The Walrus Live: Speakers 2018


Siri Agrell

Siri Agrell is director of strategic initiatives for Mayor John Tory; her areas of responsibility include innovation and government modernization. She previously served as deputy director of communications for Premier Kathleen Wynne and as a journalist, most recently as the urban affairs reporter for the Globe and Mail. She founded Real City Matters, a debate series leading up to the 2014 Toronto municipal election, and co-founded Type Face, a literary portrait project in support of the Toronto Public Library Foundation.

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Reneltta Arluk

Reneltta Arluk is an Inuvialuit, Dene and Cree woman from the Northwest Territories. Raised by her grandparents on the trapline until school age, Reneltta credits her nomadic upbringing with giving her the skills to become the multi-disciplined artist she is today. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program and the founder of Akpik Theatre. The only professional Indigenous theatre company in the NWT, Akpik focuses on establishing an authentic Northern Indigenous voice through theatre and storytelling. Reneltta has also taken part in or initiated the creation of Indigenous theatre across Canada and overseas, and has worked in depth with Indigenous and minority youth through theatre advocacy. Under Akpik Theatre, she has written, produced, and performed various works focusing on decolonization and using theatre as a tool for reconciliation, including Pawâkan Macbeth, a Plains Cree adaptation of Macbeth written by Reneltta on Treaty 6 territory. In 2017, she became the first Inuit and first Indigenous woman to direct at the Stratford Festival, where she was awarded the Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director’s Award for her direction of The Breathing Hole by Governor General’s Award−winning playwright Colleen Murphy. Reneltta is now director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity.

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her most recent works are Hag-Seed (2016), a novel re-visitation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest for the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, and Angel Catbird, a graphic novel with co-creator Johnnie Christmas (Dark Horse, 2016). Other recent works include the MaddAddam trilogy—the Giller and Booker prize−nominated Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013)—and the novel The Heart Goes Last (2015). Her latest book of short stories is Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (2014), and her latest volume of poetry is The Door (2007). Her most recent non-fiction books are Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008) and In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011). Among her most celebrated works are The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize, Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye, and The Handmaid’s Tale—now a TV series with MGM and Hulu. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

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Cameron Bailey

Cameron Bailey is the artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival® and the overall TIFF organization. He is responsible for the vision and execution of the festival’s programming, as well as for maintaining relationships with the Canadian and international film industries. For six consecutive years, Toronto Life has named him one of Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017). Born in London, Cameron grew up in England and Barbados before migrating to Canada. He began programming for TIFF in 1990, headed its Perspective Canada program and founded its Planet Africa section, and worked both as a film programmer and film critic for twenty years before taking on his current role. He presented international cinema nightly on Showcase’s national program The Showcase Revue, and produced and hosted the interview program Filmmaker on Independent Film Channel Canada. Cameron’s writing has been published in the Globe and Mail, the Village Voice, CineAction, and Screen, among others, and he has reviewed films for NOW Magazine, CBC Radio One, and Canada AM. He currently sits on the advisory councils of Western University’s School for Arts and Humanities and Haiti’s Ciné Institute film school. He is also a board member of Tourism Toronto, and he teaches a course in programming and curation at the University of Toronto.

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David Ben

David Ben is one of the world’s foremost sleight-of-hand artists. Theatrical works he has developed have been staged at the Shaw Festival, Theatre ROM, the Charlottetown Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Luminato, the Canadian embassies in Paris and Tokyo, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and elsewhere. He has made numerous television appearances and was the subject of the award-winning documentary A Conjuror in the Making. David has written several books, and has contributed articles and reviews to the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and many other publications. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Magicana, a performing arts organization and registered charity, and he uses learning, practicing, and performing magic to help disadvantaged children, to fight isolation in seniors, and to help unlock creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.

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Geoff Cape is founder and CEO of Evergreen, a national organization dedicated to making cities flourish. Since 1995, Evergreen has enabled over 7,200 projects in communities across the country, including the creation of Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto in 2010, an adaptive re-use of a civic asset and a place where the world can experience sustainable practices. With national award-winning programs, Evergreen has become internationally known for its tackling of environmental and urban challenges. It is currently leading the redevelopment of the Kiln Building at Evergreen Brick Works into a year-round hub that will ignite, accelerate, and celebrate new solutions for low-carbon cities.

Geoff is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, a board member of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and the recipient of a number of awards related to social innovation and sustainability. He holds a BA from Queen’s University and a Master’s of Management from McGill University.

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Jeremy Clark is an assistant professor at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering. He obtained his PhD from the University of Waterloo, where his dissertation, awarded the university’s gold medal, was on designing and deploying secure voting systems including Scantegrity — the first cryptographically verifiable system used in a public-sector election. He wrote one of the earliest academic papers on Bitcoin, completed several research projects in the area, and contributed to the first textbook on the subject. Beyond research, he has worked with several municipalities on voting technology and testified to the Canadian Senate on Bitcoin.

