Darlene Macdonald, Senior Director of Think FOOD!, joined Maple Leaf Foods in March 2009 to launch the Think FOOD! centre and to support the company’s drive for innovation. In 2014, Darlene’s responsibilities expanded to include Consumer Insights and Sensory testing. Darlene brings more than 20 years experience in organizational development and change management to her role, having worked in North America and Europe with food and research companies. She holds a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Communication and is a self-confessed “foodie”!

Darlene will be guiding our audience through their day and each speaking session as our Master of Ceremonies.


Nicknamed the “Rogue Recruiter” by The Wall Street Journal, David has three decades of experience recruiting senior executives as managing partner of Perry-Martel International Inc, and chief talent officer for CATA Alliance where he has closed more than $300 million in deals. His book, « Hiring Greatness: How to Recruit Your Dream Team and Crush the Competition » shares the thinking it takes to recruit Industry 4.0 Leaders who can unleash innovation, empower employees and generate wealth.

David teaches companies not only how to hire the right people (and keep them), but also candidates on how to make business decisions that will shape their careers. He has appeared on CTV television, CBC, Global, CBS, ABC, and NBC. Print interviews include a controversial Fortune Magazine cover story, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Fast Company, Wired, Forbes, Inc, Globe & Mail, Canadian Business and more.

David will be leading the discussion on Leadership for an Industry 4.0 world.


Wadia is Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum. Previously, he worked at the Rabat School of Governance and Economics, at Toyota and at the European Institute for the Mediterranean in Barcelona. Wadia holds a Master Degree in Euro- Mediterranean Affairs, and a Bachelor degree in International Studies, with a minor in Women & Development from Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.

He is a former member of the Youth Consultative Committee of the League of Arab States. He served as a Trainer and facilitator for the Council of Europe & the League of Arab States youth summits. As a former member of the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Parliament, Wadia launched, with his peers, different projects such the Meda Youth Parliament & Euro-Med Academy for Young Journalists.

Wadia is 2012 United Nations Alliances of Civilizations fellow and 2013 cohort of the Global Leadership Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

Wadia will be leading the discussion on the Global Shapers Community and the Survey, especially looking at insights of millennials on the Business and the Workplace.


Jim Fitt is President and founder of Velsoft, a global leader in courseware development with over 10,000 companies and trainers spanning across 165 countries. In 2013, The Export Achievement Award for Exporter of the Year went to Velsoft, establishing themselves as a leading provider of customizable training materials and educational technologies. Jim will navigate the audience through transforming in minutes, existing hard-copy course material into online course material. Velsoft developed the Food Processors Institute platform. This exciting platform is now used internationally to train new-comers to Canada in the country they are in, valuable Food Safety Management skills making them fully employable upon their arrival to Canada.

Jim will be leading the discussion on Elearning.


Susan Grifone, principal of Grifone Consulting Group, provides expertise in occupational analysis, essential skills profiling, technical writing, and curriculum development. She has worked on national and international projects that have developed occupational standards, essential skills profiles, competency frameworks, and curriculum for a wide variety of industries, including diamond polishing, mining and mineral processing, construction, retail grocery, early childhood education, environmental monitoring, and events management. Susan has worked on various Food Processing Human Resource Council projects, including the FPHRC competency framework completed last year. Her work has taken her across the country, from Vancouver, to Tuktoyaktuk to St Johns’ NFLD, and to the Caribbean, Singapore and Vietnam. Susan has toured diamond and gold processing plants and climbed to the top of a 90-foot crane. She has worked with hundreds of industry experts from all walks of life, from diamond polishers to hotel managers. Susan and her family lives in the beautiful Okanagan of BC.

Susan will be leading the discussion on Competency Framework.


Trina has been working in the area of human resource development since 1996. She is the Principal of TL Davies Consulting Group, a full-service organization that tailors its work to the needs of its clients. Building upon skills acquired while completing successful projects around the world, the team draws upon its diverse and comprehensive abilities in human resource development to design specific approaches for each new challenge. Trina and her team are certified Essential Skills Profile (ESP) Analysts, DACUM facilitators, Occupational Language Analysts (OLA), and technical writers. Trina has trained professionals across Canada and the world in the areas of occupational standards development, training development and delivery, performance evaluation creation, and written test creation. She has worked on international occupational standards, training and certification/evaluation projects in Chile, Mexico, Bulgaria, Romania, Singapore, and across the Caribbean.

To learn about Trina and TL Davies Consulting Group, visit their website here


Martin builds problem-solving technologies from the ground up. After working in every role of manufacturing, Martin knew companies weren’t optimizing their processes and productivity. In 2013, he founded Raven to help manufacturers improve their performance with data science. Martin brings his relentless resourcefulness and extensive experience as an engineer, executive, and serial entrepreneur to his role as CEO of Raven. He sets the company’s strategy and leads Raven’s high-calibre team. Martin holds a degree in mechanical engineering and business from McGill University

To learn about Raven, visit their website here


Jeremy was raised in rural Manitoba on a family-owned farm where he worked throughout his youth and early adulthood. He went overseas with his wife to work in Kenya, focusing on leadership and community development. Jeremy returned to Canada in 2006 to work at HyLife Ltd. where his current role is Senior Director of Human Resources. He completed his Masters in Leadership from Royal Roads University in 2009.

To learn about Raven, visit their website here


Adam Cywinski is a Partner at Prism Economics and Analysis. He has an M.A. in Labour Studies from McMaster University and a B.A (honors) in Economics from York University. Prior to joining Prism, Adam worked as a Market Research Analyst with the Ontario Construction Secretariat and an Analyst with Export Development Canada. Adam’s experience includes: labour market modeling, providing analyses of construction market conditions, developing surveys, and conducting various research studies related many aspects of construction, including extensive work in the area of trades training and apprenticeship.

