Speakers & Panelists
CMI 2023 features a dynamic roster of moderators, panelists, workshop facilitators and speakers
Keynote | Vinod Rajasekaran
Vinod Rajasekaran is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Future of Good, an influential media and learning organization empowering changemakers with crucial insights and information on the evolving landscape of social impact. Thousands of changemakers subscribe to Future of Good daily to enhance their understanding, development, and decision-making. Vinod also authors the annual Trends in Social Impact Report, a widely referenced briefing for leaders and teams. Additionally, he teaches a Master's course on philanthropy trends at Carleton University.
Before launching Future of Good, he played key roles at Rideau Hall Foundation and Impact Hub Ottawa and contributed to Canada’s social R&D network. Vinod serves on the Advisory Board to the Equality Fund, is a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, a recipient of the Lewis Perinbam Award, and has been recognized for his contributions to Canada. He’s a sought-after commentator, speaker, and moderator at global conferences covering topics such as social impact trends, social finance, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility.
Aaron McRann has been the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen since November 2009.
With a Bachelor of Commerce degree and 10 years of business management experience, Aaron was hired as the first full time employee of the Foundation and has overseen a 4X growth in the Foundation. Total granting in the history of the Foundation has now surpassed $8.5 million and the Foundation’s community impact work also includes two real estate investments for the benefit of the community programs and projects. Aaron is a leader at the national level, serving on many committees and planning groups for Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and was nominated to the board of CFC in 2015. Aaron is also one of six Canadian Foundation leaders who participated in a trilateral community foundation initiative between Canada, Germany and Russia. Along with the Board of Directors of the Foundation, Aaron is pleased to promote and develop innovative community building initiatives that have a lasting, positive impact on the communities of the South Okanagan Similkameen.
Andrew Greer is the Managing Director at Purppl. He’s been working in social enterprise and community development for 10+ years.
He’s also the BC Interior Lead, board member, and co-owner at Thrive Impact Fund. In the past, Andrew held several roles with Accelerate Okanagan, supporting tech companies through entrepreneurial development programs in the Okanagan and throughout BC. He is also a former top Canadian sales manager for Xerox. He has diverse experience working in, starting, and serving as a Board member to nonprofits, co-ops, and social enterprises. As a specialist at Purppl, he likes to spend time with leaders on impact strategy, impact measurement, business model and revenue development, and governance structures.
Brandon Robson, Small Business Banker at Valley First, embarked on a unique career journey, starting with trade school and earning a Red Seal Journeyman Electrician Certificate. His transition to banking in 2019 led to a Financial Advisor role, followed by a small business position in 2021.
In February 2022, he made a lateral move to First West Credit Union and quickly became known as the “start-up guy” due to his success in securing funding for new businesses. Brandon’s passion lies in working with start-ups and not-for-profits, where he believes small transactions can yield significant impacts. He has also bolstered his expertise by completing the Canadian Securities Course and various professional development courses, demonstrating his commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry.
Founder and CEO at Happipad.com and Refugeehousing.ca, leading Canada’s transition towards a shared housing economy to unlock hidden housing supply.
Cailan loves to solve difficult problems that benefit society. Happipad is the embodiment of their vision to address housing challenges and social inclusion and creating more sustainable cities. Happipad does this by empowering people to connect with compatible housing companions, creating vibrant and rewarding home environments.
Carmen currently serves in the role of Executive Director at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission where she leads her team to address the complex needs of people experiencing homelessness.
Motivated by living a life of meaning, Carmen has worked in the non-profit space for over 15 years. Being a policy nerd who is fascinated by systems change, she serves as a director at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce where she contributes to the policy committee. Carmen is the adoptive mother of three daughters who she adopted as teenagers. She is a member of the marathon maniacs club but she admits that since getting kids she spends less time running and more time solo backcountry camping.
Caroline Noga has been the Executive Director of The Clubhouse Child Care Center since its start in 1994, and is a strong advocate of safe, affordable, reliable and developmentally appropriate child care.
