Mark Brand’s life as an entrepreneur began in the summer of 2007 with the opening of his first venture, Boneta Restaurant, at 1 West Cordova. Over the course of the next 3 years, the inaugural Vancouver ‘Bartender of the Year’ would establish several other popular local businesses, including Sharks + Hammers, The Diamond, and Seamonstr Sushi. But all of these projects proved mere training grounds, when in July 2010 Mark signed his life away and assumed control of the historic Save On Meats Butcher Shop / Grocery & Seafood.
Working in close collaboration with various community programs and initiatives, Mark and his team are harnessing compassion in their pursuit of new approaches to tackle important societal issues like barriers to employment and food security, straight from the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
A provocative and passionate public speaker and thought leader, Dr. John Izzo consults and advises some of the most admired companies in the world. With a Masters degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in organizational communication, he has devoted his life and career to showing leaders how to create workplaces that bring out the best in people, and people who create the best workplaces. A best-selling author, he has taught at numerous prominent North American universities, and continues to conduct leading edge research on workplace values. Dr. Izzo believes our society is at a pivotal moment in history where a surprising group of people might be poised to lead us towards meaningful change…if they answer the call.
Lainey isn’t looking to impress anyone, especially celebrities. The ETALK Reporter and scribe of the immensely popular celebrity gossip blog, LaineyGossip.com, does what she does for one reason — to provide a gossip education to the Canadian public. The Toronto-born, self-proclaimed gossip maven got into the gossip game in a very roundabout way. What started as an email to two friends grew to a website with active followers from around the world. More than one million people now read LaineyGossip.com every month, making it a leading international celebrity news source. Elaine’s years of experience in the media, celebrity entertainment and blogging space have helped her shape a fascinating TED talk about gossip and its critical place within modern pop culture.
Joel Solomon is President of Renewal Partners, and Chairman for Renewal2 Investment Fund. A passionate thought leader within the sustainable-investment movement, Joel was instrumental in the development of Renewal Partners and the Endswell Foundation in 1993. Renewal has since invested in over seventy-five companies that share its commitment to socially responsible growth, including some of the best-known social purpose companies in Canada: Happy Planet Foods, Small Potatoes Urban Delivery (SPUD), Communicopia, and Michael Jantzi Research Associates. Through its long-term commitment to capacity building, strategic alliances, and institutional development, the Endswell Foundation, now in its long-planned spend down, helped sustain many charitable organizations who worked for a conservation economy.
Joel is a founding member of Social Venture Network (SVN), Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), Renewal Land Company, Tides Canada Foundation and the Sage Centre. He also sits on numerous other boards throughout North America.
Charity isn’t a new interest for John. He’s been immersed in it in one way or another all of his life. His dad, Blake Bromley, is one of the world’s leading charity lawyers. Together, they started Benefic Group to fill the void in specialized expertise in charity law, strategy, and policy in Canada. Benefic has worked with hundreds of local and international donors, charities, foundations, governments, non-profits and for-profits to provide strategic and legal advice, and arrange several billion dollars in giving. In recent years, John has shifted his focus towards the intersection of technology and charitable culture.
The internet is starting to change the way people interact with, transact with and learn about charity, and John is developing two web-based software platforms that encourage mass awareness and participation in the benevolent sector, promoting accessibility and reducing costs: Chimp is a kind of “charitable bank” where anyone can create an account to better manage their giving; Peer Giving Solutions helps charities raise awareness, supporters and money through the power of online community and storytelling.
Robin Esrock’s success as a global adventurer, travel writer, TV producer and international TV personality was no accident, although it did start with one. Struck down on his bike at a Vancouver intersection, Robin hobbled away with a broken kneecap, and one year later, a modest $20,000 insurance settlement. It was just enough for him pack up his things, quit his job, and set off on a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. He named his journey Modern Gonzo, and committed to record his year of living dangerously, with online weekly reports, photography, videos, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he pioneered a new era of multi-platform, switched-on and wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams.
With over 20 years of experience leading high technology companies out of Silicon Valley, Eric has played a part in shaping the industry as an executive at heavyweights like McAfee, Symantec, and Cisco. Today, he is the CEO of ZanttZ, a company that is developing stealth cyber security technology solutions. Eric and his company are at the forefront of the latest developments in the world of global espionage, and the merging of man and machine.
