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The BizBash 250: Introducing 2021's Must-Know Event Pros in Canada

From notable up-and-comers to industry powerhouses, get to know Canada’s most influential event and meeting professionals of 2021.

The BizBash 250, Canada's Most Influential Event Professionals
From left: Candice Chan and Alison Slight of Candice & Alison Events Group, and Treasa Leigh Brown of Leigh Event Group.
From left, photos by: Renata Kaveh; Xandrae

In its third edition, this year’s feature focuses on the meeting and event industry’s trailblazers, trendsetters and rising stars. The influential executives, board members and department heads featured helm some of the nation’s top events (think massive trade shows, philanthropic galas, sold-out conferences, big corporate bashes, pop-culture conventions and festivals, live music productions, sporting events, branded experiences and multimillion-dollar weddings—just to scratch the surface), while others continue to innovate with steal-worthy food and beverage concepts, state-of-the-art event technology, cutting-edge design, out-of-the-box entertainment and noteworthy strategies that benefit the entire industry. 

In a diverse and growing profession that’s chock-full of list-worthy creatives, it’s important to note that the industry’s talents are not restricted to these pages—rather, this annual compilation is meant to offer new opportunities to connect with key players to share ideas, inspiration and guidance for future events. 

Scroll through the list or jump to the section using the links below. 
Audiovisual & Lighting Design
Corporate Producers & Strategists
Destination Marketing & Management Organizations
Event Industry Leadership
Event Management & Consulting
Event Planners, Designers & Producers
Event Technology
Trade Show Management

These top innovators continue to raise the bar for audiovisual and lighting at events across the nation.

Adrian Scott, Go2 Productions, President & Executive Creative Director, Vancouver
Anthony Vade, FMAV, Experience Architect, Toronto
Bill Brown, FMAV, President & CEO, Mississauga
Danny Dobriansky, AV-CANADA, Co-owner, Mississauga
David Campbell, Freeman Audio Visual Canada, Executive VP & COO, Vancouver
Frank Gerstein, Westbury National Show Systems, Partner & Managing Director
Gene Hondzio, AV-CANADA, VP Operations & Co-owner, Mississauga
Jordan Benson, EPiQVision Inc., Director, Toronto
Phil Bergmann, Q Productions, Founder & Chief Managing Director, Toronto
Steve Matthews, Innovation Lighting, Managing Director, Surrey
Terry Holdershaw, Scotia Events Inc., Director, Cambridge

These chefs and decision-makers know how to please any eventgoer with their palatable plates.

Adrian Niman, The Food Dudes, Founder & Executive Chef, Toronto
Brett Turner, Cocktails & Canapes, Managing Partner, Vancouver
Brian Cheng, The Edible Story, Co-founder, Toronto
Cary Silber, Encore Catering, President, Toronto
Daniel Clairet, Daniel et Daniel, Co-owner, Toronto
Debra Lykkemark, Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events, Chairwoman, Vancouver
Evan Elman, Vancouver Private Dining, Founder & CEO, Vancouver
Jennifer Jeffrey, Fork + Farm Catered Events, Owner & Event Coordinator, Calgary
Joshua Hendin, Treeline Catering, Owner, Toronto
Judy Reeves, Edge Catering, Owner, Vancouver
Lauren Mozer, Elle Cuisine, Executive Chef & Owner, Toronto
Lucas Margulis, High Bar Hospitality & Events, Founder & President, Toronto
Nicholas Waters, Toque Catering, Owner & Head Chef, Victoria
Sebastien Centner, Eatertainment Events & Catering, Founder & Creative Director, Toronto
Shannon Boudreau, The Lazy Gourmet, Director of Sales & Events, Vancouver
Todd Rutter, A Cappella Catering Co., Founder, Edmonton

From innovative internal meetings to over-the-top branded experiences, these industry professionals know how to throw a memorable bash for their respective biz (see what we did there?).

