Meet our Wise 50 Over 50 Awards™ judges
50 Over 50 Award Judges
Simon d’Entremont, Deputy Minister
Nova Scotia Department of Seniors
Prior to this appointment, Simon was the Deputy Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. Previous to that, Simon worked for the Federal Government for 17 years. He was the Regional Director General, Atlantic for Health Canada; the Regional Director, Policy and Communications, for Industry Canada, Atlantic Region; and the Manager of the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). His first position with the federal government was with ACOA as the Account Manager responsible for Southwest Nova Scotia, and located in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Simon began his career as a stockbroker with the investment firm, Scotia MacLeod Inc.
He holds a Bachelor of Education from l’Université Ste-Anne and a Bachelor of Business Administration, major in Finance, from Acadia University.
He has previously been on the board of directors of Nova Scotia Business Inc.; Innovacorp; Trade Centre Limited; Nova Scotia Tourism Agency; Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia; and Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd.
Simon is married with two children. His hobbies include playing guitar, astronomy, and wildlife photography.
Allyson Hewitt, JW McConnell Family Foundation
Senior Fellow, Social Innovation @MaRS
Allyson has assisted hundreds of social ventures to become economically sustainable and increase their social impact. She has developed and helps lead the social innovation programs at MaRS which includes Social Innovation Generation (SiG); the social finance programs of the Centre for Impact Investing; the MaRS Solutions Labs, designed to tackle complex challenges; and Studio Y, which supports youth to lead in the innovation economy. She has also helped grow the social innovation ecosystem through such programs as the School for Social Entrepreneurs; is a sought after public speaker; and has had significant impact on public policy. She is currently leading an initiative to develop a pro bono marketplace for Canada.
Allyson is also the Social Entrepreneur in Residence in the Master in Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (MBET) Program at the University of Waterloo. She is an educator and mentor in programs like the Social Innovation Graduate Diploma and Residency at the Banff Centre. Allyson is a member of the Dean’s Council at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University where she helps lead the social responsibility work.
She last worked at SickKids where she was a passionate advocate for children. She was also the Executive Director of Community Information Toronto where she initiated 211, providing streamlined access to human service information. She received the Head of the Public Service Award and several other prestigious awards for meritorious public service.
Allyson’s academic background is in Criminology, Law, Public Affairs, Voluntary Sector Management and Organizational Development.
President, Global Entrepreneurship Network
Jonathan Ortmans is founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a platform of programs and initiatives to help new firms start and scale while working to create one global entrepreneurial ecosystem. GEN is headquartered in Washington, DC, and operates in 160 countries where it helps people unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world.
Ortmans launched GEN’s cornerstone initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Week, in 2008 alongside former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and leadership of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Each November since then, millions of people participate in GEW events, activities and competitions. Through the program, he quickly assembled the broad multi-disciplinary coalition that is the backbone of GEN, including entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and affiliated support organizations.
Ortmans also created and chairs the Global Entrepreneurship Congress that assembles approximately 5,000 delegates each spring to collaborate on effective approaches to advancing entrepreneurial growth. He launched the first GEC in 2009 in Kansas City at the Kauffman Foundation. Since that time, he has chaired its gatherings in Dubai, Liverpool, Medellin, Milan, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai.
Trained as an economist, with two startups and exits under his belt, Ortmans serves on the boards of several non-profits including the Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow. He blogs regularly on high-growth entrepreneurship at genglobal.org and has emerged as a chief global strategist in building startup ecosystems around the world. Ortmans lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three young children.
Founder and CEO, The Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship
Senior Fellow in Social Innovation, Babson College
Associate Fellow for the “Silver Economy,” Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Research
Recognized globally as a pioneering senior and intergenerational entrepreneurship expert, Elizabeth is leading the transformation of the culture of aging and retirement.</span style=”color: #0b436a;”>
Her passion to ignite an Experienced Economy™ by unleashing the potential of 50+ year-olds to drive economic markets and generate social and environmental impact is grounded in data and metrics. Elizabeth is part of the experienced economy.
As a septugenarian, she founded The Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship, a comprehensive, cross-sector (business, government, education and research) ecosystem to support cross-generational experience and entrepreneurship.
For the past five years, Elizabeth has been crisscrossing the globe from Australia to Chile to Dublin to Istanbul and most recently Japan, convening forums among cross-sector thought leaders to raise awareness and ignite intergenerational experience. Elizabeth has been a trusted advisor for the Obama White House, and continues to be for Congress, the European Union (EU), the US State Department, i4J (Vint Cerf and David Nordfors’ Innovation for Jobs), the Clinton Global Initiative, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the W-20, G-7 and G-20 world forums, as well as many other governments, universities, private sector corporations and NGOs worldwide.
In 2006, Peter became the first Executive Director of the Orléans Chamber of Commerce whose mandate is to promote and strengthen local businesses in the east end of Ottawa. In July 2010, Peter joined the OCRI Entrepreneurship Centre (now known as Invest Ottawa) as a business advisor for growth stage companies. His commitment to help entrepreneurs led to him becoming the Manager of Entrepreneurship Services in 2013, overseeing all the services and staff supporting early stage entrepreneurs.
