ABD 2018 Features Speakers from:

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Keynote Speakers


Stephen Piron

Co-founder & Co-CEO



Stephen is employee zero at DeepLearni.ng, with a vision to build deep learning systems that produce powerful results for enterprises in diverse industry sectors. Stephen is a serial tech entrepreneur, and has owned successful companies on both sides of the Atlantic that have been featured in dozens of publications including WIRED, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Between startups, Stephen also designed computer-based trading algorithms at one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Stephen is a passionate public speaker, and once presented at an event at 10 Downing Street before David Cameron. Stephen studied Computer Science at the University of Toronto and once spent a summer studying artificial intelligence at Stanford in the early 2000s--a time when neural networks were hardly acknowledged.


Gary Schwartz

President of Canadian Lenders Association

Author & Co-Founder of Pegasus Fintech 

Site: If Things Could Speak

Over the past 20 years, Gary has played a leadership role in the high-tech industry founding, investing and managing a number of companies in the health, marketing, social media, blockchain and financial sectors. He is a six-time recipient of the Deloitte Fast 50 Award and was recognized as the "2013 Mobile Commerce Evangelist of the Year" and "2014 US Retail Innovator of the Year."

Gary is an award-winning Simon & Schuster NYC author with titles that include "THE IMPULSE ECONOMY," "FAST SHOPPER, SLOW STORE" and is presently writing a book on the Fourth Industrial Revolution called "IF THINGS COULD SPEAK."

He is president of the Canadian Lenders Association and Managing Director of Pegasus Fintech. Gary is alumnus of Columbia University in New York and the Stanford University Center in Yokohama, where he was the recipient of the Asia and Japan Foundation Fellowships.




Michael Zerbs

Chief Technology Officer


As Chief Technology Officer at Scotiabank, Michael has responsibility for the advancement of Scotiabank’s overall technology strategy while planning jointly with the digital strategy. His mandate includes overall responsibility for Information Technology & Solutions (IT&S), globally. Before joining Scotiabank in 2014 as Senior Vice President & Head, Risk Management Information Technology, Michael held senior positions in IT, including President and Chief Operating Officer at Algorithmics and Vice President, Risk Analytics at IBM. Prior to his current role, Michael was Executive Vice President and Co-Head of Information Technology, Enterprise Technology, and in this role was instrumental in building the digital blueprint and launching the Digital Factory. Michael holds a Master of Science in Social and Economic Sciences in Commerce, a Master of Business Administration in Finance and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Economics. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and on the Advisory Board of the Creative Destruction Lab through the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Michael is married and has three children.


Dr. Stephen W. Thomas

Director, Queen’s Master of Management Analytics

Director, Queen’s Master of Management in AI

Dr. Stephen W. Thomas is an adjunct faculty member at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, Canada. Steve is also the Director of Queen’s Master of Management Analytics program, and the inaugural Director of the Queen’s Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence program. He has been named the Professor of the Year three times in a row in the MMA program. He holds PhD, MSc, and BSc degrees in Computer Science. His main interests are databases, data analytics, and natural language processing. His research has been published in IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Empirical Software Engineering, and others. He is a recipient of the Scotiabank Scholar research grant. He previously ran a tech start-up in the world of big data, and consults in the areas of big data, text analytics, and AI. He previously held an industrial data analytics position at Raytheon in Tucson, AZ. Stephen teaches several courses on natural language processing, machine learning, database design, big data, and mathematical analysis in Smith’s Commerce, MMA, and MMAI programs. He serves on the MMA advisory board.