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Lisa Charleyboy (Tsilhqot’in from Tsi Deldel First Nation) is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller. Huffington Post named her one of three Aboriginals to watch, and the National Post called her an “Aboriginal storyteller for the digital generation.” She is host of CBC Radio One’s New Fire, co-creator of APTN’s Urban Native Girl, and co-editor of three anthologies with Annick Press.

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Pay Chen

Pay Chen is a TV and radio host and a food, travel, and television writer based in Toronto with East Coast roots. With twenty years of media experience, Pay appears regularly on TV and radio to discuss food and lifestyle trends. She has hosted her own talk-radio show on Newstalk1010, focusing on the local culinary scene, and has appeared on CBC, City, Global, CTV, and several specialty networks. She has also written for major newspapers and lifestyle magazines.

Pay was born in Taiwan and raised in Nova Scotia, where her parents have been running a food business, currently located inside the Seaport Farmers’ Market in Halifax, for over thirty-five years. A graduate of Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program, Pay has several acting credits, including playing a teacher on Degrassi — but sadly, not during the Drake era.

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Andrew Chunilall

Andrew Chunilall is the CEO of Community Foundations of Canada and serves as a dedicated national finance and regulatory resource for community foundations across the country. Active in the non-profit community, he serves as the chair of the board of Community Living London and treasurer of Art for AIDS International. He began his professional career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and is a former VP of finance for the London Community Foundation.

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Mark Collins

Mark Collins is vice-president of the Canadian Partner Organization for Cisco Canada. He is responsible for managing Cisco’s routes to market and business partnerships in Canada, leading multiple teams tasked with the profitable growth of Cisco’s partner community. Previously at Cisco Canada, Mark served as the director of marketing and was responsible for the development and implementation of Cisco Canada’s branding and demand generation strategy. Prior to that position, he was Cisco Canada’s manager of Connected Architectures and led the Canadian Partner Organization’s Partner Architecture and Business Development teams. Since joining Cisco in 2000, he has also held leadership positions in financial services, outsourcing, and systems integrator sales.

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Cam Collyer

Cam Collyer is the executive director of Programs at Evergreen, and the driver behind the national organization’s efforts to connect children and nature in cities. His work gives young people access to the nurturing power of natural environments and to play opportunities that are a key part of flourishing cities. Cam developed Evergreen’s school-ground greening program into an international leader in its field, building a national network of specialists in the design of children’s landscapes and creating pioneering partnerships with numerous Canadian school boards. He stands as one of Canada’s foremost thought leaders in the fields of children’s outdoor education, play, and school-ground design. He co-founded the International School Grounds Alliance and sits on the board of directors of Green Schoolyards America and the steering committee of Outdoor Play Canada. Cam holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Trent University and a BEd from Queen’s University.

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Kari Cwynar

Kari Cwynar is a curator, critic, and editor based in Toronto. She is currently curator of Evergreen’s Don River Valley Park Art Program, where she is developing a program of temporary public art projects along the Lower Don River. She is also editorial director of C Magazine, where she was editor from 2016-2018.

Kari studied art history at Queen’s University and Carleton University, earning her MA in 2010, and later participated in the de Appel Curatorial Programme in Amsterdam. She has undertaken curatorial research positions at The Banff Centre, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and has curated exhibitions internationally at de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; apexart, New York; EFA Project Space, New York; Cooper Cole, Toronto; and The Banff Park Museum, Banff, among others. Cwynar earned the inaugural Fogo Island Arts-Hnatyshyn Foundation Young Curators Residency, and has participated in curatorial and writing residencies at The Banff Centre and SOMA Mexico. As a critic, she writes on contemporary art for publications including Artforum, Frieze, C Magazine, and Inuit Art Quarterly.

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Sascha Darius Mojtahedi

Sascha Darius Mojtahedi has spent eleven years at the intersection of finance and technology. His areas of expertise are strategy (including product strategy, business vision, start-up, and experience design) and operations (product delivery, enterprise alignment, and product management), with a dash of creative for good measure. His current project and passion is Bunz, a barter-based marketplace. After spending over a decade at TD Bank, where he gained knowledge of customer-facing products, AML, and Blockchain technology, he decided to apply that knowledge to support the community around him.

Bunz is embarking on a journey to encourage more real-life connections between people and their local communities through technology. The Bunz ecosystem thrives on rediscovering the joys of trading with members of the local community and exploring the efficiencies of a localized system. In the process, it strives to support local shops and merchants, as they often represent the gathering place of local communities.

