Speakers & Facilitators 2018
Founder, Reconciliation Canada
Karen Joseph is a proud member of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. She brings more than 20 years experience inspiring diverse partners to collaborate towards achieving effective, positive change. As the eldest daughter of Chief Robert Joseph, Karen founded Reconciliation Canada in 2012 to uphold a dream held by her father to witness thousands of people walking together for renewed relationships. In September 2013, the Walk for Reconciliation brought 70,000 people to the streets of downtown Vancouver to display commitment to transforming relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. Since then, she has championed a series of gatherings across the country, bringing together a diversity of groups and individuals to discuss the progress of reconciliation in Canada. In 2017, Karen was recognized by BC Business Magazine as one of the Top BC Women of Influence and was recently awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Karen can speak first-hand to the impacts of inter-generational trauma and the current realities of the Indian Residential School legacy. In the true legacy of Kwakwaka’wakw traditions and culture, Karen holds a lifelong commitment to family and community.
Emerging Tech & Business Strategist
Josh has been a social entrepreneur, technologist and speaker/lecturer for the past 25 years, creating and leading successful organizations in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. His ability to spot emerging trends in technology and how they can be used for the betterment of society and the environment have caused him to be considered a leading expert in the field. Josh has raised over $12 million from investors and has successfully sold two of his startups to public companies. Josh was appointed by President Obama to his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He’s been featured in Time, Fortune, Newsweek and Wired magazines, and was even named a New Media Hero by the Utne Reader and one of the Smart 50 by Smart Business Magazine. Josh lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, children, dogs and chickens. When not starting up a new business, he can be found in his garden tending organic and heirloom vegetables or out hiking in the woods.
Founder Manitoba Harvest Hemp
The founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, Mike guided the growth of the company from its founding in 1998 to a majority sale of Manitoba Harvest to The Compass Group with an enterprise value of $132 million. Mike now supports the ongoing growth of the company as its Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mike will join us at Hollyhock to talk about the journey of building and transitioning this successful and still growing company.
SVI Producer & Principle, Raised Eyebrow
Emira is the Principal and Lead Strategist of Raised Eyebrow, a values based digital strategy consultancy that works with non-profit organizations and progressive businesses to help them succeed online. She is also the author of The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run and Maintain Her Own Business, a business book for women in small business and a regular speaker, writer and commentator on the topic of women and small business. She has been an SVI producer since 2011.
SVI Producer & Director of Community Engagement 312 Main
Vanessa Richards, born in Vancouver, is an artist and community engagement facilitator. Her work focuses on participatory culture and what happens when we turn toward each other. Some of the organizations she’s devised and delivered projects with include PHS Community Services, Broadway Youth Resource Centre, The Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Simon Fraser University and and Vancouver Park Board. She is the founder and song leader for the drop-in choir, Woodward’s Community Singers, and director of Creative Together, a song based facilitation process bringing song to conferences and gatherings including SVI and SCI with the Hollyhock Leadership Institute. Vanessa volunteers with the Hogan’s Alley Working Group to reinvigorate citizen driven city building. As Director of Community Engagement at 312 Main, she is bridging and renewing local relationships for a collective transformation of the former VPD Headquarters into a coworking community people palace. In Feb 2018, she received the Mayors Achievement Award for her work in community engagement.
SVI Producer & Program and Communications Director Hollyhock
As an experienced communicator, programmer and brand marketer, Charlene has spent the past 17 years honing her skills in Canada (Toronto) and Asia (Hong Kong). As a dedicated yogini, lover of the natural world and spiritually-curious, Hollyhock represents the perfect intersection of her professional skills, personal passions and life’s purpose. Charlene is honoured to be heading up programming and communications for Hollyhock, and thrilled to make Vancouver and Cortes Island her new west coast homes. “Creating the right container for the magic of Hollyhock and the work of its cherished presenters – and sharing this with like-minded communities worldwide – is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. What a gift, which I humbly accept with deepest faith and gratitude.”
