Who’s Speaking at BlissDom Canada? Why, only the most AWESOME folks we can find. Entrepreneurs and Creatives. Business Whizzes and Great Writers. Leadership Gurus and Inspirational Storytellers. Writers and Bloggers and so much in between. We’ll be adding lots more speakers in the days to come, so keep checking back – we think you’ll be amazed!
Drew Dudley Keynote Speaker
Drew Dudley is a professional speaker, writer, educator and entrepreneur. He is the former Director of one of Canada’s largest university leadership developmentprograms, and has helped raise over $3 million as the Founder or Chair of several organizations dedicated to supporting scholarship funds, social entrepreneurship, and charitable initiatives. This includes a record-breaking term as the National Chair of Canada’s largest student fundraiser — Shinerama: Students Fighting Cystic Fibrosis — which mobilizes 35,000 students at 60 colleges and universities to raise a million dollars annually to support the work of Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Now the Founder and Chief Catalyst of Nuance Leadership Inc., he works with dozens of universities, colleges, high schools, charities and other organizations around the world to empower young people to increase their leadership capacity. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s most dynamic speakers, high-profile musicians and athletes, and even with a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
He has three times been invited to speak as part of the prestigious TEDx series of conferences, will soon be releasing his first book, and has what his friends refer to as an embarrassingly large stuffed penguin collection for a grown man.
Kirstine Stewart Keynote Speaker
Kirstine is responsible for Canadian operations at Twitter, including its advertising business and partnerships. Prior to joining Twitter in May 2013, Kirstine was the executive vice-president of CBC’s English services, CBC/Radio-Canada, where she oversaw CBC’s English radio and audio, television and digital operations. Earlier, she was senior vice-president of programming for Alliance Atlantis where she headed up brands HGTV, Food Network, National Geographic, BBCCanada and others.
Kirstine earned a bachelors degree from the University of Toronto, and is a graduate of the Global Leadership in the 21st Century program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Most recently, Playback Magazine named Kirstine their Person of the Year 2012, and Strategy Magazine recognized her leadership in taking CBC to Brand of the Year 2012.
Our Opening Keynote is a panel of Awesome.
Ward and Al – Ward Anderson and Alison Dore
Ward and Al are Toronto-based comedians Ward Anderson and Allison Dore. Their show, brilliantly named “Ward and Al”, is a combination of entertainment talk, pop culture yammering, political stupidity, and irrational nonsense. There are guest interviews from the world of media, comedy, and entertainment, and our hosts keep the show quick and fun and easy-going. Consider it Radio Popcorn for your day.
Matt Dusk is one of Canada’s most beloved male vocalists, forging a career in music that has resulted in 4 critically-acclaimed studio albums. Dusk’s latest release, MY FUNNY VALENTINE: THE CHET BAKER SONGBOOK, pays homage to one of the most popular musicians of the twentieth century, Chet Baker. Dusk has been awarded two GOLD albums: TWO SHOTS (Canada) and GOOD NEWS (Poland), had three number one radio hits: ALL ABOUT ME (Canada), BACK IN TOWN (Japan), and GOOD NEWS (France), is an alumnus of the St. Michael’s Choir School and studied under jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson at York University.
Eric Alper is CTV’s music correspondent and a regular contributor to CBC’s The Strombo Show, Sirius/XM, TSN 660AM in Montreal, Country 92.9 in Chatham-Kent, DAWG FM in Ottawa among others. He has also been named to Billboard Magazine, Paste Magazine and The National Post’s best on social media. With over 150,000 followers on Twitter) and 10,000+ friends/fans on Facebook while behind the board at www.ThatEricAlper.com, which now receives over 125,000 hits a week, he is one of the country’s authority on music. During the day, he’s the Director of Media Relations and Label Acquisitions for eOne Music Canada, handling the PR for such artists as Bob Geldof, Randy Bachman, Ringo Starr, Slash, The Wiggles, Snoop Dogg, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ray Charles, Sinead O’Connor, Sesame Street among hundreds of others over his 20 years in the music industry.