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Toni De Mello

Tanya (Toni) De Mello started as an economist, working in business during the day and in the community at night. After working as a management consultant for several years and co-founding two local NGOs in her free time, Tanya did her Master’s degree at Princeton University. That study led her into peace-building, first at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, and later at the UNHCR Field Office for Emergency Relief in Senegal through the UN World Food Programme (WFP). She is now a human rights lawyer and serves as the director of Human Rights Services at Ryerson University. She deals with discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence. Tanya ran for office for the Federal government in 2015 and, well, she lost. But she continues to be extremely engaged in civic life and community service, which she names as her greatest passions. Tanya’s areas of research include unconscious bias and deconstructing the concept of “fit” in interviews!

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Pamela Divinsky

Pamela Divinsky is the executive director of the Mosaic Institute, a charitable not-for-profit organization providing a national platform for the voices of Canada’s diverse communities. Throughout her career, Pamela has been committed to aligning profit with social impact. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago and has held positions at KPMG, the Bank of Montreal, and the international ad agency J. Walter Thompson, where she directed Ethos JWT, the agency’s corporate responsibility division. She is the founder of The Divinsky Group and The Invisible Hand. Pamela was named the Mosaic Institute’s executive director in 2017, and is leading the organization to a new level of development and impact at a time of increasing intolerance worldwide. Her driving philosophy is that differences are not to be feared or silenced, but instead are the source of better thinking, smarter acting, and deeper social and business success.

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Nana aba Duncan

Nana aba Duncan is the host of Fresh Air on CBC Radio One 99.1 FM and the creator of Media Girlfriends, a behind-the-scenes podcast about the lives of women working in all types of media. Nana aba has been a host and producer at CBC Radio for ten years. She has hosted many live events, including the Harry Jerome Awards and the Women’s Blues Revue at Massey Hall, and has moderated conversations at events for Google, the YMCA, Heritage Toronto, and Journalists for Human Rights. She was a featured speaker at The Walrus Talks Africa’s Next Generation in 2017. About a million years ago, Nana aba produced a weekly human rights radio program for Journalists for Human Rights in Ghana, where she was country director. Ask Nana aba about the five years of her life when she worked in public relations and marketing, and about that time she served in the military! She’s living her truth now, and lives in Toronto.

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Zahra Ebrahim is a public-interest designer, engaging diverse sets of stakeholders to use participatory approaches to address complex challenges, largely focused on the public sector and urban innovation. For over a decade, she has built and led organizations that have worked across the public, private, charitable, and philanthropic sectors to conduct deep research with end-users to co-design towards better social outcomes. She is currently the Canadian lead of Doblin, the country’s largest human-centred design practice. She has taught at OCAD University and MoMA, and currently teaches at the University of Toronto. She serves as a board member and advisor to Jane’s Walk, St. Stephen’s Community House, the Centre for Connected Communities, the Toronto Public Library, Progress Toronto, and ResilientTO.

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Max FineDay

Max FineDay is a nêhiyaw activist from the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan Treaty 6 Territory. He is passionate about youth leadership development, theories of change-making, and increasing access to ceremonies for Indigenous youth. Max is currently serving as executive director of Canadian Roots Exchange, a national charity that delivers reconciliation programming to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. He also serves on the interim National Council for Reconciliation.

Max is based in Toronto and can be found on Twitter @MaxFineDay.

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Dawna Friesen

Award-winning journalist Dawna Friesen is the anchor of Global National, the flagship national newscast for Global News. She has spent more than thirty years as a journalist, and prior to joining Global was a senior foreign correspondent for NBC News in London, covering wars, terrorist attacks, and breaking news around the world. She won an Emmy award for election-night coverage when President Barack Obama won his first term. She has also worked as a parliamentary correspondent for CTV News, a national reporter in Toronto and back-up host for Canada AM, a reporter for CBC News in Saskatoon and Vancouver, and at radio and TV stations in Brandon, Manitoba, Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg. Among the many awards Dawna has received are a Southam Fellowship for Journalists from the University of Toronto, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Red River College, and the 2011 Gemini Award for Canada’s Best News Anchor. In 2013, Global National was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Overall Excellence Award for Network Radio and Television, becoming the first Canadian program to earn that recognition in the award’s forty-two-year history, and in 2015, the team won Best National Newscast at the Canadian Screen Awards.

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Ariel Garten is a co-founder of InteraXon Inc., the maker of Muse, an award-winning brain-sensing headband that can monitor brain health, reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve memory. Garten is also a fashion designer and artist. Her clothes were featured in Toronto Fashion Week in 2003 and sold across North America. Her artistic work has been displayed at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She lives in Toronto.

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Rachel Giese

Rachel Giese is the author of Boys: What it Means to Become a Man. She’s editor-at-large at Chatelaine and her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Real Life Mag, The Walrus, and NewYorker.com.