Allison Canavan, Blackberry, Director, Global Events, Ottawa
Chris Wakefield, Tim Hortons, Lead, Regional Marketing & Sponsorships, Toronto
Dave Rivers, Bell, Director, Corporate Marketing, Sponsorship & Events, Toronto
Deborah Gee, Lululemon, Experience Designer Retail Operations, Toronto
Emma Shaw, Rogers Communications, Director, Corporate Events & CSR, Toronto
Greg Barbour, Molson Coors, Senior Director, Sponsorship & Events, Toronto
James Connell, Roots Canada, Chief Ecommerce & Customer Experience Officer, Toronto
Jordana Novak, Canadian Tire, AVP, Events, Toronto
Kelly Fawcett, Telus, Director, Sponsorship Marketing, Vancouver
Khairunissa Alladina, Scotiabank, Director, Global Event Management, Toronto
Leslie Blachford, Hudson’s Bay Company, DVP, Social Media & Events, Toronto
Mariella Irivarren, BMO Financial Group, Manager, Event-Based Marketing, Toronto
Mike Bascom, Labatt Breweries of Canada, Senior Director, Marketing, Above Core, Toronto
Rachel Klar, Intuit Canada, Senior Events Marketing Manager, Mississauga
Sandra Sanderson, Sobeys, SVP, Marketing, Stellarton
Sarah Simpson, Herschel Supply Co., Senior Manager, Events, Vancouver
Sharon Howard, Crown Royal, Marketing Manager, Toronto
Stephanie Sturino, Sun Life Financial, Senior Event Planner, Toronto
Susannah Frances, Sun Life Financial, Senior Event Planner, Toronto
Tracey Alleston, Shoppers Drug Mart, Coordinator, Conferences & Events, Toronto
Vanessa Norris, Loblaw Companies, VP, Marketing Operations, Toronto
Victoria Freeman, Canada Goose, Senior Director, Marketing, Toronto

What’s a notable event without a stand-out location? These DMO and DMC leaders know what it means to be a good host.

Barrett Fisher, Tourism Whistler, CEO, Whistler
Candace Schierling, Tourism Saskatoon, Director of Business Development, Saskatoon
Cindy Ady, Tourism Calgary, President & CEO, Calgary
Joanne Burns Millar, Pacific Destination Services Inc., President, Vancouver
Matthew Coyne, Cantrav Services, President, Vancouver
Michael Crockatt, Ottawa Tourism, President & CEO, Ottawa
Royce Chwin, Tourism Vancouver, President & CEO, Calgary
Scott Beck, Tourism Toronto, President & CEO, Toronto
Tahira Endean, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, Head of Events, Vancouver
Yves Lalumière, Tourism Montreal, President & CEO, Montreal

When it’s time to get guests out of their seats, look no further than these entertainment experts.

Arthur Kerekes, uRequest Live, Founder & CEO, Toronto
Carol Priest, Carol Priest Entertainment, Founder, Toronto
Charles Khabouth, INK Entertainment, CEO & Founder, Toronto
Cory Mandell, Mandell Entertainment Group, Owner, Toronto
Jake Mandel, Teambonders, Chief Creative Officer, Toronto
Julie Danaylov, A2D2 Aerial Dance Cirque Co., Co-founder, Toronto
Kimberley King, LimeLight Group, President & Digital Event Strategist, Dartmouth
Kristina Kulikova, KulKat Entertainment, Founder & Owner, Toronto
Marc Katz, Abbey Road Entertainment, CEO, Toronto
Riley O’Connor, Live Nation Canada, Chair, Toronto
Yasmine Khalil, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, President, Montreal

Introducing the ringleaders that continue to elevate the meeting and event industry to new heights.

Andrea Boulden, Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking, Board Member, Toronto
Barry Smith, Convention Centres of Canada, Executive Director, Oakville
Bianca Kennedy, Canadian Association of Exposition Management (CAEM), President of the  Board of Directors, Montreal
Christina Northcott, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Toronto, President-Elect, Toronto
Clark Grue, Meetings Mean Business Canada, President & CEO, Calgary
Jeromy Gilchrist, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Canada West Chapter, President, Vancouver
Kate Kelly, Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP), 2020/2021 President, Calgary
Kimberly Beaune, International Live Events Association (ILEA) Toronto, President, Toronto
Mariela McIlwraith, Meeting Change, President, Vancouver
Sheila Wong, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Canada East Chapter, President, Toronto
Tania Ferlin, Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking, Board Member, Toronto
Tracy Folkes Hanson, Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), President & CEO, Toronto

As the industry’s multitaskers, these noteworthy namesakes can do it all, from production and event marketing to brand strategies and more.

