Keynote Speaker: David Chilton
Former “Dragon”, CBC TV’s Dragons’ Den 
Bestselling Author, The Wealthy Barber

Whether it’s helping millions of Canadians achieve personal financial success or investing in low-fat cookbooks, David Chilton has always had a knack for recognizing great ventures, a skill he proudly leveraged as a “dragon” on CBC television’s #1 hit show, Dragons’ Den. Called “charming, unpretentious, and funny,” by The Chicago Sun-Times, Chilton puts his business expertise and life experience to work in his informative and inspiring talks.

Chilton began his career by self-publishing his book The Wealthy Barber in 1989. It was written in 26 months, and was specifically targeted toward those with little investment experience, in order to help them develop positive personal-finance habits. The book has become one of the most popular Canadian books of all time, with two million copies sold since its release. 

Chilton’s second book, also self-published, is The Wealthy Barber Returns, and is yet another runaway Canadian bestseller. He is also the publisher of the bestselling cookbooks Looneyspoons; Crazy Plates; and Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! (working with authors Janet and Greta Podleski).

An economics graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University, Chilton won the award for the highest mark in the country on the Canadian Securities Course. He is also a frequent guest on national television and radio shows.


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Georgette Zinaty, MBA, MSc, DBA
Chief of Staff at Myant

"How to be a leader through the lens of DEI"

Dr. Georgette Zinaty is currently the Chief of Staff at Myant and Practice Lead for their Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Zinaty holds a Bachelor degree in English and Political Science, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Liverpool, a Master’s of Science from the Henley School of Business and a certificate on Leading Strategic Change within Organizations from Harvard University.

She holds a Doctorate in Business Administration—a joint program with the Rotman School of Business and the Henley School of Business. Dr. Zinaty’s research focuses on business leadership, diversity, inclusion and the future of leadership. Dr. Zinaty is also a Professor at Western University as well at the Rotman School of Business.

Dr. Zinaty is a strong advocate for leadership and inclusion within organizations. She is a frequent contributor and thought leader to Forbes on issues of leadership, inclusion and business and has been a frequent global panelist, keynote and a public speaker, including a TEDx talk, and most recently at the World Diversity in Leadership Conference alongside Martin Luther King III, world leaders and Julia Gillard Former PM of Australia. She is the recipient the Canadian University Productivity Award as well as the Stepping Up Award in recognition of innovation in the workplace.

Read more about Dr. Zinaty  




Keynote Speaker: James Mullinger
Award-winning stand-up comedian, television
presenter and bestselling author
Inspirational and motivational keynote speaker

James Mullinger was one of the UK’s hardest working comedians and Comedy Editor for GQ magazine when he moved to Canada in February 2014. Since his arrival, he has taken the country by storm. Sold out shows across the country, appearances on CBC’s The Debaters, movies, TV shows, festivals, awards, stand-up specials he’s done it all.

An award-winning writer, comedian and filmmaker, he spent 15 years in a senior position at British GQ magazine, interviewing everyone from Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Rudd to Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson and launching the magazine’s digital division. In April 2016 and 2018, James sold out Harbour Station Arena in New Brunswick, outselling both Jerry Seinfeld and Guns N Roses at the same venue. 
His latest stand up special, Almost Canadian, shot straight to #1 on the iTunes charts and was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Taped Live Performance. It is available to watch internationally on Amazon Prime Video. In June 2017 he launched Atlantic Canada's first ever international magazine, [EDIT] - an award-winning premium media brand devoted to celebrating business leaders and creatives doing the unexpected while expanding Atlantic Canada’s global reach. 

And learn more about him here:


Breakout Speaker: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois 
Professor, Food Distribution and Policy
Faculty of Management
Senior Director, Agri-food Analytics Lab
Dalhousie University, Canada
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is a Professor in food distribution and policy in the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is also the Senior Director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab, also located at Dalhousie University. He is as well the former Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University. Before joining Dalhousie, he was affiliated with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, which he co-founded. While at the University of Guelph, he was also the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Business and Economics. He is a former director of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy in Regina where he was also Associate Dean at the Faculty of Business Administration of the Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business. He is a recipient of multiple federal government research grants.

