Youth strategies for economic development

Youth Strategies seminar.

Date Location Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) Point Value
May 22-23, 2014 University of Waterloo Stratford campus 7

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New: online option

Available online! Skip the travel, interactive, full points.Participants now have the opportunity to watch and participate in the seminar online.

Those taking the online option will have to complete a two page 'Reflection' on how the topics and content relate to trends, opportunities and initiatives in their communities. The reflection is required in order to earn the EDAC points. 

We will be using Adobe Connect web conferencing software. More details on how to use it will be provided after registration. 

Key topics:

  • Youth mobility and expectations

  • Engagement and retention

  • Education and mentorship

  • Youth entrepreneurship

  • Digital media


Tomash Devenishek

The opportunity beyond the social media comfort zone

Tomash DevenishekTomash lives at the intersection of marketing and technology to create digital platforms that deliver engaging and meaningful social experiences for users, stakeholders and brands. Previously, he’s created and launched digital experiences for brands such as TELUS, VISA, TD, BMO, Minto and more. Currently he’s on a mission to connect students and young professionals with industry leaders in life-changing, career making conversations over coffee. He does so as a director of product for Canada’s premier social mentorship platform, Ten Thousand Coffees. He’s also a gadget, motorcycle, soccer, and photography junkie, and a general lover of all things digital, creative and innovative.

Brock Dickinson

Youthquake: demographic change, economic crisis and community development

Brock DickinsonBrock is a principal at Millier Dickinson Blais, Canada’s largest specialist economic development consultancy.  Before entering the private sector, Brock served as director of ICT & advanced manufacturing for the Toronto Region Research Alliance, as director of economic development and tourism services for the City of St. Catharines, and as executive director of the Western Valley Development Authority in rural Nova Scotia. This economic development work won more than 40 national and international awards, including a UN designation as one of the “best practices in the world for improving living conditions.” His work helped to leverage more than a billion dollars in new investment, and the creation of 5,000 new jobs.

Brock is also an associate director of the Economic Development Program.

Sean Geobey

The canary in the coalmine: youth employment and the changing labour market

Sean GeobeySean Geobey is a doctoral candidate in the University of Waterloo and a fellow with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, where his research is focused on social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social finance. He is also a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the author of their recent report, The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Ontario. He has played key roles in the founding of a number of organizations committed to social change including Sustainable Waterloo Region, the Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group and CANGO Consulting as well as formerly serving on and as Chair of Fair Vote Canada's National Council. 

Michael Marini

Hamilton Hive: the buzz behind Hamilton's YP strategy

Michael MariniMichael is the Coordinator of Marketing for the city of Hamilton’s Economic Development Division, with responsibilities for the Business Development and Urban Renewal Sections, and the Small Business Enterprise Centre. During his five plus years in this role, Michael has garnered four national and 10 provincial awards for his work. He is also responsible for spearheading the creation of the Hamilton Hive, the city’s first and now preeminent young professional network, and served as its founding Chair in 2011. He was also a founding member of YEP (Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals) Hamilton and currently chairs two other young professionals groups.

Michael, a life-long Hamiltonian, holds a Masters Degree in Political Science from McMaster University, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Relations from the University of Victoria and is an accredited public relations professional through the Canadian Public Relations Society.

André Robichaud

Youth: the Northern perspective

Andre RobichaudAndré Robichaud, 31, is the economic development officer at the Town of Kapuskasing, a community of 8,300 residents in Northern Ontario. He was born and raised in Kapuskasing and left after high school to study in a large urban centre. Like the vast majority, he left the small town and did not plan on returning.  He graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. He returned to Kapuskasing that same year and worked in the private sector. He was then hired by the Town of Kapuskasing in 2009.  One of his responsibilities include developing local and regional attraction and retention strategies for Kapuskasing and area. He received his Economic Developer designation (EcD) in 2013, and subsequently his CEcD in 2014.  He is the author of “Young People Attraction & Retention in Northeastern Ontario: A Regional Strategy”.  

Youth entrepreneurship panel 

Matthew Aubie

Matthew AubieMatthew is a co-founder and principal designer of Hustle&Bustle Inc. Multi-faceted, he has led the Hustle&Bustle team in the development and successful execution of brand strategies for a variety of clients across the country.

Before establishing Hustle&Bustle, Matthew graduated from Conestoga College’s design communications program and honed his skills at one of Toronto’s top business-to-business design firms. Brands he has worked with include Toronto Hydro, Hydro One, Canada Health Infoway, The Ontario Trails Council, The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Equity Financial Trust. Most recently Matthew led the Hustle&Bustle team in the successful branding and launch of Velocity, a leading start-up incubator at the University of Waterloo.

Karen Gallant

Karen GallantKaren Gallant is president & CEO of Junior Achievement of Waterloo Region, an innovative partnership between the business community, educators and volunteers, empowering young people to own their economic success in the global marketplace. 

Previously Karen was Senior Director of Talent Networks at Communitech. In this role, she led Communitech’s broad range of talent initiatives, including their youth outreach organization (the Business & Education Partnership of Waterloo Region), the country’s largest Peer2Peer Network and a number of attraction, recruitment and retention activities. Prior to joining Communitech, Karen held various roles at the University of Waterloo, including associate director, operations and outreach at the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology.  

Karen is a member of the board for the John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington as well as Creative Enterprises Initiative.

Dan Humphries

Dan HumphriesDan is a senior youth business consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Employment. Dan is passionate about entrepreneurship and has spent the past eight years working in a wide variety of entrepreneurship programming roles within both the federal and provincial public service. In his current role, Dan administers the Youth Entrepreneurship Partnerships program which engages not-for-profit organizations across Ontario to deliver youth entrepreneurship programming. Dan has also worked directly with municipalities and community-based organizations in the development of local and regional entrepreneurship programming partnerships and models. 

Quinsea McKenna

Quinsea is the founder of FUNDJA, an upcoming crowdfunding website that will help young entrepreneurs access funding for their ventures. The idea, and accompanying video, earned Quinsea the top prize at the 2013 Make Your Pitch contesta program run by the Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Employment and Ontario Centres of Excellence

Venue and accommodations

University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, 125 St. Patrick Street, Stratford, ON
Tel: 519-888-4880
Venue website
Parking on-site: free

The Parlour Historic Inn & Suite, 100 Wellington Street, Stratford, ON
Tel: 519-271-2772
Hotel website
$119 per night single/double occupancy