Revisit 2019's Speakers

Innovators, activators, and rule-breakers.



View Speakers

Denise Williams

Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Technology Council


At the intersection of Indigenous sovereignty, technological advancement and a rapidly expanding technology and innovation economy, in demand of new ideas and new skills, Denise has the privilege of working with Indigenous peoples, governments, academics, technology futurists and social change makers to map the ecosystem that will result in fair and equitable access to the tools and education required for success in the digital age. Denise leads a theory of change that will not only ensure Indigenous peoples are competitive in BC’s technology and innovation sector, but leading and growing local digital economies. Denise is a Member of Cowichan Tribes.

Sean Sheppard

Founding Partner at GrowthX

Founding Partner, GrowthX and Co-Founder, GrowthX Academy Sean is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully grown dozens of early-stage companies across a wide variety of products and markets. At GrowthX Academy, Sean is focusing on sharing his expertise in monitoring and adjusting revenue pipelines to help startups improve the probability and predictability of sales and marketing success. Before co-founding GrowthX, Sean built and ran the sales and business development track at Tradecraft and co-founded the Professional Sales College.

Martha Casey

COO at Volta

Martha Casey is Volta’s COO. Before joining Volta, Martha was the Chief of Staff and Executive Director in the President’s Office at Dalhousie University. She also worked in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration over two terms before returning to live in Halifax. Martha has held leadership roles in organizational change, project oversight, and economic development. Before joining the Mayor’s Office, Martha worked on projects with the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight, the Office of the Public Advocate, and volunteered with a number of organizations aimed at building confidence and competence in girls, supporting new immigrants’ entry to the workforce, and economic capacity building.

Avvey Peters

Chief Strategy Officer at Communitech

Avvey is an experienced leader in tech-based regional economic development, brand management, PR and communications with emphasis on strategy development, planning, and implementation. She has successfully raised close to $100M in to support entrepreneurial and economic development community initiatives and as a ,ember of the senior leadership team, Avvey works with the CEO to develop corporate strategy, manage board relationships, and also mentors several sister organizations in the Canadian innovation ecosystem.

Marcus Daniels

Founding Partner & CEO of Highline BETA

Marcus is a Founding Partner & CEO of Highline BETA, co-founder & former CEO of Highline VC, former Managing Director of Extreme Startups, and has been angel investor for over 7 years. He has 20+ years as a serial entrepreneur & new ventures operating executive with a top decile pre-seed investing track record. Marcus holds an MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and a BA from McGill University.

Joanna Schlosser

Brand & Communications Manager at Accelerate Okanagan

Joanna builds and executes brand and communication strategies designed to support and strengthen the Okanagan tech community. She has a passion for strong creative and show stopping events that create memorable experiences and forge connections. Joanna is also co-founder of a small winery in West Kelowna so she has first hand experience with the struggles of entrepreneurship… and access to all the wine. 

Dan Gunn


As the Executive Director of VIATeC, Dan is the community shepherd of Victoria, BC’s thriving $4B+ tech industry. A lover of creativity and innovation, Dan takes pride in VIATEC’s unique approach to serving its members. The lines between Dan’s work and personal life blur in every imaginable way and VIATEC and its events are more likely to be influenced by Burning Man and Tall Tree than any other typical event.

Laurel Douglas

CEO at Women’s Enterprise Centre

Laurel Douglas is the CEO of Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC). WEC is a non-profit organization devoted to helping BC women launch, lead and scale their own businesses. Under Laurel’s leadership since 2004, WEC has become recognized as one of the leading business resources for women entrepreneurs in BC and a best practice internationally. WEC provides business loans up to $150,000, advisory services, skills training, mentoring and resources to women who are starting or growing their own business from its three offices in Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria.

Kelly Hoey

Author, Build Your Dream Network

Kelly is the author of Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World. Kelly has been lauded from Forbes (“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship”) to Fast Company (“1 of the 25 Smartest Women On Twitter”) to Empowering A Billion Women By 2020 (“100 Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide”) and Inc. (“1 of the 10 Most Well-Connected People in New York City’s Startup Scene”). She has appeared on CNBC’s Power Pitch, contributes to publications such as Forbes, GO Banking Rates, Fast Company and Inc., and works with inclusive companies including Capital One and Comcast.

