Keynote speakers

Pete Bombaci

Founder, The GenWell Project

Keynote address: The power of human connection beyond the crisis
June 19, 8:50 – 9:50 a.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre

Pete Bombaci is a visionary business and social change leader who believes that by doing the right thing every day, exceptional results are created. His engaging leadership style comes from an enthusiasm and genuine desire to help others, as well as the understanding that building a more connected workforce delivers incredible benefits to both the employees and the business.

In 2016, Pete launched The GenWell Project, which has a mission to make the world a happier and healthier place by educating, empowering and catalyzing people in workplaces, schools and communities across Canada around the importance of proactive face-to-face social connection as an action we can all take for our health, happiness, longevity and the betterment of society.

Often a guest on global podcasts, radio, television, and a panelist and speaker at conferences around the world and in workplaces and classrooms, Pete has been leading the way in the conversation around social health for some time. Pete previously led the Movember Canada Foundation for nearly five years, leading the incredible team that raised $142 million dollars for men’s health during that time.

Pete has been able to draw on these broad range of experiences in both the for-profit and not-for-profit fields in his work with business, classrooms and community and he looks forward to every opportunity to connect people with the importance of human connection in their lives.


This keynote address is brought to you by AWS, a CANHEIT platinum sponsor.

Pete Bombaci

Takara Small

Award-winning technology journalist and podcaster

Keynote address: AI – The good, the bad and the ugly
June 20, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre

A decade ago, the idea that algorithms could replace screenwriters, displace developers or diagnose diseases was science fiction. Now AI tools are so ubiquitous that even high school students are using them to cheat on tests. These decision-making tools are influencing our real-world decisions right now, but unlike other important industries (think: food, energy or waste control) regulation is almost non-existent. In this chat, Takara Small will discuss how AI is being used, the ways it can help solve society’s problems or magnify the harm already being done.

About the speaker

The multi-talented Takara Small helps audiences understand the technology reshaping our world. From AI and advanced robotics to data and digital health, she offers a glimpse into the future balanced with what organizations can do today to drive growth. Her work as a journalist, podcaster and consultant has taken her across the globe.

Small is a technology columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, where she discusses the latest in tech trends and news. She is also a tech contributor for CBC’s Canada Tonight, BBC’s World News Service and Etalk, and the host of the new podcast, They Did That: History Lost and Found. In addition, her writing has appeared in several publications including Fortune, Canadian Business and Chatelaine.

Previously, Small was the host of the Globe and Mail’s podcast I’ll Go First, which was Canada’s #1 tech podcast in 2018. She also hosted CBC’s investigative podcast series, A Death in Cryptoland, which explored the rise and fall of a failed cryptocurrency exchange.

A long-time advocate for equality and access to technology, Small is the founder of VentureKids Canada. This award-winning non-profit offers entrepreneurship and coding classes for young people living in low-income or underserved communities. In recognition of her work, Small has received multiple awards and accolades including being named among Canada’s Most Powerful Women, a Young Leader of America and a Fellow of the Asian Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Takara Small

Hod Lipson

Professor of engineering and data science, Columbia University

Keynote address: The next AI: The rise of curious and creative machines
June 21, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Bahen Centre for Information Technology

Artificial intelligence and robotics technologies have been making grand strides over the past few years, outperforming humans in tasks once thought to be impossible to automate. Machines can now recognize images, interpret audio and understand language with unprecedented reliability. Cars can drive themselves and machines can be creative. But where will this technology go next, and how far can it reach? This talk will take a deep dive into what is driving AI and try to predict its future as it unfolds in six waves.

Palo Alto Networks

This keynote address is brought to you by Palo Alto Networks, a CANHEIT platinum sponsor.

About the speaker

Hod Lipson is a professor of engineering and data science at Columbia University in New York and a co-author of the award-winning book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing and Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead. His work on self-aware and self-replicating robots challenges conventional views of robotics. Lipson directs the Creative Machines Lab at Columbia, which pioneers new ways to make machines that create, and machines that are creative.

Hod Lipson

Opening remarks

Cheryl Regehr

Vice-President and Provost, University of Toronto

Cheryl Regehr is the Vice-President and Provost for the University of Toronto. Former Vice-Provost Academic Programs and former Dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, she is a professor in the Faculty of Social Work and has cross-appointments to the Faculty of Law and the Institute for Medical Sciences at U of T. She is a senior fellow of Massey College and a visiting professor at the National Institutes of Health Research Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King’s College London (UK).

Professor Regehr’s six books (Oxford University Press, Columbia University Press and University of Toronto Press) and over 150 scholarly articles focus on forensic mental health, trauma and recovery, and stress, trauma and decision-making in high-stress professions. This research has been recognized among others by the International Campbell Collaboration for Systematic Reviews and the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Her research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. Her current SSHRC-funded research projects involve testing a new model for improving professional decision-making in situations of risk and uncertainty and understanding trauma in archivists. A further project explores the impact of video evidence of violent crime on those involved in the justice system.

Professor Regehr’s practice background includes over 20 years of direct service in forensic social work and emergency mental health and in the administration of mental health programs, specializing in civil litigation and criminal court assessments of trauma victims and violent offenders, and organizationally based trauma interventions. She was the director of the Crisis Response Team at Pearson International Airport and served on the mental health advisory for the Department of National Defence and Veteran’s Affairs Canada, and most recently, the CIHR Mental Health Advisory Group for COVID-19.

Cheryl Regehr