Guest Speakers

Takara Small
Tech Expert | Journalist | Podcaster

The multi-talented Takara Small helps audiences understand the technology reshaping our world. From AI and advanced robotics, to data and digital health, she offers a glimpse into the future balanced with what organizations can do today to drive growth. Her work as a journalist, podcaster, and consultant has taken her across the globe.

Small is a technology columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, where she discusses the latest in tech trends and news. She was the host of the Globe and Mail’s podcast I’ll Go First, which was Canada’s #1 tech podcast in 2018, and a CBC investigative podcast series called A Death in Cryptoland, about the rise and fall of a failed cryptocurrency exchange. Small is also a tech contributor for CBC’s Canada Tonight, BBC’s World News Service, and etalk, and her writing has appeared in several publications including Fortune, Canadian Business, and Chatelaine.

A long-time advocate for equality and access to technology, Small is also the founder of VentureKids Canada. This award-winning non-profit provides supplies and support in the form of entrepreneurship and coding classes to young people living in low-income or underserved communities.

As a collaborator with brands, Small has produced original work, competitive analysis, and market research. For her work, she’s received multiple awards and accolades including being named among Canada’s Most Powerful Women, a Young Leader of America, and an Asian Pacific Foundation of Canada Fellow.

Ilona Dougherty
Leading Expert on Millennials and Generation Z | Social Entrepreneur

For businesses, organizations, and governments striving to succeed in the innovation economy, and anyone who hopes for a bright future, Ilona Dougherty’s perspective is what you have been waiting for.

Ilona Dougherty is an award-winning social innovator and a regular commentator in the Canadian media who helps business, civil society and government understand how to tap into the unique abilities of young people.

Ilona is the Co-creator and Managing Director of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo. She has extensive leadership and governance experience, having co-founded and led several organizations including, at the age of 23 co-founding Apathy is Boring, a Canadian non-partisan social enterprise that educates youth about democracy and encourages them to vote.

Named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network in 2015, Ilona was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, received a Global Ashoka Fellowship in 2009 and a Yukon Women’s Award at the age of 19.

Stephen Downes
Canadian Philosopher | Commentator

Stephen Downes works with the Digital Technologies Research Centre at the National Research Council of Canada specializing in new instructional media and personal learning technology. His degrees are in Philosophy, specializing in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. He has taught for the University of Alberta, Athabasca University, Grand Prairie Regional College and Assiniboine Community College.

His background includes expertise in journalism and media, both as a prominent blogger and as founder of the Moncton Free Press online news cooperative.  He is one of the originators of the first Massive Open Online Course, has published frequently about online and networked learning, has authored learning management and content syndication software, and is the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.

Through a thirty-five year career Downes has contributed pioneering work in the fields of online learning games, learning objects and metadata, podcasting, and open educational resources. Recent projects include: gRSShopper, a personal learning environment; E-Learning 3.0, a course on new e-learning technologies; research and development in the use of distributed ledger technology in learning applications; and research on ethics, analytics and the duty of care. Downes is a member of NRC’s Research Ethics Board. He is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken in three dozen countries on six continents.

Matt Sigelman
CEO, EMSI Burning Glass Technologies

Sir John Daniel
Open and Distance Learning

Sir John Daniel was educated at Christ’s Hospital and pursued his full-time university studies in Metallurgy at the universities of Oxford and Paris. Later he demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning by taking 25 years to complete a part-time Master’s degree in Educational Technology at Concordia University. The internship for that programme, which took him to the UK Open University in 1972, was a life-changing experience. He saw the future of higher education and wanted to be part of it.

This quest took him on an international odyssey with appointments at the École Polytechnique, Université de Montréal (professeur assistant/agrégé, 1969-73); Télé-université, Université du Québec (Directeur des Études, 1973-77); Athabasca University (Vice-President for Learning Services, 1978-80); Concordia University (Vice-Rector, Academic, 1980-84); Laurentian University (President/Recteur, 1984-90); The Open University (Vice-Chancellor, 1990-2001); UNESCO (Assistant Director-General for Education, 2001-04); and the Commonwealth of Learning (President, 2004-12).

His non-executive appointments have included the presidencies of the International Council for Open and Distance Education, the Canadian Association for Distance Education and the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. He served as Vice-President of the International Baccalaureate Organisation in the 1990s and later as chair of the UWC (United World Colleges) International Board (2013-18).

Currently, he is Chancellor of the Acsenda School of Management (Vancouver).

Sir John’s 400 publications, on topics that range from Metallurgy and Chemistry to Education and Distance Learning, include his books Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media: Technology Strategies for Higher Education (Kogan Page, 1996) and Mega-Schools, Technology and Teachers: Achieving Education for All (Routledge, 2010).

Sir John is an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford University (1990), the College of Preceptors (1997) and the Commonwealth of Learning (2002). He won the Symons Medal of the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2008 and his 32 honorary degrees are from universities in 17 countries.

The three countries where he has lived and worked have each recognised his contributions with national honours: France – Ordre des Palmes Académiques: Chevalier ‘pour services rendus à la culture française en Ontario’ (1986); Officier : ‘pour services rendus à la culture française au Royaume-Uni’ (1991); United Kingdom – Knight Bachelor ‘for services to higher education’ (1994); Canada – Officer of the Order of Canada ‘for his advancement of open learning and distance education in Canada and around the world’ (2013).

Stephen Murgatroyd
Murgatroyd Communications and Consulting Inc.

