FutureWave is TECHNATION’s annual hybrid event exploring the future of the tech workforce in Canada. Taking place during Work-Integrated Learning month in March, this conference invites diverse voices in the tech space and beyond to discuss ways in which we can support our future leaders with experiential learning opportunities. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program.

About the Conference

FutureWave 2024 will explore the role of work-integrated learning in building the next generation of talent. We invite you to be a part of this critical conversation. This two-day conference unites a diverse array of voices from across the country to equip tech companies, HR professionals, and educators with a practical roadmap for discovering and empowering the upcoming generation of leaders.

FutureWave 2024 is steering into the future with a special focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Attendees will hear about groundbreaking developments in the field and listen in on cutting-edge discussions with experts as we delve into the pivotal role of AI in shaping tomorrow’s workforce and Canada’s tech sector.

If you’re eager to uncover fresh strategies for educating, recruiting, and championing the future of the tech workforce, we invite you to join us. Attendees will come away with actionable knowledge to support and foster the leaders of tomorrow.

Meet Your Host

Brett Hotas – Executive Director, Future Workforce Development Strategy, TECHNATION Canada

Brett Hotas currently serves as the Executive Director of Future Workforce Development Strategy at TECHNATION – Canada’s largest technology industry association, and your hosting organization at FutureWave! He has led the organization’s Student Work Placement Program, Career Ready, for over 5 years, stewarding nearly $250M in funds from the Government of Canada to ensure young Canadians are met with equitable and inclusive career pathways into STEM careers. He and his team are currently focused on WIL programming streams that focus on AI and Indigenization.

Agenda

Wednesday, March 6

8:30-9:00 am – Registration and continental breakfast
9:00-9:10 am – Welcome and Insights from TECHNATION CEO Angela Mondou on Canada’s AI Future
9:10-9:45 am – Keynote 1 – How Top Employers Are Recruiting Innovative Talent in 2024
9:45-10:45 am – Future-Proofing Canada’s Workforce: Policy Responses for AI Innovation and Sustainable Employment
10:45-11:00 am – Break
11:00-12:00 pm – Innovative Recruitment: The Importance of Hiring in an Economic Downturn
12:00-1:00 pm – Lunch and networking
1:00-2:00 pm – Révolutionner l’apprentissage : Innovations des modèles d’apprentissage intégré au travail (AIT) dans l’enseignement postsecondaire au Québec [Panel presented in French] (Revolutionizing Learning: Innovations in Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Models in Quebec’s Post-Secondary Education)
1:00-2:00 pm – The Power of Perspective: Youth Mentors in the Workplace
2:00-3:00 pm – Bridging the Gap: Navigating the Transition from Theoretical Knowledge to Practical Skills in the Tech Sector
2:00-3:00 pm – Innovation en IA dans le milieu du jeu vidéo indépendant de Montréal : outiller les studios et façonner les futures carrières technologiques [Panel presented in French] (AI Innovation in Montreal’s Indie Game Scene: Empowering Studios and Shaping Future Tech Careers)
3:00-3:15 pm – Coffee break sponsored by Kyndryl
3:15-4:15 pm – Developing the Next Generation of Indigenous Tech Talent 
4:15-4:30 pm – Lightning Talk with Interac (Raising the Recruiting Bar: The Winning Combination of Diversity, Talent, and Growth) and Day 1 wrap-up
4:30-6:00 pm – Networking event sponsored by Versatil

Thursday, March 7

8:30-9:00 am – Registration and continental breakfast
9:00-9:45 am – Welcome and Keynote 2 – Developing Quantum Computing Research Projects Between Academia and the Industry
9:45-10:30 am – Cyber Skilling: Staying Current in the Surge of Emerging Cybersecurity Solutions 
10:30-10:45 am – Break
10:45-11:30 am – Mind Meets Machine: Using AI to Future-Proof Workplace Wellness 
11:30-12:15 pm – The Quantum Revolution: Charting Opportunities, Navigating Challenges and Redefining the Future Workforce 
12:15-1:30 pm – Lunch and networking
1:30-2:30 pm – Speed Connect networking event
2:30-4:30 pm – Networking event sponsored by CEWIL

Panel Topics

Discussion topics at FutureWave will include:

Insights from TECHNATION CEO Angela Mondou on Canada's AI Future

Angela Mondou – President and CEO, TECHNATION Canada

Angela joined TECHNATION with over three decades of global and Canadian experience in the Technology sector. She helped spearhead TECHNATION’s “Strategic Knowledge Exchange” program which is aimed at driving change on a national scale. Her experience developing strategic partnerships between industry and government leaders and around the world, has helped drive TECHNATION’s vision to influence Canada’s position as a global tech leader.

Angela’s unique career path includes ten years as a military officer specializing in global supply chains and 23 years in senior-level positions in the Technology sector in North America and Europe. Her diverse experience includes senior marketing director with BlackBerry and global program director with Nortel Networks, where her team was responsible for delivering technology to over 127 countries.

Prior to joining TECHNATION as President and CEO, Angela led a health-tech AI predictive analytics company that provided an operational visibility platform across complex hospital and integrated health environments.

