Featured 2017 Speakers

Karri Schuermans

Co-founder Chambar Restaurant

Karri has an extensive background in the corporate world. She was the Director of the Peninsula Community Internet Network which went on to become CitySearch, and the Editor for Northern Beaches Magazine in Australia; both lending her valuable experience in advertising, publishing, tourism and internet marketing. Karri was part of the competitive tendering process which put the City of Sydney services up against the private sector, resulting in a profitable corporation owned by the City of Sydney and run predominantly by public sector executives. Karri then became the Marketing Manager for these diverse group of services. Her reputation at the City of Sydney brought about an offer to work for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as the International Film Liaison Manager where she was charged with ensuring positive exposure for Sydney’s attributes and defining Sydney as the business centre for Asia South Pacific.

Karri operates Chambar Restaurant with her partner, Chef Nico Schuermans, and has built it into a thriving large scale business. At Chambar Karri has found a way to create that balance while still maintaining a highly successful, socially conscious company. Of the lessons she has learned as an entrepreneur she says, “It’s really important that the business values align with your own values. But also that the business works for you just as much as you work for the business.”

Upon moving to Vancouver Karri also started an organic fashion label, co-founded Cafe Medina, and The Dirty Apron Cooking School. Karri currently sits on the Board of the Vancouver Economic Commission. 

Karri Schuermans

Scott Lake

Founder Hello Ventures, Co-Founder Shopify

Scott Lake is a startup entrepreneur, tech investor and philanthropist.  He is best known as the co-founder and past CEO of Shopify, then later as founder of Source Metrics. Both companies followed very different trajectories and this gives Scott a unique perspective on the entire spectrum of entrepreneurial success.

Scott leverages all the learning from his diverse entrepreneurial journeys to invest in and advise early stage tech companies through Hello Ventures. He has seen first hand how a small company can grow to have enormous social and cultural impact and believes that entrepreneurs learn more from their failures than they do from success.

Scott also plays an active role with his wife Jess as philanthropic funders of diverse social and public health causes.

Scott Lake

Amir Nasr

Founder & CEO of AssertiveU Media Inc.

Described by The Economist as “puckish” (aka playfully mischievous), Amir Ahmad Nasr is the founder and CEO of AssertiveU Media Inc., a boutique business storytelling and leadership advisory serving mission-driven entrepreneurs.

He is the author of the searing memoir, My Isl@m: How Fundamentalism Stole My Mind – And Doubt Freed My Soul, recommended by Foreign Policy among 25 books to read in 2013. Readers of his work include former White House officials, Hollywood celebrities, and veteran entrepreneurs. The book was swiftly banned in Malaysia, and forced Amir to seek political asylum in the land of beavers and maple syrup, aka beloved Canada.

Amir has shared the stage with Nobel Peace Laureates, former presidents, and fellow veteran digital activists, and has been noted by WIRED as a “formidable speaker.” He lives with his wife in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Amir Nasr

Past Speakers

Mary Waldner

Mary’s Gone Crackers, Founder

Joining SVI Vancouver as one of our two True Confession keynote speakers, Mary is a founder of Mary’s Gone Crackers. She leads both product development and brand strategy for the company. Mary is responsible for the development of all of the company’s products, and has been a Director since the company was incorporated in 2004.

Inspired by her own struggles with Celiac Disease, Waldner created Mary’s Gone Crackers after finding a shortage of nutritious, gluten free options that tasted good. Her handcrafted recipe became a hit not only with Celiac sufferers, but with consumers eager for delicious snacks they could feel good about eating. Mary’s Gone Crackers Original was awarded the Sofi Gold for the most outstanding cracker at the New York Fancy Food Show in 2008.

Waldner is a member of the Organic Trade Association and the Celiac Sprue Association.

mary-waldner-150

Bernie Li

PURE Energies, Co-Founder

Joining SVI Vancouver as one of our two True Confessions keynote speakers, Bernie Li will be sharing his story of co-founding PURE Energies, a Canadian company which directly motivated over 5,000 home owners across North America to put solar panels on their homes. PURE Energies was the #2 ranked company on the Profit Hot 50 in 2013 and were acquired by NRG Energy Inc (NYSE: NRG) in 2014.

Since selling PURE Energies, Bernie has been involved in the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto as a Board Member, and is advising start-ups. Prior to his career in solar energy, Bernie worked working at venture capital and private equity funds in NYC, Montreal and Toronto.

