David Cameron, Executive Director
David Cameron is a leader in Youth Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation in Canada. As the Executive Director at YELL, David is inviting us to imagine Canada's future if we ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in the generation of today. Prior to YELL, David co-founded Radius Ventures, a social venture accelerator at Simon Fraser University, and he was the Manager of Innovation at The Next Big Thing Foundation – Canada’s most innovative youth fellowship for entrepreneurs under the age of 25, founded by the CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes. He is a business coach, mentor, and speaker. Before moving into youth education, David worked on the launch of an impact investment fund with Vancity Credit Union and designed strategy and marketing plans at Coca Cola. David continues to represent the voice of young innovators to the BC and federal governments through the BC Partners for Social Impact and the National Youth Innovation and Leadership Agenda.
Natasha Thom, Events Manager
Natasha is the owner and principal planner of Clearwater Events & Weddings. Working with community organizations to plan their signature events is the soul of what she does, but she also works with a select number of wedding clients that love the west coast aesthetic. When she’s not running from meeting to meeting, she spearheads the Vancouver chapter of a local organization called the Living Room Series – a grassroots non-profit run by a group of friends to create intentional conversation on topics that aren’t discussed day-to-day. At the core, Natasha values community and connection, and is passionate about giving back to those in vulnerable populations. Historically, she worked with the Canadian Cancer Society and The Lipstick Project, and is now helping a startup cancer charity launch their capital campaign.
Vanessa Cinesi, Development Manager
Vanessa Cinesi is a solutions-oriented professional with over fifteen years of corporate experience in North and Latin America. As the Development Manager at YELL, Vanessa is inviting organizations to join a growing national network of organizations committed to transforming entrepreneurship education and investing in the innovative potential of our youth. Prior to YELL, Vanessa developed a career in marketing and sales for the technology sector, fostering revenue growth and customer adoption by managing a wide variety of accounts and building strong customer relationships. In addition to her corporate experience, Vanessa carries a longtime interest in social innovation. She launched a social enterprise in 2012, which aimed to empower developing communities through the use of their own craft and natural resources, facilitating financial inclusion. Now through YELL, Vanessa looks to inspire entrepreneurial thinking in youth and contribute to a bolder economic and social future.
Judy Brooks, Chair
Judy has founded, built and successfully sold 3 companies over the last 28 years. She has a reputation for strategically building international businesses, fiscally responsible companies, dynamic teams, and impressive brands and cultures. Since exiting her last venture and for the last 8 years, Judy has worked with CEO Founders, Partners, Boards & Senior teams to bring clarity and leader development in high transition times (mergers, acquisitions, and strategic changes). Judy is known for her ability to lead clear conversations that shift outcomes. A well-known presenter and mentor in the business community, Judy co-created Brew (a leadership retreat) for those wanting to lead mindfully and with self-reflection. Judy serves on the Board of Directors for FWE and is a past Board member for Small Business BC. She is also a past Advisory Board Member for The Smart Cookies, Nurse Next Door, YYoga and Young Women in Business amongst others. Judy has been honoured with the Business in Vancouver Women of Influence Award and the Vancouver Board of Trade Mentor Award.
Punit is also the co-founder and CEO of OncoSec Medical, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company developing its advanced-stage immunotherapy to treat solid tumors. Punit was formerly Vice President of Finance and Operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In his management experience, Punit has raised over $160 million through multiple financings and several licensing deals including early stage deals with Merck and Wyeth. More recently, Punit has been leading the development of a pipeline of novel immunotherapy candidates for a wide range of solid tumor applications at OncoSec with an industry leading technology. Punit’s management experience spans corporate finance, M&A, integration, successful in-licensing of key intellectual property, strategy implementation, corporate transactions and collaborations with leading Universities and working with several key opinion leaders across the globe. As a serial entrepreneur, Mr. Dhillon places great value on helping future leaders overcome challenges through mentorship and education. Mr. Dhillon is an active member in his community focused on promoting an active lifestyle and grass roots community involvement, including scholarships to support students pursuing post-secondary education. He is also the founder of becancerpositive.org a community dedicated to sharing and connecting; highlighting stories from around the globe and creating a platform where people can share with others their own unique experiences with cancer and help people find their own silver lining. In 2013, he was recognized as the "Top 100" CEOs by PharmaVoice and "Most Admired CEO" by the San Diego Business Journal. In 2014, he was recognized as a finalist for Ernst & Young’s "Entrepreneur of the Year." Punit holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.