She has more than 35 years of experience with child care and child development in both British Columbia and Alberta and has sat on numerous committees as an advisor, board member or committee chair. Caroline has ensured Clubhouse community partnership with Childhood Connections, Interior Health, Okanagan College, UBC-O, Regional District of Central Okanagan, the Early Years Partnership Committee with School District 23, and more to provide the best in care for generations of children. Through strengthening partnerships with like-minded organizations, and listening to the needs of the communities in which the Clubhouse operates, she is a driver in creating positive change for the best interests of the children and families in the community. The Clubhouse Farm project was piloted in 2012 after she noted that children are not getting enough time outside and the adverse affect this had on their development. Now, this outdoor classroom hosts ~1500 children yearly to get out, active, and learning.
Carollynn is Accelerate Okanagan’s Interim Chief Executive Officer and General Partner of Okanagan WMAN and has participated in many investment events across Canada.
They became involved with AO during the first Okanagan Angel Summit in 2019. Carollynn participated as an investor before becoming a Director, then Fund Manager, and for the past two years, they have facilitated the investor training. Carollynn has also been in the tech sector for over 20 years, first in the province of Manitoba as a Privacy and Technology lawyer, before working at a start-up that went on to be acquired. They are passionate about building the local innovation ecosystem and enjoy connecting as people who are working in tech. In addition to my involvement in the Summit,
Founder of the OFTP, a Registered Charity centered on harvesting unwanted produce and redistributing it to other organizations supporting those experiencing food insecurity.
Over the last six years, Casey has led the organization from a small backyard start-up to a thriving community driven organization that operates in both the Central and South Okanagan. In the 2017 season, the OFTP supported over 80 community organizations. In their role, they have been in charge of strategic planning, human resources, grant writing, finances, media and communications, volunteer management, programming, logistics, event planning, and social enterprise planning. Casey has led and grown the organization following the principles of equity, diversity, social and environmental justice, transparency, and community.
Cody Lowry is a dedicated professional who has made a significant impact in the Commercial & Residential Construction industry in Canada. Over the past five years, Cody has served as the Director of Business Development at Chandos, a company known for its commitment to excellence.
With a firm belief that businesses can be a powerful force for good, Cody is passionate about creating positive change. He witnesses this transformative potential not only within Chandos but also through the company’s partners and clients, making him an advocate for the harmonious intersection of business and social responsibility.
Emeline brings 10 years of experience in supporting and financing non-profits and impact ventures.
Emeline graduated with an MA in Regional Planning from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, France. She has extensive experience in community-based financing in France and Canada, as a project manager supporting and financing economic, social and sustainable development. Emeline brings 10 years of experience in supporting and financing non-profits and impact ventures, has been a member of several non-profit boards and is committed to supporting social enterprises to thrive and scale.
Hamish Khamisa, founder and creative lead at SparxTrading.com and Sparx Publishing Group, boasts a diverse background in artificial intelligence, psychology, biochemistry, financial markets, healthcare, and public health policy and planning.
He is passionate about leveraging ideas, inspiration, and insight to solve intriguing problems. In 2011, he co-founded SparxTrading.com, providing transparent and trustworthy information for self-directed investors and promoting a level playing field in the world of online brokerages. Hamish has written extensively on self-directed investing and online brokerages. Hamish also established Sparx Publishing Group, a certified minority-owned and -led digital marketing agency based in British Columbia that seeks to accelerate the growth of sustainability-focused businesses and organizations. Under his leadership, the agency publishes Make The World Better Magazine, reflecting their mission to create and amplify content that positively impacts the world. Outside of work, Hamish enjoys contemplating big ideas, curating his collection of dad-jokes for his wife and children.
Jeremy has 15+ years of real estate development, management, advisory, and corporate finance experience.
Jeremy’s professional history includes brokering investment & land sales across western Canada, leading a team at a ‘Big Four’ consulting/accounting firm, a member of the executive team at an BC-based development company, and currently, the Founder and CEO of SNFLWR Investment Corporation. SNFLWR is a vertically integrated organization with an in-house team that manages and executes all aspects of development and construction from acquisition to property management.
Jill is passionate about sharing the opportunity with clients to align their own wealth with their value in their Genus Fossil Free and High Impact portfolios.