Known as “The Food Professor”, his current research interest lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. He is one of the world's most cited scholars in food supply chain management, food value chains and traceability. Since 2020, he co-hosts The Food Professor podcast, discussing issues in the food, foodservice, grocery and restaurant industries. The podcast is ranked in the top 10 most listened management podcast in Canada.

He has authored seven books on global food systems, his recent one titled Poutine Nation explores the journey of the iconic Canadian dish from humble beginning to international success. He has also published over 750 peer-reviewed journal articles in several academic and professional publications. Furthermore, his research has been featured in several newspapers and media groups, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC, NBC, ABC, Fox News, Foreign Affairs, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star. 


Breakout Speaker: Matthew J. Golding
Director, Business Restructuring | Directeur, Restructuration d’entreprise

Matt is a financial problem solver. He has worked in the financial services and banking sectors for over 15 years, with a focus on insolvency and restructuring. Matt works as a Director in the Business Restructuring Unit for the Business Development Bank of Canada based in Halifax. Matt obtained designations as a Chartered Insolvency Restructuring Professional (CIRP), a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). Matt is a board member for the Canadian Association of Insolvency Restructuring Professionals and Nova Scotia Association of Insolvency Restructuring Professionals.


Breakout Speaker: Rick Fair, BA, BEd
Associate, Fairwinds Training and Development

Rick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree as well as a Bachelor of Education degree. Throughout his career, Rick has drawn on his educational training whether it is in sales, coaching, designing or facilitating high performance training programs.

Rick spent ten years within the petroleum industry in Ontario for both Texaco Canada and Imperial Oil. The bulk of that time Rick was employed as a training administrator specializing in the design and facilitation of performance enhancing programs. Rick is highly qualified and is able to certify in Train-the-Trainer as well as Facilitative Leadership and Strategic Planning.

Fairwinds has worked with companies of all sizes and classes of trade including clients such as Moosehead Breweries, Peter Kohler Windows as well as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. In 1997 and 1998 Rick worked with Pepsi International in Russia with their sales, merchandising and management teams. Rick has also worked with several associations on delivering workplace education and skill development to their employees and members as part of their continuing education programs. Fairwinds Training and Development’s primary focus is on the delivery of supervisory, leadership, sales, customer service, productivity and management programs designed on increasing employee performance that leads to company profits.


Breakout Speaker: Corporal Laurie Haines, CPA, CA, CFE, BBA
Financial Crimes Supervisor / Investigator at RCMP

"Major fraud files from the police perspective"

Corporal Laurie Haines has a degree in Business Administration and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA).  He worked as a professional accountant at a large public accounting firm, then at the Office of the Auditor General in New Brunswick.  In 2001, he made a career change and went to the RCMP training academy in Regina to become a sworn police officer.
For the past 22 years, he has done a variety of police-related duties throughout Canada, with much of his policing career focused on Financial Crime and Proceeds of Crime investigations.  He is currently a supervisor with the Nova Scotia RCMP Commercial Crime Section investigating complex financial crimes throughout the Province of Nova Scotia.  Laurie has investigated financial crimes from small-dollar online scams, to multi-million-dollar internal employee frauds, to complex Ponzi investments schemes and financing frauds with tens of millions of dollars in losses.  He regularly assists and trains front line RCMP officers on investigating fraud complaints and is a representative on a national fraud working group.  He is a strong advocate for fraud prevention and education.

In his spare time, Laurie loves anything outdoors including hiking, kayaking and fishing.  He is a very active Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer and instructor of SAR courses such as Lost Person Behaviour, Managing Lost Person Incidents and Urban Search and Rescue.



Breakout Speaker: Simon Dombrowski, CCP
Director of Credit at Russel Metals Inc.

