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Plenary Speakers

“Collaborating On the Future We Want!” Wednesday Evening Reception May 3rd

Alyse Nelson

Co-Founder, President & CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership

Alyse Nelson is president and chief executive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership. A cofounder of Vital Voices, Alyse has worked for the organization for 19 years, serving as vice president and senior director of programs before assuming her current role in 2009. Alyse has worked with women leaders to develop training programs and international forums in over 140 countries and has interviewed more than 200 international leaders, including Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former presidents Mary Robinson and Bill Clinton, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Maathai, and Muhammad Yunus. Under her leadership, Vital Voices has tripled in size and expanded its global reach to serve a network of over 15,000 women leaders in 144 countries.

Previously, Alyse served as deputy director of the Vital Voices Global Democracy Initiative at the U.S. Department of State. Her position aided former First Lady Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s commitment to promote the advancement of women as a U.S. foreign policy objective. Alyse helped design and implement Vital Voices initiatives throughout the world. From July 1996 to July 2000, Alyse worked with the President’s Interagency Council on Women at the White House and U.S. Department of State. She attended the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. Alyse is a Member in the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on Secretary Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society and is a Board member of Running Start and RAD-AID International. Alyse is a part of the Expert Group for the B Team and is on the Advisory Board of Chime for Change.

Alyse is the author of the best-selling book “Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World,” which shares the stories of remarkable, world-changing women, as well as the story of how Vital Voices was founded, crossing lines that typically divide.

Alyse has been featured in international and national media, including the Washington Post, Financial Times, the Miami Herald, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Reuters, and has appeared on BBC, PBS, CNN, NPR, FOX News, and CNBC. She completed her graduate degree work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In 2006 Alyse was named one of ”Ten Women to Watch” by Washingtonian Magazine and was honored by her alma mater, Emerson College, with the distinguished speaker award.  In 2011 she was featured in Newsweek as one of ”150 Women Shaking the World,” and in 2012 she was The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) World of Difference 100 Award recipient. In 2013, Alyse was invited to speak at the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and at the Department for International Development’s Distinguished Speaker Series. In 2014, Alyse was invited to speak at the Oxford Union at Oxford University and Fortune Magazine named Alyse one of the 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter.

Amanda Ellis

Special Advisor for International Programs & Partnerships, Office of the President, East West Center

Amanda Ellis currently serves as Special Advisor in the Office of the President at the East West Center.  Until March 2016 Ms. Ellis served as New Zealand’s Head of Mission and Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Francophone Africa.  From 2010 she was Deputy Secretary International Development and the first woman to head the New Zealand Aid Programme, managing an annual budget of over $0.6 billion. Prior to this, Ms. Ellis was Lead Specialist in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Group at the World Bank Group in Washington D.C., where she managed the World Bank President’s Global Private Sector CEO Leaders Forum and led the Doing Business gender research project which created “Women, Business and the Law.” While at the World Bank, she worked with the Economist Intelligence Unit to create the EIU Women’s Economic Opportunity Index.  Ms. Ellis also founded the International Finance Corporation’s gender program, where she developed the first lines of credit for women entrepreneurs in Africa delivered through local banks.  In the late 1990s she served in senior executive roles at Westpac Banking Corporation in Australia, including as Head of Women’s Markets and National Manager Women in Business.

Ms. Ellis is the author of two best-selling Random House books, Women’s Business, Women’sWealth and Woman 2 Woman and lead author of five research titles in the World Bank Directions in Development series on gender and growth in Africa, the Middle East, East Asia and the Pacific.  A founding member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, Ms. Ellis is the recipient of the TIAW Lifetime Achievement Award for services to women’s economic empowerment and the East-West Center Distinguished Alumni Award.  Amanda serves on the advisory boards of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, Women in Leadership Europe, WEConnect International, and FINCA International Foundation. She is a member of NZ Global Women and an honorary member of BPW International. She serves on the Friends of the East West Center Board, the World Economic Forum Future Agenda Councils and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Advisory Committee on economic inclusion.

