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Speakers – Atlantic Leadership Forum – June 1, 2019


Interactive workshops, valuable networking and inspiring lectures come together to bring ALF attendees skills, knowledge and ideas to encourage them to drive change in their communities. Fusion is excited to welcome a variety of brilliant speakers to the 2019 event. Check back soon to see this year’s line up!


Last year’s speakers included:

Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Growth with Ross Simmonds, Founder, Foundation Marketing

Our keynote speaker, Ross Simmonds, is talking all things entrepreneurship, marketing and growth in a casual yet informative session. Come with questions and leave inspired.

Ross Simmonds is the founder of Foundation Marketing, an agency that combines data with creativity to develop & serve ambitious brands. Over the last five years, Ross has worked with some of the fastest growing startups and a variety of Fortune 500 brands on their digital marketing efforts.  He has been published and featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Venture Beat, BET and more. Mashable named him one of the Top 5 Snapchat marketers in the world and he sits on the board for Volta Labs, BBI and a handful of local community organizations. Ross is passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing, good coffee and all things tech.



Creating Goals to Get Ahead with Rachel Harrison, CPCC, ACC, Blue Dragon Coaching

Feeling stuck? Do your goals feel out of reach? Can’t seem to get to the next level? This interactive workshop offers you the tools to create clear, achievable goals that build on your values. It’s an hour of discovering yourself, learning essential strategies and creating choice.

Rachel Harrison is a peak performance coach and speaker.  As a global expert, Rachel has a passion for helping leaders navigate the uncharted to increase their impact and results. This speaker and coach knows how to increase leadership capabilities, anchor teams in strategy, and create high performance outcomes.   With her vast background in IT, competitive intelligence, strategy and sales, Rachel provides the framework for teams and professionals to excel.  From her years abroad working in six continents and 15 countries, she a wealth of knowledge to draw from to help you get to the next level.  And to top that off, she is also the host of momondays in Halifax, a monthly event focusing on stories and personal transformation.



Diversity and Inclusion in an Age of Digital Transformation with Ann Divine, Founder & CEO, Ashanti Leadership and Development Services

This workshop is designed to challenge participants who are thinking about diversity and inclusion in today’s workplace. Join Ann in examining the importance of valuing cultural diversity and inclusion in an era of digital transformation. Plus, learn to manage diverse talents, and building stronger leaders for the future.

Ann Divine is founder and CEO of Ashanti Leadership and Development Services, and provides career and professional guidance in leadership development. Ann’s work is underpinned by her knowledge and expertise in human rights and people management. Her unique style combined
with adult education principles has brought her recognition in the fields of leadership development, change management, coaching and mentoring, facilitation, diversity and inclusion, and more recently unconscious bias training. Ann has lived on three continents and worked in diverse organizations and communities in senior management positions in London, UK, and Canada. She has a Sociology (Hon) Degree; a Diploma in Social Work; a master’s degree in Human Resource Management, Human Rights; and a Coaching Federation Certificate, Adult Education and Leadership Development.   She is a Director on the United Way Centraide Canada, National Board, President of the Rotary International Halifax North West Club. In November 2017, she received an award from My Halifax Experience as one of the Top 25 Immigrants in the Maritimes. In April 2018, Ann was nominated as one of RBC’s Top 25 Immigrants., Ann is also the recipient of the Top 5 Immigrant Women Influencers in Halifax.


The career advice you don’t want to take… with Scott McGaw, Partner, Meridia Recruitment Solutions

And the career advice you do. Feeling stuck? Learn about how to take strategic steps in your career strategy.

Prior to joining Meridia, Scott worked for an international recruitment firm where he focused on developing full service recruitment strategies along with generating new business opportunities.  Scott has extensive business to business sales experience in a variety of industries including HR Outsourcing and telecommunications. A  graduate from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Scott is a strong believer in supporting his community where he lives and works. He is the Chair and President of the Alderney Landing Association which promotes community and cultural programming supporting the local creative economy. He is a proud member of the Canadian Progress Club, where he is currently the Membership Chair. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and on the Ticketing Committee for the Festival of Tree’s Gala for the Mental Health Association of Nova Scotia.



The Gender Leadership Gap: Turning Talk into Action with Andrea Janzen, MBA, CEC, Professional Coaching

Gender diversity in leadership is an elephant-sized problem in Canada and around the world. Talking about the problem is good. Doing something about it is even better. In this interactive workshop, we’ll unpack the problem, determine what it takes to be part of the solution and set goals and actions that help fuel our ambitions to make change. We encourage all genders to attend – if we truly want change to happen both genders need to work together towards a solution.

