Startup Canada is honoured to have the support of some of Canada’s leading and pioneering entrepreneurs as Patrons. The role of Startup Canada’s Patrons is to continue to publicly support and promote entrepreneurship in the community through their companies, community engagement and involvement with Startup Canada.
Dani Reiss has entrepreneurship in his DNA. A self-starter with an educational background in English literature from the University of Toronto, he always knew he wanted to be a storyteller. However, he never imagined he’d be writing new chapters in the history of an iconic Canadian outerwear brand as President and CEO of Canada Goose – a position he was named to at the age of 27.
Working in every area of the company’s factory, combined with an unexpected realization on a trip to Germany that Canada Goose parkas had inherent meaning, fuelled Reiss’ passion for real brands. Together, these foundational experiences informed his goal to expand the family owned and operated business while staying true to its Canadian roots.
Reiss keeps the brand’s pioneering spirit alive through a commitment to innovation and a willingness to go against the current. In fact, at a time when Canadian companies moved manufacturing operations to Asia en masse, Reiss made the unconventional decision to keep production in Canada. Made in Canada is the ethos of Canada Goose – both a cornerstone of corporate culture and a filter for every business decision. That dedication to authenticity has inspired a Made in Canada manufacturing renaissance, with Canada Goose leading the way.
International markets were first to recognize the value of Canada Goose as a brand that passed the quality craftsmanship test of its early adopters – arctic explorers and researchers – and had potential in the fashion segment. Overseas success led to domestic growth, cementing Canada Goose’s leading position in the luxury outerwear market. Over the past decade, Canada Goose has enjoyed enviable success under Reiss’ leadership, posting more than 3,000% growth. The brand is now available in more than 40 countries worldwide, across North America, Europe and Asia and Reiss was named Canada’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011.
Recently, Reiss opened a new chapter in the Canada Goose story, focusing his growth and product innovation efforts on leveraging the company’s market-leading expertise in down to create new categories of light-weight down outerwear. These new collections have been recognized as best-in-class product and the Hybridge Lite jacket was awarded the 2012 Gear of the Year Award by Outside Magazine. In addition to his role at Canada Goose, Reiss serves as Chairman of Polar Bears International, sits on the advisory board of Queen’s School of Business Centre for Responsible Leadership; is a patron at Startup Canada; a member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization); and was a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2008.
Dean MacDonald is President & Chief Executive Officer of Tuckamore Capital, a publicly traded diversified company that invests in successful Canadian private businesses. He is also CEO of Deacon Investments Ltd., a privately held company which invests in commercial real estate.
He has had a successful career as an operating executive and an entrepreneur, having served as Chief Operating Officer of Rogers Cable and Chief Executive Officer of Persona Communications.
Dean is currently a Director on the boards of Unitek, CommerceTel, Clearstream Energy Services, Quantum Murray Environmental Services and Airborne Mobile. He has also served as Chairman of Newfoundland and Labrador Energy Corporation, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Corporation, Churchill Falls Labrador Corporation, Canadian Cable Television Association and has previously served as a director on various other boards.
Dean’s accomplishments have been recognized through awards such as; Frederick T. Metcalf award for innovation in marketing, 1996 Alumnus of the year award for Gonzaga, 1997 Financial Post as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 award, 1998 Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries Leadership Award, 1998 Memorial University Faculty of Business Alumnus of the year, and in 2007 was selected by Birch Hill Capital Partners as CEO of the year.
Heather Reisman is the founder and CEO of Indigo Books & Music Inc., Canada's largest book retailer. Heather was born in Montreal, QC and educated at McGill University. For the first 16 years of her career, she was Managing Director of Paradigm Consulting, the strategy and change management firm she co-founded in 1979. Paradigm was the world's first strategic change consultancy and pioneered many organizational change strategies still in use today.
In 1992, Heather left Paradigm to become President of Cott Corporation. During her tenure as President, Cott grew from a Canadian-based regional bottler to the world's largest retailer-branded beverage supplier. Harvard wrote two case studies focusing on the company's growth and development under her leadership.
In 1996, she launched Indigo Books & Music Inc. Conceived as the booklovers' cultural department store, bringing Indigo to life was the culmination and integration of a life-long passion for books and music, and an entire career focused on understanding and building advanced organizations.
