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Guest Speakers’ Bios

Join us for the evening EWeek launch with Ingrid Vanderveldt.

Ingrid Vanderveldt

Ingrid is the Chairman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020

Presented by the US Consulate in Montreal.

This, and all events, are free and open to the public but you must register.


kralkaLP MauriceBess PappasVincent LeclercFrancis GosselinChrista FairchildTristan WilliamsYamoussa BangouraRalph A. D'IorioNathalie HazanMikhail LevkovskyEdmondsDavid HodgesGert Janssensnick YounesJennifer BarronVolandCaithrin RitoulAnthony ShannonJason GoldsmithElliot GroveChris GaulinDomenico CiaralloAugusto SoletoPatrick BérardJosh MillerSorokalaxerkloosjolyhorchanihaguelnina marie fite

Yamoussa Bangoura
Auteur-compositeur-intreprète, chorégraphe, fondateur et directeur artistique des Productions Kalabanté

Yamoussa BangouraArtiste multidisciplinaire ayant débuté sa formation au sein de la troupe Circus Baobab et de la danse avec Saamato en Guinée Conakry en 1996, il commenca sa carrière professionnel avec une tournée africaine et européenne avec Circus baobab, Cirque Éloize. Après avoir été repéré en Espagne pendant l’une de leur production, il participa à la création et tournée mondiale du spectacle NOMADE comme acrobate de ce cirque-meme de 2002 à 2007.

Yamoussa Bangoura développa plusieurs liens d’affaire au courant de ces années et décida en 2007 de fonder sa propre compagnie, Productions Kalabanté. Son premier spectacle KORYASS fut présenté dans plusieurs villes canadiennes et il enchaina avec un deuxieme, UNO, Kumbaya et sa nouvelle, KIRA NENE, qui fut également un succès à Conakry. Plusieurs spectacles sont en cours de production et la carrière de Yamoussa continue. Il se produit fréquemment dans d’autres événements spéciaux au nom de sa compagnie (Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Fantastique, Cirque Eloize, Artcirq, Nuits D’afrique) et a récemment composé des oeuvres musicales pour Cavalia ODYSSEO. Dernièrement, Yamoussa a crée son propre groupe de musique, Yamoussa Bangoura and a THOUSAND AND THOUSAND COLORS et performe dans plusieurs villes. Toujours présent sur le plan humanitaire, il entreprend la création d’une école de cirque dans son pays natal pour aider les jeunes acrobates et créer un pont entre le Canada et la Guinée.

Register for the Eweek Launch, featuring Yamoussa and Kalabanté.

Jennifer Barron
Professional and Personal Certified Coach
Marketing Communications Consultant
Jennifer Barron

Jennifer’s career and life journey have led her across Canada and back again—from her roots in Ontario—to British Columbia—and then to La Belle Province in 2013, where she currently resides in Montréal.

Having worked in several senior-level marketing-communications roles, Jennifer brings 16 years of experience helping organizations build and protect their brands and meaningfully engage with stakeholders. Some of the high-profile companies she has worked with include Microsoft, LG, TELUS, Intel, ATI Technologies, Yellow Pages Group, Nature’s Path Organics, Whole Foods Markets and Lesley Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps.

Today, she is an independent marketing-communications consultant for clients such as Pratt & Whitney Canada, Sierra Wireless and Valeant Pharmaceuticals, as well as a certified coach having completed Concordia’s Professional and Personal Coaching Certification Program in the spring of 2014. As a coach, she focuses on supporting her clients to successfully transition through their professional and personal challenges to achieve their goals, live authentically, and make their dreams reality. She is also realizing her own dream of becoming bilingual.

Register for Jennifer’s workshop

Patrick Bérard – Mentor
Accompagnateur d’entrepreneurs, SAJE accompagnateur d’entrepreneurs
Patrick Bérard

Travaillant au SAJE accompagnateur d’entrepreneurs accompagnateur d’entrepreneurs depuis 12 ans, Patrick Bérard a formé, accompagné et conseillé plusieurs milliers d’entrepreneurs dans leur processus de démarrage d’entreprise. Spécialiste de la gestion de la vente, le plan de communications, de sollicitation et de mise en marché, il a également développé une expertise dans les présentations d’affaires (« elevator pitch »). Depuis 8 ans, de nombreux entrepreneurs ayant participé au Concours Québécois en entrepreneuriat ainsi qu’à l’émission L’Oeil du Dragon ont fait appel aux conseils de Patrick dans leur préparation.