Candace Alper Change Track
An early adopter of Social Media, Candace has been an active user across the many and varied platforms which has her to the belief that social media is among the most powerful tools that we have to connect people to people, to knowledge, to inspiration and ultimately to action. This has trickled down to her 10 year-old daughter, Hannah who has discovered her spark and blogs for social good at www.callmehannah.ca. Candace is juggling her role as Creator/Executive Producer of Name Your Tune and guiding Hannah as she amplifies her voice through her blog and as a speaker at Free The Children’s We Day across Canada this fall.
Marilyn Barefoot Create Track
Every great team has a sparkplug, a unique energy source, an active ingredient… someone who helps to give the team a personality. For Barefoot Brainstorming , that someone is Marilyn Barefoot. Classically trained in tier one companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, General Mills, Nike and Microsoft, Marilyn combines a wickedly smart and analytical brain with an intuitive gut.
A summa cum laude graduate from major advertising agencies like Vickers & Benson, Bozell Palmer Bonner, Cossette Communications and BBDO, Marilyn is obsessive about originality. A hands-on leader, Marilyn’s brainstorming sessions (trademarked as BigStorming®) have been known to cause blips on Doppler Weather Radar screens. Marilyn is the one who inspires teams to look at every client project as an opportunity to be different.
A three time nominee for the Rotman Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Marilyn Barefoot is a much sought after speaker at strategic marketing conferences. A true partner with clients, she feels that the success of any project depends on listening, learning and getting it. “You must be smart, passionate, fun-loving and hip deep in your client’s business.”
Laura Berg Business Track
Laura Berg is the President of My Smart Hands Inc, and author of the book, The Baby Signing Bible. She is also the holder of one of Canada’s top You Tube channels with over 24 Million views and is now one of Maker Studios talent.
Laura has won many awards and been recognized in the media all over the world. She appeared on Canada’s Dragons’ Den television show where she secured a business deal from two of the investors. Laura was also named a top 10 Chatelaine Entrepreneur of the Year and a finalist in the TBOT Business of the Year award. She has appeared on the front cover of Women Business Owners Today Magazine, front page of the Toronto Star, been showcased in the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business Magazine, MacLean’s Magazine, Extraordinary Women TV, Entrepreneur On Fire, the Chicago Tribune, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine and many more.
She’s a 21st century everywoman who leveraged her personal expertise and the new media into a business so successful that she’s been listed as one of the top 7 Mom Entrepreneurs who made it big alongside J.K. Rowling and Paula Dean.
Joe Boughner Power Hour
Joe Boughner has more than a decade of experience in a variety of strategic digital communications and marketing roles. A blogger since 2005, Joe currently wears several related hats, including Director of Marketing at non-linear creations, blogger at the Yummy Mummy Club and program co-ordinator for Algonquin College’s social media and digital analytics programs. He has an inexplicable love of the long-abandoned piece of punctuation known as the interrobang and was once a “celebrity” guest judge at a drag pageant.
Leesa Butler Business Track
Leesa Butler’s start in traditional advertising and public relations agencies quickly evolved into parallel areas of the online marketing world by the mid-‘90s. A yearn for the big city and a professional life in the digital space led her to New York where she helped guide start-ups and corporations through the dot-com boom. A move to Canada in 2002 gave Leesa the opportunity to take her knowledge to her own clients with Divine Lab, Inc., specializing in social media, branding, events and other marketing endeavors. Toronto gave her access to the fashion world which prompted Leesa to create The F-list (www.f-list.ca) as a vehicle to promote Canadian designers to a fashion loving public.
In 2010 she joined the board of Toronto’s chapter of Fashion Group International, a global organization for professionals working in fashion, beauty and design and is now Regional Director of Canada’s only chapter. Through her writing on the F-list and editorials for various publications, Leesa frequently shares her thoughts and expertise on the business of fashion in Canada.