Phillip Kang Sun Djwa
SVI Producer & Founder Agentic Digital Media
Phillip Kang Sun Djwa, MFA is passionate about the opportunities for technology to inform social change. He is a creative technologist and digital strategist with more than 20+ years experience in business, design, digital media and film/TV. His clients are First Nations, government, progressive orgs and social venture companies. He has deep knowledge of running your own agency and designing campaigns for social change, including the behavioural and strategic digital tactics to deploy. He is an accomplished facilitator, thinker and successful entrepreneur. Djwa sits on the board of the BC Arts Council, Openmedia.ca, the Vancouver Fringe, the City of Vancouver Arts and Culture Policy Council and is a business mentor for new immigrants at MOSAIC.
SVI Producer, Hollyhock Board Chair, Renewal Funds Chair
Joel Solomon is Chair of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm. With $98m assets under management, Renewal Funds invests in organic food, green products, and environmental innovations. Joel is a Senior Advisor with RSF Social Finance, a 2012 TEDxVancouver speaker, founding member of Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility, the Tides Canada Foundation, and is Board Chair of Hollyhock. Joel founded Social Venture Institute at Hollyhock and has been producing it for 20 years. Thank you Joel!
Past True Confession Speakers
Emerging Changemakers Network
Jessica Norwood is the executive director of the Emerging ChangeMakers Network, a US based organization dedicated to working with inspiring leaders and innovative ideas that end economic inequality. A leading social entrepreneur in her region, Jessica supports strengthening social enterprise and social investing as a way to build community resiliency. Jessica is a past member of the board of directors for the Highlander Research and Education Center, a former Emerging Leaders Fellow at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and the Political Power Fellow with the Hip Hop Archive at the Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.
Read about Jessica’s journey to Localism and her passion for changing how capital works to support communities. Changing Capital: Building Interconnection and Assets in the Black Belt
Goddess Garden Organics
Nova Covington, Founder and CEO of Goddess Garden Organics hails from the Pacific Northwest where she grew a deep appreciation of the wilderness. When her baby daughter, Paige, had allergic reactions to synthetic chemicals in personal care products, Nova and her husband Paul Halter were inspired to create better organic skincare products that were safe for people and the planet. Goddess Garden was born. In the future, profits from Goddess Garden will go to the foundation we are launching, Protect Our Mother. The foundation’s focus is on protecting coral reefs and cleaning up the ocean. Nova can also be found taking care of her two daughters, doing yoga, and, of course, enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado.
You can read more about Nova in a recent interview for Inc Magazine.
Ross J. Beaty
Alterra Power Corp. Pan American Silver Corp.
Ross J. Beaty is a geologist and resource company entrepreneur with over 41 years of experience in the international minerals and renewable energy industries. Ross founded and is Executive Chairman of Alterra Power Corp., a mid-sized clean energy company with geothermal, solar, hydro and wind power operations in BC, Iceland and Ontario.
Ross is also President of the Sitka Foundation, one of Canada’s leading environmental foundations, patron of the Beaty Biodiversity Center at UBC and Director of a number of environmental NGO’s, including Panthera and the Pacific Salmon Foundation. He is a past President of the Silver Institute in Washington, D.C., a Fellow of the Geological Association of Canada, the Society of Economic Geologists, and the Canadian Institute of Mining, and a recipient of the Institute’s Past President’s Memorial Medal. In 2015 Ross was inducted to the Resource Hall of Fame. In 2016 Mr. Beaty received the Vancouver Aquarium’s North Medal for Ocean Conservation and the Alumni Award of Distinction from UBC’s School of Law.
To read more about Ross’s journey from “Miner to Missionary” here is a recent article about him in BC Business.
Rising Tide Capital, Co-founder
Alfa Melesse Demmellash was born and raised in Ethiopia. She came to the United States at the age of twelve with a keen interest in poverty alleviation and conflict resolution. Alfa graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2003, where she majored in Government. During her time at Harvard, her interest in conflict resolution brought her to Rwanda. Recognizing the role economic poverty played in fueling conflicts, Alfa turned her focus to economic empowerment as a strategy to achieve peaceful societies. Named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015, Alfa co-founded Rising Tide Capital in 2004 to empower underserved urban entrepreneurs in northern New Jersey to start and grow successful businesses. RTC’s signature program is the nationally-recognized Community Business Academy – an intensive business training program coupled with year-round consulting and management support, which equips entrepreneurs to better operate their small businesses.