She holds a BA First Class Honors degree in French and Economics from the University of Otago, New Zealand, an MA degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa which she earned on an East-West Center scholarship, an LTCL from Trinity College London. She has taken part in executive education programs at Harvard University, Stanford University and INSEAD.

keith-Tuffley-Main-980x440Keith Tuffley

Managing Partner & CEO of The B Team and the Founder and Chairman of NEUW Ventures SA

Keith is the Managing Partner & CEO of The B Team and the Founder and Chairman of NEUW Ventures SA based in Lausanne, Switzerland. NEUW is an entrepreneurial impact investing company that creates and finances new businesses which reduce the human ecological footprint and accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable economic system. NEUW Ventures partners with early- and growth-stage companies with disruptive business models and where sustainability is both a fundamental part of their business strategy and a core driver of long-term financial performance.

Keith has spent more than 25 years in finance, investment banking and the capital markets. He has advised major corporations and governments globally on corporate strategy, M&A transactions, equity capital raisings, valuations and privatisations. Keith served as Managing Director, Head of Investment Banking, and a Member of the Management Committee and Board of Goldman Sachs in Australia. He was also based in London with Goldman Sachs as Head of the Industrials Sector Group across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Keith is a Director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a Director of Bush Heritage Australia, a Governor of WWF-Australia, a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of We Mean Business, and a member of the Corporate Advisory Panel of the World Forum for Natural Capital.

Keith has a Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Laws degrees from Sydney University; the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD, France; and the Goldman Sachs Non-Profit Leadership Program at Harvard University. He is currently conducting research at Cambridge University as part of its Sustainability Leadership Program.

Mahmoud Mohieldin

Senior VP for the SDGs and UN Relations and Partnerships, World Bank Group

Mahmoud Mohieldin is the World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships. Before joining the World Bank, Mohieldin held numerous senior positions in the government of Egypt, including minister of investment from 2004 until 2010. He also served on several boards of directors, including the Central Bank of Egypt and the banking and corporate sector. He was a member of the Commission on Growth and Development and selected a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. He is a professor of economics and finance at Cairo University, an honorary professor at Durham University and a member of the Advisory Board of the Durham Business School. He also held leading positions in national and regional research centers and think tanks. He has authored numerous publications and articles in leading journals in the fields of international finance, economics, and development in English and Arabic. He received his doctorate in economics from the University of Warwick, M.Sc. in economic and social policy analysis from the University of York, and B.Sc. in economics, first in the order of merit, from Cairo University.

Dr. Kaouthar Darmoni, PhD

Founder & Director, Kaouthar Feminine Capital & Goddess Belly Dance, and Assistant Professor in Gender & Media, department of ‘Media Studies’ at the University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Kaouthar Darmoni (PhD) is Assistant Professor in Gender & Media, department of ‘Media Studies’ at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). She is the founder and director of ‘Kaouthar Feminine Capital & Goddess Belly Dance’ in Amsterdam where she teaches women empowerment and Goddess Belly Dance with passion and dedication. Kaouthar is regularly featured as a keynote speaker at some of the largest conferences, as well as being on television, radio, and various internet programs. In addition to being the cover story in many magazines and newspapers as NRC, Volkskrant, Opzij, Utopia, Psychologie, Red, Jan, Cosmopolitian, Margriet, Libelle, and more.

Lead by her passion for the oldest women dance in the world, the Goddess Dance, she thoroughly investigates the many aspects of this ancient art. By traveling to various Middle Eastern and North-African countries and through gender research, observation and practice, she developed her own concept, ‘Feminine Capital & Goddess belly Dance’, a unique women empowerment mixture based on brain/gender theories and body/arab dances.

Kaouthar is passionate about creating bridges of communication and exchange between both Western and Arab cultures, using the spirit of the music and the dance. Her wish is to preserve and present these ancient goddess dances before they disappear, due to modernisation and/or fundamentalism. It’s a valuable human heritage that must be saved from extinction!

