Our Story

Uniting the World's Innovators to Solve Society's Greatest Challenges

Our Mission

Our mission is to unite the world’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. In 2019, we partnered with the United Nations to declare the space the official Canadian Headquarters of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Founders Board

Chris Hadfield
Elevate Cochair & Astronaut
Helene Hadfield
Elevate Cochair
Razor Suleman
CEO & Cofounder
Mike Williams
General Manager of Economic Development & Culture, City of Toronto
Rizwan Khalfan
EVP, Chief Digital & Payments Officer, TD
Lisa Zarzeczny
Senior Director of Operations & Cofounder
Garrick Tiplady
Managing Director, Facebook and Instagram Canada
Kari Suleman
Cofounder & Creative Director
Claudette McGowan
Global Executive Officer, TD
Christopher Wein
President & COO, Lanterra Developments
Margaret Stuart
Country Manager, Salesforce

Our Team

Razor Suleman
CEO & Cofounder
Lisa Zarzeczny
Cofounder & VP of Programming
Sal Naran
Chief Technology Officer
Greg Wamsley
Senior Director of Events
Kari Suleman
Cofounder & Creative Director
Lianne Hannaway
Head of Finance
Andrew Budd
Director of Partnerships
Daniella Bustamante
Manager, Events
Emily Campbell
Digital Designer
Merrill Fernandes
Facilities Supervisor (DX)
Misha Gallagher
Manager, Events
Olusola Haruna
General Accountant
Josh Lilien
Partnership Associate
Dennis Ly
Content Producer
Elyse Maxwell
Manager, Marketing Operations
Megan McCarthy
Director, Events
Erika Pugsley
Manager, Events
Alex Rayment
Senior Manager, Partnerships
Cameal Soverall
Senior Manager, Programming
Audrey Willsey
Executive Assistant
Nick Zou
WordPress Developer
Chief Barketing Officer