ACTION Conference 2015

November 21st, 2015

The Ron Joyce Centre

Burlington, ON

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about

About ACTION

ACTION is an initiative spearheaded to develop entrepreneurial capabilities and attitudes within a diverse audience. We will provide a framework to venture creation that will allow individuals, regardless of their discipline, to leverage what they have learned through work and education, generate ideas, and scale their solutions. While ACTION is focused on technology commercialization, it is by no means limited to it. True innovation is not sequestered, and often the ideas with the greatest impact are cross- disciplinary in nature. It is our hope to bring a wide variety of people together, have them make connections, and inspire them to go out and disrupt the status quo.

The Sessions

Prospective interactive, hands-on workshops for this year's conference

  • What makes a great idea for a startup?
  • Building your first (successful) hardware startup in Canada
  • Pitching your idea and business
  • Niche marketing for startups
  • Customer segmentation
  • Effective networking techniques and strategies
  • Bootstrapping: the art of creating strategic growth partnerships
  • Venture valuation: reality check
  • Negotiating term sheets
  • Design-thinking and business development
  • Building a startup sales team
  • The ins and outs of money - Planning for funding and exits
  • Practical cash flow management for startups
  • Disclosing intellectual property

The Agenda

Prospective Timetable for the conference

  • 8:00 am

    Breakfast and Registration Check-In

  • 8:50 am

    Opening Remarks

  • 9:00 am

    Opening Keynote by Gerald Weiner (Auditorium)

  • 10:10 am

    Morning Experiential Breakout Session

    • Launching and Growing a Hardware Startup - by Charles Mire

    • Bootstrapping: The Art of Creating Strategic Growth Partnerships - by Claude Gauthier

    • Design-Thinking and Business Model Development Workshop - by Jenna Tregarthen

    • The Ins and Outs of Money - Planning for Funding and Exits - by Ron Neumann

    • The Startup Pitch: A Proven Formula to Win Funding - by Chris Lipp

    • Speak and Impress While Networking - by Robert Vallee

  • 11:10 am

    Mid-Morning Stretch and Refreshments

  • 11:30 am

    Late Morning Experiential Breakout Session

    • Negotiating Term Sheets - by Lotfi Belkhir

    • Intellectual Property Law - by Steven Leach and Kazim Agha

    • Cash is King: Practical Cash Flow Management in Startups - by Mustafa Dossajee

    • Design-Thinking and Business Model Development Workshop (Continued) - by Jenna Tregarthen

    • Building a Kick-A@#! Brand Strategy - by Laurie Thompson and Carol Chong

    • The Three Most Profound Questions in My Marketing Career - by Tom Lee

    • Venture Valuation: Reality Check - by Gerard Buckley

  • 12:30 pm

    Networking Lunch

  • 2:00 pm

    Afternoon Experiential Breakout Session

    • Launching and Growing a Hardware Startup - by Charles Mire

    • Bootstrapping: The Art of Creating Strategic Growth Partnerships - by Claude Gauthier

    • Design-Thinking and Business Model Development Workshop - by Jenna Tregarthen

    • The Ins and Outs of Money - Planning for Funding and Exits - by Ron Neumann

    • The Startup Pitch: A Proven Formula to Win Funding - by Chris Lipp

    • Speak and Impress While Networking - by Robert Vallee

  • 3:00 pm

    Nutrition Break

  • 3:20 pm

    Late Afternoon Experiential Breakout Session

    • Negotiating Term Sheets - by Lotfi Belkhir

    • Intellectual Property Law - by Steven Leach and Kazim Agha

    • Cash is King: Practical Cash Flow Management in Startups - by Mustafa Dossajee

    • Design-Thinking and Business Model Development Workshop (Continued) - by Jenna Tregarthen

    • Building a Kick-A@#! Brand Strategy - by Laurie Thompson and Carol Chong

    • The Three Most Profound Questions in My Marketing Career - by Tom Lee

  • 4:30 pm

    Closing Keynote Bjoern Herrmann (Auditorium)

  • 6:30 pm

    Downtown Meetup and Party

The Speakers

Confirmed experts so far. Please check back as we continue to finalize our speaker line-up.

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Lotfi Belkhir

Associate Professor at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice, McMaster University

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Carol Chong

Director at Sklar Wilton & Associates

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Mustafa Dossajee

Partner at SB Partners

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Claude Gauthier

CTO and Co-Founder at OmniPhy

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Gerard Buckley

CEO and Founding Partner at Jaguar Capital Inc.

