The day after Labour Day, Toronto's world renown Yonge-Dundas Square transforms into a wearable tech wonderland. The event offers nearly 30 wearable tech manufacturer's showcasing their latest devices for the back-to-school and holiday seasons. You will want to find yourself in Toronto on Tuesday, September 8, 2015. Check out the completeevent schedule here.
On top of featuring the latest in one the fastest growing categories at Best Buy Canada, attendees must check out the star-studded panels, which include top executives, professional athletes, industry experts, celebrities and more.
Zayn Jaffer Director of Emerging Business, Best Buy Canada
As the Director of Merchandising for Emerging Business at Best Buy Canada, Zayn is responsible for developing the growth strategy for the categories of Wearable Technology, Smart Home Control, and Musical Instruments. Leading a team of merchants and product managers, Zayn is focused on driving key product launches, diversifying the product mix, optimizing the in-store experience and creating strong vendor partnerships. Zayn started his career at Best Buy Canada as the Senior Merchant of Laptops in 2005 and quickly grew through the ranks to become the Director of Merchandising in the business categories of Digital Imaging, Computing Solutions, Home Theatre, Home Audio and most currently Emerging Business. Most recently, Zayn’s strategic direction and steadfast leadership were integral in the successful execution of two of the biggest new category launches this year for Smart Home and Wearable Technology. An avid sports fan when he’s not hard at work, Zayn can be found playing or watching sports and cheering on his favourite Vancouver team—go Canucks go!
Founder, We Are Wearables
As a writer, consultant and community builder, Tom Emrich uses his passion for new technologies to act as a catalyst to bring on the future. He founded We Are Wearables, an organization that rallies the tech community together to discover, discuss and demo wearable tech in order to foster adoption and facilitate innovation in the wearable space. We Are Wearables is the largest wearable tech community of its kind in the world with chapters in Toronto, Ottawa and Chicago. Tom writes regularly about wearables and other emerging technologies for MobileSyrup, BetaKit, Design News and Designers of Things and appears regularly on Canada AM as a wearable tech expert. He also works with startups, and large organizations as an advisor and consultant offering assistance on product development, marketing and organizational strategy. Follow Tom on Twitter at @tomemrich.
A graduate of Ryerson University’s Image Arts program, Sunny Fong, Creative Director and driving force behind Canadian luxury women’s wear label VAWK, first took an interest in fashion at the high school level teaching himself to sew while making dresses for friends.
In 2004, Fong launched his label VAWK, based on the phonetic spelling of a Sanskrit word meaning ‘of divine creativity,’ with the intent to create a luxury women’s wear line exclusively hand crafted in Canada. His ability to conceptualize ideas, emotions and stories on paper and translate them into a collection was met with praise for its exquisite tailoring, strong silhouettes and the intricacy of detailing throughout the line showcasing in fashion shows. Fong’s success with the VAWK label, like many up-and-coming designers, was hit by the financial strain of trying to establish a business and as a result, in 2007 the brand was put on hold.
In the spring of 2008 Fong applied to be a contestant on Season 2 of Project Runway Canada, a fashion design competition hosted by renowned fashion model Iman. Fong noted that if he won the competition he would continue the line and if not, it was a sign that he was to pursue other opportunities. During the competition, Sunny quickly caught the eyes of the judges and viewers alike with his creations, ultimately winning the competition with his Alexander the Great inspired collection.
Since Project Runway Canada, Fong has continued to build the VAWK brand by showing collections at Toronto Fashion Week, dressing celebrities for red carpet events and launching his first Resort capsule collection in 2011. Currently selling in The Room, at The Bay, VAWK continues to impress with its exquisite detail as a hand crafted Canadian luxury brand.
Founder and CEO, iON America
Giovanni Tomaselli is founder and CEO of iON America and its sister company, World Wide Licenses Ltd. (WWL), which he formed in 1993. For almost 12 years, WWL has been involved in the design, development and manufacture of digital imaging products for leading brands worldwide, including Kodak, Disney and Polaroid.