Working at SAJE accompagnateur d’entrepreneurs for now more than 10 years, Patrick Bérard trained, coached and advised thousands of entrepreneurs in their business starting process. Specialist in sales management, communication plan and marketing, he also has developed an expertise in business presentations (elevator pitch). For 8 years, many entrepreneurs who participated in the Concours québécois en entrepreneuriat and others who have made appearance on the Dragons’ Den show referred to Patrick for guidance on their preparation.

Domenico Ciarallo
Global Premiums Corp & Inventor of the Rocket Sport Dryer, Corporate Promotional Expert & Entrepreneur

Domenico Ciarallo is a serial entrepreneur who has accumulated 25 years of experience in the corporate incentive and promotional industry. As with most Canadians, hockey has played an important role in Domenico Ciarallo’s life and his passion for the sport helped motivate his latest business endeavor —
the Rocket Sport Dryer.

This West Island entrepreneur grew up in Beaconsfield and went to Italy to play professional hockey after graduating university. Upon his return to Montreal, Ciarallo put his economics degree to good use. He founded Global Premiums, a marketing company located on the West Island that specializes in premium sportswear, accessories and related services. In 2004 Ciarallo founded the Proudly Canadian line of clothing and accessories and quickly turned the company into a recognized brand for Canadians around the world. A few years ago he added a new line for his Québécois customers — Fièrement Québécoise. You can find his products in North America & International retail markets.

Read more about Domenico’s success here.

Register for the panel discussion with Domenico.


Ralph A. D’Iorio
Founder, Hockey Balle Montreal
Ralph A. D'Iorio

Ralph A. D’Iorio graduated from McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in 2006. Shortly after, Ralph entered the workforce as an Account Manager for HSBC Bank Canada. Four years later, he decided to take on other challenges and accepted a position as Management Consultant for BDO Canada. During this period, he was given the opportunity to work on numerous risk management projects hand in hand with many influential people amongst the biggest financial institutions in Canada.

Nevertheless, Ralph was unable to satisfy his need to undertake projects that were closer to his areas of interest. He has been a diehard hockey fan for as long as he can remember. Seven years ago, having completed his junior hockey, Ralph couldn’t imagine himself calling it quits… It was at that time that he decided to begin a pickup ball hockey league with friends. During its first season, over 50 different people actively participated. The organization of these gatherings was so popular that word of mouth managed to double the number of participants within 6 months. Two years later, Ralph found himself managing over 70 teams (a total of 700 participants) in a school gym, 6 days a week, while having to work for his employer during the day.

Ralph is now the owner and president of four different ball hockey leagues located within and around the Montreal area. With over 3000 members, Regroupement Hockey Balle Montréal is now one of the biggest recreational businesses in the province. The popularity of the sport is so big that it has been given its own television series on RDS. Regroupement Hockey Balle Montréal has been presented on the air during the last two years with ratings of over 50 000 viewers per episode. Ralph has recently given his resignation from BDO Canada in order to concentrate on developing his business. The numerous ball hockey complexes now allow children, adolescents and adults to practice an affordable sport with friends and colleagues all year long within a secure and well structured environment. You can follow the company’s activities and offerings by visiting their website at www.hockeyballemontreal.com.

Register for the panel discussion with Ralph.

Dana Edmonds
CEO of Création Hotcomb Design
Dana Edmonds
Great design is not superficial, but essential to your competitive advantage.

Creation Hotcomb Design is a graphic & web design studio based in Montreal, working globally. An international Web & Graphic Design Studio that creates clean, cutting-edge, professional, and custom designs for clients.

With over 15 years of experience in the design industry and BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, Dana has received Best Urban Publication @ Canada Urban Music Awards two years in a row for Word Magazine and 1st Prize for Poster Design Competition for McGill University Health Centre. Dana is also an oil painter, singer/songwriter/musician and is relentlessly renovating her home.

Register for the panel discussion with Dana.

Christa Fairchild
Director of Marketing for Vrvana

As Chief Operating Office at Neptune Computer, Christa helped raise $800,000 dollars on Kickstarter last year for the Pine smartwatch. She is currently the Director of Marketing for Vrvana who are launching in September a Kickstarter for the Totem Virtual Reality headset. Her drive is to commercialize world wide the Totem for gaming as well as B2B. She falls back on her skills in business as well as the arts – an MBA graduate, she is an accomplished fine art photographer and speaker.

