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Topics and Speakers


Jeff MacInnis: The Business Race

Today, business is the biggest, most competitive race of all. Start-ups have begun to disrupt and displace legacy brands at a rapid rate, and the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company has dropped by more than half—with no signs of stopping. Every year, it seems like the amount of competitors in any given industry multiplies. So how can you stay ahead?

Jeff MacInnis knows a thing or two about racing, whether it be World Cup Downhill Skiing, the grueling Eco-Challenge race, or the 400-year race to be the first to sail the Northwest Passage. Through these experiences, MacInnis has developed six “Race Principles” that he applies to history, politics, and business. In this insightful, inspiring talk, he’ll show you how to leverage those lessons in day-to-day operations, ensuring your organization is leading, not lagging, in the race to be best.

About Jeff MacInnis 

Explorer, award-winning downhill skier, best-selling author and entrepreneur, Jeff MacInnis achieved a four-hundred-year-old impossible challenge when he led the first team to sail the Northwest Passage. This epic journey covered 4,000 kilometres over 100 days in an 18-foot boat–using only the wind and a dream as the sources of power. The expedition survived one of the harshest environments on the face of this planet, through an ice-choked passage that has claimed more lives than Mount Everest. 

Jeff has been involved in numerous grueling challenges including the Eco-Challenge, the World Championships of Expedition Racing, watched by over a billion people. He led his team through 500 km over nine days through dense rainforest, ancient caves and some of the most beautiful coral reefs on the planet. 

Using extraordinary footage, Jeff illustrates what it takes to go to the extreme and succeed. As a world-class speaker on teamwork, leadership and excellence, he has inspired, coached and motivated over 500 audiences in nine countries. 


Deborah Jann, Vice President, Connective Intelligence Inc.

Deborah is Vice President, Client Experience and Growth at Connective Intelligence Inc., an international management consultancy, where she draws on 20+ years of experience in HR and innovation consulting, adult education, psychometric assessment, leadership development, team effectiveness and culture transformation.

Deborah is a Master Facilitator in Effective Intelligence®, emotional intelligence, creative problem solving and resilience. She is also a trained Management Coach and Certified Assessor of numerous psychometric assessments.

Alongside the clients she serves at Connective Intelligence Inc., Deborah facilitates an Executive Peer Forum Group in Halton Region for Innovators Alliance and teaches resilience and emotional intelligence courses as an industry practitioner instructor at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, at York University. Deborah was recently featured in York University’s alumni magazine, where she discussed resilience during a pandemic and the current chaotic state of the economy.

A popular presenter and facilitator, Deborah has presented at the national conferences of Retail Council of Canada, Human Resources Professionals Association, Institute for Performance and Learning, Creative Problem Solving Institute, Municipal Innovators Community, and Women in Leadership and Business.

Deborah volunteers for Daily Bread Food Bank, Halton Region and Strategic Capability Network, where she serves as Strategic Advisor to the Board.


Brett Richards, PhD: A Road Map Forward to Transform, Innovate and Grow

To assess where to start takes a deep understanding of the intangible assets of your company and then the know how to have them work more effectively. The exciting news is that there is a tool that can help you with this – a crystal ball of sorts that can reveal the metrics needed to transform your company’s culture into improved business performance. In this episode, Brett shares with us those metrics; culture, leadership, execution and alignment, and how the game changing tool he developed, the Organizational Growth Indicator (OGI), makes these visible and tangible so an informed strategy for transformation and growth can ensue. 



  • The link between your company’s culture and improved business performance
  • The importance of common language and alignment in your company between leaders and to the strategy
  • How you can validate your gut feel regarding your company’s strengths and constraints to grow
  • How to generate better data to make better choices on where to put your resources and attention
  • The critical metrics the Organizational Growth Indicator will identify to help you build your road map to transform, innovate and grow your company

About Brett Richards

Brett is the founder and president of consulting firm Connective Intelligence Inc. A leading Master Trainer in Effective Intelligence®, an international business-based system designed to improve individual and team thinking skills, and system-wide collaboration, he brings more than 17 years of experience to the concepts of thinking and organizational intelligence within a business context. He has also served as a Master Trainer and Coach with the EQ-i® (emotional quotient inventory) and is the developer of Emotional Power®, a practical business-based model used to apply the concepts of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Brett is a senior facilitator for the Schulich School of Business at York University and holds a doctorate in Human Organizational Systems. 


