Andy Nulman
Co-Founder

Play the Future – an online prediction game where you can have fun and win cool stuff 

Young in spirit, extreme in opinion and jewelry, Andy Nulman has been creating and leading major disruption forces for four decades.

Currently, he’s co-founder and CEO of Play The Future, Inc. a forward-thinking digital platform/brand marketing tool that converts the big data points and events of major brand into consumer engagement and entertainment; a natural progression for a tech entrepreneur who believes that “Life’s A Game!”

From July, 2010 until September, 2015, for the second time, Andy took on the position of President of Montreal’s renowned Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival, the world’s first and largest comedy event. This was Andy’s encore performance at JFL; from 1985 until 1999, he literally transformed the event from a two-day show to a month-long cultural happening, attracting over 2 million visitors per year to see talent the likes of Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, John Cleese, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ray Romano and Adam Sandler, and created/Executive Produced over 150 Festival TV shows, in a variety of languages, all over the world.

During the decade in between Just For Laughs stints, Andy was President and CMO of Airborne Technology Ventures, a company celebrated as a pioneer in the industry of mobile media and marketing. In 1999, Andy co-founded Airborne (then Airborne Entertainment) with Garner Bornstein, and provided the company with the insight and creativity necessary to successfully strengthen brands like Family Guy, Disney, Maxim, the NHL and the NFL through the creation of innovative mobile content and applications. Airborne was sold for over $100 million to Cybird of Japan in 2005 and was honoured the following year as North America’s 4th-Fastest Growing Tech Company in Deloitte’s Fast 500 ranking.

There was a life before comedy though, starting as a journalist out of high school at the age of 16, becoming Entertainment Editor of the Sunday Express newspaper at 17 and writing for entertainment publications the likes of Variety, Us and Circus. This was followed by a three-year stint as a marketing consultant which led to co-promoting the first-ever North American concert tour of comedian Howie Mandel.

Andy is an acclaimed, thought-provoking and risk-taking public speaker, who has motivated and entertained Fortune 500 companies the likes of GM, Eveready/Energizer, 3M and Wal-Mart. In 2013, Andy broke new ground as his “Grow Wings” speech was the most popular presentation at Montreal’s annual C2-MTL commerce and creativity event, where this year, his role as “Troublemaker” allowed him to replicate classic “Wisdom of Crowds” experiments and slaughter sacred cows in the business and tech spheres. He has also been a frequent speaker at McGill University, including being honored to speak at the prestigious McGill Alumni Leacock Luncheon and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. For three years, he also taught the revolutionary “Marketing and Society” class in McGill’s BCom program, where his students learned how to build YouTube channels and use them as a powerful corporate tool.

Over and above his speaking, Andy has written three books: “How To Do The Impossible,” “I Almost Killed George Burns” and his most recent “Pow! Right between The Eyes! Profiting From The Element of Surprise.” Other accomplishments include being named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” business leaders by the Financial Post in 1997, being voted one of the Top 100 Montrealers of the 20th Century by the Montreal Gazette in 2000, and being honored as a distinguished recipient of the McGill Management Achievement Award in 2004. He is a board member of Montreal’s powerful StartupFest, and won Startup Canada’s 2016’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Quebec.

In his spare time, Andy is also an inventive stage director, half-decent snowboarder, obsessive gym rat, hardworking hockey player and gutsy rock singer. Married with two grown children and two rambunctious dogs, his major disappointment is that he has only one life to live…but he’s working on a solution.

Sébastien Gelus
Consultant

Deloitte The largest professional services network in the world providing industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands

Sébastien, who is sometimes referred to as Mr. Digital in Deloitte’s Montreal office, is a consultant in the Human Capital practice, focusing his energy on helping organizations adopt a more digital way of working. He’s fascinated with the future of work and, as such, has played a pivotal role in Deloitte’s journey from its very traditional space in Place Ville Marie to one of Canada’s most innovative and agile spaces at La Tour Deloitte, where nobody, including the most senior partners, has an assigned office. Sébastien has also worked with clients across the country in different areas such as user design, employee digital experiences and how to run a more digitalized organization.

Cédric Orvoine
Vice-President, Human Resources and Communications

Ubisoft Montréal one of the world’s most successful game development studios and developers of the Prince of Persia, Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed series

Cédric Orvoine is Vice-President, Human Resources and Communications at Ubisoft Montréal. He has been working at Ubisoft for 13 years and has been involved in the video game industry since 2001.