Register for Christa’s presentation

Nina Marie Fite
United States Consul General in Montreal

Nina Maria Fite became the United States Consul General in Montreal on September 9, 2014. Before Montreal, she served as Consul General in Lahore, Pakistan from September, 2011 to May, 2014.

Consul General Fite completed a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy (Distinguished Graduate) at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School in June 2011.

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she has spent more than 20 years focusing on trade, environmental issues, and post-conflict economic development. Her assignments include serving as the Deputy Economic Counselor in Kabul, Afghanistan and as the Political/Economic Section Chief in Luanda, Angola.

While on assignment with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, Ms. Fite negotiated the environmental chapters of the Dominican accession to the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Panamanian Free Trade Agreement. She has worked on regional and bilateral environment, science and health issues while based in Budapest, Hungary and in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science. She also served in Lisbon, Portugal and Kingston, Jamaica. She has received multiple Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards.

A native Pennsylvanian, Consul General Fite completed a Bachelor of Architecture at Carnegie-Mellon University and holds a Master’s in International Management from Thunderbird – The American Graduate School of International Management. She speaks Portuguese, French, Hungarian and Spanish.

Chris Gaulin
President / Chair at The Gaulin Foundation
President Wi-Fi Country Inc.

Chris Gaulin

Chris is an independent IT consultant based in Winnipeg. Chris owns and operates a wireless Internet service provider, which offers high-speed Internet
access to rural communities in Manitoba. For over 15 years, he has deployed web hosting infrastructures, countless custom web applications, as well as voice-
over-IP solutions.

Chris holds a Commerce diploma from Dawson College in Montreal, where he spearheaded a number of disability campaigns as part of his role on Dawson Student Union’s Executive Council. He has extensive experience advising and managing not-for-profit organization, stemming from numerous roles with national charitable organizations.

Register for the panel discussion with Chris.

Jason Goldsmith
Communication Artist, Special Needs Consultant, Autism Advocate Founder, The Big Blue Hug
Jason Goldsmith

Named after a drawing Jason Goldsmith’s son drew to ask him for a bedtime hug, The Big Blue Hug creates heart warming yet profound gifting art inspired by drawings Ellis makes to communicate.

Ellis has autism. When he was five years old, Ellis lacked a means to communicate. Then Jason discovered his son thinks in pictures, not in words. So he began drawing to communicate with Ellis. A few months later they had a life changing breakthrough when Ellis began drawing back!

In 2006 Jason began reproducing Ellis’ drawings with glass paint, placing the art in shadow boxes and giving each piece its own unique story. All themes revolve around succeeding in life’s challenges and the joy of connecting with others.

The Big Blue Hug supplies foundations across Canada with unique and custom inspirational awards and appreciation gifts. The art is a paradigm shift towards a more contemporary and people-centric way of giving thanks.

Jason is a 2002 graduate of the Dawson Industrial Design Program. Not only did Jason’s education at Dawson teach him the design skills he needed to develop his gifting art but Jason also credits his Dawson education with the discovery of drawing as a powerful communication medium.

The Big Blue Hug received national media attention through interviews with CBC (Montrealer of the week), CJAD, and CTV. Jason received an award for his contribution to the Montreal autism community from the Montreal Autism Awareness Gala 2011 and The Big Blue Hug has been awarded Le Concours québécois en entrepreneuriat 2007, Montreal West.

Register for the panel discussion with Jason.

Francis Gosselin
Founding partner of f. & co,
Francis Gosselin

Francis holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Strasbourg. A HEC Montréal graduate in International Business, he has worked with several administrative bodies in Canada, France and the United States, in the fields of economic and cultural development. His dissertation focused on
bureaucratic creativity within large international organizations. In France, he was editor-in-chief of La Gazette Cournot, a monthly publication focused on economic, political and social affairs. He has been the “creative community manager” of the MosaiC HEC Montréal platform for several years. He has also organized and managed the Fall School on Management of Creativity in Strasbourg. Writer, avid blogger and keynote speaker, Francis is the Editor in Chief of
cllbr.com, an ambassador for the C2-MTL business conference and the Head of Content of Creative Mornings/Montréal.

Register for Francis’ presentation.

Elliot Grove
Raindance Festival
(Indie films)
Elliot Grove

Canadian born Elliot Grove was prevented from seeing movies due to his Amish background. He landed in London England and decided to try a thought experiment: Can you make a movie with no experience, no money and no training? His first intern was Edgar Wright, and a few years later he worked with Christopher Nolan.

He’s managed to learn from his mistakes. Through his efforts and vision has sprung Raindance, the oldest and largest independent film festival in Europe, and the British Independent Film Awards.

