Main Stage Keynote Speaker
Tech titan Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started five companies before her 33rd birthday. A “Dragon” on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Michele is the co-founder of Buytopia.ca, Snap By Groupon, and — most recently — Clearbanc, an online financial service. Ranked in WXN’s “100 Most Powerful in Canada” and listed as the only Canadian on Forbes magazine’s “Millennial on a Mission” list, Michele brings her youthful energy and incredible entrepreneurial savvy to every stage.
Michele has driven new digital solutions to many of the world’s leading brands, including P&G, Netflix, Starbucks, and Cirque du Soleil, and she was also the Director of Strategy for Sears, where she led apparel growth strategies at the company — a $2.5 billion category.
Michele is a director for Vail Resorts, Freshii, and Shad Valley, a transformational program that develops the entrepreneurial potential of exceptional Canadian youth.
Main Stage Keynote Speaker
Alan Stein teaches proven strategies to create winning mindsets, rituals, and routines during the unseen hours.
As a successful business owner and veteran basketball performance coach, Alan spent 15+ years working with the highest- performing athletes on the planet (including NBA superstar Kevin Durant). He transfers that experience to help people develop championship-level performance, cohesion, and accountability.
Alan is a dynamic storyteller who delivers practical lessons that can be implemented immediately, showing how to utilize the same approaches in life that elite athletes use to perform at a world-class level.
"Are the habits you have today on par with the dreams you have for tomorrow?" - Alan Stein, Jr.
Main Stage Keynote Speaker
It's always about the journey. That’s the message women’s hockey champion Cheryl Pounder seeks to instill in every audience she speaks to. Cheryl believes that our actions and values have a direct impact on our team, affecting the culture of our group! We must learn to self- observe, share information and be accountable to our performance. The result…efficiency! Our environment is constantly changing, how do we adapt? How do we prepare? How do we work within our group? With every failure comes an opportunity to learn. Seize the opportunity.
Pounder is an interactive and engaging speaker who shows audiences that true achievement is found on the way to winning gold. We must “Grow for Gold”.
Cheryl played on six of Canada’s World Championship Hockey Teams where she was named an All-star defenseman in 2005. Cheryl was also voted the top defenseman at the 2002, 2004, 2005 (MVP) and 2007 Canadian National Hockey Championships. Her greatest career accomplishments are her two Olympic Gold medals from the Salt Lake City and Torino Olympic Games.
Currently, Cheryl is working for TSN/CBC as a hockey analyst. Her most recent work includes the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and 2017 World Championships.
Ed Gerety is an entrepreneur, author and one of the top professional youth speakers and leadership trainers in the United States. His inspirational and powerful programs have taught over 2 million students in all 50 states and Canada the life skills essential to develop as leaders in school and in life.
Whether he’s speaking to students, educators, or parents in middle school, high school or top colleges such as Northwestern University, Fordham University or the University of Southern California, Ed has the unique ability to connect with the hearts and minds of his audiences about real issues. He firmly believes that it’s never too early or too late to improve yourself, to start following your dreams, or to strive to be a leader.
These skills, which include respect, character, gratitude, leadership, attitude, and making a difference, are outlined in Ed’s book, Combinations: Opening the Door to Student Leadership. He has completed the Boston Marathon three times and lives on the seacoast in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.
Cara Filler is Driven to Inspire. For the last 18 years, Cara has shared her powerful positive leadership and prevention programs with more than 2 million people in 5 countries. She empowers students, teachers, parents and complete strangers to make everyday choices count. Why? Because if it causes just ONE person to care more, speak up and stand out – IT’S ALL WORTH IT!
The road hasn’t always been ‘easy’ for Cara. The day before her 18th birthday, Cara’s world was devastated and forever changed when her identical twin sister, Mairin, was killed in a high speed car crash. From that day forward, Cara committed to helping others put life and its challenges in perspective.
Cara keeps it real. She’s an incredible storyteller, a bad dancer, and totally unashamed to make a fool of herself.
Cara loves singing, dancing with her son, visits to Panera Bread – Mmm soup! and she’s Canadian. Eh. Just for fun, ask her to say any of the following words: sorry, Mom, about, decal, route, North Dakota or pasta.
