Ben Unsworth (Toronto, ON)
Dark Slope Studios
Ben Unsworth has been immersed in VR since the release of the DK1 and now serves as Co-Chair of the VRARA LBE Committee, VR Startups Advisor to the CFC, Technical Director at Dark Slope Studios, and Co-Founded Globacore. Over the past decade he has developed countless digital experiences for physical spaces around the world with a current focus on “Free Roam” untethered multi-player VR and AR game-based engagement.
Ben’s formal training in Computer Science and English Literature from McGill University has served him well as an excellent background to his career in using emerging technology to engage people in creative ways. As a facilitator of things not seen before.
Ben on Twitter: @bunswo
Ben on LinkedIn
CJ Hervey (Toronto, ON)
President & Executive Producer
Dark Slope Studios
As the Executive Producer at Dark Slope, CJ Hervey brings with him a wealth of knowledge regarding the financing, development, production and execution of large-scale digital media projects.
Prio to venturing out on his own to consult and launch Dark Slope, CJ was a key executive at the Toronto digital content studio Secret Location for six years. CJ joined Secret Location as employee number eight, after a 5-year career in advertising producing television commercials for some of North America’s biggest brands.
Dan Fill (Toronto, ON)
Chief Operating Officer
Dark Slope Studios
Dan oversees creative development and production of CGI animated entertainment, video games and experimental interactive projects. His focus has always been on great storytelling using innovative technology. Dan is currently developing projects for Dark Slope’s motion capture facility including: innovative free roam untethered VR experiences, AR enhancements and animated series using the motion capture system.
Dan has worked on dozens of high profile projects with partners ranging from The Jim Henson Company, Aardman Entertainment, iTV, Viacom, BBC, CBC, and Turner.
David Dyce (Toronto, ON)
Co-Owner/ ESports Commentator
Smash @ Humber
David Dyce is an eSports event host and broadcast commentator for key events like Dreamhack Montreal, AMD, GOML, SMASH! eSports @ Celebration Square, and co-creator of Smash! @Humber. He has run several eSports events in Ontario and is heavily involved in the eSports community in North America. As a long-time fan, competitor and community member in eSports, he hopes to bring to light the great potential of the industry and share his vision for eSports growth in Canada.
David has worked alongside talent in the eSports community such as Rod “The Dutch” Conyers (Fighting Game Community commentator), Joe CriBari (EMG Representative, GOML series creator) and Max Ketchum (CSL League division leader)
David believes that now is the time for organizations & investors to jump on board and help the eSports community create something beautiful. Recognizing digital media as the next big wave, David sees media studies as an increasingly important part of education and a viable career path for young adults. He is an early pioneer behind the eSports initiative at Humber College, and hopes to get more schools, organizations, and community members involved.
David on Twitter: @DyceSSB
David Oppenheim (Toronto, ON)
National Film Board of Canada
David Oppenheim is a producer at the National Film Board of Canada’s Toronto Studio where his recent credits include Draw Me Close (Tribeca Storyscapes, Venice Film Festival), the Webby award-winning Universe Within, the final chapter of the NFB’s HIGHRISE project, and the interactive documentary The Space We Hold (Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award, Best Original Interactive Production – CSA, Digital Dozen Storytelling Award).
Recent film credits include Randall Okita’s short documentary Moving Through Music and Brett Story’s World in a City, part of the global Big Cities short-documentary project. He is currently producing a number of creative non-fiction film, interactive, and immersive projects and leading the studio’s immersive lab. He is a past resident at the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab.
Dr. Ariella Lehrer (Los Angeles, CA)
A well-known game industry veteran, Ariella has dedicated her career to expanding the market for enriching, interactive experiences.
As CEO of Legacy Games, which she founded in 1998, Ariella developed many TV licensed games, designed to appeal primarily to women. Popular games included four from the Law & Order franchise, Criminal Minds, Murder She Wrote, Ghost Whisperer, Psych, Twilight Zone, Paranormal State, and others. Lehrer also created numerous award-winning children’s games, based on beloved brands such as Crayola and Tarzan.
More recently, as President of HitPoint Studios, Ariella has focused on attracting new customers through the design of unique use cases that employ both digital and physical elements. Whether it’s a grocery item finder or treasure hunt for Google’s Tango, a walk-around zombie shooter for Lenovo’s Mirage, a hand-controlled drone, or an electric circuit kit, Ariella is fascinated by the potential of augmented reality and the implications of a world in which everything in our environment has a digital analog.
