Gerry Smith assumed the role of president and CEO of CiRBA in
November 2005. Prior to joining CiRBA, he served as executive vice
president of IT Governance solutions at Compuware Corporation, a
publicly traded company.
Smith was previously CEO and a founder of Changepoint Corporation, an IT
Governance software company acquired by Compuware in 2004 for $100
million. During his tenure at Changepoint, Smith raised over $40 million
in venture capital and grew the business from $0 to over $30 million in
revenue. He is a member of the Young Presidents Association (YPO) and
was honored in 2002 as one of Canada's Top 40 under 40™.
Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in mechanical
engineering from The University of Toronto and a Masters of Business
Administration from McMaster University.
Justin Cook, President, Convurgency
Convurgency Inc. is a bleeding-edge interactive marketing agency
single mission: to show leading SMB and enterprise-sized organizations
how to cost-effectively harness the online world to boost brand equity
and energize revenue growth.
Justin Cook is a product of the digital age. Previously he has developed
and driven the digital strategy for companies such as SAS and Borderware
in Canada, when he then decided to branched out on his own to form
Toronto-based Convurgency Inc. Though barely past the age of 30, when it
comes to the Web, Justin has seen and done it all.
Tech-savvy, with astute business acumen, Cook is an expert strategist in
all things digital - from creative and pragmatic site design and SEO, to
social media and online reputation management. Cook has been featured in
articles by the Financial Post and DirectMarketing magazine and
currently, Convurgency Inc. was nominated for a 2011 Toronto Board of
Trade Business Excellence Award.
Margaret Hachey, Executive Vice
Margaret founded Duocom in Toronto in 1980. Chatelaine and Profit
magazine recognized her over an 11 year period as ranking in the top 10
of the Top 100 Women business owners in Canada.
Duocom specializes in helping their clients use technology to
communicate, by selling or renting high-tech data/video projectors, by
designing and integrating classrooms, meeting rooms, boardrooms,
tactical control rooms, theatres and lecture halls, and by staging live
Previously, Margret has been on the Steering Committee of Step Ahead,
and a mentor for six years with the program, helping women entrepreneurs
whose businesses were in the second stage of growth. She is also
Special Advisor to Youth in Motion Education Foundation a non-profit
organization to help youth gain access to higher education. As a board
member for Youth in Motion, she helped launch the national program Top
20 Under 20, that recognizes outstanding achievement of young people
across the country.
Currently she sits on a charity board at the Vivian Medical Spa to raise
funds for terminally ill cancer patients and is an Advisory Board member
for the Womens' Initiative at Rotman School of Management.
Robert Burko, President CEO, Elite
Robert Burko is the President and Founder of Elite Email, a world
leader in email marketing solutions.
As one of Canada's chief email marketing and digital marketing
specialists, Burko has appeared on national television, radio programs,
podcasts, and countless print publications across North America. He is
one of two authorized speakers for the Email Experience Council in
Canada. Burko was also featured in the popular CBC documentary "The
Selling Game" that focused on the emerging social media
Under Burko's leadership, Elite Email has received many awards and
- Business Excellence Award Winner - "Under 30" Toronto Board of Trade,
- Top 50 Email Marketing Service Provider Website Magazine, 2009
- Top 300 Canadian IT Companies Branham Group (Backbone Magazine),
- Top 25 Up & Coming IT Companies
- Branham Group (Backbone Magazine), 2007
Burko also a founder and board member of Step by Step Africa, a
nonprofit organization that provides AIDS/HIV support to several
villages in Africa. In 2007 he was recognized by the Canadian House of
Commons as an Outstanding Volunteer for his philanthropic service
through the organization.
M. Aamir, CEO, Jugnoo Inc.
For over 16 years, Mohammad Aamir ("Aamir") has successfully started
and sold three technology companies, creating a record of strong returns
for himself, his investors and his employees. He has continuously
assembled a diverse and world-class group of visionary and strategic
thinkers, industry analysts, designers, and software engineers to bring
creativity and innovation to everything we do. His expertise is in
building value in start-ups through developing and introducing market
focused high value technologies.
Lisa Shepherd, Founder & President,
The Mezzanine Group
The Mezzanine Group is a Business to Business strategy and marketing
firm based in Toronto. Mezzanine has been named twice to the Profit Hot
50 and twice to the Profit 100; Lisa has twice been the youngest female
CEO on the Profit 100.
At the age of 24 Lisa established her first business, which she sold in
1999. She went on to establish Mezzanine after serving as managing
director of the Ivey Business Consulting Group at Western University for
3 years. Mezzanine has grown from a start-up to an 18-person B2B
specialist that provides strategy and marketing services for executives
in private, public and non-profit organizations. Mezzanine has worked
with over 200 companies in over 30 industries, and is on a mission to
add $1B of revenues to its client base of Canadian companies.
Rob Henderson, President,
Studentawards Inc. / Uthink
Rob is President of Studentawards Inc. & Uthink, Canada's largest
community of young Canadians with over 2 million registered members
through its various programs and online properties.