Jordan Dutchak

Executive Director at Co.Labs

While completing his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan, John founded North America’s first Junior Chamber of Commerce which was an affiliate organization to the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. Jordan went on to co-found a number of technology startups including Printology, a Healthcare technology startup that took MRI and CT scans and converted them into 3D printed models for pre-operative practice.

David Carter

Executive Director at Innovation Factory

David started his career working for Microsoft where he saw the arrival of graphic computing, smart phones, tablets and the Internet. He left Microsoft in 2001 to begin his first start-up Awareness Inc. As Co-founder and CTO, David led the company in raising $20 million in venture capital and worked with brands like The New York Times, Major League Baseball, Sony Pictures and McDonalds.

Elizabeth Scallon

Head of WeWork Labs, Northwest

Elizabeth is the head of WeWork Labs, Northwest and the former lead of CoMotion Labs at the University of Washington. She was one of the early team members of VLST, part of the inaugural class of biotech startups at Accelerator Corporation. She helped the company spin out from Accelerator and grow to over 50 employees and $35M in funding as the Head of Operations. She also leads the creation of her own mini-life science incubator as part of VLST hosting emerging Seattle Biotechs, such as Adaptive, Rarecyte and ZetaRx (now part of Juno). Prior to VLST, Elizabeth was the Lab Manager and Research Associate at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, research novel therapeutics for Breast Cancer.

Rob Bennett

COO and Program Director at VIATEC

Rob co-founded Municipal Software Corporation in 1982 and was initially responsible for all software development and technical services. He took the company public at the beginning of 2002 as President and CEO. He also led the development and launch of Municipal Software’s Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, Local Government Manager (LGM). In addition, Rob is the past chair of VIATeC, a former board member of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, and a former provincial director on the board of the BC Cancer Foundation.

Keith Ippel

CEO at Spring

With over 20 years experience as a leader in technology & impact businesses, Keith has accelerated the growth of both small and large companies, launched new products, and raised over $30M in angel investment and venture capital. As the co-founder of Spring, he is focused on early stage entrepreneurs with high growth potential who want to make the world a better place. Spring runs a comprehensive set of entrepreneur, incubator, accelerator, and funding programs for aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs in over 30 cities on 5 continents.

Brodie Desimone

Lead Investor, OKGN Angel Summit

Brodie Desimone is an Executive-in-Residence with Accelerate Okanagan. Brodie has a passion for digital disruption in niche markets and leveraging tech solutions to accelerate growth at the seed stage. He was the founder of three successful startups before he joined Microsoft Canada and spent the next 10 years developing technology strategy in mining, forestry, retail, and telecommunications. In addition to Brodie’s passion for developing businesses, he also is also an active investor. In 2012 Brodie became a partner of Anrias Capital Corp.

Tiffany Linke-Boyko

CEO at Startup Edmonton

Tiffany leads a team that connects entrepreneurs and product builders with community, skills and space to support them as they transform ideas to reality. Tiffany has helped develop a range of programs and events like Edmonton Startup Week, DemoCamp and the Preflight workshop series. Tiffany has played a vital role in Startup Edmonton’s growth into a campus and community hub that has welcomed more than 50,000 participants at events, helped launch 60 startups, and currently houses 120 members and 40 companies.

Mike Kirkup

Advisor at CDMN

Mike Kirkup has been the Chief Technology Officer at Encircle Inc. since 2016. He is also an advisor of Charity Republic Inc. and a Director at VeloCity – Mobile+Media Incubator. Mike joined the Velocity team in 2012 to help foster entrepreneurship throughout the University of Waterloo and the startup community of Kitchener-Waterloo. For over a decade, he mentored hundreds of startups focused on developing mobile applications. Before that he served as a Senior Director of Global Developer Relations of BlackBerry Limited, where he focused on co-op placements.

Angelo Casanas

Director of Programs and Partnerships at Genesis Centre

As the Director of Programs and Partnerships, Angelo is responsible for developing and overseeing the hub’s overall programming, as well as managing a talented and driven programs team. In addition, Angelo takes a leading role in establishing relationships with Genesis’ various partners in both the public and private sector. As a recent convert to innovation, Angelo found his vocation having previously worked at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

Alex Goodhew

Community Manager at Accelerate Okanagan

Alex is a Community Manager and certified teacher with a strong background in leadership and team building. Her drive to support and grow the OKGNtech community means she is consistently connecting like-minded companies, students, academia, and community organizations to who want to plug in.

