#Holiday Disruptor's Lounge

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Red-carpet-meets champagne-infused panel discussions on disruption ranging from cannabis to blockchain to smart cities to veganism.

#HOLIDAYDISRUPTORSLOUNGE is 8 panels; 30+ speakers & a celebration of the holiday season together with the most influential disruptors in Toronto. A variety of appetizers and cocktails will be served throughout the evening.

The Entrepreneurship Society, The Blockchain Society and The Cannabis Society are proud to be doing the second edition of Disruptor's Lounge.

Read about our #TIFF Disruptor's Lounge here. And watch the video recap here.

**Ticket includes buffet style dinner and host bar.

Venue: The #HoldiayDisruptorsLounge will be hosted at a private venue in the tech hub (west of University; east of Strachan, south of Richmond and north of Front). Venue will be shared with ticket holders 36 hours before the event.

Dress Code: Christmas cocktail

Join us for the Into the Future Emerging Tech conference on the same day! More information here.


Matt O’Leary is the Chief Partnerships Officer at Carrot. As one of the co-architects of the award-winning health and wellness app, Carrot Rewards, Matt has led the development of a broad ecosystem of partnerships, while helping to grow the brand and business both nationally and abroad.

Ahmed Attia is the founder and President CEO of Direct Global / Direct Co-ops, an online group-buying platform and app for SMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) and cooperatives. With over 20 years in sales and business development, including 10 years in telecommunications and IT services, Ahmed founded "The Direct Initiative" in 2014 after aiding and witnessing the success of the Kensington Market community coming together to stop a Walmart from opening in their neighborhood. The Direct Initiative aims to help the little guy, the "mom and pop" shops that are the driving force of our economy, by bringing them together, forming large buying groups and mimicking not only the buying power of the large corporations, but also their ability to retail. The Direct Initiative is currently merging the SME and Cooperative world in what is set to become the world's first hybrid platform, leveraging the ultimate potential of everyone working together.

Laura McGee is the founder and CEO of Diversio, a technology startup that uses data analytics and machine learning to help companies become more inclusive. She previously worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co, where she led some of the Firm’s most high-profile economic growth and diversity work. Laura is a serial social entrepreneur who has co-founded two viral social media campaigns to promote inclusion worldwide. She is a frequent speaker and author on diversity & inclusion, including seminal research with LeanIn and the Wall Street Journal. She was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence in 2017.

Scott Howard is an enterprise and startup technology deal maker. Scott partners with world-class engineers to solve complex business and technology challenges generating customer success. As a co-founder of ePIC Blockchain, and partner in BlockX Labs, Scott is committed to building the underlying processing power of blockchains as well as the value-creating applications. Scott believes Blockchain is a new category of technology, Trustware, the merger of hardware of software into a system of trust.

Karima-Catherine Goundiam is the founder and Managing Director of Red Dot Digital, which she launched in 2014 to bring greater diversity to the world of digital and social media with her signature dynamic approach. Red Dot Digital helps its clients grow their businesses and achieve their objectives in today’s digital world. Globally-minded and data-driven, Red Dot Digital works across multiple time zones, setting itself apart by providing real, measurable results anchored in digital transformation. KC brings 20 years of international integrated campaign and project management experience to the firm. Before Red Dot Digital, she managed digital and social media for Deloitte Canada and its global team and directed social media for Ford.

Pierre Barcik's favourite question of CEO’s is - What does your business look like in 2 years and how do you plan to get there? A close second is - Are you carefully listening to your customers or are you telling them what they need? He advises a number of Canada’s fastest growing small and mid-sized companies, including multiple Growth 500 and Excellence Canada Awards winners and industry disruptors in sectors including Digital Marketing, SaaS HR, Blockchain, Construction and Recruiting. An experienced CEO with experience in numerous industries, with multiple exits, he is now coaching his CEO Global Network Group members to significantly improve the success and lives of CEOs, their families, and their companies.

