2019 Speakers

Frank O’Dea

Co-founder, Second Cup
Officer of the Order of Canada, Humanitarian

Frank O’Dea is a celebrated businessman who has launched and led a number of successful not-for-profits and businesses, including the Second Cup and Street Kids International. He is an inspiring speaker who shares his lessons-learned from his days of living on the streets to his receiving the Order of Canada. It is a wonderful, educational and moving story.

In his early teens, Frank O’Dea’s life went off the rails into a downward spiral. By the time he was 21, he was living in 50-cent-a-night flop houses in Toronto’s bowery district. At 23 years of age, with the courage to hope for a better life, and the spirit to forge ahead, Frank began the long road back. Fighting all of those obstacles that hold back the homeless, the impoverished and the destitute, he overcame and rejoined society.

Within a few short years, he co-founded Second Cup, which soon became the largest chain of gourmet coffees and teas in the country. Building on that success, he co-found Proshred Security (now Iron Mountain Canada), a company that pioneered the entire industry of on-site document destruction. He grew that company into an international organization with operations in Canada, Europe and the United States.

Even as a struggling entrepreneur, Frank took steps to give back to the community. He began serving on the boards of charities and not-for-profit organizations. He co-found Street Kids International, an organization developed to help homeless children in third world countries, through education and self-reliance programs. He became the founding Chair of War Child (Canada), an organization that provides assistance against suffering and abuse for children in war affected countries. Frank went on to launch the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds and awareness for the dismantling of minefields around the world. With support from the United Nations, the US State Department, External Affairs Canada, he went on to initiate that organization’s most successful, worldwide annual fund-raising program, “Night of a Thousand Dinners”, with participation of thousands of donors from some 29 countries.

Frank’s achievements are, of course, a work in progress for which he has received much public recognition. He has received two honorary university degrees and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is currently a member of the Advisory Committee of World Financial Group and is the Chair of Cuso International, a development agency operating in 22 countries. This incredibly inspiring story of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity is retold in his captivating autobiography, “When All You Have Is Hope”.

Want to learn more? www.frankodea.com 

Facebook: Frank O’Dea

Linkedin: Frank O’Dea

Amira Elghawaby

Journalist and Human Rights Advocate

Amira Elghawaby is an award-winning journalist and human rights advocate. Along with frequent appearances on Canadian and international news networks, Amira has written and produced stories and commentary for CBC Radio, the Ottawa Citizen, the Toronto Star, the Literary Review of Canada, and the Globe and Mail. Amira spent five years promoting the civil liberties of Canadian Muslims as human rights officer and later, as director of communications, at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) between 2012 to the fall of 2017. She is currently involved with several initiatives to promote civic engagement in diverse communities, including as a founding board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, the Silk Road Institute and as an advisor to the Muslim Fellowship in Toronto. Amira obtained an honours degree in Journalism and Law from Carleton University in 2001.

Follow Amira on Twitter @AmiraElghawaby

Steve Day

Founder Canadian National Counter-Terrorist Task Force Commander

Steve is the founder and president of Reticle Ventures Canada Incorporated (Reticle), a premium security services consultancy, training provider and prime contractor. He is passionate about National Security and Public Safety issues and remains committed to supporting the men and women who protect our way of life.

As a Special Operations Assaulter Officer and Army Military Engineer Steve was fortunate to have had a diversified career with a variety of operational deployments adding significant depth to the breadth of his experience. He is one of a select group of combat leaders that have multiple deployments conducting global operations that span the entire spectrum of conflict.

He has extensive tactical experience having conducted multiple operations within the following mission sets: Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Recovery, UN Chapter 7, Non-Combatant Evacuation, Counter-Insurgency, as well as domestic and international Counter-Terrorism (CT) operations. His experience as a commander and senior staff officer in both national and international headquarters has provided him with unique insights into the interagency domain.

Steve completed selection and training for Canada’s national counter-terrorism unit – Joint Task Force Two (JTF2). He was an Assault and Specialist Squadron Commander for 5 years, a senior special operations & CT staff officer for 3 years and was the unit Commanding Officer and Base Commander from 2009-2011. He was the National CT Task Force Commander for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, the 2010 G8/G20 Summits, as well as other National Security operational deployments.