Sami Ahmed

Managing Director (Analytics & AI)


Sami Ahmed leads Accenture’s Applied Intelligence Advisory Practice in Canada. He is passionate about helping his clients find new growth opportunities using artificial intelligence, data science and data engineering. He has cross domain experience across multiple industries, including Communications, Media, Financial Services, Healthcare and Consumer Goods. Sami has responsibility for go-to-market, leading client delivery, solution architecture and thought leadership in design-led analytics innovation.
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Eric Bogart

VP Advanced Analytics


Eric Bogart is VP of Advanced Analytics for Acosta. In this role, he leads the core analytics development for the enterprise, spanning multiple business units and countries. He and his team are building scalable analytic solutions that embed into core operational processes, enable technology products for business use, and conduct research and development to create transformational capabilities. Prior to joining Acosta, Eric was a Senior Manager at Deloitte specializing in Analytics Strategy. He began his career in analytics with Procter & Gamble focused on Supply Chain Design and Optimization, and enjoyed a series of Retail Analytics responsibilities that took him across the US and France. Acosta is a leading full-service sales and marketing agency providing outsourced headquarter sales, retail merchandising, marketing, and customer support services to consumer packaged goods companies. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., Acosta has more than 35,000 associates and operates throughout the U.S. and Canada.
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Mike Branch

VP  Data & Analytics


Mike is the Vice President of Business Intelligence at Geotab and leads the charge for developing solutions that enable insight from the over 2 billion telematics records that Geotab processes on a daily basis. Mike joined the Geotab team in 2016, and prior to that was the CEO of Inovex Inc. -- a software development company he founded in 2003 with expertise in the healthcare and energy sectors. In 2013, Inovex spun off a brand new entity and its first SaaS product (Maps BI) -- a platform for stunning dashboards and data visualization with a focus on geo-spatial data. Maps BI earned two Silver Stevie® Awards in the 2013 International Business Awards for Best New Software Product and Best Software Design, and the 2014 Geo Award at the Cloud Innovation World Cup in London, UK. Maps BI was integrated within Geotab's telematics platform as a key Marketplace partner and was later acquired by Geotab in 2016.

Dan Zikovitz

Principal Solutions Architect

GE Healthcare

Dan Zikovitz is currently the Digital Solutions Architect at GE Healthcare Canada. 20 + years healthcare industry experience, coupled with deep expertise in computer science, analytics architecture and software development, has shaped Daniel's passion to combine the power of Big Data, Analytics, Cloud and Artificial Intelligence to solve pragmatic clinical, operational and health system challenges.

As a global Digital Ambassador for GE Healthcare, Daniel's focus is to structure GE's next generation of data, analytics and digital health platforms to promote innovation, constructive disruption and empower health systems, hospitals and care providers to impact patient outcomes.

Daniel received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Biology from York University's Centre for Vision Research, has held several faculty positions in Biology, Psychology and Computer Sciences with over 50 academic publications, and is a Certified Modeling and Simulation Professional. Prior to joining GE, Daniel held positions at CAE and Pointclickcare.


Panel 2 breaking barriers; unleashing the power of analytics

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Wei Ke

Head of Financial Services Practice


Wei Ke, Ph.D. is a managing partner at consultants Simon-Kucher & Partners. He is a behavioral economist and pricing expert who advises leading financial institutions on product innovation, pricing strategies, marketing & promotional tactics, customer value management, risk management, value communication, sales effectiveness, consumer behavioral biases, and big data analytics. Wei is a frequent speaker at banking and fintech conferences, and is regularly published and quoted in leading news outlets including American Banker, BAI Banking Strategies, Bank Accounting & Finance, CFO magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Wei received a Ph.D. in Decision, Risk, and Operations from Columbia Business School, and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering & Applied Mathematics, summa cum laude, from Columbia University.
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Pavel Abdur-Rahman

Data Scientist & Associate Partner


Pavel leads IBM's AI & Advanced Analytics Consulting Practice in Canada. This growing global team (strategists, data scientists & software engineers) builds enterprise cloud solutions to drive 10X+ revenue growth and cost reduction opportunities. In addition to his role at IBM, he is an Applied Researcher and Board of Advisors @ Queen's Smith School of Business.