“Business & Innovation in First Nations: When Enlightened Leaders Transform Poverty Into Prosperity”  Thursday Breakfast May 4th

Sophie Pierre pictureSophie Pierre

OBC, OOC, and Ktunaxa Hereditary Chief

Sophie Pierre served her community of ‘Aqam (the St. Mary’s Indian Band) of the Ktunaxa Nation for 30 years, 26 as elected chief, and was the administrator of the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Tribal Council for 25 years.  She also served as the tribal chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, chairperson of the First Nations Finance Authority, president of St. Eugene Mission Holdings Ltd. and co-chair of the International Advisory Committee to the Indigenous Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy for the University of Arizona. Sophie Pierre was appointed Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission from April 2009 to 2015 by agreement of the governments of Canada and British Columbia and the First Nations Summit.  She has also served on numerous boards and committees; local, regional, provincial, national and international.

Sophie was recognized with the Order of Canada in 2016.  She also received the Order of British Columbia in 2002 and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the business category in 2003. During her tenure as chief commissioner, Sophie Pierre was awarded two honorary Doctorates of Law—in 2010 from the

University of Canada West and in 2012 from the University of British Columbia

Sophie now spends her time as an elder advisor to her community and to the Ktunaxa Nation.

Ray GerowRay Gerow

President, Eagle Spirit Community Solutions

Ray has an extensive background in economic development, both as an entrepreneur and as a business development service provider. He has run and/or managed numerous small businesses during his career, including a roofing business, chimney sweep, towing company, first aid, arts and crafts store and a specialty cake business, to name but a few.

Ray was with the Canadian Armed Forces for six years, at which time he was honoured to be part of the Canadian contingent in Doha, Quatar during the Gulf war. His work history includes six years in the military, six years in a sawmill, eight years as a part-time ambulance paramedic, fire boss with the BC Forest Service, manager of a Woolworths department store, construction and logging. For the past fifteen years Ray has worked in the field of economic development, most recently as President/ CEO of the Aboriginal Business Development Centre in Prince George.

Ray is very active in his local community, as well as with many provincial and federal boards or advisory groups. He is Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors for the College of New Caledonia, sits on the Board of Directors for the Northern Sports Centre at the University of Northern BC, as well as the Board of Directors for the Nechako Kitimaat Development Fund. He is former Chair for the Aboriginal Business Services Network Society of BC, is a founding board member and past Treasurer of the Log Building Industry Association of BC and is a former Chairman of the Native Economic Development Advisory Board for the province of BC. Until recently he was also the Chair for the Counsel for BC Aboriginal Economic Development for Indian Affairs.

SA Marketing Picture copyShelly Vermillion

Founder & CEO of Naoka Inc, Founding Principal Partner of In Synch Consulting Inc

Shelly Vermillion is the creator and CEO of a successful manufacturing company called Naoka Inc. as well as a founding principal partner of In Synch Consulting Inc. both of these thriving businesses are located in Alberta. Shelly has spent her entire career working for and with Indigenous. Shelly is the recipient of the Alberta Chamber of Commerce 2015 Aboriginal Business Women Award of Distinction. She is an active advocate and volunteers in many not-for-profit enterprises including her role as an active director on boards. Currently she serves as the Treasurer for Aspiring Women in Leadership and Legacy, an organization she co-founded in an effort to collaborate and progress with other female leaders. Shelly also recently served as Chair of the Apeetogosan Metis Development Corporation and director of the National Association of Credit Corporations Association. Shelly actively works as a profession in her companies, is involved in the community, and seeks to maintain close ties within her family and friends. She believes that “As an indigenous woman, I have had many experiences that have taught me hard lessons.  Often my preserving nature got me through or held me back.  In either case, those outcomes were based on my choices, even when I believed I had no choice.  I’ve recently recognized that I instinctively want to show my daughters, (and other young women) that we have a multitude of choices!  Choosing to excel is where I want to make a real difference.  I believe this ability is within all of us, no matter our upbringing or aspirations.  We can excel at being a mother, a sister, a colleague or a good friend, and yes, even as an entrepreneur in today’s world.”