Beyond corporate and military experience, Angela also serves as a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) AI Governance Alliance Working Group and as a board member of NGen, Canada’s Global Innovation Supercluster for advanced manufacturing.

Angela has held positions as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Ivey School of Business, EVP of Leadership with the International Women’s Forum, and Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace, Technology and Engineering. She also holds P.Log and ICD.D designations.

In addition, Angela is a sought after global public speaker, and was invited to speak at the WEF G7 Digital Ministers Summit in Japan in 2023. She is also the author of the leadership best-seller Hit the Ground Leading!: Seize your leadership potential and do incredible things.

Keynote 1 - How Top Employers Are Recruiting Innovative Talent in 2024

This keynote will explore how top employers are revolutionizing talent recruitment in 2024 through innovative strategies such as open innovation competitions. By shifting away from traditional methods and leveraging crowdsourcing, organizations are achieving higher quality hires, improved diversity, and enhanced employer branding, setting a new standard for talent acquisition. Nicolette Langer, an expert from the field, will break down exactly how they do this, using real-life case studies and sharing ways to overcome the most common challenges employers face today.


Nicolette Langer
Global Account Executive, Agorize

Nicolette is the Global Sales Director at Agorize, a leading innovation management platform fueled by a community of 10 million startups and innovators. As an innovation partnerships expert, Nicolette has expanded from Canada to London at Agorize back in 2022. Now, Nicolette has launched programs with PepsiCo, Gatorade, TECHNATION and L’Oreal.

Keynote 2 - Developing Quantum Computing Research Projects Between Academia and the Industry

In this keynote presentation, attendees will gain valuable insights into the Quantum AlgoLab at Institut quantique, known for collaborative research projects with industry partners in quantum computing. These projects explore the promises offered by this new approach applied to current challenges faced by businesses.

Ghislain Lefebvre will discuss the concept of quantum computing and how the Quantum AlgoLab establishes fruitful collaborations with industry stakeholders. The speaker will shed light on the promises and potential applications of quantum computing, emphasizing its relevance to addressing current business challenges and explaining how projects are designed. The presentation will cover quantum computing’s applications and collaborative initiatives.

Ghislain Lefebvre Manager – Partnership Development – Chief Partnership Officer, Institut quantique – Université de Sherbrooke

Ghislain Lefebvre began his career as a physics teacher in several colleges in the province of Quebec. He then launched his own business by founding a brewery with his wife. He held the positions of brewer and president. Back in the Eastern Townships, he was director of the agri-food regional board and responsible for the deployment of the local food identification brand. Since January 2020, he is back in the world of physics and holds the position of Quantum AlgoLab Manager and Chief Partnership Officer for Institut quantique at USherbrooke.

Future-Proofing Canada’s Workforce: Policy Responses for AI Innovation and Sustainable Employment

This panel aims to explore the intersection of AI-driven innovation, workforce policies, and strategies for ensuring sustainable employment in Canada’s evolving job market. This panel discussion will delve into the multifaceted impact of AI innovation on Canada’s workforce, emphasizing the formulation of effective policies, retraining initiatives, and fostering sustainable employment. It will address demographic profiling, targeted policy interventions, and the role of AI-driven innovation in creating and sustaining jobs. 

Alex Shee Vice President, Corporate Development & Strategy, Sama

Alex is a Global AI Executive with a proven track record of developing successful scale up strategies, taking impactful decisions and operating in high-growth organizations with revenues ranging between $10M and $100M. Corporate Development, ESG and Strategy leader at Sama who raised over $120M in capital, grew the business from 2500 to 4500 employees and published Sama’s first Annual Impact Report. Previously, expanded Element AI in North Asia, South East Asia and Europe, created growth channels and partnerships with globally recognized companies and led historic Series B financing. Co-Chair of the Global Partnership on AI’s Future of Work working group. Selected as one of top 250 upcoming leaders in Canada by the Governor General of Canada and Floodgate VC’s 2020 Anchor List. 

Michele Lajeunesse Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Policy, TECHNATION

Michele is currently serving as the Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Policy at TECHNATION (formerly ITAC). She is no stranger to the IT and business community, having worked both in the public and private sectors, and has held vice president-level positions at a number of organizations, including the Institute on Governance, as well as leading GTEC for three years. She has also provided her expertise in business process transformation, organizational change strategies, effective business cases, and alternative service delivery channels to numerous federal public sector ADM and DM level initiatives. A true ‘serial connector,’ Michele is committed to working with government and industry to drive Canada’s digital adoption, and advocates for women in technology through her participation in various ICT associations.   

Innovative Recruitment: Nurturing Tech Talent from Career Planning to Full Potential

This panel will explore the full landscape of tech talent from those planning their careers to those currently immersed in this field. With tech permeating every aspect of our personal and professional lives, careers in this area are rewarding, but developing this talent pool has its challenges with the rapid changes in AI, cybersecurity and other segments of this industry. This esteemed panel will discuss talent growth, attraction, and development within our workforce, with an eye on diversity, that can be employed by FutureWave attendees in their journey to building rewarding teams.