In 2012, Giovanni launched iON and unveiled the company’s first fully waterproof and Wi-Fi-enabled HD sports video cameras. The iON line is designed to make it easy to shoot and share content.
Prior to iON, Giovanni developed Disney-branded computer accessories and cameras for WWL throughout the 1990s and helped to create Polaroid’s next generation digital camera in 2001. In 2002, WWL secured the exclusive rights to design, develop and distribute Polaroid digital cameras worldwide, and became the first company to put a digital camera into a video camera format. By the next year, WWL had shipped over two million Polaroid cameras to 30 countries worldwide.
Design Director, Motorola
Rick leads a team of UX, visual and interaction designers as part of Motorola’s Consumer Experience Design group in Chicago. He played an integral role in the design and launch of Android Wear on Moto 360 and his teams continue to create new platforms for wearables. Currently Rick focuses on deeper integration between UI and sensors, hardware and software, specifically with the goal of building better health, wellness and fitness experiences.
Elliott Chun, Communications Manager
Best Buy Canada
Elliott Chun is Best Buy Canada’s award-winning public relations guru. As the national communications manager, Elliott is responsible for media relations, as well as external, crisis and marketing communications. His deep knowledge of the vast media landscape and evolving social media channels, coupled with his creativity, helps Best Buy retain the largest share of voice within the consumer electronics industry.
In addition to raising the profile of Best Buy across Canada and working with some of biggest brands in the world, Elliott is the tech expert on CTV Morning Live Vancouver. Regarded as a go-to authority for all things tech, Elliott is often featured in product videos showcased on YouTube and in-store.
Prior to joining Best Buy Canad as Future Shop’s communications manager in 2009, Elliott spent several years working in Toronto at global PR agencies Weber Shandwick Worldwide and Optimum Public Relations. During this time, he offered counsel to numerous companies spanning the technology, retail, travel and consumer packaged goods industries, including Nortel, BEA Systems, The Home Depot, Nike, Tide and General Mills.
Panel: "How wearable tech elevates health and fitness"
Jef Holove General Manager, Basis, an Intel company
Jef oversees Basis, a wearable health brand within Intel’s New Technology Group. Jef joined Intel as part of their acquisition of Basis Science, where he was CEO. Prior to joining Basis in 2011, he was CEO at wireless photo start-up, Eye-Fi, taking the company through its 2007 launch to the international retail distribution of its device and cloud service. Before that, he was GM of audio and gaming at Logitech. He spent over six years at Logitech and during his time there also worked in U.S. and EMEA marketing as VP and General Manager. He graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in Communications.
Phoebe Dykstra, Bellabeat Former TV Host/ VJ
Phoebe Dykstra is a social media personality, former MTV / MuchMusic host and animal rights advocate. After leaving MTV last year Phoebe has been devoting her life to living honestly, and helping others; recently becoming an official ambassador for Kids Help Phone. Phoebe constantly uses her platform to promote healthy living, yoga, and getting outdoors. Additionally her passion for animals has linked her with many progressive companies including Humane Society, MercyForAnimals, Peta2, VeganCuts, and more. Now working freelance in media she hopes to inspire many youth today who are also seeking truth and meaning with each new project she takes on.
Todd Taylor Owner of the Future, Bellabeat (Dream Team)
Todd Taylor has over 20 years executive management, sales and distribution experience. An expert in brand building and category development, he launched and owned 70% of the IOS Eco-System and has held positions such as Sr. Managing Director of a multi-divisional international distribution company and Buyer for Future Shop. Todd has worked along side of Disney, Roxy/Quicksilver, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS plus many of the worlds top brands in consumer electronics, musical instruments, professional audio and action sports. Todd is one of the industries top respected individuals. He has a keen sense of seeing far into the future while executing and delivering on the task at hand today. Todd helped build out the Future Shop brand owning positions and accolades such as top earning salesperson, regional marketing manager, store manager, buyer, human resources manager, and worked coast to coast for the company. Prior to that Todd worked in crisis management for General Mills and the Olive Garden restaurants. His success led him across the country increasing morale, profits and imputing effective change into the entire management team.