Andrea Janzen is passionate about developing people, setting goals and getting results. She believes people are more capable than they let on. Clients tell her that her positive energy is contagious. She is a professional leadership coach that believes in abundance. She helps her clients to see opportunities, feel ready to take action and make things happen. She offers her clients a balanced perspective by linking the human side of the business to the bottom line.



Optimize Your Health to Optimize your Life with Dr. Ben Connolly and Dr. Ashley Margeson, Cornerstone Naturopathic

There’s an old saying; “can you have it all?” For Doctors Ben Connolly and Ashley Margeson, that’s a question they work with every day. Learn how to optimize your health and bio-hack your way to success. You’ll leave this workshop understanding the four cornerstones of health that are integral for performance optimization. You’ll be able to hijack your routines for optimization, be able to balance and integrate your personal and work lives, and understand how small (and very implementable) changes can set you up for major success.

This dynamic duo doesn’t believe in just reading off a slide; they live and breathe performance optimization every day. And they don’t just talk the talk, they also walk the walk. Dr. Ben Connolly and Dr. Ashley Margeson are partners at Cornerstone Naturopathic; Canada’s leading centre for evidence-based regenerative medicine. They believe that your health shouldn’t hold you back from leading your best life. With an impressive number of qualifications between the two of them, including studies at Harvard University and being named to part of 21Inc as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 Under 40’s, these two don’t settle for anything less than the best. They’re known across the country as leaders in private healthcare, entrepreneurship and innovation.


10 things you can do to be a better leader today (aka the clickbait talk), Patrick Horsman, MSc

If you had to improve your leadership ability today what should you focus on? This talk will be all about the practical strategies and behaviours you can adopt to become a better leader. You’ll leave with actionable ideas you can implement immediately and deeper questions to ponder about your leadership style. Along the way we will discuss what a good leader truly is and how leadership and managerial behaviours differ.

Patrick is a Canadian Army Staff Officer, Entrepreneur and member of the part-time faculty at Saint Mary’s University where he teaches the psychology of leadership and other Organizational and Management courses. In research he has dedicated most of his time to studying stress and well-being at work. His business, Ironstone Strength and Conditioning, is all about pursuing personal growth and improving quality of life. Patrick believes leaders have a inherent responsibility to act in the best interests of their followers and promote their health and success. In his spare time Patrick enjoys being in the outdoors, fitness, and working on home renovation projects. 


Why The Phone? Using Phone Conversations to Make Things Happen Mary Jane Copps, CEO, Telephone Talent Inc.

Phone Conversations remain a powerful way to influence decision makers and get things done. But how do you reach them and get the conversation started? Learn when to choose the phone, how to get your calls returned and how to inspire conversations that produce results.

Mary Jane Copps – The Phone Lady – has worked with over 400 clients training over 10,000 individuals how to communicate more effectively on the telephone. Mary Jane has been profiled as a communications expert by the Wall Street Journal, National Post, The Globe & Mail, CBC, CTV, Global as well as other publications, television and radio outlets throughout North America (including avery silly skit on This Hour Has 22 Minutes!). In May 2016, Mary Jane was awarded the national BDC Mentorship Award
through Futurpreneur Canada for her work with young entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses and maximize their impact on the economic growth of Atlantic Canada.


Lessons Learnt from a First-time CEO – The Hard Way, Tukan Das, Co-Founder & CEO, LeadSift

Building a startup is hard, it is harder being a first-time founder. It is a crazy emotional roller-coaster with long periods of lows sprinkled with moments of absolute ecstasy. Unfortunately there are no easy answers or silver bullets in the entrepreneurial journey but in this workshop, we’ll talk about some of the challenges a startup faces, most common mistakes to avoid and some best practices. If you are thinking of starting your own business, or in the early stages of your own startup – then this will workshop will provide you with actionable insights backed by real stories.

Tukan is the CEO and co-founder at LeadSift – a Sales Intelligence Platform, working with the savviest software companies in the world. Originally from India, Tukan immigrated to Nova Scotia for a Computer Science degree at Dalhousie University and along the way caught the entrepreneurial bug to start LeadSift. At LeadSift, he is the hacker, instigator and the dreamer where he is working with his team to fundamentally change how B2B Sales/Marketing is done. Outside of work, he likes to play/watch soccer, go on hikes and cook. Connect with him on Twitter @tdas.