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2023 Entrepreneur Accelerator Participants

Apryll Aileen

There are lots of people who sing but not everyone has a voice. Apryll Aileen is a classically trained pianist with a touch of science & spirituality; an alt-pop soulful vocalist, guitarist and songwriter from Atlantic Canada.

Sultry vocals and an alluring stage presence make Apryll a fan favourite at music festivals worldwide. She transcends genres, creating her own undefinable sound with influences coming from pop, rock, electronic, folk and R&B. She doesn’t imitate – she creates.

Studying classical piano since she was five years old, Aileen has since incorporated her classical foundation into the melodic pop music that pours out of her soul. It's been said, she's a hybrid of two polarities, blending melodic songwriting and vocal tones from artists such as Miley Cyrus and Adele but with the storytelling edge of Stevie Nicks.

Sync Credits: The Family Channel, BBC Worldwide, “Butterflies” short film in 2014 by Emmy® Award-Winning Director Cayman Grant.

Isadore/Alicia Alexander

Isadore is a R&B singer/songwriter from Toronto, Canada whose soulful melodies and soft voice chronicle her ever-evolving relationship with herself and others. Touching on topics such as mental health and feelings of uncertainty, Isadore aims to connect to those also finding themselves unsure of which path to take and how to find happiness in a world that seems foreign and overwhelming. Her singing style lends itself to years of musical infatuation with genres such as soul, R&B and its various sub-genres whose own pioneers also led with their hearts on their sleeves, unashamed of baring their souls, and gave a voice to those who couldn’t find the words to express themselves as freely.

Kenisha Alexander

Kenisha Alexander is an artist manager, lifestyle writer, and broadcast journalist who is passionate about music, fashion and the entertainment industry. After working in both the public relations and editorial industries she discovered a way that she would be able to combine her acquired skills and knowledge from those industries and apply them in a field that she was truly passionate about - artist management within the music industry. A dedicated music enthusiast, Kenisha is passionate about making the music industry more accessible to women who want to pursue both artistry and also establish successful businesses. She is a proud first-generation Canadian of Caribbean descent and would love to see the offices of Canadian music businesses reflect the diversity of the country in which they reside. When she's not writing, researching, or 'managing' she can be found attending live shows, travelling with friends or indulging in a juicy true crime documentary. 


Joanna Mohammed (aka Aphrose) is a Toronto-based soul music artist. Raised in a Trinidadian household in the culturally diverse neighbourhoods of Scarborough, Aphrose's musical tastes run wide and deep with apparent reverence for soul greats like Aretha Franklin to Amy Winehouse. With a reputation for powerful R&B vocalstylings, she has previously worked with heavyweights like Daniel Caesar and Jessie Reyez, to name a few. Stepping out on her own as a solo artist under the name Aphrose, she has earned national acclamation for her 2019 debut album Element - including tour support for Moon Vs Sun (Chantal Kreviazuk & Raine Maida), song placement on CBC drama series Diggstown and  a spot lending her vocals to a Sportsnet 2019 NBA Finals commercial. 

Aphrose’s sophomore album, ‘Roses’, is set for release in Fall of 2023.

Nia Banilbo

Nia (she/her) is a proud, second generation Filipino-Canadian. Nia’s love for music began with family karaoke sessions, being surrounded by family who exposed her to a variety of music genres and most recently, the concert culture.

In 2020, Nia took her love and passion for music to a professional level, by enrolling in the Music Business program at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. In the Summer of 2021, Nia joined Manitoba Music as an Industry development Intern where she worked under the supervision of Elise Roller. 

Since graduating with honours in 2022, Nia has been part of the Manitoba Music team for the past two years. She has worked on multiple projects such as Passport: Music Export Summit, Finding Our North Star (July 1st at The Forks) and Sound Waves Music Meeting in 2022 and 2023. 

In April of 2023, Nia joined the Manitoba Music team full-time as their Outreach & Events Assistant. Through this role, she continues her advocacy work for the local music community.