The accomplishments of her company Naoka Inc. demonstrate that a profitable business is directly connected to the pursuit of being socially conscious. Within this company Shelly is able to provide employment opportunities predominantly focussed on Indigenous employees, while also embracing a diverse employee base, including new immigrants. Naoka Inc. is a manufacturing company focussed on business to business relationships in the Open-pit Mining industry of Canada and in particular in the Oilsands of Alberta.  Shelly’s academic achievements include; a Bachelor of Management undergraduate degree obtained with distinction from the University of Lethbridge. She received seventeen academic awards; two post-graduate professional designations and a certificate in Governance Essentials from the Rotman School of Business’s Institute of Corporate Directors. Shelly continues to raise the bar for herself while validating and supporting those around her.

CDavis HS 2014

Chastity Davis

Owner, Chastity Davis Consulting

Chastity Davis is a mixed heritage woman of First Nations and European descent. She is a proud member of the Tla’amin Nation, located in Powell River just off the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC.  Chastity strives to keep her sacred First Nations culture, traditions, and values incorporated into her modern day life. She feels it is her life purpose to facilitate the building of bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and has dedicated her professional and personal life to do so.

Chastity is sole proprietor to her own consulting business, Chastity Davis Consulting and has been a successful entrepreneur for 6+ years.  She is a board member at the Minerva Foundation and Chair of the Ministers Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women.  Chastity co-founded the Professional Aboriginal Women’s Network and is currently serving as Co-Chair for this important network that creates a shared space for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women to support each other in their respective careers.  Chastity will be completing her MA in International and Intercultural Communications in Spring 2017, has a BA in Professional Communications and a Diploma in Marketing Management and Professional Sales.  Chastity has spoken at several international, national, and local events on the importance of building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  She dedicates her work to her 2 nephews, niece, and 10 year-old brother, as they are the future generations.

“Business & Innovation in Health: Breath-Taking Breakthroughs in Invention and Implementation” Thursday Luncheon May 4th


Dr. Aladar A. Szalay, PhD

Founder & CEO of StemImmune Inc. and Genelux Corporation, Professor, Department of Biochemistry at University of Würzburg Germany, and Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology at University of California San Diego

Professor Aladar Szalay is internationally recognized for his transformative research and discoveries utilizing live microorganisms (such bacteria and viruses) to locate (diagnose) and eliminate (therapy) human cancers. He founded Genelux Corporation in 2001 and served as its Chairman, President CSO & CEO from 2001 and 2014. Under Professor Szalay’s leadership, the company raised nearly $100 million from mainly private investors for its groundbreaking research and clinical program that included four Phase 1 human trials involving the company’s lead compound, .the oncolytic vaccinia virus, GL-ONC1. More than 80 cancer patients received the experimental drug for cancer therapy and diagnosis, and, importantly, these trials also marked the first time that light emitting proteins were used in humans as diagnostic markers for cancer cells.  Throughout his tenure at Genelux Corporation and to the present, Professor Szalay has continued his foundational academic research at the Rudolf Virchow Center of Experimental Biomedicine, School of Medicine, and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Würzburg in Würzburg, Germany.  Here he directs a research program with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows on whole body imaging and oncolytic virotherapy. Professor Szalay also is full professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Rebecca and John Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the University of California, San Diego.  Prior to founding Genelux Corporation, he was professor of molecular genetics and microbiology and founding director of the Center for Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy, Loma Linda University School of Medicine; Canadian Pacific Endowed Chair Professor of biotechnology and molecular genetics at the University of Alberta; associate research scientist in molecular genetics at Boyce Thompson Institute and adjunct professor at Cornell University; and Gosney fellow at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He has published over 240 peer-reviewed scientific papers, has filed more than 170 patent applications, and holds more than 90 issued patents. Throughout his academic career, Professor Szalay has trained and mentored more than 150 graduate students (Masters, PhD and MD PhD candidates) and considers this one of his greatest privileges and achievements.  Professor Szalay is the recipient of the Wilhelm Exner Award (Medal for Excellence in Science) from Austria and the Alexander von Humboldt Prize from Germany, among others. He has advised numerous research foundations, pharmaceutical and diagnostic equipment manufacturing companies, and served on the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board for several biomedical start-ups.

cmClaudia Mitchell, PhD.