Stephen Murgatroyd, Ph.D. is Chief Innovation Officer for Contact North | Contact Nord. A former Dean of the Faculty of Business at Athabasca University and now an Adjunct Professor at both the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta, Stephen teaches and writes about the futures of education and other futures focused topics. He is a frequent keynote presenter, consultant, and writer.

Nadia Naffi Ph.D.
Chair in Educational Leadership in Innovative Pedagogical Practices in Digital Contexts | Université Laval

Nadia Naffi, Ph.D.  is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology  at the Faculty of Education at Laval University and holder of the Chair in Educational Leadership (CLE) in Innovative Pedagogical Practices in Digital Contexts – National Bank.  She is also co-responsible of the Education and Empowerment axis of the International Observatory on the Societal Impact of AI and Digital Technology (OBVIA).  Nadia holds a doctorate in education (educational technology) and a master’s degree in educational technology from Concordia University.

She has taught online, face-to-face  and HyFlex courses in the areas of digital media, instructional design, human performance technology (HPT), distance education, social technologies and the socio-cultural aspects of learning, consulting in EdTech, and qualitative research methods at Ontario Tech University and Concordia University. She currently teaches core graduate courses in educational technology at Laval University

Nadia has received numerous awards, namely the Governor General’s Gold Medal of Canada – Individual and Society 2018 for the excellence of her doctoral thesis and has presented at high-profile events such as at the SSHRC Impact Awards at Rideau Hall, before the Governor General of Canada. She is also the recipient of the SALTISE 2019 Best Practices & Pedagogical Innovators Award.

The Chair in Educational Leadership she holds aims to:

  • Anchor training in the reality of learning in the digital age and artificial intelligence.
  • Foster a critical, responsible, ethical, sustainable, and equitable approach to digital and AI in education and training in the workplace.
  • Explore digital agency as an essential skill to develop for lifelong learning, collaboration in the digital age, and countering misinformation in any context.
  • Equip future educational technology experts to meet the training needs of the future of work for a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, cross-sector, multi-generational, and global workforce in the digital and AI era.
  • Contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of educational technology.
  • Fill gaps in the scientific literature regarding the training of experts in the field of educational technology.

Naffi is affiliated with IID, OBVIA, CRIEVAT, CRIRES, GRIIPTIC and EILAB

Bryan Alexander
Futurist | Educator | Speaker | Writer

Bryan Alexander is an awardwinning, internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher, working in the field of higher education’s future.

He completed his English language and literature PhD at the University of Michigan in 1997, with a dissertation on doppelgangers in Romantic-era fiction and poetry.

Then Bryan taught literature, writing, multimedia, and information technology studies at Centenary College of Louisiana.  There he also pioneered multi-campus interdisciplinary classes, while organizing an information literacy initiative.

From 2002 to 2014 Bryan worked with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), a non-profit working to help small colleges and universities best integrate digital technologies.  With NITLE he held several roles, including co-director of a regional education and technology center, director of emerging technologies, and senior fellow.  Over those years Bryan helped develop and support the nonprofit, grew peer networks, consulted, and conducted a sustained research agenda.  In 2013 Bryan launched a business, Bryan Alexander Consulting, LLC.  Through BAC he consults throughout higher education in the United States and abroad.

Bryan speaks widely and publishes frequently, with articles appearing in venues including The Atlantic Monthly, Inside Higher Ed.  He has been interviewed by and featured in the Washington PostMSNBCThe Wall Street JournalUS News and World ReportNational Public Radio (20172020202020202020), the Chronicle of Higher Education (20162020), the Atlantic MonthlyReutersTimes Higher Educationthe National Association of College and University Business OfficersPew ResearchCampus TechnologyThe HustleMinnesota Public RadioUSA Today, and the Connected Learning Alliance.

He recently published Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education for Johns Hopkins University Press (January 2020), which won an Association of Professional Futurists award.  He is currently working on Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Age of Climate Crisis (2022).  His two other recent books are Gearing Up For Learning Beyond K-12 and The New Digital Storytelling (second edition).

Bryan is currently a senior scholar at Georgetown University and teaches graduate seminars in their Learning, Design, and Technology program.

Andrew C. Newman

Andrew Newman is currently the Office Managing Partner for KPMG in Ottawa, which serves entities in the public, technology and healthcare sectors, as well as private companies and family businesses.

For 10 years, Andrew served as the National Leader of KPMG’s Canadian Education Practice serving universities, colleges and schools, and as KPMG Canada’s representative to KPMG’s Global Centre of Excellence for Education.  In this leadership role, Andrew worked with over 25 Canadian universities, colleges and school and many national education industry associations. Andrew was a common, featured speaker at numerous education conferences and strategic retreats during his tenure.

Andrew also served as a Board member and Vice-Chair of the Public Sector Accounting Board of Canada for a record 12 years.  The Board issues accounting standards used by governments and government organizations, including education institutions.

Andrew is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario in recognition of his outstanding service in Canadian education and to the public sector.


Kenneth Chapman
VP of Learning Innovation Advocacy

Kenneth is responsible for D2L’s advisory board program, which involves working with top executives, administrators, and educational leaders across the company’s customer base. He is also responsible for analyst and thought leader relations, acting as an advisor to D2L’s senior executives and product leadership group on behalf of the institutions D2L serves.

Deeply passionate about the connection between technology and learning, Kenneth strives to identify how the changing edtech landscape can help educators transform student outcomes. He joined the original D2L team back in 2003, and has since played a major role in shaping customer support, product management, product design, and market strategy.

Kenneth graduated with distinction from the University of Guelph, holding an Honours Co-op Bachelors in Mathematics & Statistics and Computer Science. He has also subsequently achieved certifications in both product management and project management disciplines.