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.

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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

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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.

Tracy Ridler

 

Tracy is Tsimshian from Kitsumkalum in the Pacific north coast of BC. She currently lives in New Westminster, BC with her partner and three awesome kids. Her passion lies in empowering Indigenous women and youth to be successful in e-commerce and entrepreneurship. Her background is in molecular biology, those studies took her around the world to places like Thailand, Tanzania and Australia where she learned about the unique parallels of all Indigenous people worldwide and brings that experience to her current role. She has been working at Shopify since 2018, currently she is a plus specialist for large enterprises. She would like to find solutions to making e-commerce more accessible and applicable to Indigenous people around the world, but first and foremost with our own Indigenous people in Canada. Reconciliation and our freedom are found in self-governance and financial independence.

Carissa Cosgrove

 

Carissa has worked with thousands of businesses as a consultant, editor, content creator, and more recently as the Community Manager for Shopify in Kingston. As an entrepreneur working for an agile ecommerce company, she engages daily with the challenges business owners face and works to make commerce better for everyone.

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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.

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Laura Leyburn

Laura is Ojibway of the Eabametoong First Nation and living in the Lekwugen/Songhees territory. She has connected to her culture through activism and with engagement with local communities. Throughout her career she’s always been inclined to work amongst local entrepreneurs to help elevate their businesses. Now being a part of Shopify, she gets to assist people working on their dreams which is an amazing experience.

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Tamer Gabbour

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

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Marie Jose Marceau

Senior Account Manager, Indigenous Markets and Business Financial Services

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.

Nikki Thibodeau

A passionate individual, Nikki loves pairing up with entrepreneurs to help them identify and remove roadblocks. She is currently working as the Shopify Local Lead, leading a global team of community managers who deliver free digital resources to help entrepreneurs to level up. Her favourite things to talk about are your business, digital marketing, and how dogs are the greatest gift to mankind.

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Don Locke

Senior Commercial Account Manager

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Tracy Antoine

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

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)