Heather is a former Governor of McGill University and of the Toronto Stock Exchange. She has served on many North American boards including Magna International, Suncor, and Rogers Communications Inc., and continues to serve on the board of Onex Corporation and Right to Play. She is also a Director and Officer of Mount Sinai Hospital, and a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee, a geo-political think group.
She is the recipient of several awards including Waterloo Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, University of Waterloo; International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, University of Manitoba; and the John Molson School of Business Award of Distinction, Concordia University. In June 2006, she was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce Degree from Ryerson University. Heather is the author of numerous articles, and is a frequent public speaker and television guest. Her goal is to build the Indigo/Chapters organization into the most valued retailer in the world for booklovers and their friends. Heather is married to Gerald Schwartz, Chair and CEO of Onex Corporation. She has four children and seven grandchildren.
James C. Temerty is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Northland Power Inc. (listed on the TMX as NPI) and is its largest shareholder. James has built a successful career as an entrepreneur in several industries. He is also a patron and supporter of numerous charitable and community institutions and causes in Canada and abroad.
James pioneered the independent power industry in Ontario with the founding of Northland Power Inc. in 1987 and the subsequent establishment of Northland Power Income Fund, which was one of the first power income trusts in Canada. As a result of the merger of these two entities in 2009, Northland Power Inc. became one of the largest developers, owners and operators of power plants in Canada.
Prior to the founding of Northland Power Inc., James owned and operated the world’s largest privately held chain of ComputerLand stores. He was also instrumental in the founding of Softchoice Corporation (listed on the TMX as SO), a foremost North American reseller of personal computer software and hardware. James served as Chair of Softchoice Corporation for 16 years and was its largest shareholder until December 2006. James began his business career with IBM where he held various progressive middle and senior management positions in Canada and the United States over a period of 15 years.
He is also an active community volunteer, serving as chair of the Board of Governors of the Royal Ontario Museum from 2002 to 2009.
He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007 and has been the recipient of many honours. In the most recent of such recognitions, James was named Canada’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
W. Brett Wilson is an entrepreneur who has been particularly successful in the oil and gas industry. He co-founded one of the industry’s leading investment banks, now one of Canada’s most respected companies. FirstEnergy Capital Corp. is a leader in institutional sales, trading, research, financings, and a pioneer in innovative corporate philanthropy. In addition to his energy interests, Brett has acquired holdings in real estate, agriculture, sport and entertainment. He is also Chairman of Canoe Financial, one of one of the top 20 mutual fund companies in Canada.
For the past three years, Brett has been a popular panelist on the reality show Dragons’ Den – one of Canada’s most watched television programs. He has used this platform to promote entrepreneurship and innovation to audiences throughout Canada. He is also host of Risky Business TV, which profiles unique opportunities for investment and entrepreneurship. He founded the W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Saskatchewan, promoting entrepreneurship among all disciplines, with a vision for becoming one of Canada’s pre-eminent centres for entrepreneurship.
A noted philanthropist, Brett has sought to inspire, engage, and lead the business community into seeing corporate social responsibility not as an obligation, but an opportunity. To help them realize their potential for giving back, he has organized dozens of highly popular – and successful – fundraising events that have not only raised awareness but also tens of millions for Canadian charities.
Respected for his principles and passion, Brett has received wide recognition for his business and philanthropic leadership. He has been singled out as Alberta’s Business Person of the Year, named Calgary’s Person of the Year, and recognized as a Nation Builder for his role in encouraging entrepreneurship, particularly among youth. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Royal Roads University. He became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011.
Duncan founded a Charlottetown, PEI based software company named Cogsdale in 1997 and led the company from a basement start-up to 140 staff at the time it was acquired by Constellation Software in 2010. Cogsdale’s growth was fueled by product innovation, aggressive sales efforts and effective acquisitions. The company’s success landed Cogsdale on several fastest growing company lists but more importantly the company was named one of Canada’s Top Employers in 2011. Today Duncan is President of Mullache Corporation, a holding company with investments in several private companies involved in manufacturing, real estate and professional basketball.
Duncan is a proud graduate of UPEI’s Bachelor of Business Administration program along with holding an MBA from St. Mary’s and a CMA designation. He was the recipient of the 2010 Ernst and Young Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year award. Today Duncan is President of Mullache Corporation, a holding company with investments in several private companies involved in manufacturing, real estate and professional basketball.