Professional Human Beatboxer
Whether Andre “The Beatbox Scientist” Gibson is competing onstage in an international battle, performing a local festival or charity event, or offering beatboxing workshops to under-resourced youth in homeless shelters and public schools, he is breaking new ground. Andre’s beatboxing performances stretch the boundaries of his audience's imagination about human vocal potential. He has pioneered popular techniques such as the Laser Lip Roll and has earned prestigious titles such as Montreal Beatbox Champion (1st place) and Vice Canadian National Champion (2nd place).
CEO, Gonez Media and Host, The Brandon Gonez Show
From hosting CTV’s YOUR MORNING to anchoring CP24, Brandon Gonez has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and news. Recently topping The Peak’s 2022 Emerging Leaders list in Media, Entertainment & Sports, he’s on a mission to break barriers within the industry. Gonez has launched his own media company, The Brandon Gonez Show, where he covers everything from the week’s top news stories, entertainment highlights, and local business coverage – all with his characteristic light-hearted energy.
Founder, Kakhwa’on:we / Real People Eat Real Food
For Chandra Maracle, food is more than what’s on the plate; it’s the intersection of all the things that make us human. She is the founder of Kakhwa’on:we/Real People Eat Real Food, an organization dedicated to exploring the intersection of food, art, people, language and land from an Indigenous perspective. She is also the co-founder and Nutrition Coordinator of the Everlasting Tree School, a holistic school grounded in Kanyen’keha (Mohawk Language).
Professor of Innovation Policy, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
From being CEO of a small software company to teaching at the University of Toronto, Professor Dan Breznitz is constantly asking us to rethink how we see innovation. His expertise in innovation-based industries and their globalization, as well as his pioneering research on the community impact of innovation policies, has gained him a worldwide reputation as an expert in his field. He currently serves as the Munk Chair of Innovation Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Professor Breznitz is also the Co-Director of the Innovation Policy Lab and a Senior Fellow of Messi College. He is the author of two award winning books and recently published his third, Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World, in which he offers pragmatic advice while debunking dangerous myths on innovation, growth and prosperity.
Refugee Activist and Author
Jaivet Ealom is a refugee activist and author born in Myanmar who now resides in Canada, where he has become a prominent spokesman for the Rohingya community. His memoir, Escape from Manus Prison (August 2022), tells his awe-inspiring story of being the only person to successfully escape from Australia’s notorious offshore detention center on Manus Island, where he was being held for years after fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
Associate Professor, Director of Continuum Robotics Laboratory at University of Toronto
Jessica Burgner-Kahrs is inventing the future of robotics by altering their mechanical structure, fundamentally changing how robots are built and used. Jessica’s robots move like an elephant’s trunk and are small enough to thread into your nose and operate on your brain. She is the founding Director of Continuum Robotics Lab and an Associate Professor with the Departments of Mathematical & Computational Sciences, Computer Science, and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UofT.
As a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River community, Kelly Boutsalis got her start in journalism writing for her community newspaper. As an award-winning freelance journalist, she has since written for The New York Times, Toronto Star, The Walrus, Chatelaine, New York Times, Refinery29, Elle Canada, and more, with the bulk of her work spotlighting Indigenous people and stories. In late 2021, Kelly was named the lead producer for CBC’s Six Nations Bureau. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.
Executive VP, Research & Development, Mediphage Bioceuticals
Dr. Nafiseh Nafissi is the Executive VP of R&D at Mediphage Bioceuticals and the co-inventor of Mediphage’s ministring DNA platform technology, which has been designed to overcome critical challenges facing viral gene therapies and leverage advancements of non-viral gene therapy technologies. Her research focuses on developing innovative solutions for genetic and infectious diseases that have limited, or no treatment options. With 15 years of both academic and industrial experience working on various preclinical projects, she is a highly driven Molecular biologist and Microbiologist with a strong passion for biotechnology asset commercialization.
Entrepreneur and Creative Storyteller
Tanya Hayles is the founder of Black Moms Connection, an online global village of 20,000 and non-profit providing culturally relevant programs and resources to educate and empower Black mothers and their families. An award-winning creative storyteller, Tanya is a community builder, writer and speaker, as well as the 2019 BMO for Women award recipient for Community & Charitable Giving, 2020 L’Oreal Woman of Worth honoree, and one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence in 2021.
Tariq Fancy is a Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Rumie, a non-profit organization that aims to educate children in underserved communities using affordable technology. Previously, Tariq led a successful career in finance, becoming BlackRock's first global Chief Investment Officer for Sustainable Investing in 2018.