He attests that the Hollywood-created image of the daring secret agent sneaking into a foreign government’s laser protected server room to steal top secret information couldn’t be further from modern reality. In fact, the “James Bond” of the 21st century doesn’t just use a computer, he is the computer.
With nearly a decade of experience in the animation industry, working on projects for MTV, TVA, Alliance Atlantis, Mainframe Entertainment and Radical Entertainment, Chen Lizra’s intellect, imagination and creative thinking evolved her into a branding expert.
In 2009 & 2012 Chen was nominated as one of the “YWCA Women of Distinction in Vancouver,” and was recently honored by the Australian government with a Distinguished Talent Permanent Visa for her international achievements in the arts. As the international author of “My Seductive Cuba, a unique travel guide”, Chen has won two awards in the US, including the prestigious IPPY Book Award. With a passion for dance and creative movement, Lizra offers students seduction workshops and focused lectures and seminars about the art of seduction in our everyday lives.
Natalie believes there is a better way to “do” justice. At the age of 18, she volunteered with a literacy organization in Canadian federal prisons, and quickly became convinced of the merits of an emerging trend toward restorative justice practices. Today, she is a consultant and psychological counsellor who works closely with incarcerated populations, schools, governments, non-profit organizations and communities to take a stand against the greatest influencers on crime: poverty, racism, illiteracy, inadequate mental health and social services and lack of community collaboration.
Natalie encourages others to think dynamically about social accountability and believes justice is more than an institutionalized response; it is something we build collaboratively.
Doug Schmitt is a Partner with Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, who has been practicing maritime law for over 32 years. Drawing on similarities to the law of the seas, Doug has become one of the world’s few published authors on meteorite law. A member of the Meteoritical Society, a non-profit scholarly organization founded in 1933 to promote the study of extraterrestrial materials, he sits on that organization’s Working Group drafting the code of ethics for collecting and distributing meteorites. Doug’s scientific and legal backgrounds position him ideally to offer insight from two distinct disciplines into a fascinating topic: the possible consequences for humankind of a failure to properly study meteorites.
Dr. Jean Carruthers
Jean D. Carruthers, M.D., is Clinical Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where she specializes in facial cosmetic surgery. In 1987 with her husband, Dr. Alastair Carruthers, pioneered the cosmetic use of botulinum A exotoxin (“Botox”) that has since grown to become the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the world. She has been invited to give more than 200 presentations worldwide on topics in cosmetic surgery and has authored more than 250 scientific articles and book chapters.
This spring, she and her husband Alastair were awarded the highest honour given by the American Academy of Dermatology — The Eugene Van Scott Award for Innovation and Philip Frost Leadership Award. Despite these accolades, the cosmetic use of Botox remains a contentious subject for many, and Dr. Carruthers has spent the better part of her professional career balancing the frank disbelief of her colleagues with the smiling faces of her loyal patients.
Mark Betteridge is interested in leadership. He is a Director of the British Columbia Technology Industry Association, and a founding Director and Board Chair for Covenant House Vancouver. He was also the first President of the UBC Real Estate Corporation, and a former Director of the Vancouver Aquarium. Most recently, as the CEO of Discovery Parks, he directs the construction of research facilities that are designed to meet the specific needs of the technology industry, catering to small start-up and post-secondary spin-off companies that are in the business of improving the world we live in. Mark is witnessing first-hand how competition in the global market place is escalating the need for a new era of innovative and forward-thinking leaders who will make better decisions about our future.
Kristin Westdal has been passionate about animals and the natural environment almost her entire life. As a marine biologist specializing in Arctic marine mammals, she currently works for the PEW Environment Groups Oceans North Canada. She has worked extensively in Canada’s eastern Arctic with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association researching narwhal, beluga and killer whales. She also ran a kayaking operation in Hudson Bay from 2001 to 2005 that offered unique and close encounters with beluga whales.
Kristin has a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Manitoba where her thesis examined movement and diving of narwhal in northern Hudson Bay. Last year she was the research expedition leader on Oceans North Canada’s Lancaster Sound Arctic Whale Survey. Currently conducting research on critical habitat, distribution and population size of the western Hudson Bay beluga population, she lives in Winnipeg when not studying in the arctic.