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  Mitchell Beer M Beer  

As President of Smarter Shift, Mitchell Beer is Chief company strategist, audience development and conference content specialist, and rumoured to be a frighteningly fast writer. His career includes seven years as a journalist, 25-plus as a conference publisher, and 30-plus as a sustainable energy specialist.

Mitchell's passions include sustainable energy technologies; online content strategies as if audiences mattered; a properly funded public education system; smart research solutions that enable organizations and communities to do well by doing good.

  Ellen Boddington, BA, CMP, CMM Ellen Boddington  

Ellen Boddington, CMP, CMM, has been in the meetings industry for 20 years.  Ellen’s passion for strategic planning and entrepreneurship led her to found Stellar Conference & Event Management Inc. in 1999.   Stellar’s focus is on collaborating with clients to identify their business objectives and deliver event communication strategies to achieve them. Ellen has been an active member of CanSPEP since 2000.  Ellen is a past recipient of the coveted MPI Toronto Chapter Planner of the Year Award.  Ellen is also an active volunteer with MPI.  The love of cookies is one of the many good reasons Ellen serves as Girl Guide Leader in her spare time.


  JJ Brun JJ Brun  

JJ Brun, better known as “The Retired Spy”, is a Human Behaviour and Communications Specialist. Trained by the military to operate in hostile environments and get buy-in from even the most reluctant person, JJ is truly someone who has walked the walk.

As a member of the Canadian Forces, working oversees where, amid the chaos of blurred front lines and unstable loyalties, JJ established one of the largest networks of local contacts pulling in critical and timely information that saved many lives. JJ’s expertise and highly developed skills within the field of Human Behaviour is recognized internationally in utilizing Decoding Human Capital as a business strategy in order to provide communication solutions that drive business results.

JJ is a best-selling Author, Senior Master Trainer and a Professional Speaker dedicated to positively impacting on how people relate and communicate.  JJ now works with business leaders who want to learn how Decoding Human Capital and Thinking Like a Spy can give them a competitive edge…in business and in their personal lives.

  Daniel Coates    

Daniel Coates is a proud father and happy husband who is passionate about marketing and the integration of social technologies into the way we communicate today.  It is also rumored he is pretty good at it!

His goal is to drive marketing that creates enthusiastic gossip. He loves using modern technology to get you to talk about the products and services that he knows can provide solutions to your needs.

With over 12 years of marketing experience, Daniel holds a diversified portfolio, having worked in the post-secondary school, construction and hospitality sectors.  As an early adopter to mobile technologies and social media, Daniel has worked with colleges, local politicians and as a consultant for private organizations looking to enhance their marketing and social media engagement. Daniel has been with the Ottawa Convention Centre for over five years working to promote not only the OCC but the destination of Ottawa as Canada’s Meeting Place.

Daniel believes the community you live in is only as good as what you put into it, and brings this value to his work outside the office.  Daniel organizes a recreational soccer league for kids in the local community, is Director of Marketing and Communications for the West Barrhaven Community Association, a member of the Living Green Expo organizing committee and is actively involved in promoting the nation’s capital as an amazing place to live, work , play and visit.

Daniel Coates  
  Phil Ecclestone, CMP Phil  

Phil Ecclestone, CMP is a seasoned event management professional with over 25 years of experience helping clients achieve their communications and business objectives through events. A Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Phil has helped create events from multi-day nationally televised conventions with thousands of participants to small consultations with a few dozen people. At the beginning of his career, mentors advised him to always think about "what the front page of the Globe and Mail would look like the day following an event", advice he has taken to heart and permeates his project management approach. This attention to outcomes has been a hallmark of his work with Golden Planners Inc. and is reflected in the firms' reputation for excellence in event production.

Following a career in the public service, including a stint as the Director of Tour for the Minister of Constitutional Affairs during the Charlottetown Round and subsequent national Referendum, Phil began working with GPI in 1993. In 1999 he was appointed the firm's first Vice-President. In 2013 he succeeded Hélène Lamadeleine as the President of GPI and now leads the GPI team in the planning and execution of events for clients across Canada.

  Tim Fleming Tim Fleming  

Tim Fleming is a professional facilitator with a strong interest in helping people and groups to work together to achieve their collective goals, improve their practices, and overcome their challenges. Tim is motivated by the belief that positive, meaningful engagement and well-designed facilitated processes can lead to better, sustainable decisions, greater productivity and transformed relationships.

Since the beginning of his career, Tim has worked in the engagement field as a facilitator, public and stakeholder involvement practitioner, conflict management practitioner, project manager and trainer. He excels at process planning and design, facilitating groups, conducting interviews, synthesizing participant knowledge and building client relationships. His experience includes managing positive interactions around challenging issues such as school closure, waste management and criminal justice, as well as in the delivery of various strategic planning and advisory processes. For such challenges, he intentionally draws out the wisdom, leadership and desire for excellence that exists within groups.