Michelle Chambers: Business Resilience- Shifting From Surviving to Futureproofing

Resilience helps companies to recover quickly in times of disruption and become future ready.

During the pandemic, many companies have collapsed. Others are struggling to survive. And yet, some are thriving. What makes some companies more resilient than others is their ability to adapt, bounce back, reposition, and renew.  They have made the leap from old to new ahead of time.

In this session, you will learn three strategies for being resilient and futureproofing your business.

About Michelle Chambers

Michelle brings more than 25 years of proven and successful leadership, coaching, training and consulting experience, including work with three of Canada’s Top-50 employers, a Financial Post Top-100 organization and a Greater Toronto 2011 and 2013 Top-50 Employer. Michelle is an organization learning and development specialist with proven experience in leadership and culture development, team development, coaching, human resource strategy, strategic planning, customized training, change management and process facilitation. Michelle has worked with and supported clients in healthcare, the public sector, education, financial services, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, telecommunications and not-for-profit. In her last corporate role she was responsible for leadership development enterprise wide for Telus Mobility. 



Aleem Visram:  How Everyday Businesses Can Leverage Social Media to Grow and Brand Their Business

Social media has had dramatic effects on small and medium-sized businesses. Social platforms are leveling the playing field for organizations of all sizes, in just about every industry. Social is making and breaking small businesses, and earning big budgets of time and money in some of the largest corporations on the planet.

It’s an exciting and overwhelming time for small business owners. Social media is a big deal, and there are so many variables — from networks to strategies — that make it hard to get started.

In this session, you will learn how to create a powerful social media strategy. There are really only three things you have to do:

  1. Find your audience
  2. Create a killer social media plan
  3. Measure and maximize your results

About Aleem Visram

Aleem has experience in Marketing Management at several global fortune 100 companies, including Pfizer, American Express, Kraft, Novartis and Tata. He worked on the largest new product launch at Kraft Canada and has won the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) Award for best overall marketing campaign. Aleem won the Schulich School of Business Teaching Excellence Award in his first semester of teaching and was nominated in the Top 10 Faculty four times. He was appointed as Assistant Director at the Schulich Centre for Teaching Excellence, responsible for training new faculty. Aleem has a background in Marketing and Brand Management, New Product Development, Social Media and Consumer Behaviour. 


Kashif Khan: Three Strategies For Business Planning In Uncertain Times 

While you can’t predict everything that lies ahead, you can prepare for unexpected challenges. Conduct scenario planning as part of your company’s ongoing strategic process, outlining current, mid-term and future scenarios. For many businesses, an unprecedented worst case is unfortunately happening now, and those with detailed plans to fall back on are able to take quick, proactive steps to mitigate the crisis. 

In this session, you will learn three practical strategies that will help your company plan for uncertain times. 

About Kashif Khan 

Kashif Khan is an entrepreneur and investor who has built, run, and scaled businesses across a range of industries. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of My Next Health, a digital health company that uses precision medicine and digital therapeutics to develop genomics-based health management applications that offer patients genetic insights tailored to their unique biology. 

Kashif currently serves as the CEO of The DNA Company - an innovative provider of functional genomics solutions for personalized and preventative health and wellness. 

Kashif is also the co-founder and CEO of Youtrients, a company providing personalized supplement formulations based on unique DNA analysis. 


Ramy Nassar:   4 Ways to Become More Customer-Centric Through Design Thinking

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and has changed how companies interact with their customers. Businesses need to anticipate the needs of their customers, employees and communities as they navigate the altered experiences of today. This isn’t easy, given the fact that our behaviors, values and attitudes are still in flux.

Companies that cultivate an experience-driven approach to commerce, will have a huge advantage in the market. By designing for uncertain futures, organizations can increase sales, attract new buyers, and create and strengthen customer loyalty and brand identity. 

In this session, you will learn 4 ways to leverage design thinking to provide more impactful customer experiences.

