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 and innovation 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 made pivoted into 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

With social impact at its core, in September 2022 with compassion and high spirits, 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 innovators.

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

Looking Ahead

When we came together with the Design Exchange in 2019, we cemented our vision as a non-profit organization at the intersection of technology, arts, and social 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
Razor Suleman
Co-Chair
Rizwan Khalfan
EVP, Chief Digital & Payments Officer, TD
Lisa Zarzeczny
CEO & Co-Founder
Garrick Tiplady
Managing Director, Facebook and Instagram Canada
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

Meet Our Team

Lisa Zarzeczny
CEO & Co-Founder
Alana Azaria
Vice President, Finance
Robyn James
Senior Director, Marketing
Sen Sachi
VP, Innovation
Gbemi Akande
Director, Innovation
Katlego Mokoma
Intern, Marketing
Emilie Estrada
Graphic Designer
Blake Farquharson
Associate Director, Innovation
Merrill Fernandes
Facilities Supervisor, Design Exchange
Calvin Mitchell
Festival Director
Alex Rayment
Senior Director, Partnerships & Key Accounts
Vithu Vijayaratnam
Manager, Innovation
Heather Orr-Mullings
Senior Human Resources Manager
Zeynep Guler Tuck
Senior Content Manager
Asha Mullings
Asha Mullings
Social Media Specialist
Madison Winters
Manager, Events & Venue, Design Exchange
Courtney Frizzell
Operations Associate Director, Festival
Nicole Abbiento
Production Associate Director - Festival
Ellen Kim
Manager, Programming (Festival Talent/Speaker Relations)
Nandita
Web Designer
Brendan Halloran of Elevate
Brendan Halloran
On-Stage Content Producer
Chantel Magaffin
Operations Manager, Festival
Jora Hayman
Senior Manager, Partner Success
Gina Nelson
Office and Community Event Coordinator
Sabrina Medeiros
Coordinator, Speaker Experience & Operations (Live Events)
Natalia Zigante
Operations Manager, Festival