Elliot has written 3 industry-standard filmmaking textbooks and teaches filmmaking on three continents. In 2009 he was awarded a PhDd in film education.

Register for Elliot’s presentation.

François Haguel
Agency Lead, Google

François Haguel is an Agency Lead at Google Canada. Prior to joining Google in January 2013, he spent over a decade providing digital marketing consulting to Canadian advertisers and agencies, among others at Cyberpresse.ca (La Presse) and Olive Media. He now manages relationships between Google’s large advertiser sales organization and ad agencies across the country.

Nathalie Hazan
Founder, Raison d’art

Over the past 15 years Nathalie has been working as an artist and a professional therapist, all with a penchant for social entrepreneurship. Her love for art and positive connection are the driving forces behind raison d’art™. Nathalie’s newest venture is the 3arts Project, which draws people together to prevent violence in schools. Nathalie holds a Bachelors of Arts from Concordia University (Canada), and a Masters in Art Therapy from Norwich University (USA) and is a Marital and Family Therapist, with post graduate training from The Institute of Family and Community Psychiatry (Canada). She is the creator of art walls all around the world.

Register for the panel discussion with Nathalie.

David Hodges
Artist, Producer, Motivational Speaker, Youth Worker, Entertainer, Community Leader

David Hodges is a hip-hop producer and music educator from Montreal, Quebec. He encourages creativity and passion and has been actively building his social enterprise for 5 years. David travels to 50 schools yearly and provides a sustainable music program that offers youth the opportunity to create their own songs and market them into the public world. As an extension to his educational approach for young Quebecers, David works with the Cree Nation Government and has built a platform for young Native youth to be heard. His project N’we Jinan Eeyou Istchee Volume 1, which brought together 9 communities and over 70 artists, went number 1 on the iTunes Charts in Canada and was also featured on CBC’s The National. David continues to bring his mobile studio to communities across our nation and is now venturing with several non-profits, sitting on the council of a shared charitable foundation and has started operating as a label with major distribution. www.notrehome.ca

Register for David’s presentation.

Selmen Horchani
SAJE accompagnateur d’entrepreneurs

Selmen Horchani has always been surrounded by entrepreneurs. He comes from an entrepreneurial family. Since the 19th century, the Horchani family have been producing and exporting dates as well as marketing smoked salmon from the North Sea.

In 2004, Selmen made his own leap into entrepreneurship by creating an importing and marketing network dealing with hair removal wax for women in Quebec. He then continued his studies while working as a teaching assistant in the International Management program. Also during this time, Selmen was part of the leadership and entrepreneurship group at McGill. In 2009, after completing his MBA in strategic business management, he became a financial advisor. In this role, Selmen assessed the financial needs of individuals and businesses.

Selmen always had the desire to help others, a value which he picked up from his father, a world expert in water resources and who has made water more accessible in needy regions. It was then, in 2010 that Selmen joined SAJE as a training consultant in the Training-Start up department to help entrepreneurs get on their feet.

Entrepreneurs love Selmen’s energy, and his optimistic way to always see the positive side of things. His ability to understand difficult-to-grasp concepts, such as financial forecasts, is also a trait that makes Selmen an appreciated trainer.

Since joining SAJE, Selmen has helped more than 180 entrepreneurs.

He continues to specialize in the development of business plans through a postgraduate degree in entrepreneurship at McGill University. In this program, he has had to manage entrepreneurial projects in the field of technology and the environment.

Gert Janssens
Founder, Ferme D’ORée
Gert Janssens

Gert Janssens is an economics teacher at Dawson College. He holds Master’s degrees in Economics (with great distinction) and Education. He is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Administration (quantitative methods) at HEC Montreal. Together with his wife Sarah, his children Rosalie and Camille and the help of many international volunteers he operates an alternative family farm in the Eastern Townships. The Ferme D’ORée Farm produces grass-fed beef, pastured lamb, woodlot pork and unpasteurised honey. The Ferme D’ORée Farm operates under the principles of environmental agriculture. Almost all produce is sold directly local clients and clients in Montreal via the farm website www.fermedoree.com.

Register for the panel discussion with Gert.

Mélanie Joly – Eweek Host
Lawyer, Management Consultant

Melanie Joly

Mélanie Joly est avocate, entrepreneure, auteure et conférencière. Elle a été candidate à la mairie de Montréal aux élections du 3 novembre 2013. Jusqu’alors peu connue du grand public, elle a su, au terme d’une campagne innovatrice, créer la surprise en remportant 26,5% des voix, soit en obtenant l’appui de plus de 123 000 électeurs et faisant élire huit (8) de ses conseillers. .

