Advisors

DAMIEN STEEL

Managing Partner & Head of Ventures, Omers Ventures

Damien is the Managing Partner and Head of Ventures at OMERS Ventures. As a technology focused venture capitalist, his expertise in operations and finance have built and scaled numerous companies. He is a respected authority, holding Board Director positions on TouchBistro, Kaleo Software, Felix & Paul Studios, Klipfolio, and Wave HQ, to name a few. He also has corporate experience as Vice President of Venture Capital Funds at EdgeStone Capital Partners and Corporate Director at Protus IP Solutions.

JENNIFER DE KLAVER

Previously Vice President Creative, Indigo

Jennifer was formerly the Vice President of Creative at Indigo. She is a powerful force with over 20 years of experience in the industry, with expertise in creative direction, product development and online experience. She has led the creative teams of West Elm, Joe Fresh and Target. She has also founded her own consultancy service, de Klaver Design and a lifestyle beauty/gift brand, Bella J.

ALAN GERTNER

Founder, Hiku Brands Co. Ltd

Alan Gertner is Canopy's former Chief Retail Officer, and founder of Hiku Brands Co. Ltd., (also the parent company of Tokyo Smoke), which he sold to Canopy in July 2018 for $269 million. Toyko Smoke was founded in 2015 by Alan and his father Lorne Gertner – who launched Canada’s first legal medical marijuana grower Cannasat Therapeutics Inc. – which differentiated itself from the market by establishing a clean, inviting interior design and a focus on higher-end products.

DEVON WRIGHT

GM, Yelp Restaurant Marketplaces | Formerly CEO & Co-Founder, Turnstyle Solutions (acquired by Yelp)

Devon co-founded Turnstyle Solutions and grew it to one of the largest local marketing platforms of its kind before being acquired by Yelp in 2017. He is now GM of Yelp Restaurant Marketplaces overseeing go-to-market strategy and execution for Yelp’s restaurant products.

Devon speaks on topics relating to entrepreneurship, restaurant technology and privacy, and speaks on topics and has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Fox Business News, Wharton Business Radio and BNN.

Prior to founding Turnstyle, Devon worked at TD Bank as a Senior Treasury Analyst and received an Honours in Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

SOPHIA HWANG-JUDIESCH

Vice President & Country Manager – Canada, Ulta Beauty

In 2019, Sophia joined Ulta Beauty as the Vice President & Country Manager - Canada as the company ventures into the Canadian landscape. Sophia was previously the Senior Vice President & Country Manager for Canada at Carter’s | OshKosh B’gosh. She has built a reputable career in the apparel and fashion industry, highly skilled in retail, e-commerce and business development. She has led teams globally as Country Managers for Esprit for multiple nations in South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

ERIC AGIUS

SVP, Customer CARE at Rogers Communications

Prior to this Eric served as CEO & President of LG Canada from 2009 to 2013, overseeing all LG divisions across Canada. As CEO, his primary accomplishments were the continued rapid growth of the company and the development of LG as a premier brand in Canada.

Eric also held the position of President & General Manager of Nike Canada from 2002 until 2009. Eric began his career at Nike in 1995 where he has occupied several positions worldwide.

Eric also held the position of President & General Manager of Nike Canada from 2002 until 2009. Eric began his career at Nike in 1995 where he has occupied several positions worldwide.

Prior to commencing his professional career, Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Eric is originally from Toronto, Canada. He is married with three children and currently resides in Markham, Ontario

MICHAEL SERBINIS

Founder & CEO, LEAGUE Inc.

A rocket scientist who once developed jet propulsion systems at age 16, Michael is known as a serial entrepreneur who has built multiple transformative technology platforms across several industries, with over $1B of exits.

Michael Serbinis is the CEO and Founder of LEAGUE, a new digital health benefits platform that is set to disrupt the world of insurance. Prior to LEAGUE, Michael was the Founder and CEO of Kobo, a global leader in ebooks, and docSpace, a pioneer in cloud storage. Michael got his start building one of the first search engines, Zip2 at the start of the Internet boom.

A member of the Perimeter Institute's Board of Directors, MaRS Discovery District Board of Directors, Board of Trustees at the Ontario Science Centre, a member of the Creative Destruction Lab Board and YPO. Michael is also a mentor & investor in new technology companies through his company Three Angels Capital.

GEOFF CAPE

Founder and CEO, Evergreen

Geoff Cape is the founding CEO of Evergreen, established in 1991. Day to day, Geoff is focused on the development and acceleration of good ideas that advance Evergreen’s mission. With a background in real estate development, sustainability, and urbanization trends globally, Geoff helps to evolve Evergreen programs to offer leadership solutions for cities and citizens.

