Speakers

Keynote

Diana Goodwin, BCom, MBA

Founder and CEO of AquaMobile Swim School

Diana Goodwin is Founder and CEO of Toronto-based AquaMobile, an on-demand at-home swim school which is now the largest of its kind in North America. AquaMobile uses cutting edge technology that allows customers to go online, key in their pool address and be matched with a certified instructor who will travel to their home.

Diana was just 19 years old when she started her swim school business, which she grew with a single $3000 investment that she received from a government grant.

AquaMobile has now grown to 800 instructors operating across Canada and in 25 states in the U.S, and has been profiled in Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post and Techvibes to name just a few, and had also pitched on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. Diana has won a number of business awards including Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, and the $100,000 Small Business Challenge. Diana is considered an innovator and thought-leader in “Bootstrapping” finding the most cost-effective ways to market and scale her business model to over seven figures.

Co-Host Speaker

Lewis Greenspon

Manager - Sales, TELUS Small Business Solutions

As an entrepreneur and TELUS leader, Lewis Greenspon advocates for small businesses. He is a sales manager for TELUS Small Business Solutions (SBS), and leads the field sales team and special projects.

Lewis played a vital role in evolving TELUS SBS from just a mobility provider into a fully-integrated business solution team. Only after four years with TELUS, his success awarded him the TELUS Courage to Innovate award, and for two consecutive years, TELUS recognized him as a TELUS Peak Performer. TELUS Peak Performer awards exceptional contributions and leadership, and he exemplified the ability to lead underperforming teams and turned them into high-octane sales drivers. Recently, TELUS appointed Lewis with the big task of strengthening their presence in Ontario’s small business market by increasing awareness, support, and sales.

Lewis also invests in his community. He is a board member and major contributor of TELUS Spectrum, a group supporting gender diversity at TELUS. He is also one of the top fundraisers and organizers of Nova Vita, a non-for-profit supporting abused women and children; and ever since the birth of his one year-old son, Moses, his commitment grew even stronger.

Moses also inspired Lewis and his wife to launch their own clothing line and they named it after him, Mo Green (Moses Greenspoon). They turned the line into a popular product, and with Lewis’s experience as an entrepreneur, he truly understood the hurdles of a small business.

Lewis actively looks for opportunities to support small businesses, and understands it’s more than just offering solutions. In turn, he helps with organizing the TELUS $100,000 Small Business Challenge –a contest where small business owners can win funds to overcome their biggest business challenge. Lewis knows that these contests are great opportunities for entrepreneurs and TELUS.

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Session Speakers

Steve Bentley, BA CFP

Steve is a Certified Financial Planner and Principal of Northern River Financial, a quickly growing integrated financial life planning firm with offices in Waterloo, Cambridge and Huntsville.

He graduated in 1986 as a Naval Officer from the Royal Military College of Canada. After leaving the Canadian Forces in 1991, he joined the Canada Revenue Agency as an Auditor. In 1995, Steve became a Tax Manager with Ernst and Young and Director of Tax for a Deloitte consulting firm in 1997. As an established entrepreneur with his family business, Steve left the corporate world in 2003 to start Bentley Financial which was rebranded as Northern River Financial, an independent financial brokerage, in 2015.

Steve is a member of several charitable boards including Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, Epilepsy Waterloo Wellington, and Friends of Algonquin Park. He is a mentor for the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre and Community Mentor for the Small Business Community Network. Steve has been interviewed by CBC, CTV, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and is a regular guest on Rogers TV Daytime. He is a social media advocate, networker, and a recognized speaker on financial life and business planning, branding and content marketing.

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Gayle O'Brien

Gayle O'Brien is a graduate of the Broadcasting - Radio and Television Arts Program at Conestoga College. Her career in television started with CTV’s Canada AM and CBC's In House Production/ Variety Department.

For close to a decade with BreakfastTelevision at CityTV, she performed as segment producer and associate director. Her on air experience includes LiveEye host and traffic duties with BT. In 2005, Gayle returned to Waterloo Region for a morning show position with Corus Entertainment's radio division. Gayle currently hosts the Morning Buzz with Gayle, Darryl and Brad on 107.5 Daverocks.

