Global Final Speakers

Ziya Tong

Ziya Tong

Award-winning host Ziya Tong has been sharing her passion for science, nature and technology for almost two decades. Best known as the co-host of Daily Planet, Discovery Canada’s flagship science program, she brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to the stage. Tong speaks on leadership, how to shift perspective, and the role of science and technology in society in her riveting and eye-opening talks.

Before co-hosting Daily Planet, Tong served as host and field producer for PBS' national primetime series, Wired Science, produced in conjunction with Wired magazine. In Canada, Tong hosted CBC's Emmy-nominated series ZeD, a pioneer of open source television, for which she was nominated for a Gemini Viewer's Choice Award. Tong also served as host, writer, and director for the Canadian science series, The Leading Edge and as a correspondent for NOVA scienceNOW alongside Neil deGrasse Tyson on PBS.

In the spring of 2019, she participated in CBC’s annual “battle of the books.” After a national four-day debate, she won Canada Reads.

In May 2019, Tong released her bestselling book The Reality Bubble. Called “ground-breaking” and “wonder-filled”, the book has been compared to The Matrix. It takes readers on a journey through the hidden things that shape our lives in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. Tong also won CBC Canada Reads that year for defending Max Eisen’s holocaust memoir, while her own book was short listed for the Charles Taylor Prize in 2020.

Tong received her master’s degree in communications from McGill University, where she graduated on the Dean's Honour List. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the World Wildlife Fund and is the founder of Black Sheep.

Phil Pallen

Phil PallenPhil Pallen is a personal branding expert and keynote speaker. His non-conventional approach to digital marketing and talent for social media has built him a global audience.

As a brand strategist, Phil has advised hundreds of brands from over 30 countries, including a Shark on Shark Tank, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, politicians, and some of the most important names in entertainment. A digital nomad and globetrotter, Phil has delivered speeches on five different continents and frequently appears as an expert contributor in media outlets around the world, including CNN, Access Hollywood, and The Daily Mail.


Jim Weese, PhD

Jim WeeseJim Weese is a leadership expert, a gifted speaker, and a community leader.          

Professor of Leadership and the former Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences (2004-2015) at Western University, Jim has also served as the Special Advisor to the Provost and on two occasions as the Acting Vice-Provost (International) at Western. He was the Dean of the Faculty of Human Kinetics (1999-2004) at the University of Windsor prior to moving to Western in 2004.

He teaches, consults, conducts research, and delivers speeches to local, national, and international audiences on the topic of leadership. He is recognized and heralded as a transformational academic leader and a leading authority in the area whose research papers appear in the top journals in his field. He has engaged and informed audiences across many sectors on the merits of a team approach to leadership. His “Five C” Concept of Leadership serves as the foundation to his approach to leadership and his most recent book (The 5C leader: Exceptional leadership practices for extraordinary times) has been well received by academic and practitioner audiences and has led to invited speeches for universities, corporations, and service clubs throughout Canada and the world.

He currently serves as the Founding Executive Director of the Western Leader Academy, an intensive leadership development program designed to develop future academic leaders.

Co-Founders, Goparity

GoParity founders

Goparity was co-founded by Blake Bunting, Emily Mercy and Elliot Warner, past participants in the Western Accelerator program offered by the Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship. 

Goparity is an impact finance platform and app that empowers citizens to use their money for good. With a mission to democratize access to impact investing, Goparity enables all types of investors to support Canadian projects that create positive social and environmental impact. They are scaling up to bring their proven impact finance model to Canada.