Sylvie Ouellette President / Co-Founder, Versatil

Sylvie is a highly energetic and result-oriented professional with over 25 years of experience in strategy management, financial performance management, business process management and information technology services. Prior to Versatil, Sylvie held several senior executive positions in large corporations including Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Electronic Data Systems.  

Sylvie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Université de Sherbrooke, a Higher Diploma in International Business from Leeds Metropolitan University in England, an MBA from the Université du Québec in Montreal, and is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA). In her role as President and Co-Founder of Versatil, Sylvie is recognized for being a creative thinker and a change agent for organizations. Thriving in the Analytics space, Sylvie is at her best when helping organizations utilize business Analytics solutions to steer and enhance their decision making. 

Gabrielle Botbol – Pentester, Desjardins

Gabrielle Botbol is a Pentester at Desjardins, the largest financial cooperative in North America. With a deep focus on the banking industry, Gabrielle specializes in exploring mobile applications and API. Gabrielle is an avid blog writer who advocates for access to education for all. In addition, she has a large following on social media, where she shares many educational resources about technical training and many other cyber topics.

She actively contributes to various organizations as a member of their Advisory Board, such as APIsec University. She is a speaker and trainer at global events and prestigious universities, like Blackhat, APIsecure, Apidays, Bsides, Owasp, Cuny University, and Toronto University. With her contributions to the community, Gabrielle has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards. Among them, she was honored as one of the Top 20 women in cybersecurity in Canada, Pentest Ninja at WSCJ, Educator of the Year at AYA, Top Influencer in Cybersecurity by IFSEC Global, and Woman Hacker of the Year by CSWY.

Sabe Mpofu – Founder & CEO, Millenilink

Sabe Mpofu is the Founder and CEO of Millenilink, a technology talent acquisition agency that helps organizations address the technology talent gap impacting their business via recruitment and advisory services. Sabe founded Millenilink in 2018 upon recognizing the increased level of specialization required to hire technology professionals. He is passionate about aligning individuals and organizations to advance their careers and business objectives, respectively. Before Millenilink, Sabe spent ten years in the technology recruitment industry collaborating with clients in diverse sectors, including banking, insurance, government, IT consulting and higher education. Sabe holds a Master of Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University.   

Val Iannitti – Vice President, Development and Partnerships, Actua 

For over 20 years, Val Iannitti has been an advocate for social justice, equitable education and human rights internationally and in Canada. She began her career supporting the disability rights movement at the PanAfrican level, which led to her participation in the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities before leading education and international development initiatives in Africa and the Middle East. After completing her MBA, Val joined Actua in 2017 to lead its Development Team.

Under her leadership, Actua has raised tens of millions of dollars to inspire over 400,000 youth every year through STEM, the majority of whom are girls and young women, Indigenous youth, Black youth and those from rural and Arctic communities. In her role, she leads corporate partnerships that add critical industry perspective and inspire the development of new program areas – such as Digital Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security and Vehicle Innovation – which prepare youth to become skilled, diverse leaders in Canada’s innovation economy.

With degrees in Biochemistry, Psychology, Political Science and Business, Val has a passion for the ethics, politics and philosophy of science and technology. She is a proud mama to two active kids, spends early mornings in her home gym, winters unsuccessfully trying to master snowboarding and summers road biking along Ottawa’s glorious pathways.

 

Révolutionner l’apprentissage : Innovations des modèles d’apprentissage intégré au travail (AIT) dans l’enseignement postsecondaire au Québec (Revolutionizing Learning: Innovations in Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Models in Quebec’s Post-Secondary Education)

This panel will be conducted primarily in French.

The “Revolutionizing Learning” panel will explore the groundbreaking shifts in post-secondary education, particularly in Cegeps in Quebec, highlighting the transformative Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) model. It will focus on how this innovative approach bridges academia and industry needs, preparing students for the tech industry through practical experiences. The panel will feature program and curriculum developers who have pioneered the WIL model in Quebec’s Cegeps. The discussion will center on the design, implementation, and outcomes of this innovative approach, emphasizing its effectiveness in preparing students for the tech industry and meeting industry demands for early talent acquisition. 

Annick Wishnowsky Cégep de Sherbrooke

Annick Wishnowsky is in charge of the CEGEP-business liaison service. She has over 15 years of experience in management and human resources and has carried out many projects in conjunction with organizations and businesses.
A visionary and a passionate and inspiring leader, Ms. Wishnowsky brings a wealth of experience and skills in matching the needs of the students and businesses thanks to her ability to lead large-scale projects, her knowledge of the business community and the relationships she has forged with many of the regions’ organizations and companies.

Charlene Marion Executive Director, CEWIL Canada

Charlene has been executive director of CEWIL/ECAIT Canada since 2021. However, she had been involved with the organization for over 12 years, serving on the Board of Directors as secretary and Québec representative, as well as chairing the research and communications committees. Previously, she held various positions in higher education, notably at Bishop’s University, in recruitment, admissions, student counselling, co-operative education and experiential learning. Charlene’s driving force is developing meaningful learning opportunities for students to develop the skills that will better prepare them for their future.

The Power of Perspective: Youth Mentors in the Workplace

This panel will be available exclusively to in-person attendees.