Récemment, Mélanie a publié son premier essai politique intitulé Changer les règles du jeu. Cet essai se veut un cri du cœur pour réformer notre monde politique afin qu’il soit plus adapté aux grands défis de notre époque, soit les changements climatiques, la révolution numérique et la croissance des inégalités.

Auparavant, Mélanie a travaillé de 2009 à 2013 à titre d’associée directrice à la tête du bureau de Montréal de l’agence de communication internationale Cohn & Wolfe. Avant de faire le saut vers les communications, Mélanie a pratiqué quelques années à titre d’avocate. Dans ce contexte, Mélanie a alors agi à titre de procureur à la défense devant la Commission Gomery pour le Groupe Polygone/Expour.

Selon Mélanie, les affaires sans la philanthropie sont dénuées de sens. De 2008 à 2013, elle siège au sein d’une douzaine de conseils d’administration, de la Régie des Rentes du Québec à la Fondation du CHUM et au Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, où elle peut contribuer à faire avancer des causes qui l’interpelle profondément. Elle a également été membre de l’Entrepreneur Organization (EO).

Interpelée par tout ce qui l’entoure, Mélanie s’implique également dans l’avancement des idées. Deux groupes de réflexion naissent sous son impulsion : Génération d’idées, un groupe de réflexion politique qui vise à donner une voix aux 20-35 ans et M-19, un think tank portant sur l’avenir de Montréal. Elle a été nommée parmi les Femmes de l’année en 2008 et 2013 par le magazine ELLE Québec, les « Femmes qui feront bouger le Québec » par le Journal Les Affaires en 2009 et les jeunes femmes leaders de demain par La Presse en mars 2013. Elle a élue personnalité municipale de l’année en décembre 2013 par les auditeurs de Yé pas trop tôt, de la radio de Radio-Canada.

Mélanie est membre du Barreau du Québec, diplômée en droit (distinction) de l’Université de Montréal et détient une maîtrise en droit européen et comparé à l’Université d’Oxford (bourse Chevening).

Geoff Kloos – Eweek Host
Communications Officer at Dawson College

Geoff Kloos

With an academic background in Urban Studies, Public Relations and Education from Concordia, McGill and Université de Sherbrooke respectively, Geoff has had a habit of bouncing around the College holding a variety of positions. He’s worked as an Academic Advisor in Academic Systems, an Education Advisor in the Office of Instructional Development, and now works with an awesome team in the Communications Office in event planning and media relations. Though he has yet to actually run an enterprise, he recently attended a Comiccon lecture by Sir Patrick Stewart, who actually piloted THE Enterprise.

Louise Kralka – Dawson’s Den Judge
Chairman of the Board of Governors, Dawson College and
Vice-President, Sales and Marketing at PDI (Phipps Dickson Integria)

Louise Kralka

Louise Kralka is Vice-President, Sales and Marketing at PDI (Phipps Dickson Integria), the largest independent printer in Montreal.

Mrs. Kralka has participated in many speaking engagements in conjunction with initiatives of the ‘Ministère de l’industrie et de commerce’ in New York and Boston. She has presented sessions at print conferences in the United States, Ottawa and Montreal. Louise has also presented at the Institut des communications graphiques during their conference on environmental responsibility in Montreal.

Louise has been a moderator for a Webinar series with Idealliance in the USA and during her tenure as Chair for the Canadian Print Industries Association, she has also moderated panels at their print conference in Halifax, N.S. An avid communicator, Louise has also written several articles for various print trade magazines.

Since 2009 she has volunteered on the Board of Governors at Dawson College as the enterprise representative and in June 2014, Louise was elected to the position of Chair of this same board.

With over 28 years of experience on the front line with clients, Mrs. Kralka knows how important it is for a supplier to understand his or her clientele and to be able to react quickly to their changing demands. Mrs. Kralka is still passionate about the print industry and is committed to bringing all the necessary elements together to ensure the healthy continuation of this important industry.

Dan Laxer – Eweek Host
Content Provider, writer, radio announcer, voice artist, media liaison, teacher
Dan Laxer

Dan Laxer is best known to Montrealers as the writer and co-host of The Trivia Show on CJAD. He’s been a broadcaster for the better part of the past two decades. He is also a writer, a freelance content provider, a columnist for the Montreal Times, and he dabbles in stand-up comedy.