Dr. Sarah Lubik
Sarah is Simon Fraser University (SFU)'s first Director of Entrepreneurship, promoting the power of, and need for, interdisciplinary teams and commercialization of research to solve wicked problems. She is co-Champion of the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program, a lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Beedie School of Business and a researcher in technology management, including incubation, university entrepreneurship, commercialization and innovation ecosystems. Sarah has been named one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 and an Innovation Leader by the Government of Canada. She is also a certified business coach and the co-founder of a high-tech startup: Lungfish Dive Systems. Sarah holds a BBA (honours) from SFU and a masters and PhD from the University of Cambridge.
When Rattan refers to himself as a "wholesome entrepreneur," he isn't referring only to the organic granola and gluten-free treats that New World Natural manufactures. Rattan Bagga has been the CEO of New World Natural Foods, a Canadian organic foods manufacturer, since 2010. Mr. Bagga was also recognized as one of the top 20 under 30 entrepreneurs in Canada in 2011/2012. His belief in 'maximizing the benefits of his decisions on those around him,' also translated into raising funds for charitable initiatives such as the disaster relief in Pakistan and Haiti, as well as sourcing ingredients from local sources (e.g. Canadian farmers) as much as possible. Rattan's latest initiative has been the launch of Everland Natural Foods coconut water, where proceeds from each sale go towards supporting farmers in India. Everland Natural Foods was recognized as the Business of the Year by the Burnaby Business Excellence Awards.
Val is the President & CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. Previous to his role with the BC Chamber of Commerce, Val served as CEO of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce for three years. During this time, he grew its membership base, launched a world-class educational partnership with the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria (which was featured on Forbes.com) and reinvigorated the Chamber’s brand to the point where Whistler had one of the fastest growing membership bases last year. In 2007, Val co-founded a first-to-market concept, Blo Blow Dry Bar, which has since grown to more than 70 locations worldwide. In 2011, as Vice President of Franchise Operations at Nurse Next Door, Canada’s largest homecare company, he helped drive the franchise system’s fast growth into the US market – adding almost 70 locations to the brand in under 3 years. Val is also well-versed in the social enterprise space. In 2002, he co-founded Extreme Kindness and launched volunteer tours and a web series based on committing random act of kindness across Canada and the U.S. The tours evolved into a best-selling book on corporate social responsibility and the power of communities to build social capital.
Amit is a real estate developer and investor at Ampri Group. Amit believes it is important to invest in the social fabric that makes communities desirable to live in. Amit has worked with Richmond Hospital Foundation to establish the first Patient- and Family-Centred Model of Care for individuals living with mental health and addiction issues in British Columbia. His affinity for the arts led him to sponsor and co-develop a first-of-its-kind undergraduate course on the Social Practice of Public Art at Emily Carr University. As an early adopter of energy-efficient building programs, Amit built 59 of 200 homes in the pilot program for the BuiltGreenBC and Energuide for New Homes Initiatives. He is currently building B.C.’s first solar-powered, 30 home single-family home subdivision. Amit has been recognized by Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 Award and served on the City of Richmond’s Economic Advisory Committee from 2011-2016. Amit holds a degree in Human Resource Management from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.
Jeff is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and technology leader who enjoys the application of technology to bring big ideas into reality that positively impact people lives. Jeff co-founded BuildDirect.com and led the company through various iterations to over $120 million in revenue. Jeff has been a YPO member since 2004, and is an active mentor and advisor to numerous companies. He contributes time on the BC Tech Hypergrowth advisory board, and he is a G7 Fellow on the Creative Destruction Lab. (CDL west). Jeff has served on the Board of Coastal Contacts (a public company through their sale to Essilor for $435 million) and he currently serves on the Boards of SPUD.ca, RTOWN and the Richmond Hospital Foundation, as well as sitting on numerous advisory boards of start-ups. He is also a regular contributor to Fast Company and Entrepreneur Magazine. Jeff is a recognized thought leader on entrepreneurship, values-based leadership, the future of e-commerce and how digital media is transforming the world. He is an avid reader and insanely curious; reading over 50 books per year, allowing him to connect the dots on how accelerating technology and data will impact and change our future. He deeply cares about each of our roles in making sure the transition to the future is a bright one.
