s interests in the press and with other key constituencies. David is an independent consultant and is active in the Toronto startup community as a mentor.


Patents and Trademarks

Marcelo Konig Sarkis

Marcelo Konig Sarkis

Patent Expert

Marcelo Konig Sarkis is the Senior Patent Agent at Heenan Blaikie LLP where he drafts and prosecutes patent applications in the pharmaceutical, chemical and mechanical areas. Marcelo is a Fellow of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada and a registered professional engineer in Ontario, as well as Chair of the Innovation, Science and Technology Committee of the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce.

Michel Vulpe

Michel Vulpe

Chief Technology Officer of i4i

Michel Vulpe is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Infrastructures for Information Inc. (i4i). Mr. Vulpe is an acknowledged leader in creating XML driven innovative products permitting real-time collaboration and interaction in the workplace. He is the lead inventor of the ‘449 patent which was affirmed by the US Supreme Court resulting in one of the largest patent infringement awards in US history.


Startup Strategy

Ben Baldwin

Ben Baldwin

ClearFit

Ben Baldwin is the co-founder and CEO of ClearFit, an online solution that provides the easiest way for anyone to find the best person for the job, by predicting their success.

In his 14 years of experience, Ben has founded two successful software companies, focused on supporting the recruiting and hiring needs of Fortune 500 companies and small to mid-sized businesses. He’s a patent holder, startup mentor for The Wall Street Journal, Extreme Startups, and Ryerson Digital Media Zone, board member of the global Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO/YEO), and a washed-up rower turned ultimate Frisbee player.

Ben attended Queen’s University in Canada. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and attention-seeking golden retriever.

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Jonas Brandon

StartupNorth

Jonas is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor. The first Canadian startup that Jonas cofounded, Captual, was an education technology company that developed out of an open source research project at the University of Toronto. The company was acquired in 2011 by Desire2Learn.

Jonas previously directed venture capital for Rogers Communications, and is now managing his own venture portfolio with investments in GoInstant among other Canadian technology companies. Through his involvement as cofounder of StartupNorth, Canada’s leading community of technology entrepreneurs and investors, Jonas has actively contributed to the growth of the local startup ecosystem.

Jonas holds a Bachelor of Science and Economics degree, as well as a J.D., Law from the University of Florida.

Omar Dhalla

Omar Dhalla

Play Taxi Media

Omar has focused on growth in organizations of all sizes and has experience across start-up, mid-market, and large enterprise, with industry experience in Media, Retail, Healthcare and the Public Sector. He developed deep functional expertise in strategy & execution, organization design & change, and process transformation with Accenture & McKinsey & Company. In recent years, Omar has launched a consumer beverage product, advised early-stage start-ups through exit, while raising capital and leading business development, sales/content partnerships, and people activities for Play Taxi Media. He also teaches Executive MBA corporate problem solving & consulting at the Sauder School of Business (University of British Columbia). Omar holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and a B.Comm (Finance) from the University of British Columbia.

David

David Gray

DIG360˚

The world is becoming increasingly complex, with fewer boundaries and more competition – for time, for attention, for business. In order to survive, organizations need to be open to continually improving and finding more effective ways of operating. Enter: DIG360.

DIG360 is a reinvention of Founder David Ian Gray’s previous firm, Sixth Line Solutions.

This is an amalgam of our professional backgrounds and personal beliefs coming full-circle. It reflects our strength in integrative thinking and making connections at all compass points around a challenge.

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Kerri Henneberry

Consultant

An impassioned entrepreneur, Kerri Henneberry is an expert in media finance
strategy and partnerships with more than a decade of experience helping
independent and corporate technology companies work together to create new
revenue streams.

Prior to launching a successful career in TV and film production, Kerri earned
an MBA from Saint Mary’s University. She became a trailblazer in multi platform
syndication as the Director of Broadband and Digital Services for the CBC, where her partnership strategies helped the 2006 Olympics access mobile and Video
On Demand screens.

Her special ties to social media, gaming, fashion and custom content development led her to facilitate the acquisition and integration of The Kit magazine and brand for Star Media Group as its Director of Partnerships and Acquisitions. Recently, Kerri worked alongside Sean “Puffy” Combs’ label Bad Boy while at Ossian Media to combine music and proprietary technology, for new branded content opportunities.

Kerri remains a consultant for the Canadian digital media landscape, specializing
in strategic planning, marketing, financial analysis and forecasting.

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Tony Kerekes

Partner, NVision Consulting Ltd.

Tony Kerekes is a partner at NVision Consulting Ltd., where he has developed talent management strategies, compensation and human resource programs for leading employers for 20 years. He has worked with operational leaders, human resources, owners and executives in major and emerging companies, developing strategies, compensation and implementation plans to help them achieve their organization goals. He also develops pay strategies and longer term incentives, to effectively retain and reward employees.