Adeola Damie Fowodu, Celebrations Event Management, Owner, Lead Planner & Curator of Experiences, Toronto
Alex Bickers, Reveal Events Group, President & Creative Director, Vancouver
Amy Burstyn Fritz, Burstyn Inc., President & CEO, Toronto
Andrew Jackson, Jackson Events, President, Aurora
Arlene Schilke, Timewise Event Management Inc., CEO, Edmonton
Brent Taylor, Timewise Event Management Inc., President, Edmonton
Carly Silberstein, Redstone Agency, CEO, Toronto
Chad Brincheski, ESP Inc., Principal, Toronto
Daniel Fortin, DNL Events & Logistics, Owner, Montreal
Deborah Kerbel, Deborah L Kerbel Inc., Founder, Toronto
Dustin Westling, OneWest Event Design & Logistics, Managing Partner, Calgary
Frederica Black, Frederica Black Events, Founder, Whitby
Grail Noble, Yellow House Events Inc., Owner, Toronto
Harpreet Atwal, Executive Platforms, Event Manager, Toronto
Heather Reid, Planner Protect Inc., CEO & Founder, London
Janice Cardinale, Cardinale Creative, Founder, Toronto
Jason Katz, Atmosphere Event Communications, Founder & Creative Strategist, Montreal
Jean Francois Bouchard, Sid Lee, Co-founder & Chairman, Montreal
Joel Hock, Solutions With Impact, President, Toronto
Juliano Lissoni, MCI Group Canada, Managing Director, Toronto
Katherine McCartney, PDW Inc., Owner & Executive Producer, Vancouver
Keri Miller, e=mc2 events, Partner & Chief Creative Strategist, Calgary
Leslie Wright, Fletcher Wright Associates, President, Mississauga
Lisa Marks, Brand Alive, Owner, Calgary
Mahoganey Jones, Event Specialists, Founder & Principal Planner, Toronto
Marc Lemire, TRUE Event Management, President, Calgary
Michael Caplan, Sensix Communications & Events, Founder & Producer, Montreal
Mike Lecour, Global Experience Specialists (GES), Executive VP, Toronto
Monica Gomez, The Concierge Club, Founder & President, Toronto
Nicole Athanasopoulos, Nulink Media, Founder & Director, Toronto
Raviv Kunets, R5 Event Design, Event Architect & Creative Director, Toronto
Sarah Tammemagi, Parléview, Chief Experiential Officer, Toronto
SĂ©bastien David, SĂ©nik, President & Co-owner, Montreal
Sharon Bonner, Bright Ideas Events, Founder & CEO, Vancouver
Simone Holness-Webb, Precision Event Management, Owner & Principal Planner, Mississauga
Stephen Ing, ConferenceDirect, VP, Vancouver
Trish Knox, TK Events Inc., Owner, Oakville

From packed conferences, sporting events and festivals to nonprofit fundraisers, branded experiences and so much more, these event pros continue to set trends and raise standards for the ever-evolving industry.

