Speakers spend an hour or more sharing content that participants can use to learn how to identify what need to be Fix and, what to do and in what order.

Entrepreneur Panels held from Tuesday to Thursday after lunch, panelists will review the different levels of Mike’s Hierarchy of Needs. Panelists will share how they solve problems at the different levels in their organizations. During the Challenges, participants apply the panelist content to a local company.

Mike Michalowicz

Keynote Speaker

Confident that he had the formula to success, he became a small business angel investor… and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies. Mike has devoted his life to the research and delivery of innovative, impactful entrepreneurial strategies to you.

Today, Mike leads two new multi-million-dollar ventures, as he tests his latest business research for his books. He is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal and business makeover specialist on MSNBC. Mike is a popular main stage keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics; and is the author of All InGet DifferentFix This NextClockworkProfit FirstSurgeThe Pumpkin Plan The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and My Money Bunnies

Brianna Blaney

Keynote Speaker

Money is a leading barrier to innovation and entrepreneurship, especially for women and equity-deserving communities. As an experienced founder, Brianna has lived this pain. She co-founded Pocketed to level the playing field, helping Canadian businesses easily access over $5.9B annually in government grants, tax credits, and incentives. To date, more than 10,000 companies have used Pocketed to access over $100M in government funding. Money to make key hires, invest in innovation, expand to new markets, and accelerate their growth. Together with her team, Brianna is on a mission to eliminate barriers for businesses. She is recognized as an Emerging Leader by The Peak and 30 Under 30 by BC Business, and is a serial entrepreneur, founding Envol Strategies, a profitable service company in the recruiting and human resources space.

Marti Evans

Moderator -Sales

An innovative technology executive focused on Industry 4.0 Digital Transformation and Operational Excellence. Marti has worked for Fortune 50 technology companies including IBM, Microsoft and SAP leading the development and execution of complex pursuit strategies that involved large cross-functional pursuit teams.  Managing client relationships at all levels, she has been noted for her business acumen and the deep relationships she builds. Her work has taken her from the C-Suites of North America to operational sites in the US, Canada, Chile, Mongolia and more.At Incito, she brings the tools, methodologies and human performance understanding to help individuals, leadership teams and sales teams reach their highest level of performance and excellence.

James Pettigrew

Moderator – Profit

James is a long-time fixture and passionate advocate for the technology ecosystem in Alberta and Western Canada.  A CPA, James led the Alberta technology industry group for PwC for many years before joining Deloitte as a senior partner and leader of the Alberta mid-market practice.  In 2015, James joined Benevity as CFO and served on the executive team at Benevity during a period of tremendous growth.  After leaving Benevity in 2019, James has been advising software companies across Western Canada on financial strategy, and now lives on a hobby farm on Salt Spring Island in B.C.

Wilson Acton

Moderator – Order

Wilson is the co-founder and Managing Partner at Tall Grass Ventures, a leading investment firm investing in the future of agriculture and food.  In addition to being a serial entrepreneur and 4x tech start-up founder, as a lawyer, Wilson has an extensive background in M&A, capital markets.  Prior to law and venture building, Wilson was a 5th generation farmer in Southern Saskatchewan. 

Alison Anderson

Moderator – Mastering the Hierarchy of Needs

Alison Anderson joined Bow Valley College as the Dean of Business and Technology on Aug. 4, 2020. She was previously Dean of the School of University Studies and Career Access at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, B.C. She was also part of the commerce faculty at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. She has more than 30 years of instructional, curriculum development, mentoring, and leadership experience. 

Alison has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Northern British Columbia, a Provincial Instructor Diploma, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia. She also recently completed the Oxford Saïd Business School’s Executive Leadership Program.

Alex Putici

Panellist – Sales

Loving Husband. Entrepreneur. Community Builder. Apple Fanboy. College Dropout. Student of Life. Like you, Alex keeps busy – right now, it’s mostly running Work Nicer. He founded Work Nicer in 2015 by bringing together 10 friends around the fundamental belief that no one succeeds alone.
It’s since grown to become Alberta’s #1 Coworking Community. Work Nicer empowers members to get out of the house, out of the coffee shop, and accomplish great things with their new found community. Check out what Alex is up to on his website (putici.com) or connect anywhere online @AlexPutici

Blaine Penny

Panellist – Sales

Blaine Penny is the CEO of Lumiio, a global digital health company headquartered in Calgary, AB that accelerates health outcomes through real-world data with programs spanning 18 countries.  He has 20+ years experience founding and leading companies in the health, technology,  and engineering sectors, including, co-founder and former CEO of MitoCanada, CEO of Integrated Sustainability, and VP at IHS Markit.