In May 2016, he stepped down from that role to begin his own business coaching practice. Peter is able to draw from his previous management and professional experience, as well as his local knowledge, which lends itself well for entrepreneurs looking for practical business advice and guidance.
Jason is a veteran in the world of enterprise growth and management, having founded and scaled a number of successful software companies in the past, most notably Flick Software, Eftia, and N-Able. Jason believes in disrupting the status quo, which is what led him to start You.i TV with co-founder Stuart Russell. Jason is currently a sitting member of the board for Turner Ad Labs, Invest Ottawa, and Flick Software.
Serge Bourassa, LL.M., M.B.A.
President and Chief Operating Officer, CEIM
Serge Bourassa joined CEIM in 1997 to build its New Technology Group. In year 2000 he launched, in the Cité du multimédia, CEIM’s Centre de développement des technologies de l’information, which provided major financial benefits to many start-ups. In 2014, the « Québec Innovation » project that he initiated in collaboration with McGill University was selected by the Canadian Accelerators and Incubators Program, CEIM being identified among the best-in-class organizations in Canada.
Serge Bourassa has over twenty-five years of experience, mostly in financing, business management and strategy. Before joining CEIM, he worked in finance (Banque Nationale de Paris, Roynat, Canadian Bankers Association) and practised bank law and corporate law at McMaster Meighen.
Serge Bourassa has taught business financing and sectorial analysis at HEC Montréal and finance at UQAM. He holds a B.B.A. from HEC Montréal, a M.B.A. from the University of Western Ontario, Bachelor and Master degrees in Law from Université de Montréal.
Serge also studied international business at Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium). He is a member of the Barreau du Québec.
CEO Baffin Business Development Corporation
Valerie, originally from the Saskatchewan, has made Iqaluit, Nunavut her home for the past 22 years. Her experience in community, business and economic development started as the owner of a small handicraft business and as a volunteer board member of a Community Futures organization.
Her back ground in clothing and textiles acquired at the University of Manitoba took her north over two decades ago and there she stayed.
While in the north, she has worked with the governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and is currently the CEO of Baffin Business Development Corporation (BBDC). BBDC is both a Community Futures organization and an Aboriginal Financial Institution. BBDC provides business counselling and financial support to entrepreneurs of Baffin Island, a very challenging but rewarding region of Canada for business development.
Valerie volunteers with youth sports and enjoys the long arctic summer days and cold, dark breathtaking winters with her family and friends.
As the Chief Executive Officer of SOHO Business Group, Moe Somani is responsible for leading a strong and passion team to execute the company’s vision. Prior to launching SOHO, Moe held highly successful sales, marketing, and management positions with Pitney Bowes of Canada for eight years.
At the age of 30, two weeks after launching SOHO, Moe was hospitalized with a rare spinal cord condition, which left him paralyzed from the chest down. He was told by doctors he would never walk again. With a positive “mind over matter” attitude and aggressive rehabilitation, Moe was able to successfully overcome this life challenge within a mere six months and today, lives everyday full of energy, passion and gratitude.
Moe is also very active in the community and donates countless hours to charity. Among others, he is well known for launching World Partnership Golf, an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, which raised funds that go directly to projects that benefit communities in the poorest countries of Africa and Asia. Moe is also the past Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Small Business BC, a non-profit organization catered to the small business community and past member of the Board of Governors for Junior Achievement of BC, a leader in delivering business education programs for young people.
Moe is invited to speak at many conferences, events and companies on areas of SMB marketing, business start-up and growth, and strategic selling to large enterprises – what he knows best.
Director of Awards and Stakeholder Relations
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Andre Morriseau (Ojibway) is an enthusiastic advocate and ambassador for Aboriginal arts, culture and public affairs.
A member of the Fort William First Nation (Thunder Bay) where he maintains a home, Mr. Morriseau is based in Toronto. Over the past 15 years Andre has served on numerous boards of directors including the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, Native American Journalist’s Association (NAJA) and the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre.
In 2003 Mr. Morriseau was chosen as one of the first three recipients of the City of Toronto Aboriginal Affairs Award. Most recently he won the Jer’s Vision Canada’s Youth Role Model of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is designed to celebrate accomplishments and achievements of outstanding individuals who have changed the face of the world.
Andre has gained a reputation for promoting and supporting Aboriginal arts and public affairs. As former host of Nation to Nation on Aboriginal Voices Radio, CKAV 106.5 FM, and UrbaNative at CIUT University of Toronto, he shared countless stories of Indigenous peoples and their experiences. As well he has volunteered his time for many years with Nationtalk.ca Canada’s Premier Aboriginal Newswire where many of his interviews with the who’s who of the Aboriginal world can be listened to on the New Media section of the newswire.
For five exciting years Andre worked as the Secretariat for the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) now Indspire and three years as the Communications Officer for the Chiefs of Ontario (COO). He is the Chair of the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Awards Jury, Vice Chair of the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, recently joined the Board of Artscape Toronto and is currently the Director of Awards and Stakeholder Relations for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB).