Ilya Brotzky is the CEO and founder of VanHack. After graduating from Cornell University with a Degree in Applied Economics and Management, Ilya spent 4 years working in the Brazilian startup scene where he joined the country’s most successful early stage accelerator. It was there he discovered a large community of talented software engineers who were interested in relocating to Canada, but didn’t always have the soft skills needed to work abroad. Upon moving back to Vancouver, he founded VanHack as a way of empowering people who wanted to have more out of life and live in Canada. VanHack now has over 170,000 members from 73 countries and has helped over 200 companies hire and relocate 446 developers across Canada and Europe. Ilya is fluent in Russian, Portuguese and English.
Paul Romani is the co-founder and director of Pear Tree Elementary, a progressive K-7 elementary school in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver, and the only school to teach children through theme and project-based learning, rather than through separate school subjects. Originally from the UK, Paul lived in Spain and Germany before moving to Vancouver. Through Pear Tree, Paul is equipping Vancouver children with the practical tools and knowledge they need to be happy and successful and, ultimately, to be their best selves: academically, socio-emotionally and physically. He also hopes to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Jen Ray, Director & Owner of Dancinema. Dancinema is a Canadian and American-based company founded in Vancouver that fuses the arts and industries of Dance & Film through productions, education and events. Next up is the 3rd annual Cascadia Dance & Cinema Festival, happening June 2 and 3 in Vancouver.
Diana Pederson is the Founder and CEO of Dragonfly MedTech, an early stage startup company in Vancouver who is building clinic software to enable medical doctors to provide a treatment solution for concussions. She is originally from Seattle where she worked for Microsoft for 13 years. She moved to Vancouver in 2001 to work for the doctor who developed this medical approach.
Melanie Ewan is Managing Partner at local startup advisory firm, Volition, where she oversees operations and communications, in addition to working with entrepreneurs on funding research and grant writing projects. As COO and Head of Research at Women in Tech World, a national grassroots organization based out of Vancouver. Melanie took to the road for two months this past fall, to provide a platform for Canadian women in tech, and their allies and advocates, to share their experiences and ideas for creating more inclusive and diverse tech communities nationwide. When Melanie isn’t working with clients, colleagues and community members, she can be found traveling.
Diane Currie Sam is an award-winning communications strategist and a sales & marketing expert. She is a master storyteller who has spoken on stages internationally and worked with hundreds of clients to initiate massive growth in their businesses. She has helped clients secure millions of dollars in funding and sales contracts, and initiate change through creating story-based speeches, webinars and investment pitches. Diane is the founder/CEO of “Be a Better Story” business services.
Bob Wang is the founder and CEO of Legacy Advantage. He holds a CPA, CA and had cut his teeth at one of the Big 4 accounting firms. Bob is passionate about entrepreneurship. Currently, he is on a mission to revolutionize the bookkeeping industry. He is married to Anne, and has a super energetic daughter, Elizabeth, who is 16 months old.
JoAnne Marlow is an educator/trainer, public speaker, professional life coach, and best selling published author of over 15 books and articles. JoAnne is a thought-leader in creating highly productivity multi-generational teams. She’s an advisor to upper management and their teams by assessing the issues within the culture and efficiency of the organization and assisting in the implementation of appropriate solutions and systems.