Lehrer has a PhD. in Cognitive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University and writes frequently about technology and kids on her blog. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four children, among many avocado and orange trees.
Dr. Jennifer Hazel (New Zealand)
Jennifer is a fully qualified medical doctor who has practiced in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. She spent several years in the Emergency Department and made the move to Mental Health in 2015. Jennifer is a passionate advocate for the use of game technology in the therapeutic setting. To this end, she founded CheckPoint, a nonprofit organisation to connect mental health care with video game technology, where she contributes to clinical research and works with both games industry and clinical professionals to provide education, consultation and resources.
She is also known as Prescription Pixel, which started off as a YouTube channel focusing on indies and has now grown to work together with CheckPoint.
Dr. Jessica Langer (Toronto, ON)
Professor of Public Relations
Dr. Jessica Langer is a Professor of Public Relations and is the program coordinator for Centennial’s Honours Bachelor of Public Relations Management. She is a scholar, professor and consultant in public relations, marketing and communications, with specializations in digital and social communications and consumer culture theory.
Jessica has taught in the Creative Industries program at Ryerson University, in the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program and in the BBA and MBA programs at the Schulich School of Business at York Universities as well as for the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute through the Schulich Executive Education Centre. Her academic work ranges from film and media studies to consumer culture theory; her current work is on authenticity and luxury brand communities and on visual rhetoric in public communications.
Industry-wise, Jessica’s clients have included TD, SickKids, Precise ParkLink/Green P, Pusateri’s, Sol Cuisine, Taste of Nature and many others; she has held leadership roles on creative properties including the Bell Digital Media Fund-supported and Digi Award-winning digital execution for HGTV’s Home to Win.
Eunika Sot (London, ON)
Chief Operations Officer
Eunika Sot is the Chief Operations Officer of Yuser, a blockchain-based social media platform. She is passionate about blockchain, the application of economic principles to system design, and the implications that the tokenization of assets will have on the future of technology. She has played multiple roles at Yuser, utilizing her business publishing background and her experience managing the accounts of social influencers to oversee operations and expand client/advisory/partnership networks.
After getting to know the social media space and working with key influencers, she realized that there was a major industry problem that could be solved using blockchain technology. Eunika is also the writer of a forthcoming fantasy novel and various blockchain articles, as well as a frequent speaker at blockchain events who will talk your ear off about the influence sci-fi literature has on the future of human thought if you give her the chance.
Fernanda Contreras Stange (Chile)
Seven years ago, I joined Gamaga to shape its corporate identity and strategic growth. During that time Gamaga has grown from a small start up to Chile’s no. 1 independent games company. Today, my motivation to achieve a strong and balanced corporate culture strategy has brought me to the position of COO, and one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in the global video game industry. It is a role that has considerable challenges and one that is frequently underestimated in the games industry for its potential to make or break a studio. My commitment is not only to achieve corporate success but to share and communicate our vision, experience and dedication to our national industry and nurture it over time.
To accomplish this I work hand in hand with a variety of governmental and private organizations to establish a corporate approach for good practices in the creative industry. As Gamaga’s COO it’s my job to turn risks into safe bets and doubts into opportunities.
Fernanda on LinkedIn.
Harpreet Geekee (Toronto, ON)
CTO and Co-Founder
Harpreet Geekee is proven technical leader having held multiple CTO roles with Fortune 500 companies. He has led or advised dozens of blockchain engagements. He currently serves as Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of Highmark Global where he leads tech development of Axius, a blockchain enabled marketplace for the $2 Trillion Medtech industry.
Harpreet was previously the CTO for Juniper’s Global Financial Services Vertical responsible for helping clients in Financial Services Industry with strategy, solutions to achieve Digital Transformation. When Harpreet was at Cisco, he worked with clients in Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare to develop and deliver solutions.
Harpreet’s passion is to leverage blend of technology and business, to build a profitable customer centric offerings and build a profitable & scaling organization.
Harpreet is a member of the Java Executive Committee (responsible for defining the language Java). Harpreet has been actively involved in influencing and disruptive technologies like Blockchain, 3GPP’s IMS and LTE architectures, IETF’s SNMP v3 and SIP adoption in wireless etc.
Joseph Cribari (Toronto, ON)
Even Matchup Gaming
Joseph “Toronto Joe” Cribari is the leader of the Canadian Super Smash Bros. community and has been responsible for some of the most successful esports tournaments in the nation.
