Panel Discussions


Entrepreneurial Risk - When To Grow and How to Know?

Monday, February 26

Entrepreneurs are presented with opportunities every single day.  It is a common belief  that businesses are likely to suffer more from indigestion rather than starvation.  Take on too much risk and results can suffer.  Wait too long to take action and the competition can leave you in their wake.  What is the right balance of taking calculated risks versus staying the course?  The panelists involved in this discussion will share their trials and tribulations as well as how they evaluate when to grow, and how to know.

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Moderator: Barbara Reppert

Barbara Reppert is a dynamic professional that has witnessed and accounted for risk at may stages of corporate evolution.  Her leadership roles have extended from a large internationally publicly traded corporation to a private equity group with holdings from start-up to 2ndgeneration companies to now, her own entrepreneurial journey.  With her unique insights and battle armor, Barb will transport you into the lives of four incredible Leaders as they share the pivotal decisions and moments that brought them to the growth they experience today.

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Marshall Sadd

With over 25 years’ experience in the insurance industry, T. Marshall Sadd is the third generation CEO of Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers Ltd.  Beginning his career at Lloyd Sadd in 1991, after graduating with a BA in Economics from the University of Alberta, Marshall became the President of the company in 1999.  A firm believer in the power of relationships in fostering organic growth, Marshall has used this focus to grow Lloyd Sadd into one of the largest independent commercial insurance brokerages in western Canada.

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Chris LaBossiere

As the Co-Founder of Yardstick Software Inc., Mr. LaBossiere (CEO) has worked with his friends and team to create a successful Edmonton based Internet Software and Services Company. Starting out, Chris helped lead his company to win the Alberta Venture Prize competition in 2006 for best fast-growth business model.  Yardstick has subsequently appeared on the Alberta Venture Magazine’s Fast 50 list of fastest growing companies for the past nine years and for six years on Profit Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in Canada. 


Ryan Pomeroy

Ryan Pomeroy is a leader who continually proves that ambition, focus, and strategic thinking can build a brand that is not only deeply connected to the regions they operate in, but is recognized across Canada. 

Ryan always knew what he wanted to be when he grew up, and began his journey at Pomeroy Lodging at a very young age. On his 5th birthday, Ryan spent the day working in the hotel restaurant with his brother and father. From then on, he was dedicated to the family business, pushing for better service, faster growth, and stronger community relations. 


Karina Birch

Karina Birch is co-owner and CEO of Rocky Mountain Soap Co. She and her husband Cam nurtured the company from its beginnings in 2000, as a small shop in Canmore to now 11 retail stores and a 17,000 square foot workshop. Rocky Mountain Soap creates small-batch beauty products using simple, natural and fresh ingredients. Building relationships with Canadian farmers to use high quality, healthy skin care ingredients in their recipes. 

Innovation & Disruption - How to Create the Future

Tuesday, February 27

Is there a business leader that exists who isn't concerned about how fast the world is changing?  How can leaders prevent falling victim to an event that forever disrupts their industry and renders their company obsolete?  When it comes to innovation and disruption no one has all the answers but their are some widely recognized steps to becoming more innovative and firing some of your own experimental bullets.  The panelists involved in this discussion will share their success stories and approached to how they are leading the innovation charge in their respective industries.


Moderator: Christy Benoit

Christy Benoit is passionate about demonstrating that it is possible to do good while doing well in business. She has been proving that free enterprise need not come at the expense of human values, sustainability or personal happiness, rather, that it is possible to build a profitable business while improving the lives of those whom it touches.

Christy graduated with a BSc(Pharmacy) from University of Alberta in 1999. She practiced pharmacy for 10 years and then, taking the vast experience gained in communication, service, and business management, she hung up her white coat in 2009 to pursue her passion of business full time. Since then, she has co-founded and led multiple ventures.


Troy Ferguson

After 15 years of marching armies of treeplanters and firefighters through Canada’s boreal forest, Troy founded Redrock Camps, a company designed to take care of workers in a way that nobody could in the middle of nowhere.  Today Redrock Camps is one of Canada’s premiere remote modular camp and hospitality providers.  It has won awards for the uniqueness of it’s workforce housing assets, services, health and safety accomplishments, and in 2014 was named Alberta’s fastest growing business.  Like most in the energy services sector, Redrock had it’s gravity taken away but has managed to survive.  Troy brings a lifetime of authenticity based on a long road to rapid success, bootstrap entrepreneurship, focused discipline, battle scars, and the value of relationships.

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Vince Danielsen

Vince Danielsen has a very personal understanding of the Canadian healthcare system and the difference that good care can make for someone. After a hard-won battle with cancer as a teenager, he went on to spend eight years in the Canadian Football League, as a Calgary Stampeder receiver, winning Grey Cup Championships in 1998 and 2001. 

Vince threw the same focus and determination into becoming a healthcare entrepreneur – founding, building, merging and acquiring health care companies in the fields of fitness, medical, corporate health, aesthetics and rehabilitation in both Canada and the United States.

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Ryan Vestby

Ryan Vestby is the CEO of CompuVision, one of Canada’s largest IT managed service providers. Ryan started with CompuVision as the company’s third employee at the age of twenty-one, and has played an integral part in the company’s growth and evolution.  In the last few years Ryan has taken a special interest in Disruptive Technologies, which is technology that significantly alters the way that businesses operate. Organizing a Disruption Council and facilitating discussion around AI, BlockChain, CyberSecurity and PowerBI are a few examples of how Ryan truly is changing the way we do business through technology.

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Evan Hu

Evan is a serial entrepreneur and executive coach. He was the founder of multiple successful startups including OmniLogic, MapleMusic, Ideaca and HiveHive. A Rainforest AB fellow and a member of the  A100, he is active in the Canadian startup community as an angel investor and mentor. He is a community volunteer as the Chair of Innovate Calgary and a Founding Partner and G7 Associate at Creative Destruction Lab.