Dan has been working in the media in one form or another for the better part of the past two decades. I’ve been a broadcaster, a researcher/producer, a freelance writer (columnist, blogger, and copywriter), a teacher, and a stand-up comedian. In that time, writing has been the one constant that has tied his career together.

So, what, in the parlance of our time, is a “content provider”? Somebody other than a writer came up with the term “content.” It refers to just about anything creative, be it writing, graphics, or broadcasting. It refers to that which is contained, the stuff inside, the important stuff, like the creamy middle in an Oreo Cookie. Content is what people listen to on the radio, it’s what viewers watch on television, and it’s what your clients look for on your website.

The key to good content is in knowing what to say, and knowing how to say it. You know what you want to say. I know how to say it. Free yourself up to do what you do best, and let me help you put your business into words.

Vincent Leclerc
CTO, PixMob
Vincent Leclerc

Vincent leads PixMob’s hybrid team of design magicians & hardcore engineers. From experience design to rapid prototyping, all the way to mass-manufacturing, his gang is hard at work reinventing the future of crowd interaction.

Vincent holds a Master in Media Technologies from the legendary M.I.T. Media Lab. He has been designing and developing interactive technologies for over 15 years.

His work has been published in numerous journals and magazines such as Wired, ID Magazine, ACM SIGCHI, Rhizome, MAKE, Core77 and others. He has taken part in several important art exhibitions in New York, San Jose, London, Montreal, Shanghai, Vancouver, etc. In his spare time, Vincent also teaches Physical Computing at Concordia University.

Register for Vincent’s presentation.

Mikhail Levkovsky
Founder, Spoil
Mikhail Levkovsky

Mikhail worked, as a QA at EA Mobile, was a teaching assistant at Concordia University and lead the web development for their School of Graduate Studies. He holds a degree in B.Eng. in Software as well as a technical degree in Computer Science from Dawson College. Prior to founding Spoil, he founded a company called Airborne. Airborne allowed people to view curated itineraries from Montreal’s top celebrities (i.e. Alexandre Bilodeau, Normand Laprise, Charles Hamelin…). While the product in itself was good, he and his team quickly realized the drawbacks of monetizing Airborne. It was important to know when to realize failure, cut your sunk costs and take another opportunity when it is presented.

His current company Spoil allows people to send gifts in an extremely easy and convenient manner. Whether you want to say “thank you”, “I love you” or “pleasure doing business” Spoil is the easiest way to send a high quality gift without any hassle. We are bringing back that moment of joy and excitation of being a kid on Christmas!

Register for the panel discussion with Mikhail.

LP Maurice
CEO, Busbud
LP Maurice

LP Maurice is the CEO & co-founder of Busbud, a venture-backed e-commerce startup focused on intercity bus travel. Previously, LP worked in Silicon Valley at Yahoo, LinkedIn and Radar Networks (acquired) in product management, marketing and business development. LP holds an MBA from Harvard University, a Master’s degree in Corporate Law from the University of Montreal and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from HEC Montreal. LP is co-director of the Founder Institute in Montreal and managing director of seed investment fund Interaction Ventures. He is also the co-founder of Entrepreneurs Anonymous, Startup Open House and non-profit project GeoDonation. LP mentors at Founder Fuel, Startup Weekend, The Next 36 and Institut du Nouveau Monde. LP is a 2014 NYC Venture Fellow and recently spoke at TedX. He also serves as VP of theHBS Club of Montreal and the Harvard Club of Quebec. LP is based in Montreal and New York City.

Register for LP’s presentation.

Josh Miller – Eweek Host & Dawson’s Den Judge
Partner, Fuller Landau LLP
Josh Miller

Josh Miller has been learning and assisting entrepreneurs his entire professional career, which began in 1989 with Fuller Landau, a chartered professional accountancy and business advisory firm.  Josh’s experience with privately held companies ranges from startups with just an idea in someone’s head to long-standing multi-generational businesses, from sectors such as textiles to consultants, importers/exporters to retailer/wholesalers, local to international. Be it a traditional bricks and mortar operation or online activities, Josh’s goal remains the same, to help entrepreneurs make their business better.

Josh also co-hosts Today’s Entrepreneur — Fuller Landau’s radio program on CJAD800 . The show highlights inspiring stories from Quebec entrepreneurs, and he has interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs about the good, the bad and the ugly of their ongoing business experiences.

…and Josh is an entrepreneur himself as one his roles as partner at Fuller Landau is to help with the ongoing operations and strategic plans for the firm.