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Jennifer Hollet

Jennifer Hollett is a smashup of digital, journalism, and politics. She is the head of news at Twitter Canada. Jennifer has worked in digital since the late 1990s, when she became the youngest-ever manager at Sony Music Canada, developing new media strategies for the label’s top artists. She co-founded a startup and developed the Super PAC App — helping make political television ads more transparent — which debuted at number one in its category in the App Store. An award-winning television reporter and producer, Jennifer has over a decade of experience at the CBC, CTV, and MuchMusic. She studied public policy at Harvard University, obtaining a Master’s in Public Administration, and was the 2015 federal NDP candidate in Toronto’s University-Rosedale riding. She is a strong advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, and has moderated the G(irls)20 Summit in Toronto, Paris, Mexico City, Moscow, and Sydney.

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Huda Idrees

Huda Idrees is the founder and CEO of Dot Health, a digital platform that helps people better understand their health. Previously, she was chief product officer at Wealthsimple, she led accounting and invoicing for Wave Accounting, and she jump-started the design team at Wattpad.

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Mathew Ingram

Mathew Ingram is an award-winning journalist and media consultant who has spent the past two decades writing about business, technology, and new media as well as advising companies on their digital and social-media strategies. He is currently the chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review, and prior to that was a senior writer with Fortune magazine, where he wrote about the evolution of media and web culture. Matthew spent fifteen years as a reporter and columnist at the Globe and Mail, becoming its first online columnist and then its social-media editor — one of the first social-media editors at a major newspaper in North America. He developed the newspaper’s approach to online comments and moderation, launched its Facebook page, pioneered a wiki-style site devoted to political discussion, and helped dozens of writers and editors figure out Twitter. He also helped develop digital strategy for the paper. In addition to the Globe and Fortune, Mathew’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New Zealand Herald, as well as on Bloomberg and Reuters. Among the media outlets he has advised on digital strategy are the Toronto Star, Post Media, and the CBC.

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Robert Jago

Robert Jago is a journalist and frequent contributor to The Walrus. He writes on issues of First Nations nationalism, identity, and the relationship between First Nations people and the rest of Canada. Robert is a member of the Nooksack Indian Tribe and the Kwantlen First Nation. He is currently based in Montreal.

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Roberta Jamieson

Roberta Jamieson is a Mohawk woman who has enjoyed a distinguished career of firsts. She was the first First Nation woman in Canada to earn a law degree; the first non-parliamentarian appointed an ex-officio member of a House of Commons committee; the first woman ombudsman of Ontario; and the first woman elected chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. An accomplished expert in alternative dispute resolution, Roberta also served as commissioner of the Indian Commission of Ontario. The executive producer of the annual Indspire achievement awards, Roberta has herself earned numerous awards and honours, including, most recently, the YWCA’s President’s Award and induction into the Women’s Executive Network’s “Canada’s Most Powerful Women” Hall of Fame. In 2015, Roberta was recognized by the Public Policy Forum for the outstanding contributions she has made to public policy and good governance. She is an officer of the Order of Canada and holds twenty-five honorary degrees.

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Michelle Jobin

Michelle Jobin is a host, producer, and writer with over a decade of experience in broadcast and online media. Covering lifestyle, entertainment, weather, and news, her work in television has been featured across Canada and around the world on networks including CTV, Global, CityTV, Seven Network Australia, and more. She also regularly contributes to a variety of online publications. An accomplished public speaker, Michelle has hosted events including Taste of Toronto, Global Citizen Forum, the S. Pellegrino Young Chef competition, Chefs for Change, and the inaugural Nespresso Café Gourmand competition in Toronto. She is passionate about supporting charitable causes that fight hunger, such as Community Food Centres Canada and Second Harvest.

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Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson Johnson is the executive editor and creative director of The Walrus. She has held senior-level editing positions at The Globe and Mail, Saturday Night, Azure and FQ. Also an award-winning writer, she has contributed to a number of publications across North America, including The Walrus, The New Republic, Elle, Lucky, Toronto Life, Reader’s Digest, and En Route. From 2009 to 2015, she was the head copywriter behind the successful transformation of Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s iconic department store. Jessica graduated from the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program.

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Molly Johnson

Molly Johnson is a jazz vocalist, songwriter, and the recipient of a Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year and a National Jazz Award for Best Female Vocalist. She has graced stages throughout Canada, the United States, and France alongside renowned artists including Tom Cochrane, Blue Rodeo, and Tom Jones. She has performed for the prince and late princess of Wales, Nelson Mandela, and Quincy Jones. She was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 2007. She lives in Toronto.

