Alison Alexis, CEO
A Chartered Accountant (CPA) with 12 years of progressive work experience, Alison’s career began at KMPG Vancouver. Having predominantly worked in the mining sector, Alison has worked for multi-national companies on both operational and project development levels.
Alison is a strong believer that our greatest resource is people. She believes encouraging people to stay engaged and feel supported within the context of a company, allowing them to make choices “outside of the box”, helps to keep the company agile, adaptable, and innovative. This results in an increased ability for the company to achieve its long-term strategies and overall vision.
Prior to starting her career in accounting, she received a B.A in Classical Studies from the University of British Columbia. There she studied philosophy, literature, mythology, history, and cultivated an appreciation for the innovation and multi-disciplinary approach of a Polymath.
An unrelenting curiosity to understand the past, present, and future of humanity drives her interest in science and technology. In particular, she takes a strong interest cognitive science, Artificial Intelligence, and blockchain technologies. Alison anticipates that principles and lessons from history, liberal arts, business, and other sciences will be crucial to the advancement of these newer technologies.
Bob Summerwill, CTO and Director of Blockchain Strategy
Bob Summerwill is a community leader for the Ethereum Project and Community Ambassador for the Sweetbridge Project. He has been a key figure in the Ethereum community since 2015, working at both the Ethereum Foundation and ConsenSys. He was foundational in the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, working full-time on that project for ConsenSys from October 2016 to October 2017. He co-presented the Technical Roadmap at the EEA launch event and served first as Secretary of the Technical Working Group and subsequently as Vice-Chair of the Technical Steering Committee. This followed an 18-year career in video games, including 15 years at Electronic Arts. This time featured a spell as the first Software Architect for EA Sports as a whole, and as the Chair of the newly formed EA Sports Architecture Council. He worked as a DevOps Solutions Architect on the Agile Transformation team at TD Securities in Toronto in 2015. Bob was recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Top 40 Canadian social influencer in finance, innovation, and risk in December 2017 – one of only 5 blockchain specialists in that selection.
Jean-Marc Bellefeuille, Principal
Marc’s well-rounded background in financial markets, including large corporate financing, wealth management, and portfolio management makes him a key asset. His experience has been accumulated over the past two decades, during which he has worked with the largest financial firms in Canada (measured by revenue and market capitalization).
Marc’s education includes undergraduate work in political sciences and economics as well as postgraduate achievements in finance, economics, and strategy. He has a Master’s in Business Administration from Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Marc currently holds the title of Chartered Financial Analyst as well as Financial Risk Manager.
Hesham Mahrous, Director of AI Strategy and R&D
With over 8 years of practical experience, Hesham has become an expert at designing large scale big data science analytics frameworks. He holds an M.A.Sc. in Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence from the University of British Columbia and a second M.A.Sc in the topic of Artificial Intelligence. Mr. Mahrous is an AI Consultant to multiple startups such as MealCheck, Open Spot, and GaussInsights. Previously, he worked as a Senior Data Scientist at Samsung and SAP where he articulated patented technologies in the field of data mining and machine learning.
Hesham is a published author of books, journals and conference papers in the field of Big Data and Machine Learning. He published the book, “A compression technique for non-stationary signals” in November 2017. Another impressive achievement includes his currently pending patent (Mahrous, et al. 2015. Nomenclature Matching for Automatic Monitoring of Vulnerabilities in Software Systems, US 20160188882 A1).
Oindrila Hazra, Director of PR & Communications
Oindrila Hazra is a SABRE award-winning Communication Strategist with 7 years of experience leading integrated communication campaigns. This experience includes work for global brands like Facebook, Airbnb, Intel, Vodafone, and Evernote which has made a real measurable impact on client’s businesses. She began her career working with a Softbank-backed technology startup with whom she was profiled in Techcrunch during their very first year of existence.
Oindrila understands the field of technology and startup communication. She specializes in influencer and government outreach, product PR, and both B2B and B2C communication.
She has also worked very closely with Chinese brands such as OnePlus and India’s Qiku, giving her insight into Asia’s growing economies.
