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About ventureON

Presented by CIBC


Join close to 1000 of our Achievers, Advisors, Sponsors, Alumni, Parents and other Special Guests as we celebrate the impact of our JA Central Ontario Company Program

During this special "I AM JA" Centennial edition of ventureON, you will have the chance to experience live DJs, award presentations, giveaways, and new for this year, live pitches from the top three finalists for JA Central Ontario Company of the Year.


Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Venue: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall
(31 King's College Circle)
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 PM
(Doors Open at 6:30 PM)
Cost: FREE (with registration)

Dress Code: Business

We want to hear about your ventureON experience! Don't forget to post and tag us using the information below.

Follow us on social media for event highlights and announcements too!

Instagram: @jacocompanyprogram

Facebook: @JACOCompanyProgram


Please Note: Food & Drinks will not be served at the event due to venue restrictions.

Please plan to eat before or after the event. 


Event Sponsors


Event Speakers

Meran Glass, Senior Accountant, KPMG

Preliminary Judging Process Presenter

Meran is a Senior Accountant at KPMG. KPMG LLP is the Canadian member firm of KPMG International and provides Audit, Tax, and Advisory services to many of the public and private business, not-for profit, and public sector organizations in Canada.

What advice would you give your high school self?

“Challenge yourself and stay curious, but make sure you follow your own path in life”

Sander Van Duijn, Head of Digital, IceMobile & Stephanie Rebello, Corporate Responsibility Specialist, LoyaltyOne

Battle of the Ads Presenter Sander is Head of Digital Americas’ and he and his team are focused on supporting Retailers in the Digital Transformation, creating sustainable competitive advantage by delivering Loyalty Solutions in combination with Loyalty One, BrandLoyalty and developing digital loyalty platforms and solutions for retail independently. In 2012, Sander sold his company to BrandLoyalty and joined IceMobile to combine the best User Experience practices and mobile applications, with the newest technologies and loyalty platforms, Magic Happens at the Intersection. In 2014 Sander and the team were honored with the Mobile Innovation Award, best Loyalty Program Digital. Before joining IceMobile in 2012, he served in several technology companies with an entrepreneurial approach, which leaded in starting his own successful digital platform company in the beginning of 2011. Sander has a Make it Happen mentality and is an executive and senior solution creator, with cultural acumen throughout Global territories. What advice would you give your high school self? Listen to the advice of experienced people, since they have already fallen into all the pitfalls that may still come your way. Battle of the Ads Presenter

Stephanie is a sustainability and non-profit partnership specialist, working to bring private businesses and social impact organizations together to create innovative collaborations. As Corporate Responsibility Specialist at LoyaltyOne, Stephanie supports the growth and development of their community investment programs, and diversity and inclusion strategy.

What advice would you give your high school self?

“High school is a chance to try as many new things as you want. Don't shy away from something just because you don't get it right away. If you are interested, go for it. Everyone is just as nervous as you...”

Joanna Williams, Adjudication Associate, RBC & Company Program Advisor

Award Presenter

Joanna is an Adjudication Associate at RBC and has been at RBC for 18 years. She is also the founder and Executive Director of a nonprofit/federal charity called Recreation Youth and Young Adults Inc. and heavily immersed in several other roles within the community at large seeking to make a difference wherever possible.

What advice would you give your high school self?

“Stay open to the many experiences life brings you and always stay thankful, grateful, and filled with wonder!”

Giancarlo Sessa, Co-Founder, Blade Filters Inc. & Company Program Alumnus

Award Presenter

Giancarlo participated in the company program for two years, winning the Company of The Year Award and the Gary and Joanne Reamey ROI Award. Since then he has started several companies, most recently being Blade Filters Inc.

What advice would you give your high school self?

“Take the risk and always learn from your mistakes.”

Henry Shi, Co-Founder, SnapTravel & Company Program Alumnus

Award Presenter

Henry is the Co-Founder of SnapTravel, the leading chatbot driving $100MM in hotel booking sales using AI and NLP. It is the #1 grossing bot on Facebook Messenger and raised $21MM USD in funding, including 2x NBA MVP Steph Curry. Henry was named as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in 2019.

What advice would you give your high school self?