Jill is a Partner and Client Relationship Manager with Genus Capital Management servicing clients across Canada, from her home on Vancouver Island. Jill believes we can change the world one investment decision at a time!
Julia Payson is a seasoned leader with two decades of experience in senior management and volunteer roles spanning the globe. She's managed portfolios exceeding $5 million, overseen 45 full-time employees, led major capital campaigns, and launched new projects and facilities.
Julia’s strength lies in connecting an organization’s mission to daily operations, nurturing passionate teams, and addressing compassion fatigue and burnout. Her operational expertise covers Human Resources and Finances, including during emergencies and major change management. She’s also a skilled revenue developer with a strong focus on values and relationships. With experience on four continents, Julia demonstrates adaptability and flexibility when working with diverse stakeholders and partners.
Justin is the CEO of trellis.org, a revenue generation platform for change, supporting over 500 charities across North America.
Social impact entrepreneur focused on the charitable sector. Justin loves to chat about how we can bring more enterprising and sustainable thinking into the charity sector in a healthy way that increases impact for the beneficiaries. He loves the mountains and his other current project is getting his 10 month old ready to snowboard this season.
Meet Katherine Krieger, a dedicated member of the Better World Club (BWC), a youth-led community group taking action today for a better tomorrow.
Katherine is a leader on Project Mini-Forest, which focuses on address the local biodiversity crisis through public awareness and planting native species in the Okanagan. The BWC is actively prototyping products, like stickers and native wildflower seeds, to support this essential initiative and secure its sustainable funding.
As Program Director of IndigenEYEZ and kinSHIFT, Kelly is known for her energizing, out-of-the-box workshops.
Growing up and being of mixed heritage, Kelly has been bridging distinct worlds all her life, weaving together the strengths of her syilx and European ancestry. She brings 30 years of community development at the community, provincial and national levels. Through her on-the-ground experience, Kelly came to see that a common barrier to the success of programs is relationship breakdown and that the key to turning this around is revitalizing Indigenous ways as the foundation for tackling current challenges. She co-founded IndigenEYEZ as a means of supporting natural champions in communities to better respond to the impacts of colonization. Kelly is focused on the role of relationships in systems change and is sought out for her capacity to help deepen relations at a time in history when connections across differences are essential. Kelly has a BSW, Executive Coaching Certification, and extensive training in Creative Facilitation through Partners for Youth Empowerment. She lives in her family’s ancestral home on the Blind Creek Reserve in syilx territory in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.
Kristi Fairholm Mader
Kristi began exploring social enterprise and enterprising approaches to social change and founded several social enterprise initiatives.
Kristi Fairholm Mader (KFM) has always worked in the social impact sector. After returning to school to complete a business degree, Kristi began exploring social enterprise and enterprising approaches to social change and founded several social enterprise initiatives. In 2014, Kristi co-founded Scale Collaborative to support the growth of the social economy sector on Vancouver Island and beyond. Within Scale’s family of organizations, Kristi is the Managing Director of Thrive Impact Fund and Scale Institute Society.
Larry has gained extensive knowledge and experience in business by executing multiple start-ups, making successful strategic investments, being a progressive manager, conducting diligent business development, developing and implementing sound strategic plans.
His deep connections and resources are enhanced by his role as General Manager of a business development corporation in the Central Okanagan and being a Fellow Certified Management Consultant. Larry’s clients and companies receive well thought out planning, execution and management in a highly collaborative, effective and entrepreneurial manner.
Lindsay is a community developer and researcher with a background in agriculture and food systems, affordable housing, community economic development, rural and small city resilience, and grassroots community decision making.
She has a talent for facilitating complex projects from conceptualization to implementation. Lindsay is a co-owner of Tapestry Collective Co-op and the Food Policy Implementation Lead for the Kamloops Food Policy Council.
Throughout her years working within early stage ventures across Canada and Europe, Mari has built and exited a company she co-founded & championed diversity in innovation in Norway, invested in numerous companies and advised alongside countless capital raises.
