Silvia Fraser

Director of Workplace Strategies, ModernTO, City of Toronto

Silvia is the Director of Workplace Strategies, ModernTO Workplace Modernization, and an award-winning, thoughtful and energetic leader with the City of Toronto. Silvia is passionate about transforming and modernizing the workplace of Canada’s largest city by reimagining how people work.

Silvia has over 20 years of progressive leadership experience with the cities of Toronto and Mississauga in driving positive change through engagement. Highly skilled in helping high-performance teams develop intelligent workplace strategies, Silvia is adept at leading complex operations, transformative programs, including business strategies, transformation initiatives, and modernization, to help municipalities attain their strategic goals.

Karel Vredenburg

Global VP of Client Insights and Research, & Head, IBM Canada Studios & Innovation , IBM

Karel is IBM Global Vice President of Client Insights and Research, responsible for leading the company's worldwide team of researchers and the insights they provide to product, services, and executive teams. He was most recently responsible for IBM’s global design leadership, the company’s internal profession and culture of design, and the design organization’s external engagement and academic programs.

Karel introduced and implemented IBM's design system including Enterprise Design Thinking into each of the business units of the company globally and founded the Design Executive Team of senior design executives. He serves as the head of IBM Studios Canada, is Industry Professor at McMaster University, and co-founded the Future of Design Education initiative with Don Norman. Karel blogs on design, technology, and optimizing the human experience.

Brien Convery

Executive in Residence, University of Toronto Scarborough, Management

As the Executive in Residence, University of Toronto Scarborough, Management, Brien advances student development through teaching, mentorship and thought leadership; guest lecturers and advises on new programs, teaching methods and curriculum development; and promotes the advancement of Work-Integrated-Learning in partnership with faculty, research, career services and administration staff.

Brien has decades of global transformational change and values-based leadership experience in multiple industries including Consumer Products, Technology, Management Consulting Services, Human Resources, Financial Services and Banking, Construction, Real Estate and Higher Education.

As a talent executive, published thought leader, TEDx speaker, and podcaster, Brien has been featured in many publications, books, and magazines and has received numerous honours and awards for his work and passion supporting youth and their careers. Brien is a graduate of The University of Hartford, Connecticut holding a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations.

Zabeen Hirji

Executive Advisor Future of Work, Deloitte & Executive-in-Residence and Board Advisor

Zabeen is also a former Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC. She is a strategic advisor to the private and public sector. A thought leader in the Future of Work, talent, leadership, reskilling and upskilling, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, Zabeen is a frequent speaker, writer, and media commentator, bringing a practical perspective from her senior leadership experience. Currently in her Purposeful Third Act, she creates impact through activating her purpose “to unlock the potential of people and build inclusive prosperity.”

Her other roles include Senior Advisor at Knockri, Board Director at Sleep Country Canada, Executive-in-Residence at Beedie School of Business Simon Fraser University (SFU), Special Advisor to the Clerk of the Privy Council, Board Member at Public Policy Forum, and Visiting Professor, King’s College London.

She has been widely recognized for her impact, including Canadian HR Awards, Ivey Business School Lifetime Achievement in Leadership, Governor General's Meritorious Service medal for Diversity and Inclusion, SFU Outstanding Alumni Award, and Catalyst Canada Honour for championing women and minorities in business. Zabeen holds an MBA from SFU.

Dr. Dave Mayers

Chief Scientist, and HR & AI Adoption Expert. Knockri

Dave is a visionary and technology evangelist, spearheading groundbreaking research as the Chief Scientist at Knockri.  In his current role,  he works as a trusted domain expert focused on the adoption of automation in Human Resources - building trust in AI through transparency, accountability, and risk mitigation. With a deep understanding of workplace psychology and machine learning, he works with Fortune 100 clients to design and implement novel approaches to the automation of employee interviews, helping to solve issues related to efficiency, job performance, and discrimination in employee decision-making. 

He has worked on numerous research projects in the areas of job analysis, assessment development, and machine learning, culminating in numerous publications and presentations at leading industry conferences worldwide. His work is shaping the future of employee-decision making, enabling companies to leverage the power of technology while ensuring fairness and equality in their processes.  

Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta

Change Management Strategist & Founder, The Change Leadership

Yvonne is a Change Management Strategist, Advisor, and Change Leadership Advocate, with over 20 years of experience helping executives, professionals, and organizations to navigate through change in today’s fast-paced and disruptive environment. She is the founder of The Change Leadership, a series of events and community focused on preparing professionals and organization to respond better and faster to change in their industry.

She is passionate about helping professional and organizations lead and respond to change better & faster. She has worked with organizations such as RBC, TD, Deloitte, Loblaws, and JP Morgan Chase to lead and manage their Strategic, Technology and Change Initiatives.