Barry is the co-founder and CEO of 505-Junk, a waste removal and recycling business that launched in 2011. The company is the first of its kind to install scales on company trucks, allowing them to charge clients by exact weight on site. 505-Junk has since grown to 16 full-time staff, doubled sales in 2016 and is on trend to double again in 2017. 505-Junk intends on launching first three franchise locations on September 1st, 2017. Hartman was invited to be a delegate at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance Summit in Istanbul, Turkey and is a past member of the Board of Directors at the Delta Chamber of Commerce. 505-Junk has won several awards along the way, including Small Business of the Year and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, The Innovation Award from the Better Business Bureau, The Rising Star Award from the Delta Chamber of Commerce, and many more. Hartman is a true believer in giving back to the community and invests his time outside of 505-Junk in supporting local youth develop their entrepreneurial and leadership abilities.
Chris is the Superintendent of Schools/CEO at West Vancouver Schools. He has taught secondary English and Social Studies, and been both an elementary and secondary school principal. Before being appointed Superintendent, Chris was Deputy Superintendent in West Vancouver Schools. One of the most progressive voices in BC education, Chris has been featured by Macleans Magazine as one of the 100 Young Canadians to Watch and his work has been featured in various local and national publications. He was recently named one of the Top 10 Canadian Newsmakers in Educational Technology. Kennedy is a writer and presenter on personalized learning and infusing technology in the classroom. Chris balances his professional passions with life as the father of four school-aged children.
You can join in the conversation on Chris’s blog, Culture of Yes, and follow Chris on Twitter @http://twitter.com/chrkennedy
Robin is the Senior Advisor to the President of Vancouver Island University, responsible for advancing innovation and strategic partnerships. In recent years, Robin has been leading the Province of British Columbia's work on social Innovation and prior to that he served as the Head of Research and Strategy at The MasterCard Foundation, Canada’s largest private foundation. Before joining the MasterCard Foundation, Robin was the Executive Director of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. Robin also worked for several years at Canada's International Development Agency (CIDA) as its Director of Research and formerly as its Director of Democratic Institutions and Conflict. Before his work at CIDA, he served as the Executive Director of Harvard University’s Native American Program and spent several years leading policy and programming initiatives in Canada to advance indigenous economic development in many parts of Canada. Robin is a Founding Member of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Leadership Council, a Senior Associate with the MIT-Tufts Lean Research Initiative and a Research Affiliate of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Robin also serves as a Senior Advisor to the Boston based Consensus Building Institute and is a member of the Advisory Board for McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. He has recently been appointed to Chair the Fulbright Foundation’s Alumni Advisory Committee. Robin pursued his graduate studies at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as a Fulbright Scholar. He also holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from McGill University
Victoria is a Compliance and Regulatory Specialist at Benefic Group, in Vancouver, BC. For the past 10 years, her talent and passion have been exclusively focused on ensuring that individuals and corporations achieve their philanthropic aspirations in Canada and around the world. She incorporates and registers charities, and also provides compliance, regulatory and strategic advice to ensure that charities and not-for-profit organizations achieve their goals and continue to grow. Away from her office, she is a superb mom, personal trainer, prayer/meditation consultant and a promoter of girls’ education.
Steve is a 15-year veteran in technology, brand and organizational strategy. As Founder and CEO of Briteweb,a social impact consultancy delivering strategy, design and digital, his focus is on building the world’s most flexible, engaged and efficient company, bringing together the best talent from all over the world. Since day one, purpose, values and culture have been foundational to his leadership approach. This has created a vibrant team culture that is deeply committed to one another and to the causes Briteweb supports through it’s work.
Steve consults with impact leaders to reimagine their organizational strategies, systems, and company cultures in order to effectively scale at the rate of technology and compete in today’s information economy. He works at the intersection of social impact, culture and technology and is an expert in exponential organizations, remote and distributed teams, and workforce wellness and performance.
Steve splits his time between his small hobby farm on Bowen Island, where he connects with nature and deep work, and his apartment in downtown Brooklyn, where he connects with humanity, culture, and innovation.
Georgiy is a Computer Science and Mathematics student at Simon Fraser University, a Youth Ambassador at YELL, and a software developer. Through YELL, Georgiy began working on NERO, a smart jewelry line that lets you call for help at the tap of a button. At NERO, Georgiy focuses on product development and manufacturing of the technology behind the smart gems. His work has been featured in the BC Business Magazine and he has been the recipient of Surrey's Top 25 Under 25 award. As an enthusiastic problem-solver passionate about giving back to the community, his goal is to improve the future for generations to come, and Georgiy hopes that with his efforts, he will be able to create a better and safer world for people to live in.