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David Johnston

Right Honourable David Johnston

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Tom Jokinen

Tom Jokinen is a Toronto writer and broadcaster. He spent fifteen years at the CBC, with programs such as Morningside with Peter Gzowski, counterSpin, and Definitely Not the Opera. He now writes for The Walrus, Canadian Art, and the Globe and Mail and contributes to Ideas on CBC Radio One. He is the author of Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-In-Training, published by Penguin Random House, a book about the madcap world of modern death care.

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Emma Knight

Emma Knight is a co-founder of Greenhouse, a Toronto-based beverage company whose mission is to offer widespread, sustainable access to plant-based nutrition of the highest quality. She is the company’s director of brand and marketing and a co-author of The Greenhouse Cookbook, a national bestseller. Prior to Greenhouse’s launch, Emma was based in Paris, where she worked for The New York Times Company and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. Emma’s writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, the Daily Journal and the Argentina Independent.

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Charlotte Langley

Chef Charlotte Langley is often identified by her cabal as “Maritime Chic.” She cultivates the essence of the Maritimes in all the work she does. Her East Coast hospitality pulls farmers, clients, and restaurateurs alike across provinces to come knocking on her door. And if you ask Charlotte to tell you about herself, she’ll humbly reply that she loves to cook and laugh. But Charlotte’s biggest passion is sharing her favorite foods with as many mouths as possible. Charlotte has over ten years of practice as a chef and culinarian, and in that time has forged a reputation for herself as a creative multi-tasker utterly dedicated to the art and craft of cooking.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Lapham lives in New York City.

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Lewis Lapham

The founder and editor of Lapham’s Quarterly (2007—), Lewis Lapham was for thirty years (1975—2006) editor of Harper’s Magazine. The author of fourteen books, among them Money and Class in America, The Wish for Kings, Waiting for the Barbarians, Theater of War, and Age of Folly, Lapham’s writing over the years has prompted the New York Times to liken him to H. L. Mencken, Vanity Fair to suggest a resemblance to Mark Twain, and Tom Wolfe to compare him to Montaigne. He was inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame in 2007.

In 2005 Lapham wrote and presented a documentary film, The American Ruling Class, that continues to make a frequent appearance on college campuses. Lapham also has lectured at many of the nation’s leading universities and colleges, among them Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Stanford, Columbia, and St. John’s, as well as the universities of Michigan, Virginia, and Oregon. Between 2010 and 2014, Lapham produced for Bloomberg News a weekly podcast, The World in Time, that discussed with their authors new books of history.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Lapham lives in New York City.

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Megan Leslie

Megan Leslie is the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, the largest international environmental organization in the country. She was previously head of ocean conservation at WWF-Canada. Before joining WWF in 2017, Megan was a member of Parliament, representing Halifax for two terms during which she was deputy leader of the official Opposition and a major voice on the environment and sustainable development. Megan was raised in Kirkland Lake, Ont., where in high school she helped organize against toxic waste coming to her hometown with placards reading “No, no. We won’t glow.” After university and before entering politics, she was a community legal worker and presented at the 2005 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montreal on the issue of energy poverty.

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Joshna Maharaj

Joshna Maharaj is a chef, speaker, and activist with some big ideas about good food! Joshna’s strong social justice and sustainability ethics are rooted in her time at The Stop, a community food centre where she built innovative and delicious community food programs. Recently, Joshna has been working with institutions in Toronto building new models for institutional food procurement, production and service, proving that the institution is a viable tool for social change. Joshna is also a two-time TEDx speaker and recently made the shortlist of nominees for the inaugural Basque Culinary World Prize recognizing chefs who use gastronomy to make social change. Joshna is currently working on a book about her work in hospitals and universities that will hopefully act as a spark for a movement to change the way we source, cook, and serve food in public institutions.

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Craig Nevill-Manning

Craig Nevill-Manning is head of engineering at Sidewalk Labs. Before joining Sidewalk Labs, he founded Google’s first remote engineering centre, located in New York City. In his role as engineering director at Google, he oversaw the development of products including Google Local (now Maps) and Froogle (now Google Shopping), as well as features of web search such as Question Answering and Web Definitions. Prior to joining Google in 2000, he was an assistant professor in the computer science department at Rutgers University, and a post-doctoral fellow in the biochemistry department at Stanford University. He is the author of forty-four peer-reviewed academic publications, and was awarded a Career grant by the National Science Foundation for work combining information retrieval and computational biology. Passionate about great coffee, he co-founded Happy Bones café in Little Italy with his wife Kirsten and partners from New Zealand.

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Lauren McKeon is the digital editor at The Walrus and a national award–winning editor and writer. She is the former editor of This Magazine and a contributing editor at Toronto Life. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Walrus, Hazlitt, Flare, Reader’s Digest, and Best Canadian Essays 2017. Her first book, F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism, was released in 2017. In addition to writing and editing, Lauren has taught long-form journalism at Humber College. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from the University of King’s College. You’ll find her online at laurenmckeon.net and also tweeting infrequently at @mckeonlauren.