Kelsey Hahn

Panellist – Sales

Monark_Kelsey_Profile2020_FINAL 006 webres (1)

Kelsey Hahn is the Co-Founder and CEO of Monark, a digital platform automating the science of leadership performance and development for new and emerging leaders. As a former college athlete, Kelsey is incredibly passionate about human behaviour and leadership, and has spent the past 10 years successfully studying, hiring, assessing and advising leaders. Prior to Monark, Kelsey spent over 7 years in a Canadian single-family office as Managing Director of Research (Viewpoint Group), leading a non-profit research centre and boutique consulting practice, overseeing a team of organizational psychologists dedicated to evolving knowledge about organizational practices. Kelsey continues to act as a trusted advisor for various companies in energy and investment, holds a Masters of Science in Management from Queen’s University, and sits on the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Darcy Tuer

Panellist – Profit

Darcy Tuer is ZayZoon’s Co-Founder and CEO, who grew up in Calgary and Edmonton and started his first tech company in 2000. “I’m passionate about Calgary’s technology ecosystem.” Also the Co-founder and previous President of Spira Data Corp. for 11 years, he founded his first software company, Halo Networks, in 2000 while studying electrical engineering at the University of Alberta. As a man with a heart of gold, Darcy serves as Past-Chair on the board of the Missing Children’s Society of Canada and has been a Director since 2011.

Darcy was convinced he was meant to be a part of ZayZoon when Tate Hackert, ZayZoon’s Co-Founder and President, pitched the company and its vision to him. The idea of bringing financial wellness to the masses and creating a social impact around the world was something he could not ignore. “We believed that if we had one person that needed us, that we could keep away from a predatory loan, we knew that there would be hundreds of thousands of people that we could help in the same way.”

Kyla Lawson

Panellist – Profit

Kyla is part of the founding team of Stack Technologies and is currently leading growth and operations. Kyla was previously responsible for the operations of EnergyLink before a successful exit in 2019. Stack is a land and asset data exchange focused on bringing emerging tech to legacy processes for the modern energy industry.

Lucs McCarty

Panellist – Profit

Lucas McCarthy is a 3x founder and the current CEO of Showpass, North America’s largest independent ticketing and things-to-do discovery platform. Showpass is purpose-built to utilize technology to create 1st class experiences in an industry with one of the world’s worst overall customer satisfaction levels. Showpass is the first international company to partner with Google, Facebook, Square, and other Fortune 500 companies to integrate ticketing into their brands.
Before Showpass, Lucas founded a design company where he worked with some of the most prominent competitive gaming teams, and he created a synchronized video upload platform for musicians to practice with anyone across the globe.
Lucas received his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Calgary, has been featured in A&R Magazine, and IQ Magazine and has been recognized for his resiliency, innovation, and growth on behalf of the business during COVID. Lucas has also been recognized in Event Industry’s Top 40 under 40 and often speaks at events about entrepreneurship, technology, and entertainment.

Debbie Catling

Panellist – Order

Debbie and his husband started Yum Bakery in 2009 a the Calgary Farmers Market in Currie Bakery.  Debbie runs the bakery, and David is the “ Brand Ambassador “ doing what he does best, building customer loyalty!  I have been an entrepreneur for several years. Before the bakery, Debbie partnered with his friend Kari Faba in the Stock and Sauce company, also at the Calgary Farmers Market for 7 years.  
Debbie graduated from NAIT’s culinary program in 1988 and was valedictorian that year for our class.  
She is also on the board of the Calgary Farmers Market and a shareholder in the cooperative of the CFM.
We have 7 children ages 31-15 4 girls and 3 boys, all of who have worked in the bakery at one time or another.  We are currently expecting with great joy our 10th grandchild on July 15th.  
I come from an entrepreneurial family, and it is definitely something that I love doing!

Melvin Newman

Panellist – Order

Melvin is the President/CTO of PataBid. Prior to co-founding PataBid in 2018, Melvin worked in the construction industry for 15+ years as an estimator and project manager. Melvin has experience in many of the key aspects of construction and pre-fabrication in the mechanical, electrical, and general contracting industries. He has worked for a variety of companies in his career, developing several key process advances and technological innovation. Key areas that Melvin has deployed technology is Virtual Design Construction (VDC) and end to end digital estimation. In addition, Melvin is well experienced in software development, business analytics, and systems development for estimating and project execution. He is passionate about bringing digital technology tools to construction and making these tools accessible for all industry professionals. As an entrepreneur Melvin co-founded PataBid and is the full stack developer on the platform, specializing in the development of the internal ML/AI systems. In addition to developing the platform Melvin is responsible for building the deployment systems and developing key business partnerships.