As the Director of Business Development at Spring, Mari enjoys innovative collaboration together with our partners from government, organizations and corporates to achieve success in driving a thriving, purposeful and diverse impact ecosystem nationally. Mari also spends her time growing early-stage impact capital and investments through Spring’s Impact Investor Challenge programs which she co-founded catalyzing over $25 million in funding for impact entrepreneurs since inception in 2019. Alongside Spring, Mari is the VP of Investment for Echo Labs, using Hyperspectral imaging technology for environmental monitoring.
Melissa Hunt-Anderson Melissa is the former executive director of Childhood Connections – Okanagan Family & Childcare Society.
During her five years with the organization, she worked closely with the Board of Directors and community to develop avenues for more social enterprise programming in their newly opened Family Connection Centre with Drop-in Childcare (opened Spring 2022). Her passion to support family, children and community began with her undergrad co-op placement with the Bridge Youth & Family Services, and it continued with her work in northern Alberta as an executive director building family and adult literacy programs, which included bringing the local college’s fee-for-service International Education program under the nonprofit she managed. Melissa sees boundless potential in social service sector looking at alternative ways of doing social purpose work and leveraging their resources to create funds to fill gaps in the community. In her current role with the City of West Kelowna, as their Community and Social Development Coordinator, Melissa brings together a diverse range of social service providers, community members, and businesses to create positive change. The work Melissa supports at the City aligns closely with principles and practices of Asset-Based Community Development, strength-based approaches to community change. Melissa truly feels that communities that collaborate are more successful at address complex issues like poverty, equity, community safety and well-being.
Mike, who started with Elevation Outdoors in 2014 as a volunteer, later became the organization's first Executive Director in 2015. With a Business degree from St. Francis Xavier University, he combines education with a passion for the outdoors to drive the organization's growth.
Certified as a PMBIA Level 2 Air instructor and CASI 1, Mike shares his outdoor expertise and enhances program quality. Originally from Ontario, he settled in Kelowna in 2007, nurturing a love for snowboarding, rock climbing, and mountain biking, which he now passes on through leading programs. Mike, who believes that finding one’s passion is key to happiness, also serves on the boards of two local climbing associations and instructs mountain biking. In his free time, he explores the backcountry on his split-board, tackles local trails on his mountain bike, and climbs rock faces in the Valley. With nearly a decade at Elevation Outdoors, Mike envisions the organization’s future over the next ten years.
Omar has played a vital role in devising community-based solutions in Alberta, Canada's far north, and West Africa. His extensive background includes teaching corporate sustainability at the MBA level at the University of Alberta, management consulting, and his current role with Islamic Family, an Imagine Canada accredited charity.
Omar’s true passion lies in harnessing engagement to foster innovation, exemplified by his contributions to MBAs without Boarders, the Social Enterprise Fund, Sustainable Works, and collaborations with the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. He was also instrumental in founding Social Return on Investment Alberta and ALIF Partners, both dedicated to supporting for-benefit organizations. Omar’s remarkable work has garnered recognition from CNN Money 2.0 and Global TV, in addition to receiving awards like St Stephen’s College Doctor of Sacred Letters, EMCN’s RISE award for Community Leadership, and the University of Alberta’s Co-op Mentorship Award.
suiki?st Pauline Terbasket is a proud Smelqmix woman, member of the Syilx Nation, and Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.
With decades of experience working for First Nations governments, Pauline is a strong advocate for tackling issues hindering the prosperity and wellness of Indigenous people. She is passionate about Indigenous revitalization and has served on many volunteer boards, including a term as Chair of the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation.
She loves to share the story of how the Syilx Nation spearheaded the return of the Okanagan sockeye salmon from the brink of extinction. In recent years she has become a strong advocate for Indigenous food sovereignty around the world.
Peace holds MSc degrees in Environmental Economics and management and an MBA in Finance, reflecting a unique blend of sustainability and financial expertise.
With over 13 years of professional experience in Trade Finance/Branch Operations, Peace is recognized for their proficiency in alternative finance and intricate funding solutions within the realm of international trade.
They have demonstrated excellence in trade sales and credit risk management, consistently delivering bespoke client solutions. Peace also boasts a comprehensive understanding of international trade regulations, encompassing UCP 600, URC 522, URDG 758, and Incoterms 2010.
