Event Image Details - multi_panelists
Thursday, May 9, 2024
11:45 AM
 - 1:30 PM
Fairmont Royal York

Increasing Canada’s Economic Resilience

Janet Bannister (Staircase Ventures), Trevor Dauphinee (Invest Ontario), Simon Kennedy (ISED) & Berkeley Vincent (Janssen Inc.) with Jodi Butts (WATSON)
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In today’s dynamic global environment, the imperative for economic resilience has never been more pressing. From navigating the transformative landscape of AI, to safeguarding against cyber threats and advancing life science research, the call for innovation and dedication to novel ideas has never been clearer. Join Canadian Club Toronto on May 9 for a discussion that will delve deep into strategies and initiatives aimed at fortifying Canada’s economic position amidst challenges and uncertainties.

We are honoured to have Deputy Minister Simon Kennedy from the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development kick off the event. Deputy Minister Kennedy will provide valuable insights into Canada’s current economic landscape and highlight the government’s initiatives to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.

Following his address, a distinguished panel of industry leaders will engage in a dynamic conversation moderated by Jodi Butts, Partner at WATSON, and featuring:

  • Janet Bannister – Founder and General Partner, Staircase Ventures
  • Trevor Dauphinee – CEO, Invest Ontario
  • Berkeley Vincent – President, Janssen Inc.

*Live stream for virtual guests starts at 12:40 pm ET*


Janet Bannister 

Founder and General Partner, Staircase Ventures

Janet is the Founder and General Partner of Staircase Ventures, which invests in Canada’s most promising early-stage technology companies. Staircase recognizes that founders are the bedrock upon which companies are built, and therefore provides unparalleled support to accelerating founders’ development and performance.

Prior to launching Staircase Ventures, Janet was Managing Partner at Real Ventures, one of Canada’s largest and most active early-stage investors. Janet is also a graduate of the prestigious Kauffman Fellows program, a global network of the world’s top 1% of venture investors and innovation leaders.

In addition, Janet is very active in the Canadian tech ecosystem; she is the Co-Chair of C100 and on the Boards of the Ivey Business School and LEAP, a social venture accelerator. She is also a mentor at Creative Destruction Lab. In addition, Janet was Honorary Co-Chair of the Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2023, the largest single fundraising event in Canada.

Janet has won numerous awards and recognition including Toronto Region Builder of the Year Award for 2023, Insider’s 2023 “Seed 30: The Best Women Early-Stage Investors in North America”, Venture Capital Journal’s 2021 “Women of Influence in Private Markets”, Pitchbook’s 2021 “Female Founders & Investors to Know”, and American Bankers’ 2019 “Most Influential Women in Payments”.

In 2004, Janet launched Kijiji.ca and grew it to become one of the most visited websites in Canada. Subsequently, she led the Kijiji Global business, launching the website in new countries and accelerating growth in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Janet also spent four years at eBay in Silicon Valley where she helped transform eBay from a collectibles to a mainstream marketplace, growing the business 400% year-over- year for four years. She started her career as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble and then joined McKinsey & Co. where she was an Engagement Manager. She also founded and built a successful consulting business and was CEO at a venture-backed start-up prior to joining Real Ventures.

Janet was a varsity long-distance runner at Western University, where she completed her business degree at Ivey, earning the Gold Medal. Post university, she switched to triathlons and two years later, became Canada’s National triathlon champion. She competed internationally on the National team for several years while working full time.


Trevor Dauphinee

CEO, Invest Ontario

Invest Ontario’s CEO, Trevor Dauphinee, is a leader with a unique blend of experience from both the private and public sectors.

Trevor understands the challenges and opportunities faced by businesses when it comes to investment decisions. He has over a decade of experience in the automotive, chemical, and consulting sectors, including extensive sales and account management with Dow Chemical.

Trevor has also held executive leadership positions at the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Treasury Board Secretariat, and the Ministry of Infrastructure, specializing in investment attraction and capital planning. He is recognized for his exceptional ability to forge strong and long-lasting relationships with investors, partners, companies, industry leaders and staff.

Trevor is a leader who gets things done. In just two short years, he has taken the agency from concept to securing over $2 billion in investments that have contributed to advancing Ontario’s prosperity.

Invest Ontario plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between business and government to drive economic growth in the province. With Trevor at the helm, the agency is delivering on its mandate of securing high-value and strategic investments that create high-quality jobs and growth in Ontario.


Simon Kennedy

Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Simon Kennedy was named Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, effective September 3, 2019.

Previously, he served as Deputy Minister of Health from January 2015. During his tenure at Health Canada, that department took on a national leadership role in responding to the opioids crisis; negotiated agreements with the provinces and territories to allocate $11 billion in new funding to home care and mental health services; and launched important reforms to pharmaceutical pricing, nutrition labelling, and vaping and tobacco product packaging. Mr. Kennedy also oversaw Health Canada’s implementation of the government’s initiative to legalize and regulate cannabis, including passage of the Cannabis Act.

Mr. Kennedy began his career with the public service in 1990 and has served in a variety of progressively senior roles in seven different organizations, including in six deputy minister–level appointments at the Privy Council Office; Industry Canada; Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada; Health Canada; and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. As the Canadian lead on the bi-national Beyond the Border Working Group, he negotiated with the White House the 2011 Canada-U.S. Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. He also served as the Prime Minister’s personal representative, or “Sherpa,” to the G20 from 2012 to 2014.

He holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Master of Science in Communications Management from Syracuse University and is a graduate of INSEAD’s Advanced Management Programme. Mr. Kennedy also received his ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and is co-chair of the ICD Ottawa Chapter. He has served on the boards of a variety of organizations, most recently the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, among others.


Berkeley Vincent

President, Janssen Inc.

He is a dynamic leader with more than 20 years of global pharmaceutical and healthcare experience.

As the President of Janssen Inc., he leads a diverse workforce of employees across Canada who are collectively committed to making a difference for patients and shaping change to improve the Canadian healthcare ecosystem.

He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Innovative Medicines Canada, the national association representing the voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry.


Jodi Butts

Partner, WATSON 

Jodi Butts is a Partner at WATSON where she leads governance reviews, board/director evaluations, board director searches, and advises boards and executives on a broad range of governance effectiveness matters. She brings more than 20 years of experience in governance and law, working with public and private corporations, public sector entities, member-based organizations, regulatory bodies, and not-for-profit organizations.

Jodi gained her deep governance expertise through her experience as a lawyer, CEO, senior executive, and as a director of public, private, and not-for-profit corporations. Jodi connects governance with people, strategy, and operations to bring a wealth of practical know-how to boards and executive teams.

Jodi currently serves as an independent director of Canada Goose Inc. and Tilray, Inc., and as Chair of The Walrus Board of Directors. She also holds advisory roles with Bayshore Home Healthcare and the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation. Jodi is a retired member of the University of Windsor Board of Governors. Previously, Jodi served as CEO of Rise Asset Development, and Senior Vice-President Corporate Affairs and Operations for Mount Sinai Hospital. In 2020, she launched the podcast @risk to explore how to better protect the things we care about most.

Jodi holds a BA (English Literature and History) from the University of Windsor and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto where she also received her master’s degree in Canadian history. And what Jodi really cares about – her family, hiking and Windsor.