Speakers – CODS18

Please check this page often, as Speaker updates are being added regularly.

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Derek Alton
Derek Alton
Derek Alton has been a democratic organizer in Canada for the last 10 years because of his belief that democracy and government represent some of the most powerful levers of collective action we have to help nurture a society where everyone can thrive. Derek spent the first 5 years of his professional career studying and working in community engagement work. After years as an activist and an academic working outside the system, he was brought into government to a team working to put open government into practice. This is both a technical challenge (building a digital public square through weaving together open source platforms) and cultural shift (getting public servants to co-create in the open, and getting citizens to see themselves as an active part of government). Outside of work, Derek continues to find ways of convening people passionate about democracy, slowly weaving together a movement for change.
Marwan Areibi
Marwan AreibiCEO & Cofounder, Tabnex
An experienced marketing specialist turned growth hacker, Marwan wants to live in a world where we can be comfortable with the uncomfortable, where the unconventional is the conventional, and ideas, rather than people, are discussed. He has worked with startups and enterprises in developing people-centric products that align with business drivers. Most notably, he was one of the top performing enterprise business development professional at OpenText. As an entrepreneur, Marwan is currently the CEO & Co-founder of Tabnex, a recruitment platform and date suite company that helps high-growth organizations harness the power of their candidate data to make faster and smarter hiring decisions. Their work using open data has garnered support from Microsoft, IBM, NVIDIA, and Canada’s Open Data Exchange. When he’s not creating disruptive products, Marwan is supporting fellow entrepreneurs with growth challenges.  
Akram Askoul
Akram AskoulDirector, Technology Services, Niagara Regional Police Services
Akram has been with the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) for 11 years. Prior to NRPS, Akram spent 11 years with a Private-Sector organization – as Operations Manager – Information Technology. Thereafter, Akram was with the Niagara Region as Associate Director Infrastructure & Support Services for 7 years. Akram sits on various Provincial and Federal Police Technology Committees and is the co-Chair of the Ontario Chiefs of Police Information Technology Committee.
Jennifer Beckage
Jennifer BeckagePrincipal, Beckage PLLC
Jennifer Beckage is an attorney and Founder of Beckage PLLC, based in Buffalo, New York. Her practice is focused on the nexus of cybersecurity, data breach litigation, risk management, privacy, regulatory law and law enforcement. As a former tech entrepreneur and executive with a publicly traded company, Jennifer brings a unique perspective to complex commercial litigation and data security matters. She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US
Amy Bihari
Amy BihariSenior Data Advisor, Ontario Open Government Office
Amy Bihari is a data champion and empathetic ally to teams navigating technological and cultural shifts. Amy has found that delving into data is a great way to forge common ground, and unite perspectives to tell powerful stories that can ignite positive change. Her current role with Ontario’s Open Government Office is to help ministries realize the potential of their data and get excited about being Open by default. Before joining the Open Data team she designed software and systems used to strengthen the safety and sustainability of Ontario’s food and agricultural land.
Phil Chau
Phil ChauEnvironmental Data Scientist, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Phil Chau is an Environmental Data Scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. Phil has more than 15 years’ experience working with databases, open data, and data visualization related to the long-term statistical trends of freshwater quality in Canada. Phil has worked on the design and development of continuous real-time and discrete water quality monitoring networks for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, within the Fraser River Estuary, the BC Okanagan Valley, and the Athabasca Oil Sands region. Phil has a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from the University of Victoria and is a certified Occupational Swift Water Rescue Technician.
Eugene Chen
Eugene ChenCTO & Director, Darkhorse Analytics
Eugene is the CTO of Darkhorse Analytics, a predictive analytics and data visualization firm in Edmonton. His award-winning interactive visualizations and tools are built using open data, and include WorldChatClock.com (flattening time zones across continents), MapInSeconds.com (create maps from open data shapefiles), and babynames.dha.io (a fun, mobile-friendly exploration of over a million baby names).
Nathan Childs
Nathan ChildsInformation and Analytic Support Analyst, Niagara Region
Within Niagara region, Nathan serves dual data duty. In his position as an Information and Analytic Support Analysis, he leverages data and analytics to promote the inherent value of the organization’s data, as he aides in further building an internal culture aimed at using data to better identify and address the needs of the community. While in his community he serves as a site administrator and program promoter for NiagaraOpenData.ca, Niagara region’s predominant community open data portal. Through his roles, Nathan is an advocate within his organization and community for the release of open data, and for the development of skills and knowledge required to make Niagara a data rich and data literate community.

Passionate about combining visual design, technical innovation, and government transparency to make Niagara a responsive and intelligent community, Nathan is always exploring opportunities for his organization and community to collaborate.