Glen Canning Social Etiquette Workshop
Glen Canning is a writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His life has taken a dramatic turn following the death of his daughter Rehtaeh Parsons. He continues to seek justice for her as well as bring attention to the deadly effects of cyberbullying. Glen has spoken to media outlets from all over the world and advocates for victims of sexual assault and mental health consumers. His writing appears on his blog and Huffington Post Canada.
Tania Carriere Change Track
Tania Carrière has been inspiring leadership discovery for over 18 years in North America, the UK and France. Her background is in organizational behaviour, cultural transformation, team development, adult learning and leadership. Her passion is designing transformational experiences compelling people to courageously stretch their boundaries, welcome change and celebrate themselves. An innovator in discovery workshops and experiential learning, Tania combines a gift for inquiry with a passion for renewal.
“You already know the kind of learning workshop this is going to be… real, authentic, stretching, impacting and possibly – and if you’re game – transformational. If it intrigues you – join us. I am here to champion your success, your continued leadership presence and your contribution. I will freely share my passion, my strength and my vision with you as you embark upon, and complete, your journey.”
Shelagh Cummins Business Track
Shelagh Cummins M.Ed, is the mum of 3 fab kiddos and wife of an amazing entrepreneur.
After fifteen years in the classroom shaping young minds at several of the country’s most respected private schools, she became an associate at a national training company specializing in content creation, course development, social media strategy and implementation.
Realizing the need for such training and consulting in the women community, Shelagh opened her own training boutique to tailor her services to MomBiz Owners.
Lisa Delorme Change Track
Lisa Delorme’s sales career began when she was just seven years old – selling chocolate covered almonds in an effort to raise funds for her bowling team. After completing her B.A. in English at Carleton University, the young and ambitious professional worked for over two decades at some of the world’s largest corporations including Coca-Cola and Xerox. For three years, Lisa served as President at the Art Institute of Toronto, recognized in the industry for its prestigious Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, and Merchandising programs. She also spent four years as Vice President at the Education Management Corporation. Through her vast experience, Lisa gained the insights and experience to lead marketing, sales, and P&L responsibilities at one of Canada’s most promising new e-commerce businesses of 2011, Rent frock Repeat. Lisa relishes this opportunity to marry her love of fashion with her extensive sales experience into a dream-turned-reality. A determined and savvy businesswoman, Lisa is devoted to ensuring women across Canada of any age, race, or economic status have the opportunity to enjoy luxury and look fabulous for their special occasions. Lisa has been happily married to her husband Jake for fourteen and a half years. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her two dogs Chicago and Lenny.
Sharon DeVellis Create Track
Sharon DeVellis is a mother of two active boys, a wife to a very patient husband, and freelance writer.
She is the Senior Writer at YummyMummyClub.ca where she also writes a blog called The Inside Scoop about trying to balance motherhood with work and keeping her kids active called.
At the age of 41, Sharon decided to try short track speed skating even though she had only skated three times in her adult life. This past year she took on the challenge of training to race in her first triathlon. She chronicles this at SpeedSkatingMom.com.
Sharon firmly believes that you can accomplish anything you can put your mind to and she’s going to teach you that at Blissdom.
Because that whole triathlon thing? She had to learn how to swim first.
Caroline Fernandez Create Track
Caroline Fernandez is the busy Mom behind www.parentclub.ca. As a popular freelance writer and blogger, Caroline specializes in family and lifestyle features; aiming to share information to make life easier for busy families. She has shared her expertise through appearances on TV, radio, live events and more than a few websites. Look to bookshelves Feb. 2014 for Caroline’s upcoming book “Boredom Busters” (Cico Books).
Carolyn Forde Social Etiquette Workshop
Working for Westwood Creative Artists, Canada’s largest literary agency (not to mention one of the oldest and most respected), Carolyn represents a variety of authors including Trevor Cole, Lynn Crosbie, and the blogging duo Fiona Stevenson and Lyranda Martin-Evans (“Reasons Mommy Drinks”) whom she discovered on Twitter. The day after our panel, she returns for yet another year to the Frankfurt Book Fair, the biggest book and media fair in the world.