Shawn Melvin

Panellist – Order

Shawn Wilson is Founder & CEO of Muzooka, the platform that ensures songwriters and rights holders are properly paid when their songs are performed online, on air and in concert. Muzooka is also where labels and managers update their own artist assets across multiple platforms from one central hub. Shawn brings a data-powered approach to solving real-world problems, and has been building and running successful tech companies for over 20 years. Muzooka has amassed a database containing over 3.5M artist profiles and copyright data for over 150M songs. Under Shawn’s leadership, the company has created new levels of fairness and transparency in the business of royalty collections and distributions around the world.

Tara Kelly

Panellist – Order

A serial innovator, published author, and founder of SPLICE Software, Tara Kelly is passionate about technology’s potential to change lives for the better. She has consistently channeled that belief into developing technologies that enhance operations, enable better service delivery, and improve the customer experience. This has resulted in creating three customer experience companies and turning an innovative idea into a patented, proprietary technology that harnesses data streams to create personalized, automated messages.

An open source activist and recognized user experience designer, Kelly has served as a board member for the International Board for Voice User Interface Design, the Canadian Cloud Council, Technology Alberta, the Entrepreneurs Organization, and ECCIR (European-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research). Kelly’s expertise combined with tenacity, knowledge of market trends, and strong communication skills has allowed her to create dynamic solutions and successful teams; not only in her businesses, but also as a community leader on volunteer boards including Food for the Sol, EO Water Walk, and Special Olympics Ontario. Kelly shares these experiences–and her goal of creating a healthy, humane work environment–in the recently published book, Our Journey To Corporate Sanity: Transformational Stories from the Frontiers of 21st Century Leadership.

Mark Chidwick

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

As a management consultant, Mark has a proven track record for thought leadership, creativity and innovation in energy and sustainability strategy development.  Over the past 25 years, Mark has been engaged by the executive from both government and the private sector.  

Mark founded eDecisions, a consultancy focused on the evolving methodologies in Energy Efficiency and Decision Making as well as the process, cultural and behavioural changes that are required to support decision support initiatives.  Mark has applied these methodologies in a number of market sectors including commercial real-estate, oil and gas and aerospace.

Mark has founded a number of software companies specializing in energy and information management.  

Jaret Hargreaves

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

With more than a decade of experience at startups and scaleups, Jaret has expertise in product Discovery (understanding customers and the solutions they need) and Delivery (identification and execution of product priorities). A career-long focus in digital health has provided him with the perspective and processes required to build effective zero-to-one solutions that deliver value to clinicians and patients. Jaret is passionately dedicated to using technology to improve health outcomes and building the local digital health ecosystem. 

Nicole Dyer

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Nicole is the Co-Founders and Co-Presidents of Vytality at Home, a Calgary based in-home care company that is changing the landscape for current and future seniors. Vytality provides the choice and transparency that future seniors will demand and current seniors deserve.

 In 2020 she was named as one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 in 2020 by Avenue Magazine. Since launching the company in 2018 she has been grown the company to over 100 employees in Calgary and is currently working on expansion plans throughout Alberta.

Lori Adams

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Lori is an accomplished professional in the software and data industry. She began commercializing data analytics in the days of Web 2.0 right through to Web 3.0. Lori has worked in the startup world, including her own startup, which she successfully exited.

Lori’s unique background has given her a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities startups face. Since joining Alberta Innovates, she has shared her experiences and hard-found wisdom with many startups.

Lori’s success comes from the strength of strategic thinking, curiosity, fostering creativity, and developing strong collaborative teams. She uses her enthusiasm and ability to form powerful strategic partnerships to help support others in the ecosystem as they pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Amber Hall

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Amber Hall’s passion for community, training, and facilitation led her to Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, where she is our Loan Program Manager. She is gifted with numbers, enjoys relationship building and coaching.

Being intrigued by the serial entrepreneurship of her parents, she wanted to help people accomplish their dreams. In 2009, she earned a Bachelor of Business degree, with a major in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Tourism. Her background includes Commercial lending, Business mentoring, Hospitality Operations and Management.

If you enjoy some of the many dog parks around Calgary, you may spot her and her Pomeranian Lexus.  The born and (mostly) raised Calgarian enjoys travelling. She has visited Jamaica, Mexico, Cuba, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.

Jeff Hohn

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Jeff came to the Trade Commissioner Service in 2018 with 20 years experience as an entrepreneur and Founder of 4 startups in digital media and eCommerce. He now helps Alberta-based tech companies develop and execute their International Business Development strategies. Jeff has lived through the emotional spectrum his clients face along their journeys and loves few things more than celebrating their global successes.