Tim has an undergraduate degree in Conflict Resolution and International Development, a certificate in Public Participation from the International Association for Public Participation, and a Professional Certificate in Conflict Management from the Sprott School of Business. In 2010, he was awarded the designation of IAF Certified Professional Facilitator from the International Association of Facilitators.

  Innovation Works  
  Gale Gingrich, CAAP, CMP gale  

Gale Gingrich has owned and operated The Gingrich Group Inc. for 25+ years.    Having spent the previous 20 years in the advertising business, she brings a strong marketing component to her business.  Gale provides senior client liaison, full account and cost management and production of creative, media, promotional and all logistical requirements. Her portfolio includes a range of programs from planning and execution of international conferences, annual meetings, incentive groups and festivals to special events.  In addition, Gale regularly speaks to student groups and mentors young planners

Gale has been an active member of CanSPEP (Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners) for 15 years, serving as VP Education, President, Past-President and co-chair of three annual CanSPEP conferences  In 2005, she and a senior producer were awarded the CEIA award for Outstanding Logistical Achievement for Toronto Fashion Week. In October 2009 Gale was awarded the CanSPEP inaugural Award for Leadership.    

Gale has just retired, continuing an on-going presence in the industry, particularly in CanSPEP’s Past President’s Council.

  Cher Jones Cher Jones  

Through her company Socially Active, Cher Jones provides social media training and consulting to non-profits, entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises in a wide range of industries.

Convinced that the love of technology is hard wired into her personality, Cher is always connecting on Twitter, Facebook and Linked In, testing new mobile apps, or reading the latest tech news sites and blogs. As an accomplished communications professional with 15 years of experience, she has worked in both the private and public sectors with several leading Canadian companies and with one of the largest municipal governments in Canada managing the communications portfolio for their social development division.

  Denis Levesque Levesque  

Denis Lévesque is owner of Big Dashan, a high-performance executive and entrepreneurial coaching, training and speaking firm. He helps those who want to go from good to great, build the clarity, confidence and passion needed to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Known for his highly energetic and engaging style, Mr. Lévesque brings over 20 years of progressive experience across small and large companies, government, entrepreneurial, public and private organizations, from around the globe. After spending years rising through the ranks of the high-tech and IT industries, Mr. Lévesque realized his talent for helping teams and individuals perform at a high level.  In 2008, he started Big Dashan, focusing on executives, entrepreneurs and rising talent who wanted to improve their performance and their organizations' effectiveness and profitability.

  Steve Lowell lowell  

Steve Lowell has been speaking, entertaining and performing on the live stage since the age of 6. He has delivered thousands of paid speaking engagements presentations and performances across North America to audiences of all sizes and in 45 years of stage experience he has learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't work on the live stage or when networking and speaking about your business.

For the past 20 years Steve has been training leaders, coaches and professional speakers to speak with influence and power on and off the stage.

Part of what makes Steve different as a speaker is that his keynotes are highly interactive. He will teach specific skills for speaking and networking effectively and then invite volunteers to the stage and coach them in real time right there on the stage.  The volunteers and the audience see instant transformation right then and there.

In addition to speaking about speaking and networking, Steve also helps people understand the science of self-image and outstanding performance, a topic he has studied intensely as he and his wife, Sharon have struggled with Sharon's mental and emotional illnesses.

Steve is the author of "From Stage Fright to Spotlight".  He is the founder and president of "Your Stage", a prestigious business education and networking event in Ottawa, Canada and the 2013 - 2014 president of CAPS Ottawa. 

  Anthony Masys A Masys  

Anthony Masys is a Defence Scientist for the Department of National Defence, Defence Research and Development Canada, Centre for Security Science. Assigned as Scientific Advisor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Major Events and Protective Policing Division, Dr Masys supported the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, G8/G20 Summits and 2011 Vancouver Grey Cup. Through this he has influenced the development of the ‘whole of government’ Major Events Security Framework (MESF).

In addition to his duties as a defence scientist supporting the safety and security domains, Dr Masys is also an associate tutor for the Distance MSc Program on Risk Crisis and Disaster Management at the University of Leicester (UK) and has also been appointed as Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa and York University (Toronto). 

A former senior Air Force Officer, Dr Masys has a BSc in Physics and MSc in Underwater Acoustics and Oceanography from the Royal Military College of Canada and a PhD from University of Leicester (UK).

He has published extensively in the domains of physics and the social sciences. His research interests focus on human security, complex socio-technical systems, human error, systems thinking, risk, crisis and disaster management, knowledge management and organizational learning.

