Our Story

Uniting Canada's innovators to solve society's greatest challenges

Our Mission

Our mission is to unite Canada’s innovators to solve society’s greatest challenges. We believe technology holds the incredible potential to transform the world for the better. Elevate connects global icons, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, policymakers and students to help solve complex social problems.

Founding Story

Founded in 2017 as a not-for-profit organization, Elevate produced its inaugural tech and innovation festival in under 90 days. Over 95 partners – community, corporate, investors, founders and government – came together to unite the brightest minds around the world looking to build a better future for society.

The Elevate Technology Festival became the world’s fastest-growing tech and innovation festival. In 2019, the third annual festival saw 30,000 guests; 350 speakers; and 150 partners, and welcomed global icons including former first lady Michelle Obama; Martha Stewart; Commander Chris Hadfield; VP Al Gore; former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Elevate Technology Festival partners with the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and City of Toronto. As part of our mission is to unite the world’s innovators to solve society’s greatest challenges, Elevate welcomes participation by speakers at our events from all levels of government across the political spectrum.

Our Values

"Diversity is our Strength. We believe our ecosystem is made stronger by including the voices of everyone."
"Disrupt Together. We believe that radical collaboration creates the greatest value."
"It’s Our Time. We believe the world needs more Canada."

Looking Ahead

Our vision was further strengthened in 2019 when we came together with the Design Exchange, a charitable organization at the intersection of design, innovation and technology. Together, we operate 37,000 square feet of historic real estate in the heart of Toronto’s financial district to deliver social impact programs.

Our Founders Board

Chris Hadfield
Elevate Cochair & Astronaut
Helene Hadfield
Elevate Cochair
Razor Suleman
Cochair
Rizwan Khalfan
EVP, Chief Digital & Payments Officer, TD
Lisa Zarzeczny
CoFounder & General Manager
Garrick Tiplady
Managing Director, Facebook and Instagram Canada
Kari Suleman
Cofounder
Claudette McGowan
Global Executive Officer, TD
Christopher Wein
President & COO, Lanterra Developments
Margaret Stuart
Country Manager, Salesforce
Angela Brown
President and CEO
Sasha Krstic
President, Mastercard Canada

Our Team

Randy Lennox
Executive Chair
Lisa Zarzeczny
CoFounder & General Manager
Karim Rahemtulla
Senior Advisor of Business Development
Kevin Barton
Senior Vice President, Elevate Talent
Alana Azaria
Vice President of Finance
Robyn James
Senior Director of Marketing
Sen Sachi
VP, Capital & Ventures
Jonea Agwa
Coordinator, Programs and Facilitation
Gbemi Akande
Director, Capital & Ventures
Lucia Al-Zaiatova
Event Manager
Helena Bandayrel
Success Advisor
Carly Bowie
Intern Employment Partnerships
Andrew Budd
Director of Partnerships
Nafisatu Bukari
Intake & Community Engagement Advisor
Shine Jiyoun Chung
Manager, Industry Partnerships
Mark Dunn
Customer Success Advisor
Thompson Egbo-Egbo
Senior Advisor, Community Engagement
Emilie Estrada
Graphic Designer
Blake Farquharson
Associate Director, Entrepreneurship Programs
Merrill Fernandes
Facilities Supervisor (DX)
Dela Kumapley
Dela Kumapley
Program Manager
Hogan Lam
Intern, Employment Partnerships
Calvin Mitchell
Director of Production
Katlego Mokoma
Coordinator, Programs and Facilitation
Eugenia Ochoa
Community Engagement Manager
Sydney Piggott
Director of Community Engagement
Tobie Pilloy
Elevate Program Design & Development Manager
Stephanie Porfiris
Content Marketing Associate
Alex Rayment
Director of Partnerships
Nivisha Shah
Manager, Inclusive Program Design
Mahnoor Shahid
Web Designer
Cameal Soverall
Senior Manager, Programming
Usman Tariq
Grants Manager
Fareed Virk
Senior Manager, Strategy
Dan Waldie
Director of Product
Audrey Willsey
Project Manager, Elevate Exchange
D'Andre Wilson-Ihejirika
Director, Programs & Industry Partnerships
Heather Orr-Mullings
Senior Human Resources Manager
Zeynep Guler Tuck
Senior Content Manager