She holds a BSc honours in Business Information Technology from London Guildhall University, an MBA from Warwick Business School, and a Change Leadership Certificate from Cornell University. She works closely with professionals to help them more effectively lead and manage change in their organizations, to become sought after change leaders in their organizations and industry. She is a published author and change catalyst.

Monique Crichlow

Executive Director, Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society

With a career that has thrived at the forefront of technological innovation, Monique Crichlow has extensive experience supporting transformational projects and brings with her expertise and skill in the areas of policy development, strategic planning, and multi-sector stakeholder engagement. Crichlow is the executive director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute, a research and solutions hub at the University of Toronto focused on powerful new technologies like artificial intelligence.

Monique was previously the Director of Strategic Engagement & Partnerships at Indoc Research, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to driving scientific innovation and research excellence. Prior to this role, she led strategic initiatives at Compute Ontario, a publicly funded organization that coordinates supercomputing for research. She has spent the last six years heavily focused and invested in promotion and use of advanced research technologies.

David Donaldson

VP & Partner, Leadership Pipeline Institute TEDx Speaker & Schulich ExecEd Faculty

David is a dynamic speaker, facilitator, trainer, consultant, and author with 25+ years supporting organizations in leadership development, change management, and adult learning; improving performance and resilience thereby enabling enterprise and individual transformations. A pilot, flight instructor, Safety Officer, horse breeder/trainer, hiker, and builder of kayaks, a man who works and lives in a world of continual learning.

David holds a Masters Certificate in Adult Training & Development (MCATD) from Schulich, Change Management Practitioner (CMP) Designation from APMG, a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is a Certified Training & Development Professional (CTDP). He is an active member of The Institute for Performance and Learning which demonstrates his ongoing commitment to development for himself and his students. David’s diverse training experience extends beyond the corporate setting.

Yahya Saad

Chief Digital Officer and Technology Strategist, GlobalDWS

Yahya Saad is a highly accomplished Chief Digital Officer and Technology Strategist with over 22 years of experience in various areas such as Data Architecture, CRM Technology, Data Acquisition, Risk Management Technology, Change Delivery, Project Management, Risk Management, and Business Architecture.  

Yahya’s passion for utilizing technology to drive digital transformation and foster business growth and opportunities is evident in his successful track record. Yahya possesses a strong skill set in project management, stakeholder management, client relations, and business strategy development. His extensive knowledge in IT Solutions Architecture, Enterprise Applications Development, new technology evaluation, and IT risk management further reinforces his qualifications.

Gregory Roth

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Harbinger SCR Inc.

Greg brings more than two decades of global change management, executive coaching, learning and management consulting experience. He began his career working with several top firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and IBM where he provided consulting services for several of the world’s leading brands like TetraPak, Centrica, Direct Energy, Air Canada, Petro-Canada and Bell Canada.  

As a Harbinger, Greg’s instincts, leadership and modern approach to change management has provided his clients with the blueprint needed for them to drive sustainable and effective business transformations. While he has achieved many milestones throughout his career, one of Greg’s greatest satisfactions comes from seeing his clients thrive and enable change by empowering their people, with and without titles, to lead change.

Hassaan Basit

Chief Executive Officer, Conservation Halton

Hassaan is a visionary leader with over 20 years of experience in the public sector. He is an expert in change management, digital transformation, governance, and business administration. He has advised both provincial and municipal governments, chaired provincial working groups, and is a member of Council for the University of Toronto, Mississauga.  

He is responsible for overseeing environmental regulations related to flooding hazards, managing a network of dams, and an extensive portfolio of conservation parks spread over 11,000 acres. His organization is home to a UNESCO biosphere reserve and attracts over 1.5 million visitors a year, including Ontario's third busiest ski hill.  

His focus on modernization and making green space accessible for everyone, especially with a EDI lens, has made Conservation Halton a leader in sustainability. He's dedicated to ensuring that green spaces are accessible and sustainable, especially in the face of a growing, diverse population and the increasing challenges posed by climate change and funding constraints.  

Hassaan is dedicated to ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy and protect our planet. His message to businesses is clear – by embracing change, we can create a sustainable future for all.

Amanda Cupido

Director of Talk & Talent, Corus Entertainment

Amanda is an award-winning podcast producer, radio executive, TEDx speaker, author, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Lead Podcasting, a full-service production company that specializes in developing podcasts for thought leaders and organizations. In addition, Amanda is the Director of Talk and Talent at 640 Toronto where she manages a team of producers and radio hosts.