Prior to taking the helm at Studentawards / Uthink, Rob held senior
executive positions at Cyberplex, 80/20 Solutions, DECOSTA Marketing
where he was responsible for leading digital and technology teams
through high-growth periods. Rob has been a trusted digital marketing
advisor for some the world's most respected brands including world
renowned entertainers (Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Kevin James), leading
financial institutions, and consumer packaged goods companies.
As an entrepreneur, one of Rob's passions is to help build and support
an entrepreneurial culture in Canada. He is currently an advisor and
donor to Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE), Canada's largest
student entrepreneurship program, which he is a proud alumnus and former
Executive Director. Rob also co-founded the National Angel Investor
Organization (NAO) with Henry Vehovec in 2002, an organization formed to
solve the access to capital gap for early-stage Canadian companies.
In 2007, Rob was Chairman of Peter Oyler's Race across America, an
initiative that raised awareness and over $100,000 for Kids Help Phone.
He has coached several championship hockey and baseball teams and when
not playing the role of a proud father and husband, Rob can be found at
a local ice rink, golf course, or poker game.
Virginia Poly, Founder & President,
Poly Placements is one of Canada's fastest-growing recruitment
solutions companies and has earned a lot of recognition in the past
couple of years - the PROFIT HOT50, PROFIT W100, Branham300, the RBC
Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Deloitte Startup Award 2010, and, most
recently, one of the Toronto Star's '10 To Watch in 2011'.
Before starting Poly in 2006, Virginia spent more than 10 years as a
top-producing sales professional and trainer in IT, getting to know a
wide variety of organizations from the inside out.
Virginia attributes their spectacular growth to their unique approach:
The ROI of Happiness. Recruiting is a fantastic opportunity - get the
right people, and the whole organization benefits. Making the process
more enjoyable is good for business: Happy clients, candidates and
employees mean increased productivity, reduced time-to-hire, reduced
recruiting costs, reduced turnover - and a better bottom line.
Maggie Fox, Founder, CEO and CMO,
Social Media Group
Social Media Group was established in 2006 and is one of the world's
most highly respected independent agencies helping businesses navigate
the socially engaged Web. Pioneers in their field, Social Media Group
has helped some of the best-known brands in Europe and North America get
social, including Ford Motor Company, SAP, RBC, 3M and Thomson Reuters.
Maggie has been interviewed about social media by Inc. Magazine, The
Washington Post, CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, CTV News and
The Financial Post, among others. In 2009 she was named one of the Top
100 Marketers in Marketing Magazine's 100th Anniversary Edition, and in
2011 The National Post named her one of Canada's Top Innovators."
Sunny Verma, President,
Recognized as one of "Toronto's Hottest Young Entrepreneurs" by the
Globe and Mail, Sunny Verma is revolutionizing education through
TutorBright - one of the fastest growing supplemental education
companies in Canada.
Sunny's passion for helping others and mentorship fueled the growth of
TutorBright, which is the only provider that creates tailored mentorship
and academic plans for each of its clients. Because of its tremendous
success with each client, TutorBright has earned recognition as One of
the Best Education Providers by CityParent Magazine and is considered
"Ahead of the Class" by Franchise Canada Magazine.
TutorBright has several locations, an international presence, and has
recently been commissioned to transform and supplement education systems
in First Nation communities.
Sunny, a holder of a Bachelor's of Commerce and a Master's of Business
Entrepreneurship and Technology, has been featured in several
publications including City TV, BNN and Breakfast Television.
Harp Gahunia, Chief Financial
Officer, Virgin Gaming
Harp is a Chartered Accountant with over 12 years of experience since
graduating from the School of Accountancy at University of Waterloo with
a Masters in Accounting. In his current role of CFO at Virgin Gaming,
Harp oversees the Finance, Human Resource, and Legal functions of this
global web-based business. Through these responsibilities, Harp has set
up corporate governance structure, executed private debt and equity
financings, and lead negotiations on key company contracts with
companies such as Electronic Arts and Microsoft.
Virgin Gaming is the premier destination for competitive console gamers
to meet, challenge and play in head-to head and tournament challenges
for cash, points and prizes. With an array of proprietary features,
including a Fair Play Guarantee™ (with automatic results
secure payment back end, and a Community Reputation Management System,
Virgin Gaming allows gamers of all skill levels from around the world to
safely and easily compete in some of their favorite multiplayer games.
Prior to joining Virgin Gaming, Harp started his career at Deloitte,
working in the Telecommunications teams of both Toronto, Canada and
Sydney Australia offices. His most recent experience was as an
investment analyst at Bell New Ventures and Virgin Canada.
Currently, Harp is also a mentor at Jolt, a technology accelerator
dedicated to building high-growth web and mobile companies.
Farhan Thawar, VP Engineering, Xtreme
Named one of "Toronto's Top 25 Most Powerful People In 2010", Farhan
is a well-known and respected figure in the city's tech community.
Before joining the Xtreme team, Farhan held the positions of Chief
Software Architect at I Love Rewards, the Head of Search & MSN Platform
for Microsoft Canada and Technical Lead at Trilogy Software. In addition
to being a programming and engineering guru for Xtreme Labs, Farhan also
uses his wealth of industry and mobile expertise to mentor aspiring
mobile and tech startups.
Farhan has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo
and an MBA in Financial Engineering from Rotman.