He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree, a Master of Defence Studies and a Master of Strategic Studies. He lives with his wife and daughter in Kingston, Ontario.

Mitchell Beer

Publisher, The Energy Mix and President, Smarter Shift

Mitchell Beer is Publisher of The Energy Mix, a thrice-weekly e-digest on climate change, energy, and carbon-free futures, and President of Smarter Shift Inc., an Ottawa-based content and communications firm. He’s been involved with renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1977, with climate change since 1997. He’s currently interested in ways of building wider, louder public demand for fast action on climate solutions, starting from the interests and priorities people already woke up with this morning. One of his proudest moments was building a model wind turbine out of wooden stir sticks with his then-11-year-old daughter, and improv theatre practices are often the best part of his week.

Follow Robin on Twitter @mitchellbeer and @theenergymix 

Facebook: Mitchell Beer

Guy Laflamme

Director and Producer of Ottawa 2017

Guy Laflamme has been producing major events and commemorations for over 30 years. Guy is now invited as guest speaker in Asia, Europe and across North America including presentations as part of the TEDx conference series. From 2014 to 2018 he was the Executive Director and Producer of Ottawa 2017, leading the production of 12 full months and over 200 events and experiences to celebrate Canada 150th Anniversary. Ottawa 2017 was the biggest celebration in Ottawa’s history, with an economic impact of over 250 million dollars and 11 million participants.

Mr. Laflamme has produced some of the most impressive large-scale events that Ottawa has ever seen, including the Red Bull Crashed Ice, La Machine- a monumental ambulatory theater production attended by close to one million people, Ottawa Welcomes the World, Mìwàte a sound and light show to pay tribute to Indigenous people, Kontinuum the world first underground multimedia production, the Red Bull Global Rallycross, Stanley cup 125th celebration, Ignite 150 a series of artistic stunts, Canada’s Table, Agri 150 and Sky Lounge. Those events have animated the city of Ottawa with a new energy and changed the way people perceive Ottawa, both throughout the country, and around the world.

In addition to his role of head of celebrations for Ottawa 2017, he was also the Chair of the International Festival and Events Association in 2016, and served as Chair of the 2017, 2012 and 2002 JUNO Awards Host Committee for Canada’s music industry celebration. As Senior Vice-President of the National Capital Commission he was head of major commemorations and monuments, was responsible for official residences (residences of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Governor General), while managing communications and visitor services for Canada’s Capital. Mr. Laflamme has been guest speaker in South Korea, Dubai, Romania, Brazil and in the United-States, he experienced and assessed major events in over 25 countries.

His previous successes have included Canada Day Celebrations, Winterlude, Mosaika (a spectacular Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill) as the Senior Vice President of Capital Experience with the National Capital Commission. He conceived and produced the spectacular H2K millennium show for Casino Lac Leamy, and seen by over one billion people on the international TV broadcast Today 2000. He also acted as Chair of the Genie Awards Host Committee in 2009, Canada’s film industry annual gala.

He has been a professor with the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management and with the Executive MBA program for 25 years and has also been teaching for over eight years with the University of Bucharest Business School. With his university students, Mr. Laflamme lead a humanitarian project “Making Niger Our Business” to deliver half a million dollars in humanitarian benefits to Niger. Over 75 local charity groups were also provided with business plans created with his EMBA students. Guy Laflamme was Chair of the United Way campaign for the Outaouais in 2011.

Guy Laflamme was named Tourism person of the year by Tourism Ottawa and Tourism Outaouais, was recognized as the marketing person of the year by the Montreal Marketing Association. In 2017, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Travel Industry Association of Ontario, was named by Radio-Canada- Le Droit as the 2017 Ottawa person of the year. The University of Ottawa recognized him as the 2017 Alumni of the year and was awarded the Order of Ottawa. Guy Laflamme and Ottawa 2017 received 15 awards from the International Festivals and Events Associations in 2016-2017.

Dan Hendry

Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator

Dan strives toward promoting sustainable initiatives for the Limestone District School Board, and is the manager of community based learning & innovation at St. Lawrence College. His concern for the environment is what drives him to take initiative in promoting sustainable solutions within the Kingston community. He continues to engage in initiatives that promote positive sustainable change throughout the Kingston community. His combined interest in sustainability, innovation, entrepreneurship, student mentorship, and community have been well integrated into his personal, academic, and professional experiences. Dan is continuously seeking new opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals who engage in sustainable & innovative initiatives within the community.

