Meet The Speakers

Afshan Ahmad

Afshan Ahmad CPA Professional Corporation

Afshan is a goal-driven, highly organized, and results oriented accounting professional with over 15 years in the accounting service industry. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University of Toronto and she is a CPA, CGA. Prior to founding Afshan Ahmad CPA Professional Corporation, she owned and operated Antares Accounting Services which assisted individuals and small businesses with their accounting and tax needs.

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How to Audit Proof Your Books – A guide to best practices in bookkeeping

Andrea Rowland


Andrea has over 20 years of professional experience in marketing, branding and communications working in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Having worked her way around the world as a graphic designer, she started a craft brewery in Australia giving her hands-on knowledge of running a business. Previously working at Spark Centre in Oshawa, she helped build their brand from inception. Recently she has been running her own branding and marketing business B-Zinga. Now working at BACD as a business advisor with a focus on marketing, she is very keen to share her knowledge with new business owners helping them create a better digital presence.

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GOOGLE: Using Data to Drive Growth

Angela Kafadar & Scott Clevely

Video Power Up

Angela’s experience in sales and marketing has helped her success in her entrepreneurial goals.  A previous restauranteur, running a number of importing and distribution companies and growing a small idea into a successful trade show display dealer were some of her most notable achievements.

She now shares her experience as expert video content marketers to help small businesses create their own video marketing videos using the power of their smartphones.

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Smartphone Video Marketing for Small Business

Bobby Kelly

Bobby is an analytics consultant that helps web development shops, marketing teams, and entrepreneurs grow their business through the strategic use of data. Over the course of 20 years in the business, Bobby has mastered the processes of digital maturity. He has a unique blend of skills that make him attractive to large and small businesses alike. As a consultant, Bobby’s skills have been utilized by TELUS, Koodo, Rogers, Yellow Pages, TD Bank, Highliner, The Minto Group, Prostate Cancer Canada, The Government of Yukon and Industry Canada and more. Bobby helps teams measure, understand and improve digital experiences and marketing efficiency.

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How to do Digital Marketing Better

Charles Hamilton

Business Development Bank of Canada

Charles Hamilton is an Account Manager for Durham Region for the Business Development Bank of Canada. Charles loves meeting with local entrepreneurs to understand what challenges they are facing, and how he can best help them grow by leveraging BDC’s commercial financing and advisory solutions. Thriving on his creativity and passion for entrepreneurship, he is eager to support as many local companies scale to new heights.

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Ella Bates

How to Organize That

Ella Bates at How to Organize That has over 19 years of learning and development experience collaborating with clients to assess, develop and execute powerful training that increases productivity, improves performance and inspires continuous focus on excellence through a wide range of classroom, instructor led, online learning, live online blended learning solutions.  You will be deciding on a dynamic learning experience through engaging delivery.  Certified Franklin Covey Trainer and The Institute for Health & Human Potential (IHHP).

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Eva Chen

Chen Law Office

Eva received her Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University in 2007, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2008. Prior to law school, Eva explored a science career at the University of Toronto, where she received an Honours Bachelor of Science with high distinction before embarking on her Ph.D. studies under the tutelage of a world-class cancer researcher at the University of Toronto. Since her graduation from law school, Eva has practiced in many areas of business law: business agreement drafting and negotiation, commercial and residential tenancy, all aspects of employment law, complex commercial litigation, debt collection, residential to commercial real estate transactions, and wills and estate planning.

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Startup: Top 10 Legal Issues for New Businesses

George Gill

GILL Solutions Management, LLC

George Gill helps businesses grow and master the power of online marketing through metrics using Google Analytics. Companies benefit from George and his team’s “no sugar coating” approach towards analysis, strategy, and implementation of marketing plans that are measurable and successful. GILL Solutions provides full service digital marketing solutions, analytics, marketing training, and growth consulting and coaching. With over 700 students and clients in over 25 countries, GILL Solutions has successfully impacted hundreds of business worldwide.

