Alex Benay - CIO, Canada

Alex is a Deputy Minister at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Chief Information Officer of Canada.

Prior to his appointment in April 2017, Alex was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation since July 2014.

From 2011 to 2014, Alex was Vice-President of Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText. In this position, he played a leadership role in Canada’s digital industry, as well as in promoting the global shift to digital in organizations such as the G20, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Olympics. Before joining OpenText, Alex managed various teams and programs at the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Library and Archives Canada.

Alex has a B.A. in History from the University of Ottawa.. He was recently named to Apolitical’s international list of the 100 most influential people in digital government. He is also the author of Canadian Failures, an anthology of essays from prominent Canadians openly talking about failure, and Government Digital, an in-depth look at how modern governments are tackling digital change.

Dr. Laura Copeland - Chief Medical Information Officer, Healthtech

Laura is a medical informatics specialist and physician, and former the Director of Medical Innovation and Transformation at Humber River Hospital, the first fully digital hospital in North America, and the first Canadian Hospital to recruit a humanoid robot were she was responsible for the change management, and leading 600+ physicians from a predominantly paper-based world into North America’s first fully digital hospital.

Dr. Copeland is also a strong advocate for the adoption of technology in healthcare (including the use of Robots, Automated Guided Vehicles etc. to increase performance and create efficiencies), as well as proficient in change management techniques. She has experience in designing, building and leading technology change in multiple hospitals, including North America’s first digital hospital. She is a practicing medical psychotherapist and brings much of her experience from her clinical practice to inspire change within organizations.

She has been an emergency medicine physician and medical informatics specialist for over a decade. She attended Ohio State University for medical school and the Cleveland Clinic for residency, where she was in the first wave of students to begin electronic documentation. Subsequently, she became the Director of Billing and Compliance for the Cleveland Clinic Emergency Services Institute and completed her MBA.

She is also a member of the Organizational Excellence Council, Strategic Information Technology, and Change Advisory Board.

Claudette McGowan - CIO, Enterprise Technology Employee Experience, BMO

Claudette is an award-winning, globally-focused information technology leader with more than 17 years of success leading digital transformation, optimizing infrastructure and designing new approaches that improve service experiences. As a vice president in Technology and Operations at BMO Financial Group, Claudette has led more than 1000 IT professionals in the planning, engineering and support of workplace technologies.

In addition to being the technology leader for the new BMO Urban Campus opening in 2020, Claudette’s primary focus is to co-create solutions with BMO employees that will radically enable them to deliver for customers and the community. Her achievements at BMO have been numerous; she is credited with developing a multi-year workplace technology strategy that resulted in modernizing the tools and support for all 45,000 employees. In 2017, Claudette designed and launched the first Women in Technology affinity group at BMO.

Claudette began her IT career in healthcare at Wellesley Hospital. She later joined the Computing and Telecommunications Division at the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services. Before joining BMO, Claudette spent 4 years at Deloitte where she was a key member of the Technology Management Team.

Claudette holds a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Arts from Lakehead University. In addition, she is a Certified Change Management Practitioner (Prosci Canada), Business Coach from CTA-International Coach Federation, has a Masters Certificate in IT Management from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University/Schulich School of Business.

Married and a mother of two, Claudette's commitment to the community is evident in her passion for literacy and everything technological. Claudette has authored five books and in partnership with First Book Canada and other leading corporations, Claudette launched the Black Arts and Innovation Expo (BAIE) as a novel way to celebrate Black History Month. The BAIE promotes diversity and inspires excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics by showcasing the outstanding achievements of current innovators in the arts, entrepreneurship and technology. Her work has played a pivotal role in launching the first innovation centre in Aurora, Ontario.

Claudette is a recipient of a 2014 Green4Good Visionary award and in 2015 she was hailed as a BBPA Exchange - Woman of Honor and among the Top 100 Black Women to watch in Canada.

