Shaun Loney, Social Entrepreneur
Shaun has co-founded and mentored 11 social enterprises, including BUILD Inc, which won the 2011 Scotia Bank EcoLiving Green Business of the Year. Before co-founding BUILD Inc, Shaun was Director of Energy Policy for the Government of Manitoba. Shaun is the first prairie Canadian to be awarded an Ashoka Fellowship (2015) and was Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. Shaun is proud to be part of a strong and visionary social enterprise team that is flourishing across the country. His latest book, An Army of Problem Solvers demonstrates the power of social enterprise to solve Canada’s toughest challenges.
Darcy Wood, Executive Director at Aki Energy
Darcy Wood has over 20 years of experience working with First Nations in Manitoba, and across Canada.
Darcy Wood is currently the Executive Director of AKI Energy. Up until March 2013, he worked as the Senior Policy Analyst in the housing and infrastructure secretariat for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs for 7 years. Prior to that, Mr. Wood worked within Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada both at the Manitoba regional level and at the Federal level in Ottawa, working with the Real Property Services Division. From 2000-2002, Darcy served as Chief in his home community of Garden Hill First Nation and has served in various capacities within the Tribal Council and other regional political organizations.
Marc Soberano, Founder & Executive Director of Building Up
Marc believes that innovative business models are needed to solve complex societal issues. After mentoring with established social enterprises, Marc was inspired to create Building Up, a leading Toronto non-profit.
Building Up combines social innovation with clean energy to train and employ people facing barriers such as poverty or a criminal record to long term employment.
Marc is one of only a few Canadians to have canoed across Canada. He intends to combine lessons learned from the classroom and life in the woods to lead this organization towards its vision..
Rob Avis, Owner / Lead Instructor / Engineer, Verge Permaculture
Less than 10 years after Rob Avis started his engineering career in Calgary’s oil fields, he’s now applying his technical expertise as a leading-edge teacher/consultant in regenerative design. Telling aspiring eco-entrepreneurs that Transformation is not only possible, it’s profitable, he’s backing up his message with a permaculture design certification program that gives its students tools to start successful businesses now.
After pursuing international training and certifications in renewable energy and regenerative design. Rob and his wife and business partner Michelle transformed Rob’s part-time consultancy to Verge Permaculture, now a globally-recognized and award-winning design, consulting, and education company. Since then, they’ve helped more than 1000 students and a growing number of clients to design and/or create integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land.
A popular lecturer, Rob has earned testimonials from permaculture’s bestselling author Toby Hemenway and “beyond-organic farming” superstar Joel Salatin among others. Leading designer/consultant Geoff Lawton describes Verge Permaculture is “one of North America’s premier permaculture design and education companies.” Learn more and connect with Rob at www.vergepermaculture.ca.
Sylvia McAdam, co-founder of Idle No More
Sylvia McAdam was born and raised on the Big River Reserve in Treaty Six Territory. She holds degrees in law and human justice and teaches at the First Nations University.
Sylvia McAdam is the author of the book Cultural Teachings: First Nations Protocols & Methodologies, a guide to appropriate traditional etiquette for individuals attending ceremonial activities of indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan.
Sylvia McAdam is one of four founders of the Idle No More movement which has gained world-wide recognition as a positive and “peaceful revolution to honour Indigenous sovereignty, and to protect the land and water.”