Suzanne Ennis, an early cryptocurrency & blockchain investor and advocate, is currently the SVP of Global Partnership at Shyft International. She has been instrumental in establishing key partnerships with exchanges and data platforms all over the world. Suzanne, a designated Chartered Investment Manager, has worked with some of the largest asset managers in the world with a primary focus on both global retail and institutional business development. Suzanne has also spent a significant part of her career with an intense focus on business and product development with various cryptocurrency exchanges and and working with securitized tokens in the gold & mining sectors. Suzanne has spoken at panels all over the world about data privacy and blockchain technology and adoption. Originally from Toronto, Suzanne holds an Honors Degree from McMaster University in Political Sciences and Psychology. She is fluent in French and a lifelong student of Spanish & Japanese language study. She has worked with street children in India; lived on Shark research boats in South Africa; Ultra-marathoned in Greenland; and completed a two week Jungle survival course in the Amazon led by a former British Special Forces officer.

Leah Carr is the Vice President of Licensing at Coinsquare. Leah launched this division in March of 2018 with the mission of enabling people worldwide to harness the power and security of Coinsquare’s technology. Leah was employee 9 at Coinsquare and has also launched Coinsquare Wealth which is a premium service for Coinsquare’s highest traders. Leah is also the host of FintechTO, a bi-monthly event featuring inspiring presentations from leaders of the Fintech community. Leah has always had a passion for the Canadian tech scene. Prior to joining Coinsquare Leah was the Vice President of Wealth Creation at Crowdmatrix, an equity crowdfunding portal helping Canadian startups raise money and Director of Growth and Development at Peerscale (formerly AceTech Ontario) which is a Peer-to-peer organization helping Ontario’s tech leaders connect, share and grow. Leah is also an active volunteer currently sitting on the board of UIA Federations Canada and also dedicating time to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Kyle Collier graduated as Systems Design Engineer from the prestigious University of Waterloo, he has been in blockchain since 2011 and has advised numerous venture capitalists and angel investors in the space. He has founded 3 companies and exited two of them, has nearly 10 years of experience building teams, cultures and launching social mobile payment companies, including BoothPass, Eve Tab and The Noq. He is a prominent voice for startups in the Toronto tech scene, has worked with renowned accelerators like Techstars and managed growth for billion-dollar companies such as Ritual. Most recently he has volunteered to lead the world's first Founder Institute Blockchain Accelerator in Toronto in collaboration with Decentral and Anthony Di Iorio (Co-founder of Ethereum, and Founder and CEO of Jaxx and Decentral). Kyle holds an Honorary BASc in System Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, with a double minor in Management Science and Biomechanics.

Andrei Poliakov is a seasoned entrepreneur having previously launched and managed various start-ups with a strong focus on implementation and early-stage strategy development. He brings with him +10 years of operations and strategy development experience in various corporate setting with leading multinationals around the world. Mr. Poliakov holds a BASc degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University.

Jennifer Brown is the Director of Partnerships at The Knowledge Society (TKS). TKS is a human accelerator that develops unicorn people (ages 13-17) to solve the world’s biggest problems using emerging technologies. Jennifer’s past experience includes heading global business development for bioLytical Laboratories, a biotech company manufacturing the world’s fastest HIV test, where she generated millions in revenue, built a US sales team, set up distributor channels in Latin America & Sub-Saharan Africa, and launched a self-HIV test in retail pharmacies in Europe. Most recently, she lead tech partnerships at Elevate, the country’s fastest-growing tech festival. Jennifer sits on the board of directors of Young Executives for Success (YES!) Toronto, a volunteer branch of Dress for Success Toronto empowering women to achieve economic independence.

In 2009 Sunny Verma founded TutorBright - the worlds largest in-home tutoring company. It all started after volunteering to help out a youngster with Grade 12 English. Watching her build confidence and gain a new zest for life, Sunny developed a love for education and quit his job as a management consultant - giving birth toTutorBright. The company started with humble beginnings by gaining new clients by knocking door -to -door. What started out as 1 man operation, TutorBright now employs over 20,000 of tutors, educating and raising the self-esteem of several thousands of students, and has received several accolades. Sunny is a sought-after expert in the entrepreneurship and self-esteem, featured on Breakfast Television, Readers Digest, Global TV, CITY TV, CTV, and Huffpost. Also, he is a previous nominee for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and recognized in the Globe and Mail’s Hottest Entrepreneurs Under 30 list.

