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2023 Speakers


Milica Radisic

Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Professor at the University of Toronto

Milica Radisic is a biomedical engineering and chemical engineering professor at the U of T, a Canada research chair in Organ-on-a-chip engineering, and a senior investigator at the functional tissue engineering laboratory. Milica's work with organ-on-a-chip engineering has leveraged technologies such as Bioware, AngioChip, and the inVADE platform to offer foundations to the organ-on-a-chip engineering sector, emphasizing Microfabrication and 3D Printing. As part of her additional study on Peptide modified materials for regenerative medicine, Milica is also working on an anti-inflammatory treatment for covid19 using hydrogels and small compounds based on the Peptide. Milica is continuously recognized for her contributions to advancing research outcomes in engineering, biology, and chemistry, in addition to her contributions to medicine on COVID-19.

 2022 Speakers

Celina Caesar-Chavannes

Sr. Advisor, EDI Initiatives and Adjunct Lecturer at Queen’s

Celina Caesar-Chavannes is a business consultant, coach and international speaker, who currently serves part time as the Sr. Advisor, EDI Initiatives and Adjunct Lecturer at Queen’s University. Her new memoir, “Can You Hear Me Now?” was published by Penguin Random House Canada, in February 2021 and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 Shaughnessy Cohen prize for political writing and a book award finalist for the Speaker of Ontario Legislature. She was the former Member of Parliament for Whitby, Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development.


During her term as a Member of Parliament, Celina was awarded several distinctions including a feature in the April 2018 edition of O (Oprah Winfrey) Magazine entitled, “What would you stand up for and named Chatelaine Magazine’s Woman of the Year (2019). She has a Bachelor of Science, an MBA in Healthcare Management, an Executive MBA from the Rotman School of Management, and is currently enrolled in a neuroscience PhD program at Queen’s University. Celina is also a [Deepak] Chopra Certified Health Instructor. Prior to politics, Celina founded Resolve Research Solutions, Inc. - a research management consulting firm with the aim to provide research, consulting and education services to organizations seeking equity and advancing progress for those with multiple intersecting identities.

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Jessica Delfino

Principal at Atlas Partners

Jessica Delfino is a Principal on the investment team at Altas Partners in Toronto. Altas Partners is a private equity firm that was founded to pioneer a more purposeful approach to owning and building great businesses. Jessica focuses on investing in businesses within the specialty industrials market, including the specialty chemicals and materials sectors. Prior to Altas, Jessica worked at Arsenal Capital Partners in New York, where she invested in and sat on the board of directors for businesses such as Airnov Healthcare Packaging, Seal for Life Industries, Polytek Corporation, Spartech Corporation, Chromaflo Technologies, and Accella Performance Materials.

Jessica began her career in investment banking at Deutsche Bank in Toronto and New York in the Natural Resources Group, helping to advise companies such as DuPont on mergers and acquisitions as well as debt and equity issuances. Jessica earned her MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School and holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Great Distinction from McGill University. Jessica was also selected by the Wall Street Journal in 2020 as one of Private Equity's 14 Most Influential Women of Today and Tomorrow.


Dr. James Dowling

Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. James Dowling is a Professor of Paediatrics and Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, and a Neurologist and Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. He leads a translational research program focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of paediatric neuromuscular disorders with a focus on congenital myopathies and muscular dystrophies. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed manuscripts on topics related to neuromuscular disorders, and has been fortunate to have funding from multiple agencies including CIHR, NSERC, Genome Canada, and NIH. Currently, he is Chair of the Canadian Paediatric Neuromuscular Group (CPNG), a collaboration of Canadian paediatric neuromuscular specialists aimed at facilitating research, clinical care and education for patient’s families with NMD.


He serves on the scientific advisory board of Jesse’s Journey, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and MDA, and is an executive board member of the World Muscle Society. He represents paediatric NMDs as a member of the NMD4C Steering Committee, leads on genomics education and curriculum, and participates in trial coordination. The overall goal of Dowling's research program is to discover therapies for childhood muscle diseases. He is particularly focused on muscle disorders that present in infancy, including the congenital myopathies and the congenital muscular dystrophies. Dowling utilizes a combinatorial approach that includes new gene discovery (using next generation sequencing technology), model organism development (particularly using the zebrafish model system) and both targeted, and large scale screening drug discovery approaches. He complements this work with cutting edge rare disease clinical research related to natural history, outcome measure development, and interventional trials.