For more than a decade, Pavel has been serving the top management of multinationals in North America, Europe and Asia across many sectors, including Financial, Natural Resources and Public Sector. He is responsible for leading strategy & delivery teams to support AI, Advanced Analytics, Robotics and Quantum Computing initiatives, while developing strong long term client relationships.

Pavel has been identified as IBM’s Top Performer (Top 10%) and enrolled in several Executive Leadership Development programs. He has a bachelor in Industrial (Operations Research) Engineering from University of Toronto and a masters in Data Science & Advanced Analytics from Queen's University.


Brian Keng

Chief Data Scientist

Rubikloud Technologies

Brian Keng is the Chief Data Scientist at Rubikloud Technologies and an Adjunct Professor in Data Science at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. At Rubikloud, he leads a team using AI and machine learning to build intelligent decision automation systems for some of the world's largest retail organizations. At Rotman, he plays a key role in shaping the data science education and research through his work at the Management Data Lab, the Master of Management Analytics program and interactions with faculty and students. Brian's primary professional focus revolves around building scalable AI and machine learning systems to provide robust solutions to core business problems. His research interests include Bayesian statistics, probabilistic frameworks for deep learning, and applications of AI to drive automated decision making. He has numerous peer-reviewed publications on industrial applications of AI and holds several patents in his name. Before joining Rubikloud, Brian worked at Sysomos Inc. leading a team of data scientists performing large scale social media analytics on datasets such as the Twitter firehose. Prior to that, he worked as a researcher at an early stage startup commercializing some of his PhD research. Brian earned his PhD and MASc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto and his BASc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Ozge Yeloglu

Chief Data Scientist


Ozge has a combined experience in entrepreneurship and academics. She co-founded the predictive log analysis start up, topLog, in 2013 while working towards her PhD degree in Computer Science at Dalhousie University. She understands the importance of finding the real pain points of her clients and building solutions accordingly.

She has worked on several different projects on Machine Learning and published peer-reviewed papers. Some of the areas she worked on are Intrusion Detection using Neural Networks and Unstructured Text Categorization using clustering and classification techniques.

Ozge is a life-long learner and problem solver. Her experience with switching from academia to entrepreneurship has taught her how to solve real world problems by applying her deep Machine Learning expertise. She truly enjoys creating business opportunities for her clients by using technology.


Panel 3 Governance, Regulations and Growth in the Digital Age


Parinaz Sobhani

Director of Machine Learning

Georgian Partners

Parinaz Sobhani is the Director of Machine Learning on Georgian Impact and is responsible for engaging with portfolio companies to accelerate their growth using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. Parinaz holds a Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa with a research focus on solving opinion mining problems using natural language processing and deep neural networks techniques. She has more than 10 years of experience in developing and designing new models and algorithms for various artificial intelligence tasks. Prior to joining Georgian Partners, Parinaz worked at Microsoft Research where she developed end to end neural machine translation models. Previous to this, she worked for the National Research Council of Canada, where she designed and developed deep neural network models for natural language understanding and sentiment analysis.

Mark Wagner

VP Analytics & Global Risk Mgmt


As the VP of Analytics, Mark has the responsibility of overseeing the credit sciences area for retail and small business lending to test new credit solutions balancing risk and return across Bank’s global footprint. Mark has been with Scotiabank since 2009, where he’s lead a number of key areas across risk management including strategy optimization, model management, risk technology, and setting global risk appetite controls. Prior to Scotiabank, Mark held progressive roles across the financial services industry, investment banking, as well as the government working as a Federal Economist for strategy and innovation research. Mark holds a Master of Management Analytics at Queens University and a Master of Business Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is an active member of the analytics community in Toronto with involvement at the Vector Institute, Creative Destruction Lab, Next AI and leading financial technology start-ups. Mark is married and has two children

Joseph DosSantos

Vice President

TD Bank

Joe DosSantos is VP of Enterprise Information Management for TD Bank in the Canadian Banking, and Data Collections organization. In this role, Joe is responsible for the strategy, implementation, and support of technology solutions for analytics, big data, data integration, data quality, data warehousing, and data governance. He is responsible for the bank's enterprise data shared services and the alignment of information management technology across the Bank's lines of business.

