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Managing Director & Head,
Global Markets, CIBC
Christian Exshaw is responsible for capital markets sales, trading, research and related activities globally across asset classes. He is a member of CIBC’s Operating Committee and the Capital Markets Management Committee. Mr. Exshaw joined CIBC in 2008 and previously led the bank’s Capital Markets Trading business. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the TMX Group and is a member of the Children’s Aid Foundation’s fundraising committee. From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Exshaw acted as Chair of the Capital Markets United Way Campaign.
Co-founder & MD, SEED AI
Johan is a builder. He started his career in institutional asset management at BlackRock, before moving to the Caisse de dépôt et placements du Québec (CDPQ). Fascinated by the quantitative aspects of finance, he switched his career towards artificial intelligence and joined CDPQ’s R&D team in AI.
More recently, anxious about the challenges linked to the democratization of artificial intelligence, he co-founded SEED AI with the aim of delivering the added value of AI to organizations of all sizes and maturities. Since then, he has helped organizations such as the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and the Bank of Canada in their transformation. Johan is also a teacher at the Executive Education center of HEC Montreal, where he helps organizations to make better usage of their data to generate value.
Johan is also invested in multiple charitable causes. He has built 2 international case competitions offering $110,000 of cash prizes annually, 2 non-for-profits to offer Pro Bono expertise in data science and various fields, and is implicated with the School for AI in Healthcare of the CHUM, the Foundation for the Children Hospital of Montreal and McGill University.
Senior Director, Emerging Opportunities
Melanie Thomas is the Senior Director of Emerging Opportunities at the Community Foundations of Canada, the national network to 191 community foundations across the country. Melanie has worked in both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She is a trained lawyer and has worked on Toronto’s Bay Street at Scotiabank and Goodmans LLP and once upon a time, was a producer of Saskatchewan’s top news and sports radio talk shows. In the not-for-profit sector, Melanie has been in the courtrooms of Cambodia and the brothels of India to fight trafficking and exploitation of underage girls. Melanie also led a not-for-profit where she taught entrepreneurship and consulted start-up companies in Russia and Moldova. Currently, at Community Foundations of Canada, Melanie finds, develops and scales new initiatives. To accomplish this, she creates partnerships with government, not-for-profits, philanthropy and corporations specifically in the areas of social finance, real estate and technology.
Founder, Thank You India
Tazim Lal is a former Interior Designer, who sought to do more than just design. In 2006, a trip to India inspired her when she saw poverty through children’s eyes. Tazim then started her second business, Thank You India, a privately-owned social enterprise. With Tazim’s trained eye for design, along with regular visits to villages and cities to collaborate with artisans and manufacturers, Thank You India is able to ensure an exclusive selection of fashion-forward pieces which reflect the rich and varied cultural heritage of India. Her business is driven to impact women, children and education through ethical and sustainable fashions sold online and through like-minded retailers. Each piece purchased by a customer is changing the lives of those who handcraft the beautiful products as well as those who are the recipients of the charitable contributions.
Thomas joined EY’s Digital, Data & Analytics team in January 2019 after completing an internship in summer 2018. As a consultant, Thomas is responsible for helping companies solve their most pressing business problems by leveraging analytics, data visualization and machine learning. Prior to working at EY Thomas spent a year working in treasury operations at State Street. He also has additional work experience in Chile and Spain.
In 2016, Thomas founded Déjeun’aide, a unique breakfast mentorship event where students and young professionals can meet business and community leaders. Thomas assembled, and now leads with his co-president, a young team of like-minded individuals to help organize the event and help create the next generation of leaders in Montreal. In it’s first 4 editions, Déjeun’aide has raised over $200,000 for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation.
In his spare time, Thomas likes to get involved socially by organizing Déjeun’aide, events for the McGill Young Alumni, and playing pool at his favourite bar, Fitzroy. He also plays many sports like golf, squash, swimming, and skiing. His favourite podcast is On Purpose by Jay Shetty.
Thomas graduated from the Joint Honours Economics and Finance program at McGill University (BA ’16) and recently from the Master of Science in Business Intelligence at HEC Montreal (MSc ’19). He also passed the level 1 exam from the CFA program.
JOHN PAUL DE SILVA
Founder, Social Focus Consulting
At the young age of 12, John Paul de Silva founded his first business selling baseball cards. He is now the Founder and Managing Director of Social Focus Consulting which develops outstandingly innovative fundraising strategies for non profit organizations; thanks to its business student consultants and their MBA mentors. Social Focus exists because John Paul grew up in areas stricken with social issues, he understands the frustration of students who need experience to get jobs, and non profit organizations need differentiation to raise funds.
Top 25 Under 25 & Top 30 Under 30
Denise is a porpoise enthusiast, mediocre guitarist and eager environmentalist from Vancouver, BC. Currently completing a double major in Economics and Environmental Science at the University of Toronto, she has worked extensively in the green sector despite only being 19 years of age. She co-founded Our Poles Our Planet, a national campaign with conferences taking place in four cities across Canada, dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of the polar regions after venturing to the Arctic herself. She was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 Environmentalists in 2017, and recently, a 2018 Top 30 Under 30 Environmental Educator.