HOSTS

Sunshine Tenasco

Sunshine is the CEO Pow Wow Pitch & Founder of Her Braids, an organization that advocates for clean drinking water for First Nations communities in Canada.

Ashley Callingbull

Ashley is Mrs Universe 2015 and a Canadian Activist for First Nations Rights and environmental causes in Canada. Ashley is also a spokesperson and model for the Nike N7 organization. 

JUDGES 2020

Herb ZoBell

Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Indigenous Markets & North of 60, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Western Ontario

Herb has a four-year Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from the University of Calgary.  A member of the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation himself, Herb has over 26 years of commercial banking and First Nation government experience.  Prior to joining RBC, Herb worked in management of a First Nation in Alberta, and consulted with several other First Nations in the province.  He has also served on various First Nation/Aboriginal boards/committees, and values giving back to his community.

Richie Busby

Richard Busby is an Entrepreneur who likes talking to entrepreneurs about being an entrepreneur. He's from New Zealand and is half Samoan and Half Maori. Both cultures have orators for story and believe in the need to tell stories not from just the pages of a book but from the heart and soul.
 

His journey into the life of entrepreneur began in 2016. He started a small business called Simplify. The business was picked up for an accelerator funded by the national museum of New Zealand. From there, they learnt to give both elevator and 5 minute pitches to leads and possible investors. Not long after starting this they began teaching at self reliance and start up business schools on the importance of communicating effective business ideas into propositions while taking toast master courses.


Not long after he also joined and co-founded Arepa Gamers Club, a community centred gaming and tech hub with the purpose to gamify the digital learning experience. Richie became the face of Arepa, pitching and proposing new ways to meet the digital age. He met with local politicians, influencers and organizations both on a community and national level. 

Luke Miszczyk

Director, Parcels & eCommerce Solutions Integration

Luke helps online retailers operate more effectively by integrating the right e-commerce tools and solutions.  Luke has been fortunate to spend a portion of his career in customer service, dealing directly with the full spectrum of small to enterprise businesses.  Having experienced thousands of interactions with Canadian brands, he has developed a keen sense of empathy for his customers; a trait provided to the solutions he delivers including contributions to the Canada Post shipping tools, web services, website and online store. Luke relishes time with his family walking in the woods, painting with his daughter and taking endless penalty shots on his son.

David Periera 

David is of Samoan heritage and was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand which is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. He spent 10yrs living and working in Asia immersing himself in entrepreneurship and business development. Some of the key experiences he gained included working and founding Startups, product development and creation, food & beverage industry, consultancy, owning/operating marketing agencies, e-commerce, and import/export in Asia. After a move to Canada in 2016 David started working for Shopify and is now a growth strategist with Shopify for startups. Within his current role he helps accelerate the growth and impact of some of the globes most exciting Startups. He brings the experience of someone that is a founder/entrepreneur. “I know what it is like to start from the beginning and to bootstrap and work hard in the hopes of making a dream a success.” 

I also bring my shared experience as someone who is Indigenous and can identify with some of the struggles of my fellow Indigenous brothers and sisters. I know what it is like to be the “only”, the "first" into a space and I want to change that by making it normal for more people like me to be there.

Jace Meyer

Lead for Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Jace is a Mètis mother, teacher, artist and entrepreneur currently living on unceded Algonquin territory. She’s cultivated an expertise in the co-creation of culturally relevant, place-based STEM and adult education. Her teaching has reached 1.25 Million Canadian youth from coast to coast.  After designing and developing Shopify's Research and Development onboarding program, RnD Camp, Jace inspired Shopify to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92 and is now the Lead for Indigenous entrepreneurs globally. As a side hustle, Jace is a public speaker, consults with youth-serving organizations, and is a BMW World Responsible Leader. Learn more at jaceactually.com.