Joe has over twenty years of experience in large scale technology program delivery and information management shaped by a ten year career at Accenture, a solution development leadership role at Master Data Management start-up Siperian (now part of Informatica), and a role as head of EMC's big data professional services practice. He is a graduate of Georgetown University.

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Lindsay Ellerby

Senior Design Director


Lindsay Ellerby is the Senior Design Director at Normative where she leads the team on a wide range of projects that include research, interaction design, product innovation and strategy, and end-to-end design of software applications. Stemming from her fascination with cybernetics, she is passionate about designing for complex systems and working on unsolvable problems. Lindsay has worked in the field of design for more than a decade helping teams execute for organizations including Cisco, SickKids, Xerox PARC and Citibank.

Normative is a software innovation firm. They help their clients rapidly explore and assess the value of new software opportunities through a seamless blend of research, design and engineering. Their goal is to help leaders get their best ideas to market, faster.


Panel 4 Convergence of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Internet of Things

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Tom Emrich

Founding Partner

Super Ventures

Sometimes called the “man from the future” Tom Emrich is a leading voice in augmented reality, virtual reality and wearable tech. He is committed to driving adoption and innovation in technology which is augmenting the human experience. Tom is an active investor and founding partner at Super Ventures, the first fund dedicated to augmented reality. He is also a community builder growing and managing AWE, a global community of over 250,000 professionals dedicated to XR (augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality). AWE hosts the world's #1 AR+VR conference in USA, Europe and Asia and has local AWE Nite meetup chapters in San Francisco, Toronto and New York. Previously, Tom founded We Are Wearables which grew to become the largest wearable tech community of its kind with a reach of over 120,000 and chapters across North America. In 2018, We Are Wearables merged with the AWE community. Tom has been recognized as a top global influencer for AR, VR and wearables and has presented talks at major conferences such as TEDx, SXSW, TechCrunch Disrupt SF, CVR, WT Conference, Wearable Technology Show, TOM*FW, and FITC. He regularly appears in the media as a futurist and expert including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Space Channel, CNN, BBC, CBC, Readers Digest, Globe and Mail and FASHION magazine. Tom's passion for this space is driven by his belief that wearable tech plays a critical role in our human evolution.

Jenny Hui

Engagement Manager

Element AI


Alex Mohelsky

Partner, Data & Analytics Leader


Alex Mohelsky is a Partner in the Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP and leads Canada’s Data and Analytics practice. He has 20 years of experience in financial services, data (BI/DW, master data management, data governance), advanced analytics / machine learning, technology strategy and enterprise architecture working across the Americas. Previous to EY, he has led the IBM’s Canadian National Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) service line as well as Deloitte’s Financial Services Technology practice.

Simon Smith

Chief Growth Officer


Simon's passion is scaling innovative solutions to meaningful problems. His focus is combining platforms, processes, and people to create powerful growth engines. For this, he leverages 18 years of strategy, marketing, and technology experience, along with an insatiable drive for peak effectiveness and continuous optimization. As Chief Growth Officer at BenchSci, Simon helps more scientists achieve breakthroughs faster by using artificial intelligence to find the best biological products for their experiments. Before BenchSci, Simon was SVP Strategy at Klick Health, where he won more than 10 awards for health communication, including for innovative applications of technology such as virtual reality. Simon has an undergraduate degree in journalism from Ryerson University, and a master of arts in the history and philosophy of science and technology from the University of Toronto. He writes often on science, technology, and their impact on business and society. Find him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonsmith/.

BenchSci accelerates biomedical discoveries. Researchers waste time and money on antibodies that don't work. This slows studies, destroys samples, and leaves patients waiting for treatments. Artificial intelligence can solve the problem, and we're building it. Our technology helps researchers find reliable antibodies 24x faster and 75% cheaper. It now powers discoveries in 7 of the top 10 pharma companies and 910 academic institutions.