Alicia Jenelle, Alicia Jenelle Events, Director of Event Management, Toronto
Alison Slight, Candice & Alison Events Group, Partner & Managing Director, Toronto
Alison Silcoff, Alison Silcoff Events, President, Montreal
Amber Moyle, Pride Toronto, Director, Sponsorship & Strategy, Toronto
Amber Cunningham, Encore Canada, Senior Producer, Toronto
Amir Sahba, Thinkingbox, CEO, Vancouver
Andrea Curtis, Vancouver Mural Festival, Interim Executive Director, Vancouver
Andryia Browne, Events with Vizability, Owner & Creative Director, Fort McMurray
Aneesa Oumarally, Toronto Caribbean Carnival, CEO, Festival Management Committee, Toronto
Anita Cotic, Toronto International Film Festival, Director, Film Office and Event Production, Toronto
Anya Moscatelli, La Chic Soirée, Founder & Creative Director, Toronto
Beth Olatunji, Beth Jacobs Weddings & Events, Founder, Toronto
Bianca Knop, Wildfire Experiential and Events, Co-founder, Vancouver
Bram Goldstein, BIG HQ, President & CEO, Toronto
Brittany Wong, BASH + FETE, Founder & Principal Planner, Vancouver
Brittnee Seely, PV Events, Event Producer & Digital Marketing Executive, Whitehorse
Candice Chan, Candice & Alison Events Group, Partner & Creative Director, Toronto
Celia Smith, Luminato Festival Toronto, CEO, Toronto
Chantal Brunet, Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada, Director, Strategic Alliances, Montreal
Chantel Megaffin, Endless Events, Principal Project Manager, Toronto
Chantelle Dalton, BC Cancer Foundation, Program Officer, Vancouver
Charlie Johnstone, Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, CEO, Toronto
Cheryl-Jade Domingo, Cava Rose, Co-founder & Creative Director, Montreal
Christopher Neary, TEDx Vancouver, Chairman, Vancouver
Christopher Jodoin, Spectra Event Group, Creative Director, Vancouver
Corey Ross, Starvox Entertainment, President & CEO, Toronto
Danielle Bourre, Canadian National Exhibition Association, Entertainment Manager, Toronto
Danielle Fleck, Canadian Cancer Society, Manager, Special Events, Vancouver
Dawne Eisenberg, Pop! Events Group, Co-owner & CEO, Toronto
Duane Vienneau, Grey Cup, Chief Grey Cup & Events Officer, Toronto
Erin McGuire, SickKids Foundation, Associate Director, Special Events, Toronto
Eryne Sarabin, Tycoon Events, Owner & Lead Event Strategist, Edmonton
Evan Babins, C2 International, Event Project Manager, Toronto
Gaëtane Verna, Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Director, Toronto
Gavin Ziv, Tennis Canada, VP, Professional Events & Managing Director, Rogers Cup Toronto, Toronto
Heather Odendaal, WNorth Conference, Co-founder & CEO, Whistler
James Cowan, MRG Events, Production Director, Delta
Jamie Timperley, Dynamic Events Inc., President, Vancouver
Jeff Payne, Major League Soccer Canada, Director, Brand Alliances, Toronto
Jeffry Roick, McNabb Roick Events, Director, Toronto
Jennifer Bassett, Bassett Events, Founder, Toronto
Jennifer James, Jennifer James Events, Event Producer, Calgary
Jessie Khaira, Jessie Khaira Events, Owner, Surrey
Jim Lawson, Woodbine Entertainment Group, CEO, Toronto
Jodi Lieff, Pop! Events Group, Co-owner & COO, Toronto
Justin Huculak, Live Nation Entertainment, Production Director, Calgary
Kalandra Roach, Kalandra Roach Events, Principal, Toronto
Katharine Chen, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, Senior Events Officer, Toronto
Kelly Thorpe, Wildfire Experiential and Events, Co-founder, Vancouver
Kelsey Butt, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Audience & Partnership Development Manager, Toronto
Kenneth Kristoffersen, Pop Kollaborative, President & Chief Strategy Officer, Calgary
Lisa Bray, Eventful Times, Owner, Sudbury
Lorne Levitt, Total Events, Owner, Montreal
Lynn Fletcher, Lynn Fletcher Weddings, President, Calgary
Marni Mckenzie, Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation, Senior Manager, Events, Toronto
Meagan Ayres, Modern Day Wife, Co-founder, Vancouver
Meagan Madill, curated by m, Founder, Toronto
Megan Wappel, Megan Wappel Designs, Owner & Designer, Toronto
Meghan Fialkoff, Modern Day Wife, Co-founder, Vancouver
Melissa Samborski, One Fine Day Event Planning & Design, Owner & Principal Planner, Toronto
Michelle Edge, Energy Disruptors, Co-founder & CCO, Calgary
Michelle Garber, Fab Fete Event Planning Boutique, Creative Director & Event Planner, Toronto
Nicole Pimentel, Cole + Co Events, Owner & Creative Director, Toronto
Richard St-Pierre, C2 Montreal, President & CEO, Montreal
Robert Wise, Calgary Stampede, Director, Agriculture & Western Events, Calgary
Robyn Kaszor, Just for Laughs, VP, Festivals, Montreal
Roxy Zapala, Art of Celebrations, Founder & Creative Director, Toronto
Ryan Paul, Golf Canada, Tournament Director, Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, Oakville
Sandy Safi, Dîner en Blanc International, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Montreal
Shannon Hosford, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Partnership, Chief Marketing Officer, Toronto
Shantel Clarke, Reservedx, Founder, Head of Organization & Talent, Toronto
Shelley Frost, Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), President & CEO, Vancouver
Shereef Shiaty, Reef Agency, CEO & Co-founder, Toronto
Soha Lavin, CountDown Events Design, Founder & Creative Director, Vancouver
Stacy Wyatt, Canadian Special Events, Founder & Creative Director; Director, Events, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Stefani Dunn, Decor & More Inc., Chief Creative Officer, Mississauga
Steve Merling, Eventure Group, CEO, Montreal
Svetlana Dvoretsky, Show One Productions, Founder, President & Producer, Toronto
Tanya Scagnol, Fifth Element Group, Creative Director, Toronto
Tiffany Pratt, Tiffany Pratt, Creative Director & Designer, Toronto
Todd Skinner, Production Canada, President, Vancouver
Treasa Leigh Brown, Leigh Event Group, Founder & Creative Director, Toronto
Zanette Zukowski, Q4, Event Manager, Toronto

These tech-savvy industry professionals are leading the way to innovation in their field.