Cédric’s 20-year career has allowed him to develop an expertise in various fields, including communications, public relations, team management and human resources. Along with his team members, he has won several awards of excellence (e.g. SQPRP, Mercuriades, Boomerang) for projects carried out over the years. Today, he works to make a positive difference in the lives of the 3,000 or so employees at Ubisoft’s Montreal studio.

Cedric is particularly interested in the impact that HR and communications activities and efforts have on the employee experience.

A member on various boards and committees, Cédric is sensitive to the part that culture plays in our society. He is also an avid sportsman and insists that his teenage son and daughter eat fruits and veggies every day.

Sunil Johal
Policy Director

Mowat Centre an independent public policy think tank located at the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto and Ontario’s non-partisan, evidence-based voice on public policy

Sunil Johal is Policy Director at the Mowat Centre, School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. He leads the Centre’s research activities, manages the research team and teaches a variety of executive education courses. He has a broad range of public policy expertise across economic, social, intergovernmental and regulatory fields.

Previously, he was a Director with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation where he led the government’s efforts to modernize its regulatory environment and forge a more productive relationship with the business community. He has also held senior management and policy roles with the Cabinet Office, Ministries of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs and federal Treasury Board Secretariat. He joined the federal civil service through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders initiative in 2003.

Sunil has been a lecturer with Ryerson University’s Department of Politics and Public Administration since 2009 and holds degrees from the London School of Economics, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Western Ontario. He is frequently invited to speak about technology and policy issues at conferences and in a variety of media outlets, including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC Radio and Television, CTV News, the Guardian, Maclean’s and the Ottawa Citizen.

Steve Rio
Founder

Briteweb – a digital and branding agency for the social sector that works with non-profits, foundations and social ventures making positive impact

Steve Rio is Founder and CEO of Briteweb, an agency and innovation lab transforming the role of brand in the social sector, with offices in Vancouver and New York. Steve is a 15 year veteran in design, brand strategy and technology with a specific focus on social impact organizations. He has presented or lectured at NYU, SFU and UBC as well as dozens of private engagements. Steve works with leaders to reimagine their organizational strategies, systems and company cultures in order to effectively scale at the rate of technology and compete in today’s information economy. He’s a futurist and digital visionary who splits his time between his small hobby farm on Bowen Island, British Columbia and high-rise in downtown Brooklyn.

Marika Shaw
Founder

Plus 1 building a movement for good by connecting performing artists, causes, and audiences

Artists have always been at the forefront of social change, and for violinist and violist Marika Anthony-Shaw, the opportunity to drive engagement has always remained at the core of her musical endeavour. While initially gaining recognition in the acclaimed Grammy-winning Montreal-based band Arcade Fire, Marika also saw an opportunity to harness and direct the energy of a passionate fan base and founded Plus 1 – a platform that empowers artists to partner with their fans to drive awareness, advocacy, and resources for organizations doing proven, measureable work for the world’s most marginalized populations. Through this initiative, upwards of $4M million has been raised for leading social justice organizations by more than 40 artists including Arcade Fire, The National, St. Vincent, CHVRCHES, Flume, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Marika was raised in B.C. by her mother – a linguist and academic who works with First Nation communities in language revitalization – who taught Marika the value of identity and the power of language. Marika has two degrees from McGill University, She sits on the Board of Directors of Partners in Health Canada, and on the PIH Board of Trustees in Boston. She frequently speaks about the power of collective impact and philanthropy in the arts, including appearances at C2 Montreal, the Forbes Under 30 Summit, and universities and engagements around the world. She lives in Montreal with her husband, record producer Marcus Paquin, and their young daughter.

François Haguel
Agency Lead

Google – the number one search engine and most visited website in the world 

François Haguel leads corporate relationships for Canada’s largest advertising agencies at Google.

François started selling classified ads at Voir to pay for rent during his studies which led him to the launch of Voir.ca, then Cyberpresse (now LaPresse.ca), Olive Media and Googler since 2013.

François offers strategies to build measurable, profitable and sustainable marketing programs.

Sari Deckelbaum
Director of e-Commerce

Dormez-Vous the #1 Mattress Retailer in Quebec and also carries a wide selection of pillows, linens, headboards and other sleep accessories\

As Director of E-Commerce Sari is responsible for launching and directing the e-commerce and digital marketing efforts for Sleep Country Canada/Dormez-Vous, the leading mattress retailer in Canada, working to replicate Sleep Country Canada/Dormez Vous’ brick & mortar success in the digital retailing sphere.  In this role Sari is responsible for driving an omni-channel focus across the store and digital spaces, and successfully driving the online business.

