Ontario 2017 Speakers

Keynote: Michele Romanow, Dragon, CBC Dragons’ Den | Co-Founder, Snap By Groupon

Michele RomanowTech titan Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started three companies before her 28th birthday. The newest (and youngest ever) entrepreneur to join CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Michele is the co-founder of e-commerce platforms Buytopia.ca and Snap By Groupon, which have saved millions of users hundreds of millions of dollars. She is also the co-founder of clearbanc.com, an online financial service for freelancers, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs. Ranked in WXN’s “100 Most Powerful in Canada” and listed as the only Canadian on Forbes’ “Millennial on a Mission” list, Michele brings her youthful energy and incredible entrepreneurial savvy to every stage.

In addition to starring on Dragons’ Den, Michele was previously a panellist on the show’s web series, Next Gen Den.

Snap by Groupon (previously called SnapSaves) was acquired by Groupon in 2014, and Buytopia.ca, who accelerated their growth by acquiring seven smaller competitors, ranked #3 on the “Profit Hot 50” list of the fastest growing Canadian companies, and #1 on Chatelaine’s W100 list of fastest growing companies.

Michele has worked driving new digital solutions to many of the world’s leading brands, including P&G, Netflix, Starbucks, and Cirque du Soleil, and she was also the Director of Strategy for Sears, where she led apparel growth strategies at the company — a $2.5 billion category.

Michele was a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award; the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards; and was a Cartier Women’s Initiative Award global finalist. She is also the winner of the Toronto Board of Trade Award for entrepreneurs under 30, among many other honours.

In the media, Michele’s work has been profiled in Forbes, Canadian Business, The New York Times, INC, The Globe and Mail, and Chatelaine.

During her Civil Engineering undergrad at Queen’s University, Michele founded The Tea Room, the first zero-consumer-waste coffee shop. At Queen’s, she was given the Queen’s Tricolour — the highest honour awarded by the university — and, after completing her Queen’s MBA, she founded Evandale Caviar, a vertically integrated commercial fishery.

Michele is a director for Whistler Blackcomb and Shad Valley, a transformational program that develops the entrepreneurial potential of exceptional Canadian youth.

Afternoon Keynote: Eric Termuende, Co-Founder, NoW Innovations

Eric TermuendeEric Termuende is on a mission to change the way we talk about work and get fulfillment from it. An author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Eric is co-founder of Now Innovations and Head of Content Strategy for True Calling Canada. Eric has been featured in Forbes, Thrive Global, Huffington Post, and Inc. Magazine in the last few months, and in 2015, Eric was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 globally by American Express. Eric sat as Community Integration Chair for Global Shapers Calgary, a community that functions under the World Economic Forum. He is a former Canadian G20 YEA Delegate, representing Canada in Sydney in 2014. Eric is currently signed by the National Speakers Bureau and travels the world talking about the future of work and multiple generations in the workplace. In 2016, Eric spoke at TEDxBCIT in Vancouver giving his presentation entitled ‘Bigger than Work’. Eric has worked and spoken with clients across the world. His new book, Rethink Work is now available on Amazon.


B2L Emcee: Courtney Keogh, Recruitment & Liaison Officer, Brock University

Courtney KeoghCourtney Keogh, Recruitment & Liaison Officer at Brock University, is a young, vibrant professional who is focused and committed to positively promoting and enriching the Brock University student experience, while leading, inspiring, and motivating her student staff members.
 Originally from Alliston, Ontario, Courtney has always found the prevalence of sport in daily life fascinating.  This interest lead Courtney to Brock University to pursue Canada’s only degree-granting program dedicated specifically to the business of sport.  Courtney graduated from Brock University in 2012 at the top of her class, with a Bachelor of Sport Management, Honours degree, and in 2014 with a Master of Arts in Applied Health Sciences with a Concentration in Sport Management.  With the encouragement from her family, friends, and colleagues, Courtney has also been published three times in various scholarly publications, and has been a guest-lecturer at fH Kufstein Tirol in Kufstein, Austria.

