March 2017

Tech Talent in Canada: Opportunities on the Horizon

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

Join us for an important talk about attracting and retaining local and international tech talent. Has the US travel ban provided Canada with opportunities to recruit top players? Is Canada’s welcoming and tolerant image helping to attract talent? How can organizations capitalize on current and upcoming opportunities?

The chat will feature Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, Francois Lafortune, CEO of Diagram, and Kasra Nejatian, CEO of Kash (via Skype from San Francisco). 

BNN's Amber Kanwar will moderate the discussion.

- 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 peters@economicclub.ca
- Dietary restriction notes and meal requests must be submitted to peters@economicclub.ca at least 48h before the event.

Amber Kanwar

Anchor & Reporter

Amber Kanwar

Amber Kanwar is the host of BNN Bloomberg’s flagship morning show The Open and host of tech show The Disruptors. Every morning she brings the days’ trading news and analysis to viewers. She has interviewed CEO’s from across the country’s c-suite, influential political movers and large fund managers. She specializes in covering the stock market as well as Canada’s burgeoning tech scene. She has her Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University and her Bachelor in Management & Organizational studies from the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur

President and Vice-chancellor
The University of Waterloo

Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur

Feridun Hamdullahpur was appointed president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo on March 11, 2011.

A professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Hamdullahpur earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Istanbul, Turkey and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the Technical University of Nova Scotia.

Throughout his career spanning over 35 years, Dr. Hamdullahpur has been an active researcher in thermo-fluids and energy engineering, a passionate teacher and an academic administrator. He has authored hundreds of scientific and academic publications and supervised over 50 graduate students. He was named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in June, 2014.

President Hamdullahpur’s central motivation is ensuring that the impact of university education, research and scholarship on our broader society is maximized through constant reform and innovation in the higher education sector. He is a leading advocate for the value of basic research and its relevance to educational excellence and economic prosperity.

His current focus at the University of Waterloo is expanding its lead in innovation, building on Waterloo’s long-standing and emerging strengths in co-operative education, research, entrepreneurship, and equity. The University of Waterloo has dominated Canadian university innovation rankings for 25 consecutive years. Its goal is to be recognized as one of the top innovation universities in the world.

In 2015 President Hamdullahpur was appointed chair of the new Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, an ambitious initiative to build a world leading digital infrastructure ecosystem for Canada. He is also proud to have been one of ten global university presidents appointed to the United Nation’s HeforShe Impact 10x10x10 campaign to engage boys and men in the cause of gender equity.

In acknowledgement of President Hamdullahpur’s leadership in education and innovation, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in January, 2013.

Francois Lafortune


Francois Lafortune

Francois Lafortune is a Montreal-based entrepreneur and investor with fifteen years’ experience in building businesses and the financial technology sector. He is the founder and CEO of Diagram, a venture launchpad that helps create and launch technology companies pursuing disruptive innovation in the financial and insurance sectors, and a partner of the venture capital arm of Power Financial Corporation.

Francois spent seven years at McKinsey & Company, during which time he served as co-leader of McKinsey’s Canadian Technology practice. He advised senior executives of leading North American banks and insurers on a broad range of technology-related topics, such as creating technology blueprints for digital transformations of a number of banks, and leading a multi-year transformation of the IT delivery organization of a major financial institution.

Francois launched his first business -- assembling and selling personal computers -- at the age of 13. In 1999, he became the youngest entrepreneur to join Qualité Étudiants, a franchise system delivering a suite of home services. In 2002, Francois co-founded Vitres.net, which has grown to become the largest student-run franchise system in Quebec. Today, Francois is Chairman of Residencia, the parent company, which owns six home services brands, serving more than 20,000 clients annually. Residencia’s portolio of companies have trained hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start and run their own business.

Francois earned a Bachelor of Engineering from McGill University (Honours Program, graduating with Great Distinction), and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. At McGill, Francois received the J.W. McConnell Scholarship for outstanding academic performance and John D. Thompson Prize for Entrepreneurship in Engineering.

Kasra Nejatian


Kasra Nejatian

Kaz Nejatian is the CEO of Kash, a payment technology company with offices in Canada and the United States. Prior to stating Kash, Kaz was a senior advisor to the Government of Canada and a lawyer practising with a multi-national law firm based out of New York. He is a graduate of Queen's University's School of Business and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Our Sponsors

Telus Interac Green Shield Canada