Marki Sveen

Marki is a work in-progress. She’s currently trying to reconnect to her maternal Mètis community and people. Her and her Mother had planned to make a trip to Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation, and the residential school her Grandmother attended as a young girl in Spring/Summer 2020, but that has been put on hold due to COVID-19. She works as a UX Developer Lead at Shopify, and is passionate about building and supporting inclusive and diverse teams. In her work she is focused on building for everyone which includes accessible interfaces, localized content, and performant experiences, with an emphasis on low-bandwidth Internet, low to medium end android devices, and assistive technology. Marki volunteers with high-school girls interested in STEM, and they’re getting ready to launch a Shopify e-commerce website kymnylz.com in July 2020. She’s hopeful that the next decade will bring truth, reconciliation and justice to the Indigenous and Black people of Canada.

Kyle St Amour Brennan

Kyle St Amour Brennan is Algonquin Anishinaabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Turtle Island. He is an Entrepreneur, First Nations Storyteller, and coaches on Entrepreneurship for the digital age, design fundamentals, and e-commerce. Providing workshops for Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week among others. He was Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner at SCHNARB Outfitting Company, an eco sustainable outdoor active apparel company. He works at Shopify now as a Financial Services Specialist and chairs their Miigwan Employee Resource Group, connecting and giving platform to Indigenous Peoples throughout the organization from Turtle Island to Aotearoa.

Marie Jose Marceau

Senior Account Manager, Indigenous Markets and Business Financial Services

Tamer Gabbour

Senior Account Manager, Not-For-Profit Markets and Indigenous Banking, Commercial Financial Services

Tracy Antoine

Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Indigenous Markets, BC Region

Don Locke

Senior Commercial Account Manager

MENTORS 2020

Kitan Amao

Senior Commercial Account Manager (Winnipeg, MB)

Kitan supports technology and media companies.  He is a result-oriented banking professional & chartered professional accountant with proven success in credit structuring & syndication, financial analysis & cash flow modeling and credit risk & portfolio management. With over 12 years of corporate banking and capital market experience executing over $500 million in financing transactions across various industries;  Kitan continuously demonstrates capacity for building trusted relationships and communicating effectively, coupled with a passion of assisting clients to meet their growth ambitions.  Kitan holds a Masters of Business from Manchester Business School in the UK and he is married with two children. Kitan is currently a volunteer on the board of two Industry Associations.

Amanda Alexander

Branch Manager, Kirkland Lake, ON

I am a Ojibwe/Mohawk Canadian, I am a mother, I am a boss and I am a community leader, VP of my local Chamber of Commerce. Central Ontario rez raised, traditional and proud. Breaking the mold for leadership today, and bringing acknowledgment to all indigenous rights past and present. I started my journey as a holistic healer and my path led me to the financial industry, where I have thrived and helped over 3000 Indigenous children since 2014 receive Christmas gift boxes & stay in school supplies through two fund & supply raising programs. I also mentor youth external of the business and mentor inside of the business as well. I speak up for inclusion, I use my voice and my mission is to help others to “give what I can and take only what I need”.

Alpesh Mistry

Senior Relationship Manager, RBC Learning (Toronto, ON)

In his current role, Alpesh works closely with his business partners to understand their strategic priorities, identify opportunities where learning will be a performance enabler, and provide insights on emerging trends for leadership and professional skills. 

Prior to RBC, Alpesh spent 8 years developing and delivering Design Thinking programs at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. While at Rotman, he made essential contributions to leading edge business education and has consulted on innovation projects for global clients such as Nestlé and Proctor & Gamble.

Alpesh holds a Masters of Education from the University of Toronto and a Bachelors of Design from OCAD University.

Sheila Schmidt

Associate Director, Group Risk Management (Toronto, ON)

My heritage is Mohawk from Six Nations and I have extensive experience in business development, credit analysis and comprehensive business planning.  I recently joined Group Risk Management in November 2019 as an adjudicator specializing in Indigenous Markets, and prior to that, I was a CAM in Edmonton also specializing in Indigenous Markets.  Prior to joining RBC I dedicated my entire working career (30 yrs) working for and with First Nations and aboriginal organizations, and for many years assisted entrepreneurs in developing business plans.

Michael Polak

Commercial Account Manager, Media & Entertainment, Atlantic

I am RBC’s Royal Eagle Ontario and Atlantic Regional Co-Chair and a Chair of the Indigenous Center of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. I am Mohawk (Kanien'kehá:ka), Bear Clan from Tyendinaga and my name is Little Dipper (Ken'niwahkwarita:a). I recently completed a Masters of Management & Innovation at Queens University, a Certificate of Disruptive Technology and I am writing my PMP designation this summer. My goal is to transform this organization and the world with creativity, vision and traditional Indigenous perspectives.