As a professional player (formerly ranked #1 for Super Smash Bros. Brawl in Ontario) turned event & tournament organizer, Mr. Cribari’s most notable project “Get On My Level” (GOML) has been the largest fighting game tournament in Canada since 2014. GOML attracts over 1500 competitive gaming enthusiasts annually and has been partnered with Nintendo of America for two years.
In 2017, Mr. Cribari was recruited to lead the Fighting Game division at Collegiate Starleague, the world’s largest collegiate esports league, which was recently purchased by Cineplex Entertainment. At CSL, Joe coordinates and develops the collegiate Smash circuit which features 60+ live events on the local, regional, and national level every school year across 200+ campuses.
Joseph on Twitter: @TorontoJoe
Kim Parnell (Toronto, ON)
Kim is the co-founder of Blank – A radical new way to build apps without code. Blank uses AI technology to automatically generate beautiful, fully functioning apps in minutes – from a description of what the app will do. Incorporating data and/or functionality from one app into another is done with a few clicks, effectively removing the need to create APIs. Permission and monetization rules for data exchange are managed with smart contracts stored on the blockchain, thus enabling a peer-to-peer decentralized data network.
Kim is an avid reader, a meditation advocate, a fitness enthusiast and a startup veteran with a successful exit under her belt. Kim shares her startup journey through writing and her various social media channels. Her passion for Blank comes from her frustration in finding a technical partner during the early phases of her first software startup. Alongside the team at Blank, she’s working to create tools that enable tenacious people to take control of their future. Great ideas shouldn’t die on a whiteboard.
Kristopher Alexander (Toronto, ON)
Professor of Video Games: Design & Programming
Kristopher Alexander, Ph.D. is a Professor of Video Games: Design & Programming at Humber College.
As an educator, Dr. Alexander brings over a decade of experience in developing curriculum and initiatives in media production, video games, and the eSports industry, connecting students’ passions with the path of job acquisition.
Dr. Alexander has created video game development curricula and programs for Humber College, Ryerson University, Concordia University, University of Toronto, LEARN Quebec, CSLP Montreal, andMinistère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport. Additionally, he has developed curriculum for 2 award-winning National Film Board of Canada interactive media projects.
His translation of the technologies used in the computer programming and design processes for video games, as they connect to learners and learning, is part of what he brings to Interactive Ontario.
Marjorie Malpass (Toronto, ON)
Nerve Strategic Inc
At Nerve Strategic Inc, we believe that presence, power, levity and warmth can be taught and shared. Founder Marjorie Malpass started as an actor when she was a teenager. She toured Improv, Stand-up and Theatre internationally, including Italy, Finland, Hong Kong, Broadway and Winnipeg in February. She has voiced cartoons, acted on-camera and has been in over 50 commercials.
Nerve Strategic has worked coaching and workshop facilitating for major corporations such as Bruce Power, Insurance Bureau of Canada and TD Bank. Combining her knowledge of the corporate world and the entertainment industry, Marjorie recently provided On-Camera coaching for CBC Music personalities and the Dragons from the hit show, Dragon’s Den. Nerve Strategic is dedicated to helping people be the best versions of themselves through professional development.
Maxime Durand (Montreal, QC)
Days after graduating in History from his hometown Université de Montréal in 2010, Maxime moved in directly at Ubisoft to work as the Assassin’s Creed franchise historian.
Making his grand debut with Assassin’s Creed III, he has collaborated on most games and projects of the brand ever since.
His main interest is to give the fans the best historic immersion through all game aspects. His unofficial task at work is to wear spandex between triathlon trainings.
Mitchell Opatowsky (Washington, DC)
Head of Product
Mitchell is a co-founder and Head of Product for CryptoPets. A Distributed Systems Architect and Web Developer, he entered the blockchain space in early 2016, through his interest in Ethereum. He is a member Washington, D.C.’s growing blockchain community, a member of Decentralized DC, and has hosted a number of blockchain meetups in the city. In 2017, he introduced key figures at USAID and the State Department to blockchain and worked on use case development for Digital IDs. Later, he worked for the NRECA as a blockchain energy research analyst. Mitchell published research pieces related to blockchain mechanics in energy and transparent governance, cited in research for changing dynamics in techno-politics.
More recently, Mitchell has spent time on market research between decentralized application games and platforms. As a lifelong lover of video games, Mitchell is passionate about business paradigm shifts happening in video games. Taking the role of a product designer, Mitchell navigates the current technical ecosystem to oversee the integration of new developments from the Web 3 ecosystem into the core game design of CryptoPets.