"A Credit Manager’s Approach to Financial Assessment"

Simon Dombrowski has been serving as the Director of Credit – Canada for Russel Metals Inc. since 2017. In this role, he assumes leadership of the corporate credit department, which is responsible for the implementation and supervision of credit policies, compliance, controls and procedures. He is responsible for the accounts receivable of the company and overseeing a team of over 65 credit managers and analysts across the organization.
He also served on the board of the Atlantic Chapter of Credit Institute as National Director and Marketing Chair. Prior to this, he worked as a Credit Assistant for IPL Inc. and as a Credit Officer for Normand Pinard Inc. Simon holds a Certified Credit Professional CCP designation.

Simon Dombrowski began working in the credit industry over 25 years ago, and it is unsurprising to those familiar with him, that he remains actively involved in this field. Throughout his career, he has consistently demonstrated qualities such as diligence, attentive listening, establishing strong connections, cultivating trust, and maintaining a high level of professionalism. Moreover, he serves as a role model by exemplifying these principles in his own actions.



Breakout Speaker: Iaian Archibald
Archibald Consulting

"AI & Ethics"

Iaian Archibald is a consultant, entrepreneur, writer, and facilitator with an expertise in emerging technologies, specifically focused on practical applications of artificial intelligence. He has experience building and selling technology start-ups (exit, 2020), program development, coaching/training/mentoring, and not-for-profit governance.
Iaian has an MBA from The Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary’s University focused on Management Consulting and Emerging Technology. He also has a Specialty in AI for Business from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. He is passionate about the marine environment, building communities, public policy, emerging technology, and how technology enables social and economic change.


Breakout Speaker: Michael O'Leary
Robert Half

Michael O'Leary is a Regional Vice- President for Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. His area of responsibility currently includes managing the daily operations of Robert Half’s Quebec and Ottawa offices.

Michael has spent more than 25 years of his professional life in the recruitment industry and has experienced all phases of the job market cycle first-hand. He is thoroughly familiar with the staffing skills that are currently in demand and is an expert on the employment trends within the accounting and finance industries. Under Michael's direction, RH has achieved great success in establishing itself as a leading provider of highly skilled professionals. In addition, Michael has often shared his perspectives on workplace issues and hiring trends at professional association conferences and events.


Breakout Speaker: Luke C. Godin

Luke focuses his practice on Mortgage Enforcement, Collections and Estate Litigation. Luke often appears in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court on behalf of clients, and has also appeared before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, New Brunswick Court of the Queen’s Bench, and Small Claims Court. Luke strives to provide timely and practical advice to his clients.

Luke is the President of the Nova Scotia SurfAble Association, and a long time board member of the Metro Community Housing Board. He is also a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Canadian Bar Association.

Luke enjoys spending time with his family (and dog), and can often be found snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking and generally spending time outside.



Breakout Speaker: Matthew J. Munro, CPA CGA CIRP LIT
Chief Insolvency Officer at Bromwich+Smith   

Matt started his Insolvency career as a co-op student with KPMG in 1994. Earned his License as a Trustee in Bankruptcy ( “Licensed Insolvency Trustee”) in 2003, earned his Certified General Accountants designation in 2008.

With over 25 years of insolvency experience in Atlantic Canada with both National Insolvency Firms and Regional Firms. Primarily dealing with consumer insolvency and small business insolvency. Matt has assisted thousands of the consumer and business owners navigate the complexities of the Canadian Insolvency system.

Matt is now the Chief Insolvency Office for Bromwich & Smith Inc. a Calgary Alberta based Insolvency Firm with offices in most provinces. Every day, I am inspired by helping people, whether it is a BSI team member or a Canadian consumer, the challenge of solving the problem and helping people learn and grow. I love what we do, it is a new challenge every day, helping people with financial difficulty.

"It is never wrong to do the right thing." - Mark Twain



Breakout Speaker: Cindy O'Donnell
RMT, CranioSacral Therapist, Educator & Breakthrough Specialist.

MA multi-faceted intuitive health practitioner and International speaker & educator, Cindy O’Donnell was born and raised in a small town on the East Coast of Canada.

Since graduating with honors from the Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage in 2007, she has since become certified in Craniosacral Therapy & Somato-Emotional Release and is a teaching assistant with the Upledger Institute in Palm Beach Florida for these modalities.  