Armughan Ahmad - President & Canadian Managing Partner, Digital and Technology Solutions, KPMG

Armughan is a technology executive with 25 years of experience delivering digital and technology solutions globally by building diverse teams that digitally engineer business functions and deliver client outcomes across all industry segments with next generation technology solutions.

Armughan is a passionate driver of digital economy and a dot connector transforming industries by bringing together a complete eco-system of government policies, start-ups, technology alliances, research and academic next generation talent to commercialize offers that advance human and machine collaboration in the 4th industrial revolution.

Armughan has delivered award winning innovative Cloud, Data, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Mobility and Security solutions aligned to clients' front, middle and back office business functions across North American, European and Asian markets.

Prior to joining KPMG Armughan served as the Global Senior Vice President & General Manger at Dell EMC leading their solutions, cloud and alliances business. He previously held executive positions at Hewlett Packard and 3Com building world class teams that are powering the Fortune 500 and commercial industries.

Armughan advises numerous start-ups and scale-up companies, he also serves on non-profit boards as a passionate promoter of girls education in STEM, mental health and refugee resettlement programs.

Dr. Ann Cavoukian - Distinguished Expert-in-Residence - Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence, Ryerson University

Recognized as one of the world’s leading privacy experts, Dr. Ann served an unprecedented three terms as the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada. There she created Privacy by Design, a framework that seeks to proactively embed privacy into the design specifications of information technologies, networked infrastructure and business practices, thereby achieving the strongest protection possible. In 2010, International Privacy Regulators unanimously passed a Resolution recognizing Privacy by Design as an international standard. Since then, PbD has been translated into 40 languages..

She is presently the Distinguished Expert-in-Residence, leading the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence at Ryerson University. Dr. Cavoukian is also a Senior Fellow of the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre at Ryerson University, and a Faculty Fellow of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Dr. Cavoukian is the author of two books, “The Privacy Payoff: How Successful Businesses Build Customer Trust”, with Tyler Hamilton, and “Who Knows: Safeguarding Your Privacy in a Networked World”, with Don Tapscott.

The numerous awards she has received which recognize her leadership in privacy include: being named as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada, among the Top 10 Women in Data Security and Privacy, one of the ‘Power 50’ by Canadian Business, one of the Top 100 Leaders inIdentity; the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General of Canada for her outstanding work on creating Privacy by Design and taking it global (May, 2017); being named as one of the 50 Most Impactful Smart Cities Leaders, (November, 2017), among the Top Women in Tech, (December, 2017). Most recently, she was awarded the Toastmasters District 60 Communication and Leadership Award, (April, 2018).

Benoit Hardy-Vallée - Associate Partner, Canadian Lead – HR Reinvention, IBM.

Benoit Hardy-Vallée leads a team of consultants who reinvent HR by enhancing operating models and the employee experience. Through Design Thinking and Digital Change Management, his team brings the best IBM methods and technologies to clients. Benoit consults with HR leaders to envision the art of the possible and to co-create new ways of engaging employees and enabling performance.

Benoit has worked with banking, retail, hospitality and industrial clients in North America, Middle East and Africa. Through white papers, publications, interviews and speaking engagements, Benoit shares his knowledge and contributes to IBM thought leadership in Digital and Cognitive HR.

Benoit received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Quebec in Montreal. He completed his doctorate in philosophy and cognitive science from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), and a post-doctorate fellowship at the University of Waterloo and University of Toronto. His research focused on the understanding of psychological and neural mechanisms that underlie economic decision-making.

With his wife Aurélie, he raises 2 amazing girls (Estelle and Adèle) in Toronto. His personal and professional missions are the same: to create workplaces where his daughters could have fulfilling careers – despite the seismic changes in technology, society and business.

Benoit’s childhood hero was Leonardo Da Vinci.

