We’re excited to announce our speakers for IMPACT AI 2019! We’re planning over 8 hours of amazing content, including over 25 speakers from around North America. We’re releasing our speakers as they’re confirmed, so follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter for updates.

Ailish Campbell

Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada & Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Affairs Canada

Ailish joined Global Affairs Canada as the Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada in March 2017. She leads a cross-Canada team of 400 and an international team of 900 Trade Commissioners in 160 offices that serve Canadian business interests to help firms sell, grow, and go global. Previously she was General Director at Finance Canada where she was responsible for the federal budget in policy areas including innovation and defence policy, and Vice President, Policy – International and Fiscal Issues, at the Business Council of Canada where she led CEO engagement in China, Japan, and India.

She began her career in the Canadian federal public service as a trade negotiator on the Doha Round of WTO negotiations. She serves on the advisory board of the Banff Forum, a national non-partisan not-for-profit organization promoting leadership and public policy engagement. Ailish holds a Master of Science (Economics) from the London School of Economics and a Doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford and is designated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Trade Commissioner Service

Ashley Casovan

Director, Data Architecture and Innovation, Government of Canada

Curious about how new technology has an impact on the delivery of public services, Ashley has worked in progressively challenging positions at all levels of government. Since 2010, she has been actively involved in Canada’s Open Data and Open Government Community both as a community champion and implementer. Her new role as Director of Data Architecture and Innovation at Treasury Board Secretariat, has led her to expand her knowledge and engage others to discover the world of Open. Her passionate and innovative character drives her to help lure in and shine a new light on the world of Digital Government. With ongoing projects relating to GC data strategy, AI policy instruments, AI procurement tools, and Leading Open First initiative, she hopes to bring that same passion to those around the GC.

Craig Dowden

Ph.D., Executive Coach & Keynote Speaker

Craig, a Certified Positive Psychology Coach, has a Doctorate in Psychology, with a concentration in Business. An engaging and inspiring coach, Craig partners with leaders and executives from diverse industries and sectors to work on their most important challenges. In his role as a trusted advisor, Craig integrates the latest findings in the science of leadership, team, and organizational excellence into his coaching and consulting work.

Craig is a dynamic speaker who connects with his audience through his passion and knowledge. Participants have described his presentations as inspiring, and highlight how energized they feel after his sessions, as they come away empowered with strategies they can implement immediately within their workplaces. Audience members also respect the scientific foundation of his ideas.

Craig has been asked to share his thought leadership in leading HR and business publications, including the Huffington Post (U.S.), the Financial Post, the Financial Times, as well as Psychology Today.

Craig’s Website

David Furlong

SVP Artificial Intelligence, Venture Capital and Blockchain, National Bank of Canada

David Furlong holds an MBA from Queen’s School of Business and a Bachelor of CS from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada). Mr. Furlong joined National Bank of Canada in 2012. He has held a number of senior-level positions including Senior Vice-President – Marketing Experience Delivery and Transformation, Senior Vice-President –International Development, Mergers and Acquisitions, Senior Vice President Transformation, and in November 2017 was appointed SVP Artificial Intelligence, Venture Capital and Blockchain.

David has led the implementation of many projects to support the Bank’s overall multichannel strategy, expansion strategy, and transformational agenda. Throughout his various positions, he successfully led several projects to increase the use of e-channels, analytics and process redesign while working with nationally-recognized partners. David holds board positions at ABA Bank (Cambodia), ATA IT (Thailand), Credigy (USA), and Element AI (Canada).

Karla Congson

CEO, collectiveIQ

Karla is CEO and co-founder of collectiveIQ, an open agency comprised of over 200 of the top freelance professionals in Canada rooted in the disciplines of strategy, design, data and marketing. Karla brings over two decades of marketing and strategy experience and her work has included business leadership and general management of top global and domestic brands, customer insights & analytics, brand strategy, client experience design and integrated marketing. She has held roles as CMO at Dundee Corporation, Executive Strategy Director & Managing Director at Mirum Agency, Executive Vice President at WPP/Young & Rubicam Canada, and Vice-President Marketing at AIM Trimark.

Karla has also been responsible for the brand strategy and identity development of other significant Canadian brands including Canada Post, CIBC Wood Gundy, Empire Life, and Homemakers Magazine.


Michael Hainsworth

Executive Producer, Editor-in-Chief, Host, Futurithmic

Michael Hainsworth is an accomplished interviewer, veteran news reporter, and lifelong geek. He has interviewed more than 16,000 guests during his 18 years at Canada’s Business News Network and, as Senior Anchor, distilled the day’s most important financial and technology stories into understandable and engaging reports for 2.2 million viewers on the network and the CTV Evening News nationwide.

