May 2018

Digital Literacy Day 2018: Disrupting Higher Education

11:30am-1:30pm | The Omni King Edward Hotel - 37 King St. E. , Toronto

Join us to celebrate Digital Literacy Day in Toronto; an opportunity to engage all corners of Toronto to work towards enhancing the innovation economy. Ontario has witnessed a drastic change in the composition of its workforce. According to the Brookfield Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, 42% of Canadian jobs are considered at high risk of being affected by automation.

With the rise of artificial intelligence, digitization, automation and robotics, post-secondary education must shift to accommodate these new skills. Is Ontario’s higher education keeping up with the changes? Disruption is here, will our future workforce be ready? 

Special opening remarks by Toronto City Councillor Michelle Holland.

- Lunch will be served -

Member price:
Individual seat: $89 +HST
Table (seats 10): $800 +HST

Regular price:
Individual seat: $110 +HST
Table (seats 10): $990 +HST

- For information about accessibility, please email merpaw@economicclub.ca
- Dietary restriction notes and meal requests must be submitted to merpaw@economicclub.ca by Thursday, May 24, 2018

*The views expressed on the Economic Club platform are not that of the Economic Club or its affiliates but of the speakers alone and the organizations they represent*

Abdullah Snobar

Executive Director
DMZ at Ryerson University

Abdullah Snobar

Abdullah Snobar is the Executive Director of the DMZ at Ryerson University, the number one university-based incubator in the world. He leads a team that is passionate about helping Canada’s most promising startups scale their business and create innovative technology that changes lives.

Since inception, the Toronto-based incubator has helped scale over 325 companies, which have raised more than $400 million and fostered 3,100 jobs. Under his leadership, the DMZ has successfully expanded into the U.S. with its first office in New York City’s financial district, launched a leading revenue and sales growth accelerator program for high-potential startups, and created a world-class Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program, which matches some of the best leaders in tech with DMZ’s high-value entrepreneurs. Focused on designing quality programming and expanding the incubator’s international reach, Abdullah spearheaded a new Advisory Council comprised of the top business and tech minds in North America. As an active leader in the local entrepreneurial community, he played an instrumental role in launching the DMZ’s Sandbox, the city’s first free skills development space for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs -- his vision is to equip individuals with the skills needed to succeed in a complex marketplace.

Abdullah’s previous leadership positions involved overseeing non-profit and government partnerships, developing city-wide educational plans and managing strategic funding initiatives. He has held roles at well-known organizations such as, Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, the Canadian Armed Forces, and Fortune 500 companies such as Fairmont and Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

Passionate about giving back to the community, he has spent years volunteering in various capacities. He currently serves as a board member with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, City of Toronto Innovation Economy Advisory Council, and RBC’s Future of Skills Advisory Board where he shapes impactful community initiatives. Abdullah is also the co-creator of Supa Maasai -- a non-profit foundation in Kenya -- working to improve the day-to-day lives of Africa’s Maasai women and children.

As a sought-after public speaker, his expertise has landed him coverage in both print and broadcast publications, which include BNN, The Globe and Mail, Financial Post and CBC Radio. Abdullah has played a pivotal role in nurturing up-and-coming Canadian talent and boosting entrepreneurship from coast to coast. He holds a B.Comm. and MBA degree from Ryerson University.

Anne Sado

George Brown College

Anne Sado

A native of Toronto, Anne Sado has been President of George Brown College since 2004. Her impact on the vision, direction and culture of the college has seen an almost doubling of its enrolment and significant increase in its physical footprint in the heart of Canada’s largest city. She has also led a critical public discussion on the value of college education in Ontario’s economic development.

Anne’s areas of focus have been the development of a workforce with the right balance of skills for the knowledge economy, innovation in learning and the transition of new Canadians into productive careers to drive economic growth. A strong advocate of experiential learning, Anne has emphasized the importance of deepening partnerships with industry across the GTA.