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Jane Warr

Trainer Jane

Jane Warr, aka “Trainer Jane” is a Communications and Sales Trainer, Business Coach, Author and International Speaker based in Ajax, Ontario. She is a community leader, known for her innovative events, including: Selling on the Spot Marketplace; Networking, Sales Training, and a Selling Marketplace, Verbal Aikido, Why They Buy (B.A.N.K.); Personality Based Sales Training, and more. She has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners and sales professionals excel in their fields, by improving their skills in communication, negotiation, and closing the sale. Contact Jane to increase your revenue authentically, ethically, and efficiently.

JD Thomas

Jade Strategic Relations

Jade Strategic Relations is a Durham based Public Relations firm focusing on communication and brand strategy.  As Jade’s Chief Communications Officer, JD Thomas provides business owners and individuals with guidance in building their business and public profile through strategic planning and effective communication.

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Top Floor Elevator Pitches

Kevin Smith

The Story Architect

Kevin Smith is a Story Architect. As the Chief Story Architect for, Kevin helps start-ups, small businesses, and social enterprises unleash their story to secure customers and investors, by helping them understand what their core customer story is and then helping them get their story to market. His services include branding, messaging, marketing strategy, SEO, Content and Social Media marketing, presentation and pitch design, web design, lead generation, sales coaching and business development. Before launching, he rocked sales and marketing at Dell for 14 years, made thousands of presentations, ran for political office and managed a gadget addiction.

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Kristine Carr

The Collective

Kristine found her footing working with entrepreneurs when she co-founded and built a creative marketing and branding agency in 2015 that quickly grew to 15 employees and two locations in just a year and a half – which secured her a spot as an ambitious entrepreneur. Since then, she has developed and launched a micro-coworking office located in Downtown Bowmanville, THE COLLECTIVE, created to give business owners access to office space, coworking options, studio rental and amenities

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Discovering The Foundation of Your Brand

Leslie Hughes


Leslie Hughes is a LinkedIn Specialist, a Professor of Social Media and the Principal of PUNCH!media. Leslie began working in digital media in 1996 and founded PUNCH!media in 2009 as one of the first Social Media Strategists. Leslie has worked with TVO , The Children’s Wish Foundation Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and Investment Planning Counsel of Canada.
Leslie is corporate trainer for the Social Media Marketing Certificate at UOIT. Leslie was featured on CTV’s “The Social”, is proud to have been called a “Social Media Guru” by CBC Radio and is the author of “CREATE. CONNECT. CONVERT.”

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PUNCH up your sales and marketing using LinkedIn & Social Selling

Liz Scott

Affinity Coach Consulting

North America’s Business Growth Guru
Liz has over 25 years’ experience as a senior Marketing and Sales executive and is a certified Business Coach/Consultant.  She is an international speaker, author, panelist, and strategist and she works with clients across North America teaching them the most effective Marketing and Sales techniques. Her clients hire her for her Business savvy, no BS approach and of course her signature trait of making Marketing fun!

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Rapid Results Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Marcus Dickinson

How To Project

Have you ever been to a seminar and thought to yourself that it’s supposed to be fun and engaging while you learn? Yeah, we make that happen. Marcus is a dynamic speaker, trainer and consultant that delivers high energy while delivering high value. is no nonsense, yet earnest approach to the challenges that face business owners is refreshing in a sea of nuggets. Not sure what that means? Ask him when you see him.

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Marlene Marco

Heart of Networking

Marlene Marco has become known as the Queen of Networking in Durham Region for very good reasons.  Marlene is the founder and facilitator at Heart Of Networking and has been leading purpose driven business networking for thirteen years.
Marlene has always been self-employed mainly in Direct Sales, in the fashion business, first with Weekenders for twenty three years and currently with Nygard Style Direct. Marlene is an active APBOT member and a 2018 nominee for Business Person of the Year.  She has built lasting relationships in many other local business groups.

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Networking For Success

Marlon Shaw

Knowledge X Inc.

Marlon Shaw is the owner of Knowledge X Inc.  – a knowledge hub specializing in training and coaching entrepreneurs and business professionals to use public speaking to grow their business. Operating under our popular consumer brands Speak and Grow Your Business™ and Entrepreneur Public Speaking™, our signature workshops and coaching programs has helped hundreds to grow their business with unique messages that attract their ideal clients and increase their cash flow.