Patrick is an award-winning speaker and leader, transforming campuses and communities across North America. For over a decade, Patrick has been empowering today’s leaders to be tomorrow’s impact, using his unique blend of humor, storytelling, and pop culture savviness. His unique style garnered him a Certified Speaking Professional ® designation by the National Speakers Association, an honor earned by only the top 10 percent of speakers worldwide. As a trained communicator, improvisor, and high school educator, he is an entertaining experience that is relatable, relevant, and real for any audience, from youth and youth leaders to advisors and professionals. Patrick continues to serve and lead by working with renowned organizations such as Kiwanis.
Patrick lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, Jessica and their cat, Cella. He enjoys sailing, cooking, and cheering on his alma mater, The Arizona State Sun Devils.
For more information, visit www.pmaurer.com
Orlando Bowen’s mission is to inspire people to be GameChangers in the lives of others. GameChangers show up in ways that powerfully influence the path, perspectives and possibilities of those they interact with.
Orlando has been motivating youth and corporate audiences for years, both through his inspiring keynotes as well as through his role as the passionate and dedicated founder and Executive Director of One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization, a charity based in the Greater Toronto Area.
Orlando’s “S.W.O.L.E.”™ Leadership Development Program empowers people to serve with passion and vision. The acronym “S.W.O.L.E.”™ stands for Self respect, Work hard, Overcome adversity, Lead by example, and Excellence.
Orlando has been recognized for his work by; Being awarded a 2012 African Canadian Achievment Award, 2013 Queens’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, a National 2014 Harry Jerome Award for Community Service and a 2015 National Youth Empowerment Award.
As a scientist, broadcaster, author, coach and athlete, Dr. Greg Wells has dedicated his career to understanding human performance and how the human body responds to extreme conditions.
Dr. Wells is an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Toronto where he studies elite sport performance. He also serves as an associate scientist of physiology and experimental medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children where he leads the Exercise Medicine Research Program. There, he and his team explore how to use exercise to prevent, diagnose and treat chronic illnesses in children. Previously, he served as the director of sport science at the Canadian Sport Institute, and taught elite sport coaches at the National Coaching Institute.
Throughout his career, Dr. Wells has coached, trained and inspired dozens of elite athletes to win medals at World Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. He has studied athletic performance in some of the most severe conditions on the planet, like the Andes Mountains and the Sahara Desert.
Since his very first show in 1989, Ian Tyson has strived to entertain and inspire people across North America with his unique brand of “Comedy with a Message”. Ian’s passion is always on full display during his presentations, with high energy, humour and heart-warming relatable stories of overcoming obstacles and making a difference in the lives of others.
An author, award-winning stand-up comic, master story-teller and insightful entertainer, Ian has performed for millions of people at the middle school, high school, college/university level and corporate clients in his career across the continent and around the world. His keynotes have been creating positive change for hundreds of thousands of people every year.
A 2009 winner of the “Leader of Distinction” Award, Ian served for 4 years on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Student Leadership Association, and was a co-founder of Youth Leadership Camps Canada.
In 2011, the year before the Olympics, Sarah was unfortunately diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left femur (thigh bone), which tragically sidelined her for 9 months. With the Olympic year fast approaching, Sarah was eager to get back on the track following a gruelling recovery and rehabilitation program. When she was finally cleared to run, the London Olympics were only 8 months away and few people believed Sarah would be able to overcome such a devastating injury and ultimately compete in the Olympic Games.
Fortunately, through hard work, perseverance and an unwavering belief in herself, Sarah ran Olympic standard, won the Canadian championships, and was named to the 2012 Canadian Olympic team. At the games, Sarah made it through the heats to the Olympic semi-final round. She placed herself in the top 24 in the world and was one of the youngest competitors in the field.
Since those games Sarah has added to her National Championship Gold medal count and most recently won a silver and bronze medal at the Pan American games in Toronto.