Steve Monnier Vice President, iHealth
Steve was able to successfully bridge the gap and migrate from a flourishing career in the retail business, to starting, and building a booming retail distribution business with consistent compound annual growth rates in excess of 100 per cent for both sales revenue and margin. Steve began this journey as a Director of Sales with Wintec Industries in August ‘2009 to create and develop a retail sales division, and was promoted to Vice-President of Sales with purview across the whole of retail in June ‘2011. Steve’s vast retail and merchandising experience is instrumental in his role as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at iHealth Lab, which presents an exciting new challenge. At iHealth Steve is creating a new path in wearables and health technology, bringing new medical grade products to track, improve and manage chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Together with his passion and experience in fitness and health early on in his career, as well as unique knowledge of diabetes, Steve is working to build and deliver products and apps that serve the consumers’ needs to take control of their health.
Jackie Cooper Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Muse
Jackie has over 20 years of expertise in promoting innovative, cutting-edge technology and services into Retail and Online Channels. She has worked with leading global brands including BlackBerry, The Weather Network, Thomson Reuters, and The Globe and Mail. Jackie has travelled the globe, establishing sales and distribution channels across many key markets. Jackie is currently the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at InteraXon, the makers of Muse: the brain sensing headband.
Arielle holds a Masters in Public Health in Nutrition from Tufts University School of Medicine & a Masters in Business Administration from Collège des Ingénieurs. She leads Marketing Communications for Withings in North America. Withings is an innovative company that creates smart products and apps to help people around the world take control of their overall health and well-being. Previously, she managed Sanofi's global employee wellness program from their headquarters in Paris, France and brings a wealth of past experience working on projects and research with well-known nutrition &health experts, including Joy Bauer and Dr. David Ludwig.
Panel 3: "How viritual reality and gesture control are changing the world"
Johanna Mischke Vice President of Operations, Wearable Technologies AG
Johanna Mischke is VP of Operations at WT | Wearable Technologies - the pioneer and worldwide leading innovation and market development platform for technologies worn close to the body, on the body or even in the body. Besides being an expert for wearables and their broader ecosystem she is experienced in the startup world and international marketing.
Scott Greenberg Director of Developer Relations, Thalmic Labs
Scott is a product manager and developer advocate for the Myo armband, helping Myo owners get the most out of their new super powers. He's an established innovator, having previously co-founded two companies and worked in both management and engineering roles in fields from satellite communications to optics. Scott was named one of the Next 36 entrepreneurial leaders of Canada in 2012 and studied Mechatronics at the University of Waterloo and Robotics at ETH Zurich.
Ken Price Vice President, Carrier Sales and Marketing, Samsung Electronics Canada
Ken Price is the Vice President, Carrier Sales and Marketing - Mobile & Enterprise Solutions Division at Samsung Electronics Canada. Responsible for growing and building SECA’s mobile business within the Canadian market, he works directly with national carrier partners and wireless retailers. Instrumental in helping SECA’s Mobile division achieve the leading position in consumer preference and market share, Ken is also accountable for all aspects of sales and marketing for the carrier business, planning and promotion for smartphones, tablets, and other lines of business that concern the carrier . As a valued member of the SECA team since April 2010, Ken was most recently Director of Marketing for Mobile Communications where he drove the successful launches of Galaxy S series in the Canadian market as well as the category creating Galaxy Note 1, 2 and 3 smartphones. In his current role Ken continues to grow tablet PC business for SECA with a view to introducing loyal Samsung fans to the benefits of second screen technology viewing and increased productivity on the go,. In addition, he works to drive awareness to the innovation behind the new edge screen smartphones, which were recently launched in Q2 of 2015. Prior to joining Samsung, Ken held various marketing leadership roles at Cisco Systems, Bell Canada, Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computers, as well as having been a Principal at Digital Cement, a Toronto based marketing agency specializing in interactive channels. Ken holds an HBA from the Ivey School at Western, where he started his career as a Lecturer. Ken lives in Toronto with his wife and two children. An unabashed believer in the power of music and fan of the independent music scene, he’s been known to hit the cymbals a time or two in the name of Canadian Rock and Roll.