Lara Galloway Business Track
Lara, who’s also known as The Mom Biz Coach, is a speaker, business coach and mentor to mom entrepreneurs and small business owners. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs create and run businesses that honor their priorities and values. Together with Shelagh Cummins, she co-founded MomBiz.com to provide business planning, marketing, project planning and operations solutions to entrepreneurs who want to work less, make more, and love the work they do.
Lara has been featured in Forbes, Crain’s Business, The Chicago Tribune, and More Magazine.
Neil Hedley Social Etiquette Workshop
Neil Hedley has been kicking around the media landscape since he landed his first newspaper column at the age of 13. Since then, he’s become a familiar voice on radio, a familiar face on television and a familiar columnist in both national and local media properties all over Canada and the United States.
During his time in the media, Neil has helped raise more than five million dollars for various charitable causes with events he either created or led, and for more than a decade has been a vocal proponent of standards of fairness in public discourse, both in the traditional media, and in “social” or “new” media as well.
Also on his resume: Husband, Dad, author, professor, singer, stand-up comedian, copywriter, World Record holder, failed dog trainer, and the guy behind Dadditudes.com.
Tara Hunt Business Track
Tara “missrogue” Hunt is one of the founders of Lime Foundry, a boutique social content strategy firm. Tara was named as one of the most influential women in technology as well as one of the 25 female startup founders to watch in Fast Company. She wrote The Whuffie Factor/The Power of Social Networking (published in eight languages), is a conference speaker and co-founded the international coworking movement.
Jen Hunter Change Track
I have spent my professional life exploring how we can lead with passion, vision, energy and a larger sense of the whole. For more than twenty years my professional contribution has been to foster leadership in others as well as demonstrate it as a leader myself. I deeply believe that leadership resides in every person and is the most valuable and least explored resource on our planet. I have worked with and applied a variety of leadership development tools methods and approaches throughout my career all of which are based on leading by example. In addition to applying approaches of others I have learned to adapt workshops and materials to best fit each unique situation. The ability to tailor an approach to work with the existing needs is a distinct and valuable skill set I bring to the customers I serve. I have focused my passion and my work on ensuring solid process is combined with organizational strategy to produce real and sustainable results that harness the power of our collective wisdom. I have worked with a variety of public and private sector organizations all over the world. I speak at conferences in my field, leading provocative and engaging sessions. Early in my career, I was told that my uniquely warm and approachable manner is central to my success with leaders and organizations. This remains a central to my success – in business, education, politics, community leadership as well as parenting!
Rebecca Keenan Change Track
I’ve been blogging at Playground Confidential since my son was a toddler in 2007. I’ve since had two baby girls, a few different jobs, a couple different homes and countless diaper changes. I work from home with three young children under foot much of the time ad it’s not always pretty. You won’t find my dinner table on Pinterest, if you know what I mean, but I can spin a hilarious tale out of how it got there. My blog has been featured in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Jezebel and BlogHer and listed as a top Canadian mom blog by Savvy Mom, Toronto Mom Now and Sweet Mama. I also contribute to a variety of other publications such as Today’s Parent, iVillage, The Loop and The Huffington Post.
Jesse Labelle Social Etiquette Workshop
Jesse is one of Canada’s hottest pop music stars. His latest album, “Two”, has already yielded hit singles like “Heartbreak Coverup” and “One Last Night”, and is a worthy successor to his 2009 debut album, “Perfect Accident”, which yielded the breakout hit and radio staple, “Easier”. While news headlines and gossip rags continue to cover celebrity meltdowns and promote the myth of a link between fame and fiasco, Jesse remains one of the class acts of the music industry – a genuine guy, and a genuine “good guy”.
Glennon Doyle Melton Social Etiquette Workshop
With more than 100,000 “Likes” on her Facebook page, Glennon runs what is probably the world’s largest “Mom blog” at Momastery.com. In April her first book, “Carry On, Warrior”, debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. On September 17th, readers of Glennon’s blog were invited to participate in yet another of her “Love Flash Mobs”, to try and raise money to secure service dogs for four families from around the country with children suffering from various medical conditions. Limited to a maximum donation of $25 per person, Glennon’s readers raised more than $40,000 in the first two hours alone.