As a woman in a position of leadership who is responsible for the Brock University Smart Start summer orientation program and Group Visit programming, Courtney’s management style is one of assertiveness, believing that there’s no room for female wallflowers in the day-to-day business world.  Courtney believes that inspiring means being more focused and present in day-to-day interactions with her team; tuning into the feelings and struggles of others around her, ensuring to show her compassion and patience to help lead with a holistic and communicative team dynamic. Courtney resists the urge to fit in, and believes that to build stronger, more powerful, and more sustainable teams, we need to create new systems, ways of thinking, and continue to break the mold by being bold, and being ourselves.

In her free time, Courtney enjoys spending time with her friends and family, while also staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle by taking advantage of the Niagara landscape through walks and hikes.  Courtney also believes that life is about balance… and never saying “no” to a good slice of pizza.


Meghan Pedros, Manager, Campus Talent Development Programs

Meghan PedrosMeghan is a career oriented wife, mother, marathoner, mentor and brand ambassador with a passion for developing others through inspiration, mentorship and integrity.   Over her 12 year career with TD, she has held a series of progressive roles across the organization  including Wealth Management, Retail Distribution, Product Acquisition & Direct Channels to name a few.  In her current role, Meghan leads the Canadian Banking Management Associate Program; a leadership program focusing on developing general management capabilities across TD Canada Trust .  With a passion for personal development and planning, Meghan plays an active role in supporting Women in Leadership and Diversity  initiatives both internally and externally; advocating TD as a career choice for new grads and a "Place to Be You".

Senani Ratnayake, BSc RVT, Motivatum Consulting

SenaniE.M. Forster is famous for writing “only connect!” at the end of one of his novels, but he likely learned that sentiment from Senani Ratnayake. Senani knows that learning and change come about when people feel attached to the process and joined to each other. Participants often comment that they leave her learning sessions feeling like they have had a personal and transformative experience. As a humanist, Senani believes that every person is equally important, no matter their position or experience, and this viewpoint lies at the core of her success as a Learn2 Leader. Like many trailblazers, Senani has taken her academic background as a Registered Veterinary Technician with a Bachelor of Science and paired it with her natural abilities as a story-teller and solution-oriented collaborator in order to create a very distinctive niche that only she can fulfill. Motivatum Consulting was born out of her desire to unleash her superpower. She has overcome hurdles and stereotypes of all kinds in order to become an accomplished and inspirational facilitator for people from all walks of life and industries. Senani defines her success by the success of those around her and, that level of caring and passion for every person she encounters is what truly makes her memorable; allowing her participants to feel that they have just been a part of something very special.

Christiane Rutledge, Learning Consultant, Meridian Credit Union

Christiane RutledgeServing as Learning Consultant in the Learning and Development Department for Meridian Credit Union, Christiane is a leader in her business and community.

With more than 15 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Christiane is known for her passion for people and her commitment to delivering and expecting the best service experience. 

Christiane is also a graduate of Leadership Niagara, an innovative program that brings together individuals who are recognized as emerging and aspiring leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors of the Niagara Region. She has also served in a variety of roles in the not-for-profit sector including serving on the board of a national women’s organization and has given leadership to several provincial charities and speaking engagement opportunities.

She has a passion for seeing young women recognize their full potential and has spoken in a variety of settings to let women know that, when it comes to making a difference in business and in life, the sky is the limit. Her passion is to help women recognize that it is in them to make it happen!

Christiane lives in Grimsby with her husband and 4 children. Her personal hobbies including running, scrapbooking and playing volleyball or can be found curled up with a great book!

Caitlin Armstrong, HR, Meridian Credit Union

Caitlin ArmstrongCaitlin Armstrong is an HR Business Partner at Meridian Credit Union.

She has worked at Meridian for 10.5 years and has worked in a variety of retail and HR positons. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Resources Management and is an active volunteer within the Niagara community where she resides.

Tracy Schmitt, BRLS, B.Ed, MBA

Tracy Schmitt2016 Thrive magazine cover girl Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt BRLS, BEd, MBA as recently seen on ‘Voice for All’ has climbed mountains in Nepal, captained 110-foot-tall ships in the Eastern Atlantic, won the bronze medal in alpine skiing…oh and did I mention she was born a 4-way amputee? She is an international keynote speaker, trainer, and she’s funny too.  Now she wants to add author to her long list of amazing accomplishments. Her book is titled, ‘Unstoppable You: Exceed uncertainty, embrace change, earn respect.’ 

