2018 Speakers

October 26, 2018

Meet the 2018 speakers

A platform for exceptional ideas

Carol Off

Author, Journalist and Co-host of CBC Radio’s As it Happens

Since 2006, Carol Off has been the host of CBC Radio’s As it Happens, after an extensive journalism career that began as an arts reporter and Ottawa correspondent in the ‘80s, to an international correspondent in the ‘90s and ‘00s. Carol is an award-winning documentarian and author, well-known for her work on Canadian military missions that took her around the world, across the Middle East, Balkans and Soviet Union to name a few. Her most recent book, All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others, is a riveting true story told from Carol’s experience with a family fleeing the death sentence of a ruthless warlord.

Dr. Eugenia Duodu

CEO, Visions of Science Network for Learning (VoSNL)

Now the CEO of VoSNL, Eugenia Duodo began with the organization as a volunteer, seeing the opportunity as a perfect combination of her passions: science and community development. Born and raised in a low-income community, she maintains a strong connection to her roots as a mentor and advocate for youth engagement in STEM opportunities. Her goal is to help youth unlock their potential and to make a long-lasting positive impact in local communities and across the world.

Suresh Doss

Food Writer

Suresh Doss is changing the way we think about dining out in Toronto. Where there are tiny family-run restaurants nestled within a strip mall or convenience stores that sell the essentials and then some, there is good food to be had, says Suresh. With over a decade of food writing and hosting regular food tours in the Greater Toronto Area, Suresh is an influential contributor to Toronto Life, The Globe and Mail, and CBC Metro Morning. He is also the print editor of and Escapism Toronto magazines.

Dave Dame

Enterprise Agility Change Agent and Organizational Coach

From being a child unable to speak to running a 5K, Dave Dame has overcome many obstacles despite his diagnosis of cerebral palsy. By developing life hacks and alternative paths to personal and professional success, Dave has become a leader in the Agile community. He dedicates his work to helping organizational teams in transition leverage and implement Agile best practices and quality management and has trained over 600 professionals in the field.

Michael Bryant

Lawyer and Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)

Michael Bryant became the youngest Attorney General in Ontario, spending a decade in the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and six years as a Cabinet Minister. Michael’s life changed forever after a tragic fatal accident, for which Michael was arrested with charges that were eventually withdrawn. The former politician ended up an unlikely regular at a homeless drop-in named Sanctuary, then a public defender in bail court, and now leads the CCLA’s advocacy for civil liberties and democratic freedoms across Canada.

Michael Arntfield

Associate Professor, English Studies at Western University, Author, Criminologist

Michael Arntfield is a former police officer turned criminologist, author and associate professor at Western University. Michael founded the University’s Cold Case Society – an unsolved crimes think tank – in 2011. His work focuses on what he calls “literary criminology,” the study of detective fiction like Sherlock Holmes in literature, film and television and how it can influence present-day criminal investigations. He routinely appears on the CBC’s The Fifth Estate and The National, and is the host of his own internationally distributed television series, To Catch a Killer.

Mary Walsh

Canadian Actress, Comedian, Writer and Social Activist

Mary Walsh is a Canadian actress well-known for her role in creating and starring in This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She is the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts. Mary is an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction awareness. Among the many charities and organizations she supports are the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa, the Canadian Institute for the Blind, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Masai Ujiri

President of the Toronto Raptors

In 2010, Masai Ujiri became the first African-raised GM in the NBA and quickly became one of the league’s most proactive executives. Beyond his dedication to the Toronto Raptors franchise, he uses his platform to leverage basketball as a transformational tool for Canadian and African youth. Ujiri has served as the Director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program since 2002 and co-founded Giants of Africa (GOA). GOA aims to use basketball as a tool to inspire youth to visualize opportunities for their future.

Jennifer Riel

Adjunct Professor, Rotman School of Management at the U of T

Jennifer Riel is an Adjunct Professor, Faculty-at-large at the Rotman School of Management as well as the Managing Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute’s Knowledge Infrastructure Project. She is the co-author of Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking and has published articles in the Globe and Mail, Businessweek, Strategy Magazine and Rotman Magazine, as well as Fortune.com and the Daily Beast.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

MA, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sociology at the U of T

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. His work focuses on the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice, with a particular interest in the area of policing. Akwasi is now studying various aspects of cannabis legalization in Canada. His current projects include a study of Black males’ perceptions of and experiences with the police in Greater Toronto Area.

Sarah Keast

Opioid Crisis Activist, Writer and Widow

In 2016, Sarah Keast, the mother of two young daughters, lost her husband Kevin to an accidental overdose. Faced with a seemingly insurmountable task of dealing with her loss while raising two young daughters on her own, Sarah chose to use her experience as a platform to help others. Now an activist, she looks to raise awareness around addiction and mental health through speaking engagements and through her blog Adventures in Widowed Parenting.

Sabarish Gnanamoorthy

15-year-old Virtual and Augmented Reality Developer

Sabarish Gnanamoorthy is a 14-year-old virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) developer. He is the youngest AR developer in the world to be sponsored by Microsoft to develop for the Microsoft HoloLens. He is also supported and sponsored by the Thiel Foundation for his venture, WaypointAR. Sabarish has been awarded a scholarship from Udacity for their VR Developer Nanodegree program and he’s one of the youngest people to have built several applications for VR and AR.

Sarain Fox

Host of Future History on APTN, RISE on VICELAND and Anishinaabekwe Activist, Performer and Dancer

Host of Future History on APTN, RISE on VICELAND and Anishinaabekwe Activist, Performer and Dancer
Of Anishinaabe lineage, Sarain Fox is a dancer, choreographer, activist and television host. A storyteller at heart, Sarain combines these various mediums to amplify the voices of her people in hopes of creating meaningful dialogue between her indigenous community and settler communities. Sarain’s screen highlights include Rise (Viceland), Cut-Off (Viceland) and APTN’s Future History.

Director X

Filmmaker and Director

Director X is a recognized and sought-after music video, film and commercial director. He moved to New York City to explore a career in film and became the protégé of pioneering director Hype Williams. Noted for directing visually distinctive videos for popular artists, including Drake, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, Director X’s work has been recognized by Much Music Video Awards and the MTV Music Video Awards.