He spent 11 years in radio and played a central role in 680 News reaching a milestone 1 million listeners. He has hosted fireside chats, moderated panels, and acted as MC for events such as the Deloitte Fast 50, DX3, IMPACT AI, Bytes & Brews, and Canada’s biggest technology investment event, the annual Cantech Conference.

He is the Executive Producer and Editor in Chief of Futurithmic, a documentary series and publication about the impact that today’s technology will have on society in the future.

Nuzio Ruffolo

National Transformation & AI Officer, Microsoft

Nuzio has more than 24 years of experience in the technology industry spanning product development, services, sales, and customer success.  With a proven track record of delivering significant business value for organizations across Canada, Nuzio is passionate about driving technical innovation and taking a customer-obsessed approach to his work. As part of the Canadian Leadership Team at Microsoft Canada and in his role as National Transformation & AI Officer, Nuzio is responsible for providing leadership to drive and accelerate Microsoft AI engines across all the segments of the business.  Of critical importance in this time of rapid technological evolution is to have discussions about the value and principles of delivering an ethical approach with AI so that we innovate responsibly. Nuzio engages externally as a spokesperson to build AI mindshare in Canada. In addition to his focus on AI, Nuzio is the executive sponsor for Innovation Superclusters in Canada and is responsible for ensuring overall success in driving the innovation agenda.

Kris Hansen

CTO, Koho

Kris is CTO at Koho, focused on creating strategies and solutions that help transform financial services and make a meaningful impact on people’s financial lives.

Tashia Batstone

Senior Vice President, External Relations and Business Development, CPA Canada

As Senior Vice President, External Relations and Business Development at CPA Canada, Tashia is responsible for providing strategic direction and operational oversight to the leadership teams of Precertification Education, Member Development and Support, Research Guidance and Support, International, and Corporate Citizenship to ensure high performance in the achievement of business objectives and initiatives. Tashia’s key responsibility is in expanding CPA Canada’s stakeholder relationships in Canada and internationally, developing business opportunities within existing and new channels, and promoting market brand activities to enhance the vision of the CPA as a pre-eminent, globally respected business and accounting designation.  As part of her responsibilities at CPA Canada, Tashia has been leading a strategic foresight initiative to consider the future of the CPA Profession.  CPA Canada Foresight:  Reimagining the Accounting Profession is a multi-stakeholder initiative exploring how drivers of change including technological, societal, economic, geopolitical and environmental are impacting the accounting profession.

In addition to her professional activities, Tashia is the Treasurer and Trustee of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Chair of the Associates Program for Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Business and is a member of the Audit Committee for the Anglican Foundation of Canada. 

Dr. Alan J. Forster

Vice President, Innovation and Quality at the Ottawa Hospital

Dr. Alan J. Forster MD, FRCPC, MSc is a general internist; Vice President, Innovation and Quality at the Ottawa Hospital; Vice Chair, Quality and Clinical Services, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. He is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and Senior Scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

He has received several prestigious awards recognizing his work within the field of health services research, including a Career Scientist Award with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and an Early Research Award and Ontario Research Fund grant from the Ontario Government’s Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Bilal Khan

Managing Partner & Head of Deloitte Data, Deloitte

Bilal is the Managing Partner & Head of Deloitte Data. Prior to joining Deloitte, Bilal was the founding Chief Executive Officer of OneEleven, a scale-up innovation hub focused on helping Canada’s most promising, high-growth start-ups commercialize their technologies and scale their operations.

Previously, Bilal held the role of Director of Policy and Senior Advisor to three consecutive Ministers of Economic Development, Trade and Innovation for the Province of Ontario where he was responsible for establishing and implementing policies to help advance Ontario’s economy. A lawyer, Bilal spent his early career practicing corporate and securities law as Legal Counsel to Russell Investments, a U.S. based multi-asset manager (acquired by the London Stock Exchange Group).

He has worked at the United Nations at the Centre for Business and Human Rights, is a Munk Fellow at the University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and is a member of the Governor General’s Innovation Council. Bilal sits on a number of Boards, including Toronto Global, the Canadian Club of Toronto, and TVO. In 2017, he was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.

Cheesan Chew

COO, RBC Ventures

Cheesan has built her career on not losing sight of the forest for the trees. As the Chief Operations Officer at RBC Ventures, Cheesan is focused on making the RBC Ventures vision a reality by articulating and driving our strategic roadmap and enabling the launch and growth of new ventures into market. She also drives our culture of innovation – helping us operate like a startup.

Prior to joining RBC, Cheesan co-founded and served as Chief Customer Experience Officer at Idea Couture, building it into a global innovation leader. She is a seasoned business leader and innovator with extensive experience achieving growth through market opportunity, exceptional client experiences and operational efficiency.

Cheesan earned an MBA from Western University’s Ivey Business School and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto with her family and spends her free time volunteering and traveling.

