Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia

Christy Clark was sworn in for her second term as British Columbia’s 35th Premier on June 10, 2013 and was elected Westside-Kelowna MLA on July 10, 2013.

Premier Clark is unwavering in her focus to protect and create jobs in B.C. with her plan for a strong, diverse economy and secure tomorrow. Her plan starts by controlling spending today. Her proven commitment has led B.C. back to an era of consecutive balanced budgets.

Her plan also includes working to continue growing BC’s diverse economy and markets, fighting for economic development in every corner of our province, expanding international trade, and strengthening skills training to make sure British Columbians are first in line for jobs.

More than 86,800 British Columbians work in technology, up from 66,000 in 2002 and the sector will continue to grow.

Honourable Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour

Shirley Bond was elected in 2001 and 2005 as the MLA for Prince George-Mount Robson, and re-elected in 2009 and 2013 as the MLA for Prince George-Valemount.

Shirley was appointed Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour on June 10, 2013.

In this role she drives government’s commitment for job creation and economic development by accelerating the BC Jobs Plan and ensuring that British Columbians are first in line for the jobs of today and tomorrow by executing on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which will re-engineer British Columbia’s education and training system. She also works closely with Destination BC to meet the targets laid out in the Province’s tourism strategy.

With more than 15 years of Cabinet experience, Shirley has served as Deputy Premier, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Minister of Education, Minister Responsible for Early Learning and Literacy, Minister of Advanced Education, Minister of Health Services, and was the first female in British Columbia’s history to hold the position of Attorney General, a title she held while Minister of Justice. She has been honoured as a trailblazer in the B.C. justice system.

Shirley currently serves as the Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Strong Economy, Vice Chair of the Treasury Board, is a member on the Priorities and Planning Committee and Cabinet Committee on Climate Leadership and works directly with the Premier’s Women’s Economic Council.

Before her election to the Legislative Assembly, she served three terms on the Prince George School Board, the last as chair. She also worked with the continuing education department of the Prince George School District, becoming its business manager. She was given the B.C. Interior, North & Yukon Woman of Distinction Award for her work in public education.

Shirley lives in Prince George with Bill, her husband of more than 30 years, and they love spending time with their twin adult children and their families, especially their grandsons Caleb and Cooper.

Karina LeBlanc, Retired Canadian Goalkeeper & UNICEF Ambassador

Karina is a retired Olympic bronze medalist and professional athlete who has had the honour of being the longest serving soccer player for Canada playing for nearly 18 years. She has had the opportunity to travel the world, meet many different people, and experience things that many people don’t have the opportunity to. In this transition, Karina has felt herself not seeking to be understood but seeking to understand. Karina strongly believes that we all have a purpose here on earth and the greatest joys and challenges are faced on our journey to discovering it.

In 2016, Karina learned to Dream Big Again after retiring from her soccer career during the World Cup in 2015 held in Canada. She has found herself working in Television with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, YAHOO! Sports, TSN, Global BC, and has found a way to keep a foot on the field by working with the Canadian Soccer Association. Karina has also grown in popularity as a Keynote speaker as she touches more and more people with her stories and her ability to be vulnerable and connect with her audiences, regardless of who she’s talking to. She recently took part in FIFA’s Conference for Equality and Inclusion as a panelist speaking on strength in diversity in front of an international crowd including UN Women and other big names. Karina has also graduated FIFA’s Women in Leadership Program, during which she designed a program, More Leaders More Often, Through Sport.

A UNICEF ambassador, motivational speaker, on-air personality, host and emcee – being true to who she is has led her to some amazing opportunities. This is one of opportunities and she is excited to share her stories.

Robert Atwood, Co-founder & CEO, Hummingbird Drones

Robert is co-founder and CEO of Hummingbird Drones (Hummingbird). Hummingbird is a wildfire and emergency response technology company specializing in the development and implementation of innovative methods for enhancing responder safety and increasing operational efficiency.

In 2015, Hummingbird became the first unmanned aerial vehicle company (UVA) in Canada to be engaged in wildfire suppression operations with the BC Wildfire Service. More recently Hummingbird became the first UAV company in Western Canada to be involved in a successful search and rescue operation.

Facilitating implementation of UAVs on the fireline and emergency response scenarios has led Hummingbird to develop cutting edge infrared analysis software: Hummingbird View. Hummingbird View provides precision hot-spot placement and reliable heat identification for emergency responders.

Hummingbird has established industry partnerships to help further develop their technology and will continue to work with the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC to further integrate innovative solutions for data distribution in the field.