Natalia Bohórquez

Natalia Bohorquez is a cellist with extensive experience in chamber music, orchestral performances, session work, education, and arts management. She has co-founded and been a key member of music ensembles like Duo Guajira and Cabo Sur, specializing in arranging and composing traditional Latin American music for unconventional setups, including two cellos and cello-guitar-voice combinations.

Natalia is a multifaceted artist always eager to expand her artistic practice and connect with new communities. Her educational journey led her to institutions such as the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and The Longy School of Music in the United States. In 2022, she was selected to participate in the Global Leaders Institute.

Currently based in Miramichi, New Brunswick, Natalia serves as the Cultural Development Coordinator at Carrefour communautaire Beausoleil. She is also embarking on an entrepreneurial venture with Concert Time Collective, aiming to introduce classical music to new audiences in Miramichi. 


Most recently heard on the soundtrack of the Netflix show, “Ginny & Georgia”, Bukola is an up and coming musician from Vancouver, BC who blends the sounds of R&B and Jazz to create her own soulful sound. She’s been influenced by artists such as India Arie, Amy Winehouse and Summer Walker.

Kayla Cooper

Kayla Cooper is an arts administrator based out of Yellowknife, NT. She holds a Diploma in Art and Cultural Management from MacEwan University, a Certificate in Content Marketing from York University and has been involved in the Northwest Territories music industry for more than 15 years. Kayla has been a Selections Committee member for Folk on the Rocks, and is currently the festival’s board President. Kayla was also recently elected to the Board of Directors for Music NWT. Kayla currently works as an Arts Programming Officer for the Government of the Northwest Territories, where she supports the development, implementation and management of programs, policies and activities that support and encourage the production and marketing of all genres of art linked to the cultural heritage of the North. As a lover of Indie, Folk, and Alternative music, Kayla is passionate about the advancement of up-and-coming Canadian artists.


Elenee is a Canadian Christian/Gospel artist and songwriter. Her sound is warm and her tone is rooted in the encouragement that gospel music brings. Elenee was awarded the GMA Songwriter of the Year in 2017 and in 2022, she was Canada Wests’ Spiritual Artist of the year as well as a GMA Covenant Award Nominee for Pop song and Canadian song. In 2023, Elenee was nominated for 5 GMA covenant awards including: Pop Artist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Video of the Year (Egypt), Adult Contemporary Song of the Year (consistently), and Pop Song of the Year (Egypt).  Elenee is both Greek and a Metis Citizen with the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan and she is proud to bring such cultural diversity to the ever-growing table of Christian/Gospel artists. Her debut self titled EP is set to release in Spring 2024 and is packed full of pop, contemporary, and jazz flavours. 

Sakako / Alisa Kanda Kovac


Sakako is a Japanese-Canadian alt-pop, jazz, R&B singer-songrwriter and music entrepreneur from Toronto, Canada. They are a 2023 recipient of a FACTOR grant and Ontario Arts Council funding for 5 track jazz EP with group "She's Funny That Way". Sakako has successfully directed two music fundraisers securing partnerships with the City of Toronto, Exclaim!, Artery and Jazz in Toronto. 

Sakako studied music performance and business at Humber College and York University. Sakako is a HoneyJam Canada 2018 Alumni and has travelled with the non-profit to Nashiville and New York City. In 2021, Sakako joined the team as a social media assistant.

Sakako's independent music projects have garnered over 10,000 streams across all platforms, and local radio play CBC Radio, 91.1 Jazz FM and Ottawa's CHUO. 89.1 FM. 

Sakako will be releasing their original songs "Burning" and "Are You Done?" and will be performing at the Drake Underground with Breaking Sound on December 13th, 2023.  

Sakako has a passion for arts advocacy, accessibilty, development, and education. 