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Bjoern L. Herrmann

CEO and Founder at Compass Inc.

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Tom Lee

Chief Education Officer at Quanser Inc.

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Chris Lipp

Associate Director at Stanford University Graduate School of Business

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Charles Mire

CEO and Co-Founder at Structur3D Printing

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Ron Neumann

Founder and CEO of Vistashift

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Steve Leach

Partner at Ridout & Maybee LLP

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Laurie Thompson

Director at Sklar Wilton & Associates

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Jenna Tregarthen

Co-Founder and CEO of Recovery Record

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Robert Vallee

Communications Coach and Owner at Speak & Impress!

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Gerald Weiner

CEO of Landmark Canada

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Pricing

Flexible pricing for your learning needs

Tickets can be puchased at the door on the day of the conference (cash only)

What the registration fee includes:

  • All-star speaker and facilitator line-up from across Canada and Silicon Valley
  • Four hands-on, experiential learning sessions on practical startup skills
  • Continental breakfast, networking breaks, and lunch
  • Networking and mentorship opportunities with industry leaders and fellow attendees
  • Shuttle service from McMaster University and surrounding GO Stations (Hamilton, Burlington, Appleby)
  • Complimentary on-site parking
  • Access to all conference materials (even those of sessions you did not attend)
  • Access to the ACTION Alumni network
  • Access to Startup Exhibitor Space presented by Innovation Factory

Student

$120/ Per Ticket

"The ACTION conference was a great opportunity to network with industry leaders in Ontario. I especially enjoyed the speakers who described their unique paths to success. ACTION really opened my eyes and provided me with entrepreneurial skills to approach the many opportunities to innovate within my field of medicine. This conference was a great experience, and I am looking forward to participating again next year!"

Ilya Mukovozov, MD-PhD Candidate at University of Toronto

Startup

$140/ Per Ticket

The hardest things to learn are the things you don't even know you're oblivious to. Action taught me a lot, but there is one thing I can say topped the rest. For me, I found that I didn't understand the true value of Networking. Everyone tells you how important it is, and ok, so you spend some time here and there working on it. But you don't really get why people say Networking is important until you meet the right person, and that connection leads to something huge. Then you understand why people say Networking is important. I met the right people at Action, and everything changed after that.

Jonah Tassie, CEO and Co-Founder at Grand River Business Intelligence

Professional

$180/ Per Ticket

“Every once in a while you’ll have an experience that is able to expand the very framework which constructs your view on how to approach your future aspirations. Today’s conference was undoubtedly one of such experiences. From the well-assembled keynotes and workshops to the wide range of networking opportunities, I’d have to say that this was one of my favourite experiences of this year. I leave here today with something far greater than a collection of useful bits of knowledge - I leave with a sharper focus on my goals and useful resources for my journey as an entrepreneur.”

Matt Bury, Senior Executive Secretary at Local 216

Conference Venue

The Ron Joyce Centre

4350 South Service Road, Burlington, ON L7L 5R8, Canada.

1-905-525-9140.

The Organizers

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Nikolaus Jewell

Conference Chairperson

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Melanie Rodrigues

Conference Manager

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Daniel Dinizo

Marketing Coordinator

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Lis Melo

Registration Coordinator

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Dillon Mulcahy

Speaker Coordinator

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Zack Muqtadir

Social Media Coordinator

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Andrew Scullion

Website Coordinator

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Philip Zimny

Quebec Relations Coordinator

FAQ

Common questions and answers about the conference

Mixer Events

Small events taking place before and after the conference

For those of you arriving in Burlington on Friday night, you are invited to the pre-conference networking night at IVY BAR (3330 S Service Rd, Burlington, ON). Please be advised that this venue has a strict dress code found here.

After the final lights dim in the Ron Joyce Centre, the night is still young! For those of you heading home in lieu of attending the Mentorship Dinner (invitation only), there will be a post-conference party at Ceilidh House (107 George St, Hess Village, Hamilton). Please note that shuttle buses can take you to Hamilton, but late-night transportation back to Burlington is not provided.

More information on both events will be sent out in a Conference Housekeeping email prior to the conference day.

Hotels

Recommended hotels for stay during the conference

hotel

Quality Hotel Burlington

$95/night

Special rate for the ACTION Conference. Traditional or Executive rooms with shuttle to and from the conference. Limited number of rooms are available.

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hotel

Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel

$115/night

Special rate for the ACTION Conference. Hotel rooms start at $115 per night. This hotel is easily accessible via the highway and is conveniently located close to the conference venue.