Tony currently chairs a provincial awards committee that recognizes excellence in HR. He also consults, teaches compensation at the University of Toronto and presents at a variety of industry forums. He has been actively involved in various boards and committees, including as president of the Human Resources Professionals of York Region and a member of the board of the Toronto HR Professionals Association and the Toronto Board of Trade Pension and Benefits and Policy committees.

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Shelley Kirkbride

Innovation and Strategy Consultant

Shelley has experience in financial services, consulting, product launches, business reinvention and startups and small businesses. She has successfully driven product innovation and change initiatives in the payments space.

In a previous role as a leader at a major Canadian bank, Shelley reviewed business proposals and evaluated business ideas from a customer viewpoint, giving her unique perspective on how startups can best form pitch decks and sell into an enterprise. Shelley has also been on the other side of the table; her passion for innovation and design was the catalyst for her setting up two startups in the financial services space.

Shelley brings her dual experience to help startups with business plans, go-to-market strategies, client acquisition and delivery.

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Rajah Lehal

Multiplicity Accelerator, Cobalt Business Counsel PC

Rajah is a co-founder of the Multiplicity Accelerator, a not-for-profit group supporting education in the Toronto’s startup community. He is also a Technology and Small Business Lawyer for the Venture Law Practice Group at Cobalt Business Counsel, a sponsor of Multiplicity.

Rajah worked for more than a decade in the information technology industry, including three years in software development and seven years as an Information Systems and Technology manager at a major telecommunications company and at a financial services company.

Rajah received his M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Faculty of Law respectively, as well as an honours philosophy degree from the University of Waterloo. He is currently on the board of directors of Sky’s the Limit, a charity that provides laptops to youth in need.

Anthony Lipschitz

Anthony Lipschitz

StubHub

Anthony is an entrepreneur and passionate business leader with excellent people skills. He is a senior executive with a proven track record of successfully raising venture capital and creating value for shareholders and team members alike. Having recently sold his last venture, iStopOver, a short term vacation rental marketplace, he is currently leading StubHub in Canada, eBay’s ticketing marketplace. Anthony is a startup mentor and advisor with an extensive local and international network of contacts, having lived in and built businesses in South Africa, New York and Toronto.

Craig McLellan

Craig McLellan

Think On, Inc.

Craig has logged over 10,000 hours designing and building high-availability applications for Fortune 500 clients of Hosting.com, SunGard, and other large US cloud providers.

In the last 22 years, he has been closely involved in the development and growth of both early stage ventures and “skunkwork” corporate teams, all solving real market problems through the smart use technology.

Since his repatriation from the US in October of 2012, Craig’s been focused on bringing enterprise grade cloud computing to businesses in Canada. Cloud computing is a foundational competitive advantage that Canada cannot afford to ignore and must leverage its capabilities to maximum affect.

His area of expertise includes the design and operation of non-stop computing applications, as well as cloud adoption best practices.

Craig Morantz

Craig Morantz

Burning Presence

Craig, an entrepreneur since he was 15 years old has started and sold a number of businesses. The most recent was the sale of Aware Marketing Group, a promotional product supply company that was recognized by Profit Magazine as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies 5 years in a row. Upon the sale of Aware to Pittsburgh based Leed’s Craig took on the sales and marketing development North America wide playing an integral role in growing the company to $350MM from $120MM over a 5 year period before it was acquired by Amsterdam based Polyconcept.

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Chris Nguyen

Digital Expert

Chris Nguyen is no stranger to entrepreneurship. He launched JobLoft.com while still a student at Ryerson, along with three classmates. Within a year the upstart had posted over 20,000 jobs from top employers across Canada and enjoyed widespread media attention. In 2007, JobLoft was acquired by on Targetjobs.

Chris launched yet another business at the DMZ official opening called TeamSave.com, a social commerce platform that helps merchants attract new customers through social media. TeamSave’s strategic partners are eBay Classified Groups’ Kijiji.ca in Canada and Gumtree.com in the United Kingdom.

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Nikita Poplavsky

Multiplicity Accelerator, Cobalt Business Counsel PC

Nikita Poplavsky is an active member of the startup community, both through his involvement with Multiplicity and through his work with Cobalt Business Counsel PC on startup-related projects. Cobalt mentors early-stage companies through its sponsorship of Multiplicity, Startup Weekend Toronto, Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition, Ivey Venture Forum, Ladies Learning Code and other initiatives.

Prior to joining Cobalt, Nikita worked in a number of large law firms, both Canadian and international. Nikita obtained his first law degree from the Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia, as well as J.D. and LL.M. degrees from the University of Toronto.

Marzio Pozzuoli

Marzio Pozzuoli

Entrepreneur

Marzio Pozzuoli is the former President and CEO of RuggedCom, a leading provider of rugged communications networking solutions designed for mission-critical applications in harsh environments.

Marzio holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Technology from Ryerson University.

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Naseem Saloojee

VP, Business Development, Top Hat

Naseem Saloojee is a business builder and strategic advisor with a deep understanding of how to engage with, influence and impact large enterprises. Owing to his experience as a strategy consultant and an executive in a startup environment, Naseem can draw on a wealth of expertise in sales, business and partnership development, operations and acquisitions.