Stream Sakako:

Ewelina Ferenc (ON)

Ewelina Ferenc (she/her), is a Toronto-based folk singer, agent, and manager, born and raised in Katowice, Poland. Since immigrating to Canada, she has become a prominent folk and global music member, artist and manager. Ewelina has performed regularly with Polky, presenting and promoting the new global approach to Polish and Eastern European music to Canadian and North American audiences. Most recently, Ewelina graduated from Humber’s Arts Administration and Cultural Management and started working as a booking agent and music manager. She recently launched Sweet Beets Music agency in Toronto, focusing on folk and global music artists and promoting women, immigrants and Toronto-based artists.

Andy Glydon (NS)

Andy is a passionate community builder committed to making a positive impact on the people and places they call home. By day, Andy serves as Music PEI’s Programs Officer; by night, they’re curating DIY queer events under the banner of LACUNA.

Leveraging diverse experiences and industry connections, Andy turned their dream into reality with LACUNA. The core mission is to create spaces for queer-centered events, support underrepresented artists, and provide safer spaces in a city lacking dedicated queer venues. The name "LACUNA" embodies this mission, representing an unfilled or missing part. 

When Andy isn't at a live show, or busy organizing, curating, and volunteering, you can find them at home. They love cooking, playing video games, reading, and watching a healthy mix of high-brow films and trash TV (balance is key) with their partner Hannah and their two cats, Simone and Judy.

Aieysha Haws (ON)

Aieysha Haws, an American-Canadian lyricist and singer-songwriter of Caribbean descent, is known for her unique blend of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Soul. Her debut singles "Turmoil", "Zodiac Signs", and "Butterflies" have gained recognition on various platforms like Listeners' Choice: Today's Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop, Eh!, Hip-Hop/R&B by Stingray Music, The Digilogue After Dark: Toronto on Audiomack, City of Toronto & Mississauga, NEXT, iMullar, BBC Music, CBC, CHR & more. Haws is dubbed "Poised to Breakthrough" by Chicago's VocaloRadio. Inspired by Patti LaBelle and Tina Turner, Haws is known for her conscious views and voice. She has performed at Tallinn Music Week, Canadian Music Week, and Afro-Caribbean Cultural Festival FT. Charly Black, Alison Hinds, Converse x Footlocker Canada sessions, among others.  Her latest single, "INFINITY 4 U," features nature and explores self-concepts, love, life, and wisdom. Haws continues to write, transforming perceptions and redefining life. Be pleasantly surprised. ~ #WiseEyes.

Ximena Holuigue

Ximena Holuigue is a chilean-canadian creative producer and A&R/Manager based between Montreal,CA and Havana,Cuba, working at the intersection of music, media and experiences industries. Over the last decade, she has produced ventures such as international creative exchanges, Film + TV productions, music tours, while fostering Canada-Cuba cultural affairs as well as in Latin America. ISLAS, initially founded in 2017 by Holuigue, is entering its new era in 2023 as a creative production company that will focus on elevating, connecting and curating Latin culture, from local to global.

Amber Oosthuyzen (BC)

For the last eight years, Amber has been involved in the Canadian music scene.

Highlights include being an alumni of the Honey Jam Artist Development Program, a featured artist on CTV’s The Launch Season 2, as well as independently releasing a FACTOR funded project, “The Process”. She has been fortunate to understand the industry from an artist’s perspective and since 2019 transitioned into an executive roll with the launch of her co- owned company BEATCAVE. Furthering her desire to to learn more about the music industry in 2022 Amber accepted a role on the talent team in the Live Nation Vancouver office. Passionate about the infrastructure of Canadian music she is continually trying to find ways to add value to the ecosystem. 

Sophia Sanford

A life long practice of emotional translation through the reorganization of words and sounds, music has invariably been a place where Sophia Sanford can articulate specific truths, telling her story poetically, turning pain to power. Building on her youth experience playing bass, piano, trombone, and traveling the world with choral and jazz choirs, Sanford brings a depth of emotion to her music production that echoes with the eerie beauty that is the result of an obsession with the voice and all things sound. Music and sonic expression is a space of sacred processing for Sophia, something they explore through their practices producing and performing music. Sophia also teaches youth music production in her community, hosts artists at her rural studio residency space and offers technical and creative support to local projects. Most recently she has completed her first year as the Music Director of the 43 year-old Sunshine Music Festival in qathet. She is always looking to deepen her technical skills and revels in the opportunities that her work presents to understand sound, nature, and culture on deeper levels.