  David MacDonald D MacDonald  

David MacDonald is the president of CanAdapt Solutions Inc. (www.can-adapt.com). He has been in the disability accommodation field for over 15 years and provides direct accommodations of employees with disabilities for TD Bank, ScotiaBank, RBC, the Government of Canada and numerous other large and small organizations. He has provided accessibility training through the University of Ottawa in English and French.

David is the only Canadian on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (WCAG) which is the web standard used in the AODA. David was a member of the advisory board to the Ontarian with Disabilities Support Program and was the director of the United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons at the Ottawa Congress Centre. He was hired by the Ontario Office for Disability issues during their creation of the AODA.

David's training is entertaining and engaging. His previous career included performing on Broadway, and in the US National Tour of "Cats". David wrote the WCAG theme song and produced the video which has received over 38,000 combined views on YouTube.

David will be joined by Kim Kilpatrick and her guide dog, Tulia. Kim will discuss her experience as a blind person attending numerous events and also hosting events. As a host for a radio show on CKCU which covers disability issues, Kim’s talks are fun and informative.

  Ann Miller CMA Ann Miller  

Possessing a unique combination of both event planning and association management experience, Ann brings a different approach to each convention she is responsible for. Acutely aware of what the success or failure of an event can mean to an organization, Ann has learned to plan for any contingency and to expect the unexpected.  From SARS, to hurricanes, to major flooding, Ann has managed conventions and organizations through the always challenging path of near and full cancellations.  

Currently the Director of Corporate and Convention Services for an academic focused association Ann has also worked with legal and political associations.

  Sandra Moniz S Moniz  

Sandra Moniz currently works with Meetings + Conventions Calgary as Business Development Manager, Eastern Canada.  Her role supports Calgary’s mandate to assist meeting planners, association executives and corporate clients interested in the city as a prime destination for meetings and conventions. 

She has worked in this industry for almost 20 years and proudly volunteers with MPI, CSAE and CANSPEP. She is currently on the MPI Toronto Chapter’s Board of Directors and the Chair for the CSAE Trillium Chapter 2014 Summer Summit. In her spare time, Sandra volunteers at her children’s daycare and is the Founder & Organizer of the Woodbridge Mom 2 Mom Sale. 

  Rick O'Connor O'Connor  

Rick has over 30 years of fundraising sales and marketing experience working with schools, community sports associations and non-profits. SMSnet.ca, SportsSMS.ca and TourneySMS.com were started to provide a better communications platform for sports organizations and their Events.

  Victor Paan    

Victor began his career at AVW-TELAV in 2002 as a Technician. By late 2004, he moved into a client-focused sales position and maintained a broad client base as an Account Executive.

In 2008, Victor was promoted to his current position, National Product Manager - Digital Services, in which he draws from his technical and sales experience to support Freeman’s teams and customers in integrating state-of-the-art event solutions that will transform, grow and extend the world of live engagements. He drives and manages Freeman AV Canada’s new, innovative products and services nationally, working with both operations and account management teams to ensure that client expectations are being exceeded.

Within Freeman’s Digital Services group of offerings, webcasting, videoconferencing, social media and audience response systems are Victor’s highlighted areas of expertise. Working alongside the best technology vendors in the game, Victor continues to deliver technology based services that drive the hybrid event market.

Victor Paan  
  Rita Plaskett Rita Plaskett  

Rita Plaskett, CMP, CMM, has been in the meeting industry for over 20 years. Rita is one of few Canadians to hold both the CMP and CMM designations. Rita is the principle in her own meeting management firm called “AGENDUM.” AGENDUM’s focus is on partnering with clients to identify goals, while delivering the most strategic approach to the client’s objectives. Prior to opening her own firm, Rita was Senior Consultant Meetings Consolidation as well as Manager of Operations for the Automotive Group for Maritz Canada. Prior to Maritz, Rita was Director of Conferences for The Pinnacle Group and Director of Conference, Education and Public Relations for The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

  Cynthia Richards Cynthia Richards  

Cynthia Richards' visionary approach and over 22 years in the event management industry combine to make Cynthia a highly sought after leader in the event management industry. Prior to founding ESI in 1997, Cynthia held several senior management positions in the Canadian automotive industry. Her ‘edge’ is reflected in asking the ‘deep dive’ questions of clients to ensure highly successful incentive programs that are long on reward and recognition. Acknowledged as one of ‘Toronto’s Best Bosses,’ Cynthia's leadership abilities have led her to be on the Top 100 Canadian Women Entrepreneur list over seven years in a row. Add to that her passion for meaningful events and marketing savvy and you have an outstanding asset when it comes to a program that maximizes results by bringing a sense of joy to every attendee.


  Les Selby Les Selby  

Les Selby is an icon in the industry. Les is a recent addition to the ESI team and provides award-winning client experience and ground-breaking insights into the event industry. Les has earned both his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and his Global Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) designations. He was inducted into the M+IT (Meeting + Incentive Travel) Magazine's Industry Hall of Fame in 2009. An active member of MPI (Meeting Professionals International), Les served on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Chapter for seven years, and was Chapter President from 2000-2001.