Panel 5 Blockchain; Hype & Reality

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Genia Mikhalchenko

Cryptocurrency Broker

TMX Group


Genia is a cryptocurrency and business development professional and veteran of the Toronto technology startup ecosystem. He is currently the first cryptocurrency broker at ShorcanDCN, a newly launched divison of the TMX and the first digital asset brokerage backed by a public financial institution. Previously, he was a director at Toronto based think tank the Blockchain Research institute where he advised leaders in organizations such as IBM, Accenture, FedEX, Fujitsu, Tencent, Pepsico and the Canadian government (among others) on the various use cases, opportunities and current implementation challenges of blockchain technology.

Louisa Bai

Blockchain Market Lead



Louisa Bai is a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Technology Consulting practice and is leading the firm’s market development in the blockchain ecosystem. She has over a decade of experience in the financial services industry across Canada, the US and Asia, specifically in Banking. Louisa spent 5 years in Hong Kong where she started as an Associate in Equity Capital Markets with Standard Chartered Bank and later moved to Credit Suisse as Vice President on the Delta One Sales Trading desk. After moving back home to Toronto in 2016 Louisa re-joined TD Bank as their Business Lead for the Blockchain Centre of Excellence focusing on enterprise-wide strategy development and implementation of DLT initiatives. Louisa has an MBA from INSEAD.

Ameer Rosic

Co-Founder & CEO

Blockgeeks Inc 

Ameer is a serial entrepreneur, marketing expert, investor and a Blockchain evangelist as the CEO of Blockgeeks Inc. Ameer has grown blockgeeks.com to be one of the top destinations in the industry for training Blockchain developer and Crypto bounties. He is also an advisor and sought-after speaker and has spoken about blockchain at many international events. He is a respected blogger and thought leader in the blockchain field who has appeared as a speaker on sites like VentureBeat, Huffington Post, TheNextWeb and Engadget.
Douglas Heintzman

Douglas Heintzman

Practice Lead - Blockchain, Healthcare, & Public Sector

The Burnie Group

Douglas Heintzman is currently the practice lead for Blockchain technology at the Burnie Group, a management and technology consultancy firm in Toronto, Ontario. He is focused on the disruptive impact of Blockchain into a variety of industries and specifically its impact on societal infrastructure including healthcare, finance, insurance, transportation and energy. He has been in the IT industry for 28 years. He has been an entrepreneur in the Mobile Context Adaptive space and was at IBM for 25 years, mostly as a headquarters worldwide strategy executive.   He has deep experience in M&A and intellectual property management.  He was the WW Director of Technical Strategy for IBM software group, served as IBM's chief open source officer, was the sponsorship executive of the ACM International Computer Programming Contest (world programming championship), and was chairman of the board of the SyncML Initiative. Douglas has been a consultant and advisor to a variety of startup and scaleup companies, has keynoted business, government and technical conferences all over the world and has been a policy advisor and expert witness for the European Community, and the US and Canadian governments.  He sits on the board or directors and chairs the investment committee at MaRS Innovation. He has also been a researcher and author focusing on disruptive technologies and investment ecosystem development.



Glen Sewell

VP Business Development

Data Insight Group

As Vice President, Business Development at the Data Insight Group(DIG), Glen has the unique opportunity to speak with business leaders and practitioners across multiple industries to orchestrate the delivery of their data modernization and analytics strategy. This includes Partnering with executives and decision makers to enable capabilities and strategies to improve on their data-based efficacy. Recognizing the value of big data ecosystems and a curiosity for open source technologies and emerging trends, Glen completed the Master of Management Analytics graduate program from Queens University. Prior to joining DIG Glen managed data science teams across various industries and experienced first hand the evolution and delivery of analytics projects spanning two decades. As an Analytics Practitioner the most pivotal moment in his career is the launch of his own consulting practice. Here he gained invaluable knowledge and a full appreciation for the end to end analytics lifecycle. During his free time Glen enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and proudly boasts riding all of the finest mountain bike trails in Ontario.

