Muppies is honoured to host world class speakers at this year’s annual leadership conference. All keynotes, panel discussions, and breakout sessions will be anchored in 4 key attributes that make a global leader: leads with values, thinks beyond borders, embraces diversity, and finds global solutions. Each speaker will be relating work in their respective fields to these key attributes.


Mehmood Khan is PepsiCo’s Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of Global Research and Development. With net revenues of more than $63 billion, PepsiCo’s businesses make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are respected household names around the world.

In his role, Dr. Khan oversees the PepsiCo global Performance with Purpose sustainability initiatives, inspired by the fundamental belief that business success is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world we share. He also leads PepsiCo’s research and development (R&D) efforts, creating breakthrough innovations in food, beverages and nutrition—as well as delivery, packaging and production technology—to capture competitive advantage and drive PepsiCo’s businesses forward.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dr. Khan was president of Global R&D, for Takeda, Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company. Previously, Dr. Khan was a faculty member at the Mayo Clinic and Medical School and led programs in diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism and nutrition at the Hennepin County Medical Center.


The secret Life of Muslims has emerged as a landmark digital series, employing humor and empathy to counter Islamophobia. The Emmy nominated series has been viewed more than 35 million times since the US Presidential Election. Muppies will host Executive Producer Joshua Seftel, an Emmy-winning filmmaker (War, Inc., Queer Eye, This American Life) along with other members of the team that made the series possible for a panel discussion, short exclusive screening, and a look behind the scenes of the show.


Farzana Nayani is a recognized Diversity & Inclusion specialist and is the Founder and CEO of Manazil Management, LLC – a boutique brand management and communications strategy firm. She has worked with Fortune 500 corporations, public agencies, higher education institutions, and non-profit organizations as a consultant and trainer on diversity and inclusion, intercultural communication, supplier diversity, and employee engagement. Farzana’s advisory work with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), small business advocacy, and entrepreneurship has taken her to engagements across North America, from the White House to Silicon Valley. Her subject matter expertise on global community relations is recognized in her work with institutions like the Smithsonian and the East-West Center. A featured author, speaker, and executive coach, Farzana drives organizations to lead more effectively and “reimagine inclusion”. She is based in Los Angeles, CA and shares more of her expertise at


Chris Blauvelt is a passionate Muslim American entrepreneur committed to reviving the goodness of humanity. At the age of 16, Chris was inspired to become Muslim in part through the Autobiography of Malcolm X, who imprinted in him the desire to leave a lasting legacy of change. Once accepted into engineering school at the University of Michigan, Chris led his Muslim student organization to win awards and recognition while graduating at the top of his class. Shortly afterwards, Chris trotted down a new path,  receiving his Mater’s degree in Educational Leadership before founding Launch Good. Chris’ wild, varied background includes engineering at Intel, teaching at an elite boarding school, founding an Arabic non-profit, and producing an award-winning Sundance film.

He is the founder and CEO of LaunchGood, the world’s largest faith-inspired crowdfunding platform that has raised over $15 million across 77 countries for thousands of campaigns from Muslims repairing vandalized Jewish cemeteries to sending hijabi athletes to the Olympics. Chris has been invited across the world to participate in premiere events from dinner at the White House to speaking at SXSW and teaching entrepreneurship in Malaysia and Singapore as a guest of their U.S. Embassies.


Samra Zafar is an Award-Winning International Speaker, Community Leader, Scholar, Author and Entrepreneur. After escaping a decade of abuse as a child bride in a forced marriage in Canada, Samra pursued her education while working multiple jobs and raising her two daughters as a single parent. She became the top graduate at the University of Toronto, winning several prestigious awards, including the John H Moss Award, a $17,000 scholarship awarded to the most outstanding student across all three University of Toronto campuses. She now serves as an Alumni Governor for the University of Toronto, while pursuing a rewarding career in commercial banking at Royal Bank of Canada.

Samra speaks on a wide variety of topics including authentic leadership, resilience, women empowerment, diversity and inclusion, gender inequality and violence, youth empowerment, and mental health. Her speaking portfolio includes two TED Talks, Amnesty International, WE, Women’s Business Network and many major corporations, associations and non-profits across North America and beyond. Her 2017 TED Talk was named an all-time top 10 talk on gender-based violence. She has been a guest lecturer in many major universities including Yale Law School. She is the national spokesperson for Canada Pakistan Affiliated Chamber of Trade.

Samra is frequently featured in many national and international media, impacting tens of millions of people worldwide. Samra’s book, being published by Harper Collins, arrives in bookstores across Canada in March 2019, and international rights are currently being sold.


Dr. Haroon Ullah is Chief Strategy Officer for the US Agency for Global Media, an $850 million global media agency. A former senior adviser to three Secretaries of State, Dr. Ullah’s expertise includes digital transmedia strategy, artificial intelligence and the political economy of transition states. He served as a Harvard University Belfer Fellow, is a Peabody TV Award recipient, teaches at Georgetown University and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. An award-winning author, Dr. Ullah recently published his fourth book Digital World War (Yale University Press).