You may have seen her on CBC, in the Globe, heard on the radio or online for her controversial role advocating accessible transportation and UBER Assist. Or maybe you recognize her from Oprah when featured in the ‘Raw Beauty’ Campaign and Tracy was one of the models. Her latest adventure was as a Quest for the Gold Athlete where Tracy competed in world cup regattas across North America and around the world embarking on a Paralympic Sailing Campaign for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil! When she didn’t get Rio she became Manager of Planning and Integration creating the largest most successful games ever at the Pan Am and Parapan Am Toronto 2015 events. 

As a dynamic individual Tracy’s other work experiences include Humanitarian International Teacher in Uganda, Jamaica, and Mexico. As well is an educator in Corporate Learning and Development. While at Air Canada and SDM she worked simultaneously with management and unions over the competing demands of airline bankruptcy looming and pharmaceutical reform to implement a restructuring plan that enabled Air Canada and SDM to maintain their high standards. This experience has enabled her to develop strong negotiating skills and insights on how to defy the odds making conflict-ridden teams supportive and looking ahead results focused.

Let her share with you tips about overcoming adversity and putting your best foot forward (pardon the pun) to create the life of your dreams. Like Tracy, you probably have a multitude of stories within you.  Let’s face it, if you are an entrepreneur, you have new ideas popping into your head almost daily…it’s in our dna

Cheryl M. Bradshaw, R.P., B.Ed, M.A.

Cheryl BradshawCHERYL M. BRADSHAW, R.P., B.Ed, M.A., is the author of “How to Like Yourself,” published with New Harbinger Publications. She is a counsellor/therapist at the University of Guelph, as well as a registered psychotherapist working in private practice in Waterdown, ON, and expert speaker. She was previously a counsellor at Sheridan College, and has a background in teaching as well. She has worked with and supports www.jack.org, an organization dedicated to youth mental health awareness, empowerment, and leadership in educational institutions across Canada, and is a “role model” as well with www.wearyourlabel.org, a fashion company that tackles the stigma of mental illness. She was the event co-lead for the 2016 International Youth Festival, and continues to work with and volunteer with schools and charities to talk about youth and young adult mental health and self-esteem. Find out more about Cheryl at www.cherylmbradshaw.com, and find her book at Chapters, Indigo, or Amazon.

Helen Restivo, Program Manager, Canadian Tire Corporation

Helen R

Helen is a Program Manager in the Technology PMO at Canadian Tire Corporation with areas of responsibility including the Next Generation Talent Program (new graduate rotational program); Quality Management governance; Project Delivery governance; CT Bank and Corporate Portfolio oversight; and the Technology Oriented Development program. Helen has held a variety of leadership positions at Canadian Tire on the Technology team with a career spanning over 30 years. She has led teams including the retail Service Desk, Change Management, Quality Management, Vendor Management and Customer Experience Delivery.   

Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts, Specialist Degree in French Language at York University and a Masters of Leadership at Royal Roads University where she completed a thesis on creating a culture of innovation.


Erik Reed, Campus Recruitment Professional, KPMG

Erik ReedErik joined KPMG in the summer of 2015, and has been recruiting top students since. Aligned to Regions East, he is focused on hiring for KPMG offices throughout Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

After graduating from Brock University’s Sport Management program, Erik focused on a career in human resources by completing a graduate certificate at Conestoga College. His most memorable moments at KPMG have all stemmed from organizing and hosting Executive Look student conferences.

In his spare time, Erik enjoys tending his vegetable patch, listening to podcasts, and relaxing with his family. He also enjoys a good pun, so don’t hesitate to introduce yourself with some great wordplay!

Angela Tao, Talent Attraction Specialist, KPMG

Angela TaoAngela is a senior accountant in KPMG’s Enterprise Practice and a GTA talent attraction specialist. She started her career at KPMG in 2013 and graduated from Western/Ivey Business School. Her personal hobbies include trying every new restaurant in Toronto and is an active member in her community as a Kid Coach!

Mary Bean, Certified Human Resources Leader

Mary BeanMary is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with a passion for innovation, impactful leadership and workplaces that explode with the power of engaged employees and stakeholders. Her more than 25 years of varied human resources and operations experience drives her desire to foster workplace cultures of trust, collaboration, celebration and change. She is well known for her fast tempo, direct communication and bringing out the best in people. She is a skilled communicator, solutions finder and focused business and human resources strategist.