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Past Speakers

Amy Hall

Director of Social Consciousness, Eileen Fisher

As Director of Social Consciousness and a member of the Leadership Forum for international women’s clothing designer Eileen Fisher, Amy supports the company’s efforts to practice “business as a movement.”  Eileen Fisher is a world-leading social and environmental values based brand and Amy collaborates internally and externally to guide the company toward ever-increasing human, environmental and economic sustainability.

Amy came toEileen Fisher 22 years ago following a fundraising career with various Asian-American cultural, educational and social service organizations in New York City.  She currently chairs the advisory board of Social Accountability International and serves on the board of the American Sustainable Business Council.

In 2011, Amy rode from New York City to Washington, DC, on her self-built bamboo bike as part of the Brita Climate Ride. She also plays the bassoon in the Really Terrible Orchestra of Westchester. Together with their two daughters, Amy and her husband Rob raise honeybees and enjoy adventures on land and water.

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Peter Van Stolk

CEO Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD)

A true entrepreneur with 20 years experience in business creation, business innovation and development, and an unconventional style, Van Stolk challenges the status quo and has an innate and unique approach to business and marketing. Van Stolk believes that businesses need to create a positive experience for all stakeholders and that marketing creates the emotion. Van Stolk has been recognized for his innovative branding strategy and business savvy in publications such as The New York Times®, CNN®, Wall Street Journal®, Fast Company™, and People Magazine®. Peter has received numerous business awards including Price, Waterhouse, Coopers’ 40 under 40, Brand Week’s Top 100 Marketer, and chosen as one of Canada’s Top One Hundred Young Canadians by MacLean’s Magazine®.

As founder of Jones Soda Company® in 1996, Peter van Stolk served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors through 2007. Jones Soda was one of the first consumer branded companies recognizing the potential of Social Media to create an emotional connection with its consumers. This strategy earned Jones Soda fanatical brand loyalty among consumers on an industry-relative fractional budget. By 2007 Jones Soda had reached hundreds of millions of consumers, transforming Jones Soda, from a small premium Soda to an international brand with global aspirations.

Today van Stolk is the CEO and the largest shareholder of Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery or SPUD.com an online natural grocer in North America, with locations in Vancouver BC, Victoria BC, Calgary AB, Seattle WA, San Francisco CA, and Los Angeles CA. Peter has successfully built 4 schools in third world countries and provided countless donations to organizations that focus on women and children issues and cancer research; he is Chairman of the Board of Vitamin Angels, a non-profit global organization that provides vital mico-nutrition to millions of children through out the world.

petervanstolk

Janie Hoffman

CEO & Founder, Mamma Chia

Janie Hoffman is the founder and CEO of Mamma Chia, an award-winning organic food company based in California dedicated to offering the highest quality chia-based foods and beverages that provide vitality, energy and strength. In the summer of 2009, fuelled by her passion for chia and her commitment to be of service to humanity and the planet, Janie founded Mamma Chia — the first organic, chia-based food and beverage company.

Janie fell in love with the magic of chia in the kitchen of her small farm in rural San Diego where she created the Mamma Chia Vitality Beverages. The products received BevNET’s 2011 award for “Best Non-Carbonated Beverage” and, in 2012, that same leading industry authority named her “BevNET’s Person of the Year.” As founder and CEO of Mamma Chia, Janie created a whole new category of beverages. The company now offers innovative chia vitality snacks as well.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and is a speaker and facilitator on consciousness and effective leadership in North America and Asia, and works to promote conscious and sustainable business practices.

Mamma Chia’s mission is to share the magic of chia and lead in its renaissance. It is a conscious and sustainable company that honors and uplifts both the soul of humanity and the soul of the planet.

Mamma Chia is a Certified B Corporation, a member of 1% For the Planet, and a founding member of the Slow Money Alliance. Mamma Chia donates 1% of gross sales to support farmers, community groups and organizations that are building healthy, local food systems. Recently, Mamma Chia created the Mamma Chia Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a cash prize of $50,000, presented at the 2013 Slow Money National Gathering to the small food enterprise that demonstrated outstanding leadership in the local food movement.

janiehoffman

Konda Mason

Co-Founder & CEO, Impact Hub Oakland

Konda Mason is a social entrepreneur and the Co-founder and CEO of Impact Hub Oakland. Additionally, Konda works with the Pachamama Alliance as a facilitator trainer, Eco Amazon tour guide, and most recently the moderator of a new online speaker series of thought leaders. As a filmmaker, she loves narrative and story. She is a yoga and Buddhist meditation teacher, public speaker, and is Permaculture certified. Konda brings all of these lenses to her work for planetary transformation and social equity.

Konda Mason