Christian Cheung

Member of Human Performance and Health Research Lab at the University of Guelph

Christian Cheung is a member of the Human Performance and Health Research Lab at the University of Guelph, where he is currently completing his PhD in Human Health and Nutritional Science with a focus in cardiovascular and exercise physiology. 

As a scientist, Christian is interested in all things related to sport and exercise science. Initially, Christian focused his work in understanding of how certain interventions can affect, and potentially optimize human exercise performance, with the goal of helping athletes be the best they can be. In addition to his interest in optimizing athlete performance, Christian also has an interest in improving athlete care through improved understanding of athlete-specific health issues. His work in this area has focused on numerous different topics, ranging from advancing our understanding of the unique adaptations of the heart to different exercise training regimes, to improving the quality of mental health support services provided to collegiate athletes.
Christian’s current research efforts are dedicated to two separate areas. Currently, Christian is part of a collaborative research project examining the physiological causes of Overtraining Syndrome. His primary efforts however, are dedicated to understanding how cannabis use impacts the cardiovascular system, with application to both cardiovascular health and human exercise performance.


Lisa Kimmel

Global Managing Director of Sector Specialty Agencies, Chair & CEO, Canada and Latin America at Edelman

Lisa is global managing director of Sector Specialty Agencies (SSAs), DJE Holdings, and also oversees Edelman’s Canadian and Latin American operations. Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Lisa sits on Edelman’s Executive Leadership Team. In her role, she provides senior counsel to clients, and is responsible for the growth strategies of both the SSAs and the regions that she oversees.

Lisa’s fresh, collaborative and authentic approach has not only resulted in award-winning programs for clients but has fostered a corporate culture based on innovation, teamwork and integrity. Edelman Canada has been recognized as one of the Great Place to Work® Best Workplaces in Canada and Best Workplaces for Women for ten consecutive years.

Passionate about advancing women in business, Lisa is chair of the firm’s Global Women’s Equality Network (GWEN), which is committed to fostering an environment where women of all backgrounds can enjoy equal opportunities. She is committed to supporting future leaders and championing women’s causes. She is a sought-after speaker and commentator at events and in the media. In recognition of her efforts, Lisa is a recipient of both the Financial Times and HERoes Champions of Women in Business Top 100 Female Executives, and a 2019 YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction award for Corporate Leadership. She has also been inducted into the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Hall of Fame. Lisa is actively involved with several mentorship programs through the Women’s Executive Network, American Marketing Association and Women in Communications and Technology Protégé Program. She sits on the Boards of Directors of the Toronto Region Board of Trade and CivicAction. Lisa also sits on the Global Advisory Board for G(irls)20, and is a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Council for Women’s Advocacy.

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Jim Kozlowski

Registered Professional Engineer

Jim Kozlowski is a new product development leader with over 30 years experience developing, testing and manufacturing software-intensive products in the Canadian high-tech industry.

He has worked in companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific. Texas Instruments Canada, Imax Corp. and Nortel Networks.

He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa in electromagnetics. Jim is a registered professional engineer in Ontario. 

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Katherine Matthews

Senior Evaluations Reservoir Engineer at Sentinel Peak Resources

Katherine Matthews is a business-minded technical leader with over twelve years of international reservoir and business development experience. She is skilled at navigating complex operational and
regulatory challenges and is uniquely adept at communicating with different types of stakeholders. During her time in the energy industry, she has managed field operations teams, collaborated with
the Ute Indian Tribe, and provided sworn expert testimony at over ten Utah Board of Oil, Gas, and Mining hearings. In 2019, she was invited to speak at both the Utah Governor’s Energy Summit in Salt Lake City and the Women’s Energy Network’s National Conference in Denver. She has pursued many intrapreneurial projects and initiatives throughout her career. Most recently, she has led Sentinel Peak Resource’s team that is appraising carbon capture and sequestration viability in California. She is a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng) in Alberta, Canada, member of the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE), and has passed the CFA Level I examination. Katherine earned her MBA from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and received her Applied Science degree in Geological Engineering from Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.