Cienega Capital, CEO
CEO of Cienega Capital. Prior to joining Cienega, Esther founded Commons Stock, an impact-focused due diligence consulting firm. Clients included high net worth individuals, foundations, and investment advisors. She has 15 years of experience in mission-based financial services ranging from microfinance to risk capital investments. Esther also serves as a Board member at New Resource Bank, Nutiva, and City Fresh Foods, as well as an Advisor to Kitchen Table Advisors. Esther has also served as the Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at RSF Social Finance, and oversaw all lending activity from 2007-2011, which resulted in a tripling of the loan portfolio, and the development of a mezzanine debt fund. Prior to joining RSF, Esther was a senior consultant for ShoreBank Advisory Services, where she provided strategic and capital planning advice for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), particularly small business and affordable-housing loan funds. She also trained lenders internationally in small business lending practices, and underwrote Program Related Investments (PRIs) for private foundation clients.
Pacines Ranch, Owner/Manager
Impact investor, activist, and philanthropic funder in regenerative agriculture. Her work focuses on rebuilding soil health and sequestering carbon in soil to mitigate climate change and create healthier people and planet. She is the owner and manager of the Paicines Ranch, a 7600-acre ranch in central California. There, she and her team employ a regenerative asset management system. This means using all available forms of capital – human, natural, investment, and philanthropic to affect change in the agricultural system. Prior to becoming a rancher, Sallie spent almost 25 years as an engineer, COO, and high-tech entrepreneur. She is the managing member of Cienega Capital, an impact investing firm, and the president of the Globetrotter Foundation, a family foundation. She has served on a variety of for-profit and non-profit boards, including Holistic Management International, Sierra Cascade Nursery, Agrarian Trust, and Estancia Beef.
Silvestri Strategies, Co-founder & CEO
Nikki Silvestri is the Co-Founder and CEO of Silvestri Strategies, a project design and management firm working to support thriving communities, economies, and natural environments. As the Co-Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director of People’s Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2014.
Etsy, VP – Values & Impact
Matthew Stinchcomb is Etsy’s VP of Values & Impact. In this role he oversees the stewardship of the company’s mission and values, and works to maximize the positive impact Etsy can have in the world. He firmly believes that business can be a powerful force for social, ecological, and cultural transformation. He has worked in digital media since 1997, and at Etsy since its earliest days spending years cementing the online, million-member marketplace as a mission-driven company. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Benedikta and young son, Francis.
Eh Cho Dene/Dunne-Za First Nation, Aboriginal & Environmental Law
Caleb is of the Eh Cho Dene/Dunne-Za First Nation from Northeast BC. He is a graduate of UVic Law with a concentration in Environmental Law and Sustainability and his work focuses on unconventional energy development, the energy/water nexus and the intersection of Aboriginal and environmental law in Canada. He is the subject of the documentary film Fractured Land.
Crate and Barrel, Co-founder
Carol Segal is the co-founder of Crate and Barrel, the housewares, furniture and home accessories retail chain with more than 170 locations. Carol opened the first location with co-founder and husband Gordon Segal in 1962 in Chicago. In addition to her active founding role, Carol is also founder of Foodstuffs Inc., Chairperson of the Board of Governors of Rush University, Trustee of Rush University Medical Center, Trustee of Chicago Theological Seminary, Trustee Emeritus of Bates College, and Life Trustee of Illinois Institute of Technology. She sits on the board of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lincoln Park Zoological Society and Crow Canyon Archeological Center.
David Karr is co-founder of Guayaki, a caffeinated and sparkling drink made from certified organic Yerba mate grown for potency, vitality, clarity and well-being. From “seed to shelf” Guayaki takes into consideration all aspects of sustainability which is reflected in its growing practices, supplier relationships, product packaging and life cycle. David also heads up marketing for his company and is responsible for the look and feel of the brand. He’s worked hard to introduce people to the mate culture and the rich experience of drinking yerba mate.