Jennifer Shepherd, MA CPF


Jennifer organizes and synthesizes complex ideas into a tapestry of words and images, weaving patterns of meaning into stunning graphics. She enables meeting planners and their clients to multiply their return on investment by boosting participants’ capacity: to focus their attention and awareness on ideas that matter, to express their views coherently, to remain engaged, think together, and learn, and to remember and act on their ideas and decisions long after their meetings are over. Clients around the world use her visual works to help people see what they mean and move from ideas to action.

As an experienced IAF Certified Professional Facilitator, organization development consultant, and graphic facilitator, Jennifer nourishes more engaged, collaborative, and healthy workplace communities by nurturing the conditions for meaningful conversations, discovery, and learning to thrive.  She enables everyday leaders to improve the quality of relationships, focus intentions and actions on what matters, and make meaningful connections that foster learning and change.

Jennifer will be sharing 6 original visual thinking tools and methods at C2O. Visit www.livingtapestries.ca and join Jennifer for Concurrent Roundtable session “the value of visual thinking methods at your event”.

Jennifer Shepherd  
  Barbara Stegemann    

Barbara Stegemann’s entrepreneurial vision was formed after her best friend—a soldier—was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Understanding that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was a key to building stability for its people, Stegemann created The 7 Virtues Beauty—a company that sources organic oils from countries experiencing turmoil (such as Afghanistan, Haiti and the Middle East) to encourage change and to reverse the effects of war and poverty. Despite addressing complex global matters in her talks, she uses humour to explain how individuals can effect change both at home and worlds away.

 Stegemann became known to millions when she landed a venture-capital deal on the CBC TV show Dragons’ Den for The 7 Virtues Beauty. She went on to become the “Top Game Changer” in the history of the show.

 Since then, Stegemann was named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada; won the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the emerging Entrepreneur category for Atlantic Canada” (2012); was ranked as one of Profit Guide magazine’s “Top 30 Cool and Fabulous Canadian Entrepreneurs” (2012); her fragrance collection won Chatelaine’s “Beauty 100 Award” (2012); received the “Women Innovators Award” from the US State Department at the APEC Women and the Economy Summit; and she was also made the first female Honorary Colonel for 14 Wing Greenwood base, Royal Canadian Air Force.

 Stegemann is the author of the bestselling book, The 7 Virtues of a Philosophy Queen.

  Robert Thompson Thompson  

Robert Thompson has been the Director of Sales at AV-CANADA Inc. a part of the STRONCO GROUP OF COMPANIES for over eighteen years. His mission is to educate and deliver quality audiovisual technologies and related services to Meeting Planners, Corporations and Association’s across Canada. 

Robert has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Guelph and several Sales and Marketing accreditations. Robert has worked in Client Services and Sales for the last 25 years and has won the highest honor of the Presidents Award and countless other recommendations for “outstanding service” and “over achievement”.  

Robert prides himself in giving back to the community and has been a partner with CanSPEP since its conception many years ago. Robert has spoken at MPI, SITE Canada, CSAE, CanSPEP and is asked to speak regularly to George Brown and Centennial College students who are studying Events Services and related studies.

  Doreen Ashton Wagner www.greenfield-services.ca  

Fluent in English and French, Doreen graduated from the University of Ottawa with a BBA in Marketing. Before founding Greenfield in 1998, Doreen was Vice-President, Marketing for The Sutton Place Grande Hotels Group from 1993-98. She also held various sales and marketing positions with Inter-Continental Hotels, Mariposa Cruise Line, Four Seasons Inn on the Park, Park Plaza Hotel Toronto, and Ottawa's Château Laurier.

Doreen is a very active association member in the meetings industry. She has been a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) since 1989 and was President of two chapters (MPI Toronto in 1992-93, and MPI Ottawa in 2006-07). She regularly speaks at meetings industry events, such as National Meetings Industry Day, and writes for a variety of publications including The Meeting & Event Lead Blog.

She is also a member of the Ottawa-Gatineau Chapter of the Canadian Society of Association Executives, the Women’s Executive Network and on the Community Advisory Committee for the Glengarry Memorial Hospital.

Greg Weatherdon

Retired at 50, Greg Weatherdon is the former President of The Marketing Resource Group, which he sold after 17 years. During those years, Greg designed the company to be a lifestyle company … his lifestyle! Combining his passion for small business and his 25 years of self-employment experience, Greg provides his audiences with a unique insight into what entrepreneurs must do not only to survive, but to thrive and enjoy the experience of running their own businesses. Greg’s expertise and insights have been published in major industry trade magazines, and association newsletters. Of the many successes Greg has enjoyed, one of the highlights was being nominated for the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

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