Megan McKay

A life-long music lover, Megan found her place at OCL Studios as the Studio Manager. After joining the team, Megan's new-found passion for the Canadian music industry led her to Toronto and the Canada's Music Incubator Manager program, which she completed in 2017. In 2020, Megan joined the Country Music Alberta (formerly Association of Country Music in Alberta) board of directors. She has been Vice-President of the board for two terms. Megan is very proud to be part of the incredible team of creatives at OCL Studios.


Leela’s music comes to life through an intoxicating mix of her smooth, sultry vocals and provocative song lyrics. After many years of perfecting her craft, Leela’s music is heavily inspired by her favourite genres: Pop, R&B with a twist of jazz. In addition to being a gifted writer with a true passion for music and songwriting, Leela is also an experienced guitar and ukulele player. Over the past 14+ years, she has performed live at numerous venues across Canada; including residencies at local venues, with each performance captivating and stunning her audience. Leela has indulged in years of vocal lessons, songwriting workshops, creative writing courses, live performances and collaborations – all while developing a style she can call her own.

Cozmic Cat/Cozmic

Cozmic Cat is a Toronto based dj and House Music producer , known for dynamic high energy performances and diverse artist collaborations. She has released music on several E.U dance music labels and is one of 10 global winners of the Pete Tong Dj Academy Future Talent Award for 2023. Her music has been licensed in Mobile apps, ads and film, and has been played  on BBC Radio 1 Future Dance ( August 2023) . She has opened for Mark Knight, Ultra Nate, Claptone, The Shapeshifters, Hercules & Love Affair and more.  As a dj she regularly plays around Toronto, and has  performed in venues, bars, boats, festivals and clubs in NYC, Iceland, Croatia, Melbourne, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Vegas , Edmonton, Vancouver, Durban South Africa, and more. Cozmic Cat is also one of the co founders of Cherry Bomb, Toronto's longest running Queer Women's  Pride event, and has donated lessons, dj services and mentorship to many queer at-risk youth via the Sherbourne Health Center and the 519 Community Center in Toronto. She loves motorcycles, Dogs and Capybaras!


Malory, a versatile artist from South Africa/UK, has amassed 1.8 million Spotify plays with her alt-pop, indie, and folk-infused music, drawing comparisons to Lorde, Olivia Rodrigo, and Regina Spektor. Her music has been featured in numerous TV shows, including Netflix's 'Love Is Blind,' Love Island (US/AUS), FX's 'Welcome to Wrexham,' 'Dancing With The Stars,' 'The Good Doctor,' 'Made In Chelsea,' and 'RuPaul's Drag Race.' Notably, she's supported George Ezra, earned endorsements from BBC Radio 2 (with a performance at Hyde Park Festival), and garnered praise from tastemakers like Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit, and Spotify New Music Friday.

Malory's talents as a performer and songwriter earned her two UK Production Music Awards in 2019, while her producing skills secured a third win in 2022. Currently, she splits her time between the UK and Toronto, where she works on various projects for Extreme Music and other commercial ventures.


Based in Montreal, Maze is a singer, songwriter, producer and sound engineer who started music driven by an old passion for videography. Her unique sound and hypnotizing universe has landed her placements on Samsung, Netflix, BBC, as well as working as a music producer for the latest SOCAN and Universal Music camps. This year, Maze had the support of the CALQ and Sirius XM and was nominated in the top 10 of the producer TRAKGIRL in collaboration with Aiaiai audio. Completely independent, Maze has slowly made a name for herself in the local Montreal music scene with her dark and mysterious persona and her mix of alternative and electro-pop music featuring elements of hip-hop, trip-hop and cinematic sounds.