Paul Connor
Paul ConnorDirector of Operations, CleanTech North - Paul Connor, MBA
is currently director of operations at CleanTech North, a community of interest among clean technology founders, investors and supporters; and a volunteer at Niagara Connects, currently the secretariat for the 5th Annual Canadian Open Data Summit.  Paul has previously served as Economic Research & Analysis Manager / Foreign Trade Zone lead at Niagara Region, and President of NAO-Ontario (now called Angel Investors Ontario), a provincial network of groups of technology investors.  His abiding interests and specializations include open data, communities of practice, social enterprises, technology investment, economic development, and corporate communications.
Charles Conteh
Charles Conteh Associate Professor of Public Policy and Management in the Department of Political Science (Brock University), and Director (Niagara Community Observatory)
Conteh’s research and teaching interests are in the areas of Canadian and comparative public policy, public management, political economy and governance. He currently investigates how local and regional communities are reinventing themselves in the face of economic, social, digital and ecological changes.
Ekaterina Daviel
Ekaterina DavielData Management Specialist, Eclipse Geomatics
Ekaterina Daviel holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from the University of Northern BC and a master’s in Environmental Science from the University of Toronto. Ekaterina has over four years of experience working as an environmental consultant on contaminated site assessment, remediation and environmental risk assessment projects primarily within the upstream oil and gas sector. In addition, Ekaterina had the opportunity to join the City of Dawson Creek’s Watershed Stewardship Program, where she worked on a variety of projects including water quality characterization, streamflow monitoring, and stakeholder education and engagement around the Kiskatinaw River Watershed.
Abby Deshman
Abby DeshmanDirector, Criminal Justice Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Abby Deshman is a lawyer and the Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She also teaches at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto, and is a Mentor with the Law Practice Program at Ryerson University. Previously, she served as a Corrections Advisor on the Ontario government’s Independent Review of Corrections and as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Abby has also worked with the United Nations High Council for Refugees in Kenya and Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism/Counterterrorism division in New York. At CCLA, Abby has led advocacy and analysis in a wide range of issue areas including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, police powers and oversight, and the criminal justice system. The author of numerous reports, articles and opinion pieces, her most recent work focuses on the bail system and police record checks. Abby graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law with an Hons J.D. in 2008, and obtained an LL.M. from New York University in 2010.
Maira Bay de Souza
Maira Bay de SouzaOwner and CEO, Imperial Diamond Consulting
Throughout her ~20 years of experience in the software industry, Maira progressed from junior developer to leadership and consulting roles at Fortune 20 companies such as GM, HP and IBM. For the last 5 years she has helped clients design and develop high quality Data Management solutions. Maira is also passionate about healthy living and blockchain technologies.
Dr. Jonathan Dewar
Dr. Jonathan DewarExecutive Director, First Nations Information Governance Centre
Jonathan Dewar, PhD, is the Executive Director at the First Nations Information Governance Centre. He has been recognized as a leader in healing and reconciliation and Indigenous health and wellbeing education, policy, and research and has published extensively on these subjects, with a specialization in the role of the arts in healing and reconciliation. Jonathan is of mixed heritage, descended from Huron-Wendat, French-, and Scottish-Canadian grandparents, with an academic background in Indigenous Studies. A former Director of Research at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, he also holds an appointment as Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University.
Dr. Paul Divers
Dr. Paul DiversCorporate Analyst, Niagara Regional Police Services
Dr. Paul Divers is currently the Corporate Analyst for the Niagara Regional Police Service. His role is to support the Chief and Leadership Team with an evidence-based approach to decision-making. Additional duties include the Service’s 3-Year Business Plan, Annual Reports, public reporting to various levels of government, including Statistics Canada and MBNCanada on staffing demographics and criminal incidents in Niagara. Dr. Divers also coordinates and develops performance metrics for all grant applications on behalf of the Service.

A current project underway includes working with the Executive Leadership Team to establish parameters around open data for public consumption and transparency, while balancing the need for anonymity and usefulness of data for public consumption. Issues include victim and offender privacy concerns, freedom of information, value/risk of aggregation vs. individual level data, and misinterpretation of data.

