Zahra is an active city builder and cultural curator, creating opportunities to explore where design, community engagement, and social impact meet. She is the Founder and Principal of the design think tank, archiTEXT, teaches at OCAD University, and sits on the board of St. Stephen's Community House. She is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Dubbed the “Official Statistician of the Creative Class”, Kevin Stolarick, PhD, combines a depth of knowledge with an appreciation of the importance of finding and sharing the knowledge or “pearls of wisdom” gained from his comprehensive understanding of the Creative Class and the Creative Economy. He is the former Research Director at The Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and a Professor of Design Management at Ryerson University.
Lauren co-founded Millier Dickinson Blais as a vehicle for delivering high value consulting assistance to communities and organizations wrestling with their shifting roles in a global economy. She has held positions as a senior planner at Walker Wright Young, a senior portfolio planner with the Management Board Secretariat and Ontario Realty Corporation, and Vice-President of Advisory Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Geraldine is the Manager of Programs and Partnerships for Social Innovation Generation, a collaborative partnership working to create a culture of social innovation in Canada. She was formerly the Communications Director for The Real News, a member-supported, global online video news network, a producer for Community Radio in Melbourne and is a filmmaker by passion and training.
As a municipal cultural planner working at Toronto City Hall, Lori is interested in collaborating with others who are committed to increasing creativity in the places where we live by leveraging the connections between culture, economy and place. She is the past Chair of Art City in St. James Town and currently holds an adjunct position at the University of Waterloo.
Charles has been interested our experience of cities, their representations and future for all his life. Charles has worked for organisations as diverse as Thomson Reuters, University of Toronto, Indigo Books, design agencies and was most recently VP Communications at MaRS Discovery District. He is currently Global Director of Marketing and Communications with IBI Group and is a founding director at Urban Digital Toronto. He holds undergraduate degrees in marketing and urban studies and a Master’s in communication and culture.
Chi is a long-time community builder, now working with United Way in Neighbourhoods. She’s held previous roles with MASS LBP, CBC, on Parliament Hill and with community organizations. She is an active board member with Story Planet, the Canadian Women's Health Network and the Toronto Women's City Alliance and loves to ride her bicycle through Toronto's inner suburbs.
Jesse is an active city builder and civic innovator. Working at the intersection of design and public policy, Jesse is continuously inspired by community-led innovation and its ability to shape cities. She is currently responsible for leading the portfolio of public sector innovation projects at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University. Prior to this role she worked at Evergreen CityWorks leading urban innovation projects that convened diverse partners and collaborators to accelerate the shift to sustainable cities.
Michelle is the Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives at United Way, supporting work in youth and neighbourhoods. She is passionate about building partnerships and helping to advance innovative community responses to some of our city’s pressing social issues. She has worked with the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and at Harbourfront Centre promoting community arts festivals.