Garth Thomas

Managing Director, Business and Financial Products, Globe and Mail

Garth is the first Managing Director, Business and Financial Products for the Globe and Mail. Most recently Senior Director, Business Development at Rogers Media, Garth is an industry veteran with over ten years of experience successfully building and expanding revenue products including Advisor.ca/Conseiller.ca, Today’s Parent, and Maclean’s University franchise.

Lisa Nelson

President and General Manager, Equifax Canada

Lisa Nelson has been President of Equifax Canada since January, 2015, where she leads a team of over 500 employees primarily based in Toronto and Montreal. Prior to this appointment, she was Senior Vice President of Enterprise Alliances for Equifax U.S. Information Solutions (USIS) where she was responsible for over $350M in revenue generated through the indirect sales channel with additional responsibility for the insurance vertical market.

Prior to joining Equifax, Lisa was Vice President of Global Scoring Solutions for FICO, overseeing the sale and delivery of Fair Isaac scoring services to clients worldwide. During her seven years with FICO, she held a variety of executive leadership positions and was responsible for market strategy, product management, direct and channel partner sales, regulatory compliance and business operations. In addition to her work at FICO, she has held executive positions with FIS and Deluxe Corporation.

Lisa volunteered as an Account Executive for the United Way’s 2017 fundraising Campaign Cabinet. In this role, she visited Canadian financial institutions to provide an update on United Way’s work in the community and discuss the partnership between these firms and the United Way in Toronto.

Lisa earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in New Venture Management at the University of St. Thomas. She enjoys golf and fishing with her husband and three children.

Natalie Cartwright

Co-Founder & COO, Finn AI

Natalie is a vocal proponent in examining the ethical implications of new emerging technology. She is an advocate for socially conscious innovation and how the intersection of humans and technology can positively impact society. Prior to founding Finn AI, Natalie worked at the Global Fund in Geneva managing a USD $250 million health investment portfolio. Natalie received her MBA at IE Business School in Spain.

Ozge Yeloglu

Chief Data Scientist, Customer Success Unit, Microsoft Canada

Ozge Yeloglu is Chief Data Scientist, Customer Success Unit at Microsoft Canada. She is focused on fintech and building analytics solutions for some of the biggest financial services companies in Canada. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was the co-founder and CEO of topLog, a startup focused on predictive data analysis based on unstructured log data. She started topLog in 2013 while working towards her Ph.D. degree in computer science at Dalhousie University.

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 lifelong 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 academic knowledge.

Sean Hinton

Founder and CEO, SkyHive Technologies

Prior to founding SkyHive, Sean’s career was devoted to global business. He spent the first seven years of his career working with the Canadian Community College and Institute system at the national level and serving as Chief of Staff to the CEO and Board of Directors of Vancouver Community College. During his tenure, Sean worked directly with the national essential skills program, the Canadian Council on Learning and the Sector Council program, becoming an expert on skills-based training and finding the linkages to the labour market. Sean then transitioned into the private sector, spending the next decade living and working across the world, developing the international markets for Whitewater West Industries. In 2014 he became President of the major attractions divisions of its company, responsible for a $200 million topline while employing more than 500 people across 23 offices around the world.

Ted Graham

Head of Open Innovation, GM

Ted Graham is the Head of Open Innovation at GM where he works with outside partners to solve the important problems that will shape the future of transportation. Prior to this, Ted was the Innovation Leader at PwC Canada where he helped to turn ideas into invoices. He is also founder of the South Core Innovation Hub, a collaborative group of innovation leaders from Toronto’s unique waterfront area. Member organizations include large banks, start-ups, public transportation – all of whom are looking to make a substantial impact on their companies and communities. Prior to PwC Ted was a McKinsey strategy consultant with a focus on understanding and leveraging people networks to influence the spread of ideas.

Anne Butler

Chief Legal Officer and Head of Policy and Research, Payments Canada

Anne is responsible for leadership of the Payments Canada research, policy, legal, corporate secretariat and compliance services, and advises the Board of Directors and its committees. Before joining Payments Canada in June 2015, Anne was a senior executive at a Canadian life insurance company, where she held positions of progressive responsibility, including leading the legal, compliance, communications, and human resources teams.

Anne’s areas of focus are policy development and the strategic management of legal and regulatory risks. She speaks frequently on payments law and regulatory issues relevant to operating core payment systems. Anne received her LL.B from Queen’s University Faculty of Law in 1995 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1997. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Volunteer Ottawa, and the YMCA/YWCA of the National Capital Region, and is a mentor with the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association.

Cathy Cobey

Global Trusted AI Advisory Leader, EY

Drawing on 25 years as a technology risk advisor, Cathy is our Global Trusted AI Advisory Leader.  She leads a global team that considers the ethical and control implications of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. Cathy leverages her unique background as a CPA and her involvement with the EY Climate Change & Sustainability practice to consider the full spectrum of technological and societal implications in intelligent automation development.  Cathy serves on a number of technical advisory committees to develop industry and regulatory standards for emerging technology.