Victoria Fast
Victoria FastAssociate Professor, University of Calgary
Victoria Fast is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary. Teaching in both the geography and urban studies program, Dr. Fast specializes in urban geographic information systems (GIS). In her research, Victoria employs web-based collaborative technologies, paired with public engagement, citizen science, and participatory GIS methods, to start conversations, build capacity, and strengthen resilience between government and citizens. Case study span crowdsourcing mental health and wellness resources, urban food assets, global educational resources, and wheelchair accessibility. Overall, Victoria is working to ensure that the advantages of the smart city do not leave those most in need behind.
Ryan Garnett
Ryan GarnettManager Geospatial Data Integration & Access, City of Toronto
Working for the City of Toronto’s Information & Technology Division, Ryan leads a team responsible for the creation and maintenance of the City’s foundation mapping information, while leading the transition from a maintenance focused mandate, to that which focuses on data analytics and data driven decision making. Additionally Ryan leads the City’s Open Data program, which makes municipal information available to private citizens, start-ups, corporations, other levels of government, educational institutions, and researchers. Prior to working with the City of Toronto, Ryan worked nationally and internationally in both the public and private sector in urban data and information projects, in Canada, USA, Qatar, China and India. Constantly learning, Ryan graduated from Lakehead University with a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies.
Steve Gauthier
Steve GauthierDirector of Open Government and Open Source Software, Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor
Steve Gauthier has led various software development projects in the fields of steel structures and electricity for over twelve years, with the Canam Manac Group and then for Cooper Industries. Since 2011, he has been working for the Gouvernement du Québec, and is now Director of open government and open source software for the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor. His directorate is currently implementing the Plan d’action pour l’accessibilité et le partage des données ouvertes des ministères et des organismes publics (plan of action for accessibility and open data sharing for ministries and public organizations).
Janusz Gawor
Janusz GaworOpen Data Strategist, Corporate Analytics and Innovation (CAI), The City of Calgary
Janusz has always been a strong advocate for collaboration and informed decision making. He’s demonstrated this over the past 14 years by managing databases and facilitating data access for the public, academics and consultants. In his current role in CAI, he is on the Open data team leading the development, growth and maturity of the Open data program at the City of Calgary. He influences business units to share their data to break down silos, reduce duplication and effort, and increase innovation and data-driven decision-making. Believing that strong engagement is key to the success of open data, he’s been involved in Hackathon events, open data studies with Universities, and other business-focused and local civic tech group events.
Lena Geraghty
Lena GeraghtySenior Advisor, Centre for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University
Before coming to GovEx, Lena spent three years as a legal associate for a San Francisco Bay Area wage-and-hour class action law firm representing employees, translating attorney speak into understandable English, and leading data analytics projects. In her career, she has worked with governmental organizations across the United States both big and small from Austin-Travis County, TX (analyzing the efficiency of its motorcycle medics program), to Glens Falls, NY (exploring the economic impact of renovating its downtown library). Lena is an MPA graduate of UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Government, specializing in local government and performance. As a senior advisor at GovEx, Lena helps local governments use their data to better serve their communities.
Bala Gopalakrishnan
Bala GopalakrishnanManaging Director, Data Solutions, The Weather Network
Bala Gopalakrishnan is Managing Director of Data Solutions at Pelmorex, the parent company of The Weather Network/MetroMedia brands. He leads business and product strategy around Big Data of Audience (login, behavioural, mobile location) and weather datasets for Pelmorex. Bala also leads partnerships with other data/tech companies and with Canadian universities in Data Science/Analytics.
Nour Hage
Nour HageCo-founder, Datathon
Nour Hage is one of the founding members of Datathon, he is currently a student at Brock University. He has over six years experience in event planning and has most recently worked with IBM to organise a hackathon focused on encouraging women to join the tech field. His work on the Datathon revolves primarily around logistics and organization.
Christine Hagyard
Christine HagyardManager, Open Government Office, Government of Ontario
Christine leads the Policy and Partnerships team and champion’s Ontario’s Open Data and Open Information work. Christine is passionate about change and leads her team in an effort to drive an open culture across the OPS, increase demand and supply of Ontario’s information, and foster collaboration and partnerships to improve all Ministries and Agencies efforts in becoming more open.
Kelly Halseth
Kelly HalsethEducation and Community Program Manager, Code for Canada
Kelly has an array of experience in the non-profit and public sector as a community organizer and capacity builder. She has led and supported initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada utilizing human-centered design and collective impact approaches to tackle complex social issues.

Kelly leads Code for Canada’s education efforts, designing and delivering training to build digital capacity in governments and communities across the country. She also works to convene and empower Canada’s growing number of civic tech community groups.