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Meet Lotfi Belkhir

Dr. Lotfi Belkhir is a physicist, inventor, entrepreneur and Acting Director of the Xerox Centre for Engineering, Entrepreneurship & Innovation at McMaster University. He is also Chair of the Research Advisory Council of the VCSEE at Cape Breton University and Director, Ontario on the CCSBE Board of Directors and the Ontario Director of the Board of Canadian Council of Small Business & Entrepreneurship (CCSBE).

Prior to joining academia, Dr. Belkhir founded Kirtas Technologies Inc in 2001. During his time as CEO, Kirtas Technologies was ranked twice in the Inc. 500 as one of the fastest growing companies in America and won Popular Science's “Best of What’s New Award” in 2003. In 2006, Dr. Belkhir brokered a tri-party agreement with Microsoft and Cornell University to provide high-quality digitization of out-of-copyright material owned by Cornell.

In his current position at McMaster, he oversees the entrepreneurial education and training of more than 55 Masters’ students through a structured and experiential entrepreneurial process where each student develops his/her own technology-based startup by the end of the program. His research interests revolve around the advancement of sustainable prosperity through innovation, entrepreneurship, and design education.

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Meet Carol Chong

Carol is a Director at Sklar, Wilton & Associates, a marketing consulting agency in Toronto that fuses facilitation, insight and strategy together to collaboratively solve business challenges. This helps brands grow and visualize a path to success. She has worked on global brands including Mars, M&Ms, Snickers, Uncle Ben's and Heinz. Prior to Sklar, Wilton and Associates, Carol worked in brand marketing in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry in both Canada and the United States. She loves problem-solving and bringing clarity to complex business challenges.

She loves problem-solving and bringing clarity to complex business challenges. A combination of 'Sage' and 'Explorer', Carol loves travelling to interesting places in the world where she can meditate and practice Tai Chi.

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Meet Mustafa Dossajee

Mustafa Dossajee loves his job as a CPA and Partner. Working with business owners and entrepreneurs is a rewarding experience. “Entrepreneurs are very busy people. They are usually so focused on growing their company, they benefit from having someone like me to help keep on top of their money while they work on their business. Setting up the company in the most tax efficient manner, preparing financial projections and being an invaluable ally when they are looking for financing can be key to their growth. I watch their financial back, so to speak.”

Clients who work with Mustafa can attest to his commitment to exceed expectations. He consistently addresses client needs and resolves business challenges by analyzing all possible scenarios providing recommendations specific to individual circumstances.

“The industry we operate in is very dynamic, and accounting standards are changing almost daily,” continues Mustafa. "I enjoy the constant challenge of staying current. I also find it rewarding that my clients count on me to deliver results. Their trust means that I am upholding the integrity of my profession and contributing to their success.” Mustafa is an active soccer player and enjoys long bike rides during the warmer seasons. He loves spending time at home with family and has an avid interest in renovating.

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Meet Claude Gauthier

Claude Gauthier was born in Toronto, Canada in 1973. He received MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1997 and 1999, respectively. Following his studies, Dr. Gauthier began his career working for relatively large technology companies, such as Sun Microsystems, ATI Graphics, and Advanced Micro Devices.

In time, Claude found his passion in the entrepreneurial culture of start-ups of Silicon Valley, and he went on to work in several small start-ups before finally founding his own in 2012. Dr. Gauthier is currently the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of OmniPhy, a specialty semiconductor company that designs intellectual property for many applications, including automotive, consumer, and industrial. The company was funded completely by customers, with no outside investment.

Dr. Gauthier also has 12 publications and holds over 80 issued US Patents.

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Meet Gerard Buckley

Gerard has been working in the financial industry for over 32 years, helping companies strategically plan for accelerated levels of growth at Scotia Capital, Maple Leaf Angels and Jaguar Capital where he is now Managing Director. Gerard a Certified Management Consultant leads a management consulting practice with mandates focused on growth in entrepreneurial companies and is an expert in structuring companies to access financing by employing governance, financial management and funding strategies. Gerard has worked on Merger & Acquisition teams transacting over $10 billion of deal flow in his career.

