2022 World's Challenge Challenge Emcee & Judges

Rick Konrad

Rick Konrad

A science graduate of Western (1975), Rick earned his MSF from Northeastern University and completed the Harvard Business School Executive Program on behavioral investing. He earned his CFA charter in 1988 and his CFP® designation in 2004. A member of Western’s investment committee since 2008, Rick has served on the Board of Governors since 2014 and is currently the Chair.

After beginning his investment career as a portfolio manager, Rick becoming director at Sceptre Investment Counsel and a partner at Lincluden Management. In 2002, he founded Value Architects Asset Management which merged into Roosevelt Investments, now a business of CI Private Wealth Management US.

Rick has a long-standing interest in education as an adjunct instructor in retirement planning and investments at New York University, and has been actively involved in education programs in CFA Societies both in New York and Toronto. He was also a member of the Advisory Committee to The Center for Corporate Reputation Management at Drexel University.

Oana Branzei 

Oana

Oana Branzei is the Donald F. Hunter Professor of International Business and full professor of Strategy and Sustainability at the Ivey Business School. Oana is also the founding director of the Ivey Sustainability Certificate Program, the founder, convener and host of PhD Sustainability Academy, an annual event of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, and the co-founder of the Spring Institute on Abilities.

She serves on Western’s Senate, University Research Board, the Steering Committee for Carbon Solutions at Western, the Interdisciplinary Development Initiatives, and the Advisory Board of the Africa Institute. Ivey’s champion for the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Education during the past decade, Oana has recently pioneered the ESG and SDG platform for Ivey Publishing.

Oana heads her global Resilience lab, originally formed with funding from her Early Researcher Award, and currently featuring collaborations with rapid-response research teams tackling grand challenges on five continents.

Shoaib Rizvi

Shoaib

In 2012, Shoaib Rizvi founded I Am An Entrepreneur (IAE), a non-profit dedicated to advancing Pakistani women’s economic participation through microloans and training. In 2017, he was awarded the United Nations Outstanding Youth Delegate Award for his work promoting gender equality. In 2018, he was awarded the Resolution Fellowship at the UN General Assembly.

He has interned at the UN, where he attended and reported on high-level meetings, and participated in intergovernmental negotiations. He has been a speaker at several high-level conferences on sustainable development, including the TEDxWesternU, UN Youth Assembly, the World’s Challenge Challenge at Western University, and the youngest person to address the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit at Farmleigh House, the official Irish State guesthouse.

Shoaib earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Media, Information, and Technoculture from Western University, Canada, and a Master of Public Policy from Oxford University.

Nilmi Senaratna

Nilmi Senaratna

Nilmi is the Cofounder of Oolu, one of the fastest growing off-grid solar companies in West Africa. As Oolu’s former CEO and later Chief Business Development Officer, she led early stage fundraising, built the team to more than 230 full time employees, and managed new launch operations into 5 countries. Nilmi's company is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal and she is now a Board Advisor. To date, Oolu has closed more than $14M in financing and has brought energy services to over 500,000 people.

Now, based in central London, UK, she runs her own consulting firm called Nilmi Consulting that offers business advisory and growth consulting to impact investment firms, startups, and scale-ups globally. She is currently supporting Maanch, an impact technology company working to align companies with global sustainability frameworks and guide them in their ESG journey.

In her spare time, she authored the book "Impact," a book about her journey through social entrepreneurship.

Joel Faflak (Emcee)

Joel Faflak

Joel is a Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University, where he was inaugural Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities (2012-17).

He is author Romantic Psychoanalysis, co-author of Revelation and Knowledge, editor of De Quincey’s Confessions of An English Opium-Eater, co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism, and editor of 13 essay collections.

He is the recipient of a Faculty Scholar Award, the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature, and the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was twice Chair of the Literature panel for the Undergraduate Awards, where he was twice keynote speaker at the UA Global Summit in Dublin.