Raven Reid (AB)
Kilusan Productions

Raven Reid is an indigenous artist, singer, songwriter, musician, and public speaker. She is from Mikisew Cree Nations in Northern Alberta, born in Yellowknife, and was taken in the 60’s Scoop and moved to Prince Albert Saskatchewan as a young girl. She grew up with a non-indigenous family, her entire culture and languages were taken from her.  Raven grew up in a home with an adopted mother, who was very mentally ill and abused her and her sisters tremendously throughout her childhood. Raven has been working to overcome CPTSD, anxiety, and trying to live a well balanced life with childhood trauma induced dyslexia, and ADHD. This includes both therapy and sobriety.  Some of the public speaking that she does is in remote communities. Raven has travelled as far as Fond du Lac, Laronge, Prince Albert, & surrounding reserves. The topics she speaks on include mental health and self-esteem. She also speaks from life experiences of domestic violence against women, Suicide prevention, 60’s Scoop, and indigenous awareness. She incorporates the music, art, and poetry, that she has created into these presentations. Last year Raven took an online art therapy class and art therapy and trauma courses through Eliza Doyle, and is looking forward to working for CAMP. She believes that music saved her life and wants her music to help others. Raven Reid has been work performing at many different festivals during the summers and one of them includes Doyle fest which she volunteers each year to sing at. Raven does a lot of volunteer work singing for different fundraisers, such as truth and reconciliation, rock against racism, and Puptoberfest. Raven is always wanting to give a helping hand wherever she can with the many skills that she has, which now includes audio engineering. Raven also took a short course through SMMART out of Regina, Saskatchewan and has grown her online presence by 475% in the last year. She uses her platform to speak about indigenous issues, such as racism oppression, MMIW, every child matters in the 60’s Scoop and indigenous awareness. Raven Reid‘s music falls in the genre of folk/blues and she is a self-taught musician on guitar, harmonica, and ukulele. She has been composing short stories since she was six years old which eventually turned to poetry and when she picked up her first guitar, her poetry naturally turned in to music. Now Raven writes about life experiences as an indigenous woman in today’s society. Raven has one short album out that was released two years ago And now she is looking forward to signing contracts with  Merilainen Music out of Toronto to record the next three albums. Raven continues to further her education in the music industry by taking the courses provided through Sask. Music membership and also other creative writing courses. She hopes to help her people through many of the issues that indigenous people face through music, art and writing.

Art Ross (NS)

Art Ross (they/them) is the lead singer and songwriter of alt-folk Halifax band Pillow Fite. While Art is two years into the project, they have made leaps in the music scene with their daring lyrical efforts and consistent advocacy for queer and trans musicians. Pillow Fite have recently returned from a six-week European tour following showcases at The Great Escape, Focus Wales and Lesbisk Makt (a lesbian festival in Stockholm). Art strives for representative and accessible spaces for queer and transgender musicians, while they navigate an industry that often overlooks fundamental needs of the community. While their songs fearlessly discuss queer love, their core objective is to tangibly share each success with their community. You can find them on all socials - @pillow.fite

Jo Anne Snell

Nada Temerinski

Nada Temerinski is 1/2 of THIS NICE MGMT CO. :

a boutique management company focused on nurturing a small select talent roster over the long-term, bringing transparency and sustainability to the relationship between artist and representation. Working with Magi Merlin, Alex Nicol and Corridor.

Nada Temerinski has worked extensively in tech startups, eventually making her way into the music industry. She spent nearly 5 years working in live music at Theater Fairmount in Montreal.

Together business partners Ouss and Nada have known each other for over 10 years and decided to embark on creating a joint management company.

Georgette Topangu

Adiyo, also known as Georgette "Adiyo" T., is a Congolese fast-rising singer, songwriter, and music producer based in Winnipeg, Canada, where she's popularly known for her ground-breaking sounds.   From a young age, she was drawn to the rhythms of traditional Congolese Jazz music, R&B, Hip hop, and soul and began singing and dancing in local performances as a child. 