As an experienced investor and a member of Angel Investment Networks, he understands the process of investment in growth private companies and advises CEO’s on how to prepare for it. Gerard is Past - Chairperson of Maple Leaf Angels Corporation where he successfully set strategic direction and grew the organization over four years and in 2015 was named Angel Investor of the Year. He was the Entrepreneur in Resident at INcubes, an internet accelerator based in Toronto. He served as a member on the Small and Medium Enterprise Committee of The Ontario Securities Commission and has served on the board of an Exempt Market Dealer and a TSX.V Public Company. Gerard is currently Lead Director and founder of The General Partner of MLA48LP an angel invested fund. He has a passion for helping young entrepreneurs prepare their companies for scale.

Gerard has built a solid reputation in corporate development as a ‘thought leader’ and provider of practical and usable governance and structuring advice for entrepreneurs. He speaks frequently on subjects related to Governance, Angel Investment, Growth Financing, Entrepreneurialism, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Gerard has extensive experience working with Advisory Boards and Boards of Directors. In addition to chairing Boards of Directors, he has chaired Audit, Compensation, and Governance & Finance Committees and led Strategic Planning initiatives. He has written and implemented Audit Committee Charters, Whistle Blower, Conflict of Interest, Investment, and Risk Management Policies. Gerard as a practitioner in Capital Markets, worked with fortune 500 companies advising them on the management of complex financial and investment risk. As an industry expert he is an Investment Committee Member of the Endowment Funds of a Canadian University. Gerard is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers and was awarded their Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. He is also a member and an Institute-certified Director of the Institute of Corporate Directors and a graduate of University of Toronto’s Directors Education Program.

Gerard has a history of serving youth and educational charities through organizations such as The Army Cadet League of Canada – Founder of Community Scholarship Program and Board Director and Developing Scholars as Board Director – providing scholarships for students in Guatemala. His passion and work with youth earned Gerard the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal and various other awards.

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Meet Steve Leach

Steve Leach is a Partner in one of Canada’s most storied patent firms, Ridout & Maybee LLP, which dates back to 1893. Steve’s practise largely services small and medium export-focused manufacturing businesses in Peel, Halton and Hamilton and includes patent and trademark prosecution and related licensing and litigation. He has been involved in numerous charities and service clubs over the years, is the current chair of the Queen’s Chemistry Innovation Council and is part of a team in the early stages of starting-up Techlink Innovation Exchange, a non-profit focused towards the adoption of external IP by existing companies.

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Meet Bjoern L. Herrmann

Bjoern was born in Germany, and has become a recognized entrepreneur and an expert on data products for businesses, performance benchmarking, and business ecosystems.

He has extensive business experience, both in the corporate realm, as an executive in Russia, and in the startup world, as a founder of five for- and non-profit ventures in Germany, Bangladesh, and the United States. Most recently, his team and him have set out to decrease the massive failure rate of businesses by transforming the business world from instinct to data-driven. The first product Compass.co now serves tens of thousands of software businesses around the world. Its success has been covered in the Economist, WSJ, PBS, ARD, Techcrunch, Wired, and Forbes. The young company has been backed by top tier VCs, including NEA and Crosslink Capital, and prominent angel investors, including Steve Blank, Allen Morgan, Stefan Glaenzer, and Tom Glocer.



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Meet Tom Lee

Tom Lee is currently Chief Education Officer at Quanser, a world leader in advanced lab systems for use in control systems, mechatronics, and robotics research and education. Prior to joining Quanser in 2011, he was a senior executive at Maplesoft, a Waterloo spin-off specializing in advanced mathematical software. He also worked for Certicom, another Waterloo spinoff that pioneered power-efficient, highly secure encryption for mobile devices. The majority of Tom's professional experience can be described as "technical marketing" - transforming complex technical concepts to market-appropriate business strategies and tactics.

Tom has a BASc and MASc in Systems Design Engineering, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo

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Meet Chris Lipp

Chris works with CEOs worldwide from South Africa to Australia, coaches MBAs at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and hosts workshops throughout Silicon Valley. His model helps entrepreneurs pitch effectively in high-stakes situations, and he has coached this model to several hundred startups in the past year. This model will transform how others view your company.

Chris’ background includes startup marketing and international business management where he managed over $100 million in annual revenue. He holds a B.S. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Chris also competes regularly in presentations contests and has bested thousands of speakers in the Bay Area.

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Meet Charles Mire

Charles is originally from Texas, where he worked as a backend Unix developer for about 10 years before deciding to switch tracks to become a scientist. He went on to pursue a MSc in applied physics from the University of Texas and then obtained a PhD in chemistry from the University of Wollongong in Australia.