Justin holds degrees in Biochemistry (Bishop’s University) and Cellular and Molecular Medicine (University of Ottawa Heart Institute). He spent 5+ years conducting basic science research optimization/experimentation and publishing his findings. Turning in his lab coat for a suit, Justin’s analytical prowess led him to Ernst & Young, where he performed IT system audits and then moved on to forensic accounting with Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services.
Justin’s deep interest in cyclical market forces, central bank policy, and currency devaluation led him to the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in 2012. By 2013 he was trading/investing in cryptocurrency markets. He also independently educates and consults clients on aspects ranging from private key management to UI functionalities they should consider implementing in new exchanges.
Residing deep down the crypto rabbit hole, Justin keeps his finger on the pulse of various projects. He does this by moderating and/or taking part in over 80 group chats across various platforms and attending international conferences and meetups.
Equipped with a Certified Bitcoin Professional designation, and being a licensed real estate salesperson in Ontario, Justin is passionate about catalyzing the integration of blockchain technology across a range of industries.
After completing a Bachelor of Biological Sciences at McMaster University, Jerry found his way to the blockchain ecosystem. He is the founder of OpenBounty, a blockchain-based project management platform. This platform utilizes smart contracts for allocating work compensation and is currently in Alpha stage. He is a co-founder of Bitcoin Bay (and associated Meet-ups), an educational platform for bringing Bitcoin and applications of blockchain technology to everyone. This educational platform holds the philosophy of equipping the masses with the knowledge required for the evolving Internet revolution. This can be achieved by deconstructing the complexities surrounding the digital currencies/assets.
Jerry is a startup advisor at the Blockchain Hub and an Advisor to the Blockchain Association of Canada. He also holds the Certified Bitcoin Professional designation.
Mark developed a keen interest in Bitcoin in 2013 and has been well integrated into the cryptocurrency ecosystem since then. He has managed a Bitcoin ATM and is actively involved in cryptocurrency consulting, buying and trading of cryptocurrencies, and managing portfolios. He has been directing a cryptocurrency mining operation for over a year, developing and overseeing all aspects of the operation. Mark has also been a panelist for multiple cryptocurrency forums including educational videos, conferences, and discussions.
Mark has a strong interest in the intersection of politics, philosophy, and economics. He encourages and regularly engages in coaching and mentoring to help people achieve financial independence and control over their lives.
Nicola Banton is a professional engineer by trade (P. Eng. designation) and holds a Master of Science in Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. Nicola brings over 17 years of project management, technical communications, risk management, and coordination experience to the team. Her talents include community and government engagement. In these areas she has demonstrated expertise in plain-language communication on technical and regulatory topics. She has developed effective and productive relationships with public stakeholders as well as local, provincial and federal governments and agencies.
Nicola has successfully applied these skills to numerous cross-functional roles within the mining and environmental industries in both project and operational settings. She is passionate about driving optimal project development through risk-based decision making. She is also a strong believer in the engagement of diverse and multidisciplinary teams and stakeholders.
An electrical engineer by background, Camran Syed is a patent specialist with 14 years of experience in researching and analyzing technical patents in the technology field. Camran is also very passionate about Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and their applications to space exploration.
Ali Pourdad is the CEO of Progressa, Canada’s only direct-pay lender, which offers credit-challenged Canadians an opportunity to directly repay past due bills and build back their credit. Under Ali’s leadership, the Company has raised over $45.0 million in investor capital in just 5 years. The Company’s proprietary “Progressa Score” offers an alternative credit score that is currently being used to enhance recoveries by Canada’s largest banks, credit companies, and telecoms. The company has grown to over 100 employees, with operations in both Vancouver and Toronto.
Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in corporate restructuring and auditing at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ali began his professional career at a young age, co-founding a leading IT services firm in Edmonton, AB and Vancouver, BC, in 1998, which grew to 30 employees. Ali exited the venture in 2005. He was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and holds a Canadian Professional Chartered Accountant degree, a BBA in Finance from Simon Fraser University. In 2017, Ali was named to Business in Vancouver’s 40 under 40.