Paige McPhee is a 23-year-old writer, author, social media manager, video producer and host based in Toronto, Ontario. Paige contributes to publications like The National Post, Narcity Media, HOLR Magazine and Notable Life. Her first book, i’m in like with you: a collection of almost-love stories, is available for purchase on Amazon.

Huda Alvi is the Co founder of The Girls Trip - An all female focused Travel Start up encouraging women to travel to bucket list destinations through payment plans. Breaking the barriers by encouraging solo travel and allowing travel to be financially accessible. With over 45 mentions in recent media coverage on CTV, The National Post, Yahoo News and more, Huda is on a mission to change the way women travel forever. She is also a mother, step mother, wife and a brand consultant amongst many other things. Huda started her first business - Sales Agency at the age of 18 and then went on to start her second business - HR Recruitment Agency at the age of 25. She then started dabbling with social media in 2016 and since worked with brands like AMEX, Loreal, Indigo, Meridian, Aveeno, Mentrolinks, Air Transat and more. Huda's sole mission is to inspire women to build confidence and independence through her initiatives.

Travel YouTuber, Singer, and Entrepreneur, Istiana Bestari is a leading influencer for young women in Toronto and globetrotters internationally. As the head of her media team, Lilac Media Group, Istiana has worked with high profile brands like Sunwing, Warner Music, and L’Oréal to bring their creative digital visions to life. As the co-founder of Monday Girl, Istiana has connected over 1500 Toronto women through career opportunities and experiential events. On the side, as a L’Oréal consultant, Istiana teaches brands how to create engaging digital content. She also travels the world constantly, telling stories and capturing unforgettable moments.

Quinn Lawson is an emerging technology business development professional that supports the most ambitious entrepreneurs and entrepreneur communities. He recently worked for the Jaxx blockchain wallet as Business Development Manager where he developed a CRM of 1000's of blockchain projects, pioneered a new product category - Blockchain Wallet Integrations, and drove millions of dollars in revenue. Currently he is a part of the Watershed Partners Toronto office as Business Development Lead.

Catie Fenn is a coach, soul guide, entrepreneur and lawyer who helps others to gain the courage and confidence to forge their own path and live life on their own terms. She leads retreats in Toronto, Muskoka, Costa Rica and Bali, and created the Goddess Circle, an elevated experience for women to reconnect with their inner wisdom, learn to trust their intuition, and become more conscious to live more joyful, intentional and vibrant lives. Grounded in her experience as a litigation lawyer, she helps brings ancient and new-age wisdom to modern society by encouraging others to find balance, clarity and fulfillment by connecting with their soul. She speaks on redefining success in the modern era, radical self-love, and feminine leadership.

Kim Parnell is the Co-Founder & CEO of Blank - A radical new way to build apps without code, and the Chief Evangelist of Truth - the data architecture language Blank relies on. Kim is an avid reader, a meditation advocate, a fitness enthusiast and a startup veteran with a successful exit under her belt. Kim shares her startup journey through writing and her various social media channels. Her passion for Blank comes from her frustration in finding a technical partner during the early phases of her first software startup. Alongside the teams at Blank & Truth, she’s working to create tools that enable tenacious people to take control of their future. Great ideas shouldn’t die on a whiteboard.

Sara Zborovski practises regulatory and commercial law. She assists companies regulated by Health Canada in obtaining market access and in all areas of compliance. Ms. Zborovski has experience in a wide range of matters involving the medical cannabis, industrial hemp, innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology, natural health product, medical device and food and beverage industries. Her practice is largely focused on assisting clients navigate the regulatory regimes implemented by the Cannabis Act, Food and Drugs Act and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and their respective regulations. Ms. Zborovski has been advising companies in the cannabis space since the introduction of the MMPR in 2013. She has assisted in the preparation and filing of licence applications, has advocated before Health Canada on behalf of numerous applicants and has advised on all aspects of the licensing, production, distribution, promotion and sale of medical and adult-use cannabis. She has also acted as counsel to the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, advocating before Health Canada for change to the regulatory regime to permit whole plant use and is now engaged to advocate for the use of hemp-derived CBD in therapeutic and wellness products. On the compliance side, Sara assists clients in developing SOPs and compliance policies, ensuring compliant packaging and labelling and provides strategic advice on advertising and marketing programs . She also works with clients in all industries on matters relating to product safety, including crisis management and product recalls.