Prior to joining Sleep Country Canada/Dormez-Vous, Sari led and launched the e-commerce and digital marketing for RW&CO., a banner of Reitman’s Canada. Previously, Sari spent a decade as the Director of Marketing for Ice.com and Diamond.com, where she later became General Manager. Sari has extensive experience launching and scaling e-commerce businesses while delivering differentiated, innovative consumer experiences.

Simon Baene
Founder

GSoft – a developer of high quality software focused on having a positive impact on the lives of people at work

At just 31 years of age, Simon De Baene is the dreamer and visionary at the helm of GSOFT, one of Quebec’s largest SMBs. Home to over 200 employees, and with $45M in revenues, GSOFT has built software used by more than 15,000 organizations in 110 countries. His entrepreneurial journey quickly made him realize that happiness at work was the key to success, which has led to the creation of one of the most inspirational business cultures on the planet. Bold and with a penchant for all things “against-the-grain,” Simon’s goal is to revolutionize work life as we know it, and one thing’s for sure: the revolution has only just begun.

Elana Gorbatyuk
Partner

Sid Lee – a creative services agency that has earned a global reputation for its progressive work and the solid results it achieved for top-tier clients

David Jones
Chief Product Officer

LANDR Audio – an award winning online, cloud-based, automated mastering service revolutionizing the mastering process with drag-and-drop simplicity, achieving results that rival professional studio work in minutes

David has been a product leader for over 30 years, many of it for entertainment companies such as discreet logic (Autodesk), Miranda Technologies and LVL Studio.

Throughout his career he has focused on building and nurturing teams to deliver engaging products. During his career he has hired & mentored hundreds of developers, product managers, designers and other professionals.

David also led teams at Nakisa, Averna, and Symbility Solutions.  He started his career at CAE Electronics leading the visual database team collocated on 3 continents. Prior to this he used to build professional recording studios such as Le Mobile, Studio Morin Heights, Studio Tempo.

He is a graduate of Concordia University with BEng and is on the Industrial Advisory Board of Concordia University. During his free time, David enjoys playing tennis, windsurfing, reading & photography.

Julian Giacomelli
President

RISE Kombucha – creators of locally produced, organic, fair-trade and vegan kombucha

Since 2000, Julian has been supporting organizations to learn, grow and thrive – working as a consultant, entrepreneur and investor for startups and SMEs predominantly in the private sector. His approach is to unite the best of legacy business approaches with a multiple bottom-line mindset.

In 2009, he co-founded RISE Kombucha and Crudessence, and was CEO at Crudessence from 2010-2013. In 2015-16, he helped found edo capital, a startup sustainable food and agriculture investment fund.

Over the past 20 years, Julian has mentored entrepreneurs, lectured at HEC Montréal and given talks across a variety of academic and professional settings.

Julian studied civil Engineering at McGill and has an MBA from INSEAD in France.

Cerys Cook
Director of People and Culture

PUR Company Inc. – the leader in aspartame free gum and mints

Cerys Cook joined the PUR Company in January 2016 with the objective to help the PUR team grow, drive high level performance, and establish a PUR-ly amazing culture. As a very non-traditional HR professional with a seat at the senior management table, Cerys owns culture, adamantly believes in the power of people and tirelessly and strategically works alongside PUR’s Founder and CEO, Jay Klein, to shape the PUR team.

Cerys has been an HR leader for the past 17 years and has built her career on partnering with CEO’s and Entrepreneurs at a time in their businesses where growth is starting to take a toll on both the business and their teams. She has successfully helped these leaders take their businesses to the next level leaving a lasting impact on these organizations, building best in class teams and strong cultures. While this has been her career to date, The PUR Company is hopefully her final stop and forever home, where she will to continue to lead People and Culture and help PUR grow into a multinational organization.

Richard Betanzos
Director, eCommerce & Omnichannel

Bentley Leathers – Canada’s largest retailer for Luggage, Handbags, Backpacks, Business Cases, Travel Accessories and More

Richard Betanzos joined Bentley Leathers in January 2016 as Director of eCommerce and Omnichannel, responsible for all aspects of Bentley’s online business along with the architecture and oversight of Bentley’s omnichannel roadmap. With over thirteen years experience in SEO, SEM, UA, UX, performance marketing and analytics, Richard maintains a passion for creating stellar online shopping experiences borne out of future-forward e-commerce strategies that bridge the gap between e-tail and retail.