CEO of Universal Cells

Claudia Mitchell is the the CEO and co-founder of Universal Cells Inc. Claudia has previously co-founded Halo-Bio RNAi Therapeutics, a Seattle-based biotech start-up company developing new RNAi molecules, and served as its Chief Scientific Officer from 2008 to 2011. Besides being a biotech entrepreneur, Claudia has also held positions in the non-profit sector and in Academia. She worked as the Program Director at the LGMD2I Research Fund, a family non-profit foundation, and has held a tenured Academic research position at the French National Institute of Medical Research (INSERM). She received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Paris and an MBA in International Management from the Ecole des Ponts Business School, Paris, France.



dan-suttonDan Sutton

Founder & Managing Director, Tantalus Labs

Dan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tantalus Labs, born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He has worked in teams developing innovative technologies for a diverse range of sectors, from high field magnetics to nuclear fuel. Building companies from the back of a napkin through public listing, he fosters the values of social commerce and detail obsession. He is a weekend design nerd, snowboarder, and lover of the Oxford comma.




Juggy Sihota-ChahilJuggy-Sihota-Chahil

VP- Consumer Health, TELUS

Principled on leadership excellence, collaboration, diversity, diligent execution and team engagement, Juggy is a telecom executive, with over 20 years of experience, who spends her time championing enhanced experiences for her customers and those she works with.

As the Vice President of Consumer Health at TELUS, Juggy proudly leads the national strategy, execution and operation of this business with the goal to empower Canadians to take control of their health and the health of their loved ones with the right information, tools, and support they need to live healthier and happier lives.

Juggy is actively involved in her local community as well as helping others develop professionally through various mentorship programs. Currently, Juggy is a Director on the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation Board as well as being a member of the Board for the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

Juggy was humbled and honoured to receive the Diversity Champion award at TELUS, as well as the renowned TELUS Legend Award for her inspirational leadership and her contributions to business growth and community support.

In 2013, the Canadian Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) presented Juggy with the Leadership Excellence Trailblazer award, recognizing her commitments to leadership and support in the communication and technology sector.

Juggy holds an MBA from Queen’s University and has also completed Executive Development programs at Harvard and INSEAD.

Juggy lives in Vancouver with her family and in her downtime, she enjoys the beauty and balance British Columbia has to offer.

“Let’s Talk Exports!” Friday Breakfast May 5th

Peter Hall

VP & Chief Economist, Export Development Canada

Peter Hall joined Export Development Canada (EDC) in November 2004. With over 25 years of experience in economic analysis and forecasting, Mr. Hall is responsible for overseeing EDC’s economic analysis, country risk assessment and corporate research groups. In addition to preparing strategic advice for senior management at EDC, Mr. Hall is a featured speaker at conferences, international roundtables and policy fora, and regularly appears in television, radio and print media commenting on the world economy and Canadian international trade issues. He produces a widely circulated print and video weekly commentary covering an eclectic range of current global economic issues.


AngelaMHAngela Marshall Hofmann

President, World Strategies, LLC

Angela Marshall Hofmann is President of World Strategies, LLC, a certified, woman-owned government affairs and policy consulting firm that provides strategic, innovative solutions to accelerate global investment, manage risk, enhance reputation and drive significant cost savings by responsibly the leveraging chain.

For over 20 years, Angela has served as a trusted advisor to members of the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch as well as to CEOs and senior executives in complex, multi-national organizations for over two decades.