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Melissa Paterson

Gurus 4 You

Melissa is a creative entrepreneur and the founder of Gurus 4 You. Melissa is an eCommerce specialist with a focus on the Shopify platform. As a former Shopify employee, she has a distinct understanding and knowledge of the platform, the company and the merchants who succeed using the Canadian-based technology. She works primarily with handmade makers, people who build their products, artisans and small business owners

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An Intro to Shopify
What Every Business Needs to Know about Evolving With eCommerce on Shopify

Orzala Quddusi

Make it Happen Services

Orzala Quddusi is the CEO and founder of Make it Happen Services specializing in social media marketing services.

She began her journey earning a post-secondary diploma in Business Administration, followed by earning herself a Bachelors of Commerce degree. Orzala saw the need many entrepreneurs had for a wide range of services. With that in mind she developed Make it Happen Services. Additionally, Orzala is an active member of Ajax Pickering Board of Trade. 

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Mastering the Art of Instagram for your Business
Leverage Email Marketing

Ryan Ounjian

Futurpreneur Canada

Ryan Ounjian is a Business Development Manager at Futurpreneur Canada and supports entrepreneurs in designing their business model and launching their business. 

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Shaelene McInnis

Books in Line Professional Services Inc.

Shaelene McInnis is the founder and CEO of Books In Line, an accounting company located in Durham Region. Books In Line started in the basement of her house and now, just 5 years later, has a number of offices and 12 employees with plans to expand to 15 before the end of the year. “I believe you can only grow your business by being a leader, finding great people to work with, treating employees and clients with respect, and by understanding how much money you have coming in and going out of your company. Knowing about your company’s finances is not something to be afraid of…it is empowering.”

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Teresa Shaver


Teresa joined BACD in August 2012 and has been working with the board of directors and key stakeholders to re-enthuse BACD with many new programs and services. Teresa worked in over 5 start up organizations across 3 countries and moved to Canada in August 1999 to be part of a small start up in Toronto that specialized in Call Centre Staffing.After working in this industry for 7 years, she went to work for the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and spent 5 years there. Teresa was also a business coach for the OSEB program working with new start up businesses for 3 years.

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Tony Orsi

Bereskin & Parr LLP

Tony Orsi is a partner and patent agent with Bereskin & Parr LLP and member the firm’s Patent, Electrical & Computer Technology and Industrial Designs practice groups. Tony’s practice focuses on patents in the electrical, biomedical, software, mechanical and cleantech fields with an emphasis on evaluating new technologies, patent searching, patent drafting and IP management strategies. Tony works with startups and entrepreneurs to learn about IP, to develop their IP strategy and to build their IP portfolio.

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Protect Your Intellectual Property from the Start!

Uchechi Ezurike-Bosse

Uchechi Ezurike-Bosse is an author, speaker, television host, wholesale expert, and entrepreneur. She has created various online and live programs in the field of business and personal development and has been featured as a guest on Hay House Radio, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, as well as various online publications. Uchechi recently published her long awaited book, From Aspiration to Fulfillment ~ Bridging the gap from where you are to where you want to be which is now available at major online bookstores and in-store at all Indigo-Chapters stores across the country.

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William Botshka

Bill is the principal of Botshka & Associates Inc. a licensee of Leadership Management International (LMI) Canada specializing in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. He is a senior executive with a successful history in corporate governance, general management, and operations. He is a results-oriented professional specializing in the development of business through the development of people and he has led several organizations through major strategic change.

Wynnie Chan

Bereskin & Parr LLP

Wynnie Chan is a lawyer and Canadian trademark agent with Bereskin & Parr.  Her practice focuses on trademark prosecution, opposition, licensing and related litigation, as well as copyright & digital media law. Before law, she held various marketing managerial positions at high tech startup companies in Silicon Valley.  Her marketing background is invaluable to her giving entrepreneurs and startups practical advice to build and protect their brands, and develop a global trademark strategy.

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Protect Your Intellectual Property from the Start!