Hillary Hartley
Hillary HartleyChief Digital Officer and Deputy Minister, Consumer Services, Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Hillary Hartley was appointed Deputy Minister of Consumer Services in June of 2018. Hillary joined the Ontario government in April of 2017 as Deputy Minister Responsible for Digital Government. She is also Ontario’s Chief Digital Officer, leading the province’s digital transformation efforts.
Anne Hepplewhite
Anne Hepplewhite
As a Certified Records Manager (CRM), Anne enjoys helping people to solve their information management challenges. She is a recognized expert in Enterprise Content Management (ECM), access to information and privacy, and management of traditional and electronic records. Anne is Senior Manager of Records and Information Management at The Niagara Parks Commission. She has a degree in History and Political Science from Trent University, a Masters in History of Medicine from Simon Fraser University, and a Masters in Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia. Anne is Chair of the Niagara Connects (Niagara Research and Planning Council) Board. She is also a Past President of the SW Ontario Chapter of ARMA, the professional association that is the authority on governing information as a strategic asset.
Lizzy Hoffman
Lizzy HoffmanData Management Specialist, Eclipse Geomatics
Lizzy Hoffman works with Eclipse Geomatics as a Data Management Specialist, focusing on the Skeena Knowledge Trust project. Lizzy grew up in Victoria, British Columbia and completed a B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Victoria, followed by an M.Sc. in Land Reclamation and Remediation at the University of Alberta. There she studied the development of vegetation communities at reclaimed surface mine sites and became interested in using open source tools for data analysis and management. Following her master’s, Lizzy moved to Williams Lake where she taught at Thompson Rivers University, the College of New Caledonia and other institutions. In 2018, Lizzy moved to Smithers and joined Eclipse Geomatics. Lizzy enjoys skiing, hiking and mountain biking with her partner and dog in her spare time.
Erik Holmlund
Erik HolmlundExecutive Director, Alberta Data Partnerships Ltd. (ADP)
ADP, in collaboration with the Government of Alberta, has opened up a select number of data-rich areas to the public to fuel creative ideas and solve challenges. ADP is a public-private-partnership focused on data governance and access. Erik reports to a Board of Directors whose membership includes AAMDC (Rural Municipalities of Alberta), AUMA, Government of Alberta, Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Chamber of Resources, Alberta One Call, Atco Gas, Fortis Alberta, Telus, Alberta Forest Products Association and Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. He is responsible for financial reporting, business development, stakeholder engagement, strategic management for ADP’s private sector partners and communications.
Carmen Ho
Carmen HoPlanning Specialist, Toronto Public Library
Carmen is part of the Policy, Planning and Performance Management team at Toronto Public Library. In her role as a Planning Specialist, she engages in long and short-term planning for the organization and develops standards, performance measures and evaluates methodologies and outputs on library projects and services.
Ken Ip
Ken IpDirector of Engineering, Hockeystick
Ken Ip is Hockeystick’s Director of Engineering. As an outstanding entrepreneur, Ken has been breathing and living product, engineering, and design for the past decade. He has been a developer, team lead, CTO, and founder in the Toronto tech scene, where he defined best-practice development processes, architected scalable products, and raised funding. Ken cares deeply about the intersection of business and technology and has mentored several companies. With his global resources and experience, he manages to create values for our portfolio companies by optimizing operation activities and formulating innovative business models. Ken has an MBET and a BSc in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Moses Iziomon
Moses IziomonSenior Project Advisor, Open Government, Treasury Board Secretariat
As part of the Open Government team at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Moses leads the intergovernmental open government work and promotes federal-provincial-territorial multilateral efforts to harmonize the delivery of open government data across Canada. Prior to joining the federal public service a decade ago, he worked in the Academia, where his scientific research spanned earth observations, atmospheric aerosols and modelling of radiative fluxes. His affection for open data and scientific innovation are reflected in his passion for open government and open science.
Haaris Jafri
Haaris JafriManager and Senior Analyst, Statistics Canada
Haaris works at the Data Exploration and Integration Lab (DEIL) section within the Centre for Special Business Projects. He has been involved in DEIL’s crowdsourcing pilots to collect and compile building attributes data and cannabis price information, an experimental open database of buildings, and an experimental open repository of businesses. He is currently also involved in the development of a Linkable Open-data Environment, which would encompass sets of open microdata from authoritative sources that have been brought into an environment that is suitable for data linkage. Haaris has a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA in Finance from McGill University. He also holds a post-graduate certificate in software engineering from Carleton University.
Sachi Komarasamy
Sachi KomarasamyFounder & CEO, Intellizence
Sachi Komarasamy is the Founder and CEO of Intellizence, an AI-powered business signal intelligence platform. Sachi built Intellizence from an idea to an award-winning platform that powers global financial institutes and fast-growing technology companies to discover hundreds of sales and risk signals from a variety of unstructured data sources. Sachi has an MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB) and is a Computer Science Engineering graduate.
Jury Konga
Jury KongaAssociate, Open North
Jury Konga is an Associate with OpenNorth, Canada’s leading non-profit in Open Government, Open Data and Smart Cities. His recent work with OpenNorth includes been a principal author of the Do-It-Yourself Open Data Toolkit. He is an innovator and long-time advocate and international speaker on Open Government, Open Data, e-Government, m-Government, transformative/disruptive innovation and Smart Cities/Intelligent Communities. He has over 40 years’ experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in diverse areas including GIS services, land information management, public policy development, IT consulting, intelligent community assessment and Open Government and Open Data strategic and tactical plan development and implementation.

Jury supports open data internationally primarily as an active member of the International Open Data Charter’s Measurement and Accountability Working Group and also as the Canada Ambassador for Open Knowledge International. Jury was appointed as an IPC “Access by Design” Ambassador by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s former Information and Privacy Commissioner and he is a Co-founder of the former Canadian Open Data Institute. He was the inaugural Chair of MISA’s Gov 2.0 Committee (2010), Chair for the GO Open Data Conference 2014 and acts in an advisory capacity for a variety of community focused innovation and service projects. Jury is also the Executive Director of the GO Open Data Association, a grass roots organization that holds a successful open data conference annually in Ontario, Canada.

