Monday September 29, 2014

The Westin Prince
Toronto, ON

7:30am – 12:00pm



Mike Wekerle

Mike Wekerle,

CEO & Co-founder of Difference Capital

The Globe and Mail described Michael Wekerle as one of Bay Street’s legendary investment traders. Wekerle is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Difference Capital Inc. He was a Partner and Co-founder of Griffiths McBurney & Partners’ (GMP) sales and trading operations. He served as Vice Chairman of Institutional Trading at GMP Securities until August 2011, where he was widely considered a leading investment advisor in Canada. During this time, he helped establish the firm’s hedge fund, institutional trading desk and a reputation for assisting clients in profiting from large-scale transactions.

Aside from his work on Bay Street, Wekerle is one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series Dragons’ Den. Additionally, he donates to various charities such as CAMH, Bloorview Kids, Mount Sinai Hospital, Sick Kids Hospital and Toronto General. He has been heavily involved with Seeds of Hope, an organization providing a safe, fun and enriching environment for underprivileged children. He is a major sponsor of Opera Atelier, the production of opera, ballet and drama from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Robert Sher

Robert Sher, columnist, author of Mighty Midsized Companies and founding principal of CEO to CEO.

Robert Sher is founding principal of CEO to CEO, a consulting firm of former chief executives that accelerates the performance of midsized companies by improving their leadership infrastructure. Based in San Ramon, California, CEO to CEO has worked with the executive teams at more than 80 companies across the U.S., including skincare products seller Rodan + Fields, mobile phone accessories retailer Cellairis, law firm Hanson Bridgett, and cloud services provider GoGrid.

As a frequent speaker on the successful leadership traits and skills of CEOs of midsized companies, Robert has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, CFO, and other leading publications. He is a regular columnist on and, and published a multipart series on He published his first book in 2007, The Feel of the Deal: How I Built a Company through Acquisitions (1toPonder). MIGHTY MIDSIZED COMPANIES: How Leaders Overcome 7 Silent Growth Killers is his second book. Prior to launching CEO to CEO in 2007, Robert was chief executive and co-founder of Bentley Publishing Group from 1984 to 2006. He led the acquisitions of four competitors between 1999 and 2004 and left Bentley two years later. The firm merged with Global Arts in 2011 to form Bentley Global Art Group. Robert is involved in two Northern California associations for midsized businesses. He has been a director of the Alliance of Chief Executives since 2007 and president and board member of the Association for Corporate Growth San Francisco.

Robert received a B.S. degree in business administration from Hayward State University in 1986 (during which he ran a small business), and an MBA degree from St. Mary’s College in 1988, where he was the recipient of the Jack Saloma Award for student citizenship. From 1995 to 2000, he taught MBA and executive MBA courses at St. Mary’s on growing entrepreneurial businesses.

Stuart Lowther

Stuart Lowther,

Founder, President & CEO of Life Science Nutritionals

Stuart Lowther has 28 years’ experience in health science consumer packaged goods (CPG) including pharmaceuticals, nutrition and dietary supplement industries. He is the founder of Life Science Nutritionals, which has been in the top 20 of the PROFIT Magazine list for the last 4 years running. He is a two-time nominee of the Ernest and Young Entrepreneur of the year award. He has a diverse multi-faceted background that extends from product conception, brand development, to sales and marketing. He has worked extensively in foreign export building distribution in over 30 countries globally. Subsequently, he has managed regulatory compliance and intellectual property protection and patent prosecution on a global scale. When not spending time with his wife and three daughters, he has found time to successfully complete a number of half marathons, a 70.3 Ironman, climb to Mt. Everest Base Camp, and most recently, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Andrew Ryu

Andrew Ryu,

CEO of Loyalist Group

After successfully graduating as an Ontario Scholar in 1995, Adrew Ryu attended McMaster University in Hamilton and attained Honours BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering. Mr. Ryu then pursued a career in education and completed his B.Ed. at the University of Toronto in 2001. In 1997, Mr. Ryu was one of the founders of TLA (Toronto Learning Academy Inc.), which grew into TAS (Toronto Academic School), CCE (English Language School for adults) and TCDI (Private College offering Diploma courses). These three private schools continued to grow in Toronto and abroad with Mr. Ryu’s strong marketing skills and an ability to create new programs for foreign market. Furthermore, Mr. Ryu has been responsible for creating and implementing franchise opportunities of TAS across Canada and overseas, continuing to seek further opportunities to expand this form of business. In more recent years, he was the President of Business development of Archer Education Group from 2005 to 2008. In 2008, he moved to Loyalist Group International College. Coming from a business family background in South Korea has given Mr. Ryu invaluable experience in the business community both in the East and the West. His experience in education has provided an excellent blend of skills, experience, and interests, which will all contribute to serving Loyalist Group Limited very well in the future.

Josh Singer

Josh Singer,

President of Kognitive Marketing

Josh Singer is President and founding partner of Kognitive Marketing, a field marketing agency specializing in recruiting, training & staffing Promotional Representatives to maximize sales. Since its beginnings in 2006, the company has grown to over 800 full and part-time staff located in every major city across Canada. Due to the company’s successes, Singer was named Marketing Magazine’s 30 under 30.

An entrepreneur at heart, Singer created a landscaping company while in his teens that was eventually sold off. While in university, Singer completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with high distinction at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. There, he served as the Social Chair for Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, arranging corporate sponsored nightclub events that raised thousands of dollars for various charities. Currently, Singer is past Chairman and an active member of the board for UNITY Charity; a charity serving at-risk youth in communities across Canada.

In addition to all things sports related, Josh is passionate about building a company that values employee engagement and enjoys connecting in person and over the phone more than through email, text and the social media.

Harley Finkelstein

Harley Finkelstein,

Chief Platform Officer of Shopify

Harley Finkelstein is an entrepreneur, lawyer, and the Chief Platform Officer (CPO) at Shopify. He has a background in startups and eCommerce, and started his first company at age 17 while a student at McGill. Harley completed his law degree as well as his MBA at the University of Ottawa, where he co-founded the JD/MBA Student Society and the Canadian MBA Oath. Harley serves as a mentor and advisor to a number of entrepreneurial organizations and incubators, including Founder Fuel, Extreme Ventures, & Invest Ottawa.

Bill Cloke

Bill Cloke,

Director of Training and Operations for Grant Thornton Productivity Improvement

Bill Cloke’s career encompasses more than 25 years of diverse industry exposure in both consulting and line management. He has worked with small enterprises and large fortune 500 multinationals. A seasoned analyst and facilitator, Bill is a specialist in Lean Manufacturing with practical skills in operations improvement, reengineering, strategic planning, training and process analysis. He is a Certified Management Consultant and a Professional Engineer. Bill has written numerous articles on Lean manufacturing and Kaizen and is a popular seminar leader.

Ravi Dindayal

Ravi Dindayal,

National Director Marketing Consulting, Business Development Bank of Canada

Ravi has over 15 years of experience in digital and traditional marketing. He has worked with a wide range of Fortune 500 companies including BMW Canada, Royal Bank, FIDO, AOL and Honda to help them shape their marketing strategies. Since joining BDC, he has led a team of digital marketing specialists to build a best-in-class digital marketing approach for Canadian entrepreneurs and helped over 300 Canadian businesses develop and implement their Internet marketing strategies. He also leads integrated marketing efforts at BDC with a broader mandate to help companies grow using sales, digital and traditional marketing.


Registration problems?

Contact Renata Patterson at 416.764.2068





Grant Thornton


Strategic Partner

Entrepreneurs’ Organization