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Shawn Micallef

Shawn Micallef is the author of Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto; The Trouble with Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure; and Frontier City: Toronto on the Verge of Greatness. He’s a weekly columnist at the Toronto Star, and a senior editor and co-owner of Spacing magazine. Shawn teaches civics at the University of Toronto and was a 2011-2012 Canadian Journalism Fellow at Massey College. In 2002, while a resident at the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab, he co-founded [murmur], a location-based mobile phone documentary project that spread to over twenty-five cities globally. In 2016 he hosted and co-wrote Accidental Parkland, a documentary on Toronto’s ravines.

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Angela Misri has spent her entire career creating and producing digital content — at the CBC, The Banff Centre, and now at The Walrus as the Director of Digital. She also writes the Portia Adams Adventure series, podcasts, and teaches at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto.

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Christian Nelissen

Christian Nelissen joined TD Bank in August 2017 as the senior vice-president of the newly formed Enterprise Data & Analytics (ED&A) Centre of Excellence (COE). The COE is focused on creating a compelling vision and strategy for how data and analytics drive value for TD and its customers. Christian is a recognized leader in data analytics with over thirty years’ financial services experience, and brings expertise in designing and implementing data and analytics functions in large and complex organizations. Prior to joining TD, he led an enterprise function of around one thousand integrated data and analytics professionals at the Royal Bank of Scotland, supporting personal, private, business, and commercial banks. He was also responsible for the RBS’s technology change and data delivery agenda, which included the bank’s data warehouse, big data platform, business intelligence tools, and customer decisioning systems.

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Terry OReilly

Terry O’Reilly was a copywriter for Campbell Ewald, Doyle Dane Bernbach, and Chiat/Day. He now hosts CBC Radio One’s award-winning show Under the Influence, a follow-up to the hit series The Age of Persuasion. He co-wrote The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture. His latest book is This I Know: Marketing Lessons from under the Influence.

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Jay Pitter

Jay Pitter MES, is an award-nominated author and placemaker whose work has consistently resulted in co-creating more inclusive and vibrant cities. She has spearheaded large-scale, institutional, city-building processes—rooted in neighbourhood knowledge—that address growing divides in urban centres. Most recently, she collaborated with Westbank to increase community engagement in the Honest Ed’s redevelopment process; consulted on Edmonton’s new heritage plan; and led a professional development process for the City of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing staff team. While Jay has worked on a diverse portfolio of initiatives, housing has evolved as a key focus. Advocating for dignified, safe, and affordable housing is not just a professional mission for Jay; it is personal. Her city-building values are informed by her childhood experience of growing up in social housing. She has also been influenced by the long-term mentorship of her second grade Irish Canadian teacher who modelled the power of reaching across racial, class, and gender differences. In addition to housing, Jay also focuses on democratizing urban design, social urbanism, and story-based public engagement. She regularly sparks important conversations on these topics through media platforms such as the Agenda with Steve Paikin, CBC Radio, Maclean’s, and Canadian Architect; and through educational institutions like Ryerson University where she has taught an urban planning course. Moreover, Jay co-edited Subdivided, a Coach House anthology exploring inclusive city-building. She is now working on her second book Where We Live, which will be published by McClelland & Stewart at Penguin Random House Canada.

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Sarah Prevette

Sarah Prevette teaches creativity and design thinking to some of the country’s biggest business leaders. Her organization, Future Design School​, takes young people and educators through the innovation process of ideation, validation, and prototyping. Prevette has a history of innovation as a serial entrepreneur, high-profile investor, and strategic advisor to numerous organizations. She has been named by Inc. Magazine as one of the top entrepreneurs in North America and one of the “Top 20 Power Elite” by Canadian Business. Sarah continues to be an evangelist for Canadian startups and gives back to the community through her work as a board director at both Communitech and ventureLAB.

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Susan Prince

Susan Prince is a freelance broadcaster with regular appearances as a business host on CBC News Network and CBC Radio Canada. Susan’s strength is in using her deep understanding of the financial services industry to talk about business in a way that is interesting and engaging for a broad national audience. She began her career on Bay Street, as a research analyst at an institutional brokerage firm, and rose to work as a portfolio manager for high-net-worth individuals. In 1999, Susan made the shift to broadcasting, joining BNN, where she worked both as a producer and on-air analyst. Susan holds an MA in Media Production from Ryerson University. When she is not talking business, she hosts a monthly live storytelling event in Toronto.

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Johl Whiteduck Ringuette​

Johl Whiteduck Ringuette​ launched NishDish catering in 2005. Initially, it was a part-time operation while Johl had a daytime job. As NishDish increased in popularity, Johl decided to leave his day job to focus full-time on his business. In April of 2017, Johl and Hywel Tuscano opened NishDish Marketeria & Catering at 690 Bloor Street West. Johl’s vision is for customers celebrate Anishinaabe and other Indigenous cultures through food.