Panel 4: "Wearable tech charges up sports and entertainment"
Michael Bentley Founder, Blast Motion
Michael is the Founder of Blast Motion and has developed some of the golf industry's most innovative motion capture and analysis systems including patents for the K-VEST, ENSO and the Leadbetter Putting System. He has certified many of today’s top 100 instructors and has coached some of golf’s top athletes. Michael is a Class A PGA Professional and an innovator in 3D motion capture technologies & analysis. During his playing career, he competed professionally in Australia, Canada, Asia and the United States.
Feargal Mac Conuladh CEO and Founder, Gameband
Feargal Mac Conuladh is founder, CEO and a board member of Now Computing. He started his career at Apple at 21 years old and within two years held a Global Supply Chain Management role in Cupertino. He later held various senior operational roles, including management of the European printer business and overall European Logistics; Apple gave him exposure to extreme reengineering during the ‘Jobs comeback’ period. After Apple, he set up European Operations for Lexmark (after its spinoff from IBM) and thereafter joined Seiko Epson. The youngest VP in company history he led all European Operations and Services. His last corporate position was as VP for Services at Lenovo after its acquisition of the IBM thinkpad division. Feargal left Lenovo to focus on his passion for startups, setting up and running an early stage University incubator in Barcelona (responsible for supporting 120 startups over a 3-year period). For the past 2 years he has been CEO of Now Computing full-time, overseeing each step of its evolution from drawing board through to the launch of its flagship product Gameband. He holds an MBA from Instituto d’Empresa in Madrid.
Rohan Marley Director, House of Marley
Rohan Marley, son of Bob Marley, is a passionate entrepreneur and former American football player. He was born in Jamaica in 1972 and later moved to the United States in 1984, going on to study sociology at the University of Miami and played as a linebacker for the Hurricanes. After school he went on to play one year as a professional in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders, known today as the Redblacks. Although he was an accomplished athlete, Rohan dreamed of getting back to his roots, and like his father, shares a deep respect for nature.
“My father once said, ‘None but ourselves can free our minds,' and when it comes to House of Marley, we want people to turn on their music and free themselves from negativity and life’s stresses,” said Rohan Marley “Marley is a global movement that dedicates itself to music and love, and our goal is to project these feelings to everyone.”
Sam Vanderveer Senior Vice President, House of Marley
Sam Vanderveer is Senior Vice President and General Manager of The House of Marley brand. In this role, Vanderveer provides consumers with a broad range of socially conscious and sonically superior products that truly connect people with music in a highly unique and personalized way. Continuing to challenge the marketplace, House of Marley offers first-in-class products with unmatched consumer value and a strong commitment to ethical responsibility and core values. Vanderveer’s most notable achievements at House of Marley include launching the brand’s retail efforts in Canada, achieving highly competitive international sales levels, connecting underprivileged children with audio technology, and always upholding the mission of 1Love—a global movement dedicated to advancing Bob Marley’s message to a new generation of cause-minded agents for growth and transformation.
Vanderveer was previously the Director of Portable Electronics for Best Buy and delivers over 20 years of retail, category management and team leadership experience within the consumer electronics space.
Elvis Stojko Olympian, Muse
Two-time Olympic Silver Medalist Three-time Figure Skating World Champion Seven-time Canadian Figure Skating World Champion
Most recently Elvis has been transitioning his career to include auto racing. The road to racing started in karts while living in Mexico. He has quickly progressed to the competitive Rotax DD2 Masters Class where he just recently placed third in the Canadian National Championships racing with the Maranello factory team. He is planning to make his professional sportscar debut in 2016.
Elliott Chun is passionate for all things tech, consumer and enterprise-focused. He appreciates the betterment and fun they bring to the world and is known for evangelizing their merit on TV, radio and online, including Plug-In. A veteran in the marketing-communications space, today he is the head of both areas for the ASTOUND Group, an award-winning design and fabrication house building brand expressions, experiences and environments. When not promoting brands and discovering what’s new in tech, you’ll find Elliott in pursuit of finding the world’s best pizza. Connect with Elliott on Twitter, Instagram or discover more about him on LinkedIn.