Our Story

At Elevate, we unite the world’s innovators to solve society’s greatest challenges as Canadian leaders of change.

Elevate eCommerce North Hero

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.

Want to work with us? Browse career opportunities at Elevate here

Diversity is our Strength. We believe our ecosystem is made stronger by including the voices of everyone.
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Founding Story

A Canadian homegrown success story, Elevate has staked its claim as the world’s fastest-growing tech festival ever since its debut in 2017. The not-for-profit produced its inaugural tech festival in under 90 days. Over 95 partners – including community, corporate, investors, startups, and government – came together to unite the brightest minds around the world looking to build a better future for society.

From 4,000 attendees to over 30,000 two years later in September 2019, Elevate was on a roll. With the pandemic, the beloved tech festival closed its doors in 2020 and pivoted with an emphasis on its commitment to social justice. Elevate heralded new programs that aimed to support underrepresented entrepreneurs through its eCommerce North accelerators and equity-deserving creators through its NFT Residency program, all the while advancing sustainability, wellness, and equality through its Think 2030 event

In September 2022, with high spirits and social impact at its core, Elevate welcomed back its community for the reimagined Elevate Festival at the intersection of arts, technology, and innovation. Elevate continues to unite icons and innovators while carrying on the legacy of thought leadership and impact from its past lineup of world-class speakers and changemakers, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, VP Al Gore, tennis champion & entrepreneur Venus Williams, business icon Martha Stewart, astronaut Chris Hadfield, UN goodwill ambassador & model Sabrina Dhowre Elba, conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, Grammy-nominated Akon, and other influential people.

As Canada’s tech and innovation festival, Elevate Festival will reunite the community once again in Toronto from September 26-28, 2023. Learn more.

Technology has the potential to solve the world's problems, but we know that innovation alone isn't enough. We believe that a collaborative effort among world leaders, celebrities, innovators and students, and policy makers and entrepreneurs, is the key to addressing and finding solutions to complex issues.

Lisa Zarzeczny |
CEO & Co-Founder of Elevate

Where to Find Us

When we came together with the Design Exchange in 2019, we cemented our vision as a non-profit organization at the intersection of technology and innovation. Together, we operate 37,000 square feet of historic real estate in the heart of Toronto’s financial district to deliver social impact programs. Find out more about how to book an event at the DX.

Our Founding Board

Chris Hadfield
Elevate Co-Chair & Astronaut
Helene Hadfield
Elevate Co-Chair
Rizwan Khalfan
EVP, Chief Digital & Payments Officer, TD
Lisa Zarzeczny
CEO & Co-Founder
Claudette McGowan
CEO, Protexxa and Co-Founder, The Firehood
Christopher Wein
President & COO, Lanterra Developments
Sasha Krstic
President, Mastercard Canada
Debbie Gamble
Chief Officer, Innovation Labs and New Ventures
Duri Alajrami
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer
Salim Teja
Salim Teja
Gianluca Cairo
Vice President, Operations and Strategy at Ceridian

Meet Our Team

Lisa Zarzeczny
CEO & Co-Founder
Alana Azaria
VP, Finance
Robyn James
Senior Director, Marketing
Emilie Estrada
Lead Graphic Designer
Blake Farquharson
Director, Innovation
Merrill Fernandes
Facilities Supervisor, Design Exchange
Calvin Mitchell
VP, Events 
Alex Rayment
Senior Director, Partnerships & Key Accounts
Vithu Vijayaratnam
Senior Manager, Innovation
Asha Mullings
Asha Mullings
Specialist, Social Media & Community Engagement
Courtney Frizzell
Director, Operations 
Nicole Abbiento
Associate Director, Creative & Event Production
UI/UX Design Lead
Chantel Megaffin
Associate Director, Event Operations
Jora Hayman
Associate Director, Partnerships
Gina Nelson
Operations Coordinator 
Natalia Zigante
Manager, Event Operations
Lynne Dubuc
Director, Programming 
Naveeni Rasiah
Lead, Innovation
Marium Kirmani
Manager, Event Programming 
Shivani Persad
Content Manager
Dean Velentzas
Senior Partnerships Manager