Our Story






Since 2007, this event has welcomed presenters from across the globe who have a history of well-researched, credible content that is innovative, timely and accessible. Today, attendees continue to be uncompromising in their pursuit of quality presentations that cut through the crap, address real problems and stimulate useful conversation. Here is our 2019 line-up:

2019 Speakers

Featured Speaker

Gene Hammett

Serial Entrepreneur and Author

Gene is an experienced entrepreneur and the founder of several multi-million dollar businesses. Now a strategic business mentor, he works with other entrepreneurs to help them master themselves and their business so they can do work that matters. Gene’s podcast, Leaders in the Trenches, has been recognized by Inc. and Entrepreneur for its insight on marketing and sales leadership. He is also the author of The Trap of Success: A Brutally Candid Guide to Overcoming Your Fears, Finding Significance, and Achieving Profound Success.

Featured Speaker

Barry Wright

Associate Professor, Goodman School of Business, Brock University

Prior to being Interim Dean of the Goodman School of Business, Dr. Wright was Director of the Niagara Community Observatory where he worked in partnership with the Niagara community to foster, produce, and disseminate evidence-based research on current and emerging issues. His research centres primarily on leadership issues and change and its influence on organizational members. An award winning educator in the classroom, Barry is also effective in the boardroom. He has provided a variety of training and research consultations to Canadian businesses and not-for-profit organizations. He is an active volunteer serving on several community, provincial and national boards; most recently, as chair of the Niagara Health System.

Laura Appleton

Senior Manager, People & Culture, Arc'teryx Equipment

Laura is an investor; her currency is people. Believing that everyone should love their job, she looks for the amazing potential in those she meets and asks how she can support their growth and development. Laura began her craft with the award-winning recruitment agency, Propel, in London, England where she fell in love with talent acquisition. After immigrating to Vancouver, she joined Lululemon Athletica where she not only aced the downward dog yoga pose, but how to expediently grow through core values, purpose and vision, without sacrificing culture. When not talking talent, Laura is laughing, bike riding, snowboarding or planning the next nature adventure with her family.

Nicole Bendaly

President, K&Co.

For over 20 years Nicole Bendaly has been researching and training teams to weed out apathy and amplify the best in themselves. As a published author, dynamic speaker, creator of the Team Fitness Tool, she has established herself as a respected thought leader in team development and organizational behaviour.

Rich Berens

CEO and Chief Client Fanatic, Root Inc

CEO and Chief Client Fanatic, Root Inc For more than 10 years, Rich has had the opportunity to lead Root Inc. and its artists, designers, researchers, programmers, and MBAs in creating breakthrough approaches to organizational change that have reached millions of people around the world, including 900+ of the Global 2000. Additionally, Berens is a noted speaker on the issues of strategy and change. He has authored articles for numerous publications and blogs.

Nicole Cairns

Director of Health and Wellness, Thorpe Benefits

Nicole has designed and delivered presentations and a variety of wellness strategies to 1,000’s of employees across all types of industries. For over seven years she has used her background in curriculum development, holistic nutrition and applied positive psychology to develop strategies for companies, individuals and families to improve psychological, organizational and physical wellbeing. In 2015, her corporate wellness solutions gained national recognition winning the Goodlife Fitness Health and Wellness Leadership Award, and in 2018 she was recognized as a Leading Innovator in Mental Health and Safety by DiversityCan.

Rob Elkington


CEO and co-founder of Global Leadership Initiatives, Inc Global Leadership Initiatives is a fully Canadian owned company with international impact that exists to develop excellence in leadership globally. Rob is an Adjunct Professor at the Ontario Technical University where he works with the Faculty of Business and IT, the Faculty of Education, and the Faculty of Social Sciences. Rob’s leadership insights are informed by ongoing research into the many facets of leadership in the 21st century. He is also a Senior Lecturer with the Stellenbosch University School of Public Leadership.

