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Summit Topics

The Big Issue:
Affecting Radical, Sustainable Innovation & Change

To drive innovation, businesses and communities must:

Discover new strategies that will empower you to capture tangible value and opportunity from the most important global trends of the decade:

  • Anticipate the adverse effects of climate change
  • Adapt and implement low carbon strategies
  • Take appropriate action to minimize risks
  • Seize the moment and capture new opportunities

Key Themes

To support our action, innovation and leadership focused mission, the predominant themes for the summit and follow-up initiatives are:

  • The Future is Here—Be the Change
  • Partnership & Creativity 
  • Accelerating Scale, Seed & Scope


To accelerate the usefulness of insights, an “igniter moderator” leads each topic group. This peer-level facilitator will catalyze the discussion and stories of business and innovation leaders and entrepreneurs who have tackled big challenges.

Though the topic names may change as final content is detailed (in collaboration with keynote speakers and partners), the following represents many of the major global challenges and opportunities ahead and what will be discussed at the Summit. Additional confirmed speakers and moderators will be announced shortly as partners join this unique, high impact opportunity—which will extend beyond the Summit.

Energy Future: Integrated Planning – The Energy - Water - Carbon Nexus. Binding them in strategy

The growth of a new global middle class, shifting climates and competition for resources will have dramatic impact on demands for water, energy and food. This topic explores how companies can begin to develop integrated strategies, why companies such as Walt Disney Co., Google Inc., and Suncor Energy are already including “shadow” carbon pricing in their investment analysis, why our very own Canadian Council of Chief Executives are now calling for a national price on carbon. Large, small or startup, this will have direct applicability to your business. 


annette verschuren

Annette Verschuren, Chair & CEO of NRStor, Chair of the Clean Energy Task Force for Ontario and Chancellor of Cape Breton University. 

Annette is well known for her past role as the President of The Home Depot in Canada and Asia. She oversaw the growth of the company’s Canadian operations from 19 stores in 1996 to 180 in 2011 and led The Home Depot’s strategic entry into the Chinese market. Her entrepreneurial spirit, strong track record in growing companies, and extensive network provides the experience to grow NRStor into an industry leader in the commercialization of energy storage technologies.

She began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation, a coal-mining operation in Sydney, Nova Scotia – later serving as Executive Vice President of the Canada Development Investment Corporation; Vice President of Corporate Development at Imasco Ltd., one of Canada’s largest holding companies in financial services, retail, and food services; and, a Co-founder of Michaels the Arts and Crafts stores before joining The Home Depot. Annette was also vice chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and a member of the Economic Advisory Council, a group of 11 Canadian business leaders charged with advising the Government of Canada on the 2008 global economic crisis. 

Peter Love

Peter Love, President, Energy Services Association of Canada, RSI Chairman Ontario’s First Energy Conservation Officer. 

Peter is a recognized energy policy expert with a focus on energy conservation. He advises private and public sector clients and is a director of two renewable energy companies. He is also a volunteer clean tech Advisor at MaRS, a member of the Executive Committee of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science and is active with Civic Action’s Greening Greater Toronto and the Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council’s Race to Reduce. Among other acknowledgements, he was honoured recently as one of Canada’s Clean50.

Wild Weather of the Future: Cities, Climates, Costs & New Opportunities

Weather – we all experience it but few sectors have begun planning for it. Join us for a sector review of risks and opportunities, new business models and the drivers. What kinds of changes in weather can we expect? What changes might we not be able to predict? How will these changes affect your business? How can companies understand the climate readiness of the countries where they operate?  


Dianne Dillon

Dianne Dillon Ridgley, Interface Board Director (KN speaker)

Focus: Climate Change, Challenges & Opportunities for innovation

For eighteen years Dianne has been a member of the Interface, Inc. Board of directors, key to steering the company to the 2020 Mission Zero and being a “Restorative Enterprise”. She is a founding member of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future. Past positions include being a director at Green Mountain Energy and Environmental Integrity Committee Chair for the company, until GMEC was acquired by NRG, and a member of the Oxford University Commission on Sustainable Consumption and Production. The first US member appointed to the Global Water Partnership in Stockholm, and appointed by President Clinton to his council on Sustainable Development. For the past two Presidential elections she has been in leadership at the Presidential Climate Action Project that delineated actions the US President could legally and should philosophically take to address climate challenges facing the US and the globe.