To see how stupendous she is watch this NEW video about her journey: http://goo.gl/18nP9f
Peter Katz is a JUNO Award, Canadian Screen Award and 2-time Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated singer-songwriter who has spent the past 10+ years touring nationally and internationally to capacity crowds. He has sold out premiere venues from the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to the Harbourfront Centre Theatre in Toronto, to the legendary Paradiso in Amsterdam.
In addition to his career as a performing singer-songwriter, Peter has a tremendous passion for working with youth. He has been a proud mentor for the School Alliance of Student Songwriters (SASS) for over 10 years and also spends a month every summer in the mountains of Alberta doing character building retreats with high school students through the FACES program (Facilitating Awareness through Character Building Experiences for Students).
Peter is also a 2-time TEDx fellow and gifted public speaker, being called on to give keynote talks and presentations to everyone from the 4000 delegates at the International Aeronautical Federation Conference (alongside Cirque Du Soleil and Commander Chris Hadfield) to countless workshops and presentations across the country.
Scott Hammell has been entertaining professionally since 1998. In the eighteen years since, the four-time Guinness World Record holder has hung upside down from a hot air balloon while locked in a straitjacket and chains for a feature spot on the season premier of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, dangled by his ankles and juggled for over a minute and a half, successfully completed a card trick while skydiving, jumped from an airplane while blindfolded and handcuffed, juggled live explosives and caught a bullet fired from a high powered sniper rifle for a feature length documentary for Super Channel.
Scott’s speech topics are as varied as his skill-set, but there is one enduring philosophy: find your passion, and make it happen. Over the years, Scott has been honoured to share the stage with a host of inspiring people, including Al Gore, Mia Farrow, Jesse Jackson, Stephen Lewis, Samantha Nutt, and Robert Kennedy Jr among many others. He has recently signed a deal for his own television series which is schedule to start production soon.
Alison Springer is a Youth Communications Specialist based in Calgary, Alberta. She has co-written curriculum used in Junior High Schools throughout Western Canada, and has developed and facilitated programs used in Calgary’s Youth Judicial System.
Alison works with many diverse audiences ranging from street kids, student leaders, faith based youth groups, students with high needs, aboriginal youth and ESL students. This broad scope enables her to speak not just to the masses, but to the individuals among the masses.
As the Founder of Young Woman of Power a non-profit organization that provides conferences, workshops and mentorship for young women ages 12 to 30, Alison is committed to seeing girl culture change in Canada. Alongside general assemblies, Alison provides talks specially geared towards girls.
Alison has become a leading resource in developing and establishing change in the girls at the schools she works with.
Mark Black doesn’t just teach resilience to his audiences, he embodies it. Born with a life-threatening heart defect, Mark underwent two open-heart surgeries before the age of one. He battled his condition and it’s limitations for twenty-two years when at 23 years old, Mark was suddenly faced with the biggest challenge of his life.
His doctor informed him that without a rare and dangerous heart and double-lung transplant, he would not see his 25th birthday. He found himself living in a hospital, waiting for a life-saving transplant. Three years later, after receiving his second chance at life, he was running marathons.
Since receiving his second chance at life Mark hasn’t wasted a moment. He is a Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by less than 1000 speakers in the world. He has inspired more than 100,000 people in more than 350 presentations.
Mark lives in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada where he spends as much time as possible with the most important people in his life; his wife Marise and their children.
Jen Pate is a young geographer and entrepreneur fascinated by human-environment interaction. She has been running a community-interest film company and leading/participating in expeditions as well as social and environmental responsibility projects for almost 10 years. She lives in Canada where she runs a sustainable outdoor recreation park called Windmill Lake, which blends water- and land-based activities with environmental education (www.windmill-lake.ca).
She has been Filmmaker, Mission Coordinator and Mission Leader on a series of international sailing voyages raising awareness of plastic in marine and freshwater environments. She works to promote social and environmental change through her newest initiative Love Your Greats (www.loveyourgreats.com) and co-runs an adventure series called Leisure With Purpose to inspire others to get outdoors and help protect the places we enjoy.
She is a Global Biodiversity Ambassador for the Ibex Earth Our World: Our Choice Campaign, Member of the Great Lakes Commons Leadership Committee, Board Member of the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, Board Member of Blue Bayfield and Member of the Main Bayfield Watershed Advisory Committee.
