On Wednesday, September 25th, we’re excited to bring Ladies Who Launch back to Toronto in partnership with Shopify and kindly sponsored by RBC Ventures for an evening of community, education, and inspiration as we celebrate tenacious women in business!
This will be an energetic and dynamic gathering of 300+ women in business from the Canadian community. We hope you can join us.
The goal is to help women-led businesses of all sizes and conceptual stages come together to collaborate, connect, strengthen their livelihoods, and discuss topics that are pertinent to their work.
Through meaningful entrepreneurial sessions on topics such as building and nurturing your brand as well as business and financing strategies, we'll offer practical tips and tricks that attendees can take home and implement immediately!
A survivor of two civil wars, Zahra immigrated to Canada with her three small children 18 years ago. She had no higher education or connections to the business community, but her entrepreneurial spirit quickly led her to start her first company Foundry Communications, an internationally recognized Canadian creative powerhouse.
Zahra is currently the co-Founder of her second company, the startup Skillit. She also consults with some of Canada’s top organizations on strategy and communications.
As a speaker, Zahra has spoken to audiences throughout the world, inspiring leading institutions such as The Royal Bank of Canada, Ernst & Young, Great West Life, and more.
Co-Founder and CEO at Willful
Erin is an entrepreneur, speaker, startup advisor, and former technology journalist. She is the co-founder and CEO at Willful, an online estate planning platform that makes it easy for Canadians to create a will in less than 20 minutes.
At Willful she’s responsible for driving the company’s mission to make it easier for Canadians to prepare for and deal with death in a digital age.
Erin is a frequent speaker with Speakers’ Spotlight, and has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Forbes, and CNN. She is a board member at Save the Children Canada, and a member of the #Tech4SickKids advisory council for SickKids.
She was named one of Marketing Magazine's top 30 Under 30 marketers, and her claim to fame is being retweeted by Oprah - twice.
CEO, Nextdoor and Co-Founder, Ladies Who Launch
Sarah is Chief Executive Officer of Nextdoor, the world’s largest private social network for neighborhoods and Co-Founder of Ladies Who Launch.
Prior to Nextdoor, Sarah served as Chief Financial Officer at Square. Under Sarah’s leadership, the company launched its initial public offering in 2015 and added $30Bn in market cap.
Before her tenure at Square, Sarah served as Senior Vice President of Finance & Strategy at Salesforce. Sarah also held executive roles at Goldman Sachs, as well as leadership positions at McKinsey in both London and South Africa. Sarah sits on the boards of Walmart and Slack, and is currently the Board Vice-Chair of Spark, a nonprofit serving at-risk middle school students through mentorship.
Sarah is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Finance Leaders Fellowship Program, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and co-founder of Ladies Who Launch, a network that mentors and inspires women entrepreneurs and business owners.
Sarah grew up in Northern Ireland and earned her MEng in Metallurgy, Economics, and Management from the University of Oxford and her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where she graduated as an Arjay Miller scholar.
Founder & CEO, Knix
Joanna Griffiths is the Founder and CEO of knix and knixteen, a brand that is reinventing intimates for real life.
Since launching the company in 2013, Joanna has built knix into a global leader in the intimates’ category while building a community of women who are passionately taking on life by breaking down the taboos and boundaries that get in their way.
A knix item is now sold every 10 seconds, and the company has shipped over half million orders in the last twelve months alone.
As an award-winning entrepreneur and a speaker on early-stage startups, technology and social impact, Sarah is currently on a mission to reinvent the future of work and learning.
Co-founding Skillit with Zahra Al-Harazi, the platform is targeting the $300 billion global skill-sharing & self-development market by helping today’s generation access essential-skills for a better life. From learning to code to changing a tire, people can learn these skills with live in-person and virtual experiences created by skilled experts.
Sarah is a fierce advocate of the Canadian startup ecosystem, acting as a consultant with Google for Startups in Canada and as a previous leader for the JOLT Accelerator with the MaRS Discovery District, and the Impact Entrepreneurship Group. As a woman and entrepreneur she’s honoured to be part of the small but growing pool of Canadian female founders in tech.
Sarah previously co-founded Kumarii.com, and was an early member of the Google Cloud Canada team. She was recognized as a Top 30 under 30 in Canada, and has lived in Hong Kong and San Francisco and graduated from the Schulich School of Business
The accidental entrepreneur, Mullins came from a sports marketing background, supporting Olympic and Stanley Cup events across Canada.
While on maternity leave, Mullins invented SleepBelt® and Joeyband®, after experiencing a newborn drop at home.
She recognized that nothing in market supported safe skin-to-skin, simply and easily. Within 5 weeks of launching and patenting the product suite, she had an endorsement from La Leche League International, and the first clinical request.
The products are now used worldwide, in hospitals (Labour & Delivery, the Operating Room, and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), and at home, supported by efficacy data from institutions such as Yale New Haven Health, and University of Colorado.