Dean McKeown

Associate Director - Administration

Scotiabank Centre for Customer Analytics

Achille Ettorre

Member of The Board of Advisors

Smith School of Business

Working in the post-secondary education sector, Dean has enjoyed creating and managing a variety of entrepreneurial initiatives at Queen's University including new academic programs, marketing and IT. He is currently studying the application of artificial intelligence systems for business decision-making and change management during digital transformations. He enjoys working with a few charitable organizations and governance bodies.

Gayemarie Brown

CEO and Founder

Wintam Consulting

As the CEO and Founder of Wintam Consulting and former National Innovation Leader for Deloitte Canada, Gayemarie Brown has more than 25 years of digital transformation experience marrying emerging technologies with a business imperative. A Global Innovation Executive, she leverages digital technologies and channels with innovative business models to drive the transformation agenda. She advises start-ups on how to scale and large organizations on digital transformation. Using innovation principles such as digital disruption, agile, design thinking, rapid ideation/lean start-up, ecosystems, crowdsourcing and open innovation, Gayemarie achieves increased efficiencies and greater market impact. She has led and launched new products and services to markets in highly technical and complex environments leveraging digital channels, analytics and innovation. She has delivered results for Fortune 500 companies and helps start-ups accelerate their growth and time to market strategies
Achille Ettorre is a former Senior Director for Loblaw Companies Incorporated and a member of the executive finance leadership team. He founded the Loblaw Analytics program, aimed at formalizing “big data” analytics capability, mindset and culture throughout the organization. He had oversight of the Business Intelligence Competency Team, Data Governance and Analytics and was also the finance lead for the future state of Loyalty. Additionally, Achille has held leadership roles within Loblaw in the areas of Supply Chain Finance, Loblaw Digital, System Conversions and an integral part of building the future state operating model for Pre & Post acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart by Loblaw. Prior to joining Loblaw in 2008, Achille spent 5 years working for Wal-Mart Logistics/DHL providing finance support, development and leadership towards, the Canadian Expansion of the Sam’s Club Business, Introduction of grocery across the Wal-Mart Canada Network and supporting the Supply Chain Network rationalization to support growth. Achille is currently a member of the Smith’s school of business advisory board for the Masters in Management Analytics Program. He has earned his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Technical Instructors


Shaohua Zhang

Co-Founder & Chief Instructor


Shaohua is the co-founder and CEO of WeCloudData. He runs the public and corporate training programs, providing mentorships to prospective data scientists and corporate data teams. Shaohua has extensive experience in data science. He helped build the data science team at BlackBerry and played a key role in helping the BlackBerry Messenger team leverage big data and machine learning to drive advertising revenue. Shaohua also co-founded i-future.ai, a China-based data consultancy whose clients include China Mobile and several startups.

Faraz Rasheed

Data & AI Architect


Faraz Rasheed is a data and AI architect at Microsoft Canada helping enterprises build cloud based data science solutions. Prior to joining Microsoft, Faraz built and led the Big Data Analytics team at TD Bank which won Cloudera Data Impact Award for the bank. Faraz has also worked at BlackBerry Ltd as data scientist. Faraz holds a PhD in Computer Science with a focus on Machine Learning from University of Calgary.

Cindy Zhong

Resident Data Scientist


Cindy is a Resident Data Scientist for Financial Services at SAS Canada. She works with Advanced Analytics and Data Science teams across the financial services companies to architect their analytics platform and bring their analytics projects into action. Cindy’s analytics experience spans multiple industries, including Banking, Insurances, Energy, Government, etc. She was one of the first members of Scotiabank’s Data Science team. She is also the co-founder of a recruitment AI company whose mission is to use analytics to make the recruitment process more efficient, transparent, and responsible. Cindy’s unique background gives her a different perspective on enterprise analytics platform..