Bent on creating highly narrative and relatable music, she draws inspiration from real-life experiences and her on-the-spot creative prowess while utilizing Afro melodies and mixing in Orchestral instruments- a combination she coins as AfrOchestral. 

May Wong (DJ Maiyah)

DJ Maiyah has been an integral part of Tabletutors since joining the team as one of the lead instructors in 2018. Growing up with a passion for music.

DJ Maiyah has been devoted to the art of Turntablism since an early age.DJ Maiyah is a co-founder of Ladies First DJ Club which is a collective of women DJ's that aims to uplift and empower other women to create their place in the DJ scene.

Her outlook in life is to continue to spread the DJ knowledge and the culture of Turntablism towards not just the current DJs but also future DJ enthusiasts.

JoJo Worthington

JoJo Worthington’s music is infinite. This Montreal-based producer/songwriter crafts intimate recollections which explode into limitless soundscapes. Fusing electronic glitches, acoustic nuances, and extraterrestrial melodies, Worthington’s work pushes folk songs to the perilous edge.

Worthington has emerged as a distinctive presence in creative Canadian music, pairing deftly penned songs with spectacular sonic landscapes. Having wandered through the “lost, enchanted forest” of 2016’s album, \\, and sailed the seas of her epic odyssey TCYK (2019), BAPTIZED I sees this visionary songcrafter adorning her armour, grabbing her sword, and beginning a quest for a destination that isn’t tangible—a quest towards the divine. 

Billie Zizi (AB)

Edmonton’s Billie Zizi deftly combines the groove of classic soul with a flair for contemporary RnB melody, adding a certain avant-jazz vibe with her guitar forays to create a sound as accessible as it is experimental. Apart from being a singer songwriter, she plays guitar for Leela Gilday and moonlights for Mariel Buckley, Lucette and many others! In 2020 she was featured on Alberta Spotlight through the National music centre, CKUA and Alberta Music and was shortlisted to be Alberta’s artist in residence. Not merely content with artistic repetition, Billie Zizi continues to grow on an adventurous musical path and has finished her third studio album ‘Levitate’ and is ready to release and market in it 2024.

2023 Entrepreneur Accelerator Presenters

Tessa Balaz (ON)

Tessa Balaz is multi-disciplinary artist from Sudbury, ON.  She has now spent almost a decade writing and producing original music for herself and on production teams for major artists including Daniel Caesar, Drake, the Weeknd, Migos, Mariah Carey and more. She has been nominated for 3 Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards and the Sudbury Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. She has had her original music licensed to film and television, most recently to “Kim’s Convenience” season 4. She is currently trying to close the gap and raise the percentage of female identifying producers on the billboard charts, and serves as Executive Director for Northern Lights Festival Boreal and Jazz Sudbury. 

Amanda Buer (ON)

Amanda Buer, PMP, is the founder of Amanda Buer Consulting Inc., specializing in project management and consulting services. Amanda has over 12 years of management experience, coming from a GIS & software background but has shifted her focus over the past couple of years to her passion, the arts. Experience with both independent and signed artists and has been working in the social media world, working with brands and influencers.

Navreet Dhaliwal (BC)

Marketing and-PR-specialist, Navreet Dhaliwal is known for her creative vision and drive. Instead of forcing herself to choose between music and business, Navreet has found unique ways to blend her talents by helping creatives understand the monetary value of their craft. Navreet has been working in the arts and entertainment space for 5 years with the goal of addressing a rapidly changing entertainment industry. She deeply believes in artists’ ability to showcase their talents and make a living. Navreet has co-founded and works within her organization, Face the Music Entertainment, which is a local concert organizer that aims to support the livelihoods of local musicians and to create intimate live music hubs in Vancouver with inclusivity and diversity at the core.

