Speakers 2018-10-16T13:24:30+00:00

Speakers – CODS18

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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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bianca Wylie
Bianca WylieCo-founder Tech Reset Canada and 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.
Brian Zubert
Brian ZubertDirector, Thomson Reuters Lab
Brian is heading up a team of data scientists at Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo Region, jointly exploring opportunities in big data with financial, legal, and accounting customers as well as pursuing partnerships with startups and academia.

Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, he worked as an Executive in Residence at Communitech, where he supported over 100 startups helping them scale all aspects of their business. In his previous role as Director of Developer Relations at BlackBerry, Brian led a global team of 30+ developers through rapid expansion and managed direct technical relationships with over 600 major brands.