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Alyssa Rodrigo

Alyssa Rodrigo is director of insights at Labatt Breweries of Canada, Canada’s leading brewer. In this role, Alyssa works to drive long-term growth strategies, leveraging her team’s knowledge of consumers, the competition, the industry, and macro trends impacting the business. Prior to joining Labatt, Alyssa had various roles at Ipsos, Canada’s largest market research and public opinion polling firm, where she helped high-profile clients across many sectors develop long-term equity strategies and communication platforms. She was also part of innovation teams that developed and rolled out new research tools globally. Alyssa holds both a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management and a Master’s of Science in Marketing and Consumer Studies, with a focus on implicit message communication, from the University of Guelph.

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Harley Rustad

Harley Rustad is an editor at The Walrus. He has written for publications including Outside, the Globe and Mail, and Geographical. His first book, Big Lonely Doug, based on a silver National Magazine Award−winning feature in The Walrus, will be the inaugural publication of The Walrus Books in September of 2018. Originally from Salt Spring Island, BC, Harley joined The Walrus in 2014.

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Nick Saul

Nick Saul is the co-founder, president, and chief executive officer of Community Food Centres (CFC) Canada, a national organization that builds and supports vibrant, food-focused community centres in low-income neighbourhoods. CFCs offer programs and services based on the idea that good food is a powerful force for greater health, equity, and social change. A long-time community organizer, Nick has received the prestigious Jane Jacobs Prize and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He speaks regularly on issues of justice, civic engagement, and the Community Food Centre model of food access, health, and community-building. Nick and his wife, Andrea Curtis, wrote the bestselling book The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement. Published in Canada, the United States, and the UK, the book was nominated for the Toronto Book Award and won several other awards. Nick lives in Toronto and is the proud father of two boys.

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Len Senater

Len Senater is the founder of The Depanneur, “A Place Where Interesting Food Things Happen” — a unique venue dedicated to hosting pop-up food events. Established in 2011, The Dep is a showcase for the incredible diversity of culinary talent that Toronto has to offer. It has evolved into a vibrant urban food hub for hundreds of amateur and professional cooks and an enthusiastic community of thousands of food lovers. In early 2016, with the help of Cara Benjamin-Pace, Rahaf Alakbani, and Esmaeel Aboufakher, Len extended an invitation to newly arrived Syrian refugee families to use The Dep to prepare and share familiar food. From this small gesture of hospitality has emerged an exciting new initiative, Newcomer Kitchen, which supports a weekly pop-up where newcomer women prepare and sell traditional home cooking. Newcomer Kitchen has since been incorporated as a non-profit organization with the goal of adapting this model to work with any newcomer community, in any kitchen willing to open its doors, in any city in the world.

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Vivek Shraya

Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. Vivek’s 2017 album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part-Time Woman, was included in CBC’s Best Canadian Albums of 2017. Her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publishing Triangle Award and was longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads. Her debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named a Globe and Mail Best Book, and her book I’m Afraid of Men will be out in fall of 2018 from Penguin Canada. Vivek has read and performed inter­nationally at shows, festivals, and post-secondary institutions. She is one-half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books. A four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a 2016 Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, and has received honours from the Toronto Arts Foundation and the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Vivek is currently a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Calgary.

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Mark Schatzker

Mark Schatzker is the author of The Dorito Effect and Steak. His award-winning journalism has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, and Best American Travel Writing. He is a field reporter for The Dr. Oz Show as well as a radio columnist for the CBC. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

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Craig Silverman

Craig Silverman is an award-winning author and journalist and one of the world’s leading experts on online misinformation, fake news, and content verification. He is the media editor of BuzzFeed News, where he leads a global beat covering platforms, online misinformation, and fake news.

Craig was previously the founding editor of BuzzFeed Canada, and was also the founder of Emergent.info, a rumour-tracking project that was developed as part of a fellowship with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. From 2004 to 2015 he wrote Regret the Error, a blog about media accuracy and corrections, which became part of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and was the basis for an award-winning book of press criticism. In 2010, Craig was part of the team that launched OpenFile, an online news startup that delivered community-driven reporting in six Canadian cities.

Craig is the former managing editor of PBS MediaShift and has been a columnist for the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and Columbia Journalism Review. He also edited The Verification Handbook and The Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting for the European Journalism Centre. His journalism and books have been honoured by the Mirror Awards, the U.S. National Press Club, the National Magazine Awards, the Canadian Online Publishing Awards, and the Crime Writers of Canada.

