Dubbed the “voice of a generation,” Boonaa Mohammed is a critically acclaimed award winning writer and performer with accolades including a playwright residency at Theatre Passe Muraille, a short story published in a Penguin Canada anthology called “Piece by Piece” and various slam poetry titles including winner of the 2007 CBC Poetry Face-Off “Best New Artist” award. As an Artist he has toured and traveled across the world and frequently conducts writing workshops and seminars, sharing his experience and expertise in social justice based story telling with mainly youth from all walks of life.
In 1990, Bruce Poon Tip founded Gap Adventures in order to deliver an authentic travel experience to travellers, who, like himself, craved adventures that went beyond all-inclusive resorts. He started the company with 2 credit cards when no bank was willing to give him a loan. Since then, Gap Adventures has grown to become a world leader in adventure travel, offering more than 1,000 small group experiences on all seven continents to more than 100,000 travellers a year. Gap Adventures’ revenue now totals over $150 million and the company has offices around the world. Determined to lead his industry in sustainable tourism and community development initiatives, Bruce founded the non-profit Planeterra Foundation in 2003 to make a positive difference in the lives of people around the world. In recognition of this dedication to ethical business practices and sustainable tourism, Gap Adventures was awarded the 2009 World Savers Award by Condé Nast Traveler magazine, as well as the 2009 Travel + Leisure Global Vision Leadership Award for voluntourism. Bruce has been twice honoured as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and has been recognized twice as Travel Personality of the Year by the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies and by the Awards of Merit. He has also been presented with the Global Traders Leadership award for excellence in exporting and international business.
The former Coordinator of one of the largest university leadership development programs in the country, Drew Dudley nevertheless embraces the idea that “leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.” “I’ve never thought of what I do as ‘teaching’ leadership,” says Drew. “For me, it’s always been about trying to find a way to help others explore the concept – what it means to them, and to their communities.” Drew has helped raise over $3 million as the Founder or Chair of several organizations dedicated to supporting scholarship funds, social entrepreneurship, and charitable initiatives, including a record-breaking term as the National Chair of Canada’s largest fundraiser for post-secondary students, “Shinerama: Students Fighting Cystic Fibrosis”. Now the Founder and Chief Catalyst of Nuance Leadership Inc., Drew works with dozens of universities, colleges, high schools, charities and other organizations around the world to empower young people to increase their leadership capacity. He delivers hundreds of workshops and lectures each year, and has welcomed high-profile Canadian leaders like Peter Mansbridge, Dr. James Orbinski, and Michael “Pinball” Clemons as guest speakers and facilitators in his programs. Shamelessly addicted to “The West Wing”, Drew places only world peace above his desire for new episodes
Dr. Zahn joined the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as President and Chief Executive Officer in December, 2009. Prior to this appointment, she was Executive Vice President, Clinical Programs and Practice, at the University Health Network. An honours graduate of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto (U of T), she is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Neurology) and a Professor in the U of T Faculty of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and is internationally recognized for her contributions to neurologic education and to standards of practice in neurology. Dr. Zahn has contributed to health care in Ontario through leadership in technology assessment, chronic disease management and stroke care coordination. She continues to practice in her area of clinical and academic interest, epilepsy and women with epilepsy.
In September 2000, Neil Hetherington became the youngest CEO of a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the world. Since that time, Habitat for Humanity Toronto has accelerated its building program from an average of ½ a house per year to 84 under construction in 2009. The Habitat ReStore operations have also expanded with the addition of a third store in 2007. A graduate from the University of Western Ontario – Huron College (London) and Seneca College (Toronto), Neil has also volunteered Internationally with Habitat for Humanity building homes in Thailand, Hungary, Poland, Uganda, Ghana, Mexico, El Salvador, Louisiana, South Korea and most recently in India. Neil is the recipient of many awards and honours for his contribution to the community. He is the recipient of: - Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award (2006) - The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal - The Georgian Alumnus Award of Distinction from Royal Saint George’s College - The Distinguished Alumni Award from Seneca College - The 2007 Award of Merit from the University of Western Ontario - The 2009 Medal of Distinction from Huron University Neil currently is a Trustee of the Toronto Grace Hospital, a member of the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, and director of Camp Kwasind. He is also an active volunteer at Out of the Cold, the Ontario Prayer Breakfast, and a Deacon at Yorkminster Park.