Matt Nielsen

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Matt Nielsen is a seasoned Alberta-based entrepreneur who failed a business in his 20s, sold his first business in his 30s and realized a great outcome when he exited his most recent business, Fishbone Analytics, to a California-based private equity company in his 40s.   Fishbone Analytics Inc., founded by Nielsen, was a Canadian ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) consulting and implementation partner, based in Calgary.  Led by Nielsen, Fishbone Analytics, a 100% bootstrapped company, was one of only seven companies to make the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business top 100 fastest-growing companies for three consecutive years (between 2019 and 2021). 

Matt now serves as Chief Delivery Officer and investor at NewRocket (www.newrocket.com), one of the world’s leading ServiceNow consulting and implementation partners with more than 500 employees around the globe. Life outside of work includes a lot of family time on the Nielsen ranch and riding their horses in the best backyard in the world, the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Aubrey Soulliere

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Aubrey is a dynamic and accomplished professional, currently serving as the Senior Manager of Operations for the Social Innovation Hub at Innovate Calgary. With over a decade of experience as a brand specialist, she brings expertise in team and operations management, event planning, and customer engagement. In her current role, Aubrey oversees administrative, financial, and operational initiatives within the Social Innovation Hub, including the development of operational plans, managing budgets, and cultivating strategic partnerships.

Having excelled in leadership positions within the hospitality industry, Aubrey is adept at managing hotel front office operations and orchestrating large-scale events with finesse and precision. During her time at the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking at the University of Calgary, she established standardized procedures, provided mentorship and guidance, and fostered a culture of entrepreneurial thinking.

Kenton Shouldice

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Kenton Shouldice, CFA, Founder and CEO. Over 13 years of experience in the investment management industry. Most recently, as Vice President of Portfolio Management at Fiera Capital where he oversaw $3 billion in High Net Worth client assets. Founded Shouldice Wealth in 2016 to bring integrated wealth management services, typically only available to high net worth individuals, to the emerging affluent.

Marc Binkley

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Marc is an innovative strategic leader who excels in driving transformative change and delivering exceptional results. With a strong focus on market research and customer insights, Marc has developed and executed go-to-market product launches, brand and (re)positioning projects, enhanced customer experience journey’s, and deliver new revenue opportunities. Marc’s ability to stay ahead of industry trends and leverage emerging technologies has positioned organizations as industry leaders. He thrives in fast-paced environments, navigating complex challenges and fostering a culture of innovation. With excellent communication and influencing skills, Marc effectively communicates complex ideas and strategic objectives in a clear and compelling way that drives organizational change. Marc is excited to continue guiding organizations towards sustained growth, profitability, and market leadership as an innovative strategic leader. 

Natoya Abiola

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Hello, I’m Natoya Abiola, and I am a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship and innovation. As a Connector, Mentor, and Founder, I’m dedicated to supporting fellow entrepreneurs in solving big problems. 2019 I founded ZenWork Wellness to combat widespread burnout, promoting balance and self-care in today’s fast-paced world. Currently, I serve as the Program Director at the Black Business Ventures Association in Alberta, contributing to the growth of Black-owned businesses. Additionally, I am an Entrepreneur in Residence at Platform Calgary and a Program Mentor at the DMZ in Toronto, where I provide guidance and resources to emerging startups. I’m committed to empowering others and invite you to connect with me to make a lasting impact on the world of business and beyond.

Gia Mattu

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Gia Mattu started her career as a Geologist in the oil and gas industry in Calgary Alberta. She holds a degree in Petroleum Geology and Law and has been involved in the startup space since 2014.  She was the founder of FalconX, a wastewater management company that commercialized NASA technology and has been a recipient of several international innovation awards in the energy sector. Currently, she spends most of her time in the Venture Capital space with a focus on early-stage web3 startups, the creator economy, and the entertainment industry.  Expertise in AI/Machine Learning, Drone Technology, Blockchain, Metaverse, NFTs, Crypto, and AR/VR technologies. .

Marlise Hunter

Judge – Regional Pitch Competition

Marlise is the Director of Platform at Tall Grass Ventures, a Calgary based Agrifood Tech Venture Firm, where she supports the growth of early stage companies who are driving the transformation of the agrifood sector.  Before joining Tall Grass, Marlise had over 10 years of business development experience with a strong penchant for supporting organizational growth, strategic partnership development and investment attraction. Her experience had led her to work at the intersection of academia, government and industry in previous roles within agtech venture capital, economic development and tourism. She also currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Simpson School of Public Policy which has a mandate to translate fact based academic research in the agrifood sector to help inform public opinion and drive public policy.

Coming from rural roots, she is now an impassioned advocate for bridging the urban/rural divide and driving change within the broader agriculture innovation ecosystem in Canada.

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