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Patti Sonntag

Patti Sonntag is director of the Institute for Investigative Journalism, based at Concordia University in Montreal, where she serves as series producer on the award-winning national collaborative investigation The Price of Oil. A former managing editor in the New York Times’ News Services division, she teaches investigative reporting at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

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​Lori Stahlbrand

​Lori Stahlbrand works for the City of Toronto, where she is responsible for the Toronto Food Policy Council, one of the leading food policy councils in the world. Prior to joining the city, Lori was the coordinator of the Global Food Equity Initiative and a lecturer in food studies at New College, University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in geography, with a research focus on the role of creative public procurement in promoting food security, and just and sustainable food systems in Canada and the UK. As the founder and former president of the non-profit Local Food Plus, Lori promoted local and sustainable food procurement as a tool for social and economic development. Prior to engaging with food issues, Lori spent fifteen years as a nationally recognized journalist and broadcaster with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Anita Stewart is the Food Laureate for the University of Guelph and the founder of Food Day Canada, a national celebration of Canada’s regional foods occurring this year on August 4th. A member of the Order of Canada, she holds a Master of Arts in Gastronomy and is an honourary lifetime member of the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks. Her mantra is that Canada is food, and the world is richer for it.

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David Tax​

David Tax‘s path to the banking industry could be called the “road less travelled.” He grew up in Halifax, where his love of science and math led him to a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Dalhousie University. He pursued his PhD at MIT, where he developed high-power microwave devices known as gyrotrons. During his many years of research and study, he came to realize that the business world actually contained many interesting and challenging problems of its own, and sought a new challenge by returning to Canada to work at consulting firm McKinsey & Company. David then joined TD and its Payments Innovations team. During his time at TD he has led work in several areas, including developing the bank’s Canadian payments strategy, driving awareness and action around emerging Fintech trends, and shaping the bank’s innovation and IP agenda.

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Michelle Tham​

Michelle Tham​ is Labatt’s head of education, responsible for leading a culture of beer education and appreciation throughout the company and its diverse portfolio of brands. She is a Certified Cicerone, MBAA Beer Steward, and Recognized BJCP Beer Judge, with a professional knowledge level of ingredients, brewing processes, styles, and serving and pairing. With a Bachelor of Commerce in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Ryerson University, Michelle developed her foundational knowledge in beer, wine, and spirits in the restaurant industry and in 2013 became one of Canada’s first female Certified Cicerones. She has since coached many Labatt employees to achieve various levels of Cicerone certification. Michelle’s expertise has been featured in a wide range of broadcast and print media.

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Emma Waverman

Emma Waverman is a writer and broadcaster who believes in the power of food to connect people to each other and the greater world. She has a regular food column on CBC Radio’s Here and Now, and her writing can be found in the Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent, The Walrus, and other national publications, as well as at her award-winning blog Embrace the Chaos. She talks all things Canadian food on the podcast More than Maple Syrup, hosted by eatnorth.com. Emma happily resides in the heart of downtown Toronto with her three kids, husband, and scrappy dog.

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Ashley Voisin is the Chief Creative Officer for Robots Are Fun, an organization she began working for when she was ten years old. She has designed three technology-integrated garments over the last three years and has appeared in numerous shows, including three MakeFashion shows and Mini Maker Faires in Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta. Ashley also enjoys martial arts and playing guitar and soccer. She participated in the 2015 and 2016 Calgary Youth Science Fair and is passionate about encouraging young children to achieve their dreams in the areas of math and science.

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Lauren Voisin started Robots Are Fun when she was eight. She regularly exhibits her projects at the Calgary Mini Maker Faire and MakeFashion and has been a featured speaker at the San Francisco Maker Faire. She participated in a Google Edu Startup weekend in the fall of 2013 and won the Crowd Favourite award. She has been featured in Owl magazine and currently sits on the board at the University of Calgary’s Werklund Youth Leadership Centre. Lauren wants to encourage other kids to try robotics and see what they can create.

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Shelley Youngblut

Shelley Youngblut connects smart, funny people with life-changing ideas as the CEO and creative ringleader of Calgary’s Wordfest. In partnership with the Calgary Public Library, she is transforming Alberta’s oldest library into a vibrant arts and culture hub. Shelley was the founding editor of VOX and the award-winning Swerve magazine, and has created magazines for ESPN, Cosmopolitan, Nickelodeon, and the Globe and Mail. She is also the author of three sports books. A former pop-culture correspondent for ABC’s World News Now and Canada AM, she is unconventionally opinionated on CBC Calgary’s The Eyeopener. She is currently working on a memoir about poker, parenting, regret, and forgiveness. It will be funnier than it sounds.

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Angela Misri is the digital director at The Walrus, and has worked at The Banff Centre and the CBC. She writes about technology and women in technology for the Globe and Mail, NetNewsCheck.com and many other publications.