Mireille Lemire

Business Account Manager (Cornwall, ON)

I have over 15 years of experience in the financial services sector supporting companies in various industries with all their financial and business needs. I hold a post-secondary degree in Commerce with specialization in International Commerce from the University of Ottawa. This has allowed me to understand the challenges and complexities that a business owner may face. I am strongly committed to helping our community prosper through volunteer work and local initiatives.

Jennifer Mach

Director, Small Business Marketing

As the lead for the small business segment at Canada Post, Jennifer is focused on helping Canadian small businesses and entrepreneurs achieve their goals, whether it’s optimizing an e-commerce business or acquiring new customers. Jennifer has spent the past 6 years at Canada Post working closely with businesses to gain a deep understanding of their needs, ambitions, and operations in order to design products and experiences to help business grow in an ever evolving market. Prior to joining Canada Post, Jennifer’s background is in consumer market research and marketing strategy across industries including consumer goods, retail, media and technology, and international organizations.

Mamta Dogra

Senior Manager, Small Business Marketing

Mamta has over a decade of experience leading initiatives that directly address customer needs and support business growth. Her focus at Canada Post is to enable and nurture small businesses by providing them access to content, resources, solutions, and partners that will help them get stated and grow. Her deep understanding of market and customer influences has enabled her to launch direct marketing products and online solutions, assess financial and operational impacts, and develop communication strategies that are customer-focused. Mamta is motivated by finding solutions that address the needs and challenges faced by small businesses, and highlighting their successes.

Joanne Ironside

Business Account Manager, Kanata South & Stittsville, ON

Joanne has been with RBC for 32 years where she has worked with business clients for most of her tenure, as a Business Account Manager for over 20 years helping businesses in the Ottawa West market start, grow and thrive.  She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and through her years with RBC has been able to mentor many colleagues and clients.  Joanne participated two years ago as a mentor with the Ottawa Pow Wow Pitch.

Mark Schollenberg

Regional Enablement Coach, Business Markets | Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut & Western Ontario

Mark Schollenberg is a Regional Enablement Coach at RBC.  He has 13 years of business banking experience and has helped many small and mid-sized businesses access financing, simplify their operations and expand into new markets.  He is a graduate of the I.H. Asper School of Business and volunteers with Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce.

Todd Strickland

Regional Vice President, Cape Breton & North Eastern NS

Todd has 24 years banking experience in Retail Commercial, Group Advantage and Group Risk Management. He is currently the Regional Vice President of Cape Breton & North Eastern Nova Scotia market. 

He has 13 years experience in Commercial banking as a Commercial Account Manager, Regional Enablement coach and Sr Manager with Risk Management Atlantic.

Noah Wilson

Banking Advisor Intern (Winnipeg, MB)

I am a Banking Advisor at Pembina and Kirkbridge in Winnipeg, MB. I am an Indigenous governance and Management graduate from the University of Manitoba and I am a passionate advocate for Reconciliation work, language revitalization, and Indigenous economic development. I am currently member of the Futurpreneur Canada Indigenous Community.

Chris Hunt

Commercial Account Manager, Indigenous Markets(Victoria, BC)

I am from the Kwakiutl Nation located on Northen Vancouver Island.  I completed my MBA in Entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria.  I love business, market research, pro forma financial statements, and the business planning process.

Daniel Muller

Senior Financial Specialist

Daniel is Métis from St. Boniface, Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is currently a Senior Financing Specialist at RBC, where he works within the Agriculture, Agri-business and Indigenous Markets. He previously worked as a Commercial Account Manager in Indigenous Markets for over 5 years.

Michael Goetting

Commercial Account Manager, Indigenous Financial Services (Edmonton, AB)

William Bray

Vice President Commercial Financial Services, Northern Lakes Region

Darryl Duncan

Commercial Account Manager (Ottawa, ON)

Kyle Balsdon

Business Account Manager (Rosetown, SK)

Dale Conrad

Business Account Manager (Ottawa, ON)

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