Jean-Noé Landry
Jean-Noé LandryExecutive Director, OpenNorth
Jean-Noé Landry is a social entrepreneur and Executive Director of OpenNorth, Canada’s leading not-for-profit organization specialized in open government, open smart cities, and civic technology. As an open data expert, he convenes data stakeholders, promotes data standardization, and connects governments to their data constituents. As a co-founder of Montreal Ouvert (whose mission is now complete), he advocated for Montreal’s adoption of open data as official policy. As an entrepreneur, he scaled CitizenBudget, an online budget simulator designed to engage citizens in budget decision-making, to more than 100 cities across North America. With a background in organizational change and conflict resolution, he spent 15 years in international development and has worked in more than 12 countries, including Serbia, Kenya, Tunisia, and Ukraine providing support to political institutions and civic movements on coalition building, policy development, and electoral processes. He has led OpenNorth to collaborate with all levels of Canadian government, from Federal institutions to small municipalities, while connecting Canada’s open data community to the global open government movement. With its values-driven mission and applied research approach, OpenNorth develops models and engagement practices for inclusive and open smart cities and shared data governance in an era of open data and government transformation. Starting in 2019, OpenNorth will be delivering a new one-to-one advisory service on open smart cities for communities across Canada as the Lead Technical Partner of Evergreen’s Future Cities Program for the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge Community Support Program.
Christiane Langois
Christiane LangoisExecutive Director, Direction générale des orientations gouvernementales en ressources informationnelles
In her role as Executive director of the Direction générale des orientations gouvernementales en ressources informationnelles (government information resources orientation directorate) since January 2017, Christiane Langlois has participated in implementing governmental strategies, directives and guidelines governing the use of information technologies in Québec’s public administration. Ms. Langlois holds a degree in information technology management, and has held professional positions in information technology before becoming a manager within several major Québec government organizations.
Sarah LeBlanc
Sarah LeBlancLead, Public Engagement, Privy Council Office, Government of Canada
Sarah is a change leader whose work centers on the future of citizenship and collective decision-making. In her role with the Government of Canada, she collaborates with a team who shares a vision of public engagement that is transparent, relevant, inclusive, accountable and adaptable. Over the past 15 years, Sarah has worked as a consultant, in the non-profit sector (Regroupement féministe du Nouveau-Brunswick), at the Parliament of Canada (Senator Roméo Dallaire) and has led change in collaboration with diverse people who innovate for the public good.
Thomas Lillo
Thomas LilloCo-Founder, Datathon
Thomas is one of the co-founders of the Datathon, which runs analytics education events. He is currently studying geography and computer science at Brock University, with a focus on applications of technology in urban planning. In the past he has worked in business analytics and on software development projects in both the public and private sectors, and has volunteered at hack nights hosted by CivicTech Toronto.
Conrad Lipiec
Conrad LipiecCo-founder, Datathon
Conrad Lipiec is one of the co-founders of the Datathon, his role involves developing relationships with potential speakers/sponsors as well as developing the criteria for the workshops. His expertise is in the industrial sector with previous work experience at Volvo Penta. He is very active within the Toronto Machine Learning community.
Patrick Lozeau
Patrick LozeauInnovation & Open Data Advisor, Montreal Urban Innovation Lab, City of Montreal
Patrick Lozeau works for the City of Montreal. He’s an Innovation & Open Data advisor for the Montreal Urban Innovation Lab. The Lab is in charge of applying the open data policy inside the City of Montreal.
Bob Lytle
Bob LytlePresident, rel8ed.to Analytics
Bob Lytle is Founder and CEO of rel8ed.to and former CIO of TransUnion Canada. His Niagara-based data analytics firm combines North America’s broadest repository of Open Data business information with credit industry savvy and a passion for ethical data use. Bob specializes in providing predictive analytics for effective decision-making in the Small/Medium Business (SMB) market, for financial services, insurance and economic development entities.
Carol MacKay-Matak
Carol MacKay-Matak Manager of Strategic Planning and Open Data, Open Government Program, Enterprise Data & Analytics, Ministry of Service Alberta
Carol MacKay-Matak is the Manager of Strategic Planning and Lead of the Open Data Team for the Government of Alberta’s Open Government Program. She is responsible for the program’s strategic direction, managing the Open Government Portal, cross-jurisdictional engagement and coordinating projects focused on governance, collaboration and optimizing data access
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Carol has worked in the information management space for private, not-for-profit and government. A life-long learner, Carol graduated from Dalhousie University with a Master’s degree in Information Management and recently spend a week studying at Oxford.
Joe McCarthy
Joe McCarthyLeader Data Acquisition Canada, Dun & Bradstreet
Joe McCarthy is the Leader of Canadian Trade and Data Acquisition with Dun and Bradstreet. He assists internal and external customers to understand and integrate multiple data sets into one clear view of their markets, to streamline marketing efforts and credit/risk decisions.
Connie McCutcheon
Connie McCutcheonOpen Data Project Lead, Niagara Region
Connie McCutcheon is the Open Data Project lead for the Niagara Region and Niagaraopendata.ca Administrator. Connie is also President of MISA Ontario (Municipal Information Systems Association) and co-chairs the MISA Canada Open Data Special Interest Group (SIG) and PSOD – Ontario’s Public Sector Open Data group.

Connie holds a degree in Urban Geography from the University of Western Ontario as well as a certificate from Brock University in Urban and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about citizen engagement and the opportunity open government provides for new innovations and insights.

