Hira works in the Digital Operations department at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as a Usability Specialist. Her work involves user experience (UX) research for various digital products offered by the CBC. She also teaches User Experience Design for University of Waterloo's Global Business and Digital Arts program. Her areas of interest include wearable technology, human computer interaction and digital cultures.
Melinda completed her Fine Arts Undergraduate Degree at the University of Waterloo, Recognizing the growing demand for creativity in the tech industry, she completed the Master of Digital Experience Innovation, UW Stratford. Working as a Product Designer for Desire2Learn, Melinda actively infuses a strategic, artistic, and innovative approach to designs that effectively support user goals.
Abram is a rock climber, a music writer, and a UX Architect. His passion in shaping human behavior comes from his background in Social Neuroscience and his fascination with the mechanisms around human experience. He is a recent graduate of the MDEI program at the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus and recently started at Ariad Communications in Toronto.
As much as Karin is enamored with technology, she wants you to understand that users and their needs come first when developing a new product or service. With a background in design, communications and the performing arts, Karin is passionate about finding that perfect balance between cutting-edge technologies and users delight. For over 10 years she has designed engaging user experiences for web, mobile, video games and the classroom. Karin currently teaches UX at the University of Waterloo Stratford campus and enjoys her coffee strong and black.
Dan has been a technologist ever since he can remember. He started at a young age, by taking apart his toys and his grandfathers pocket watch just so that he could see how they worked. This passion for learning was funnelled into a career as a software developer and entrepreneur.
Over the years Dan has applied his skills and passion to various projects, always learning and never being afraid to challenge the status quo. Dan was one of the co-founders and CTO of tinyHippos Inc. which was acquired by RIM in 2011.
Dan is the host of Startup Drinks Waterloo Region as well as the highly successful MoBeers event for mobile application developers.
In his spare time (which is almost non existant) Dan is a whiskey connoisseur, a fine chef, eats a paleo diet, a proud father and married to everyone's sweet NomNomTreats baker, PJ Lowe.
Tammy is a user experience strategist and architect, with over 15 years of experience applying user-centred research and design in mobile, web, and desktop environments. Her UX-based work emerged from a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Human Computer Interaction. From there she dove into consulting, helping to spread the doctrine of user-centered design for many companies, large and small, in a wide variety of industries. She has worked in Canada, the US and even as far as Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Tammy refers to herself as a "pattern girl". She's always on the lookout for them so that she can understand how and when to apply them – either for consistency or to create a potent differential. From patterns come the overarching concepts and frameworks. From these come the bases of design models.
Currently, Tammy uses this broad base of UX practice to help start-up companies not only understand what techniques are useful in their particular context, but how to apply their own way of problem solving in a UX context. It's not just about improving the current design, but about approaching the problem space from a different perspective. This means Tammy can cover a lot of ground in the mentoring sessions – from user architecture, to experience flows, to object/action analysis, to analysis, to detailed design, to insight and user research. In particular, Tammy users her skills in balancing needs and managing trade-offs to help these emerging companies understand how to communicate these rationales and ultimately make better business decisions. All is fair game and keeps her on her toes.
At the heart of the matter, Tammy is deeply committed to understanding people as users and involving them in the challenging and stimulating work of product design.
Mark Connolly has been designing for user experience for almost two decades. The software products that he has designed include solutions for online mapping and directions, tools for the management of cloud computing systems and, currently, products for the healthcare field at Waterloo-based Karos Health. He studied fine arts at the University of Waterloo, and is pleased to have been described as "a designer with the sensibilities of an artist and the skills of an engineer". He is currently a design fellow at REAP, part of the University of Waterloo. He has taught design courses at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Mark is a co-champion of uxWaterloo, a Communitech peer-to-peer group, as well as a co-founder of Fluxible, a user experience conference held in Kitchener, Ontario.
Mike Beitz is a multimedia journalist with the The Beacon Herald, Stratford’s daily newspaper, where he has worked as a writer/photographer for nearly 20 years.
He has an Honours degree in English from Brock University, and a journalism diploma from Conestoga College.
A self-described "tech geek," he his little formal computer training but an intense interest (bordering on obsession) in technology, video games and gadgetry of all kinds.
He prefers PC over Mac, Windows over OS X and Android over iOS, but appreciates well-designed hardware and software regardless of platform.
Mike and his wife Teresa have an 11-year-old son Ethan.
For over a decade, Jenn had the pleasure of running her own business as well as working in the not-for-profit sector, before having the opportunity to join the team at Conceptual Pathways Inc. Jenn enjoys the event driven culture of the tech industry and embraces the motto "art marries technology" each day.