Kristen Harcourt

Certified Professional Coach

For 10 years Kristen helped hundreds of organizations create more positive and productive workplaces. Now coaching one-on-one, her mission is to help leaders develop greater self-awareness and emotional intelligence, lead with courage, reach their full potential and bring out the best in their people. She’s dedicated to supporting individuals to become more aware of their strengths, blind spots, values and purpose. Kristen is a graduate of McMaster University and is a certified coach. She believes in kindness and intentional living, and is passionate about humanizing the workplace and creating empowering work environments where people thrive.

Dr. Amanda Matejicek

Regional Leader, Coach & Consultant, SPB Organizational Psychology

Amanda is creative and dynamic. Her passion is to create psychological healthy workplaces where people and businesses can thrive. She has worked as a management and organizational psychology consultant and coach in both external consulting, and internal leadership development roles. Amanda is passionate about helping individuals, teams, and organizations flourish by working with them to understand their strengths, remove barriers to performance, and create the conditions needed to excel. She has extensive experience in creating and sustaining transformational changes, through large-scale change initiatives, leadership and talent development programs, succession planning, as well as individual and leadership team coaching.

Amanda Ono

VP People & Culture, Resolver Inc.

Amanda has over 15 years of experience leveraging human capital to achieve organizational results. From talent acquisition, training, coaching, leadership and change management, she has implemented initiatives in seven countries. As a VP People & Culture, she oversees global human resources for scaling B2B SaaS company. Resolver has acquired three companies thus growing by over 150% since Amanda started, and has been recognized as a Great Place to Work three times. She has an honours degree in psychology and a masters certification in organizational development. She’s travelled to every continent but Antarctica, is an avid cook and spin-cyclist.

Moe Poirier

Founding Partner, Shift Facilitation

Moe is on a mission to have corporate trainers and facilitators reinvent themselves as change agents and value creators for the organizations they serve. For 15 years, he has honed his craft as a facilitator and a designer of training. Moe has a gift for bringing learning to life and motivating others to strive for more. He is an engineer, entrepreneur and educator. The engineer is purposeful. The entrepreneur is creative. The educator is open. Moe loves playing hockey, messing around with photography and spending time with his family.

Gordon Stein, P. Eng., MBA, CSC


Gordon Stein is a personal finance expert, who helps ordinary people ease their financial stress, so they can fully enjoy their professional and personal lives. He is the author of the best-selling book, Cashflow Cookbook: $2 Million of Financial Freedom in 60 Easy Recipes. Gordon is a Professional Engineer and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Western University and an MBA from the Rotman School of Business. He is currently a lecturer and advisor to the Smith School of Business Executive Education. In his free time, Gordon is a downhill ski racer, keen sailor, fitness enthusiast and not-yet-great, or even good, guitar player.

Caprice Stokes

Corporate Trainer, Legal Liaison, and Area Director, Parawest Management

Originally from California, Caprice works at Parawest Management, a property management firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a servant leader whose creed is “everyone has influence, and we are all made for more”. Caprice holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management and a Master of Business Administration from Concordia University, Irvine, California. Also an entrepreneur, Caprice coaches small business owners and recently started Createculum, a small business specializing in curriculum design and training for property management companies and faith-based start-up organizations.

Dr. Melissa Warner

Consultant, SPB Organizational Psychology

Melissa is passionate and impactful. She creates deep trusting relationships with her clients through her highly empathetic, supportive and no-nonsense approach to coaching and consulting. Through her transparency of goals and ongoing monitoring she helps clients realize the results their after. Melissa has served in internal management roles focused on leadership development, as well as external consultant and coach. She is also a professor in the School of Business Management at Seneca College where she teaches organizational behaviour, training and development, and human resources.

Lauren Welgush

People and Performance Manager, Bambora

Lauren Welgush is an HR strategist, business partner and relationship builder. As a culture champion she leans on her years of experience searching for “oddly human” individuals. Now her role is as People and Performance Manager at Bambora North America located in Victoria, B.C. Bambora helps businesses grow with products designed to simplify the payment experience.