Hessie Jones - Director, International Council on Global Privacy and Security by Design

Hessie is a seasoned digital strategist, author, tech geek and data junkie. She has spent the last few decades on the internet in banking, publishing platforms and tech start-ups including Yahoo!, Citi, CIBC, Aegis Media, Cerebri, OverlayTV, and Rapp Collins.

Hessie is the co-author of ‘EVOLVE: Marketing (as we know it) is Doomed!’, a collection of essays, articles, and other content about how marketing has changed and what to do about it. She saw the rise of social and digital platforms disrupt marketing and set out to understand out how the new market dynamics would impact corporate environments- in process, in culture and in mindset- forever.

Passionate about helping companies adapt to change, Hessie founded ArCompany, which advocates AI readiness, education and ethical distribution of AI.

She contributes regularly to publications such as Forbes, Towards Data Science and Cognitive World; and is a cellist, MBA guest lecturer, wife, and hockey mom.

Maaz Rana - COO & Co-founder, Knockri.

Maaz is a champion of inclusion and belonging. His mission is to help eliminate unconscious hiring bias and equitably increase diversity in the workplace.

He is a keynote speaker and a co-contributor with LinkedIn on the Future of Work report “Now Hiring: The Skills Companies Want that Young Canadians Need.” In addition to being a leader in HR transformation and A.I ethics, Amnesty International has recognized him as a thought leader in “The Future of Work” and “Disruption of Artificial Intelligence”. Maaz is often asked to share his thoughts on topics covering Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, The Future of Work, HR transformation, as well as various topics concerning Artificial Intelligence, Disruption and Entrepreneurship.

Much of his time is spent as a Co-founder of Knockri, where he’s fortunate to realize his many passions. Knockri is an A.I. video Assessment tool - a leader in HR technology that has proved to equitably improve the gender and ethnic makeup of businesses, across various industries.

Knockri works with Fortune 500's and has been featured in numerous media outlets including: Forbes, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, Venture beat, CBC's National, The Globe and Mail, MaRs & Many other Notable Publications

Michelle Joliat - MD & Head, Wealth Digitization, Robotics, and Process Transformation, BMO

Michelle is the Managing Director and Head, Wealth Digitization, Robotics, and Process Transformation at BMO Financial Group. She founded the Wealth Management Robotics Team at BMO, and leads the Process Transformation team helping to redesign work across BMO.

She is the Accountable Executive responsible for leading the design, development, and execution of the Wealth Management Digitization Program strategic agenda across Canadian and US Private Banks, Nesbitt Burns, InvestorLine, and Product Operations. She is the Accountable Executive responsible for leading Wealth Management’s client facing Digital portfolio.

Prior to joining BMO in 2017, Michelle led Digital Transformation at RBC Wealth Management, where she launched the first Agile labs across RBC and built tools that wona Global Private Banking Award for the 'Best Initiative of the Year in relationship management technology 2015' (known as the most prestigious private banking award with over 190 submissions from over 60 countries). She was previously a management consultant for 17 years with Oliver Wyman and running her own firm focusing on strategy and operations at Fortune 100 companies.

She has been featured in publications such as the Canadian Banker and podcasts such as the Global Digital Banker. She has guest lectured at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University for the past 8 years and sat for five years on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Cancer Society.

She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from Queen’s University both in Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts - VP, Strategy & Innovation, George Brown College

As Vice-President, Strategy & Innovation, Dr. Rick Huijbregts oversees strategic planning and partnership development to ensure George Brown College remains well positioned to evolve and adapt for the digital and rapidly changing future. Before moving into his current role, Rick was an Executive-in-Residence at George Brown and Chair of the Building Automation Program Advisory Committee.

He is a thought leader in matters of innovation, digital transformation, and Smart Cities and serves on various Smart City advisory boards such as Toronto, Markham, and Vaughan. Rick is a faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design Executive Education where he focuses on Smart Cities, Smart Buildings, and Digital Transformation.

