Speakers

Co-hosts

Marie Wiese
Founder and Host
Women Talk Tech

Biography

Marie Wiese is the host of the podcast Women Talk Tech, which reaches an audience of more than 40,000 people in the tech sector. Her new venture WomenTalkTech.info, provides research and workshops to evolving tech companies to help them build programs to advance women in tech. Marie has worked in the tech sector for 30 years and currently helps companies digitally transform their sales and marketing functions using marketing automation. She is the founder and president of Marketing CoPilot based outside Toronto, Canada and an instructor at the University of Toronto. Connect with Marie at mariewiese.com, marketingcopilot.com or womentalktech.info. 

Speakers

Ali Ehsassi
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Government of Canada

Biography

Ali Ehsassi was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Willowdale in 2015. 

Born in Geneva and raised in New York City and Tehran, Mr. Ehsassi moved to North York with his family in his early teens. 

Before entering politics, Mr. Ehsassi worked as a lawyer, with an emphasis on international trade, in the private sector, and as a public servant at the provincial and federal levels. 

Mr. Ehsassi has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Master of Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University. 

Mr. Ehsassi was named the Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry in December of 2019. As an MP, Mr. Ehsassi has also served as the Chair of the Toronto Caucus, Chair of the All-Party Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, and Chair of Parliamentarians for Global Action.

Chandana Unnithan
Chief Security & Informatics Officer
Lifeguard Digital Health

Biography

Dr Chandana Unnithan is Chief Security and Informatics Officer (CSIO) of Lifeguard Digital Health Inc., that deployed an opioid crisis solution in BC, Canada, with Emergency Health Services, health authorities and the Ministry of Mental Health. Her expertise in digital health spans health informatics, cognitive AI, IoT, remote sensing and permission blockchain. She is on the advisory of MyPDX blockchain – Digital Technology Supercluster Canada; a member of WHO digital Health and an Australia representative in the United Nations COPUOS STSC WG-SGH. She has published over 120 scientific papers and is a keynote speaker/panelist in Canada, USA, Australia and Europe.

Janet Lin
Customer Engagement Technology
Loblaw Companies Ltd

Biography

With a background in Computer Science and Business Management, Janet has spent much of her career leading Digital Transformation, Customer Engagement, Technology Strategy, Innovative Delivery in the Canadian Retail, Health Care, and Payment industry. 

She is passionate about enabling Canadians to live their life well with technologies in Loyalty, Subscription, online Commerce, Health and Wellness, Beauty, Customer Contact Centre, Marketing and Media via various digital enablement platforms such as: Customer Identity and Access Management, Customer Relationship Management, Digital Marketing Content and Assets Management. She has launched multiple innovative, industry-breaking initiatives in North America; including recognition for the Global Innovation Award Winning PCid product.

A leader in diversity and inclusion, Janet leads Loblaw’s Women in Technology committee, which promotes a diverse, flexible and inclusive environment for women across all levels of technology, with the focus on recruiting, development and networking. She also leads the Event Planning and Networking on the corporate gender diversity committee, Go Further Women.

Jessica Nordlander
COO
Thoughtexchange

Biography

Jessica is a technology executive with an MSc in Applied IT, an XGoogler and was recently named Sweden’s  most Innovative Leader). 

She is currently COO at one of Canada’s fastest-growing tech companies, enterprise crowdsourcing firm Thoughtexchange

Prior to this, Jessica led impressive change and growth in multinational companies, as Chief Digital Officer for global travel group STS Education; Head of Business Development at Google and Managing Director in Stockholm, Dubai and Vancouver for SaaS growth wonder Meltwater. 

Jessica serves on the board of several tech start-ups and contributes to Forbes.com as a member of the Forbes Technology Council.

John Comacchio
SVP & CIO
Teknion

Biography

John is responsible for providing enterprise-wide technology vision, leadership and management, and for the planning, development and implementation of information technology initiatives. He is a member of the Leadership Team and the Executive Committee. A strong believer in the power of mentoring, he is an active participant in the organizations Mentorship Program. 