Anne was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in June 2013. She was recognized as a YWCA Woman of Distinction in 2012 and in 2014 was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence and inducted into WXN’s Hall of Fame as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. Beyond her leadership at the college, Anne serves on many not-for-profit boards, which has given her a broad perspective on the social and economic challenges facing the GTA.
Anne holds an MBA from the University of Toronto as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering. Anne was also awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from the University of Toronto in June 2011.

Dana Stephenson

Co-Founder & Director of Academic Partnerships

Dana Stephenson

Dana is the Co-Founder and Director of Academic Partnerships for Riipen. As an undergraduate, Dana learned firsthand the difficulties students would face transitioning from education into a relevant, meaningful career upon graduation. When looking back at his education and at all of the projects students complete, he realized that while most of them ended up in a recycling bin, many had industry merit that could benefit local organizations all the while helping students build relevant experience and skills required to succeed in today’s job market.

Upon graduation he and a few of his peers combined their talent and passion he started on a path to help improve the education and recruitment systems so that future generations could smoothly transition into successful career paths while companies could easily find the talent required to fuel their future growth and success. Together with his peers, Riipen was launched, a collaboration platform for experiential learning between post-secondary institutions, educators, industry partners and students.

Riipen facilitates students' experiential learning via its technology platform used by post-secondary institutions, instructors, students and off-campus partners (e.g., companies, community organizations, government agencies, NGOs). This ecosystem allows users to create, manage and assess meaningful experiential learning opportunities at scale. Currently active on over 120 North American campuses, in 2017 over 500 instructors used Riipen's platform to connect 12,000 students to over 3,500 industry partners.

Dana is excited and honoured to announce that the Ontario Government has awarded Riipen, North America’s leading collaboration platform for Experiential Learning, $735,000 in funding as part of the province’s efforts to deliver Experiential Learning opportunities to every student in Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) awarded Riipen its funding to support the development of an ecosystem of industry partners excited by the opportunity to engage with post-secondary students across Ontario in a new paradigm that offers greater benefits to learning, skills development and employability. With this funding, Riipen is able to subsidize a substantial portion of the cost of its platform to companies and organizations of all sizes interested in participating in real-world project initiatives at educational institutions across Ontario.

Dr. Steven Murphy

President & Vice-Chancellor
University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Dr. Steven Murphy

Dr. Steven Murphy joined the University of Ontario Institute of Technology as its new President and Vice‑Chancellor on Thursday, March 1. He envisions the university to become a real bastion for alternative ways of thinking about why diversity in all forms is important. He believes experiential and co-operative learning opportunities are fundamental training for successful careers. He encourages students to embrace a collaborative approach that champions diversity and strives to make society a better place.

Dr. Murphy is renowned for his organizational and human behaviour expertise across business and industry. Even more notably, his dedication to equity, diversity and inclusiveness underscores every facet of how he lives his life. Beyond the lens of race and gender, he believes firmly in the diversity of thoughts and ideas.

As Dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, Dr. Murphy transformed the school’s brand, established novel interdisciplinary programs and fostered innovative and entrepreneurial co-op opportunities for students, growing the university’s program exponentially. Previously, he spent more than a decade in progressive academic and leadership roles at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, as Associate Dean, Research and External. During his tenure, he also served as Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor. He holds an esteemed record of academic achievement awards for his work examining the role of emotions in strategic decision‑making, leadership and other organizational and human behaviours, as well as his insightful approach to teaching.

Internationally, Dr. Murphy was named a Visiting Academic Fellow of the Business School at the University of Western Australia in 2010, and he has also taught MBA courses in China and the Middle East. He has published more than 110 papers, book chapters and technical reports. Dr. Murphy recently received his Institute of Corporate Directors Designation from the Directors Education Program at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management.

Growing up in a family-run business and learning first-hand the value of working with people inspired his educational trajectory. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Human Resource Management. Dr. Murphy enhanced his education with a Master in Management Studies (with Distinction) in the Management of Technology. Equipped with fundamentals in business and technology management, he addressed his passion for understanding human behaviour and emotions, and completed his Doctorate in Management, Organizational Behaviour, all at Carleton University.

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