Diane Reynolds

Principal Financial Engineer, Risk Analytics, IBM

Diane has been driving, delivering and implementing large-scale, data-intensive, quantitative solutions in the financial services sector for more than 21 years, providing outstanding technical guidance to clients, offering managers and developers in these areas. Diane has helped move the dial in RegTech and FinTech. 

After taking a five-year break from Risk Analytics to pursue opportunities in FinTech/RegTech and cloud within WFSS, Diane has recently returned to Risk Analytics where she is resuming her role as an advocate for the software portfolio while conducting R&D for a new SaaS offering, Investment Insight.  During the five years, Diane worked on a number of key projects including the launch of four new SaaS offerings and a successful (but confidential) client POC involving 4 disparate technologies and two research projects.

As a financial quantitative professional, Diane has helped to build and launch more than 15 IBM products, contributing to thought leadership in their respective domains, design, development, testing, implementation and sales.  Diane combines expert knowledge of the financial services sector (capital markets, banking and insurance) with deep mathematical expertise and software development experience to help clients turn their raw, untidy data into business-changing, actionable insight.

Diane’s external activities include conference participation, on-going support to local university programs and an appointment to the Digital Strategy Advisory Panel for Waterfront Toronto.

Garth Smith

Director, Industry Relations, Ontario Brain Institute

Garth is Director, Industry Relations at the Ontario Brain Institute.

Manoj Saxena

Executive Chairman, CognitiveScale

Manoj is the Executive Chairman of CognitiveScale and a founding Chairman of AI Global, a non-profit dedicated to the ethical and responsible adoption of AI. Until recently, he was Chairman of the board of the US Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio and served for six years in that role.  

Previously, he served as the first General Manager of IBM Watson, where his team built the first cognitive systems. Prior to IBM, Saxena was the founder and CEO of two venture-backed software companies which were acquired within a five-year span.

Saxena is currently on the Board of AI Global a non-profit dedicated to promoting practical and responsible applications of AI and the Saxena Family Foundation. Saxena is also a member of the London Stock Exchange Technology Advisory Board. He is also a Lecturer at the University of Texas Austin where he teaches a course on the design of ethical artificial intelligence systems.  

Saxena holds a postgraduate degree in business administration from Michigan State University, and a graduate degree in management sciences from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science in Pilani, India.  Holder of nine software patents.

Dr. Naomi Visanji

Scientific Associate, Edmond J. Safra program in Parkinson’s disease and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement disorders, Toronto Western Hospital

Dr. Visanji is a Scientific Associate at the Edmond J. Safra program in Parkinson’s disease and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement disorders clinic, Toronto Western Hospital, where she leads several collaborative basic science research projects and serves as a co-investigator on a range of clinical trials ranging from early identification of individuals with Parkinson’s disease to testing of novel therapeutics. Dr Visanji is also an Associate Scientist at Rosetta Therapeutics, a University of Toronto/MaRS Innovation UTEST startup based at JLABS@Toronto developing new molecular matter as leads for the cure of neurodegenerative diseases including ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Her recent work using IBM Watson for Drug Discovery is focused on identifying existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat Parkinson’s disease and has been featured in the Toronto Star, at TED@IBM and in the recent Discovery channel documentary “This is AI.”

Peggy Van de Plassche

Managing Partner, Roar Ventures

Peggy is the managing partner of Roar ventures; the firm provides investment advisory services and investment solutions to family offices and institutional investors. Peggy has spent close to 20 years in the IT and financial services industries as an entrepreneur, executive, investor, advisor, and board member to leading investment firms, software and IT services companies, as well as financial institutions.

Over the last few years she advised top investment organizations like Omers VC, HOOPP PE, Portag3 Ventures, and BMO Asset Management on multiple aspects such as deal sourcing, investment due diligence, large B2B sales for portfolio companies, portfolio management, investment strategy LP engagement model, data strategy, and technology roadmap.

Spearheading transformation is her “secret sauce,” having had the opportunity to manage a transformation program for a PE-backed organization in Europe in the early 2000’s. Since then she has leveraged a systematic and deliberate “people, process, and tools” approach to increase top and bottom lines.

Roar Ventures

Susan Etlinger

Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group

Susan is an industry analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet company. She is a globally-recognized expert in digital strategy, with a focus on artificial intelligence, big data, and AI ethics. Susan conducts independent research and has authored many reports that are available for download.

She is a sought-after keynote speaker, and regularly presents to audiences from 5 to 5,000 around the world. Her TED talk, “What Do We Do With All This Big Data?” has been translated into 25 languages and has been viewed more than 1.25 million times. Susan’s research is used in university curricula around the world, and she has been quoted in numerous media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, The New York Times, and the BBC.

Susan is a published translator and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.