Morghan Fortier (Toronto, ON)
Co-Founder and Producer
Morghan Fortier is the Co-Owner and CEO of Skyship Entertainment and Co-Owner / Executive Producer of Tinman Creative Studios, digital-first production studios focused on original series and song content for preschoolers and older audiences.
Skyship Entertainment is home to some of the most well known and loved children’s content on YouTube. With over 10+ billion views, and 11+ million subscribers across 9 Youtube channels, Skyship’s children’s brand Super Simple has been sharing songs and stories for over a decade. Our mission is to make enriching, high quality content available to children in every corner of the globe.
Prior to forming Tinman & Skyship, Morghan had produced numerous television shows such as JoJo’s Circus (Playhouse Disney), Celebrity Deathmatch (The Comedy Network), Rick & Steve (LOGO / Teletoon) and Ugly Americans (Comedy Central).
Olivier Madiba (Cameroon)
Guillaume Olivier Madiba is the CEO of Kiro’o Games; a Cameroon based video game making studio and creators the most talked about African Fantasy game Aurion:Legacy of the Kori-Odan. Kiro’o Games is Madiba’s second venture after Madia, a web development studio which is currently still operational.
Madiba and team raised funds (2013 – 2015)from international investors to finance the release of the studios’ first PC game Aurion in April 2016. The game got international recognition from newspapers like wall Street Journal,Forbes for its uniqueness. The comic version of the game was released this year and will be sold through Amazon; the studio is currently working it’s first smartphone game“Le Responsible”(due in 2019).
In 2017 Madiba launched an online mentoring platform “Kiro’o Rebuntu” for African SME founders toensure the growth of more SMEs.
Olivier Madiba is also a writer. He’s first book “Day and Night” published in Ifrikya in 2009 won a literary prize; he wrote the scenario of Aurion, and also the Rebuntu Method for SMEs.
Madiba aims to expand to more African countries and gain at least 18 million users.
Philippe Morin (Montreal, QC)
Holding a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Studies, Philippe was hired by Ubisoft in 1998 as a Game Designer. Specializing in camera design, he worked among others on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Assassins’ Creed. End of 2005, Philippe left for California and worked at Naughty Dog on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, being responsible for cameras and AI. After the project, he returned to Montreal as a Creative Director at Ubisoft, then at EA. Today, he works at Red Barrels. He co-founded the studio with David Chateauneuf and Hugo Dallaire. They’re created the franchise Outlast, which has sold to this day 15 million copies.
Ryan Kaufman (San Francisco, CA)
VP of Narrative
Ryan Kaufman began his career in 1995 at LucasArts Entertainment, designing and writing for games such as Jedi Knight and Rogue Squadron. He was also Director of Narrative at Telltale Games for 8 years, in creative leadership on Wolf Among Us, Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones.
Most recently, he joined Jam City as VP of Narrative, to create a new line of games with world-class narrative on mobile devices.
Scott C. Jones (Toronto, ON)
Host and Producer
He currently hosts and produces the Heavily Pixelated podcast, and consultants for the game industry’s premier developers. He lives in Toronto with his two cats.
Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey (Quebec City, QC)
Counter Logic Gaming
Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey is a five-time world champion in competitive Counter-Strike (CS:GO), and longtime female pro-gaming icon. Stephanie currently plays video games professionally for Counter Logic Gaming (CLG Red), a Tier 1 Organization owned by the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). Formerly a game designer for Ubisoft Montreal, having notably been part of development for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Far Cry Primal. Her fifteen years in esports as a player and seven years in the industry as a developer awarded her a Forbes “30 Under 30” title in 2014, and one of the BBC “100 Women Of 2016.” She also won Canada’s “Smartest Person” Season 3 on CBC and was voted Quebec City’s “Personality of 2017” by ICI Radio-Canada television channel.
Stephanie is currently a professional gaming ambassador for; Intel, Omen by HP Canada, Samsung Canada, Bell Canada, L’Oreal Hair and DreamHack Montreal.
Teena Saur (Toronto, ON)
Head of Brand Strategy and Marketing
Teena Saur is the Head of Brand Strategy & Marketing at Sago Mini, an award-winning company devoted to learning through play. Based in Toronto, Sago Mini makes apps & toys for preschoolers worldwide and is part of Spin Master Corporation, a leading global children’s entertainment company.
Teena joined Sago Mini in 2015 as a brand consultant. Today, she wears many hats but is responsible for brand marketing and customer research. She is a big-picture thinker with a passion for leveraging customer data and insights to accelerate growth and customer loyalty.
Prior to Sago Mini, Teena worked in Toronto and in Paris on the client and agency sides leading marketing strategy and customer segmentation for global brands including The New York Times, DeBeers, Procter & Gamble and Wrigley’s.
Teena holds an MBA in Luxury Brand Management from ESSEC in France and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Fashion Design from Ryerson.
William Quigley (Los Angeles, CA)
William Edward Quigley is CEO of OPSkins, the world’s largest marketplace for video game virtual items and CEO of WAX (Worldwide Asset eXchange), the first decentralized marketplace for trading those items. He is also Managing Director of Cashel Enterprises, a cryptocurrency focused investment vehicle.
Cashel has incubated and invested in over 40 Bitcoin, blockchain and crypto currency related investments. Quigley co-founded many transformative crypto companies including Tether, a USD deriviative adopted by many of the world’s leading crypto exchanges and GoCoin, a pioneering crypto payments processor. He and his business partner Jonathan Yantis – OPSkins COO – were early backers and the largest investors in Mastercoin, the technical forerunner to Ethereum and the world’s first ICO. The Mastercoin team invented the concept of a blockchain based smart contract. Prior to forming Cashel, William co-founded Clearstone Venture Partners, a $700 million early stage focused venture capital firm where he concentrated on Internet investments. He also co-founded the world’s first consumer Internet venture capital firm, idealab Capital Partners, and led Internet incubation efforts at idealab, the most successful consumer Internet incubator of the Web 1.0 era.
William received his MBA, with distinction, from Harvard Business School and holds a BS in Accounting, with honors, from University of Southern California.
Wim Stocks (New York, USA)
WorldGaming & Collegiate StarLeague
Wim Stocks has been a progressive leader in the online gaming business since 1990. From 2001 to 2006, Wim was Executive Vice President of the “new” Atari Inc. (a roll-up and amalgam of Hasbro Interactive, Infogrames, and GT Interactive), leading and managing one of the broadest-reaching interactive entertainment publishing networks in the world. In 2006, Wim started an entrepreneurial online gaming publishing business named Elephant Entertainment, assuming the role of President and COO. In March 2008, the leading games publisher THQ purchased Elephant and Wim assumed the role of EVP and leader of the Online Gaming division and related digital gaming initiatives. In 2010, Wim was recruited to join the executive management team of Virgin Gaming (now WorldGaming) as Executive Vice President. In this role, Wim helped launch the company and platform in 2010, as well as developed strategic investor, technology, game publisher, retailer, and other brand partnerships. In April 2016, Wim was named CEO of WorldGaming and Collegiate Starleague, which was acquired by Cineplex in the Fall of 2015 (a leading movie theater operator with diversification into gaming, location based entertainment, and other aligned entertainment and digital media businesses), and is presently leading the esports business, strategy, initiatives, and programs for the Company. Additionally, Wim is part of the ownership group of the Overwatch League franchise and team in NYC, the NY Excelsior (NYXL).
Wim currently serves as COO of the International eGames Committee & Board of Directors (an Olympics format and structure for esports), is an Advisor to the Special Olympics International, is a Board Member of National Public Radio’s ‘Marketplace’ programming, and is also a Trustee and on the Board of Directors of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Wim is also Chairman of the Board of HPPS Ltd (a restaurant and real-estate holding company based in Minneapolis), and has also served on the boards of Allina/Abbott Northwestern Hospital, the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Wim on LinkedIn.
Yoan Fanise (France)
Co-Founder & CEO
Yoan Fanise worked 14 years at Ubisoft in France and Singapore.
He joined the company in 2001 to create the soundscape of “Beyond Good & Evil”, the legendary title directed by Michel Ancel.
In 2004, he collaborated with Peter Jackson’s team on “King Kong”, the official game of the movie. Two Years later, he was co-inventing the famous “Raving Rabbids” and created their famous wacky language.
He was then called to join Singapore studio to develop a whole new part for the “Assassin’s Creed Brand: the Naval Battles”.
After the commercial success of those titles, he was able to release one of the smallest, bravest games ever seen from a major publisher.
That game, “Valiant Hearts”, is both a war game and fiercely anti-war at the same time, a story not about conflict’s heroics but about their tragedy and ultimate futility. It won many awards all around the world, including Baftas, VGA and Annie Awards.
In March 2015, he left Ubisoft to found DigixArt Studio, a company dedicated to meaningful games. The first title “Lost in Harmony” just launched and is already a giant success with more than 2 million players. The second title is “11-11 Memories Retold” developed with Aardman and published by Bandai Namco on consoles XBOX, PS4, and PC.