State of the Economy Keynote: Wednesday, May 12th
Sri Thanabalasingam, Senior Economist, TD Bank Group
Sri Thanabalasingam is a Senior Economist for TD Bank Group. In his role, Sri tracks macroeconomic developments in Canada and constructs the forecasts featured in TD's quarterly economic publication. He regularly provides data commentaries and produces analysis on a wide variety of macroeconomic issues. Prior to joining TD, Sri was a Senior Economist at the Bank of Canada.
KEYNOTE: Thursday, May 13th
Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
A successful entrepreneur and business executive, champion fundraiser, and dedicated public servant, Rocco Rossi joins the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in 2018 as President and CEO.
Coming from his role as President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada and earlier as the CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation – one of Canada’s largest non-profit organizations – Rossi has overseen consecutive years of record fundraising combining for over $600 million in total and launching many new, life-saving initiatives.
Rossi currently serves as a member of the Board and Audit Committee of TerraVest Industries. A past board member of United Way of Greater Toronto and other charities, Mr. Rossi has been an active community builder. In fact, in 2012 he was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal for his Philanthropic and Community service.
A dedicated adventurer, Rocco has walked the legendary Camino de Santiago several times, cycled the 1900 km length of Yonge Street from Rainy River to Toronto, kayaked the 500 km from Toronto to Ottawa, and climbed to Everest Base Camp.
Mr. Rossi has a BA (Hons) in political science from McGill University and a Masters of Arts in politics from Princeton University. He is married to his wife of 33-years, Rhonnie, and they have a 30-year-old son, Domenic John, who is a teacher.
Laura Bradley, P.Eng, YorkNet
Laura is the General Manager of YorkNet since operations commenced January 1, 2018. YorkNet is a company owned by The Regional Municipality of York which operates and maintains a dark fibre network which offers connectivity to Municipal facilities. Additionally, YorkNet collaborates with private sector companies to expand network reach and connectivity so they can offer services to residents and businesses. YorkNet is currently expanding its footprint from 200 km to over 750 km throughout York Region.
Laura has more 30 years of experience in the telecom industry in Canada working for carriers, manufacturers, ISPs and as a consultant. She brings a wealth of knowledge in business management, network deployment, strategic planning and collaboration to her position. For more than 15 years, Laura focused on programs and projects which helped deliver broadband networks to rural areas, ensuring that users outside of urban communities were preparing for the digital century.
Laura has worked with all three levels of government on various programs and initiatives to further the deployment of broadband networks and initiatives. She believes fibre is the key infrastructure for the future of Smart Community and a necessary foundation for businesses. Laura has developed numerous strategies for Municipalities and was a key contributor to the Eastern Ontario Regional Network development including the delivery of a project valued at over $250M to enhance broadband across 50,000 square kilometers.
Laura is dedicated to advancing broadband networks into communities to ensure there is adequate and cost-effective access to meet current and future demands.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from Queen’s University at Kingston and is a Professional Engineer.
Lesley Boughen, Senior Tourism Manager, Oxford Properties Group
Passionate about tourism, hospitality, travel and retail, Lesley Boughen’s professional experience specializes in driving both international and domestic travellers to key shopping destinations in Canada. In her role as Senior Tourism Manager, Lesley overseas the national retail tourism strategy for Oxford Properties’ ten shopping centres, including Yorkdale, Square One, Scarborough Town Centre and Upper Canada Mall. Lesley joined Oxford in March 2013 and has 21 years of experience in the field of tourism and hospitality. She previously held the position of Tourism Manager at Vaughan Mills, following her eight-year tenure with VisitBritain, where she promoted tourism through roles in information services, travel trade and business development. Lesley has also been a part-time faculty member at both Seneca College and Centennial College in the School of Hospitality & Tourism.
Rhona DelFrari, Chief Sustainability Officer & Senior Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement, Cenovus Energy Inc.
As Chief Sustainability Officer & Senior Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement, Rhona works to ensure environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are embedded in the company’s strategy and business plans. Rhona is also responsible for leading the company’s communications efforts and building strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders. This includes working with Indigenous community members, government officials and community partners.
MODERATOR: Karen Dubeau, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Advisor, Newmarket Chamber
Karen is an experienced entrepreneur and change agent, having founded a successful Ottawa technology firm and worked with numerous companies and start-ups on their innovation programs. Karen is a mentor with the ELLA Women in Entrepreneurship Program at York University, and with the HELIX entrepreneurship program at Seneca College.
Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for province of Ontario, a Top 40 Under 40 Alumnus, the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada’s Staff Person of the Year Award, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Karen in active with community organizations, serving on Boards of community food banks, public libraries and post-secondary educational institutions.
