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Keynote Speakers

Nicole Verkindt

Founder, OMX | Dragon, Next Gen Den

August 25, 2016


Nicole Verkindt is passionate about leveraging the talents of entrepreneurs. The founder of OMX (Offset Market Exchange) and the newest Dragon on CBC’s Next Gen Den, she believes in the role of entrepreneurs to grow the economy and help solve global issues. Speaking to the importance of disruptive thinking, technology, innovation, and women’s roles in business, Nicole stresses to audiences that the key to success lies in the ability to ignore being told “no” over and over again.


Nicole launched OMX in 2012, when she was only 27 years old. The online platform is the only one in the world to manage obligations government contractors have to invest in local economies, a policy called “offsets”. The platform is a powerful online marketplace with users from the world’s top defence, aerospace, shipbuilding sectors, and tens of thousands of local suppliers around the world. The platform also generates data analytics to help governments understand economic impacts of procurement decisions.


Prior to founding OMX, Nicole launched Tiburon (the Spanish word for “shark”) in 2008, an offshore manufacturing business in the Dominican Republic, which sold shelter components to government contractors during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It was also during this time that Haiti experienced their devastating earthquake. Nicole reacted by founding the non-profit organization GlassFrog, which provided aid to the torn nation. Nicole later integrated Tiburon into a family business, and became President and CEO of GMA. In 2011, she led the sale of both Tiburon and GMA to a Private Equity Firm.


Nicole graduated from the Richard Ivey School of Business with a specialization in International Political Science and Entrepreneurship. Upon graduation, she worked for Big Media Group out of Belgium, and was stationed on international projects consulting with governments and international industry looking to target foreign investment. This was her bridge between international politics and entrepreneurship.


Nicole received a political appointment to the Board of the Canadian Crown Corporation, CCC (Canadian Commercial Corporation), which is the sister organization to BDC and EDC. The corporation does government-to-government contracting on behalf of Canadian businesses to foreign governments. She is also on the Board of the Peter Munk School of Global Affairs MGA Program Board. Additionally, she is the official technology columnist for Vanguard magazine, a magazine with a readership of over one million.


She is an active member of the CSCA (Canadian Space Commerce Association), CADSI (Canadian Aerospace, Defence, Security Industry Association), Aerospace Industries Association Canada (AIAC) and Global Offset and Countertrade Association (GOCA).


Suzanne West

President & CEO, Imaginea Energy

August 26, 2016


President & CEO. Fearless leader. Visionary. She's going to change the world. And she’s going to do it by getting other people to change the world with her. With wisdom that only a brilliant and repeatedly successful entrepreneur can offer, she’s assembled a brilliant team to break down the most daunting of barriers. To rewire the way we think about energy. To turn what we’re doing into what we should be doing. Her truly laudable career has crystallized into an epiphany - that profits are not the nemesis of this planet and the people on it. That oil doesn’t have to be a dirty word. That change can happen, and it will. And it’s this vision, guided by her insight and astonishing ambitions, that unites our ranks and compels us to realize our greatest potential. Mother Nature is smiling.

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Suzanne West
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