Amanda's expertise in storytelling through audio formats has led her to train executives and professionals across the globe. She is a part-time university lecturer and has helped to redefine the radio courses at both Seneca College and Toronto Metropolitan University. Amanda believes that communication through audio formats helps to enhance human connection and hopes to inspire organizations to use audio storytelling to foster learning, growth and empathy.  

She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Masters in the Psychology of Leadership from Penn State University.

Shane Flynn

Director, Talent, Recruitment & Community

Shane oversees the talent development, community and recruitment programs across the DMZ. The department aims to build a pipeline of competitive tech talent to meet the hiring demands of startups, along with fostering entrepreneurial development in youth and new founders.

Shane has had the opportunity to grow and evolve in the startup ecosystem, much as the DMZ and Toronto have over the years. Today, Shane enjoys being able to mentor and guide the next generation of DMZ program staff, and working with founders on pursuing their startup dreams.  

Shane holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University. In his spare time, he enjoys attending music concerts, cheering on the various sports teams across Toronto, and every so often playing the latest video game release.

Ashna Nirula

Innovator & Disruptor, The Knowledge Society

Ashna is a high school student with a strong passion for promoting sustainable food systems in rural and developing areas. She has been involved in several projects that demonstrate her commitment to this cause, including the creation of an underwater farming prototype in her fish tank and the development of a field imaging classifier designed to detect diseases in tomato crops. Additionally, Ashna has written a comprehensive review on the climate impacts of cultured meat.

When she is not working on her projects, Ashna enjoys exploring topics related to biology, philosophy, and feminism. Her enthusiasm for learning has helped her develop a well-rounded perspective on the challenges facing the world today.

Ashna's work is a testament to her unwavering commitment to promoting sustainable food systems and finding innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems.

Pavi Dhiman

Innovator & Disruptor, The Knowledge Society

Pavi is a 16-year-old healthtech researcher who is passionate about creating a positive impact in the healthcare industry. Her focus is on building the health moonshot, which aims to revolutionize healthcare systems worldwide. Currently, Pavi is dedicating her time to building a voice-based biomarker system that uses AI to detect Parkinson’s disease with a simple voice recording.

Pavi’s strong drive and dedication towards this cause has led her to collaborate with some of the world’s largest companies in the industry. Her eagerness to learn and build has helped her gain invaluable experience in the field of healthtech.

Pavi’s work is a testament to her vision of transforming the status quo of healthcare systems around the world. She is a curious learner who is always on the lookout for innovative solutions to the world’s most significant problems. Pavi has her sights set on changing the world by making a significant impact in the healthcare industry.

Alexander Yevchenko

Innovator & Disruptor, The Knowledge Society

Alex is a 17-year-old based in Toronto, Ontario, who is deeply interested in the intersection of agriculture and artificial intelligence. His current project involves developing a drone and computer vision-based solution to detect and treat crop diseases in corn, potentially saving farmers millions of dollars in lost production.

Alex has a diverse range of interests, including quantum mechanics and philosophy, and has worked on various innovative projects. These include creating algorithms for quantum computers to predict the price of financial options, exploring wireless energy transmission in developing nations, and consulting with multinational corporations like CAE and IKEA. He also co-hosts a podcast called Collimator, where he shares insights into physics and technology.

Alex is fueled by his entrepreneurial spirit and a deep passion for technology. He is determined to create solutions that can make a positive impact on society.

Karen Sedore

Director, Organizational Development, William Osler

Karen is committed to advancing organizational competency and capacity for change, leading and supporting enterprise-wide initiatives. She has successfully implemented business transformation initiatives focused on maximizing efficiencies while maintaining service levels and ensuring a positive employee experience.

Karen’s focus on change management has ensured that organizational changes have been implemented well with lasting, positive impact, most recently at William Osler Health System where Karen leads a team focused on developing and implementing organizational improvements aimed at enhancing the employee experience. Prior to Osler, Karen worked in municipal government at the Region of Peel where she embedded change management as an organization-wide strategic capability.

As a founding member of the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP), Karen served as President of the Toronto Chapter for several years supporting the advancement of the discipline of change management in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Karen is committed to elevating the dialogue around change as a strategic discipline enabling organizational success.

Andrew McCartney

Senior Director, Client Management, Inkblot

For over 15 years, Andrew has directly supported clients in the mental health space. Working as a business development leader and account executive for clients ranging from start-ups to multinational organizations, he understands both the employee and employer experience. Before joining Inkblot, Andrew worked as a client relationship partner, providing integrated account management to some of Canada’s largest employers with multiple programs. Andrew’s specialty is in finding synergies among varied solutions and building strategy with clients to ensure ongoing alignment with larger mental health priorities.