Scott Dodd, Director Of Business Development, Enbridge
Scott was appointed Director of Business Development in October 2016. He and his team are responsible for identifying new business opportunities in Enbridge's service territory.
From 2011 to 2016 Scott was the Senior Project Director, Major Projects, responsible for planning and executing major construction projects for Enbridge and its affiliates. Scott has provided leadership for over $4 billion in projects delivering over 1,500 MW of wind and solar projects and over 400 km of gas and electrical transmission projects.
Scott has an MBA from the University of Western Ontario as well as a BA in Economics and Honours Business.
Tony Gareri, CEO, Roma Moulding
Tony Gareri is the CEO of Roma Moulding, a picture frame manufacturer that remains world-renowned for its iconic design, commitment to craftsmanship and unparalleled customer experiences. Upon being named CEO in March 2011, Tony laid the foundations for a culture shift that would profoundly reframe the way Roma Moulding would do business.
By establishing a clear Mission, Vision and Core Values, Tony constructed a framework for leadership and daily decisions that were focused around the happiness of his team. During the last decade, Roma Moulding has achieved many accolades and has been recognized numerous times as Manufacturer of the Year, Most Admired Company Culture and many more. Tony is a frequent guest on many podcasts in the areas of Business, Leadership, Culture and Employee Happiness. He’s also been featured in notable publications such as Forbes, Inc and most recently, The Drive Magazine!
His experience leading a transformation within his own company has driven him to consult and speak with organizations across North America. Tony’s keynote presentations reveal his passion and belief in building sustainable strategies to cultivate successful, happy, winning workplaces!
Brandon Hebor, Co-Founder, Boreal Greens Co.
Brandon is an internationally recognized AgTech entrepreneur and innovator having designed, developed and deployed Toronto's first Vertical Aquaponic Farm. He has been working in the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry for over 5 years and has travelled around the world visiting and consulting on projects of all scales and technological designs. Brandon is a co-founder of Boreal Greens Co. and currently operates a vertical farm in Markham, with the vision of expanding his business to a commercial scale in York Region within the next 12 months.
Ted Maulucci, President, SmartONE
Ted Maulucci assumed the role of President at SmartONE after a 26 year career as the CIO of a leading Toronto-based multi-family real estate developer. He championed the development and execution of the first smart community in the Greater Toronto Area. Mr. Maulucci has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business with a specialization in Real Property Development. For his social contribution, Mr. Maulucci has been recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for promoting Canadian innovation, and the Citizenship Award from Professional Engineers Ontario, among others.
Balinder Rai, Business Development Team Lead, Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI)
Balinder Rai is Business Development Team Lead at OCI, helping to support the commercialization of academic intellectual property (IP), industry-academic collaborations and the development and adoption of emerging technologies.
Balinder has more than 20 years public and private sector experience, and prior to joining OCI, held positions in corporate services and business development in the water sector. Balinder works with innovative start-ups and SMEs across a range of sectors including environment, energy, ICT, manufacturing, fintech, and medtech. Balinder holds an MA from the University of Toronto.
Dan Ruby, Sector Manager, Automotive and Mobility Innovation, AVIN / OCI
Dan Ruby joined OCI in 2016 as a Business Development Manager. In 2019, Dan joined the AVIN team as the Sector Manager for Automotive and Mobility Innovation. In his current role, Dan works with the six AVIN RDTS sites and helps develop and manage projects on behalf of the AVIN R&D funding streams.
Dan’s prior role was Economic Development Manager for the City of Vaughan, responsible for the Innovative Research, Development and Design convergence sector. In this capacity, Dan was responsible for leading the development of the Vaughan International Commercialization Centre (VICC) initiative.
In his previous role as the Managing Business Consultant for the York Small Business Enterprise Centre, Dan worked with thousands of companies to help them bring their products and services to market, including funding support and business planning.
Dan has also started a not-for-profit organization and founded four for-profit companies in his career and he holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto.
Sean Stephens, CEO, Treefrog Inc.
Sean Stephens 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.
Gunjan Syal, Founder, GoEmerald
Gunjan Syal’s expertise lies in solving complex business problems in a way that the results are visible, measurable and repeatable. She enables high ROI innovation and transformation initiatives using data-driven strategy, governance and planning. She has led innovation initiatives for 28+ US & Canadian businesses in 9 industries. Each time, the goal has been to accelerate strategic growth by aligning business, product and technology to the customer success. Gunjan developed a dynamic innovation framework with proven ROI in 3 industries, and advocates for data-driven inclusive innovations at a global scale.
Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director, Central Counties Tourism
Chuck Thibeault has been active in the tourism industry for the past twenty-five years. He began his career out of university at an indoor playground for children and then became a partner at Putting Edge which owned and operated Glow-in-the-Dark mini golf courses. After selling his shares in this venture, he joined Ontario Place as Director of Sales. Leveraging his expertise in sales, he then worked as Director of Sales and Membership at the Royal Ontario Museum. He joined Central Counties Tourism as Executive Director, September 2012 and is also a partner in GlowZone 360 which currently owns and operates two family entertainment centres – one in Brampton and one in Mississauga. Chuck sat on the Board of Directors of Attractions Ontario for 13 years, TIAO for five years and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Destination Markham Corporation.
Mac Van Wielingen, Founder and Chairman of Viewpoint Group
Mac Van Wielingen is an investment management executive, corporate director, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder and Chairman of Viewpoint Group, a private group of companies, which includes Viewpoint Foundation and Viewpoint Investment Partners (VIP), an investment management company offering a foundational, global investment alternative for high net-worth families and institutional investors. He is a Founder, Director (1989 - 2018), and Partner (Present) of ARC Financial Corp., the largest private equity investment management company in Canada focused on the energy sector; and a founder and former Chair (1996-2016) of ARC Resources Ltd., a leading Canadian oil and gas producer. Van Wielingen joined the inaugural Board of Directors of Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) in 2007 and served as Chair from 2014-2017. He serves on the board of directors of the Institute of Corporate Directors (2018-present) and is a member of the Chart the Future Committee sponsored by the ICD and TMX Group. Van Wielingen is a founding partner of the Creative Destructive Lab - Rockies (CDL-R). and Co-Founder and former Chair (2012-2020) for the External Advisory Group of the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership (CCAL) at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. He is a Vice Chair and founding member of the recently formed Business Council of Alberta (BCA), created for the purpose of “making life better” for Albertans and all Canadians. In 2019, he served on the advisory committee that created the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC), and most recently, Mac was appointed to the Premier’s Economic Recovery Council in Alberta.
Brett Wills, Founder & President Of GEM Inc.
Brett Wills brings over 20 years of experience in Sustainable Business Management. As a former Plant Manager, Brett has first-hand experience driving organizational performance through a focus on operational excellence. Brett’s experience combined with a passion for integrating Sustainability into business strategies delivers tangible and quantifiable results that drive performance now and into the future.
As Founder & President of GEM Inc., Brett now spends a majority of his time helping organizations across Canada drive economic performance while simultaneously improving environmental and social performance. Brett has worked with numerous organizations across a broad sector of industries from government to health care to hospitality and manufacturing but has had a specialized focus on supporting agri- processors for the past 12 years. Brett’s work in this sector includes working with over 150 food & beverage manufacturers from across the country that includes small start-ups, early-stage companies, SME’s and large multi-nationals.
The focus of Brett’s work includes: Strategy Development and Execution, Business Continuity, Operational Excellence, Manufacturing Excellence, Supply Chain, Resource Conservation, Product & Process Innovation, Circular Economy, Carbon Management, Culture Development, Employee Engagement and more.
As the lead facilitator of Canada’s longest running Sustainability Collaborative, Brett had the opportunity to regularly work with leading, sustainability minded organizations keeping him in touch with the latest innovations in Sustainability ensuring clients are utilizing the latest thinking, techniques and tools needed to compete and win in the new economy.
Brett recently developed a Recovery Accelerator Program (RAP) to help small-medium sized manufacturers respond and recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic. This program has been delivered to multiple organizations across the country.
As a professor in Seneca College’s Sustainable Business Management program, Brett is preparing the next wave of change agents to enter the work force and support organizations with driving performance through a focus on Sustainability.
Karen Wong, Co-Founder & CEO, TakuLabs Ltd.
Karen Wong is a business strategist and thought leader on marketing, operations innovation and multi-channel growth. An avid entrepreneur, Karen has 15+ years of experience running ventures in Canada and East Asia. As a founder of both ACE POS Solutions Ltd. and TakuLabs Ltd., her passion is developing technology to drive retail growth. Her companies currently work with more than 6,000 retailers in North America and are building out next generation unified commerce solutions to help retail chain stores move to the cloud and allow merchants to use their own data to sell more.
Troy Young, CEO, Attractions Ontario
Troy Young has been the CEO of Attractions Ontario since 2004, and a Course Director in the School of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University since 2005. Prior to this, Troy served as a policy advisor to two different Ontario Ministers of Tourism, as well as an elected Municipal politician. He earned his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario in 2002.