James Dzidek, PhD, brings over 20 years of extensive technical experience in software engineering and IT management consulting to the table. He’s a Microsoft strategic advisor, helping some of Canada’s largest companies with their Cloud & AI Strategy. While possessing strong theoretical fundamentals, James’ core strength is in taking ideas to commercial realization. He has experience with financial institutions, manufacturing, retail, professional services, and the telecom sector. James has a Doctor of Philosophy in Software Engineering from the University of Olso.
Sajjad Mohammed is the managing partner of Alchemy Capital Partners, a merchant banking firm that seeks to invest in, and advise, high growth Canadian companies. Alchemy invests across industries and stages and focuses on those investments that can benefit from their financial expertise and a global network of partners. They provide a broad range of financial advisory services including those related to M&A, private equity, and venture capital financing transactions.
Before founding Alchemy Capital Partners, Sajjad was the Knowledge-Based Industries Leader at Ernst & Young Corporate Finance. He advised high growth companies on raising venture capital and growth financing, undertaking M&A transactions, and establishing strategic partnerships globally. Prior to that, Sajjad was the Senior Vice President and Head of M&A at Noor Investment Group. There, he managed their global expansion by way of acquisition, direct investment and organic growth. He helped develop and assist in the execution of the geographical expansion strategy for various international markets including Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Sajjad has also held multiple investment banking roles in the US and Canada, including Wachovia Securities (Wells Fargo)
With 17 years of semiconductor industry experience, Sajjad has managed teams to drive cost efficiency in manufacturing through data-driven decision-making. He has managed industry-specific software development for a decade, as well as managing product and test teams. Sajjad has a BEng from McGill University, Montreal, and has experience working for Teradyne, AMD and Semtech Corporation. His experience ranges from design to product engineering and operations management.
Lisa is a Chartered Accountant and Certified Human Resource Leader and is currently the Chief of Staff, Global Capital Projects, at Barrick Gold Company, the world’s largest gold producer. She specializes in financial planning and analysis, financial reporting, and management cost analysis. She also has vast experience in operational analysis assurance scenario-based valuation modeling, internal controls, forecasting, budgeting, and people and project management. Reporting to executive and senior management, she currently focuses on the resource industry with complex operating and development sites around the world.
Lisa’s experience managing remote and direct teams, with organizations operating across multiple jurisdictions, has allowed her to continue to strengthen her strategic management skills. She is a critical thinker for financial, operational, performance measurement and human capital concepts. She has experience in applying this skill set to team, leadership and executive management issues.
Partner – Catalyst AI
Catalyst AI emerged from the world-renowned Computer Science and Technology Department at the University of Cambridge. By leveraging the expertise of professors, postdocs, and PhDs from leading research institutions, they bring the latest in Artificial Intelligence and data science to the industry.
CEO of Catalyst AI, Ray is an engineer and technology entrepreneur. Previously Ray was CEO of Ventoura, which was awarded Best Mobile Service Finland 2015 and partnered with British Airways. Ray has a Masters in Engineering from the University of Cambridge where he was a Cambridge Commonwealth and International Trust scholar. He has authored more than 10 academic publications focusing on sustainable energy and water supply systems and system dynamics modeling.
CTO of Catalyst AI, Ahmed is an Artificial Intelligence researcher specializing in Natural Language Processing and Deep Learning. He has an MPhil and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge and is currently a Cambridge International Trust and King’s College Scholar. Ahmed leads an exceptionally high caliber team of research scientists and software engineers on the forefront of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning at Catalyst AI. He was previously at Accenture Strategy designing and implementing technology solutions for financial institutions. He also worked at Deutsche Bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking division specializing in Trade Finance.
Partner – Cryptochicks
Cryptochicks is a non-profit blockchain educational hub with a mission of growing the industry and achieving gender balance in the blockchain space.
They hold classes and workshops for all with a focus on educating women, believing that women’s involvement will help blockchain realize its enormous potential as an instrument of positive change in the world.