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2019 Real Leaders, Real Impact: ‘Meet the Experts’ Breakout session at the Expo

We are THRILLED to announce the initial list of incredible leaders from around Canada and the world who will be attending the Experience Your Life Expo on 29th September 2018 at Novotel Mississauga.

We are proud to be a forum that brings together role models that represent the upper echelons of the business and public sector organizations. More importantly, these are individuals who have achieved great success without losing sight of the important things in life such as giving back.

We are also excited to share that these executives are flying in from around Canada and around the world which demonstrates their commitment to youth empowerment. We ask all attendees of the breakout room to come well researched on the leaders as it could be a life changing conversation. There are only 200 spots and as of 31st July, 40% are sold out.

The breakout sessions are designed for a deep 1 hour conversation as opposed to a presentation which makes this a truly empowering experience. Each leader will lead a table and you will get an opportunity to talk in a conversation style format (1 leader to 9 individuals) to really learn from their journey, ask them questions and be inspired.

Register NOW on eventbrite as we are always SOLD OUT well in advance. Please note, your code for a 50% off the breakout room ticket is  ticket for Expo Only section is ‘ExperienceYourLife2019’ (while quantities last).

The list of leaders will be released in the days and weeks to follow. Each leader is hand-picked and will be showcased on this site.

Here are the profiles of the break-out session leaders:

Major Alexia

Major Alexia Hannam is the Commanding Officer of the 417 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Airforce. Here is the video from the Air Force sharing the story of this incredible leader . She was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB and joined the Royal Military College of Canada immediately after finishing high school. She graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Minor in History.

After completing pilot training on the Slingsby Firefly, the Harvard II and the Jet Ranger, she spent seven years at 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton flying Griffon Helicopters.

Major Hannam has been posted to 417 Combat Support Squadron for the past three years and she has completed several rescue missions and deployed on OP LENTUS during the Fort McMurray and BC wildfires as the Detachment Commander responsible for all Griffon support.

At 417 Squadron she has been employed as the Operations Officer, Flight Commander, Unit Standards Officer, Training Officer, Unit Instrument Check Pilot, and Unit Flight Safety Officer. She was promoted to Major and took command of 417 Sqn in Aug 2018 as their Commanding Officer.

She is heavily involved in Elevate, a non-profit organization for Women in Aviation. She is a mentor to women looking to get involved in aviation or the military as well as a guest speaker. In her free time she coaches the competitive Cold Lake gymnastics team as a volunteer.

She is featured in the article here in the Helicopters Magazine.

Major Alexia2


Mohamed Manji, VP, Finance, Personal Banking, TD Bank Group

Having worked at KPMG where he completed his CA designation, Mohamed then worked at the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”).  In 1995, he joined TD Bank Group where he has held numerous executive positions in Canada and the US in Finance, Audit, Retail Banking, Wealth Management and has served as VP and Special Assistant to the President and CEO. He is currently Vice President of Finance in the Personal Banking segment of TD Canada Trust.

In addition to his extensive background in banking, Mohamed has worked with boards and committees in both public and non-profit organizations.  He currently serves on the Board of Governors of Centennial College and is Chair of their Learning & Education Committee, a member of the Board’s Executive Committee and was formerly Chair of their Audit Committee.


Khalil Alfar, Microsoft Canada General Manager for Azure Cloud and Enterprise Business Division

Khalil leads the Azure Cloud and Enterprise Business for Microsoft Canada with an amazing group of talented individuals. He have a passion for business leadership & growth; connecting organizations with digital strategies through AI, Blockchain, IoT, Data and Cloud. He believes in achievements through building and collaborating with high performance teams; coaching/mentoring individuals and startups; connecting everything to value and impact. In this role Khalil has

  • End-to-end accountability for the Azure Cloud and Enterprise business in Canada – Infrastructure,Application, Data, AI, Blockchain, Open Source, Developer Tools
  • Leads the business strategy, Profit & Loss, scorecard metrics, and investments for the Cloud and Enterprise business.
  • Manages a high-performing team, drives revenue and market share goals, and ensures operational excellence

Rob van der Ende (Mandiant) - profile picture

Rob van der Ende is Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) at Mandiant, a FireEye company. He is joining us from Singapore.

He sets strategic vision across the region, develops and drives revenue for new and existing service lines, provides leadership, development and support to the team of Incident Response and Forensics experts and Security Services consultants and has ultimate responsibility for customer engagements in the region.

Mr. Van der Ende holds seats in several executive committees and is a frequent speaker at industry events across the region. Prior to FireEye, Rob was Director for Cybersecurity & Public Sector across Asia within the Enterprise Services Business unit of Microsoft Corporation, where he successfully led the expansion of Microsoft’s Cybersecurity and Public Sector Solutions and Services across the geography. Before that, he held responsibilities as Vice President for Consulting (APAC) at Oracle Corporation and Executive Director at Electronic Data Systems in APAC and EMEA.

Rob was born, raised and educated in The Netherlands, then held IT management roles for several Dutch multinational organizations covering business across most European countries, before relocating to the Asia Pacific region in 1999. He currently lives in Singapore and thoroughly enjoys his exposure to the cultural and cybersecurity diversity during his travels across the Asia Pacific and Japan region.