Keith McDonald
Keith McDonaldFounder, Open News Network
Keith is the founder of the Open News Network where he educates and advocates for open source, open government and open data. His career reflects a penchant for encouraging literacy & critical thinking while preparing and inspiring others to adapt to change and includes work with TVOntario, the Ministry of Education, Ontario and for Centennial College. Keith is well known for having served a long and fruitful tour of duty with the City of Toronto – ultimately ending up as the first Open Data Lead for the city.
Brenda McPhail
Brenda McPhailDirector, Privacy, Surveillance, and Technology Project, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Brenda McPhail guides CCLA’s interventions in key court cases that raise privacy issues, such as the recent Supreme Court of Canada cases R. v. Marakah and R v. Jones, which confirmed privacy rights in electronic communications. Her research agenda focuses on the social implications of technology, and recent work has focused on surveillance of dissent, government information sharing, digital surveillance capabilities, video surveillance, and rights issues raised by artificial intelligence. CCLA also has an education mandate, and Brenda works to develop resources and presentations to drive public awareness about the importance of privacy as both an individual and a social good. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Information.
Gemma Mendez-Smith
Gemma Mendez-SmithExecutive Director, Four County Labour Market Planning Board
Gemma Mendez-Smith is the Executive Director of the Four County Labour Market Planning Board (Planning Board), serving Bruce, Grey, Huron and Perth counties. She has been working in the area of labour market development for over 17 years. Joining the Planning Board in 2001 opened her eyes to the subtleties of the changing labour market needs. She also learned the importance of labour market planning for communities that expect to participate in the global economy is key to our success.
Ben McNamee
Ben McNameeDirector, Measurement, Evaluation & Business Intelligence, Ontario Trillium Foundation
In Ben’s role with one of Canada’s largest foundations, Ben uses strategic evaluation and measurement to improve impact at the program, community and sectoral levels. He was introduced to Open Data through his work as an impact analyst where his use of Canadian Revenue Agency Open Datasets combined with his work on measuring impact made him a believer in the power of Open Data to create a more effective social benefit sector.
Norman Mendoza
Norman MendozaManager of Business and Technology Innovation, City of Edmonton
Since joining the City, Norman has been involved in advising City leadership on ways to transforming the architecture of the City’s IT capabilities to better meet citizen needs. In his role leading innovation and open data, Norman is involved in helping Edmonton continue its evolution into a Smart City. Prior to joining the City, Norman was a serial entrepreneur in Edmonton’s technology startup community; which provides a unique combination of perspectives and approaches that can be used to help the City promote collaboration and partnerships with the technology community, post-secondary institutions, and businesses.
Connie Michaelis
Connie MichaelisDirector of Corporate Information Services, Department of Internal Services, Province of Nova Scotia
Connie Michaelis is the Director of Corporate Information Services, within the Information, Communication, and Technology Services branch of the Department of Internal Services. In this role, she provides leadership and direction for information management in the Province of Nova Scotia. She is responsible for the development of information strategies, policies, standards, and best practices in support of informed decision-making and the delivery of government’s programs and services. Recently, Connie led the Province’s Open Data initiative. The NS Open Data Portal and Program were successfully launched in February 2016.
Dino Miele
Dino MieleChief Information Officer, District School Board of Niagara
Dino Miele is the Chief Information Officer who manages the effective operations and provides strategic and operational leadership to the District School Board of Niagara’s Information Technology Services Departments in both the enterprise and educational divisions. Miele represents the District School Board of Niagara’s interests by serving on several Advisory Boards including the ORION Board of Directors, Educational Computing Network of Ontario (ECNO) Board of Directors as well as the OECM Customer Council Committee. A few of the many projects Dino is involved in is the Educational Research and Innovation Hub (ihub), Spark Niagara and Accel North.
Karen Parker
Karen ParkerManager of Business Analytics, City of Edmonton
Karen Parker oversees the City of Edmonton data science and analytics team, which focuses on solving city problems using data. Karen has been instrumental in advocating for better use of data both within the City of Edmonton organization and for its citizens.

She has created multiple tools to make open data more accessible, most recently of note the Kids Map of Edmonton. Currently, she is helping to advance the City of Edmonton’s data governance program by helping to improve internal processes and providing education through data literacy and data storytelling courses for municipal employees.

Prior to joining the City of Edmonton, Karen worked as a business analyst in the software consulting industry. This experience, combined with an education background in Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction, has left her not only with a keen understanding of the technology of data, but also the ability to translate it into usable visualizations and to educate others about it.

Richard Pietro
Richard PietroFounder, Open Toronto
Richard Pietro is the Founder of Open Toronto. He socializes Open Government & Open Data by creating Civic Engagement as Art. Some of his projects include the 2014 Open Government Tour, the Toronto Open Data Community Hub, the Toronto Open Data Book Club, and Open – The World’s first short film on Open Government and Open Data.
Matthew Pietryszyn
Matthew PietryszynTeam Lead, Location Intelligence & Data Visualization, City of Brampton
– Matt promotes and builds awareness around geospatial business intelligence and how easy it can be to put your data to work to gain quick and valuable insights. As an advocate for openness and transparency, Matt enjoys working with data owners to educate them on the benefits and value of opening their data. He also works with schools and local businesses to connect them with Municipal data and analytical tools through Brampton’s GeoHub.
Johanna Pfalz
Johanna PfalzOwner/Operator, Eclipse Geomatics
Johanna Pfalz has worked as a consultant with Eclipse Geomatics since 2006 providing geospatial and information management services across BC, Alberta and Canada. Her work has focused on ecological land classification, land use planning, land use monitoring, and environmental impact assessment, as well as documenting traditional knowledge for First Nations. Eclipse Geomatics has been involved with the formation and development of the Skeena Knowledge Trust since 2009. Our team at Eclipse Geomatics explores open-source tools to develop creative solutions to spatial problems and information management.
Alexander Ritchie
Alexander RitchieDirector of DataBC, British Columbia Ministry of Citizens’ Services
The DataBC program leads the province’s open data program and spatial data infrastructure for the province. The program provides spatial and open data services to provincial ministries and the broader public service in BC to support programs in enhanced decision making and data integration.