Over the course of the pandemic, Navreet had the opportunity to work as a Music Planning Researcher for the City of Surrey in where she compiled research on Surrey’s music ecosystem, created a music directory, music venue and business map and identified trends and findings unique to the City of Surrey’s music industry for the development of the Surrey Music Strategy in its initial phases. Alongside these operations, she donates her time and efforts to the Music City Taskforce which aims to cultivate a music economy by providing opportunities to artists and bringing music to the City of Surrey. In the summer of 2022, Navreet joined the MRG Live team as one of two Live Marketing Managers in the Vancouver office where she oversees marketing operations for any and all shows happening in MRG-owned and operated venues (and external venues) throughout Western Canada.

Amy Eligh (ON)

Amy Eligh began her career in Publishing at Casablanca Media / Red Brick Songs in the Copyright and Royalties department, before moving into Creative – where she successfully stationed herself for over a decade before moving to Arts & Crafts Music. Within her role as Director of Publishing & Licensing, Amy pitches large-scale catalogue of songs for film, trailers, advertising, video games, and TV (US & Canada) as well as oversees the day to day within the department.
In addition to pitching, Amy organizes showcases for clients / songwriters with TV networks, music supervisors, and advertisers. She also develops new writers, arranges co-writing sessions, coordinates and hosts song-writing camps, and scouts for talent.
At Arts & Crafts Music, Amy works with Broken Social Scene, Old Man Saxon, Marcus Paquin, Dan Mangan, bülow, Noah Reid, Sarah MacDougall, David Vertesi, Jordan Klassen, Sylo and many more. Amy is also on the Board of Directors for Music Publishers Canada and the Chair of the FACTOR Board.

Catherine Harrison (ON)

Catherine Harrison is a Canadian musician, human-centred leadership expert, author, certified professional coach, and advocate for inclusive and equitable well-being. She provides non-clinical mental health support to music industry professionals. As president of Revelios, Catherine aims to improve our collective mental health literacy and social fitness in the workplace through education, reducing stigma, and facilitating open, courageous conversations. She holds a master's degree in psychology and actively illuminates the unique mental health challenges that musicians and crew experience. Catherine is a trusted advisor to several national and international non-profit music organizations.
Learn more here:

Faria Jafri (ON)

Faria is an entrepreneur, a project management professional, and a sales funnel enthusiast. She likes to consider herself a business sidekick for entrepreneurs (Robin to their Batman) who are struggling with optimizing their online brand and automating their sales funnels. She joined Diversity Institute to support and empower marginalized people to build stronger communities and reduce the pay gap affecting folks who are systematically disadvantaged. With a mission to help propel the entrepreneurial dreams of minority communities, Faria coaches participants on how to take their business from idea to launch. Faria has completed a Master in Management, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. And she has founded two start-ups.

Shalini Dharna Kibsey (ON)

Shalini is a leading financial expert helping entrepreneurs understand all the things they need to know and do to stay on CRA's nice list. Beyond just filing taxes, she helps the entrepreneur understand how to read and love their numbers.

Growing up with a serial entrepreneur for a father, she's been around business forever. It made sense she'd pursue her CPA and eventually join in the family business. Outside of working, she's mom to 3 boys and wife to her college sweetheart.

Stefany Nieto (ON)

Stefany is a seasoned entrepreneur who has built multiple international ventures with long-lasting social impact. Most recently, Stefany co-founded Gwella, a dietary supplement company building the most accessible portfolio of mushroom products that amplify individual and community wellness for today's modern era. Previous to Gwella, Stefany founded Green Iglu, an award-winning food-sovereignty start-up that builds food production facilities in remote communities across Canada, including the Arctic. She was also recently on Dragon's Den!

In her spare time, she leads the entrepreneurship programming for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub where she has the privilege of working with newcomers to Canada and low-income women to launch their business ideas.  