Bess Pappas
President and Creative Director, Pappas Design Studio
Bess Pappas

Bess Pappas, a native Montrealer, has been in the design business for 30 years. After graduating from the Interior Design program at Dawson College in Montreal in 1984, she worked as a designer and then partner for Camdi International Design, a trailblazing Montreal based interior design firm that pierced the shopping centre design industry, which had been dominated by architects at the time.

After having worked at Camdi International for 9 years she started Pappas Design Studio, a boutique design firm that specialized in retail, shopping centre and food retail design projects. Having secured contracts with major supermarket and shopping centre clients early on, Pappas Design Studio continued to develop a blue chip clientele in this area of expertise and now counts many of the major Canadian commercial real estate developers as regular clients. Her firm is now recognized as one of Canada’s leading design firms in this niche industry. Over the years, she has assembled a diverse, talented and creative team to bring her client’s dreams to reality.

Register for the panel discussion with Bess.

Caithrin Ritoul
Food+Tech Entrepreneur and CEO, Provender
Caithrin Ritoul

Cai is a food and tech entrepreneur and speaker, currently the CEO of Provender, farm-to-fork marketplace based in Montreal, QC.

Cai has extensive experience with the production and distribution of local food as a former co-director of the Marché Fermier. He has also worked with Lufa Farms as a consultant and later Product Manager. He has managed the distribution of over 1000 weekly produce baskets destined for consumers in Montreal, acted as a consultant on the topic of urban agriculture in Canada, leading workshops and seminars in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver on the influence of Urban Agriculture on cities, and leveraged this expertise to win a global competition to design a system for Plantagon in Sweden involving waste-to-energy conversions from biogas facilities to greenhouse agriculture.

Cai caught the startup bug and founded Provender in 2013 with Kyra and Jeff after two years of debate and discussion around the role of technology in food systems.

He loves competitive show jumping, Moksha Yoga, making stuff from scratch, permaculture, Wendell Berry, and the blossoming tech scene in Montreal.

Register for the panel discussion with Caithrin.

Anthony W. Shannon
Founder, CEO, TuneStars
Anthony W. Shannon

Anthony Shannon makes links between people and disruptive technology. His goal is to work on game changing, niche-specific software projects that have the potential to solve big problems, while raising efficiency at a worldwide scale. He helps tech startups achieve their long- or short-term objectives in development, growth, business development/sales, financing and HR.

Anthony is driven by change and is always enthusiastic about discovering new technologies with potential for disruption.

Register for Anthony’s presentation.

Augusto Soleto
Entrepreneur, Board Member, Startup Advisor

Anthony W. Shannon

Augusto is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and a father of two. He has extensive experience in business development and has co-founded and managed multi-million dollar start-ups. His area of expertise include bootstrapping, venture funding and acquiring & selling companies. He has accrued many failures and successes over 15 years of work experience in international business, joining and building amazing multi-disciplinary & multi-cultural teams. He had worked, lived and studied in four continents.

A creative & analytical thinker, engaging communicator, innovative marketer and avid advocate of entrepreneurship, he is drawn to disruptive business models and is passionate about technology start-ups, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy (impact investing), coding, strategic planning, M&A, venture capital and value investing.

Augusto is currently involved in a number of non-profit organizations, in advisory, consulting & coaching roles.

Register for Augusto’s presentation.

Robert Soroka – Eweek Host
Business Professor
Robert Soroka

Business professor Robert Soroka is known to be a dynamic, charismatic speaker with significant industry experience and an eye for business ideas. Professor Soroka teaches business and law courses at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business, Concordia University’s School of Extended Learning, and Dawson College’s Business Administration Department. At Dawson College, he has previously served as both Department Chair and Program Coordinator; he is also the founder and Coordinator of the annual Dawson Case Competition, an event that features 26 college teams hailing from across Quebec.

Professor Soroka has made more than 1200 national and local television and radio guest appearances, and was the Consumer Cop on Montreal Today (CTV) and the Consumer Correspondent on This Morning Live (Global Television) for 5 years. As a private consultant, Professor Soroka has been called on to offer his marketing and management expertise to large private and public institutions, as well as to entrepreneurial ventures competing in both consumer and business markets.

Ingrid Vanderveldt
Chairman and CEO of EBW2020
Ingrid Vanderveldt

“I believe if we’re going to get our global world where we want it to be, we really need to do it through a new set of eyes. The eyes of women.”