John is a member of the IDC CIO Research Review Board, Masergy Communications Customer Advisory Board, IT Media Group Advisory Board, the CIO Association of Canada, and the Institute of Corporate Directors. 

John holds a Master of Business Administration, granted by the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.

Julia Satov
Manager, Learning
Kira Systems 

Biography

Award Winning Learning Strategist. Internationally Published Author. Inclusion and Belonging Powerhouse. Tech Ignited. Passionate about People Engagement, Performance and Organizational Excellence through Learning. Julia has her Masters of Education, a Law Clerk Diploma, Certificate in Professional Ethics and a Certificate in Data-Driven Decision Making. She is the Manager, Learning at Kira Systems.

Monique Allen
EVP, Data & Technology
OMERS

Biography

Monique Allen is the EVP, Data & Technology at OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension plans.  She has accountability for technology strategy and execution, and developing a data-rich, digitally enabled, global organization. 

Monique brings 20 years of experience in technology, digital transformation, product management and P&L roles in the financial technology industry.

Monique holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business. Monique was recently published in “The Collective Wisdom of High Performing Women” and is a founding member of the Coalition of Innovation Leaders against Racism (CILAR).

Nasheen Liu
Partner and SVP of CIO Program Strategy
The IT Media Group 

Biography

By the age of 22, Nasheen has lived on three continents, learned to speak three languages, and begun to embark on a journey that led to three careers.

Nasheen’s reputation in the technology community is built upon her track record as a rainmaker who consistently delivers on her promises. A seasoned and sought-after executive, Nasheen has two decades of success in strategy development, software marketing, and executive engagement. 

As a founding partner and SVP, CIO Program Strategy of the IT Media Group, Nasheen oversees the planning and implementation of the company’s strategic initiatives that impact the Canadian IT executive community. She chairs a cross-industry CIO Advisory Board that provides guidance on compelling issues and topics for CIOs and the IT vendors that serve them. 

Before the IT Media Group, Nasheen was with Oracle (Sun Microsystems), heading up the company’s software marketing efforts in Canada. Previously, she held key marketing positions at leading technology companies such as Infor (Workbrain) and IBM (Platform Computing). 

Nasheen lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter. She gives back by providing pro bono coaching, mentoring and sponsorship to her network and referrals, from new grad to senior execs.

Natalia Modjeska
Director, Research & Advisory Services (Data & Analytics)
Info-Tech Research Group

Biography

Natalia Modjeska is a Research Director at Info-Tech Research Group. She advises IT organizations around the globe on AI/ML, analytics, and governance, helping them to build ethical, responsible and trustworthy AI. Natalia spent 15+ years developing and implementing analytics technologies in a range of roles both on vendor and client-side. Prior to Info-Tech, she led an enterprise analytics program at a global luxury hospitality brand. Her journey into analytics and AI started in the late 1990s with a PhD in NLP at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She also holds an Executive MBA from the Ivey School of Business.

Paul Lewis
Global CTO
Hitachi

Biography

Paul is the Global CTO at Hitachi Vantara responsible for the leading technology evangelism, client executive advocacy, and external delivery of the Hitachi vision and strategy especially related to Digital Transformation and Social Innovation.  For the past 25+ years, Paul has focused on technology R&D and innovation, IT/business strategic plans and governance, security and risk management, software and infrastructure architecture as the CTO and Senior Executive Technologist of several financial services organizations from start-ups to large business services providers.

Vanessa Vakharia
Founder and CEO
The Math Guru

Biography

Vanessa is the founder and director of The Math Guru, a super cool boutique math & science tutoring studio in Toronto. She is also the author of Math Hacks, a book that makes math fun, stress-free and relatable for everyone – actually. Her #goals are to be Lady-Gaga-famous and to totally change math culture so that STEM is finally as cool and accessible as every single Taylor Swift song. She failed Grade 11 math twice, which was the best thing that ever happened to her. Sidenote but totally relevant: Vanessa is a founding member of Toronto indie-rock band Goodnight, Sunrise. Mindy Kaling is her idol and Vanessa believes that she should be yours too.