Chris Jones is a cannabis industry professional involved in strategy and finance who is shaping ideas with stakeholders and thought leaders across the sector, and who has played a key role in multiple cannabis-related strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Before cannabis, he led business development at a boutique law firm in Toronto; he also had roles with two global construction companies in Canada, where he successfully bid on RFQs and RFPs for multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects. Chris has a Master's of Business (MBA) degree from McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) majoring in Law and Business from Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. He is also a Strategic Advisor & Mentor for a Cannabis Accelerator program in Canada called Leaf Forward. Additionally, he is an Industry Advisor and Guest Lecturer for a new Cannabis Business Course at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. His business background, coupled with his extensive experience in the business and legal fields, are formidable assets in helping develop and advance the future of cannabis products and the industry’s emerging medical and health innovations.

Alana Burstein is the founder and owner of Viv Spirits, a producer of premium non-alcohol cannabis-infused wine, poised at the forefront of changing consumer preferences. For Alana, Viv’s mission is personal. Alana channeled her experiences into developing an alternative beverage with all the fun and taste of traditional wine but without the negative social and health effects of alcohol. To address the shortcomings of other non-alcoholic wines on the market, Alana took this as a huge opportunity to start something new and innovative. Working with leading food chemists on a proprietary formula that delivers the experience of enjoying a fine wine, Viv Wine also mimics the onset of traditional alcohol which, combined with micro dosing, avoids overconsumption commonly associated with cannabis edibles. Viv Wine has less sugar, fewer calories, and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Viv Spirits headquartered is in Toronto, where Alana lives with her children. She continues to share her knowledge and experience with others to make a difference in their lives. She holds close to her heart several charitable organizations, including Israel Cancer Research, Starlight Foundation and Children's Aid.

Tanya Sardana is a marketer, entrepreneur and communications specialist with work experience at Globalive Capital, L'Oreal Canada, Bell Media, Starbucks, Massimo Dutti, Ensuite Media, all the way to her own 19,000+ engaged followers on her personal Instagram. She is currently launching a performance analytics startup, Flyshot, focused on driving in-app purchase revenue through influencer marketing. She led public and investor relations for Globalive Capital during its public listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange in June 2018. She was a ‘Digital Specialist’ at L’Oreal Canada, hired straight out of McGill University to work on e-commerce and digital marketing strategies for 4 global brands, as well as spearhead the launch of a new app targeted to improve sales communication with beauty retailers including Sephora. She has also previously launched two technology startups in the machine intelligence and retail e-commerce domains whilst a student and been recognized by global VC's. She has been an associate for world-renowned Professor Henry Mintzberg, and produced Professor Karl Moore's 'The CEO Series' for Bell Media, as well as graduated magna cum laude in 2016.

Antuanette Gomez is an International Speaker and Cannabis Business Maven. She is the Founder + CEO of Pleasure Peaks, a Medical Cannabis company focusing on Women’s Sexual Health. She is also the former Director of the Toronto Woman Grow Market and mentors many startups in the emerging cannabis industry in Canada within the legal framework. Her passion and love for uplifting women shows in her everyday life. For the past 6 years, she has been helping people start, buy, and sell brands/companies in the cannabis industry. With an extensive background in executive work and medical cannabis education, she has a thorough understanding of the cannabis market and knows what it takes to champion a client’s needs. Whether you’re founding a startup or supply buying from a Licensed Producer, she can help you price properly, negotiate deals, gain strategic licensing, acquire financing, find employment, and more.

More information about speakers, our schedule & entertainment will be announced soon! Stay tuned!

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