Previously, Angela was Vice President, International Corporate Affairs, at Walmart Stores, Inc. where she led the company’s external engagement in 40+ retail, ecommerce and sourcing countries around the world.  She also launched innovative public-private chain capacity building projects focused on transparency, building safety, agricultural development and women’s economic empowerment in Latin America, Asia and Africa.  Angela joined the company in 2002 as Director of International Corporate Affairs in the company’s Federal Government Relations office in Washington, D.C.  In 2005, she moved to company headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas where she led corporate affairs engagement in the Americas as well as gained operational experience in the supply chain when she was promoted to Vice President, GNFR (indirect spend) and Sourcing Services in Walmart Global Sourcing.

Prior to Walmart, she served as International Trade Counsel on U.S. Senate Finance Committee under Chairman Max Baucus.  Angela joined the Senator’s staff in 1989 as a congressional liaison in the State of Montana and in 1997, after receiving her Juris Doctorate from the University of Montana, was his legislative counsel for agriculture and trade in Washington, D.C.

Angela is a staunch advocate for women’s empowerment and continues to be active in the Organization of Women in International Trade (“OWIT”) a voluntary, non-profit association of professionals interested in international trade.  She joined the organization in 1997 and in 2005 served as President of the Washington, D.C. chapter.  From 2010-2013 she served as President of the organization which included 25 chapters and 2000+ members around the globe.

Kristi Miller PictureKristi Miller

National Managing Director, First West Capital 

Kristi has been providing mid-market businesses with relationship-focused, strategic financing for over twenty years. As National Managing Director, Kristi leads First West Capital across Canada and delivers tailored subordinated debt, mezzanine and equity financing solutions for growth, acquisitions and transitions.

Prior to First West Capital, Kristi spent ten years with Vancity Capital, another B.C.-based subordinated debt fund. She has also worked with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Small Enterprise Equity Fund of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Kristi holds a Master of Business Administration in International Business from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours) in History and Russian Studies from McGill University.

Kristi currently chairs the board of Junior Achievement of B.C. and acts as an advisor to the Fulmer Foundation. Previously, she has served as vice-chair of the Vancouver International Marathon Society, is past president of the AWF Association of Women in Finance and former chair of the B.C. Provincial Child Care Council. In 2015, Kristi was nominated for a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in the category of Business and the Professionals for her many contributions to her industry and community.

Lisa Will PhotoLisa Will

CEO/Founder, Stonz, MBA

“Stonz” is a Vancouver based company born out of necessity. When Lisa Will was looking for warm infant footwear for her young son, she couldn’t find any! This inspired her to create warm infant footwear that stayed on. Stonz now designs, makes and sells high quality outdoor kids gear including booties, mittz, hatz, rain boots and super lightweight winter boots. And coming this fall 2013, the company is introducing a hard soled extraordinary light-weight boot that withstands cold to -58F!

Stonz products adhere to four core values: innovation, high quality, sense of style, and high degree of functionality.



Mary Jane Devine Photo

Mary Jane Devine

President, MIO Global

Mary Jane’s responsibility is to deliver on Mio Global’s vision. She oversees sales, marketing, product management and operations, with a particular emphasis on operational and team building strategies.

With a history of consulting and leadership positions at tech companies such as TELUS, INFORM and ISM-BC, Mary Jane is well versed in the art of bringing leaders together to work towards one goal: To empower athletes with precision-engineered performance wearables.

Mary Jane earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa.

“Business & Innovation in Technology: Global Game Changers Disrupting the Norm”
Friday Luncheon May 5th

Ajung Moon copyAjung Moon

Founder and Director of Open Roboethics Institute (ORi)

Ajung Moon is a Founder and Director of Open Roboethics Institute (ORi) — formerly known as the Open Roboethics initiative — an internationally renowned think tank that has been spearheading active discussions of ethical, legal, and societal issues of robotics and intelligent machines since 2012. She was a Vanier Scholar at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a thought leader in roboethics and human-robot interaction (HRI).