You can learn more about Jen here: www.jenniferpate.com
Teambuilding guru Dr. Jim Cain is the author of more than a dozen books filled with team and community building activities from around the world, including the Teamwork & Teamplay International Edition which presents 51 of Jim's favorite activities in 16 different languages.
Jim is known for his legendary train-the-trainer programs and his active techniques for building leadership, anywhere in the world.
Nick Foley is the founder of Celebrate the Hero and Move for Inclusion. Both are initiatives that motivate and empower people of all ages to make a difference by propagating good through action.
Celebrate the Hero initiative, focuses on the positive that students facilitate on a daily basis, Celebrate the Hero most provides sustainable programs and presentations to schools, communities, business and sports teams all over Canada.
Most recently Move for Inclusion took Nick on a coast to coast bike trip from Victoria BC to St John’s NFLND, stopping at various locations to speak about Inclusion of all people without bias. Nick was able to complete his 8312 km journey on July 25th, 2015 after 95 days on the bike. On his ride Nick spoke to thousands of people on the importance of creating a culture of understanding and acceptance.
Nick is the very proud father of beautiful Brynn, from whom he has learned more than he ever thought imaginable. She has been, and continues to be the greatest teacher in his life.
Mike Pearse is currently co-owner and Managing Director of Camp Tawingo in Huntsville, Ontario. Camp Tawingo welcomes over 1300 campers each summer for a Residential Camping experience. It has been in existence for 52 years. For two years (1999-2001) he was the Principal of Tawingo College, a small Independent Day School on the grounds of Camp Tawingo. From 1989 to 1999, he was a teacher at Oakridge Secondary School in London, Ontario teaching English, Drama, History, and Society: Challenge and Change.
Mike graduated from the University of Western Ontario with the Gold Medal in Psychology and the Chancellor’s Prize for the highest graduating average in the Faculty of Social Sciences. He earned his Bachelor of Education degree from Althouse Teachers’ College, where he won the J.W. Bowden Memorial Award for academic and teaching excellence.
While at Oakridge S.S., Mike received the first-ever graduating students’ award for teaching excellence as well as the city-wide Bishop Townsend Award for teaching excellence. He coached the school Hockey and Senior Boys’ Soccer Teams and was the advisor to the Students’ Council, the Drama Club, the Oakridge Cabaret, the 30 Hour Famine, Grade Nine Welcome Week, and “Virus”, the first ever Oakridge Leadership Conference.
Mike has been a Motivational Speaker and Workshop leader since 1988 and has spoken at high schools and conferences in Canada, the United States, Venezuela, and Japan. Mike is married to Tia, co-owner of Tawingo, and together they have three great kids – Christopher, Tyler, and Carson.
For decades Gill has been inspiring Leaders, to find their ‘Super Powers’ and share them with the world! As a Life Coach, Gill challenges learners of all ages to discover their own personal strengths and use them to transform into leaders in their own lives and the lives of others.
In her first career as a secondary school teacher, Gill taught in classrooms located in: a detention center, a psychiatric hospital, a home for teen Moms, an American International School in Saudi Arabia, an alternative school where students brought their babies, and 4 Canadian high schools. Embracing challenges and transitions, and facing them full on, is Gill’s idea of fun! Creating leaders in times of change and challenge is her mission.
Gill’s workshops inspire audiences to discover their own signature powers. Her sense of humour and fun add a spark to her sessions! Gill adds interest and understanding with references to the latest breakthroughs in neurosciences. Her workshops are designed for future leaders who seek to make a difference in their lives, the lives of others, their communities, and their worlds.
Since 1992 Andy has been to over 3000 junior & senior high schools, conferences, universities & colleges in every Canadian province and 40 states! Every year, over 105 schools, over 30 youth leadership conferences, plus 40 or more university, college, camp, and community organizations are inspired by Andy! He has appeared at all 10 provincial student leadership conferences & 34 state conferences! Andy has spoken at two US national youth leadership conferences and eight Canadian national student leadership conferences.