He spent 12 years with Cisco, most recently as Vice-President of Digital Transformation and Innovation at Cisco Canada, where he engaged in digitization and business development in many sectors, including education, health care, oil and gas, financial services and real estate. Prior to his VP role, Rick was General Manager for Cisco Canada's Smart + Connected Communities practice and he was Managing Director Americas, Internet of Everything (IoT) and Industry Solutions Acceleration.

In honour of his many contributions to the college, in 2017 he was granted an honorary Honours Bachelor of Technology (Construction Management). He was also was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his transformational work in municipal innovation in Canada.

Rick holds a Doctorate from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a Master’s of Science from Delft University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from the Tilburg Polytechnics College in the Netherlands.

Gillian Fischer - Global Manager of Customer Advocacy, MindBridge Ai

Gillian is the Global Manager of Customer Advocacy, where she empowers customers to embrace and adopt new AI technology within their organizations.

Previous to MindBridge Ai, she worked for IBM's Talent & Engagement practice, where she provided strategic, user-centric consulting services specializing in Digital Change Management, Employee Experience and Business Transformation.

Gillian has a wide range of change management, people and strategy experience, extending from leading complex process and systems transformations for a global company, to redesigning a digital operating model for a large financial institution.

She is passionate about engaging, inspiring and developing people, and brings this passion to her day-to-day engagements as a team member, mentor, board member and life-long learner. Outside of work she is an endurance athlete, a coffee lover, and an amateur painter.

Michael Gord - Founder and CEO, MLG Blockchain

Michael is focused on making blockchains and digital assets mainstream by working with enterprises, governments, universities, startups and in stitutions to educate, start and globally scale leading blockchain projects.He is also an advisor to the Blockchain Education Network, arobust global network of blockchain enthusiasts the Chamber of Digital Commerce Canada and several other blockchain ventures.

He has helped clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, across North America, Europe and Asia, develop their blockchain strategy and build decentralized applications using blockchains and smart contracts. And has also advised tokensale execution for clients around the world resulting in total raises of 200M+.

He holds a degree in Entrepreneurship,Marketing and Information Systems from the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, where he founded the McGill Crypto currency Clubandco - founded the McGill Students Fintech Association After graduating, Michael made the first donation of bit coin to the McGill Alumni Association.

Alex Weber - MC and Host

Alex is an Award-Winning Host, Motivational Comedian, and Keynote Speaker. Alex is also an American Ninja Warrior, World Record Holder, 5x TEDx Speaker, and one of the youngest coaches ever to be awarded US Lacrosse Coach of the Year honors.

Alex is an Award-Winning Host for NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, Under Armour, FX, Discovery Channel and more! As a professional entertainer, Alex is highly sought after for his unique impact on Companies, Organizations, and Pro Sports. Alex utilizes his riveting storytelling, captivating energy and bursting humor to empower audiences to propel past challenges to achieve their goals!


Host: Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, OliveBlue Inc.

Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta is Change Management and Leadership Consultant, Speaker. and Certified John C. Maxwell Leadership Coach & Teacher. Advising and supporting organizations to help them implement and transition through change.

She holds a BSc honours in Business Information Technology & Marketing from London Guildhall University, an MBA with Warwick Business School, England, and a Change Leadership Certificate from Cornell University

Yvonne is multifaceted, having worked with a variety of clients including JP Morgan Chase, Royal Bank Canada, Deloitte, Phillips Consulting, and General Motors to deliver strategic and business critical projects. During her time with these organisations, she led major projects, pioneered change, and gained invaluable experience in developing individuals and businesses to help them drive results.

Her global experience in Europe, Africa and North America has afforded her exposure to diverse business environments and a proficiency in thinking outside the box.

She is also a published Author, an Inspirational Speaker, and Change Catalyst who is passionate about helping individuals, entrepreneurs and organisations drive change and achieve their goals.

More information about Yvonne: www.yvonnerukeakpoveta.com

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