Women are one of the fastest growing economic forces across the globe, owning more businesses than ever and controlling 70% of global spending. With her platform of “Empowering a Billion Women By 2020,” & working with companies like Dell, The United Nations Foundation, Northwestern Mutual and Forbes- Ingrid Vanderveldt intends to provide women around the world with the tools, technology and resources they need to see themselves as leaders, but also, as successful entrepreneurs. In this talk, Ingrid will speak about empowering women globally, focusing on three main areas: 1) Business 2) Policy and 3) Media, including the important tools of mentorship, financial literary, confidence, and more.

Ingrid Vanderveldt (iV) is the Chairman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020). Previously, she was the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (“EIR”) for Dell Inc. where she oversaw entrepreneurial initiatives worldwide helping to build a $250 million business segment and founded the $125M Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell Founders Club, and the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs during her 3-year term.

iV sits on the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council, is a Managing Partner of Belle Capital, founding organizer of the GLASS Forum (Global Leadership & Sustainable Success), and co-founder of The Billionaire Girls Club. She also created and hosted CNBC’s first original primetime series, “American Made,” reaching over 1M viewers around the globe and serves on the Advisory boards of Springboard Enterprises, Current Motor, and is a Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) Member.

iV has been featured on outlets including NBC, CNBC, FOX, ABC, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNN Money, Fortune Magazine, Fast Company, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. She holds a Masters in Architecture at the Savannah College of Art & Design and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from UT at Austin.

Register for Ingrid’s presentation.

Nathalie Voland – Dawson’s Den Judge, Speaker & Prize Sponsor
President, Gestion immobilière Quo Vadis Inc.
Natalie Voland

Nathalie Voland has been working outside of the traditional real estate box for the last 20 years. With her social work background, she has created a unique vision to leverage real estate projects as a tool of economic development and rebuilding of surrounding communities through her company Gestion immobilière Quo Vadis Inc. Valuing history, she builds with the future in mind, constantly adapting to the market fluctuations, her clients’ needs, and the pursuit of sustainable growth encompassing environmental, social and economic needs of city building.

As a Quebec leader in social innovation through “Benefit Corporation Certification”, Natalie works collaboratively with strategic partners to redevelop areas of Montreal, notably the South West, and Griffintown. She holds a portfolio of approx. 1.5 million square feet with over 500 small and medium businesses. Value added services for entrepreneurs are developed in her asset class including event spaces, art galleries, fitness centres, restaurants, daycare services and incubators to support her global vision of creating a harmonious eco-system for the entrepreneur class to continue educative initiatives and organically grow her future clients.

Natalie sits on several boards and advisory committees including the Quartier de l’innovation initiative, led by McGill University and ÉTS, to promote “learning through action” through her real estate offerings and is an active judge and speaker on sustainability and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Tristan Williams
Founder, Tristan WilliaMS Foundation
Tristan Williams

Tristan Williams is 24 years old, and he is a young entrepreneur. At the age of 21 Tristan started his own non-profit organization called The Tristan WilliaMS Foundation to provide support, educational resources, and to raise awareness for young adults living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Tristan has spent many years of his life dealing with the effects of coping and living with chronic illness. At the age of 12 Tristan was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, at the age of 19 he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and at 21 he was diagnosed with cancer for a second time.

Through his experience living with disease, Tristan learned to harness the power of optimism and opportunity. He is an individual who chooses to create opportunities out of defeat.

At this stage of Tristan’s journey, he is embarking upon a new chapter in his life as a public speaker. As Tristan continues to share his story, he is committed to providing light, love, honesty, truth, and inspiration. He can testify that with support, dedication and faith, anything is possible.

Register for the panel discussion with Tristan.

Nick Younes
Co-Founder and Creative Director of the IX entertainment collective
Nick Younes

Launched in 2006 as a special events company, today Indecent Xposure (IX) continues to showcase what really matters to young adults through various digital and traditional platforms in fields such as music, fashion and nightlife culture. IX was conceived at Dawson College and is now primarily an online publication and social media business based out of Toronto, New York & Montreal,catering primarily to the 17 – 28 age demographic.

Nick Younes is 25 years old and has accomplished much more than anyone else would at his age. He has a background in Film Studies, and is also certified as an instructor/technician for Apple products. He also works as a freelance consultant in the music industry for emerging acts and talents for major labels such as Universal Canada and Sony Music. When it comes to entrepreneurship, nothing will ever stop him from accomplishing any goal he sets his mind to.

Register for the panel discussion with Nick.

Last Modified: June 4, 2015