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Ian Pilon

Ian Pilon is an Interaction Designer from Kitchener Waterloo Ontario. He studies the relationships between humans and computers and how to interact with physical objects that are evolving into the digital domain.

He is the founder of IoT Waterloo Region, a community group of over 1,300+ members who meet-up quarterly for professional networking and learning from industry speakers who talk about ubiquitous computing.

Ian is the founder of the "Ambient Intelligence Conference" Waterloo Regions annual internet of things conference.

He is the founder of DroneSpotter, a capstone project currently in development with Conestoga College students in the embedded engineering program, they're building an acoustic pattern recognition software that detects the presence of drones in restricted airspace.

Ian's talked about designing for the internet of things at:

  • Toronto's IoT conference SMARTWEEK 2014
  • Conestoga College's 2nd Innovation and Design Conference 2015

Ian's been featured in Communitech's news by Anthony Reinhart

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Panel

Janet Benedict

My passion to help others in business came from spending 22 years working for corporate Canada training and motivating thousands of direct sellers. Seeing the struggles many were having promoting their respective businesses, it became obvious there was a need to connect entrepreneurs and mentor them to be the best they can be.

The Canadian Networker started with a few keen people getting together to network, and in 4 years has grown into a business that has hosted major networking events and “Success Is An Inside Job” speaker series. Currently offered are meetings held the 2nd Tuesday of each month, newsletters, blog posts, as well as mentoring and/or coaching for small business and direct sales entrepreneurs.

Everyone has the power to succeed, you have to want it, feel it, live it and never give up on your dream. Success is indeed an inside job! There is a stigma attached to being in direct sales, and people are slowly changing their views on who is this entrepreneur. How can you stand out and be the voice of this often neglected career choice? I will share a few of my success secrets to help you be the best YOU in this exciting and ever-changing world of direct sales.

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Anne Day

Throughout my career my focus has been on women and children, from my leadership roles in the non-profit sector, to working in government on women’s issues, to being the editor of a national parenting magazine and then to having my own consulting practice.

But I found working at home isolating and I sensed that other women likely felt the same way too. So in 2003 I started Company of Women as a way to meet up and connect with other women entrepreneurs. Who knew it would take off to become an award-winning organization, and in 2005 I decided to close down my consulting business so I could focus all my energies on building and growing Company of Women.

Today we have six chapters across the GTA and beyond, over 300 members and we host over 80 events a year. I feel so lucky as I love what I do and get to meet some amazing women who inspire me with their courage and determination to succeed.

Giving back is important to me and over the years I have been an active volunteer, serving on boards, both nationally and internationally. Through Company of Women we have supported several charities that improve the lives of girls and women.

When I am not planning programs for Company of Women, I am writing. I am a regular business columnist for Huffington Post, and blog for several other online publications. I’ve written three books that focus on women and entrepreneurship, and am currently working on a fourth one, with Amy Hunter that looks at why women don’t feel good enough.

On the home front, I am married, have two daughters and a dog, Brodie and live on a farm near Guelph.

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Linda Ockwell-Jenner

Linda Ockwell-Jenner is truly one of a kind! As a survivor of cancer not just once, but three times, he determination to overcome all kinds of challenges defines her. Linda has put this energy to launching and managing two highly successful businesses.

As a Professional Speaker with Motivational Steps—the company she founded—Linda shares her passion for life and success with international audiences. Linda has published three books: the deeply personal ‘A Life Like Mine’ focused on overcoming challenges, ‘The APE Philosophy’ takes this further with a practical methodology, and the latest book ‘Business Networking in a Nutshell’ distils the essence of Linda’s networking success into a no-nonsense guide.

Together with her husband Dave, Linda also Co-Founded The Small Business Community Network (SBCN), recognized as one of Canada’s top business networking organizations.

With her passion and talent for networking and mentoring in the business community, it’s no wonder that Linda’s been dubbed ‘The Social Sweetheart’. As a result, she’s been nominated by her peers as one of the leading Women Entrepreneurs in Canada in the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, as well as for the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year Award.

Born in the UK, Linda brings English charm to the Canadian business world, inspiring and encouraging others to find their success.

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