As a mechatronics engineer with over 8 years of research experience in robotics, robot ethics and HRI, she has been heavily involved in the shaping of global standards and policy that pertain to artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. She is an Executive Committee Member of the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. She serves as a panelist on the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapon Systems, and has presented at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of the States Parties on the global public sentiment on lethal autonomous weapon systems.

Within this IEEE initiative, she founded and has been co-chairing the Committee on Embedding Values into Autonomous Intelligent Systems. As a chairwoman, she leads the group of thirty global thought leaders to identify key issues and help develop standards that pertain to the design/deployment of autonomous intelligent systems.


Aliya AmershiAliya Amershi

CEO & Founder of AskaTechie

Aliya Amershi is the CEO and Founder of AskaTechie—an online marketplace and match-making service for finding vetted tech experts. Helping Customers figure out what their critical technology needs are to match them with qualified IT Professional Contractors and smaller Development Agencies that specialize in Web, App, Software Development and Consulting.  Aliya has over 10 years of international industry experience leading the development and deployment of Cutting-Edge Mobile Apps, Rich Media Responsive Websites, and Multi-Platform Video Games for Nickelodeon (@MTV/Viacom Networks’ Headquarters in New York, NY, USA), Electronic Arts (EA Sports in Burnaby, BC, Canada), and Codemasters (Located in England). Some of the popular products that she lead the charge on or was heavily involved with include the Kids’ Choice Awards, SpongeBob.com, NBA Live, Fight Night, Operation Flashpoint, and the Emmy Award-Winning Nick App – the first property App for all of Viacom, which paved the way for all of the Apps moving forward.

Christian-CotichiniReal-Talk-SummitChristian Cotochini

Co-Founder & CEO of HeroX

Christian Cotichini has over 20 years of experience leading startup and high growth technology companies.

Christian founded Absolute Software a leader in computer security and asset management. After going public Absolute continues to grow and has diversified into a solution for organizations to manage the massive proliferation of Internet devices. After Absolute, Christian founded MAKE Technologies. MAKE enables organizational transformation through the modernization of its client’s mission-critical software systems. MAKE was sold to Dell Computers in early 2012. While remaining on the Board of MAKE, Christian left day-to-day activities to join co-founder Shannon Susko on a new startup. Subserveo, a SaaS company, targeted the post 2008 compliance and regulatory challenges faced by the banking sector. Subserveo was acquired 18 months afterwards.

Christian is an active angel investor and mentors startup entrepreneurs. In 2013, Christian joined HeroX as co-founder and CEO.



Maryam Sadeghi

CEO & Co-Founder of MetaOptima Technology Inc

Maryam Sadeghi, the CEO and Co-Founder of MetaOptima Technology Inc, completed her PhD in Computing Science at Simon Fraser University in the Medical Image Analysis lab.

In 2012, she founded MetaOptima Technology Inc. in Vancouver, Canada, where MoleScope and DermEngine were developed for smart skin analytics, imaging, and management. The company was one of 10 that were shortlisted for the 2013 BCIC New Ventures Competition, and won a $40,000 Wavefront Wireless prize package. In 2014, Dr. Sadeghi also won the Venture Prize from Coast Capital Savings.

From 2013-2015, Dr. Sadeghi was director of the Digital Health Hub (Innovation Boulevard), where she was actively involved in R&D and commercialization activities. She also worked closely with the Gerontology Research Center (GRC) at SFU on innovative health solutions for senior care and independent living.

In 2016, Dr. Sadeghi made the Business In Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 Awards List for her innovative work and successful commercialization of the DermEngine platform and MoleScope. Since its development, MetaOptima has become one of the fastest growing digital health technology companies in Canada, and continues to strive to empower physicians and patients for a better care outcome.


michael-littMichael Litt

CEO, Vidyard

Michael is the co-founder and CEO of the leading Video Marketing platform, Vidyard. While he’s not bringing leading video based technologies to market, he serves as general partner of Garage Capital, a seed stage fund focused on Super-Cluster companies looking to expand their networks into Silicon Valley. He also sits on the Communitech Board of Directors; a KW based organization designed to help companies start, grow and succeed

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