The Power of Perspective panel promises a captivating conversation with youth exploring how mentorship is evolving in the modern workplace. These young talents have not only excelled in their WIL placements but have also embraced the role of supporting their leadership teams as “reverse mentors”. They will discuss how this innovative approach to mentorship is reshaping workplace dynamics, promoting collaboration, and empowering the leaders of tomorrow. Discover how the fresh perspectives, energy, and innovative ideas of the younger generation are actively driving organizational growth and success.

Clément Abergel – Student, Université Laval   

Clement Abergel is a nearly graduate student in software engineering at Laval University. At the university, he tries to participate in all the student associations and helps organize events for people to enjoy. Passionate about aerospace and aircraft, Clement tends to specialize in the embedded world and dreams of working in one of these fields. 

 

Simon Wang – Founder & CEO, Ensemble Technologies / Student, McGill University 

Simon is the Co-founder & CEO at Ensemble, a technical consultancy that develops software for startups from ideation all the way to deployment and scaling. Leveraging his experience working in 5 diverse companies, from startups all the way to big tech as a developer, he decided to launch his own, with interns and senior developers on the team. Currently, Simon is starting a new venture in asset management & real estate, backed by both NEXT Canada and the McGill Dobson Cup. As a software engineering student at McGill, he is also fostering a community of tech entrepreneurs in Montreal, organizing various events for creatives, and startup founders. 

Imen Naili – Partnerships Manager, FDM 

Imen Naili is a driven individual with a committed passion for empowering the next generation of leaders. With a rich background in managing junior sales and service teams, she brings a keen understanding of the unique dynamics and potential of young professionals in the workplace. As a seasoned professional, Imen is dedicated to fostering meaningful conversations and her insights into organizational leadership have been honed through years of hands-on experience and strategic oversight. Join us as she guides us through a dialogue that not only explores the transformative impact of mentorship but also delves into the nuances of effective change in today’s fast-paced work environment. 

Isaiah Joyner – New Grad Consultant, CGI 

Isaiah Tyrrell-Joyner completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at Concordia’s JMSB in 2021. During his undergrad he was awarded the CO-OP Student of the Year, the Concordia Medal, and Lieutenant Governor Medal for involvement as a student leader. Now, he is pursuing his MBA at the Goodman Institute of Investment Management at Concordia, while working full-time at CGI as a New Grad consultant and continuing his community involvement. 

 

Candice Zhong – Technovation Montréal 

Candice is a student, pilot and executive of her student union. She had the chance to shape her leadership through different experiential learning projects. Her experiences in aviation, tech and business fueled her mission to advocate for gender equality. She will bring insights about learning and its intersection with youth empowerment.   

 

 

Innovation en IA dans le milieu du jeu vidéo indépendant de Montréal : outiller les studios et façonner les futures carrières technologiques (AI Innovation in Montreal's Indie Game Scene: Empowering Studios and Shaping Future Tech Careers)

This panel will be conducted primarily in French.

Montreal’s video game industry is the largest in Canada and fifth largest in the world. Home to 300 studios and employing over 13,500 workers, it can be hard to stand out. Learn how independent studios are harnessing the power of AI to compete with the biggest studios in the industry and hear from forward-thinking students who are embracing AI despite the hesitancy of their post-secondary educators. Attendees will discover how students and industry leaders alike are upskilling to learn cross-disciplinary skills that can help guide their career paths in the tech sector.

Celia Shi – Computer Science Student, McGill University

Celia is currently studying computer science at McGill University. Passionate about video games, robotics and social justice, she dedicates her free time between the McGill Robotics Team as a software engineer and Gameable, a non-profit that encourages young girls to explore STEM fields, more specifically video games. Celia aspires to later work in the video game industry and hopes to encourage diversity and inclusivity in gaming.

 

Patric Mondou – Game Director and Creative Director, Double Stallion Games

Patric Mondou (@PatricMondou) is a game designer and director with 15 years of experience, having worked at Gameloft (Disney Dreamlight Valley, LEGO Star Wars: Castaways, Modern Combat 2 through 4) and on indie teams (CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story, Mages of Mystralia). At Double Stallion, he is heading the design department to ensure its excellence across all projects. Patric also has a previous background in academic research in interactive literature. Previous talks/lectures include Montreal’s International Game Summit 2021, Vancouver’s Game Design Expo 2012 and Quebec’s Warpzone, UBC Congress 2008 and Congress for Digital Humanities 2008 in Finland.   

Alison Quach – Computer Engineering Student, McGill University

Alison is a student embarking on her undergraduate studies in Computer Engineering at McGill University. With a deep passion for learning, she is captivated by the realms of technology by exploring and experimenting with emerging fields such as AI in her free time.

 

 

Brian McWilliams – CEO, Wild Blueberry Games

Brian McWilliams is the CEO of Wild Blueberry Games, a Montréal based independent game studio. Brian worked for several years as a programmer in AAA game studios before founding Wild Blueberry. He specializes in breaking technological barriers and integrating cutting-edge AI technology into game development pipelines.