Neel is currently Head of Brand Strategy and Customer Experience at BBTV, with a focus on positioning and developing BBTV’s corporate, employer & media brands. Neel has been part of the leadership team at BBTV (BroadbandTV) since 2012, where he has built and led several functions including brand strategy, marketing, creative, customer service, and events. He has led the positioning, creation and launch of the majority of BBTV’s brands, some of which include strategic partnerships with the likes of the NBA, HuffPost and BMG. Neel has been with BBTV through hyper-growth where the business has achieved a global presence, rising as the 3rd largest video property in the world only behind Google and Facebook. With over 30 Billion views per month, a network of talented creators, partnerships with mass media companies like Viacom, Univision and Sony Pictures, and vertical-leading brands engaging audiences globally, BBTV has truly emerged as a world-leading powerhouse in the digital video space.
Denise is Coast Salish from Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island. She is the Executive Director of the First Nations Technology Council, where she is an advocate for social justice and has spent her career seeking out opportunities to play a role in the advancement of Indigenous sovereignty and social change. For the past ten years Denise has worked under the mandate of First Nations communities to address specific capacity building efforts in education and technology. She has worked to gain experience at the federal, provincial and local levels and has enjoyed using a genuine approach to collaboration and partnership development to build strong networks across organizations. The role of Executive Director for the First Nations Technology Council has been incredibly inspiring and motivating. Denise has greatly appreciated the opportunity to develop and implement a social enterprise business model for the Technology Council and the opportunity to connect with First Nations communities across the province to discuss digital technologies. Denise believes strongly in the power of digital technologies designed and controlled by First Nations and believes in the transformative change it supports in building strong, healthy and thriving communities. Denise volunteers locally on the downtown eastside with the Urban Native Youth Association as a member of the Board of Directors and as the President of the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Center Society.
Paulina Cameron is the Regional Director for Western Canada (BC, Alberta + Yukon) at Futurpreneur Canada- a national NPO providing early stage resources, mentorship, and financing to startup entrepreneurs aged 18-39; she supports hundreds of entrepreneurs in launching their businesses and is a sought after mentor and speaker. A champion of gender equality, Paulina is the author of bestselling Canada 150 Women: conversations with champions, leaders and luminaries; and has gained international recognition for her work. Believing in empowerment for the next generation, Paulina is also a Visiting Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Simon Fraser University, and has advised the federal government and the Prime Minister on Canada’s Youth Employment strategy. She has been recognized in the community for her significant contributions, including being awarded the Vancouver Board of Trade’s inaugural Wendy McDonald Award, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Award in Washington DC, the KPMG National Leadership Award, and was a finalist for the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards, in the Young Woman of Distinction category. Paulina’s philanthropy includes serving as incoming Director on the Board of Directors for the Immigration Employment Council for BC, co-founding The Raise Collective, and activator with SheEO. Prior to Futurpreneur, she gained her business expertise working at KPMG in audit and management consulting, obtaining the CPA, CA designation and co-founding and running Young Women in Business.
Matt has over 15 years of investing experience and is responsible for trade execution, equity research, fund due diligence, and idea generation. Matt works with clients to build well diversified portfolios that align with their long term goals and objectives. Matt has also developed an extensive network of professionals who can assist clients with all of their financial needs. Matt has worked as an assistant project manager with a real estate development company dealing with leasing, construction process, and real estate market analysis. Previous to that, Matt was a constituency assistant to Premier Gordon Campbell. Matt earned a BA (Politics) from UBC in 2005 and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2011. Matt is always keen to give back to his community and has served on the board of the Richmond Hospital Foundation since 2008, serving as the foundation’s treasurer and vice-chair during his tenure. When not at the office, Matt enjoys jogging, travelling, and spending time with his family
Jo-Anne was the first YELL teacher and has played an instrumental role in shaping and contributing to its educational practices and culture. She is a hiking trail-lover, teacher, and Athletic Director at West Vancouver Secondary School. Teaching is her second career, and she absolutely loves being a part of the educational and athletic adventures of her students. Jo-Anne is lucky to have been a part of YELL since the beginning; and is so proud of how it has grown from a small passion project of our founders to now a YELL community sharing an even bigger collective passion project!