Want to learn more?  www.dhendry.com

Twitter:  @SustainableDan

LinkedIn: Daniel Hendry

Keisha & Teagan Simpson

Live Life Unfiltered Movement

22-year-old twin sisters Keisha and Teagan Simpson grew up struggling with body image, living up to society’s unrealistic beauty expectations, and constant comparison. After they realized that the majority of young women shared the same struggles, the sisters co-founded Live Life Unfiltered (LLU); a social media movement where brave and honest young women share how social media often makes them feel insecure about their own bodies, relationships and lives. @LiveLife_Unfiltered and its hashtag, #AsSheIs, are to remind us that behind each ‘perfect’ photo is a young woman who shares common struggles and insecurities. LLU’s #AsSheIs photo challenge has had over 1000+ participants in 14+ countries, demonstrating how willing young women are to changing how we interact with social media.

Instagram: @livelife_unfiltered

Facebook: @LLUnfiltered

Mathieu Fleury

Ottawa City Councillor

Mathieu was born and raised in Ottawa. In University he studied Human Kinetics, getting a Masters from the University of Ottawa with a diverse background in sports policy, project management, and health promotion. He was recently elected to his my third term as City Councillor for the best community in our City – Rideau-Vanier. In his role, he actively represents three distinct communities: Lowertown, Sandy Hill, and Vanier. In his 9th year on City Council, each year, Mathieu has sat on Community and Protective Services Committee which deals with the City’s housing and homelessness issues. As Chair of the Board for Ottawa Community Housing and Councillor for a Ward affected by homelessness, housing is top of mind for Mathieu. OCH is the City’s largest landlord with more than 15 000 units which have become a true mix of the diversity that we find in Ottawa today.

Twitter: @MathieuFleury

Instagram: @matfleury

Facebook: Mathieu Fleury

Marcus Miller

Marcus The Artyst and Co-Founder of Math+Music

Marcus Miller began his studies in saxophone at age nine and, with the help of World Renown Saxophonist Bruce Williams (Roy Hargrove, World Saxophone Quartet), he developed a passion that put him on stage professionally at 13. With gifts extending beyond the music, he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Mathematics. After a short stint at a multibillion dollar hedge fund he moved to New York City to pursue music. He soon developed a reputation as a versatile and virtuosic player, while studying music production and engineering under Grammy-Winning Engineer “Bassy” Bob Brockman (Notorious B.I.G, Herbie Hancock, D’Angelo).

Marcus has performed at the Obama White House, Madison Square Garden, The World Economic Forum at Davos, The Montreux Jazz Festival, and TEDSummit 2019 in Edinburgh, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert alongside Jon Batiste, Carnegie Hall, as well as recorded with Benny Blanco and Ryan Tedder. In addition, he is a speaker at the New Jersey Association of Music Educators, discussing music production and education, and was noted as an Artist of Distinction by the state of New Jersey.

Marcus maintains his interest in mathematics and physics through his project, Math + Music, an international public arts series which aims to use music as a way to explore technical and creative ideas. Since its inception he has spoken at the University of Michigan, Hong Kong, and secured a residency at the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City. His goal is to inspire the world to think outside of the box.

Want to learn more? www.marcustheartyst.com

Stefan Keyes – MC

CTV Weekend News Anchor

Stefan Keyes anchor CTV News on weekends with Katie Griffin. He isn’t just your average journalist who sits behind a news desk and reports the daily news. No, no. Aside from stellar reporting with a stylish flair, Keyes works diligently to give back to the community volunteering for several not-for-profit groups with a focus on minority issues, youth, and the arts.

His talents also led him to become a vocalist and actor, who has performed for diverse crowds in Canada, the United States and Jamaica. Keyes has also been a back-up singer for Grammy award-winning gospel artist, Tramaine Hawkins. And sometimes you can still spot him in a movie-of-the-week or a Canadian-produced TV series.

The CTV News anchor is a proud Ottawa native and completed his post-secondary studies at Carleton University’s prestigious School of Journalism.

He launched his career with CTV Ottawa in 2008 before moving to Alberta for a news anchoring position in Calgary.

Naturally, he is overjoyed to have returned to his Ottawa roots.

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