Keynote Speakers

2022: Shawn Abbott – Co-Founder, Innovia Capital

Shawn co-founded Inovia Capital in 2007 alongside Chris Arsenault, after spending more than 25 years
as a successful founder and executive. He serves as a director on the boards of Top Hat, Certn, and
Bench, and works closely with leadership at Photonic, Vital, Symend and other portfolio companies.
Shawn is an active coach and mentor to several entrepreneurs in the tech ecosystem. He was founding
Chair of the Alberta 100 Tech Entrepreneurs and played an important role in re-launching the VCAA.
Prior to Inovia, Shawn was the President of publicly traded security powerhouse Rainbow Technologies.
He holds the first patent as an inventor of the USB key, and multiple other patents in online banking and
Shawn has a Physics degree from the University of Alberta and performed post-graduate studies at the
University of Calgary and Stanford. He is an outdoor enthusiast, and an active airplane and helicopter

2021: Jeff Sandquist – Microsoft Corporation

Jeff Sandquist is a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, running a global team of product leaders, advocates, and engineers spanning 23 countries, on a mission to empower technologists around the world to achieve more. Jeff’s team is responsible for delivering key products such as,, and the company skilling platform (Microsoft Learn, Learn TV, The organization focuses on driving the discovery, awareness, and adoption of the Microsoft ecosystem of products and services through communities, products, programs, advocacy, content, and events.

Jeff has previously spent more than 16 years at Microsoft, before joining Twitter to drive their Developer & Enterprise team in 2013. He came back to Microsoft in 2015 and became a Corporate Vice President in 2019.

Jeff Sandquist

2020: Janet Podleski

Author: # 1 National bestselling cookbooks - The Looneyspoons and others

Host : Food Network Canada TV show – Eat. Shrink & Be Merry!

Janet Podleski

2019: Chris Kneeland


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2018: Danial Jameel

Founder and President - Ready Education Inc

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2017: Steven Woods

Senior Engineer - Google Canada

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2016: Christine Magee

Co-founder & Chair - Sleep Country Canada

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2015: Vikram Vij

Co-star - Dragons' Den

Chef/Co-owner- Vij's

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2014: Sean O’Dea

Co-Founder- Second Cup

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2013: John Stanton

Founder/CEO- Running Room

Author of 10 books on running and walking

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2012: Kavis Reed

Head Coach, Edmonton Eskimos

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2011: Arlene Dickinson

CEO - Venture Communications

Co-star -Dragons' Den

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2010: Derek Bullen

President -SI Systems Ltd.

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2009: Lyle Best

CEO- Quickcard Group of Companies

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2008: Brett Wilson

Three Season Panelist: Dragons' Den

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2007: Patrick Laforge

President/CEO - Edmonton Oilers

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2006: Eveline Charles

President/CEO - Eveline Charles Salons and Spas

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2005: Brian Hesje

Chair, Board of Directors - Fountain Tire Ltd.

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2004: Rick Kulow

President/CEO - Bioriginal Food & Science Corp.

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2003: John Cross

Chair, Board of Directors - POS Bio-Sciences

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2002: Ron S. Waldman

CEO - Great Western Brewing Company Ltd

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2001: Norman W. Wallace

President - Wallace Construction LTD.

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1999: Al Anderson

Owner - Al Anderson Source for Sports

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1998: Jim Yuel

Founder- Pic Investment Group Inc.

Co-Chair - Capital Campaign


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