Dr. Deborah Ledley

Author & Psychologist at the Children's Centre for OCD and Anxiety

Dr. Ledley received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Toronto in 1999 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Adult Anxiety Clinic of Temple University.  She then spent several years on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety.  

Dr. Ledley’s research has focused on the nature and treatment of anxiety. She has published over 60 scientific papers and book chapters, as well as five academic books. Her book “Making Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Work,” now in its Third Edition, is a best-seller in the field of clinical psychology. It has been translated into several languages and is used as a textbook in many clinical psychology training programs in the United States and Canada. 

Dr. Ledley is also the author of “Becoming a Calm Mom: How to Manage Stress and Enjoy the First Year of Motherhood” and “The Worry Workbook for Kids”.Dr. Ledley enjoys teaching professionals and the general public about how to manage anxiety.  She regularly holds continuing education programs for fellow mental health professionals and has served as a Master Clinician at several national psychology conferences. She is also an “Official Expert” for Lifespeak, a mental health and wellbeing platform.

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Michele Mosca

Co-founder of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, a Professor in the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization of the Faculty of Mathematics, founding member of Waterloo's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

He obtained his doctorate in Mathematics in 1999 from Oxford on the topic of Quantum Computer Algorithms, an MSc in Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science in 1996 from Oxford. In 1995 he earned a BMath in Combinatorics & Optimization and Pure Mathematics from Waterloo. 

He is globally recognized for his drive to help academia, industry and government prepare our cyber systems to be safe in an era with quantum computers. Dr. Mosca’s awards and honours include Fellow of the Institute for Combinatorics and its Applications (since 2000), 2010 Canada's Top 40 Under 40, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013), SJU Fr. Norm Choate Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), and a Knighthood (Cavaliere) in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (2018).


Nicola Von Schroeter

Senior Product Director at Candeal Inc. 

Currently consulting for early stage start-ups seeking to build out their core value proposition and "go to market "commercial strategy.  Most notable experience was Founding Managing Partner responsible for Global Commercial Partnerships for IHSMarkit (just acquired by Standard & Poors). Previously worked at Morgan Stanley in European Equities Electronic Trading/Analytics Services (London/Europe); Bloomberg Financial in Sales/Sales Management (London/Europe); Dow Jones Telerate in Regional Marketing/Product Management in Hong Kong.  Holds a Post-Graduate-Equivalent Degree in Asian Management Studies from Capilano College, Vancouver; Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.

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Dr. Zhu Wang

Researcher at Future Reality Lab of Computer Science Department, New York University

Dr. Zhu Wang is a Post-doctoral Researcher at Future Reality Lab of Computer Science Department, New York University. His research includes Human-Computer Interaction and Machine Learning, in which he focuses on Virtual-Reality-based human balance assessment and rehabilitation with motion analysis, eye-tracking, and force-sensing technologies.


John Ruffolo

Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, Founder of OMERS Ventures and Co-Founder and Vice Chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators.

In 2014, John was recognized as Canada’s #1 of 100 Most Powerful Business People by Canadian Business Magazine (#3 in 2015) and was selected as one of Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People by Toronto Life (#16 in 2015, #40 in 2016, #26 in 2017).


In 2018, John was honoured with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, making him a fifth Class Knight. John Ruffolo is the Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, a private equity firm focused on technology-enabled growth and disruption investment strategies.

Over the course of his leadership as the CEO of OMERS Ventures, they invested over USD$500 million in over 40 disruptive technology companies across North America, including growth investments in Shopify, Xanadu, Wattpad, Wave, Hootsuite, Rover, Desire 2 Learn, Hopper, DuckDuckGo, TouchBistro and League.


During his tenure at OMERS, John also formed OMERS Platform Investments, and as its Executive Managing Director, he led investments in Purpose Financial, PointNorth Capital, District Ventures, OneEleven and ArcTern Ventures. John co-founded the Council of Canadian Innovators with Jim Balsillie, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping high-growth Canadian technology firms scale globally.

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