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right"

Kara Golani, Sr. Strategist, L&D Strategy & Transformation, TD & Company Program Alumna

Award Presenter

Educator. Linguist. Mensan. Marketer. Entrepreneur. Change Agent. Consultant. Kara Golani has worn a lot of hats in both her personal and professional lives. At her core, Kara is passionate about the many ways we can use technology to solve today's most difficult problems and build a brighter future.

What advice would you give your high school self?

“Don't shy away from the things that make you different; what you're uniquely good at is what will set you apart and allow you to shine.”

Steven Fong, Philanthropist & Company Program Advisor

Award Presenter

Steven is a leader in promoting, implementing and enhancing information security best practices that enable the business to achieve long-term sustainable growth. He proactively manages IT risks in a simple, practical and cost-effective way. Over the past 20 years, he has successfully communicated, implemented, managed and trained on a wide range of preventive, corrective and detective controls that focus on people, process and technology.

What advice would you give your high school self?

“Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.’

Domenic Reda, Market Vice-President, CIBC

Presenting Sponsor Representive and Award Presenter

Dom is the Market Vice-President of CIBC, a leading global financial institution providing a full suite of products and services to over 11 million clients across Canada and around the world.

Dom started straight out of University in the Financial Planning industry. He then joined CIBC in 1994 as a Financial Adviser for 5 years. He was asked to lead a team of FA’s as a General Manager Imperial Service, which he did for another 5 years. Then finally, Dom was asked to lead a larger team as a District Vice President, which most recently changed to Market Vice President.

What advice would you give your high school self?

Take your time to discover what you really like to do and become the best you could be at it.

Doug Downey, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance

Provincial Government Representative

Prior to being elected, Doug established and ran a law firm. He is a certified specialist in real estate and obtained a Masters of Law in Municipal and Development Law.

He was elected in June 2018 to represent the riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte and currently serves as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance and Deputy Government Whip.

Rene Alvarez Fritsch, Account Manager, Shakouri Group & Company Program Alumnus

Event Emcee

Rene is an entrepreneurial minded leader with extensive experience as a communicator that believes in achieving greatness in all aspects of his life. He lives an entrepreneurial lifestyle, of setting goals, being self driven, chasing opportunities, and inspiring those around him. This lifestyle includes, backpacking the world, having an entrepreneurial and traveling video blog, networking with inspiring mentors and leaders, and representing business leadership programs like Junior Achievement.

Additionally, it includes his work with startup projects such as Shakouri Group, a digital marketing agency, and Cartoons Unleashed, a children arts development program. Rene currently holds a bachelor degree in commerce and finance from the University of Toronto and works as an account executive at Media Planet where he continues to develop his professional and entrepreneurial career.

Bart Nickerson, Vice President and GM, Rogers Wireless at Rogers Communications

Award Presenter Bart is currently the VP & GM of the wireless consumer business at Rogers. He has over 20 years of experience in the consulting, media and telecommunications industries and is an enthusiastic supporter of giving back to our communities. What advice would you give your high school self? Career plans are important but be brave enough to adapt them. Follow your instincts, work with good people and be curious - the rest will follow


Award Finalists

(click below to see a list of award finalists)

Individual Award Finalists


Group Award Finalists


ventureON FAQs

How do I get to University of Toronto Convocation Hall?

We encourage public transportation where possible - the closest subway stop is Queen's Park and Convocation Hall is a short walk from the station. If you are driving, we encourage you to allow for additional time to find parking. Parking is limited on King's College Circle but there are a number of parking lots on campus: http://map.utoronto.ca/access/parking-lots

Is there assigned seating at the event?

Seating will be first come, first serve. We ask that teams sit together as a team with any individual award finalists taking a seat on the aisle (or closest to the aisle). This will ensure that award recipients can easily access the stage if needed. We ask that teams fill the rows closest to the stage first. Parents, friends and family are welcome to sit behind teams at the back or the sides of the venue.

How can I reserve a spot at ventureON?

To register for the event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/ja-ventureon-company-program-celebration-2019-presented-by-cibc-tickets-59444927378

How can I pre-register for Company Program next year?

You can pre-register for the 2019/2020 Company Program cycle and we will email you as soon as registration officially opens in early September! Remember that registration is first come, first serve so pre-registering will ensure you won't miss out. Feel free to share the link with your high school friends across the GTA. Pre-register here.

Is there food and drink at the event?

Unfortunately, due to venue restrictions we are unable to serve food and drinks at the event. Please plan to eat before or after the event.