Speakers & Facilitators 2019

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Akaya Windwood

True Confessions Speaker

Principal, WiseBridge

Akaya Windwood is a Principal at WiseBridge, a global transformative advising, training, and consultation group. She is the former President of Rockwood Leadership Institute, and is a partner in the Opportunity Collaboration, which convenes an international conference that brings together leaders working to end poverty. She is on faculty for the RSF Social Finance Integrated Capital Institute and directs the Mycelium Fund, which makes small grants to non-profit organizations based on generosity and interconnectedness. She is one of Conscious Company’s 30 World Changing Women of 2018, and has been a featured speaker at the Stanford Social Innovation Institute, the Aspen Institute, and the New Zealand Philanthropy Summit conferences. She received an Ella Award from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and is deeply committed to working for a fair and equitable global society while infusing a sense of purpose, delight and wonder into everything we do. Akaya lives in Oakland, CA where she reads science fiction and relishes growing enormous squash in her garden.


Julian Giacomelli

True Confessions Speaker

Co-Founder, Crudessence and RISE Kombucha

Julian is an advisor, investor, and co-creator for high-impact ventures.

He studied engineering at McGill University and holds an MBA from INSEAD in France. After an early career in engineering and business consulting, curiosity and disenchantment took him off the beaten path, embracing independent travel and a far reaching exploration of life.

Since 2000, Julian has been joyfully supporting organizations to learn, grow and thrive. He has worked with startups to SMEs and larger companies in roles of coach, advisor, consultant, investor and executive.

Julian marries tried and true legacy business practices with a multiple bottom-line and highly collaborative approach, deeply informed by buddhist and yogic philosophies.

In 2009, he co-founded progressive food ventures Crudessence and RISE Kombucha, starting with seed investment and strategic input. He served as Crudessence’s CEO/Chairman from 2010 to 2013 and President/Chairman at RISE Kombucha from 2016 to mid-2019. He is a founding board member of Montreal based Esplanade, a pioneering cross-sector incubator/accelerator for social ventures.

Julian is a regular speaker on topics including culture, sustainability and impact focus. What’s on his mind these days is how to step-up business as a force for good by fostering more non-dual, regenerative and collaborative mindsets.


Shainoor Khoja

True Confessions Speaker

Founder and CEO, Better Business Enterprise (BBE)

Shainoor Khoja is a global change maker and a serial entrepreneur. As the founder and CEO of Better Business Enterprise (BBE), a consultancy firm, she drives impact through designing innovative sustainable solutions in emerging and developed markets to address the needs of base of the pyramid populations. Shainoor works with private sector, family foundations and international development agencies.

She is the Gulf lead for The Global Partnership for Education, a World Bank affiliate tackling the issue of out of school children and strengthening educational systems globally. Shainoor also spearheads Foundation Holding’s focus on value healthcare and education as their Chief Impact Officer. She plays a critical role in building the growth of the platform through developing the strategic, marketing and operational plans in order to deliver change and impact.

Shainoor is currently independently tackling the issue of aging through her own
start-up Thrive-Community.com. A firm believer that aging should be fun and that intergenerational interaction and support can lead to better quality of life, a stronger economy and lower social and healthcare costs. Shainoor is poised to continue to set in motion transformational social change in this sector.

Shainoor was the Managing Director Roshan Community at Afghanistan’s #1 mobile operator, Roshan for a decade. She was an integral part of fundraising over USD 180 million for the company as well as establishing Roshan’s award-winning CSR program. The program incubated initiatives such as telemedicine, e-learning, mobile money and real-time agricultural commodity prices for financial inclusion, which evolved into core commercial products. She has also held positions of Gulf Regional Advisor for Mercy Corps and been the Project Coordinator for AKF to deliver the Multi-Input Crisis Program in Syria during the current crisis.

Shainoor comes from a strong business background, having spent over ten years as an owner and operator of multiple physiotherapy clinics. In addition to her passion in healthcare, Shainoor is also a property wizard, currently managing a portfolio that spans five countries.

As a champion for social impact, Shainoor was awarded the 2016 Lewis Institute Community Changemaker Award from Babson College. Given her years of experience, she is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with up and coming entrepreneurs who are navigating the social impact space. Shainoor sits on several boards and committees such as the International Development Research Center Canada (IDRC), Canada World Youth, Arab Excellence and she is a Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at Babson College.


Vanessa Richards

SVI Producer

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 has volunteered with the Hogan’s Alley Working Group to reinvigorate citizen driven city building. In Feb 2018, she received the Mayors Achievement Award for her work in community engagement.

Vanessa Richards

Laurel Dault

SVI Producer & Social Innovation Manager, Hollyhock

Laurel joined Hollyhock in 2019, where she produces and facilitates the Social Venture Institute.

Laurel’s passion for social innovation and leadership development has led her to cross the continent and the ocean, from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, to THNK School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam, to Female Funders (an organization which trains women to become angel investors) in Vancouver, and finally to Hollyhock. Laurel’s facilitation practice is based in applied improv and energy-building.


Joel Solomon

SVI Producer & Chair of Renewal Funds

Joel Solomon is Chairman of Renewal Funds.

Joel serves as a Senior Advisor with RSF Social Finance and speaks frequently throughout North America and abroad. He is a founding member of Social Venture Network (SVN), Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), and the Tides Canada Foundation.

From 1993 to 2008, Joel managed the Family Office activities of Carol Newell. Together, they pioneered an integrated use of capital for social impact that is now growing as a strategy for deep mission investors.

Joel has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from SVN and was recently inducted with Carol Newell into the SVN Hall of Fame.

Joel Solomon

Pamela Chalout

SVI Producer & TahDah Foundation Board Chair

Pamela’s career has been defined by a desire to serve –to develop, coach and mentor leaders – and to connect people with shared values towards transformational change. She is the founder and CEO of Practical Feet Advisors a boutique firm that offers Intuitive Mentoring, Strategic Advising and Convening services to exceptional leaders. As a natural relationship weaver, Pamela has a successful history of cultivating high-caliber, impact focused relationships and networks that lead to executive leadership positions at BALLE, Renewal Funds and Social Venture Network (SVN, now SVC). She is currently the Board Chair of the TahDah Foundation, Exec Producer of SVI Women and Hollyhock, and the proud mother of a precocious 9 year old daughter.


Charlene Lo

Program 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.”

charlene lo

Mike Rowlands

Program Director, Hollyhock

Mike is President & CEO at Junxion Strategy, an international social impact consultancy that exists to help the bold visionaries of the next economy to articulate their purpose, plan their positive impact, share their stories, and demonstrate their accountability. Junxion’s clients range from major international companies such as adidas and Natura, global NGOs like Doctors Without Borders and United Nations, and countless entrepreneur-led social ventures and non-profits. Mike is Chair of Hollyhock’s Board of Directors, where he is an Executive Producer of the Social Venture Institute. He also sits on the Board of Directors of Social Venture Circle, serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at RADIUS SFU, and is a B Corp Ambassador.

Mike Rowlands

Past True Confession Speakers

Mike Fata

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.

Mike Fata

Josh Knauer

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.


Nova Covington

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.

Nova Covington

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.

Ross Beaty

Alfa Demmellash

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.

Alfa Demmellash

Esther Park

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.

Esther Park

Karen Joseph

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.

Karen Joseph

Sallie Calhoun

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.

Sallie Calhoun

Nikki Silvestri

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.

Nikki Silvestri

Matthew Stinchcomb

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.

Matthew Stinchcomb

Caleb Behn

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.

Caleb Behn

Carol Segal

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.

Carol Segal

David Karr

Guayaki, Co-founder

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.

David Karr
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