Beyond their technical expertise, Peace is distinguished by strong interpersonal skills, an unwavering work ethic, and an entrepreneurial spirit. As an effective communicator, they are dedicated to achieving success in all their endeavors.
Segun Fatudimu is the founder of Impact Toolbox. Impact Toolbox empowers leaders to transform their ideas and passion for social change into viable businesses & community development projects.
He is a social impact and youth development strategist with expertise in developing training and tools that help social ventures scale their impact and become financially sustainable. He has over nine years of experience working on youth development, social entrepreneurship, healthcare, and education projects. He has consulted for globally renowned organizations such as the American Red Cross, the International Research and Exchange Board, Technology Associations of Grant Makers, The City of Chicago and the City of Kelowna. He has dedicated much of his career to empowering emerging social change leaders by discovering, coaching, and connecting them to professional development opportunities. Segun also currently serves as the Book Reviews Editor of the Canadian Journal for International Development and sits on Non-Profit Boards including that of NITEO Africa Society, a Canadian Charity promoting literacy in Uganda. Segun holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery from the University of Ibadan, and a Civic Leadership and Non-Profit Management certificate from Appalachian State University. He graduated with honours from the prestigious University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy with a Master of Arts in International Development and Policy. As a result of his contributions to youth development and social innovation, Segun has received several local and international recognitions. He is a U.S. Department of States’ 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, an Associate Fellow of the United Kingdom Royal Commonwealth Society, and one of the African Youths Award Top 5 Leaders of 2018. He received special recognition from the U.S Consular General to Nigeria-John F. Bray in 2018 for his work on youth development in Nigeria. He is an Obama Foundation Scholar, Clinton Global Initiative Scholar and Second Runner Up of the Maersk Group X-Innovation Challenge in Dubai. He is the winner of the 10th John Edwardson Social New Venture Challenge organized by the Chicago Booth Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. He is a 2020 Ron Tarrson Fellow at Chicago Booth Business School, 2022 Don Levoie Fellow at Mercatus Center, George Mason University, 2023 Robert Bertram Scholar at the Canadian Fondation for Governance Research (CFGR) and currently an International Doctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia.
An accredited professional in communications and advertising, Sue boasts a remarkable track record of over 25 years in the field.
They have honed their skills to become a formidable writer, communicator, and collaborator.
Sue harbors a deep passion for community impact and recognizes the pivotal role that businesses play in fostering the prosperity of communities.
Thi Dao is the partnerships manager at Future of Good, a Canadian digital publication covering the social impact world for changemakers and leaders who want to do good, better. With over a decade creating impact with large brands, Thi began her career in tech and digital marketing, then eventually transitioned to the social impact world to help organizations shift their products and services toward social good — and currently, to help them use storytelling to amplify their impact.
Lawson Lundell is a corporate law firm focused on transactional and advisory practice as well as complex litigation and regulatory legal services for clients in a range of industries important to Canada's and western Canada's economy.
Lawson Lundell was named the top regional western firm in Canada by Canadian Lawyer magazine (2010 to 2015) and the top Regional Firm in Canada by Chambers Global (2015). Val is the former Managing Partner (CEO) of the Firm. Her practice is focused on transactional (mergers and acquisitions / corporate finance) and advisory services in a wide range of industries including technology, sustainable development/venture, private equity, manufacturing and services as well as consumer packaged goods, retail and food manufacturers. Val has been involved in transactions for both private and public companies including mergers and acquisitions, financings and corporate reorganizations as well as licensing, strategic alliances and joint ventures. Val’s practice includes acting for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies through to public companies as well as for those who finance technology ventures including venture capital companies. As part of her mergers and acquisitions practice Val has significant expertise in competition law matters, particularly with respect to pre-merger requirements, including negotiations and agreements with regulatory authorities. Val is on the board of directors of the YWCA Metro Vancouver, the board of governors of the Business Council of BC, and the Advisory Board of the Smith School of Business – Queen’s University.
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We respectfully acknowledge that CMI is taking place on the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Okanagan Syilx people.