Naseem is currently Vice President of Business Development for Top Hat, a venture-funded Toronto-based education technology company. With Top Hat, Naseem leads partnership development and new business generation. Previously, Naseem spent a number of years as a consultant for McKinsey & Company in its Toronto, Johannesburg and Dubai offices, advising senior clients and managing consulting teams to solve CEO-level challenges. Naseem has also worked for Monitor Group, a global strategy consultancy, and Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund.

A board member of Students Offering Support, an educational development-focused social enterprise, and a member of the University Council of Queen’s University, Naseem is passionate about education and the potential to bring innovative and disruptive business models to the education system.

Naseem has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor of commerce degree from Queen’s University.

vikas shreedhar

Vikas Shreedhar

Accenture

Since 1999 Vikas has worked across Telecommunications, Retail and Financial Services. Vikas has extensive experience and is equally versed in leading quick, agile, tactical teams or complex large scale programs. Vikas’ initiatives range from enterprise level IT & data strategies, governance & operating model designs, large data and customer centric programs.

Vikas brings a wide breadth of skills, experiences and a pragmatic view on achieving near and long term goals while navigating many constraints, limited resources, time budget etc.

Vikas graduated from Ryerson’s Electrical Engineering Program and is currently an executive at Accenture.

Ricardo Sodre

Ricardo Sodre

Venture Capital Investor, Founder of Project-1

Ricardo is the Founder and CEO of Project-1: an investment vehicle, which involves connecting startups directly with large Brazilian corporations.

Ricardo holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Mackenzie University, and an MA in Online Communities and Cognitive Neuroscience from  USC-University of Southern Califonia. He has worked for major advertising agencies including BBDO, Y & R, TBWA, Euro RSCG and McCann Erickson and was a founding partner of Borghi /Lowe.

During his career, Ricardo has developed strategic plans for clients such as Banco Itau, Heineken, Volkswagen, Ford and Claro Telecom. He led the launch of the Peugeot brand in Brazil and was one of those responsible for the launch of Stella Artois beer in the Brazilian beer market.

In 2011 he introduced the crowd-sourcing concept to Brazil, by launching  DesignBee.

Ricardo is currently conducting studies to learn the changes that the Internet brings to the brain in the area of consolidation of the memory and the decision making process.

Mark Steedman

Mark Steedman

Interface Biologics

Mark is an experienced business development professional who helped found Interface Biologics, Inc in 2001. His roles at Interface include raising capital ($12M Series A), business plan creation and execution, licensing deals ($100M+), patent portfolio management (inventor on key technology). Mark helped guide the company to its first revenues and subsequent commercial deals.

Rob Tran

Rob Tran

Mood Media Entertainment.

Rob is an experienced entrepreneur who is passionate about technology and start-ups.

Over the past 15 years, Rob Tran has co-founded, built and exited businesses in Internet, Mobile, Entertainment and the SaaS space.

Rob brings a global perspective and wealth of business development, operations and finance experience both at the corporate and startup stages. He has raised capital, as well as established and led businesses in Canada, UK, and Japan.

He is currently General Manager – Japan at Mood Media Entertainment.

Rob lives in Toronto with his wife and two daughters.

SEANWISE

Sean Wise

Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Ryerson University Chair, Ryerson Angel Network

Sean Wise, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, brings experience and expertise to the Ted Rogers School of Management. Before receiving his Law and MBA degrees at the University of Ottawa, Sean studied Engineering and Economics at Carleton University. For the past 10 years, Sean has lectured at over 250 boot camps, financing forums and industry conferences. He is dedicated to training entrepreneurs and has succeeded in training more than 10,000 people who have collectively raised more than $2.1 billion from different investment sources.

Professor Wise advised CBC’s hit reality show Dragons’ Den for five seasons. He is also well published with his latest book HOT or NOT: How to Know if your Business Idea will Fly or Fail selling over 30,000 copies.

Jad Yaghi

Jad Yaghi

Verold

Jad is the CEO and co-founder of Verold, a company that provides tools that reduce the time and cost of creating 3D content for augmented reality, video games, interactive media and web content.

Having built three software startups, one successful, one an abysmal crash, and one still in the making, Jad believes that he has failed a lot and learned even more. He has developed skills that have helped him quickly identify what, where and how a company should focus its early resources, talent and time to grow optimally. Jad has also been successful at raising multi-million dollar seed rounds at a pre-revenue, pre-product stage.

StackRocket_Oliver

Olivier Yiptong

StackRocket

Olivier is the co-founder of Zompf Media Inc. and a software engineer at Mozilla Corporation. Under his belt, he has ventures in various industries, including social networking, media distribution, photography and virtualization management tools.

Having been through the process a few times, Olivier has experience dealing with decisions that have to be taken at early-stages. He brings a pragmatic perspective on starting up a company from incorporation, product development, operations to customer acquisition.

Olivier holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto.