Daniel Epstein

Founder of Unreasonable Group.

Daniel Epstein

Daniel’s life has been shaped by a fundamental belief that entrepreneurship is the answer to nearly all the issues we face today. By the time he received his undergraduate degree in philosophy, he’d already started three companies. In 2012 he was recognized by Inc. Magazine as a “30 under 30 entrepreneur” and by Forbes as one of the “top 30 most impactful entrepreneurs” of the year. In 2013, he received the prestigious “Entrepreneur of the World” award along with Richard Branson at the Global Entrepreneurship Forum. Today, this passion for entrepreneurship and startups has led to the creation of Unreasonable Group. The vision of Unreasonable Group is to create a collective family of companies that will, together, put a dent on the seemingly intractable social and environmental challenges of this century.

Ken Banks

Founder of kiwanja.net and FrontlineSMS.

Ken Banks

Ken devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. He has worked at the intersection of technology, anthropology, conservation and development for the past twenty years and, during that time, has lived and worked across the African continent. He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and has been internationally recognised for his technology-based work. Ken is also a published author, with his first edited book, "The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator", released in late 2013. His latest project, Means of Exchange, looks at how everyday technologies can be used to democratise opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, rebuild local community and promote a return to local resource use.


Mike Cancilla

Co-founder, West Coast Surgical

Mike CancillaMike holds a Master in Biomedical Engineering from UBC and revealed a passion for social innovation when he realized he could apply his engineering experience to have real impact in the developing world. In 2013 he joined forces with four other UBC engineers to launch the drill cover project, a social collaborative effort between UBC, Vancouver General Hospital and Mulago Hospital in Uganda which develops drill covers to allow surgeons in Mulago to safely use a regular "Hardware Store" style power drill ($150) in the place of a high quality surgical power drill ($30,000) during trauma surgeries. Mike was awarded the 2014 BC Medtech Award in Biomedical Engineering for his efforts in the proof of concept phase, and is now looking to transition this product to scale sustainably, responsibly and for impact.

Ryan Dick

Co-founder of GIGAbase.

Ryan Dick

Ryan received his master degree in Architecture with an emphasis in Structural Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2007, he received a prestigious Luce Scholars Fellowship and relocated to Shanghai, China to teach sustainable design at Tongji University. While teaching, Ryan co-founded GIGA (Green Ideas Green Actions), the world’s first cloud-based material management platform that ranks building materials according to health and ecological impact. In 2009 Ryan and his co-founder Raefer Wallis were invited to the Clinton Global Initiative to make a commitment to launching the GIGA website and fostering green competition in design. After spending over 6 years in China, Ryan is now based in Montreal, Canada where GIGA is establishing its first North American office. Ryan frequently lectures at universities and conferences and regularly mentors MBA teams to explore environmental and social enterprise opportunities.

Sam Goldman

Chief Customer Officer & Founder, d.light solar

Sam Goldman Propel 2014Sam co-founded d.light in 2007 and served as the company’s founding CEO. During his tenure as CEO, he raised over $11 million in funding, started the India sales and marketing division, and oversaw multiple launches of products, including the award-winning S250 and S10. Sam has been selected as an Ashoka Fellow and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; he was also recognized by Forbes as one of the world’s top 30 social entrepreneurs. Prior to d.light, he founded and managed multiple ventures in Africa, including improved agriculture and construction businesses, a for-profit NGO cultivating the miracle tree Moringa oleifera, and the distribution of low-cost latrines, cook stoves and rain water catchment cisterns. Sam has lived in Cameroon, Mauritania, Pakistan, Peru, India, Rwanda, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United States. After graduating with degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria, Canada, he earned an MBA from Stanford.

Rachel Holmes

Executive Director of Innovative Partnerships at the Ministry of Social Development.

Rachel Holmes

Rachel works closely with cross sector partners from business, Aboriginal and community organizations, and the non profit sector to foster meaningful and productive relationships and advance social innovation and entrepreneurship in the province. In addition to her work in the public service, Rachel has worked for over 15 years in the non profit sector working with provincial, national and international non profit and non-governmental organizations in both staff and Board roles. Experience includes work with the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island based in Victoria, and the National Collegiate Conference Association based in New York City, which provides the world’s largest experiential education program related to the development of global citizenship. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and an interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Anthropology, Sociology and Political Science from the University of Victoria.

Jessica Langelaan

Traction on Demand

Jessica LangelaanIn her new role at Traction on Demand, Jessica Langelaan brings business acumen into the non-profit sector through the use of Salesforce.com, the support of the Salesforce Foundation, and a team at Traction that uses cloud-technology to make relationship management easy and efficient. This means that donors, board members and volunteers can be seamlessly managed and that the organization can put greater focus and time into its mission. Past roles for Jessica include five years with Offsetters, Canada’s leading provider of climate change management solutions, where she was responsible for the overall performance and strategic development of Offsetters’ consulting services. She’s also held roles in environmental sustainability, non-profit health, and recreation sport management. She is committed to continuing a career where she can continue to make a difference for the organization, the community and the world.

Stephen Nairne

Managing Director, Lundin Foundation

Stephen NairneStephen has served as the Lundin Foundation's Managing Director since 2007. He serves on the Advisory Board of several SME funds and companies in Sub-Saharan Africa and is concurrently appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches courses on Country and Project Risk Analysis in Developing Countries and African Political Economy. Prior to joining the Lundin Foundation, Mr. Nairne served as Deputy Director with Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade's Pacific Office and as Senior Political Risk Analyst at Export Development Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and a Master of Arts from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

Paul Richardson

CEO & Co-Founder of Renewal Funds

Paul Richardson Propel 2014 ConferencePrior to launching Renewal Funds, Paul co-managed the Renewal Partners’ venture portfolio from 2003-2009. In that time, Renewal was active in over 20 significant transactions with companies in its portfolio.  From 2004 to 2006, Paul also led an international consortium of philanthropic foundations and private investors in successful negotiations with the Federal and Provincial governments and the Coastal First Nations to structure a financing deal that supported the conservation of the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact, coastal temperate rainforest left in the world. Paul brings both legal and business experience to Renewal Funds. Paul is active on a variety of Renewal Funds investee company boards, for Elevation Brands and Sensible Organics. Paul has also served as Vice Chair of the Coast Opportunities Funds and is the past President of Ecojustice Canada. In 2013 Paul was named as one of Canada's Clean50.

Dr. Ashley Riskin, MD

Connect Health

Ashley RiskinAt a young age, Ashley realized there was more to medicine than just an 8-minute visit to the doctor and chose to go into medicine in order to create change from within. While studying at UBC, he discovered there was no quality means for students to learn about integrative medicine. In response, he started a student group called AIMS (Alternative and Integrative Medical Society), organizing conferences and lectures, and publishing a wellness directory. He also created a credit course on integrative medicine at UBC. After completing his residency, Ashley entered the 2-year fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona, training with Dr. Andrew Weil. He has completed further training in functional medicine—a style of medicine that emphasizes root causes of ailments and takes a personalized approach to care.

Mike Rowlands

Principal, Junxion Strategy

Mike Rowland Propel 2014Based in Vancouver and engaged internationally, Mike is a client lead with Junxion, an international consultancy that's striving to mainstream responsible business. Mike works on strategy, branding, social venture incubation and acceleration, and values-driven leadership development. He specializes in helping organizations define and develop TrustBrands™–meaningful, values-driven engagement strategies that inspire diverse audiences and distinguish businesses as market leaders. He is an Ambassador of Social Venture Network, and an Executive Producer of the celebrated, annual Social Venture Institute. He sits on the Advisory Council to the Faculty of Management at Royal Roads University, and is a member of the 'Leaders' Circle' of the 'Innovation Hub,' a social venture accelerator at the University of British Columbia. As a keynote speaker and frequent workshop presenter, he has taught strategy, entrepreneurship, sector collaborations, branding and communications. Mike has worked with a long and diverse list of clients, including CARE Canada, K2, Sentebale (Prince Harry’s charity), 1% for the Planet and its member companies, and many start-up ventures and not-for-profit organisations.

Mina Shahid

Director of Business Development, Kulemela Investments

Mina Shahid Propel 2014Mina is Co-Founder and Director of Business Development for Kulemela Investments; a fledgling impact investor that invests in small and growing African agricultural enterprises that are increasing food security. Kulemela is working toward a world where African agriculture is deemed prosperous, entrepreneurs have the tools and resources they need to succeed, and small-scale farmers have too many choices rather than too few. Mina is responsible for telling Kulemela’s story and forming new partnerships that can help Kulemela grow. He also plays a strategic planning and operations role focusing on social impact measurement and talent management. Prior to founding Kulemela Mina worked with Engineers Without Borders Canada in Zambia, Ghana, and Uganda. As a Market Development Strategist, Mina's work focused on developing markets that would give small-scale farmers more power. He holds a BASc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Ethan Wilkes

Director of Communications, Reboot

Ethan Wilkes Propel 2014

Ethan is the Director of Communications at Reboot, a New York based social enterprise working to improve governance and development worldwide. Reboot helps the world’s leading organizations become more responsive to the communities they serve. Ethan is charged with bringing Reboot’s people first vision of good governance to a global audience. Ethan comes from a diverse international background spanning four continents and over 50 countries. From Paris, he helped launch the JDC International Centre for Community Development at Oxford University. In Beijing, he advised the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on public diplomacy strategy during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. He also served in the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy at the United States Mission to the United Nations. Ethan is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His writing has been featured in The Guardian, The Atlantic, and World Policy Journal, among others.

Jaydeen Williams

Executive Director, Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation

Jaydeen WilliamsTake a Hike is a full-time alternate education program that offers an innovative combination of academics, adventure-based learning, therapy and community involvement to youth at risk and enables them to reach their full potential. Prior to joining the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation in 2010, Jaydeen held a variety of titles including manager, teacher, special needs assistant, camp counsellor, volunteer, researcher, coach, tutor and mentor. She spent seven years working for cruise line Royal Caribbean International, both onboard cruise ships overseeing children and family programming, and in Miami Florida managing all youth and family programs for multiple ships. Jaydeen is a member of the Terminal City Rollergirls, playing for the Riot Girls and also acts in the role of board president of the Vancouver Junior Roller Derby league. She lives in East Vancouver with her two dogs and a brood of chickens.

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