Shadi is the Founder of Ownr, a platform that offers a simple and convenient way to register or incorporate, build a brand, as well as other tools to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.
Prior to joining RBC Ventures in 2017, Shadi worked as the Director of Digital Transformation with RBC’s Personal & Commercial Banking where she was responsible for the strategy development of a transformation to engage clients and prospects through data insights. Shadi began her career at IBM, where she spent five years in a pricing and sales capacity. She is a graduate of Western University, earned a Master of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management, and has completed the Angel Academy program through Female Funders.
Founder & CEO, BroadbandTV (BBTV)
Shahrzad Rafati is the Founder and CEO of BroadbandTV (BBTV), a media-tech company that is advancing the world through the creation, distribution, management, and monetization of content.
Shahrzad actively pursues ways to encourage social change and is a champion for equality in all forms. She is passionate about job creation, education, and advancing opportunities for women, girls, and refugees. In September 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed her to represent Canada on the G20 Business Women Leader’s task force, a global initiative to drive actionable, measurable, and results-driven solutions to impact women’s economic empowerment.
Head of Communications, Clearbanc
Amie is Head of Communications for Clearbanc, the fastest, most affordable way for founders to fund their business.
Prior to joining Clearbanc, Amie was Vice President at Rsquared Communication (acquired by Archetype), where she oversaw PR strategy and helped drive hypergrowth on a wide range of clients including Slack, Mailchimp, Zapier, InVision, and Trello.
Director of Product & Offline Marketing, Shopify
Arati Sharma is the Director of Product Marketing at Shopify, where she leads go to market strategy and campaigns for Shopify's products to a global audience of thriving entrepreneurs. Previously, Arati led Offline, Experiential, and Community Marketing for Shopify, starting the company's annual conference, Shopify Unite.
She joined the Shopify rocketship in August 2013, through the acquisition of Jet Cooper where she was leading operations, culture, and strategic projects.
Arati is an active angel investor focused on supporting Canadian-based, women-led companies. When she’s not talking product or mentoring early-stage startups, you can find her trying to replicate new recipes she's discovered on her travels."
Co-Founder & COO, Borrowell
Eva is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Borrowell, a fintech company that helps people make great decisions about credit. Borrowell is one of Canada’s largest fintech companies, with more than a million members, and offers free credit score and report monitoring, an automated credit coach tools and AI-driven financial product recommendations.
Eva was named one of the Standout 35 on the global Women in FinTech Powerlist, and is a two-time finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year. She was named one of 20 tech start-up founders to follow by Twitter Canada and serves on the advisory board of the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Eva holds degrees from Queen’s and Harvard University. She enjoys cooking and exploring Toronto with her husband and two kids.
Co- Founder and Creative Director, Kotn
Mackenzie is the Co-Founder & Creative Director of Kotn, a Toronto-based brand of ethically made clothing. Mackenzie oversees all brand outputs at the company including product design, store design, content and brand marketing.
She is a recipient of Forbes 30 under 30, Bay Street Bull 30 under 30, Hennessy VSOP Privilege Award, and the CAFA H&M Sustainability Award.
Founded in 2015 by friends Mackenzie Yeates, Rami Helali, and Benjamin Sehl, Kotn uses direct-trade practices, sourcing their raw cotton straight from Egyptian Cotton farmers in the Nile River Delta. By working directly with responsibly run yarn mills, dye houses, and cut-and-sew facilities, Kotn ensures fair wages and treatment throughout their supply chain, better prices for their customers, and 100% transparency from farm to hanger.
Kotn has full time brick-and-mortar stores in Toronto and Vancouver with a store opening in Montreal this Fall.
Public speaker, advisor, mentor, coach and realtor
Despina spent 20 years in the digital design space, co-founding companies, winning awards, and killing it as creative director. In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg’s book inspired her to co-found an organization called Lean In Canada. A strong proponent of empowering women,
Despina’s passion for providing networking opportunities, building communities and empowering women to be financially independent has led her to become a public speaker, advisor, mentor, coach and realtor.
Despina has been featured on CBC Radio, the National Post, Sun News Network, Livabl and in Flare Magazine discussing issues that are pertinent to women.
17:10 - 17.30pm
Check in and grab a seat
A warm welcome from Ladies Who Launch
17:35 - 18:05
Opening Fireside Chat with Shahrzad Rafati - Founder & CEO Broadband TV Corp
18:05 - 18:35
Entrepreneurial Panel Discussion:
A Passion for Business: Building and Nurturing Your Brand
18:35 - 19:05
Entrepreneurial Panel Discussion
A New Breed of Financing: Business and Financing Strategies for Founders
19:05 - 19:35
Closing Fireside Chat with Sarah Friar and Joanna Griffiths, Founder & CEO Knix
19:35 - 20:30 - Mix & Mingle
Enjoy bubbles and bites with other Toronto based women entrepreneurs!