Mike McDerment Business Track
Mike McDerment is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, planet earth’s #1 cloud accounting solution designed for small business owners. In 2003, Mike built FreshBooks for his design firm, scratched his own itch, then moved into his parent’s basement for 3.5 years to get FreshBooks off the ground. Since then over 5,000,000 people have used FreshBooks to save time billing and collect billions of dollars. Mike and his team dedicate themselves to executing extraordinary experiences everyday for small business owners who want to focus on the work they love, instead of on their paperwork.
Web: FreshBooks.com Twitter: @mikemcderment
Corinne McDermott Change Track
Inspired by her two greatest loves, family and exploring the world, Corinne McDermott created the award winning website HaveBabyWillTravel.com in 2007. In the spring of 2013, she joined Canada’s premiere online lifestyle destination, TheLoop.ca as their Travel Expert, and now manages the Showbiz and Family & Parenting sections in addition. A professional writer, producer, and certified Travel Agent, Corinne has written articles for publications such as Canadian Family, Today’s Parent, The Toronto Star, and appears regularly on national television. She was recently appointed Editor of Movie Entertainment magazine.
Elan Morgan Power Hour / Create Track
I go by the name Schmutzie (shmuht’sē), a pseudonym that I still carry over from my first years of blogging anonymously, but I am also known as Elan Morgan for legal purposes. I have been blogging here since August of 2003, which makes this weblog paleolithic by internet standards.I live in Regina, Saskatchewan with the Palinode and our three cats: Oskar, Onion, and Lula. We picked up the first two cats at the pound, and, with the help of a couple of friends, I stole the last kitten from a drunk who was trying to sell her for beer money.I am a writer, designer, and speaker who runs the Schmutzie.com group of blogs — the weblog, Phoneography, Schmoetry, and Five Star Friday — and my work life, the Canadian Weblog Awards, the Grace in Small Things social network, and I am a part of the #BlogNow Twitter chat team. I am also a member of the Violence UnSilenced Board.I have spoken at several conferences and at TEDxRegina, and my writing, phoneography, and I have been featured in print and on television and have been published in various places online.
Andrea Nair Change Track
Andrea Nair is a parenting educator, psychotherapist, speaker, writer, and media parenting “expert” based in London, Ontario. She specializes in the connection between parents and their children. Through Andrea’s media appearances, writing, online presence, one-on-one consultations, presentations and TV appearances, Andrea hopes to bring families closer together.
Haley Overland Create Track
Haley Overland is a Writer/Editor at Today’s Parent and their resident celebrity queen — dishing out all scoop on celebrity families at their Celebrity Candy blog. She has interviewed celeb moms like Jennifer Garner, Camila Alves and Ellen Pompeo, and has shared her knowledge on CTV’s ETalk. She’s also often referred to as Today’s Parent’s “social-media queen,” since she maintains both their Twitter and Facebook feeds. Haley also has an award-winning personal blog, Cheaty Monkey , where she writes about things like motherhood, yoga, her dog “Betty White” and what it’s like to be Clive Owen’s girlfriend.
Chris Read Power Hour
Chris Read is the voice behind the blog Canadian Dad. He writes about his experiences as a father and loves to feature great Canadians, as well as children who are making a difference in the world. He has found a passion for all things blogging and social media related, and loves to spend time in front of the camera. In his spare time, he is a flailing rock star and is also prone to break out in to fits of dance. Chris is also the co-founder of the Gil Read Memorial Foundation, named in memory of his father, whose goal is to provide funding for children who can’t afford to compete in organized sport. The Foundation is in its 6th year and has raised over $40,000 to date.
Eden Spodek Business Track
As a digital communications and social media marketing strategist, Eden works with startups, agencies and top-tier companies, helping them cut through the online noise and create campaigns that are engaging, inspired and different. She believes in the power of online conversations and experiences, and how they can challenge people’s perceptions of brands.