Selected in 1999 as one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40” by The Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine, Geoff has also been honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of “Canadians who have made outstanding and exemplary contributions to their communities or to Canada as a whole”. In 2005, Geoff was inducted into an International Fellowship by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. In 2007, Geoff won the prestigious Schwab Foundation’s “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” award. Geoff was founding Chair of the Sustainability Institute, Deputy Board Chair, Development for Downsview Park, a crown corporation in Canada, and a past member of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation Selection Committee.

Geoff has been a regular participant and speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and is on the “Future of Urban Development Advisory Board” and the “Technology Pioneers Selection Committee” for the World Economic Forum. In 2010 Geoff Cape was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sustainable Buildings Canada.

Geoff attended Trinity College School, Queen’s University (Bachelor of Arts) and McGill University (Masters of Management). Geoff lives (and cycles daily) in Toronto with his wife Valerie Laflamme and their three young sons, Thomas, Benjamin and Sebastien.

IRFHAN RAWJI

Founder & CEO, MobSquad | Venture Partner, Relay Ventures | Principal, Totem Capital Corporation

Irfhan Rawji is the Founder & CEO of MobSquad, an innovative Canadian start-up that ensures high- caliber software engineers with US work visa challenges remain working with their current company, but near-shored from Canada.

Irfhan is also a Principal with Totem Capital Corporation, a private capital firm focused on investing in Canadian small businesses, and is a Venture Partner with Relay Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm focused on mobile computing with offices in Toronto and Menlo Park. Irfhan is also an Adjunct Professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches in the areas of finance, public policy, strategy and leadership.

Irfhan is presently Board Chair of The Organic Box, Alberta’s largest organic food hub, offering home delivery as well as click-and-collect grocery services. Additionally, Irfhan is Board Chair of Activate, a partnership between the Government of Canada, private investors and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada aimed at reducing the incidence of stroke; Activate represents an innovation in social finance as Canada’s first social impact bond. Irfhan is: a Director of Sage Properties, a Calgary-based real estate investment corporation; a Director of Chatter Research, a text-driven customer insight chatbot which counts Lush Cosmetics, The Finish Line, and Chase Bank amongst its customer base; and a Director of The Logic, a digital media publication focused on the innovation economy.

Irfhan is actively involved in civic affairs as Board Chair of Glenbow Museum and Board Member of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. Additionally, Irfhan serves as Chair of the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Impact Fund Advisory Committee, as an advisor to the Canadian government’s Impact and Innovation Unit within the Privy Council Office, and as a member of the New Economy Advisory Committee to the Alberta Securities Commission. Previously, Irfhan has served on the boards of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada (Board Chair), the Harbourfront Centre (Director, Treasurer), imagiNation150 (Director, Treasurer), the Harvard Business School Global Alumni Board (Director), Business for the Arts (Director), and member of and Finance and Investment Sub-Committee Chair of the Calgary 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Bid Exploration Committee.

Irfhan holds an MBA with High Honors from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar, and also holds a BCom with Honours from the University of British Columbia where he was a Wesbrook Scholar. He is a recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Award of Merit, the Sauder School of Business’ Teaching Excellence Award, Business for the Arts’ Arnold Edinborough Award and is a member of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2017).

Stephen Bebis

Partner, CEO Coaching International

Stephen has risen through the ranks of retail management since he first entered the field in the early 1970’s. Stephen has held executive offices at both Sears and Home Depot before he headed north of the border to found and become CEO of Aikenhead’s Improvement Warehouse. He built the company from an idea to over $1 billion in sales in just three years before he and his fellow investors sold 75 percent of the company to Home Depot in 1994. He was also a founder of Reno Depot, a home improvement warehouse retailer in Quebec and served on the parent company board of Group Van Royal.

In 1998, Stephen founded Golf Town, a company he ran as President and CEO until Dec 2011, taking the company public in 2004. After Golf Town, Stephen took over the President and CEO role of Brookstone, located in Nashua, NH. He served as CEO until May 2013 when he left to take the President and CEO role of Liquor Stores North America.

Throughout his career, Stephen has served on many charitable boards including the Moffit Cancer Centre in Tampa, Outward Bound Canada, and was the Chairman of Prostate Cancer Canada. In 2005, Stephen won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was elected to the Retail Hall of Fame in Canada in 2007.