 

Corrine Crichlow – Founder & Narrative Director, Dragon Pine Games 

Corinne Crichlow is Founder & CEO of DragonPine and has a passion for games. She is also a seasoned communicator and the Director – Quebec for Enterprise Canada’s Quebec practice, based in Montreal. She serves brand and executive leaders in tech, government, and pharmaceuticals, providing regional advice and nuanced opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

Corinne’s extensive public relations experience includes supporting federal and provincial leaders in health, justice, and economic development.

 

 

 

Bridging the Gap: Navigating the Transition from Theoretical Knowledge to Practical Skills in the Tech Sector

This panel will be available exclusively to in-person attendees.

With the rapid evolution of technology like AI, Canada’s tech workforce must be able to seamlessly translate theoretical concepts into real-world applications. Expert panelists will discuss new strategies, educational approaches, and industry initiatives that can help bridge this gap to foster a workforce equipped with the essential skills needed for success in the workforce of tomorrow. 

Sukh Auluck Director – Enterprise Canada Industry Partner, Kyndryl

Sukhvinder Auluck is a Director and Industry Partner – Enterprise at Kyndryl Canada, the largest IT infrastructure services provider in Canada and the world. Sukhvinder has over 25 years of industry experience with two industry leading organizations: Kyndryl and IBM. His career extends across corporate finance & accounting, strategy & transformation, business operations, and sales.   

Sukhvinder has his Bachelor of Commence from York University and has successfully completed various industry certifications. He has a passion for working with post-secondary students and providing them with opportunities to grow and gain valuable experience through internship and co-op programs. Since 2010, Sukhvinder has designed, led, and participated in various student-oriented programs.   
Kyndryl designs, builds, manages and modernizes the complex, mission-critical information systems that the world depends on every day. 

Vanessa Herrick Vice President, Strategic Communications and Engagement, NPower Canada

Vanessa Herrick is passionate community leader with expertise in advocacy, development, and capacity building of underserved communities. In 2008, Vanessa enrolled at Concordia University to study journalism and received the Canadian International Development Agency’s Journalism and Development awardAfter graduating from Concordia, Vanessa pursued further studies in an MFA program in International Communications and Development at City University, London, England.

Vanessa then worked in international development, journalism, and communications in places such as Afghanistan, Kosovo and dozens of other countries. In 2019, Vanessa turned her focus back to Quebec became the first Executive Director of Seniors Action Quebec, a Quebec-based not-for-profit focused on advocacy and community-building for English-speaking seniors and went on to lead other community groups in greater Montreal.

Vanessa is currently the Regional Director for Quebec for NPower Canada, a national organization focused on providing participants with free in-demand digital and professional skills training, and connecting them to rewarding career opportunities with some of Canada’s largest employers. 

Sandra Gabriele, PhD Vice-Provost, Innovation in Teaching & Learning, Concordia University

Sandra Gabriele is the Vice-Provost, Innovation in Teaching & Learning and an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Concordia University. In her role as Vice-Provost, she has led several major national and provincial initiatives aimed at improving learner outcomes and improving the accessibility of teaching environments. She is the founder of FUSION, a national consortium of universities dedicated to promoting skills development in learners. She is the author of The Sunday Paper: A Media History (with Paul Moore, 2022) and is currently completing research on the impact of mindful self-compassion practices on the professional development of university teachers. Dedicated to the promotion of well-being in youth, she is also a trained teacher of mindful self-compassion for teens.

Sabe Mpofu – Founder & CEO, Millenilink 

Sabe Mpofu is the Founder and CEO of Millenilink, a technology talent acquisition agency that helps organizations address the technology talent gap impacting their business via recruitment and advisory services. Sabe founded Millenilink in 2018 upon recognizing the increased level of specialization required to hire technology professionals. He is passionate about aligning individuals and organizations to advance their careers and business objectives, respectively. Before Millenilink Sabe spent ten years in the technology recruitment industry collaborating with clients in diverse sectors, including banking, insurance, government, IT consulting and higher education. Sabe holds a Master of Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University. 

 

Developing the Next Generation of Indigenous Tech Talent

This panel will explore strategies for empowering Indigenous individuals in technology and creating new pathways into tech-based careers. Panelists will delve into topics such as bridging the digital divide, cultivating STEM skills, fostering mentorship opportunities, and leveraging cultural heritage in tech innovation. Through insightful discussions and shared experiences, we’ll explore methods to nurture the next generation of Indigenous tech leaders, foster diversity, and create a more inclusive tech industry.

Ryan St. Germaine – Founder, Tech Circle

Ryan St. Germaine is the founder of Tech Circle, serial entrepreneur and advisor to tech startups. An ecosystem builder and proud Métis, Ryan dedicates much of his time to bringing together Indigenous technologists, founders, students, ecosystem partners and community builders through Tech Circle’s peer-to-peer network.

Some of the organizations Ryan has founded or led include BCjobs.ca, Vancouver Tech Meetup, JobCast, CodeCast and Tech Circle.

Bryanne Smart – Associate Director, Indigenous Relations with the University of Waterloo 

Bryanne Smart (She/Her) is a member of Six Nations of the Grand River, Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan and is the Associate Director, Indigenous Relations with the University of Waterloo. She is leading the Reconciliation and Indigenization work in the Co-operative and Experiential Education unit at the university, alongside the Office of Indigenous Relations. She enjoys collaboration around Indigenous work-integrated learning along with those doing the work and conversations with those who are looking to get there.  