Adam will be kicking off the discussion on the supply of Domestic Labour available for the Meat Industry.


Celine Pinsent has worked as a professional evaluator and applied researcher for the past 20 years.
Before establishing DPM, she was President and sole proprietor of Pinrae Research Associates, and a partner with Goss Gilroy Inc. She has managed some of the most extensive program evaluation projects undertaken by the federal government for large, multi-departmental horizontal initiatives. Yet, she gets just as excited designing and implementing small impact assessments of experimental pilot projects, or working closely with units to develop useful logic models and stellar performance indicators.
Celine is trained at the doctoral level as a behavioural scientist with expertise in applied statistics, measurement, psychometric instrument design, and methodology development (PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Ottawa).

While currently located in Ottawa, she is an Island girl at heart having been raised on a small farm on Prince Edward Island where she is lucky enough to go back every summer to eat lobster and walk in the surf along the red sandy shore. Her mother tongue is English and she speaks French with professional working proficiency.

Celine will be continuing the discussion on Labour Force in the Meat Industry.


Elliott is a leader of innovative mix-mode and cross-disciplined research methods. As Vice President and National Director of the Research and Analytics practice at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Elliott delivers deep insight into client audiences by combining social intelligence analysis, big data techniques, and quantitative and qualitative market research methodologies. Elliott is an accomplished methodologist with particular expertise in cross-disciplinary methods, recruitment techniques and segmentation models. Elliott oversees hundreds of research assignments each year at H+K, providing robust analysis, detailed presentation of findings and strategic insights and recommendations based on credible, reliable and innovative research methods. Elliott has extensive experience working with boards of directors and executive leadership teams to unpack the meaning of research findings and uncover how to position the research in support of their objectives. Elliott has over 15 years’ experience in senior-level positions in the research industry. Immediately prior to joining H+K, Elliott was co-founder and chief operations officer (COO) of an innovative and successful research consultancy based in Ottawa. In this capacity Elliott oversaw hundreds of research assignments a year, along with company operations, business development and client relations.

Elliott will be leading discussion on What your future employees think about your business


Ivan Ross is widely recognized as an industry expert in the field of medical cannabis and the emerging regime of legalized cannabis. His experience in this sector dates back to his time with Health Canada when he helped develop the Government of Canada’s position regarding the use, production, distribution and regulation of cannabis for medical purposes. Since that time he has offered clients counsel and support in investor relations, communications, regulatory review, strategic partnerships, identification and outreach related to market opportunities in other countries such as the United States and Australia and government affairs work at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Ivan Ross has also written several articles regarding the cannabis industry and has been a guest speaker at conferences in Canada and the United States.
Ivan Ross worked for the federal government for more than 18 years. He started his career at the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) as a policy analyst and went on to work at Health Canada—in strategic policy, health products and food, and healthy environments and consumer safety branches—where his work focused on pharmaceutical policy at both the federal and provincial levels. During a two-year sabbatical, Ivan Ross worked for Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (now Innovative Medicines Canada) as the director of government affairs, providing strategic insight and analysis.
Since joining H+K in 2015, Ivan Ross has worked on numerous files including National Access Cannabis, Nomis, Seqirus, Boiron, Montebello Packaging, Neighbourhood Pharmacies Association of Canada, Canadian Blood Services and Innovative Medicines Canada.
Ivan Ross is bilingual, a trained facilitator and holds a master’s in public administration from Carleton University and a bachelor of arts (honours) in history from the University of Ottawa.
In 2007, Ivan Ross developed a course for graduate students in public policy/administration to teach them how to successfully develop and communicate complex public policy proposals with confidence. This course keeps him lecturing regularly at both Carleton and Concordia Universities.

Ivan will be joining Elliott in the discussion on Cannabis Part I: Upcoming Rules & Regulations


Jeff Purcell has 25 years of food & beverage manufacturing and operations experience. Jeff has held various management and executive positions within McCain Foods and Ganong Bros. Limited in facilities in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Alberta. During his career Jeff has worked with thousands of different employees and has gained valuable insight into the ever changing needs of the training they require to continue to keep up with the industry. He is excited to be a part of an exciting new Canadian industry and in creating positive economic opportunities locally, nationally and Globally. Jeff’s work experience is supported with a Degree in Commerce from Saint Mary’s University. Jeff is passionate about people and excels at challenging his teams to be the best they can be.

Jeff will be leading part II of the discussion on Cannabis & the Food Industry.


Chef Dustin Gallagher has always enjoyed cooking, working his way up the ladder in professional kitchens from the age of 13. At the age of 22 he joined Chef Susur Lee’s team at his internationally acclaimed restaurant, Susur, where he worked for six years, eventually becoming Sous Chef.

Dustin then went on to become Executive Chef at the Toronto restaurant Grace. In its opening year in 2009, Grace was featured in Toronto Life’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants. The same year, Dustin himself was the recipient of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo’s Nine of Dine Award as one of Toronto’s best new chefs.

Dustin competed in the very first season of Top Chef Canada and 6 years later, in 2017 was invited back to showcase his skills in the Top Chef Canada All-Stars season where he was a finalist.

He is currently the Executive Chef of Peoples Eatery and 416 Snack Bar and loves every minute of it. Known for his signature smile and endless energy, Dustin prides himself on excelling in high-pressure situations. To decompress, Dustin spends his time building forts and baking cookies with his young daughter Ava, his wife and their dog Po.

Dustin will be conducting an onsite cooking demonstration.