Sharon Babineau is a corporate wellness facilitator, decorated military soldier, inspirational speaker (inc TEDX), and author. Sharon’s unique life experiences have taken her around the world and has formed the perspective and wisdom she shares with audiences today. Sharon served overseas in the first ever Canadian Military NATO trial of women in a combat service support unit, a role that previously was restricted to males. This trial opened the door of equity for women in the Canadian Forces today. She tragically lost both her husband and young daughter to lengthy illnesses, having dedicated over a decade to their personal care.

Sharon i s a motivational speaker and continues to find meaning in tragedy; she is the founder of Maddie’s Everlasting Wish, an organization dedicated to her daughter, that inspires youth to make a difference in the world. As a past Regional Manager of the ALS Society, she has successfully lobbied for better Caregiver rights.  She has been recognized for the work she has done at home and in Africa.  She is the recipient of many awards including – Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. Her inspiring life story has been featured in print, radio, TV and on CBC’s show “No Opportunity Wasted.” (Phil Keoghan – Amazing Race) Sharon is the contributing author of three “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books, including “Family Caregiver” and author of the award winning book –”The Girl Who Gave Her Wish Away” a dedicated memoir of her daughter Maddie.

Sharon is an affiliate with Mindfulness without Borders, and SMART in Education (Stress Management and Resilience Training)program for educators and support staff. Sharon facilitates at The Centre for Compassion and Wisdom. Sharon is a trained Facilitator in Transformative Mindfulness and the international program, “Finding your Happy” a framework for making everyday life better.  A charismatic leader of “SHIFT your Mind, CHANGE your Life”, she has facilitated seminars, support groups and workshops for over a decade, and speaks from the heart as she shares personal life experiences and teaches effective self-help methods to create lasting positive changes, especially during times of uncertainty, increased stress, or loss.


Griffith joined RBC in 2017 with the Early Talent Acquisition team after experiencing a handful of industries: starting off in higher education; to briefly in event management; then to sponsorship marketing; and finally financial services. This exposure to HR & recruitment in various businesses has proven to give him a holistic approach to navigating the school-to-work transition. Now, Griffith recruits close to 200 students and new grads annually for all Finance, Audit, HR and Marketing roles across the bank. In addition, he is the lead Recruiter for the CPA Pre-Approved Rotational Program and supports the Indigenous Peoples Talent Development Program. It may seem that Griffith has always had a passion for the financial sector – however, that was not always the case. Upon graduation, even though the majority of his family was working in the Big Five banks, he wanted to go against the grain and not to dive into the corporate world. Then one day, he stumbled upon an initiative called RBC Future Launch – where a commitment was made by Dave McKay (RBC, CEO & President) to invest $500 million dollars to co-create opportunities for young Canadian professionals and to empower them for the jobs of tomorrow. This broke down all the stigma and barriers he had experienced with the stuffy corporate world and made this multinational corporation human to him. Future Launch not only helps youth gain valuable work experience, but also helps grow their network and gain new skills: from the rotational Career Launch Program; to thought leadership papers such as Humans Wanted; to the UpSkill module. This humanized the bank for him – RBC actually cares about the emerging workforce and are addressing issues before it becomes a crisis. He wants to drive this phenomenal initiative to help students and early talent to succeed and to truly unlock their potential to make a positive impact in our communities. When he is not recruiting top talent for RBC, he is delivering Personal Branding Workshops across Ontario so young professionals can improve on their soft skills, such as: active listening, communication, and critical thinking.


Luc Lagrandeur is a Professor in the Faculty of Management at Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ontario) teaching courses in marketing, case analysis and competitions, business venture creation, business launch and business consulting.  Luc has 10 years of practical marketing experience; he held positions such as Strategic Account Manager, Marketing Manager and Manager of Customer Relations for one of Canada’s largest information technology outsourcing company based in Montreal. In December 2013, he completed an executive DBA (D3C) in e-business at Université de Sherbrooke. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies (PhD) at University of Lille in France. His interests focus in the fields of e-marketing for businesses & local governments. His current research projects are 1) on the implementation strategies of local government offering e-services using the virtual organization model; and 2) the impact of online municipal services at the organizational level (efficiency) and the relationship and interaction level with citizens (efficacy).

Luc is the Academic Advisor for the Enactus Laurentian team and is the Business Competition Coordinator for the Faculty of Management. In his quest to foster socially responsible leaders for a global world, he encourages his students to be innovative and guides them to become entrepreneurs. In the past 2 years, he has overseen the start-up of 8 student-run companies in Northern Ontario. He has mentored students, via Enactus, in the implementation of 1) a social project that empowers youths with Autism to become entrepreneurs and 2) create a fundraising competition to help send kids with cancer to a summer camp. Last March, his students won 2nd place in a Not-for-profit business competition in Edmonton and they donated the $3000 prize to the Sudbury Hospice Foundation.


Jason Fobister is an incredible First Nations artist from the Grassy Narrows First Nations community, almost 2000 km away from Toronto. Jason is working hard to support their community and to make the world aware of the incredible culture of our first nations. They are also working hard in their own community to support youths through conversation, art, expression and being great role models. During a recent visit to Grassy Narrows First Nations, Sultan the CEO of Experience Your Life and his family met Jason. At the invitation of Sultan’s daughters, Jason graciously accepted to fly 2000 km and support the Expo through this presence. This is an incredible opportunity for youths in the GTA to gain a better understanding of First Nations culture and meet an amazing artist whose spiritually and soul will rock you.

Jason was the inspiration for Canada’s Youngest Social Entrepreneurs to start their journey and you can see their joint story at

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