With almost 25 years of communications experience, including 18 years in digital, Eden has a knack for integrating online campaigns into overall marketing plans in a way that is seamless, smart and strategic. From concept to execution to monitoring and measurement, Eden helps companies develop programs that transform brands, build relationships and grow businesses.
Rebecca Stanisic Create Track
Rebecca Stanisic has been blogging about family, community, recipes, Ottawa, and loving life on her blog, A Little Bit of Momsense, for over four years. She’s an active tweeter and loves the community that social media creates. She’s a stay at home mom of two school-aged children and spends her spare time writing, blogging and working with small businesses and other bloggers to help them find their place in the social media sphere. She’s happy to chat about the business of blogging so long as she has coffee in hand. Please note: Rebecca claims all Blissdom Canada rights to Benedict Cumberbatch and Alexander Skarsgard.
Julie Steiner Business Track
Julie Steiner is the Founder and President of Percy3D, a video personalization platform which allows people to insert messages and photos directly into video using the same 3D visual effects technology used in the movies. Percy3D recently introduced PercyVites, a unique line of licensed digital party products including custom invitation, thank you, photo album and everyday e-greeting videos where your child stars alongside their favourite character.
Prior to the founding of Percy3D, Julie held senior positions at Side Effects Software, Deluxe Entertainment Services and Sullivan Entertainment, a multimedia company that has produced, published and merchandised some of Canada’s biggest brand-name exports, including the Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea franchises. Starting straight out of graduate school, Steiner quickly worked her way up to executive in charge of post production leading a team of sixty creative and post production professionals.
Jason Theodor Create Track
Jason Theodor has worked as a Creative in the digital advertising world since 1996. He remembers the primordial screech of low-speed modems connecting to the web, when HTML had no CSS, when Flash was called Future Splash, and when GIF Animator was the only product to create ads. Jason Theodor has devoted his adult life to understanding the nature of creativity. His goal is to inspire, empower and enable creativity in others through his creative framework: Create More Better Different. Jason lives and works in Toronto, Canada for Publicis Modem as Creative Director.
Andrea Tomkins Change Track
Andrea Tomkins is the Managing Editor of Capital Parent Newspaper in Ottawa, a freelance writer, and pro-blogger. She’s an informavore with a passion for social media, community building, and multimedia storytelling.
Andrea is a veteran of the Canadian blogging scene and her blog was among the earliest on the web. First conceived in 1999, it has been featured in notable publications such as Reader’s Digest, Best Health Magazine, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail. She frequently speaks about the business side of blogging and would love to share The Big Secret of her success. Find her at Blissdom and she’ll tell you!
Annie Urban Change Track
Annie has been blogging about parenting, feminism and social change on the PhD in Parenting Blog since May 2008. She is a social, political and consumer advocate on issues of importance to parents, women, children and the earth. She regularly uses her blog as a platform to create awareness and to advocate for change, calling out the government, corporations, media and sometimes other bloggers for positions, policies and actions that threaten the rights and well-being of parents and their children.
Julie Van Rosendaal Create Track
Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of five best-selling cookbooks and a sixth, Alice Eats, that has just been released this month. She has self published and worked with publishers in the US and Canada, and also compiled Blog Aid, a cookbook fundraiser that sold almost 2000 cookbooks in a week, raising over $47,000 for relief in Haiti in 2010. She is the food editor of Parents Canada magazine, columnist for almost a dozen magazines and a freelance writer, contributing to local, national and international publications. She’s the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One in Calgary, co-editor of the new music and food website Rolling Spoon, co-host of It’s Just Food -in reruns now on the OWN television network, and writes and is the photographer for her award-winning food blog, DinnerwithJulie.com, which documents real life in her home kitchen in Calgary with her husband and 8 year old son.
Martin Waxman Business Track
Martin Waxman is a digital, social media and communications strategist, principal of Martin Waxman Communications and co-founder of three PR agencies. He has worked in communications and PR for 25 years, and specializes in social and digital media, social media training, consumer marketing, product launches, corporate and internal communications and entertainment.