Dr. Alan Winter

BC Innovation Commissioner


Dr. Winter has wide experience at senior levels in the technology sector and in government, including such roles as the President and CEO of Genome BC from 2001 to 2016, the founding President and CEO of the New Media Innovation Centre in Vancouver, the President of the ComDev Space Group in Ontario, and the President and CEO of MPR Teltech Ltd. He is currently a director of Ontario Genomics and Geoscience BC, an adjunct professor at UVic’s Gustavson School of Business, and a member of UBC’s Research and Innovation Council.

Brad Lowe

Assistant Ice Technician


Brad Lowe is currently an Assistant Ice Technician and Curling Educator at the Marpole Curling Club, the friendly home of curling in south Vancouver. Until 2017, Brad was the Manager of Accelerator Operations at Wavefront where he developed and delivered programs to help build successful companies in the wireless and mobile tech sectors. Prior to this, Brad was VP of R&D for Nokia in Canada where his teams developed devices, applications and services that dominated the industry.

Angela Larraguibel

Director of Strategic Growth at Communitech


Angela is the Director of the Strategic Growth Team at Communitech, an accelerator that helps tech companies start, grow and succeed. Waterloo Region’s hub for the commercialization of innovative technologies, Angela and the Communitech team work hard to support and build the tech cluster of nearly 1,000 companies that generates more than $30 billion in annual revenue. Angela is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the team, programming and resources for startups and scaleups.

Adam Frye

Director of Business Innovation at WEtech Alliance


Over the past 5 years Adam has worked extensively in the startup space in Waterloo and Toronto, both as an employee in a high growth social enterprise, as well as a startup coach and mentor for young entrepreneurs. He has worked with 200+ companies. Whether that be Customer Acquisition, Retention, Sales Playbooks, Digital Marketing, or Finance, Adam has the framework to set companies up for success.
His values can be summed up in 3 quick sentences. Find your passion. Relentlessly pursue it. Help others to do the same.

Joel Semeniuk



An incessantly habitual tech entrepreneur and innovator for over 25 years, Joel has helped to bring to life 7 of his own startups and dozens of others through accelerators he has worked with in Hong Kong, London, Silicon Valley and The Vatican in Rome. He’s also had the unique experience working with some of the largest companies in the world bringing global scale innovations into the world. Joel also works to support innovators and their teams from around the world on their rollercoaster journey of value creation and self-discovery.

William Johnson

Director of Marketing and Communications at Innovate BC


William Johnson is a senior communications strategist with a decade of experience bringing people together, solving problems, and helping organizations create value through communitications, community development, and thoughtfully-designed experiences. William joined Innovate BC from the Downtown Vancouver BIA where he oversaw public relations, brand management and strategic engagement with 9,000 businesses and property owners. His writing and executive ghost writing has appeared in publications like Maclean’s, Business in Vancouver, Betakit, and Tech Vibes.

Susan Mclean

Senior Director, Venture Advisory Services at MaRS Discovery District


Susan is the Senior Director of Venture Advisory Services at MaRS, where she is responsible for operational effectiveness, client service orientation and the implementation of strategic priorities across the Venture Services team. Susan brings a wealth of experience in the innovation sector to her role, most recently with Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation/Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MRI/MEDEI) as Manager of Innovation Strategy and Programs for the Commercialization Branch.

Lisa Cashmore

Head of Accelerator Programs & International Strategy at Communitech


Lisa is the Head of Accelerator Programs and International Strategy at Communitech, an organization based in Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario that helps technology companies start, grow and succeed. Additionally, she is the Director of Network Operations with the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN), a national network of commercialization centers dedicated to establishing Canada as a world leader in digital media (ICT + mobile) by creating and enabling connections and collaboration between entrepreneurs, companies, research institutions, government and intermediary organizations.

Jordan Macfarlen

Managing Director, Cultivator


Jordan is leading the charge at Cultivator, Canada’s 1st Credit-Union led Incubator proudly powered by Conexus Credit Union (a very Saskatchewan solution). Cultivator is committed to helping scale more innovative high growth startups in Saskatchewan while growing a robust ecosystem that continues to punch above its weight class. Having recently launched BETA programming, Cultivator is already supporting 20+ startups and will soon be joined by Conexus Ventures, a VC Fund focused on addressing access to capital in Saskatchewan.