TEDxUW 2014 Speakers

Dr. Paul Salvini, CTO, Christie Digital

paul.png Dr. Paul Salvini is a world renowned expert on the topic of innovation in technology and business. He has traveled the world speaking about how to foster a culture of innovation and create successful technology ventures.

Weaving together a passion for business, technology and visual art, Dr. Salvini serves as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Christie Digital Systems Canada and Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. Before joining Christie, Dr. Salvini was CTO at Side Effects Software where he led a three time Academy Award™ winning team of mathematicians and software developers in the development of leading edge visual effects software for the film industry. Dr. Salvini serves on numerous boards and committees and is President of the University of Waterloo Alumni Council. In 2007, Dr. Salvini was a recipient of "Canada’s Top 40 Under 40” leadership award.

Dr. Salvini holds a BMath in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, MASc and PhD degrees in Engineering from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. When he’s not busy speaking and innovating, you may find Paul out photographing the world, flying his small plane, downhill skiing, or finding a moment of peace with his fishing rod.

Dave Wilkin, Founder, Ten Thousand Coffees

davew.png Dave Wilkin is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for connecting youth with global brands to unlock new and meaningful opportunities. Wilkin has been recognized for his entrepreneurial achievements and award-winning campaigns for the last decade through his work as a student, with Redwood Strategic and most recently Ten Thousand Coffees - the world’s first youth movement connecting the leaders of today with the leaders of tomorrow. He’s the recipient of Profit Guide’s 2012 FuEL Award, Strategy’s Gold Shopper Innovation Award and two-time recipient of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30. As co-chair of the Cannes Lions Young Marketers jury and active board member for organizations that span across the marketing, communications and non-profit industries, Wilkin is dedicated to improving and developing innovative new ways for global organizations to better connect with upcoming generations.

Frank Gu, Canada Research Chair, Assistant Professor

frank.png Prof. Frank Gu, is a Canada Research Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He has established an interdisciplinary research program combining functional polymers and polymer-metal oxide hybrid materials to solve problems in medicine, agriculture and environmental protection. Dr. Gu received his BSc from Trent University and Ph.D. from Queen’s University, Canada, where he majored in chemical engineering and was awarded with Canada Graduate Scholarship from Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Following completion of his graduate program, he was awarded a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship to purse his research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School. Under the co-supervisions of Institute Professor Robert Langer and Professor Omid Farokhzad, he developed novel nanofabrication technologies which were licensed to leading biotechnology companies including Bind Biosciences and Selecta Biosciences. In July 2008, Dr. Gu joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo as an Assistant Professor. In 2012, he was awarded the Canada Research Chair position to advance his research in the development of targeted delivery systems using nanotechnology. His expertise in the development of functional nanoparticles for targeted delivery has generated over 100 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings, as well as 15 US and World patent applications.

Mike Kirkup, Director, Velocity

mikek.png Mike Kirkup is Director at Velocity, the University of Waterloo’s startup incubator. Mike joined the Velocity team in 2012 to help foster entrepreneurship throughout the University of Waterloo and the startup community of Kitchener-Waterloo. During his time at Velocity, he has mentored such startup successes as BufferBox, MappedIn and Thalmic Labs, to name a few. Mike understands both the creative and commercial paths to building successful businesses. For over a decade, he mentored hundreds of startups focused on developing mobile applications. His approachable demeanor and deep understanding of entrepreneurial culture has made him a notable influencer across the Velocity community, Kitchener-Waterloo. As a student, Mike spent several years at the University of Waterloo, completing an undergraduate degree in Math and a Masters in Management of Technology.

Ginny Dybenko, Executive Director - University of Waterloo Stratford Campus

ginny.png Ginny Dybenko is the Executive Director of the University of Waterloo’s new Stratford Campus focussing on innovation sparked by the interplay between digital media, international commerce and human culture. Ginny is a tech junkie and has had the good fortune of heading up the great School of Business & Economics at Laurier University as Dean. She also enjoyed a memorable stint on the senior team of a high tech telecommunications start-up, and was previously a VP in Corporate Canada (Bell Canada) and the founding President and CEO of Bell Advanced Communications.

A regular award magnet, Ginny is a member of SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), ICAO (Institute for Chartered Accountants) and the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony boards. Ginny was recently recognized by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and absolutely loves consulting with students of every inclination and persuasion.

Rod Regier, Executive Director, Economic Development for the City of Kitchener

rodreg.png Rod Regier received an Honours Bachelor degree in Geography at the University of Winnipeg, and a Masters in Regional Planning at the University of Waterloo. After graduating from Waterloo, Rod worked briefly with the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth in planning policy; then for 16 years with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in various capacities: municipal planning, regional economic development and provincial economic policy with a special focus on dialogue between business, labour and government on provincial competitiveness in global markets. In his current position, Rod provides leadership to a staff team and community of stakeholders implementing the Kitchener’s Economic Development Strategy (KEDS.11). Key initiatives include Start Up City, Cluster Development, Talent, the Downtown Action Plan, and the Innovation District. Economic development services in Kitchener include the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, Business Development, Downtown, Special Events, Arts and Culture and the Kitchener Market. Rod lives in downtown Kitchener with his wife, Lisa Langwieder, and two teenagers, Ben and Ali. Off line, his recreation passion is hang gliding.

Josh Neufeld, Associate Professor - University of Waterloo


Josh Neufeld is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo. Spanning the full spectrum of basic to applied research projects, his lab studies aquatic, terrestrial, and host-associated microbial community composition and function.

Christina Marchand, Student - University of Waterloo

christina.png Christina is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo in the co-op student health sciences program. She has brought her wealth of experiences to five co-op terms, ranging from World-class research at St Michael's hospital and Public health work at the Region of Peel to a Medical Internship with Save the Mothers in Uganda. Her achievements earned her Co-op Student of the Year in 2011. She has presented her research internationally throughout Canada, the United States and Europe and it has been published in various Scientific Medical Journals.

While doing humanitarian work in Uganda, Christina worked as an administrator for a Masters in Public Health Leadership that educates Ugandan Leaders to take action to bring down the maternal mortality rate. Here she also worked in hospitals and helped to deliver over 200 babies.

Encouraged by fellow Rotarian Hyder Hassan, Christina joined St. Paul’s GreenHouse at the University of Waterloo to find a solution to all the challenges she witnessed in Uganda. Hyder and Christina are the co-founders of FullSoul Canada, a social enterprise that sells luxury apparel to create profits to drive the investment of medical delivery kits for hospitals in Uganda. This past fall, Christina was honoured with the YMCA International Peace Medallion; a testament to her humanitarianism in her community and throughout the world.