Certified Yin & Yang Yoga Teacher, trained Leadership and Personal Development coach, deeply spiritual and finely attuned to the frequencies and energies that surround all things, Cindy guides her clients towards optimal health and alignment through therapeutic treatments, mindfulness coaching and her intuitive gift of mediumship & channeling to help people heal from unprocessed grief to live happy and healthy in their body and their reality. She also works with people internationally through private sessions, live signature programs and pre-recorded workshops.  

Having made helping others her professional focus for over a decade, she brings new meaning to health and wellness.


Breakout Speaker: Martin Girard, CPA
   Chief Accountant at Barrette Structural

Martin embarked on his finance career journey in 2002, earning his CPA license in 2004 and demonstrating a commitment to excellence and expertise from the start. His career has spanned a diverse range of industries, including telecommunications, food, banking, and pharmaceuticals, serving as both a financial analyst, chief accountant and consultant in several prominent organizations.
For the past 12 years, he has led the credit department at Barrette Structural, focusing on optimizing resources and achieving outstanding results. He is dedicated to efficiency and effectiveness, developing custom tools with Access and PowerBI to meet specific needs for himself, but also for various departments within his company’s group. Recently, he has turned his attention to leveraging artificial intelligence tools to assist in his work, continuing efforts in optimization and improving outcomes. His passion for resource optimization and results achievement, coupled with a proactive approach to incorporating AI tools, reflects his ongoing commitment to excellence in the credit field.

Breakout Speaker: Kristin Payn-Smith, MBA
VP, Financing Specialists


Kristin has worked at RBC for over 25 years, the majority within Commercial Banking. She has lead roles in Group Risk Management and as a Senior Account Manager impacting clients across numerous industries including manufacturing, wholesaling, transportation, not-for-profit and public sector.

Kristin leads a team of Finance Specialists providing superior business, financial and credit advice. Her team is a strategic partner, preparing financial analysis, financial modeling, research for sector & industry. They also engage in Credit Risk Management reporting, account conduct, supplier / buyer analysis.

Her team also takes responsibility for dealing with aspects of clients' annual renewal applications and working on ad hoc projects including sector analysis, client portfolios, Know Your Customer (KYC) / Anti Money Laundering (AML), client returns modeling. Kristin completed her B.B.A. from St. Francis Xavier University and began her banking career in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. In a move to Vancouver where she lived for 12 years, Kristin completed her M.B.A. Family has brought her back to the Maritimes.

Breakout Speaker: Lydia Bouzar-Benlabiod 
Ph.D, Assistant Professor
Jodrey School of Computer Science

"Tendances récentes en Intelligence Artificielle : Opportunités et Défis" 

Lydia Bouzar-Benlabiod est professeure adjoint à Acadia University, Wolfville, Canada. Elle a obtenu son doctorat en informatique de l’université d’Artois en France et son diplôme d’ingéniorat en informatique de l’École Supérieure d’Informatique d’Alger (ESI). Ses domaines d’intérêts incluent l’analyse d’images médicales, la préservation de la confidentialité en apprentissage machine et l’apprentissage machine basé sur le hardware.

Breakout Speaker: Carla Heggie 
LLM Candidate, Schulich School of Law

"How Much Credit Should We Give to AI?" 

From Dalhousie University in the ‘70s, I spent 12 years in the book business followed by 28 years in the public sector with the Province of NS. Coming from a policy background, I have been broadly immersed in information policy and the field of information access & privacy (IAP) since 1991. As a certified IAP professional, I have been involved with the development of IAP legislation and policy over the years; spoken across Canada on privacy, access, IM, and the IAP profession; and delivered training in the IAP field in the government, corporate, and academic arenas.

Leaving the public service in 2016, I started teaching part-time here at Dal; founded the company Teal Creative Thinking specialising in consultation in the areas of privacy, policy, process, and patient advocacy; and have become more actively involved in the area of patient-oriented health research. From November 2017 to April 2018, I was delegated as the FOIPOP Coordinator for Dalhousie University.

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