Prior to joining Bentley he served as an eCommerce consultant at Groupe Dynamite, where his mandates included Oracle ATG platform migration, new technology integration, UX optimization and analytics platforms alignment and analysis for both Garageclothing.com and Dynamiteclothing.com.

Past positions include Sr. Director, Acquisition Marketing at Woozworld.com, SEM & Comparison Shopping Manager at Ice.com & Diamond.com and six years with Klicksmart Marketing as an online performance marketer specializing in direct response and user acquisition. Prior to 2004, Richard enjoyed a successful career in the Canadian film & television industry as a sound designer and re-recording mixer, earning numerous Gemini and Genie nominations along with a Gemini award for best sound.

Augusto Sotelo
Founder

Goowi – empowers businesses to become socially responsible by seamlessly integrating philanthropy into their marketing strategy

Goowi is a philanthropy technology company that provides marketing, sales, fundraising & networking solutions to businesses, causes & their supporters. Augusto has extensive experience in business development, cofounded & managed multiple companies.  He is a creative & analytical thinker, engaging communicator, innovative marketer and avid advocate of social entrepreneurship. Augusto is currently involved in a number of non-profit organizations, in advisory, consulting & coaching roles.

Marie-Eve Mainville
Vice-President HR

Gurus Solutions – Cloud consulting pioneers that scale up business with implementation, integration and optimization of top cloud-based software products

As an executive in HR at Gurus Solutions Inc. for the last 5 years, Marie-Eve has over 14 years of experience in a diverse array of industries and leadership roles. Her key strengths are in: organization design, organizational effectiveness and talent management for the development of strong corporate cultures. She started her career in a completely different industry at Just for Laughs where she built the HR department. Throughout her career, she has worked towards the same goal: to make the HR function a top priority for executives. In the last few years, her core objective has become learning and development.

Philippe Beaudoin
Vice-President & Co-Founder

ElementAI – launches and incubates advanced AI-First solutions in partnership with large corporations

Philippe co-founded Element AI and occupies the role of Vice-President of Research & Development. This Montreal-based applied research lab helps companies go AI-First by tackling big Artificial Intelligence challenges. Previously, Philippe held the position of Senior Developer at Google and was Co-Founder of ArcBees, a company recognized for the quality of its web-based solutions.

Philippe holds a PhD from the University of Montreal and a Postdoc from UBC where he taught virtual robots how to walk. Today he builds on his passion for AI with the ambitious goal of tackling hard and fundamental problems in order to create a better world for us all.

In his spare time, Philippe loves inventing new board games – the kind of game where we can still beat the robots!

Ludovic Begue
Director of Customer Experience

Groupe Dynamite

After completing his Masters in statistics in France, Ludovic started his career at Yves Rocher setting new standards in terms of customer analytics / BI and relationship marketing. He then joined Etablissement Français du Sang as head of marketing and development where he rolled out a complete CRM approach to encourage blood donation and improve donors’ loyalty.

He moved to Canada in 2011, successfully launching consumer approach strategies for leaders in their industry; Reitmans Canada, Cirque du Soleil and Nestlé Nespresso.

Since 2015, at Groupe Dynamite, a Canada-based clothing company that operates Garage and Dynamite, Ludovic is working on implementing their first loyalty program supported by a mobile application, advanced analytics.

Tanya Biemers
Chief Financial Officer

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. – a brewery that takes pride in creating unique, wonderful and certified organic craft beer, conceived with honest consideration for the environment and local communities

Tanya Beimers is the current Chief Financial Officer at Beau’s All Natural, an Ontario craft brewery that has grown from a seven-person start-up in 2006 to a 150-person organization with annual sales growth of over 35% in the last 5 years. Tanya is responsible for and involved in various aspects of the business, including financial operations and controls, budgeting, forecasting, process improvement and strategic planning and execution. Prior to joining Beau’s, Tanya worked as a Senior Manager at both Deloitte LLP (Canada’s largest professional services firm), as well as Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (a national public accounting firm), where she specialized in providing accounting and advisory services to both public and private companies. Tanya is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CA designation) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the Western University. She has 3 boys who now think she is somewhat cool since she works at a brewery.