Through his hilarious comedy and true-life stories, Andy delivers a message that everyone can relate to. His presentations are unique due to his international experiences, the personalization of each talk to the activities of the school, and his high-energy style. Andy's message are complemented by his experiences as a student leader, as a past director of a leadership camp, as a parent of children in school, and his active community involvement. His shows are part pep rally, part comedy show, part inspirational keynote, part hands-on leadership training.
Dave Conlon was an activity director at the secondary school level for over 26 years. He has chaperoned over 120 dances and knows how to get a cow into the principal’s office.
He is the Program Director for the Canadian Student Leadership Association (CSLA), prepares national newsletters, sells all the CSLA resources, maintains a leadership website, corresponds with CSLA members through a monthly e-letter and still manages to get his laps in the pool! As a newbie grandfather, he is excited to just stand on the sidewalk with his granddaughter and wave at the bus driver for kicks.
Matt is an international speaker, leadership facilitator, published writer and a passionate advocate when it comes to the challenges and issues that young people face today.
For over 10 years, Matt has been a leader on the topics of youth leadership, social justice and personal development.
He has traveled around the globe speaking to and working with over 75,000 young people, educators and adults on topics such as personal leadership & development, social emotional learning, and working with youth to create positive change in themselves, their communities and the world.
Matt has a strong passion for personal development and helping others be their best when it matters the most.
In his spare time, Matt loves growing moustaches, reading about zombies, and awkwardly running across the street...
Joe Richards is a Summer Camp Professional. For the past 10 years he has been the Executive Director of Pearce Williams Camp in Iona, Ontario. Joe has worked at summer camp since the summer of 1988.
Joe believes strongly in the power of summer camp - it changed his life and now his mission is to help change the lives of others.
Rebecca is an educator and leadership consultant. She has been working with youth for over 15 years. She is currently the Director of Leadership at St. John’s-Ravenscourt School and has a leadership consulting firm, Empowell. She completed her MA in leadership at Royal Roads University and is now dedicating her career to igniting the leadership potential within her students and clients.
She believes that having a strong sense of self and developing a variety of leadership skills are important for academic and future professional success.
The works of Leadership gurus, Kouzes and Posner, and Senge have inspired Rebecca to create an empowering leadership development experience. Many of Rebecca’s students and clients have reported that the work she does with them has changed their lives.
Jeff has been entertaining and empowering people for many years! As the Student Activities Council Advisor and Leadership Teacher at Waterloo-Oxford DSS, he leads one of the largest and most impactful leadership programs in the province of Ontario. He is an engaging and experienced speaker and
From an early age when he convinced his entire kindergarten class to change their boots to the wrong feet to match his, Jeff has had a natural way of connecting with people and moving them to action. A genuine motivator, Jeff is always striving to learn more and do more. You can learn more about Jeff at www.jeffgerber.ca. He is excited to meet you and work alongside you to better your school community!
Amy is a former digital animator and faculty member at Centennial College, who became engaged in public education in 2010 when she returned to her original childhood passion, dancing, and was given the opportunity to facilitate dance experiences with thousands of students and teachers across Ontario. Her learnings from these experiences have led her to becoming an expert in creating healthy, engaging learning environments using movement as a teaching tool in the most unexpected ways, from leadership and soft skill development to physical literacy and even math…yes, math! Along with her work in engaging youth leaders, Amy’s organization "Moving EDGEucation", supports schools and teachers in transforming their practice to integrate movement, well-being, creativity, and positive community into all different school subjects. Her work is being used in classrooms across the country, and been presented at many of the industries leading conferences including, The Canadian Association of Principals, Ontario Math Educators and International Physical Literacy Summit. She recently had a honour of speaking about her journey on the TEDx stage and is thrilled to share her passions here with future generations of leaders.
Find out more at www.movingedgeucation.com
Joel Hilchey wants to change how people think about success, because too many people spend their time doing stuff they don’t really care about.
Joel thinks a lot about success, and he’s proud to be a true renaissance man. He studied environmental engineering, teaches sustainability at McMaster University, writes about leadership, and is often remembered as the speaker at conferences who juggles mousetraps. Mostly though, he tries to be a good dad, husband, and friend, so he only really works part-time.