Bryanne has nearly 20 years of experience working with Indigenous individuals, communities, and organizations. Previously, she has spent time working with Indspire, Ontario Native Women’s Association, Aboriginal Legal Services, and with an Indigenous-led criminal law practice. Bryanne values the importance of building foundational relationships as key across all facets of work and specializes in Indigenous community-led and strength-based approaches in research, program development and implementation, strategic planning, and facilitation 

Bryanne holds a BA in Political Science and a Master’s in Aboriginal Education and Leadership. She also serves as Chair of the Board for De Dwa Da Dehs Nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre, as well as a Board Member for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division.   

Carrie Lamb – Founder, Carrie Lamb Consulting 

Carrie Lamb is a member of the Sayisi Dene First Nation and is a passionate Indigenous talent advocate, leadership coach, and HR consultant. Carrie centers her professional practice with wholistic, Indigenous worldviews to support mindset breakthroughs. With a career in Human Resources spanning more than 17 years, she has gained extensive experience in human dynamics within an organizational environment.

Her work is deeply influenced by her understandings and lived experiences as an Indigenous person. She has previously been a volunteer Board of Directors for Vancouver Native Housing Society as well as casual volunteerism to multiple Indigenous organizations across British Columbia. 

Josh Nilson – former CEO, East Side Games 

Josh Nilson is Metis and from Willow River, BC. He is a founder of East Side Games (ESG), making mobile games like Trailer Park Boys, The Office, Ru Paul Drag Race Superstar and more. Josh has been working in tech since 2002 and was recognized as one of the most influential business leaders in the province as part of the BC500 in 2021, 2022, 2023.

Just recently, Josh was named Person of the Year 2022 at the BC Tech Technology Impact Awards. He currently works in the technology and interactive media spaces and will always stop for pugs.   

Matthew Unger – Founder and CEO, iComply 

Matthew Unger is founder and CEO of iComply, and a recognized leader in finance, regulation, blockchain and AI with two decades of experience in Canadian financial technology. Matthew has studied political science at University of Manitoba, entrepreneurship at University of British Columbia,  blockchain, AI and Business Strategy at MIT, and holds certificates in Innovation in Corporate Governance from the Canadian Council of Innovators.

He is an active member of DIACC, TRISA, CBC Fintech and is an internationally recognized public speaker on fintech regulation and compliance. As an author, Matthew has been published in The Economist, Forbes, and Finance Magnates. 

Raising the Recruiting Bar: The Winning Combination of Diversity, Talent, and Growth

Lightning Talk with Interac

In today’s business, the significance of a robust recruitment team cannot be overstated. This talk delves into the multifaceted aspects of building a best-in-class recruitment team and the role this plays in diversifying your workforce. Join us as we dive into how to diversify your workforce the right way, nurture your team, retain talent, and drive growth. 

Voula Vasilopoulos – Director, Talent Acquisition, Interac Corp. 

As a Talent leader, Voula builds best-in-class organizations by identifying and bringing top talent to companies. She leads with a vision and influences her team, Business Leaders and Hiring Managers alike, on building strong people relations and inspires her team to be proactive and creative in their recruitment practices.

Voula attributes her professional success to believing that people are the best capital that an organization can have. People are the ones who produce and achieve results and she helps find those people to do just that. With the heart of an empath and keen mind of a marketer, Voula leverages data and insights to achieve incredible results and gain competitive advantage, in both the employer and candidate markets. She strives to bring out the best in her team with humanity, compassion, and a results-oriented leadership style. 

Cyber Skilling: Staying Current in the Surge of Emerging Cybersecurity Solutions

Join us for an insightful cybersecurity panel that delves deep into the dynamic landscape of digital security. Seasoned experts will discuss the cyber industry, academia, and the ever-evolving challenges in the realm of cybersecurity. This panel will also shed light on the diverse skill sets and tools that cybersecurity experts must possess to stay ahead in the industry. 

Andrew Buckles – Cyber Services Owner, ISA Cybersecurity

A graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Computing degree, Andrew brings over 15 years of experience in the fields of IT and cyber. In his role as Cyber Services Owner, he has full accountability for the project-based, role-based, and managed security services offered by ISA Cybersecurity. Professional and results-oriented, Andrew has extensive experience working with large enterprise clients in financial services, utilities, manufacturing, retail, and the broader public sector, providing strategic, advisory, and operational services in the areas of governance, risk, compliance, and privacy.

J Paul Haynes – President and Chief Operating Officer, eSentire

Paul Haynes was drawn to eSentire with a vision to create a disruptive cybersecurity company. He successfully partnered with growth capital firms to invest in and scale eSentire to become the world’s largest pure-play Managed Detection and Response (MDR) provider and market leader. J.Paul is a professional engineer with a 25-year entrepreneurial track record of success. His business acumen, in-depth understanding of technology, and strong leadership have made him a respected and reliable voice on the topic of cybersecurity in North America and Europe.

