Arlene Dickinson is the CEO of Venture Communications and the General Partner of District Ventures Capital, a venture fund focused on helping market, fund and grow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies in the food and health space.
She is a two-time best-selling author, accomplished public speaker, and is best known for her role as a Dragon/Venture Capitalist for over ten seasons on the multi-award-winning television series Dragons Den.
Ms. Dickinson’s leadership has been recognized many times, including Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Hall of Fame, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, as well as PROFIT and Chatelaine’s Top 100 Women Business Owners. She is also a Marketing Hall of Legends inductee and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award. Dickinson serves as an Honourary Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy.
She sits on several public and private boards and is actively involved in supporting the community.
For many Canadians, that moment that defines Canadian Skating is the performance delivered in front of the home-crowd by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in Vancouver 2010. They became the youngest Ice Dance champions in Olympic history. The golden duo, however, was not content.
The partnership that started when she was seven and he was nine would continue through to Sochi 2014 where they delivered an artistic and athletic performance that would define the pair’s legacy. They danced beautifully and despite a seasonbest, settled for silver. This only fuelled their fire.
After a short hiatus, Tessa and Scott believed that they still had the competitive fire and artistic depth to make a return to their third Olympics. It was in PyeongChang 2018, where Tessa and Scott captured the imagination of the world with emotionally-charged and provocative performances, drawing on twenty years of creative commitment to one another. They skated magically to Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge earning their second gold medal of the Olympics.
The medal was their fifth medal overall making them the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history. Applauded internationally as the sweethearts of the Games and revered as Canadian royalty, the pair truly represent what it is to be Canadian.
2017 Keynote Speaker | Social Commentator, Editorialist & Distinct Canadian Voice
2017 Keynote Speaker | Social Commentator, Editorialist & Distinct Canadian Voice
For over 20 years he was the host and moderator of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup. The show brought over 1 million listeners and at times 15,000 callers wanting to join in discussions. And we are bringing him to you live.
As a speaker, Rex radiates intelligence and trustworthiness. His endearing style brings forth a sarcastic intellect and deep insight into issues affecting individuals and businesses.
You can expect to be simultaneously informed and entertained by Rex’s provocative commentary. He makes us important and reminds us as Canadians, we have a unique and distinct Canadian culture that goes beyond hockey. His thought-provoking and original insights are sure to educate and inspire and we know you’ll leave feeling envigorated and ready to take on the world.
2016 Keynote Speaker | Journalist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness
Michael Landsberg is a Canadian sports television personality, and one of the better-known personalities in Canadian broadcasting. He started his national career in 1984 as an anchor on TSN's SportsDesk, broadcasting more than 5,000 episodes. Landsberg has covered Canadian college football, horse racing, and figure skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. He left SportsDesk in the fall of 1997 to host TSN's Off The Record. The highly acclaimed 30-minute daily sports debate program was one of Canada’s longest running talk shows at 18 years.
Landsberg speaks publicly about his personal battle with depression and considers his ability to help reduce the stigma of mental illness as his most important professional calling. He has been an ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk, an initiative focused on raising awareness and encouraging dialogue about mental health, since it launched in 2011.
In 2012, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health named Landsberg one of its Champions of mental health. In 2013, Landsberg’s documentary, Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me, was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Screen Award for Best History or Biography Documentary Program or Series.18
2015 Keynote Speaker | Comedian, Actress, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness
No stranger to television audiences, Mary Walsh may be best known for her work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC’s wildly popular take on current affairs. The series, which she also created, earned her many of her numerous Gemini awards and showcased her dynamic range of characters, including the flagrantly outspoken ‘Marg Delahunty’.
Walsh wrote, produced and starred in the Gemini award winning Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, and was nominated for two Genies for her performances in feature films Crackie (Official selection at TIFF) and New Waterford Girl.
Walsh’s recent credits include CBC’s Republic of Doyle, TMN's Sensitive Skin; and Global's Rookie Blue.
Select feature film credits include Mambo Italiano; The Divine Ryans with Pete Postlethwaite; Violet, in which she played the title role; and most recently the The Grand Seduction (Official selection at TIFF).
Outside of the film, TV and theatre world, Mary is an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction awareness. Among the many charities and organizations she supports are the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa, the CNIB, St. Joseph’s Hospital and CAMH.
Among her many awards and doctorates, Mary is also the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts.
Paolo is a Managing Director of the Aquilini Investment Group, a family-run business founded almost 50 years ago by his father Luigi. The Aquilini Investment Group, led by Paolo and his two brothers Francesco and Roberto, is one of Vancouver’s most diversified companies and is best known for owning the Vancouver Canucks franchise and Rogers Arena.Paolo has proudly worked in every facet of the business, including building commercial and residential buildings, golf courses and leading the expansion of the cranberry and blueberry farm operation – and in 2001, he became co-owner of the Vancouver Canucks with his family.
Beyond his incredible career, Paolo, his wife Clara, and their four children are outstanding and philanthropic members of their community. Growing up in Vancouver, Paolo has always believed that everyone has a responsibility to support their community and neighbours – and in particular, those in vulnerable positions. The Salvation Army, with its long history believes in the same guiding principles of giving hope, dignity and opportunity to those in need.
2013 Keynote Speaker | General Manager & Vice President Football Operations for BC Lions
Wally Buono knows that stories of hope often require genuine struggle. He is no stranger to hard work, and the notion that every win is earned through commitment and dedication. He was born in Italy and moved to Canada with his family as a young child.
Wally played minor football in Montreal, and was a line-backer for Idaho State University. He returned to Canada to play for Montreal Allouettes as a line-backer and punter before retiring and beginning his coaching career
CHARLOTTE JONES ANDERSON
2012 Keynote Speaker | Executive Vice President & President of Charities for The Dallas Cowboys | The Salvation Army USA National Advisory Board Chair
As one of the National Footbal League's most innovative and versatile front office executives, Charlotte Jones Anderson's 23 years of NFL experience with the Dallas Cowboys have enabled her to assume a position of leadership among women in American professional sports. In her role as the organization's primary brand management executive, Anderson oversees all strategies and applications surrounding the Dallas Cowboys identity as it is presented to a world-wide fan base.
A signature element of Anderson's service to the Cowboys has been her forthright approach to making a difference in the lives of others - and no where is that commitment more evident than the Thanksgiving Day halftime celebration that annually kicks off The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
COMMISSIONER BRIAN PEDDLE
2011 Keynote Speaker | Territorial Leader, The Salvation Army Canada & Bermuda
Commissioner Brian Peddle began his appointment as the leader of The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda in July 2011. Commissioner Peddle and his wife, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle have been serving The Salvation Army for the majority of their lives, entering into officership with The Salvation Army in 1975. Immediately prior to their appointment to the Canada and Bermuda Territory, Brian and Rosalie served as Senior Executive Leaders in the United Kingdom.
In the spring of 2011, while serving in England, they chose to “live below the line,” not spending more than £1 a day – for five days – to raise awareness of the nearly 1.4 billion people around the world who are forced to survive everyday on less than £1 a day.