June 2017

Reality Check: Diagnosing Canada's Innovation Gap

11:30am-1:30pm | InterContinental Hotel - 225 Front Street West, Toronto

How can established industry, startups, academia and government create a collaborative ecosystem where innovation can thrive? What does Canada need to change in order to foster innovation, retain top talent and lead in commercialization and growth? Canada seems to have all the right ingredients to foster innovation and support entrepreneurs but the truth is, we still face many hurdles to overcome. In this Economic Club exclusive, our panel of experts will lay out the problems we face as a country and offer creative insights and solutions to fix them.

- Interested in sponsoring this event? Email lapointe@economicclub.ca for available opportunities -

- 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 lapointe@economicclub.ca
- Dietary restriction notes and meal requests must be submitted to lapointe@economicclub.ca by Monday, June 5, 2017.

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.

David Walmsley

The Globe and Mail

David Walmsley

David Walmsley was appointed the Editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail in March 2014. His appointment returned him to The Globe and Mail where he previously worked as the Managing Editor and National Editor. Under his editorship, The Globe and Mail has won the Michener Award, national newspaper awards, top honours among an international field at the global Online Journalism Awards and a series of Eppy awards recognizing digital excellence.

In 2015, David moderated the federal leaders’ election debate on the economy in Calgary, Alberta.

David previously held senior positions at the CBC in Toronto and Ottawa, Toronto Star and National Post.

He began his career at The Belfast Telegraph where he was named Northern Ireland Young Journalist of the Year in 1995. He also worked for The Daily Record in Scotland and The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph in London.

He spent 17 years investigating the worst helicopter crash in Royal Air Force history, ultimately helping to clear the names of the two dead pilots. He was associate producer of the related Channel 4 documentary The Final Flight of Zulu Delta 576.

David belongs to a range of industry bodies. In addition to being a Board member of the Canadian Journalism Foundation, David also serves as an advisor to the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University in Toronto.
He is a member of the International Media Council of the World Economic Forum and serves on the executive steering group of the industry’s Trust Project, thetrustproject.org, organized out of Santa Clara University in California.

He is also a judge of the Shorty Awards in New York City recognizing the best in short-form content on social media.

Dino Trevisani

IBM Canada

Dino Trevisani

Dino Trevisani is President, IBM Canada, where he leads a team that is passionate about delivering value to its clients; helping Canadian organizations, both large and small, use innovative technology to transform their businesses and realize their full potential.

Dino is a member of an integral group of global IBM executives who serve on the Chairman's Performance Team and is a member of IBM’s senior leadership Growth and Transformation Team. Prior to his appointment as General Manager in January 2015, Dino served as the Managing Director for Citigroup. In this capacity he led IBM sales and go-to-market execution for all of Citigroup’s global businesses operating in over 160 countries.

Dino has held a variety of roles over the course of his 29 years at IBM, many involving deep expertise in financial services and management, including retail banking, capital markets and insurance. From 2008 to 2009 he served as Vice President, Financial Services for North and South America and prior to that he was responsible for IBM’s Financial Services Sector across multiple regions in both Canada and the United States. During his tenure, he led a team of industry experts dedicated to delivering world-class services and innovative applications to help banks and insurance companies grow and compete on a global scale.

Dino’s IBM career has been characterized by diverse leadership roles including finance, business management, sales, and marketing, coupled with geographic and global executive assignments. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and a Masters of Business Administration degree from both Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, Ontario, and Cornell’s Johnson School of Management in Ithaca, New York.

Dino serves on the Board of Directors for the Conference Board of Canada, the Advisory Council for Cornell’s Johnson School of Management, the Smith School Advisory Board, and as the Technology Division Chair for the 2016 Toronto and York Region United Way’s Campaign Cabinet. He is a member of the Business Council of Canada and a board member for the Canadian Business/Higher Education Council (BHER). He is also a member of Ryerson University’s DMZ Advisory Council and the IBM internal Universities and Colleges Council. Dino is proud to be named an OUTstanding Leading Ally Executive by the Financial Times.

Nazmin Gupta

Chief Marketing Officer

Nazmin Gupta

Nazmin Gupta is Greystone’s Chief Marketing Officer and is primarily responsible for enhancing the client/consultant journey, building our marketing intelligence, promoting and protecting the Greystone brand and growing key asset classes. She is also responsible for the marketing leadership team. Nazmin joined Greystone in the Toronto office in early 2011. Prior to this, she was the former Senior Vice-President, Real Estate & Mortgages before moving to her current role in 2016. Nazmin has over 15 years of experience in change management, business operations and serving current and potential clients along with their consultant-advisors. Prior to joining Greystone, Nazmin was Director, New Business at Morguard Investments Limited where she focused on aligning business development initiatives with the firm’s strategic goals by targeting new clients, markets, and product offerings, and ensuring continuous engagement with the firms’ existing clients. Her previous postings included Carpedia Group International and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto and Zynik Capital Corporation in Vancouver.

Nazmin is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, holding both a Bachelor of Science in Economics, cum laude, from The Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, cum laude, from the College of Arts and Sciences.

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