J. Paul holds both a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Engineering from the University of Guelph. He is also a proud alumnus serving on the Industrial Advisory Board for the University of Guelph’s School of Engineering and is a Board Director for Innovation Guelph and TECHNATION (formerly ITAC).

Anthony Andreoli – Ph.D. Researcher, Concordia University’s Security Research Center

Anthony Andreoli is a Ph.D. researcher at Concordia University’s Security Research Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His work focuses on binary code understanding and pattern detection for vulnerability analysis, detection, and prevention. An experienced teacher and communicator of ideas, he has been teaching computer science related material for over 5 years to students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

He spends his free time endlessly inquiring about the nature of existence and human behaviour, and has an extremely shrunken perception of time. Anthony hosts the Gifts of Time podcast, which covers topics of spirituality and human transformation available on Youtube and Spotify.

Kevin Dawson – President & CEO, ISA Cybersecurity

With nearly 30 years in the IT industry, Kevin is a recognized expert in the cybersecurity field. In addition to leading ISA Cybersecurity, Kevin is actively involved in the academic community, advocating for cybersecurity education at the post-secondary level in Canada. He serves as an advisor to three Canadian universities and colleges, providing mentorship around cybersecurity and program development.

Kevin is an active member of several advisory boards for industry-leading cybersecurity vendors, a frequent speaker and facilitator for cybersecurity-focused events, and a regular contributor of security articles and thought leadership on LinkedIn. Kevin joined ISA Cybersecurity in 1998 as an account executive, then served as Vice President of Sales from 2004-2014 before assuming the role of President & CEO in 2014.

Rushmi Hasham – Director, Cybersecurity Workforce Training, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst (TMU)

Rushmi is Director of Cybersecurity Workforce Training at Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Toronto Metropolitan University. She is an innovative cybersecurity thought leader with a sharp focus on developing unique cybersecurity workforce development solutions. Rushmi identifies and links reskilling gaps with employment opportunities as a pathway to increase diversity in cybersecurity 

Rushmi’s vision of reimagining cybersecurity workforce development comes from the vision to attract the non-cyber, non-technical mid-career adult who is seeking to make a career pivot into cybersecurity. Over the last 4 years, the Cybersecurity Training Program at the Catalyst has graduated 640 cybersecurity professionals, all from diverse backgrounds. Rushmi takes great pride that 60% of the graduates of the program are women 
Rushmi is also a serial social-entrepreneur, founding 2 businesses in the technology services industry. She firmly follows the doctrine that business has a responsibility in lifting communities, she has weaved that doctrine into her own companies and into her work at Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst. Rushmi lives in Mississauga with her husband Jeff and their two daughters Natalie and Nicole. 

Mind Meets Machine: Using AI to Future-Proof Workplace Wellness

AI has the potential to transform several aspects of employee well-being, but the field of mental health presents a unique opportunity for AI to make a significant impact. This panel will deep-dive into the various ways AI is used to supplement human expertise and enhance employee wellness. Panelists will discuss research-based examples exploring AI as a game-changer for employee wellness and share how AI tools can strengthen the health of our future workforce.

Camille LabatSite Lead – Senior Operations Manager, Synechron

Camille Labat heads Synechron’s new Montreal Delivery Centre, where she works with a talented team on delivering best-in-class tech solutions for top international financial services and technology firms. She is dedicated to fostering a culture of collaboration and focuses on scaling diverse teams committed to innovation, operational excellence, and a client-centric delivery approach.
Camille has been calling Montreal home for close to 10 years now, captivated by the city’s vibrant tech ecosystems she explored throughout her career in consulting and startups, after graduating from McGill University.

Elizabeth Keller National Business Development Leader, Public Sector, Canada (Healthcare) Amazon Health Canada 

Elizabeth Keller is a leading executive, strategist and integrator in Canadian digital health and a recognized health expert internationally. She was named as one of the Top 10 Women in Digital Health in Canada. As the National Canadian Business Development Leader for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Public Sector (Healthcare), Elizabeth works with government and public sector clients to transform their businesses and improve citizen experiences.

She has also worked with some of the largest private sector consulting firms in the world (IBM and PwC), and in the public sector for 10 years as VP @OntarioMD. Elizabeth volunteers her time and expertise extensively in the industry as an elected advisor to CHIEF (Canada’s Health Informatics Executive Forum) and the Head of Delegation for Canada (Digital Health Standards) for the Standards Council of Canada. Elizabeth also guest lectures at University of Toronto and University of Regina, and enjoys mentoring and helping the next generation of leaders in this exciting space of AI, Healthcare and Innovation!

Voula Vasilopoulos – Director, Talent Acquisition, Interac Corp. 

As a Talent leader, Voula builds best-in-class organizations by identifying and bringing top talent to companies. She leads with a vision and influences her team, Business Leaders and Hiring Managers alike, on building strong people relations and inspires her team to be proactive and creative in their recruitment practices.

Voula attributes her professional success to believing that people are the best capital that an organization can have. People are the ones who produce and achieve results and she helps find those people to do just that. With the heart of an empath and keen mind of a marketer, Voula leverages data and insights to achieve incredible results and gain competitive advantage, in both the employer and candidate markets. She strives to bring out the best in her team with humanity, compassion, and a results-oriented leadership style. 