Alex has been with DataBC for the past 6 months and has been a provincial government employee for 10 years, most of that time with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. In his past, he contributed to provincial open data programs such as BC’s implementation of Open511 and a number of spatial data application development projects.

Mélanie Robert
Mélanie RobertExecutive Director, Open Government, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS)
Helped by an amazing team with entrepreneurial spirits, she leads the Government of Canada’s efforts to transform the public service culture and processes towards an “Open by default” mindset and open-by-design approaches. She coordinates efforts across the federal family to improve transparency, accountability and citizen participation, which include the open government portal, www.Open.Canada.ca, and the Government of Canada’s Biannual Action Plans.

Acting as Canada’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) point of contact, she coordinates Canada’s international engagement and collaboration with provincial, municipal and Indigenous partners to advance open government goals.

With more than 20 years of experience in the federal public service in operational, advisory and challenge-function roles, Mélanie has advanced files related to technology, innovation and engagement. She holds a BSc in Communications and Political Science from the Université de Montréal and a Master’s degree in Economic Development and International Cooperation from the Université de Paris in France.

Helped by an amazing team with entrepreneurial spirits, she leads the Government of Canada’s efforts to transform the public service culture and processes towards an “Open by default” mindset and open-by-design approaches. She coordinates efforts across the federal family to improve transparency, accountability and citizen participation, which include the open government portal, www.Open.Canada.ca, and the Government of Canada’s Biannual Action Plans.

Acting as Canada’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) point of contact, she coordinates Canada’s international engagement and collaboration with provincial, municipal and Indigenous partners to advance open government goals.

With more than 20 years of experience in the federal public service in operational, advisory and challenge-function roles, Mélanie has advanced files related to technology, innovation and engagement. She holds a BSc in Communications and Political Science from the Université de Montréal and a Master’s degree in Economic Development and International Cooperation from the Université de Paris in France.

Bianca Sayan
Bianca SayanDeveloper, Open Government Office, Government of Ontario
Developer for Colby, the Government of Ontario’s new internal data sharing portal, and excited about it.
Dr. Karen Louise Smith
Dr. Karen Louise SmithAssistant Professor, Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film, Brock University
Karen has been actively engaged in digital policy issues since the early 2000s. Dr. Smith currently collaborates on The eQuality Project, a seven year partnership grant from SSRHC that aims to better understand the implications of digital media, including corporate data practices, in the lives of young people. She is also conducting research on the advocacy tactics demonstrated through privacy extension development for Firefox and other web browsers. Dr. Smith’s research is published in The Canadian Journal of Communication, Surveillance & Society and numerous other scholarly venues.
Jasmine Sohal
Jasmine SohalGIS Analyst, Esri Canada
Jasmine Sohal is a GIS Analyst for Esri Canada, holding an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University and a post-graduate GIS Applications Specialist certificate from Sir Sandford Fleming College. As a kid, Jasmine refrained from going to new places until she drew a map of how she would get from Point A to Point B. After taking her first Introduction to GIS course at McMaster University, Jasmine knew right away where her passion lay. Now, as a self-proclaimed Geogeek, she is always inspired to visualize situations spatially and applies GIS anywhere she can. In her spare time, Jasmine is a discoverer; for good hiking trails and restaurants, that is. She is always going out to discover beautiful landscapes during her hiking adventures around the province. Off the trails, you can find her discovering new restaurants to dine at.
Karen Stewart
Karen StewartMunicipal Solutions Industry Manager, Esri Canada
– As the Municipal Solutions Industry Manager at Esri Canada, Karen has helped numerous municipalities across Canada review and improve their smart communities, open data, GIS, asset management and public works strategies. Along with a Bachelor of Technology degree in Geomatics Engineering, she’s a registered AScT in Geomatics through ASTTBC and a Certified GIS Professional (GISP) with nearly three decades of experience. In the community, Karen serves as the Secretary/Treasurer on the board of directors for the Public Works Association BC Chapter (PWABC). Communication and creative expression are important to Karen, and you’ll likely find her out in the serenity of nature sketching or painting in her spare time.
Kevin Tuer
Kevin TuerManaging Director, Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX) and Vice President Strategic Initiatives, Communitech
Kevin Tuer is Managing Director of the Canada’s Open Data Exchange, a national initiative launched in May 2015 with a mandate to help the private sector adopt and commercialize data from public and private sources for the purpose of enhancing their current products or creating new products. As Vice President Strategic Initiatives for Communitech, Kevin leads data driven innovation cluster building activities including open data, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), for the purpose of creating or accelerating new opportunities in emerging fields for the private sector. Previously, Kevin was the founding Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN), a federal Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, which is dedicated to establishing Canada as a world leader in Digital Media by enabling connections and collaboration of people across the country and bringing more digital solutions to market. In addition, he led the design and deployment of the Communitech Hub, a world leading innovation centre located in the Waterloo Region as well as the CDMN’s national network and associated programming strategy. Prior to launching the CDMN, Kevin held several engineering and senior management positions in the high tech industry including Senior Research Engineer with Computing Devices Canada (now General Dynamics Canada), VP Engineering for Control Advancements Inc., as well as co-founder and CTO of Handshake VR. Kevin holds a BASc (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering, a MASc in Mechanical Engineering, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Trevor Twining
Trevor TwiningPresident, Cowork Niagara
Trevor Twining is a long-time advocate of open data in Niagara. He’s helped a variety of local developers, data professionals and community leaders understand and contribute locally to open data initiatives. He’s hosted several hackathons, datathons and other civic tech events in partnership with the Regional Municipality of Niagara and Cowork Niagara, where he serves as president. He’s the host of the Freelance Foundations podcast, the #1 show on the Ouishare Radio Network.
Ab. Velasco
Ab. VelascoManager, Innovation, Toronto Public Library
Ab. Velasco is the Manager of Innovation at Toronto Public Library. He leads service development for the library’s Digital Innovation Services, including the Digital Innovation Hub, PopUp Learning Lab and Fabrication Studio services, and supports the development of the digital literacy programs and partnerships that animate these spaces.
Debbie Verduga
Debbie VerdugaCrime Analyst, Toronto Police Service
Debbie Verduga is a Crime Analyst with the Toronto Police Service Business Intelligence and Analytics Unit. As a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyst, she provides analysis of intelligence information including crime, traffic and other statistical information to support Command Officers and Senior Management in their tactical and strategic management of police operations.

