Joe is a thought leader in Business Strategy and Technology. He started his career at BlackBerry (then, Research In Motion) where he mastered system architecture and wireless technology fundamentals – skills that he has continued to advance through his 20+ year career building successful tech solutions. While at RIM, he was the first person ever to make a phone call from a BlackBerry device. His focus on innovation has led to 25+ granted patents during his contribution to modern smartphones and ATSC 3.0 broadcast standards.
Since BlackBerry, Joe has focused on working with a variety of companies building comprehensive wireless products that provide real solutions to the market. His business-focused technical expertise has led to the creation of commercial products spanning many industries, including Clean Tech, Agricultural Tech, Property Tech, Industrial IOT and Sports Tech. Joe is able to execute on a vision from concept through to mass manufacturing, building flexible and scalable solutions ready for scale in the market, optimized for both performance and cost.
Joe’s business acumen has been repeatedly demonstrated through his ability to build and lead teams, partners and vendor relationships to execute on strategic goals. He’s a big vision thinker who excels at forward-looking strategic actions.
Marianne is an operational leader who has been focused on commercializing high-tech electronics for 15+ years. Like Joe, she started her career at BlackBerry (then, Research In Motion) focused on establishing processes and teams to get quality BlackBerry products to market faster. She scaled teams in sites distributed globally by establishing processes, tools and best practices while managing overall performance and deliverables.
After BlackBerry, Marianne shifted focus to helping tech startups with commercialization efforts. She has built and managed teams that contribute to overall company objectives in design, development, testing, sales, marketing and financial functions. Working in and with startups has given her unparalleled operational experience during periods of high-growth and rapid change.
Marianne was selected as one of 25 female founders in Canada to participate in Communitech’s Fierce Founder Bootcamp, where she was named as a finalist in a pitching competition for $100K. She’s led her companies through several accelerator and funding programs that demonstrates her ability to keep cash flowing while gaining invaluable insights into all aspects of business operations.
Advisor & CFO
Ben is an experienced FinTech entrepreneur, having founded several startups, including an algorithmic trading company and a financial data analysis company. As CFO of Cyborg Trading Systems he was passionate about automating trading strategies and moved his team to New York City to be on the ground at the trading floor where their technology was being used. As CEO of Silqe he applied natural language processing to speed up analysis of corporate financial reports.
Ben knows how to leverage various financial facilities to grow and scale teams. His current venture has been founding and growing Weavik, a software development company that’s grown from 0 to 50 employees in 2 years and continues to thrive. Under his leadership, Weavik’s team designs and builds software platforms and front-ends. Clients range from large companies like Loblaws and Labatt, to promising startups like Olive.
Donovan Bailey is one of the world's all-time greatest and most dominant sprinting legends. Track and Field News named Bailey Sprinter of the Decade (90’s). The first man in history to be world champion, Olympic champion and world record holder at the same time.
He is a two-time Olympic champion, three time world champion, and two time world record holder. He's also the only person to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame twice.
In 1996 Bailey achieved the fastest top speed ever recorded in history at 27.07 mph, only surpassed by Usain Bolt.
Bailey also broke the indoor 50 metre world record in a time of 5.56 seconds, a record that still stands today.
Since retirement in 2001, he has worked as a commentator for CBC, CTV and Eurosport. He also serves as a board advisor for several companies. Donovan is involved with and supports many charitable associations. He was recently awarded to the Order of Canada and announced a new memoir and television series coming in 2023.
In nearly 25 years in the golf, Brenden has become a leader in the industry. As the Executive Professional and Director of Operations of the Listowel Golf Club, home of PGA Tour winner Corey Conners, he has played host to many Provincial, and National Championships.
Brenden's passion for golf and dedication to the sports industry has led to him serving as a member for the TaylorMade Golf Advisory Council (Canada) and Adidas Golf Creator Board (Canada).
In his current role as Vice President of the PGA of Ontario, while working to strengthen and improve the role of the PGA of Canada professional in the golf he is also firmly committed to making the industry more inclusive and accessible. With a passion for equipment, and technology, he believes that the sport can continue to be more fun by getting the right equipment in every player’s hands.
Dr. Karin Schnarr
Dr. Karin Schnarr is an Associate Professor of Strategy at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University where She teaches strategic management at the undergraduate, masters and executive level, including courses on the strategic management of technology. Karin received a PhD in Strategic Management (focused on corporate governance) and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at Western University, a Master’s degree in English Literature from Queen’s University and Bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and Science from the University of Waterloo.
Karin’s research interests stem from working with boards and senior levels of executives during her fifteen years in government and private sector management consulting. A passionate educator, Karin is an award-winning business case writer who has authored best-selling cases and recently co-authored a book on case writing. In 2019, she received the Donald F. Morgenson Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence – Early Career Excellence, awarded annually by Wilfrid Laurier University.
Karin is currently the Chair of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Board, the Vice-Chair of the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board and a board member of iGaming Ontario. She is a former National Council member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and is a proud member of the Advocacy Committee of ALS Canada.