In addition to her "day job", Jenn also lends her voice to training videos, documentaries and TV commercials. As a proud member of the Stratford community, Jenn supports many of the local organizations as a dedicated volunteer.
In her spare time this self-professed "master of organization" enjoys making lists.
George Kleopa is a Co-Founder of Conceptual Pathways Inc. a software and application development company in Stratford Ontario.
As a career entrepreneur, George and the rest of the team at Conceptual Pathways Inc. are responsible for building BuildCircle.com, a bid and tender management system for the Construction industry and Vinesource.com, a traceability and authentication system for the wine industry.
His experience has allowed opportunities to work, advise and invest in a wide array of industries and sectors from start-up to enterprise bridging the digital divide.
As a career entrepreneur and founding member of a truly unique organization and software development firm, Conceptual Pathways Inc., I am continuously driven to build our business and cultural values in a way that empowers talented technologists to bring their innovative solutions to life, working together to build a variety of successful businesses.
With experience and education focused on cross discipline collaboration, I enjoy applying my expertise to bridge the gap between consumer, designers and software engineers.
I'm a life-long software developer and Stratford native. In the past, I built highly-configurable user interfaces for network management, rich mathematics editors (with a too-intense focus on linebreaking), and lots of other server-side systems. I managed many of BlackBerry’s UI developers through BB6, 7 and the early days of BB10. Outside work life, I enjoy Stratford's fine restaurants and too many hobbies (still with a focus on software). I recently joined Powernoodle to head their product development organization. It's great to contribute directly to Stratford's tech community and take an active role in the exciting opportunities here.
Vice President, Client Services - Accelerator Centre
As Vice President, Client Services, Andrew Jackson leads the educational curriculum for Clients at the Accelerator Centre. In addition, Andrew manages the celebrated in-house mentorship program, an essential component of the Accelerator Program. As clients seek to grow their business knowledge and develop essential skills, Andrew connects them with the resources necessary for their business to achieve long term success.
Executive Director - University of Waterloo Stratford Campus
Ginny Dybenko comes to the role of Executive Director of the new Centre for Digital Media at the Stratford Campus of the University of Waterloo following five years as the Dean of the Wilfrid Laurier School of Business & Economics and over 30 years of corporate experience.
Her new role focuses on setting future direction for the University of Waterloo in Digital Media – an area critical to the University and to Canada.
Ginny previous held a number of senior executive roles in both Bell Canada and a high tech startup – including a five year period as President and CEO of Bell Advanced Communications. In that role she contributed to Bell Canada’s pursuit of Canada’s first broadband initiative, Canada’s Information Highway, CA*net; the formation of a Professional Services business unit within Bell Canada and the pioneering of Bell’s first successful Electronic Commerce service offering.
Ginny has been a champion for the promotion of technical programs for youth, chairing Youth in Motion Educational Foundation, notable for its Top 20 Under 20TM scholarship competition and is currently a member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Perimeter Institute Foundation and the Waterloo North Hydro Boards.
Ginny is one of the founding members of the Canadian Board Diversity Council – Women’s Executive Network. Ginny is also President and Founder of the Waterloo Chapter of the International Women’s Forum and was recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.
Ron graduated from the University of Toronto where he studied Commerce and Finance and Urban Studies. He received a Diploma in Municipal Administration from the Institute of Local Government at Queen's University. Ron started his career with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario as a research associate. He then worked for the Town of Kincardine for twelve years, first as its Treasurer and then as its Clerk-Administrator.
In 1993, Ron commenced employment with the City of Stratford as the Clerk-Administrator and, in 1998, became the Chief Administrative Officer. He has the distinction of celebrating 27 years as a chief administrative Officer in Ontario, serving in just two municipalities.
Previously, Ron was an instructor at Georgian College where he taught both the Municipal Administration Program and the advanced course on Municipal Finance. As well, Ron is a Past President of the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario and a recipient of their prestige award in 2004. He is past co-chair of the Municipal Health and Safety Association of Ontario, is a Past-President of the Ontario Municipal Administrators' Association and currently serves as Immediate Past President of the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators. Ron is also an alumnus of the Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference of 2000 and served on the National Executive Committee for the 2012 Conference. He is also a member of the International City Managers Association.
In the community, he has been an active Rotarian for over 30 years and is a past president of the Rotary Club of Stratford, Ontario. He has been awarded two Paul Harris Fellowships and, most recently, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his achievements in local government and the community. Ron is currently serving as co-chair of the Perth Huron 2013 United Way Campaign and serves on the Board for the Huron Perth Centre for Children and Youth.
Ron resides in Stratford with his daughter, Hannah.