Groundbreaking Approaches: Reducing Risk and Creating win-win outcomes & Opportunities across the global supply chain

Description to come


Melanie Steiner

Melanie Steiner, SVP and Global Chief Risk Officer, PVH Corporation. (KN Speaker)

Focus: The Bangladesh Accord

As Global Risk Officer for PVH, and a board member of the Bangladesh Accord, Ms. Steiner will provide an in-depth look at this groundbreaking initiative in the readymade garment sector, bringing together global brands, global trade unions and NGOs—and how it will change the state of play in Bangladesh and ensure the safety of workers. Ms. Steiner will also talk about supply chain risk and opportunities to use sustainability to drive enhanced third party relationships.

Melanie is responsible for managing risk efficiently and effectively within PVH. This includes overall responsibility for internal audit, enterprise risk management, corporate social responsibility, and human rights. Prior to PVH, she worked at Ernst & Young as Market Leader, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, preceded by 15 years in law and policy, commercial and environmental law, and then as a Senior Policy Advisor at the international level

Building a Sustainable Food System and Enhancing Food Security

While technological advances continue to play a role in addressing the ongoing crisis, production of food and fish supplies remain dependent upon well-functioning ecological systems and sustainable supply chains supporting natural habitats, water, soil and nutrients. Both government and private sector investment will play key roles in addressing this challenge. Their collaboration will be central to transforming global agri-food supply chains into models of sustainable production and consumption. Food is both a security and an emerging business opportunity. Food and its supply is a major global challenge. Any business or municipality with an interest in innovating within this sector should entertain this important topic area. 

Speakers to be announced 

Technology, Data and Automation: How These Will Change Doing Business

The world has moved from connected to hyper-connected, and from interconnected to inter-dependent. This topic explores the growing data trend and the work involved in making it useful. The emergence of smart sensor devices designed with users in mind provides companies with an enormous opportunity to use relevant data to increase quality decision making, transparency and traceability, and create radical efficiencies at all levels. Come learn how technology, data and automation will optimize your use of energy and how these will be applied to drive innovation in the manufacturing and transportation sectors. 

Speakers to be announced

Urban Transformation: The role of Community Energy Systems, Utilities, Transportation, Low Carbon Mobility, Smart Buildings

By 2030, global population will have reached close to 8 billion people. Cities will account for 65% of global GDP and generate close to 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. Competitiveness will be linked to low carbon products and services helping cities become self-sufficient and improve quality of life in local communities around the world. Explore the anticipated acceleration of urban construction for housing, low carbon mobility and the significant new role of community energy systems and ‘smart energy’ communities. Innovation will be driven as cities link energy use and supply, low carbon strategies across land use, buildings, transportation, water, waste and related infrastructure.

Any business, large or small will participate in this transformation. Come explore becoming part of a larger urban strategy in this topic focus. If you are a municipality, come explore how you can leverage the value of your natural and built assets? 

Speakers to be announced

Out Innovate Your Competition – by Design

Gain practical insights on outside the box strategies and solutions that work in today’s new realities to advance business leadership and success—by design, within and beyond the usual paths. Explore the new rules, the new challenges, and new opportunities for designing value creating solutions that cut across traditional boundaries of sector, geographic location and demographics. Whether you are a new startup or with a major Fortune 500 organization, leadership driven by innovation is a powerful catalyst for resetting, realigning, and building win-win outcomes that work in the game changing realties of today’s environment.


ilse treurnicht

Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, a leading innovation centre located in Toronto.

Ilse oversees both the development and operations of the MaRS Centre and its broad suite of entrepreneurship and innovation programs. Ilse joined MaRS in early 2005 from her role as President & CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a start-up-stage venture capital fund focused on the advanced technologies sector. Prior to Primaxis, Ilse was an entrepreneur in a number of emerging technology companies.

Unleashing the Power of Business Leadership and Innovation to Drive Profitable Growth in today’s New World Realities

October 20 & 21, 2014
MaRS Discovery District
Toronto, Canada

Register here to reserve your spot at the Global Leadership & Innovation Summit:

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If you are interested in participating in this game changing summit, as a speaker, sponsor or partner, please contact us.

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