A modern day renaissance man, Sol’s an Artist, Social Entrepreneur (ethical business), Artist Manager, Film and TV producer. Sol, a native of Canada, started his career as an MC and manager of the legendary Canadian hip hop group Rascalz. He then went on to work for Arista Records in New York City as director of International Artist Development. He began traveling the world, charting and propelling the development of Global Hip Hop gaining inspiration from the countries and cultures he visited. Over the years Sol worked closely with some of the highest profile artists of our time, such as Lauryn Hill, P Diddy, India Arie, k-os, Rascalz, The Roots, Outkast, Kardinal Offishall, Dead Prez, B.I.G. and The Wu-Tang Clan. In 2000, he travelled to Africa for the first time as part of the award-winning documentary “Musicians in the War Zone”. This trip would serve as a major turning point in his career. He returned and adopted a new focus, “Acknowledging my success and experience in the music industry I began to realize the power I possessed in creating media. I decided that I wanted to create a new hybrid that connects the worlds of entertainment and activism.” Developing new ideas, he concentrated on two projects, a TV property he was developing called 4REAL and a little- known Somali-born MC named K’NAAN. As host and co-creator of the groundbreaking series 4REAL and its partner website, 4REAL.com, his goal was to utilize the power of media to educate, inspire and empower youth around the globe to take charge, get involved and make change. Over the last eight years, his work with the Somali- born MC, singer/songwriter K’naan has become a global success story. Developing K’NAAN’s career over the last 10 years he has helped build him into a genre-bending Global Brand. Recently, Sol spearheaded a groundbreaking deal that paired K’NAAN and his parent company, Universal Music, with Coca Cola for the company’s massively successful $300 Million, 150 Country World Cup 2010 Campaign. This deal raised the bar and set a new standard by which to measure success as it relates to artist and entertainment branding. Sol believes the day of “bottom line” profit solely driving business are over; and a new triple bottom line that includes, profit, people and the planet is where it’s at. “We are all artists and we all have a responsibility to do our best to make the world a better place,” Sol says. In addition to producing and hosting 4REAL, Sol presents to youth at schools, universities and events as a motivational speaker, and still finds time to continue to manage and develop K’NAAN’s career. In 2009, Sol was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with 4REAL. He was also named by Playback Magazine as among “The Next 25: Canada’s Rising Stars and Dealmakers.”
Amanda Sussman provides training on political activism to strengthen the ability of citizen’s groups to participate in shaping government policy. She has extensive experience working with a wide range of organizations including Human Rights Watch, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, Amnesty International, the Food Security Policy Group, the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She was senior policy advisor on human rights and refugee issues to the former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Recently, Amanda was a member of the Steering Committee for the Canadian G8/G20 Civil Society Campaign, which led a successful effort to garner 7.3 billion dollars from G8 countries to save the lives of women and children in the developing world. She is also a [senior advisor] to Plan International, Canada, one of the world’s largest international child-centered development organizations, without political or religious affiliations. Amanda holds a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C., and is the author of The Art of the Possible: A Handbook for Political Activism.
Tonya Surman is the founding executive director of the Centre for Social Innovation – a dynamic convergence space whose mission is to catalyze, connect and support new ideas that are changing the world. CSI provides shared space to 180 social mission groups, acts as a community centre for social innovators and provides a home to several incubated projects. CSI was awarded the ‘City Innovation’ award from the Canadian Urban Institute in 2009 and Tonya was recognized as a ‘Leader in Social Change’ from the Canadian New Media Awards in 2009. In 2010, Tonya became a Global Ashoka Fellow for her work at CSI. WWW.SOCIALINNOVATION.CA Previous to CSI, Tonya was the founding Partnership Director for the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment WWW.HEALTHYENVIRONMENTFORKIDS.CA, whose work, in part, led to a new legislative framework to manage chemicals and the banning of Bisphenol A in baby bottles. Tonya has been creating and leading social ventures since 1987 and has built her body of knowledge around multi-sectoral collaboration and entrepreneurship for social change. She currently co-chairs the Ontario Nonprofit Network and the Social Enterprise Council of Canada.
Dave Meslin is a Toronto-based artist and organiser who has instigated a variety of urban projects including the TORONTO PUBLIC SPACE COMMITTEE, SPACING MAGAZINE, CITY IDOL, HUMAN RIVER, TORONTO CYCLISTS UNION, DANDYHORSE MAGAZINE and BETTER BALLOTS. Multi-partisan and fiercely optimistic, Dave embraces ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In his work, he attempts to weave elements of these communities together. Dave blogs at MEZ DISPENSER, and is currently co-editing a book with Coach House Press about civic engagement in Toronto.
trey anthony is the award winning playwright of ’da Kink in My Hair. Critics have referred to anthony as “The Oprah of the Canadian theatre scene!” trey is also the Executive Producer, Co-creator and Writer of the hit television show ‘da Kink in My Hair for Global Television. In the series she plays the outspoken, wise-cracking, Joy, who has become an audience favourite! ‘da Kink in My Hair, theatrical play, is Dora nominated and has received critical acclaim, and broken box office records wherever it has played. The play is also the recipient of four NAACP Theatre Awards and was the first Canadian play to be produced at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Canada’s largest commercial theatre. The play has debuted in London, England and California to rave reviews and packed houses. ‘da Kink will debut in New York in fall 2010. trey is a published writer and her work has been published in Testifyin edited by Djanet Sears, Beyond The Pale, edited by Yvette Nolan, She Speaks, edited by Judith Thompson and Outspoken, edited by Susan G.Cole. trey is also a professional speaker and is represented by Speakers Spotlight. She is an outspoken activist, speaking passionately about issues which are important to her such as access to the arts, women’s wellness, queer rights and diversity. anthony is also the co-writer of the recent hit play, I Am Not a Dinner Mint, The Crap Women Swallow To Stay An A Relationship, which debuted to packed houses in Toronto and received much critical acclaim. trey is currently working on a new stage play entitled Black Mothers Don’t Say I Love You and anthony has just completed a playwright in residency at the prestigious Canstage Theatre. anthony is busy writing her first fictional novel, Bastards And Mint Chocolate Chip Ice-cream. She is the president and founding member of the trey anthony @ one centre a creative wellness centre for women dedicated to nurturing “the whole woman”. Celebrating all women’s beauty, both inside and out. Although not only for women, the space is women centered, focusing on the five core principles – Mind, Body, Spirit, Creativity and Fun! trey is also a contributing writer and columinist for the Toronto Star newspaper and shares her honest and outspoken views on her blog, http://thetruthaccordingtotrey.blogspot.com.
George, a resident of Toronto, is a world renowned explorer, adventurer, and storm chaser best know for his television series “Angry Planet” which showcases his global adventures as he documents the most extreme and ferocious natural forces that Mother Nature can dish out. He is a specialist in capturing images of Earth at its extremes, while it is undergoing periods of violent transition. Whether he’s chasing tornadoes across the Great Plains, climbing into an erupting volcano, or flying into the eye of a hurricane, his purpose is to show the world the raw power of these phenomena in order to foster a better understanding of our place in the natural world. George’s explorations of our planet have included some truly unique experiences including becoming the first person to ever traverse above a boiling lake by rope, setting foot on a brand new volcanic island, exploring a blisteringly hot cave containing the world’s largest crystals and documenting the landfall of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast. By sharing these adventures with the world, George hopes that he can inspire people to break out of their routines and take on challenges that are outside of their comfort zone, while at the same time showcasing the majesty and beauty of nature. Angry Planet is seen in more than 100 countries worldwide and George is often called upon by news agencies and documentary programs to share his knowledge of natural disasters, weather phenomena and extreme locations. He’s shared his experiences with The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, The History Channel, OLN, CNN and The Travel Channel among many others. He is also a member of the prestigious Explorers Club and has received 2 Gemini Award nominations.
Neil Pasricha never imagined that writing about the smell of gasoline, thinking it’s Thursday when it’s really Friday, or wearing underwear just out of the dryer would amount to anything. A self-described “average guy” with a typical 9-to-5 job in the suburbs, Neil started his blog 1000 Awesome Things, as a small reminder — in a world of rising sea levels, global conflict, and a troubled economy — of the free, easy little joys that make life sweet. He certainly didn’t anticipate that his site would gain a readership of millions of people, win two Webby Awards (“the Internet’s highest honor” according to The New York Times), be named one of PC Magazine’s Top 100 Sites On the Internet, or become a place where people from around the world would come to celebrate the simple pleasures of daily life. His just released first book The Book of Awesome has become a #1 International Bestseller and The Book of Awesome 2 comes out in Spring, 2011.