Joel has two books - one that’s illustrated, and another one about becoming fearlessly creative. He founded a youth engagement initiative called The Beanstalk Project, is chair of the board of the world-renowned Hamilton Children’s Choir, and sang for 10 years in (arguably) Canada’s best barbershop quartet. He recently started taking circus classes, and he also loves to travel, cook, do yoga, and taste exotic foods, but that stuff is just for fun.
You can learn more at www.joelhilchey.com.
Bob discovered his passion for leadership when he co-founded his school's grade nine orientation and mentorship program; a co-worker asked for help at a staff meeting and he stepped forward. Bob never imagined that he would stumble upon his kindred spirits in the Student Activities world; it just takes a moment for something wonderful to unfold. He now teaches a dynamite Leadership program involving over 150 students at Huron Heights Secondary School in Kitchener, Ontario. Bob’s students, the Huskies, were recognized three years in a row at the Ontario Student Leadership Conference for having the ‘Most School Spirit.’
Bob has spoken about what he calls ‘the human curriculum’ at school assemblies, professional development sessions, graduation ceremonies, a Gay-Straight Alliance conference, and most notably a powerful TED Talk called “Kids These Days.” His mission is to spread the good word about today's positive school culture and to share what he has learned about developing young leaders.
Brock Warner, CFRE is the Senior Manager, Fundraising at War Child, a humanitarian organization devoted to protecting childhood in war zones. He is responsible for fundraising from the public, donor services management and campaigns. He has travelled to War Child’s projects overseas and extensively across Canada to promote and educate Canadians about the needs of war-affected children.
He has taught ePhilanthropy and Social Media at Humber College in Toronto as well as being an alumni of the postgraduate Fundraising Management program. He contributed to the development of The Philanthropic Mind by Chuck English and Mo Lidsky published by Civil Sector Press in 2016, and is profiled in Gail Picco’s latest book Cap in Hand: How Charities are Failing Canada, and the World released January 2017 on Civil Sector Press.
As a presenter, Brock has participated in industry leading fundraising conferences in Canada on topics related to integrated campaign strategy and ePhilanthropy and is a TEDx presenter. He has presented at AFP Congress and Fundraising Days, Digital Leap, My Charity Connects and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @brockwarner, or connect with him on LinkedIn.
A former at-risk child turned leader and entrepreneur, Fahd Alhattab’s mission is to enable people to drive change, build their dreams, and embrace leadership.
Though still a youth, Fahd launched a camp for underprivileged kids; raised more than 1.2 million dollars for Ottawa charities; and spoke at National We Day, Count Me In and many other youth collectively now over 22,000 people! His savvy skills and off-beat attitude landed him Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award in 2013.
He proved himself an entrepreneur while completing two terms as the President of Carleton University Students’ Association and representing 25,000 students at all government levels. He founded the Hatch Centre, 15 student startups, and raised more than $200,000 in seed capital while also managing a team of 150 staff and an eight-million-dollar budget. Post-graduation, Fahd launched a tech-startup that raised thousands of dollars through a crowdfunding campaign.
Fahd has built a reputable career in leadership development, motivational speaking, and creative fundraising. With a fun demeanor and a background in youth work, Fahd entertains and engages the audience, and leaves them feeling empowered to be the leaders of today – not tomorrow.
Brent Dickson is a teacher who is a proud Coyote from Centennial High in Calgary, Alberta. Brent lives for student leadership. He has taken his students to the Alberta provincial and the national leadership conferences for many years. His school has twice hosted the Alberta Student Leadership Conference with over 1,000 students attending. He is the Social Media Director for the Canadian Student Leadership Association helping advisors run leadership programs across Canada.
Brent has taught Student Leadership classes for 18 years in BC and Alberta. He currently teaches Leadership, PE, and coaches rugby at Centennial High School in Calgary.
Brent is married to the amazing Krista and is dad to Jake, Tom, Drew, and Ben.
We will be adding more speakers, so keep checking back!