Tanmay Bakshi, Honourary IBM Cloud Advisor, Author, YouTuber

Tanmay Bakshi, a 13-year old wonder kid from Brampton, Ontario started coding when he was just 5 years old. Fluent in several programming languages and host of his YouTube channel, “Tanmay Teaches”, Tanmay built his first app for iPhone — aimed at helping children learn multiplication — when he was just 9 years old and engineering his own machine learning algorithms not long after that. An amazing example of Canadian youth innovation in action, Tanmay is sure to impress!

Daniel Dubois, Founder, Shareshed

Daniel is a passionate adventurer and changemaker. Daniel is one of ten Canadian founders under the age of 25 that was chosen for The Next Big Thing (TNBT) fellowship where he is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Hootsuite. Daniel is creating a world of unlimited access to adventure as the founder of ShareShed and Guiides.com.

Daniel also spoke on stage in front of 20,000 youth at We Day, directed a film series on the collaborative economy, received a monthly grant from the Austrian government to conduct research on the European sharing economy, and traveled to over 30 countries. Since arriving at TNBT Daniel has been named Top 30 Under 30, a Canadian G20 Delegate and the top student entrepreneur in Canada by Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

In the last month, Daniel spoke at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Summit in China, completed a 100km race along the Great Wall, and spoke to both Justin Trudeau and Prince William on the importance of fostering youth innovation and increasing access to outdoor adventure.

Zoya Jiwa, Founder, As We Are Style

Zoya is the Founder of As We Are, an online platform that aims to support people who are facing health challenges with courage and style. Through her personal experiences, Zoya recognized that focus is often placed on living a vibrant life “when you are feeling better.” In response, she has created a positive and inspiring community that encourages people to celebrate and embrace who they are, as they are, in this moment.

Within the last two years, Zoya has completed social innovation and entrepreneurship fellowships with RADIUS SFU and The Next Big Thing Foundation. Zoya is a three time TEDx speaker, the recipient of the 2015 SFU Terry Fox Gold Medal and Prize and the recipient of the 2016 YWCA Metro-Vancouver Young Woman of Distinction Award.

Lane Merrifield, Co-founder, FreshGrade

Lane is a passionate advocate of the convergence of creativity and technology, which has fueled his life long journey of entrepreneurship. Regarded as a pioneer of virtual worlds for children as co-founder of Club Penguin and former executive vice president at the Walt Disney Company, he was inspired to shift his focus to the challenges of today’s education system and co-founded FreshGrade, a learning collaboration tool focused on the challenges facing teachers, parents, and students in the 21st century classroom.

The recipient of several leadership awards, Lane continues to give back to the community through his many philanthropic endeavours, mentoring and investing in early stage technology companies, and volunteering on several boards including his recent appointment to the Premiers Technology Council.

Aaron McHardy, Senior Producer at EA SPORTS FIFA, Electronic Arts

Aaron is currently the Senior Producer of EA SPORTS FIFA based at the EA Vancouver studio. He left a successful career in soccer where he represented his country of Jamaica at the international level to join EA SPORTS and the FIFA franchise. For the past 11 years, he’s worked across the FIFA franchise with a focus on the gameplay components of the game, and today is senior producer for what is the world’s most popular sports video game and the #1 selling console video game on the planet in 2016.

Andrea Palmer, Founder & CEO, Awake Labs

Andrea is the Founder and CEO of Awake Labs, a digital health company committed to empowering those living with neurological disorders. Awake Labs’ first product, Reveal, is a tool that measures and tracks physiological signals in real-time to help people with autism understand their stress to increase independence.

Andrea holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Commerce from UBC, where she is the former President of the Engineering Undergraduate Society. She also completed the Graduate Studies Program from Singularity University. Andrea is dedicated to developing strong entrepreneurial communities and collaborates with teams of other young entrepreneurs.

As young entrepreneur, Andrea has been awarded Startup Canada’s Young Entrepreneur Award for BC & The North, Next 36 Outstanding Venture Award, Vancouver Board of Trade’s Wendy MacDonald Award’s Young Women of Promise and won the Canadian Global Impact Competition.

Byron Thom, Associate Director, BDC IT Venture Fund

Byron is an Associate Director with the BDC IT Venture Fund, one of Canada’s largest and most active investors in early stage startup companies. As part of the venture capital team, Byron focuses on identifying and investing in exceptional Canadian software companies.

Prior to joining BDC, Byron co-founded Optigo Networks, a solutions company bringing security and visibility to the internet of things within commercial buildings. Leveraging his background in engineering and law, he brings a unique viewpoint to venture by seeing the startup ecosystem through a technology, policy and operator lens.