Debbie has been leading the implementation of an Open Data Strategy, open data governance, developing mechanisms to anonymize and protect personal and private information, preparing and publishing open data, configuring the Toronto Police Service Public Safety Data Portal and developing tools to visualize and interact with open data on the portal.

As part of the modernization of the police service outlined in the action plan The Way Forward, the Toronto Police Service is now proactively releasing crime and traffic open data.

Ashleigh Weeden
Ashleigh Weeden
An award-winning rural innovator who splits her time between Ontario’s Bruce and Wellington Counties. A long-time advocate for community engagement, open government, and meaningful applied technological innovation, Ashleigh’s work leading Grey County’s Connected County Initiative directly contributed to the County receiving recognition as one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2017 by the Intelligent Community Forum and the top achiever in its population category in the 2018 ‘By the Numbers’ report from the ICF. Notably, as part of this initiative, Ashleigh created Grey County’s successful ‘Ag 4.0’ initiative, working at the intersection of her passions and talents to generate community conversations about the future of rural communities in the digital economy. Ashleigh also provided strategic communications and community engagement support for the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Initiative for several years, including supporting Indigenous engagement in the project. SWIFT is the largest publicly funded regional broadband project in Canada to date, serving more than 3.5 million people by building #broadbandforeveryone in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region.
Mary Wiley
Mary Wiley Executive Director, Niagara Connects
Mary leads a region-wide network of diverse socio-economic players working together to increase capacity for gathering, sharing, and using evidence (data, information and knowledge), to inform focused action planning for a stronger future. Niagara Connects engages people, organizations, businesses and institutions working in and across the 12 Living in Niagara Sectors, to share and learn together about their data. The triennial Living in Niagara quality of life report; and Niagara Knowledge Exchange are user-designed online tools facilitated by Niagara Connects. These tools provide people in this rural-urban mix region (population 447,888) with access to relevant, reliable, locally-focused data.
Don Wininger
Don WiningerOwner, Spritz Creative
Don is the owner/partner of Spritz Creative, an advertising, design and digital communication firm established in Niagara in 1994. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Don has 32 years of industry experience. He is co-author of a Canadian Bestseller, The Complete Trailer Park Boys and a musician and songwriter.
Bianca Wylie
Bianca WylieCo-founder, Tech Reset Canada & Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation
Bianca is an open government advocate with a dual background in technology and public engagement. She is the co-founder of Tech Reset Canada and a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in the Global Economy program. She worked for several years in the tech sector in operations, infrastructure, corporate training, and product management, most recently at Thomson Reuters. As a facilitator at Swerhun Inc., she designed, delivered and supported public consultation processes for various governments and government agencies. In 2014, Bianca founded the Open Data Institute Toronto. She is a columnist, guest lecturer, and speaker on open government and public sector technology policy and a proud member of the Toronto Public Library’s Innovation Council.
Kan Zhu
Kan ZhuDirector, Data & Analytics, Teranet
Kan Zhu is Director, Data & Analytics with Teranet, Canada’s leader in the delivery and transformation of statutory registry services. Founded in 1991, Teranet operates the Electronic Land Registration System for the Province of Ontario, and The Property Registry for the Province of Manitoba. Kan manages a team of data scientists, a data product delivery operation, a national property data asset and a data lake infrastructure that all support real estate, government & utilities, and financial services verticals. His team at Teranet creates new data products and service opportunities through collaboration with customers, products, sales and marketing.