Amilie Parent, Showcare, President, Montreal
Anthony Palermo, Connect&GO, Co-founder, Montreal
Bob Vaez, EventMobi, Founder & CEO, Toronto
Carl McCarthy, SW Event Technology, President, CEO & Partner, Kelowna
Cassy Aite, Hoppier, CEO, Ottawa
David Parent, PixMob, CEO, Montreal
Jean-Pierre Dubois, B2B/2GO, President, Montreal
Jon Luce, Freeman, Director of Event Technology, Toronto
Jorge Goncalves, Production Resource Group (PRG) Canada, General Manager, Toronto
Mark Stewart, wonderMakr, President & Chief Innovation Officer, Toronto
Rachel Stephan, Snöball Event Marketing, Owner, Snöballer-in-Chief, Montreal
Sakchin Bessette, Moment Factory, Co-founder & Executive Creative Director, Montreal
Todd Heintz, Attendease, CEO & President, Vancouver

Dream it up and these experts can surely build it for your next event.

Dwayne Virag, Defined Designs, Owner, Designer & Fabricator, Toronto
Eric Ballance, Ballance Design, CEO & President, Toronto
Gareth Brennan, Eventscape, Founder & President, Toronto
Jonathan Moneta, MakeLab Studio, Founder & Creative Director, Toronto
Josh Gree, North Display & Events, Owner, Richmond
Julia Lueck, ASTOUND Group, VP, Brand Experience & Digital, Toronto
Shaun Walker, Imagine It 3D, Owner, Mississauga

Leave it to these hospitality doyens to help host your next best fete.

Cameron Dryburgh, CN Tower, General Manager, Restaurants and Events, Toronto
Costa Antonopoulos, The Antonopoulos Group, Co-founder, Montreal
Michael Bonacini, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality, Co-founder, Toronto
Nick Di Donato, Liberty Entertainment Group, President & CEO, Toronto
Norman Mastalir, Fairmont Château Whistler, Managing Director, Whistler
Tony Antonopoulos, The Antonopoulos Group, Co-founder, Montreal

These pros create Instagram-worthy environs thanks to their own cutting-edge event rentals.

Cynthia Martyn, Plate Occasions, Founder, Toronto
Edward Haynes, EJH Events, Managing Partner, Edmonton
Kaelyn Shields, Party Rental Depot, Owner, Calgary
Kathie Barone, Southern Charm Vintage Rentals, Founder, Toronto
Malvina Pelleriti, Linen Closet, Owner, Richmond Hill
Marc De Rosa, Marquee Marc, Owner, Toronto
Neil Goodkey, Special Event Rentals, President, Edmonton
Ryan Cohen, Susan Murray International, Founder & CEO, Toronto
Scott Henuset, Modern Luxe Rentals, Co-founder, Calgary
Shannon Collins, Chair Flair Linen Rentals & Event Decor, President & Owner, Calgary
Suzanne Henuset, Modern Luxe Rentals, Co-founder, Calgary

Experts in all things trade shows, it’s safe to say these aces know their way around an exhibit booth.

Aman Gupta, Informa Canada, President, Fan Expo HQ, Toronto
Chris Laundy, Skyline Exhibits Canada, President & CMO, Delta
J. Ralph Strachan, STRONCO, Owner, Mississauga
Jason Campbell, Canadian International Auto Show, General Manager, Toronto
Linda Waddell, Toronto International Boat Show, President & Show Director, Toronto
Nasser Deeb, The Expo Hut, Founder & Exhibitions Director, Mississauga
Patrick Lukan, Global Experience Specialists (GES) Canada, SVP & General Manager, Toronto
Patti Stewart, Informa Canada, Executive VP, Toronto
Sarah Bolton, Tradex Trade & Exhibition Centre, Director of Events, Langley
Shalini Mitchell, Marketplace Events, Regional VP, Toronto

About "The BizBash 250": This annual feature is compiled by our editorial team using a variety of resources, beginning with sifting through thousands of public nominations and conducting internal research on all individuals nominated. To be eligible, nominees must be currently based in Canada. We accept nominations for both established industry experts and up-and-comers. While our features may be sponsored by standout companies, to ensure the list remains impartial, sponsors do not have the ability to review or curate any part of the list themselves. With this being a relatively new feature to BizBash's portfolio, it is certainly an art, not a science, and we are still perfecting our processes. We encourage you to subscribe to our BizBash Buzz newsletter and follow @BizBash on social media to stay informed when nominations for future BizBash lists and features go live. We welcome any feedback you may have—you can email us here.

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