About Ramy Nassar

As the former Managing Director of Design & Strategy for Architech and Head of Innovation for Mattel, Ramy has led diverse teams in the creation of disruptive new digital products, services & platforms. Ramy is the founder of 1000 Days Out and author of the upcoming AI Product Design Handbook. 

With a background in computer engineering and Design Thinking, Ramy has straddled technical, design, and business-oriented roles, for clients including Cadillac Fairview, Apple, Air Canada, Facebook, New Balance, Rogers and CIBC. 

Ramy teaches Design Thinking at McMaster University and in the Master's of Engineering, Innovation & Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University. Ramy is a regular speaker at international events including World Usability Congress, IxDA, FITC, AI Everything, Machine Learning Exchange, AI Business Summit and World Mobile Congress. 

Conversation with Leaders Panel

 Sean Stephens, CEO, Treefrog Inc.

Sean launched into the world of the web in 1997 when dot-coms were plentiful, and the rules were changing daily. He immersed himself in the technology of websites and servers, databases, and programming languages. In 2001, Sean moved into his current role as CEO of Treefrog Inc.

Sean is an active speaker and regularly speaks to groups about various subjects relating to Internet technologies. Drawing on his diverse background, technical knowledge, and creativity, Sean puts practical tips and ideas forward to help people learn how to grow their business.



John Crowell is Manager, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs at Magna International

John is responsible for Magna’s sustainability program, focused on environmental performance and target setting, ESG reporting, industry partnerships, and supply chain sustainability. John also manages Magna’s global social contributions and related HR programs, which support employees and communities in the 27 countries in which Magna operates.



Giancarlo Trimarchi, Partner, Vince's Market

Giancarlo is a second generation grocer and current President of Vince’s Market, which operates five independent grocery store locations in and around the GTA. Giancarlo oversees a group of 350 team members who strive to provide customers with a fresh food shopping experience, where quality food is delivered at fair prices in a convenient, clean and accessible manner. Giancarlo has been an active member of the grocery industry for the past several years and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. 




Joel MacCharles, Vice President of Learning and Innovation, Bill Gosling Outsourcing

Joel MacCharles has spoken to leaders around the world on topics including Leadership, Disruption, Innovation and Change. A best-selling author, TEDx Fellow and International Keynote Speaker. His current role has transformed his industry through re-imagining training, disrupting learning with tools such as automation, artificial intelligence and other technology. His approach to innovation focuses on quick wins which occur at the intersection of technology and humanity. 


Conversation among Entrepreneurs Panel

James Daigle, Ubiqweus

James Daigle is an entrepreneur who loves the challenge of launching new and innovative businesses and technologies. He has founded several companies of his own in a variety of fields and has helped to launch a range of others dating back nearly two decades. After 15 years’ experience working in the casino gaming industry, a career that allowed him to travel to five continents and touch down in 45 countries, James turned his efforts to hardware development for several technology startups. Most recently, James co-founded an Internet of Things (IoT) technology company located in Newmarket called Ubiqweus Inc. Ubiqweus is comprised of a team of technologists and designers who are currently developing their first line of Internet-connected sensors called qBiqs.




Jessica Rawlley, TieIT/Maas Pros

Jessica Rawlley is the Co-Founder and Head of Growth at TIEIT, an award-winning software company dedicated to improving business efficiency with their all-in-one sales, marketing and business management platform.

Jessica has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. Shortly after graduating, at the age of 24, she launched her own successful legal practice in Newmarket. Through her legal work and experiences advising small businesses, she discovered her true passion for helping small business owners and entrepreneurs through the use of technology.

Through this passion, she pivoted from legal to technology and co-founded MAAS PROS in 2012, a custom software development company that scaled globally through the franchise model. Out of challenges that her company faced managing a scaling company, they then created TIEIT to help other small businesses become more efficient in their day-to-day operations and implement automations and the latest innovative tools to help their businesses grow.


09 Aug, 2021

Must-Have Monday: Savoury & Sweet 

By Claire Chappell 

There are so many delicious treats available locally we couldn’t cram it all into one post! Here’s part two of our look at savoury and sweet delights from some of our members.  


Order tests through the Stay Safe Portal and pick them up at the Chamber!

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