Samantha Pickard (ON)

music industries. A 34 year entertainment industry veteran Samantha has executed hundreds of public relations campaign, marketing campaigns and events including G'Day Toronto for Tourism Australia, the Rolling Stones 50 Years Tour, Walk Off The Earth, the Taylor Swift Speak Now and RED campaigns, Lauv, Commander Chris Hadfield, The Weeknd (House Of Balloons and The Trilogy), Rush, Hanson, Marianas Trench, Finneas, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jungle, Lainey Wilson, Girl In Red, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw, The Trews, Dita Von Teese, MusiCounts, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, The Glorious Sons, Monster Truck, Dan Mangan, The Tea Party, numerous campaigns for Warner Bros Canada, Universal Music Canada, CIMA, Anthem Entertainment Group and The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Since Strut was founded in 2006, it has become one of Canada’s premier, boutique public relations, marketing and event firms. Boasting a diverse array of clients ranging from country, rock and pop acts, lifestyle brands, to actors and celebrity tastemakers.

A former board member of CARAS (The JUNO Awards) and executive board member of CMAOntario, Samantha is also a sought-after guest speaker and mentor and has worked with companies including Toronto’s Centennial College, MusiCounts, The SOCAN Foundation, Music Yukon, Canadian Public Relations Society, MetalWorks, Music Publishers Canada “Women In The Studio” program, Rotmans Commerce Women in Business, Music Yukon and for the Urban Music Association, she is also a long-term mentor for Canadas’ Music incubator and founder of Strut Social.
Twitter: @strutent
Instagram: @strutent
Facebook: /strutentertainment

Leyla Razeghi (ON)

Leyla Razeghi is a Business Strategist who helps business owners create growth plans, reduce risk and manage their operations productively.

With experience in Fortune 500 CPG (consumer packaged goods), retail, and nonprofit and international development. She now works in business strategy at the largest organization for Indigenous women in Canada and teaches courses for startups.

She helps businesses with goal setting, business plans, grant writing, sales and revenue models, customer research, data analysis, and insights.

Leyla’s formal education includes a degree in Industrial Engineering, an MBA in strategy, a diploma in brand management, and training in solution-focused consulting.

Darlene Tonelli (ON)

Darlene Tonelli is an entertainment and intellectual property lawyer and the founder of Inter Alia Law, a virtual association of lawyers who support clients in technology, media, and entertainment. She is also the co-host of the Lawyer Life Podcast, and author of the award-winning Inter Alia Law blog.

Inter Alia is a team of 10 lawyers who practice in association. They use their in-house experience and large firm training to help small companies with no legal department, as well as other in-house counsel in larger companies, to solve workload issues and workflow challenges, particularly with commercial contract drafting and negotiation in the technology and entertainment industries, and copyright licensing.

Inter Alia lawyers have all spent time in both private practice and in-house at some of Canada’s top media, tech, and entertainment companies. Inter Alia lawyers are counsel to some of Canada’s largest companies, including top entertainment and media companies, emerging and established technology companies, television production companies, concert promoters, and new media producers like podcasters. Inter Alia’s clients refer to Inter Alia as “game changing”, “a rockstar legal team”, “business-savvy and efficient”, “a breath of fresh air”, and “smart and collaborative lawyers who put their clients first at all times”.

Prior to Inter Alia, Darlene spent 8 years at Universal Music Canada, where she was Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Affairs. At Universal, Darlene oversaw music licensing, and was tasked with building new digital business models. In that role, she worked on several groundbreaking license deals with major broadcasters and international streaming companies to bring music to Canadian listeners in new ways. She collaborated with Music Canada on The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada, which was a significant research project conducted to encourage innovation and growth in the Canadian music industry. She was also an original member of the Music Canada Advisory Council, advising Canada’s major record labels on diversity and equity.

Outside the office, Darlene serves on the Board of Governors for The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall. She is part of the faculty of the Osgoode Certificate in Entertainment Law (Music Licensing) and the Ryerson Law Practice Program (the Business of Law), and speaks often in Canada and the United States on a wide range of topics including emotional intelligence in lawyering, negotiation skills, authenticity, key skills for in-house counsel, and business development

Chiara Toselli (BC)

Chiara Toselli is the Head of Marketing at Altinity, a company that provides services for ClickHouse, an open-source columnar database. She oversees all marketing initiatives, including branding, content creation, social media, and email campaigns. She is passionate about creating engaging and impactful marketing strategies that connect with the target audience and drive growth.