Natalie Meixner is one of B.C.’s most seasoned leaders in the charitable sector focused on achieving results to build and improve the diverse communities she serves and lives in. She has a reputation for developing strong relationships with business leaders, philanthropists, community leaders and fundraising partners to inspire individuals to work together to successfully deliver on a well articulated strategic vision.
Natalie has been the President & CEO of Richmond Hospital Foundation since September 2011 and has more than 30 years’ of business experience in both the private and charitable sectors, with the last 14 years in senior leadership positions within the charitable sector. Prior to joining Richmond Hospital Foundation, she was Senior Vice President for VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and prior to that Vice President, Donor & Community Relations for United Way of the Lower Mainland. From 1982-2000, her private sector business development and marketing experience was with Wardair Canada Inc., Canadian Airlines, YVR Airport Authority, and Signature Vacations
Over the years, Natalie has worked extensively with Boards and volunteers, earning the respect of many business and community leaders. She has a reputation for empowering the team she leads to be able to deliver results, and is known by staff as a direct, honest and open communicator and as someone who both mentors and leads by example.
Sam is a graduate of YELL and is currently the founder and CEO of Instinct Media, a social media agency that is designed for the now. Instinct has helped local and international brands utilize forefront social media strategies to drive bottom-line and elevate their marketing/branding strategies. The company’s mission is built upon utilizing social media to scale in person interactions, rather than replacing it with digital. His corporate event partners include Microsoft Canada, LinkedIn, and Hootsuite (L.O.I.). He is an avid experimenter for digital marketing, which helps him strategize for executives and CEO’s for their personal brands. Sam is also passionate about speaking which has led to opportunities to educate brands and universities around entrepreneurship, social media, and personal branding. He also seriously loves rap music.
Sagar is committed to exploring and nurturing models of sustainable economic growth within remote communities of Northern British Columbia. He is currently the Community Engagement & Partnerships Officer at School District 91, where he promotes and nurtures new strategic alliances. Previously, Sagar was a part of the University of Northern British Columbia’s Research Office focusing on partnerships and new initiatives. Sagar is also the founder of Caravan O Herbs, an international agriculture company addressing unreliable supply chains in India through Corporate social responsibility projects within rural communities . Sagar is a Director for a Regional Tech Accelerator (ICS), advisor of Our Satya Foundation, representative of BC India Business Network, Business Development Advisor for a Venture Capital firm in Vancouver and Business Advisor for multiple startups. Sagar was named top 40 under 40 by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce and he completed his MBA from Cardiff University in the U.K.
Blair is a technology industry executive with > 30 years of operational and financial management experience building growth foundations for firms ranging from technology startups to multi-nationals. Blair teaches entrepreneurship and innovation at the Sauder School of Business and is Program Director of Entrepreneurship@UBC, a university-wide initiative that helps UBC entrepreneurs build successful new ventures. Prior to joining UBC he was COO/CFO for Recombo Inc., a cloud software firm that provides customer onboarding solutions to the financial services sector, and for ACL Services Ltd., the global leader in audit-analytics software. His career includes senior management and engineering positions with multinational companies Duke Energy, Cerberus Pyrotronics, and Honeywell. Blair serves on the Board of Directors of clean-tech company dPoint Technologies, and on the Board of Governors of Capilano University. He has had many years of involvement with BC Social Venture Partners, an organization that funds and provides business mentorship to not-for-profit organizations with innovative and sustainable approaches to social issues. Blair holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Electrical Engineering from UBC, an MBA from SFU, and is a registered Professional Engineer.
Lisa von Sturmer
Lisa is an award-winning entrepreneur that pioneered an entirely new service sector in the waste industry. Her company Growing City was the ﬁrst in North America to offer concierge corporate organics recycling programs. Driven by a desire to create a proﬁtable business that positively impacted the environment, Lisa has led Growing City to growth over 85% for the past two years. A passionate advocate for youth and women entrepreneurs, she is the former Global Ambassador for International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and a 5-time Canadian Delegate for the G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Summit.
Recent Awards & Distinctions:-CBC Dragons' Den 2nd Most Impressive Pitch of All Time (from 9 seasons, Canadian “Shark Tank”)-Former Global & North American Regional Ambassador International Women's Entrepreneurship Day-Winner 2015 Canadian Notable Social Entrepreneurship Award-Nominated for several YWCA Women of Distinction awards-Won Futurpreneurs Chairman's Best Green Business Award-Won the SBBC Best Business Concept Award-Published in Globe & Mail, featured in The National Post, The Financial Post, GlobalTV, CBC, and more