Daniel Bordenave Founder & CEO, Bisep / Niagara Falls Innovation Hub

Dan graduated with his Bachelors of Kinesiology and Masters of Science from Brock University. While in school he was working as a registered Kinesiologist in Long-Term Care Homes and saw a need for older adults to have more support when walking. This motivated Dan to invent the world’s first device that attaches a person’s wheelchair to a walker. This multiple award-winning device is called the ARMM device. From there Dan began to mentor other young entrepreneurs on how he managed to be a self-taught entrepreneur and business professional. These opportunities allowed him to work with the Niagara Falls Innovation Hub as a manager of member relations and help to relate to budding entrepreneurs. After a brief time, Dan was selected to be the CEO of the Niagara Falls Innovation Hub and continues to support entrepreneurs along their journey by providing an all-encompassing space with essential resources such as: technology, mentorship, curriculum, and funding opportunities.

Danina Kapetanović – Chief Innovation Officer, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal/Head of OROT – Connected Health Innovation Hub

Danina Kapetanović is the Chief Innovation Officer at the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal (CIUSSS West-Central Montreal). The network, consisting of 34 facilities covering the entire continuum of care, provides timely and person-centric care to over 700,00 people annually. Within the CIUSSS and its hub, Jewish General Hospital, she conceptualised, founded and now heads the Connected Health Innovation Hub – OROT.

Ms. Kapetanovic holds a M.Sc. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Hunter College of City University of New York, a B.A. Honours in Neurolinguistics from McGill University in Montreal, a certificate in Healthcare Innovation from Duke University and a certificate in Development of Entrepreneurship in Life Sciences and Healthcare Technology from Concordia University. She speaks five languages. 

The Quantum Revolution: Charting Opportunities, Navigating Challenges and Redefining the Future Workforce

With the advent of Quantum computing, a technology expected to tackle problems deemed unsolvable by classical supercomputers, it’s crucial to initiate discussions about the opportunities, challenges, and implications this technology will bring. The panel will discuss the various aspects of Quantum computing technology and its impact on the future workforce. Panelists will discuss industry applications and case studies, examining how Quantum computing is currently leveraged and its potential impact on various sectors. The panel will address the critical issue of workforce adaptation, the evolving skills required for Quantum computing-related roles and possible challenges and strategies for preparing the workforce to keep pace with Quantum computing advancements.

Sarah Blanchette Executive Director of the Quantum Information Science Undergraduate Program, Université de Sherbrooke 

Sarah Blanchette is the Executive Director of the Bachelor in Quantum Information Sciences at Université de Sherbrooke. Part of her responsibilities in the framework of this new degree is to develop partnerships with industry players and integrate their cutting-edge research into the course curriculum. Previously, Sarah worked as a quantum software developer at Institut quantique, where she focused on quantum machine learning projects and on building educational material on quantum computing. She completed her bachelor’s in physics at Université de Montréal in 2021. 

Vincent Thomasset Director of Research and Partnerships, Productique Quebec 

 

 

 

 

Marie-Eve Boulanger Program Manager – Quantum Component, PINQ² 

Dr. Marie-Eve Boulanger is a business owner at PINQ², Quebec’s digital and quantum innovation platform, where she helps companies accelerate their quantum transformation. Her focus is on developing the quantum ecosystem by supporting collaborative quantum projects. Marie-Eve holds a PhD in physics, more especially in the domain of quantum material from Université de Sherbrooke.   

 

Julien Chosson – IBM 

Julien Chosson leads the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator, which aims to use the bits, neurons and qubits representing different computational technologies to solve major societal problems. The Discovery Accelerator aims to make major breakthroughs in the fields of sustainability, environment and climate by leveraging IBM Research’s infrastructure, which Julien is involved in, with the mission of accelerating innovation from lab to market. Before joining IBM, Julien developed and sold his start-up to one of the giants in the environment and software sectors. The start-up developed cutting-edge computer vision technology to accelerate the implementation of the circular economy in North America by creating a new set of essential data under complex conditions. The company’s development gave him the opportunity to file a patent and to participate in exchanges with leading researchers in the field of artificial intelligence. Julien holds an MBA and is a graduate of the EDHEC Business School in France.

Martin Laforest – Managing Partner, Quantacet 

A quantum physicist by training, Martin spent his career ensuring quantum technologies have a disruptive, yet positive impact on industry and society. Martin is currently managing partner for Quantacet, an early stage, quantum-focused investment fund and the director of Quantum Strategy for ACET, a Sherbrooke-based deep tech incubator offering specific mentoring tailored to quantum enterprises. Martin serves as an advisor to Canada’s National Quantum Strategy, as a board member for Quantum Industry Canada and as a technical advisor for the deployment of a quantum communication testbed in the province of Québec led by Numana.

Prior to joining Sherbrooke’s quantum ecosystem, Martin was the senior product manager for ISARA Corporation, a quantum-safe security company. Martin also spent eight years promoting the impacts of quantum technologies to students, governments, companies and investors for the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo where he also received his PhD. 

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