After completing his PhD, Charles and his family immigrated to Canada. They fortunately settled in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, where Charles connected with the local startup scene. After a few years of extensive networking and working at a number of local startup companies, he took the plunge and launched Structur3D Printing in 2013. Since then, the company has graduated Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE Accelerator program, successfully launched a kickstarter campaign, and sold hundreds of its Discov3ry extruder worldwide.

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Meet Ron Neumann

Ron Neumann is the founder and CEO of VistaShift®, a marketing automation software company that empowers teams to create marketing messages and strategies that work. VistaShift turns your team into the Marketing Consultant you wish you could afford.

As a serial entrepreneur, Ron has learned the key characteristics needed to win in today’s fast-changing world. Stepping outside his natural pattern of thinking through the application of Perspective Dynamics, Ron developed the ability to uncover valuable insights he leveraged in starting ten successful ventures, three of which were subsequently sold to Blackberry, Oracle and Google. With a passion for sharing his methodology, VistaShift’s patented three step process helps organizations leverage perspective taking to solve the challenge of increasing sales.

Prior to VistaShift, Ron has more than 30 years’ experience in executive positions of President, CEO and Board Member at the front lines of growing technology companies in Waterloo, Ontario. Ron leveraged his successful entrepreneur experience to help launch Innovation Factory, Hamilton’s first Regional Innovation Centre. As Executive Director, Ron’s team was instrumental in setting the foundation that helped transform a former steel town community into one of innovation and entrepreneurship.

As an energetic and animated Speaker, Ron highlights the power of perspectives in an interactive and participative approach. He demonstrates how everyone can realize unique insights and put them into action to achieve success.

Ron Neumann is from Brantford, Ontario, has resided in Hamilton for more than 25 years and now lives in Penetanguishe, Ontario. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, is a Founder and former Board Member of Angel One Network and is an active Angel Investor.

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Meet Laurie Thompson

Laurie came to Sklar Wilton & Associates in 2005 with a background in Consumer Insights on the client and supplier sides of business. At SW&A, Laurie supports clients in a range of industries, including telecommunications, hospitality, retail, homebuilding and packaged goods. In her current role, she uses a range of decision-making tools to help clients, and in recent years, has developed a real love of facilitation in areas, such as product innovation, and brand & business strategy.

Inspired by a recent SW&A onsite, Laurie has a vision of her perfect future: retracing her footsteps in Europe and making some new ones in Asia. As a practiced multi-tasker, she hopes to work in a few 5K races along the way and catch up on her reading in transit. Maybe she can also work in some piano lessons along the way?

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Meet Jenna Tregarthen

Jenna's passion for human-centered design has been honed in her role as Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship Instructor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Jenna has mentored and taught over twenty Stanford venture teams from idea to industry. Jenna is the CEO of Recovery Record, the leading mobile platform for eating disorder management, and has applied design principals to grow and engage it’s user base to over 400,000 people living with eating disorders and 10,000 treating practitioners. As a Clinical Psychology PhD Candidate, Jenna’s research expertise is positive psychology and behavior change.

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Meet Robert Vallee

Robert Vallee is the most experienced, effective, and bilingual presentation, speech, and communication coach in Canada. He has extensive experience spanning over three decades, wherein he has served as the personal presentation coach for over 16,500 professionals, including 89 CEOs, and delivered over 5,200 presentation workshops for over 1,250 clients.

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Meet Gerald Weiner

Gerald Weiner, in 1971, founded a national company to work exclusively with the middle and high risk self-employed which became PennCorp Life Insurance Company and La Capitale Financial Services in 2004 purchased the company. From a chance meeting on an international flight, Gerald took over the Canadian responsibility for Save the Children Canada and helped them become financially solvent. In 2005 he helped develop eLogic Learning and in 2006 founded Landmark ASP Solutions. Both companies are successful LMS or compliancy management systems (CMS) companies. Landmark Canada was founded in 2006 to again serve the needs of the middle to high risk self-employed across Canada. Baby Brands International was founded in 2012 and has become the largest distributor of free baby gift bags to approximately 300,000 new mothers across Canada. Jerry, as he likes to be called, continues to work as CEO of all of his companies. Through his foundation, he developed Tolerance Week in 2004 (www.toleranceweek.com) and for 27 consecutive years, he has held a large fundraiser for the Boy's Club, which has raised over $4.5 million. Jerry believes in maintaining harmony with mind, body and spirit and works out for approximately two hours every morning. He strives to be in his US or Canadian office by 7 a.m. "Having purpose and passion is what keeps any entrepreneur moving forward and having fun."

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