Kashif Shaikh is a first-generation American Muslim, and is the co-founder and executive director of Pillars. Along with a group of five American Muslim philanthropists, he founded the organization in 2010 in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust to ensure that future generations of American Muslims have access to all of the freedoms and the opportunities by advancing an understanding of the American Muslim community. Under his leadership, he has grown the organization into a leading voice for American Muslims and built partnerships with some of the country’s most respected civic institutions.

Prior to launching Pillars, Kashif was a Program Officer at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. In this role, Kashif managed dynamic charitable partnerships with the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls and other corporate entities, overseeing $5 million in annual grantmaking. Kashif’s career began at the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, where he developed key strategies to engage the organization’s largest corporate partners. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Kashif holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio State University and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Theological Seminary and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.


Qaisar Shareef concluded in 2011 a career of nearly 30 years with Procter & Gamble, a major American multinational consumer products company. While he joined the company at its Cincinnati, Ohio headquarters in 1981, he spent a dozen years living and working abroad as P&G country manager in startup ventures in the emerging markets of Pakistan and Ukraine. The subsidiaries he led in those two countries continue to thrive today, in spite of difficult geopolitical ws in these regions. P&G Pakistan was specifically recognized by the U.S. Department of State with an Award for Corporate Excellence in 2012.

In his first book, When Tribesmen Came Calling: Building an Enduring American Business in Pakistan, published in 2017 by Blue Ear Books, Qaisar narrates his experiences successfully building American businesses in these emerging markets, sharing learning about how business success was achieved in these difficult markets and exploring the interplay among business, economics, culture, and politics. While working to build his company’s business in these markets, he was witness to historical political events that continue to shape Pakistan and Ukraine. He tells these stories in an engaging and informative way – as only an eyewitness can.

He is an advisory partner at Ward Howell International, a global executive search and management consultancy firm. He has taught as adjunct faculty in International Marketing in the School of International Business at the George Washington University.

Qaisar is now based in the Washington, DC area, where he serves on the boards of many organizations from the Pakistani-American and American Muslim communities. He also serves on the Leadership Council of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a Washington D.C. based think tank.

Originally from Pakistan, Qaisar first moved to Cincinnati in 1977. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.


Muneeza Sheikh practices in the area of labour law and employment law in Toronto, Richmond Hill, the GTA and across Canada. She provides advice and representation in employment law matters to corporations and executives, including termination, dismissal, hiring, contracts, human rights and employment litigation. Muneeza successfully resolves difficult and complex employment law matters, both litigious and non-litigious. Muneeza has a significant media presence in Toronto and across Canada, and appears regularly on CBC, Global, City TV, CTV, and CP24 as one of the leading experts in Canada on labour law, employment law, and human rights issues. Muneeza also sits on the panel for the Global Morning show, and CBC with Carole MacNeil.


Armughan Ahmad is a technology executive with 25 years of experience leading digital transformation businesses globally by building diverse teams that engineer and deliver client outcomes across industry segments. He is a innovator and dot connector transforming industries by leveraging government, research and technology alliances to commercialize offers that advance human and machine collaboration in the 4th industrial revolution. Armughan has delivered award winning innovative Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Mobility and Security solutions across North American, European and Asian markets by collaborating with $10M start-up’s to large $100bn plus corporations. Armughan served as the global Senior Vice President at Dell Technologies and previously held executive positions at Hewlett Packard, Huawei and 3Com building world class teams that are powering the Fortune 500 and commercial industries to advance the next economy. Armughan also serves on non-profit boards as a passionate promoter of girls education in STEM, mental health and developing world initiatives.


Fawad Bajwa conducts C-suite and board searches, succession and leadership assessments, and advises on talent and organizational strategy, working with clients and teams around the world. He is a global member and Canadian leader in the Industrial and Natural Resources and Healthcare Sectors. Fawad specializes in complex operations, technology (artificial intelligence, robotics, industry 4.0) and commercial leaders. He is jointly based out of Toronto and New York.

Prior to joining Russell Reynolds Associates, Fawad was a Management Consultant with A.T. Kearney, where he led engagements on strategy, operations and organization-related topics. His expertise included strategic due diligences and post-acquisition operating models, organization and cost transformations, as well as end-to-end supply chain optimizations. During his tenure, Fawad’s experience spanned CPG, industrial, natural resources, healthcare and financial services industries. Previously, he was a consultant with Deloitte, where he worked on technology strategy and transformation topics. Earlier in his career, Fawad worked in various engineering and operations roles at ExxonMobil, Autoliv (legacy Ford Visteon manufacturing) and Kraft Foods.

Fawad received his BASc in mechanical-mechatronics engineering from the University of Toronto and his MBA from INSEAD in France and Singapore. He is also a licensed professional engineer (P.Eng.).


Ali has been with BMO for 29 years. During these years he has held over 19 different roles.

For the last 15 years his primary focus has been to drive transformational changes and bring new and innovative approaches including pioneering Robotics and AI for BMO. Ali has earned the reputation of an enterprise leader who delivers results with a strong focus on employee engagement, culture and innovation.

In addition to his professional career; Ali is actively involved in the community. He is a strong advocate for diversity, youth employment and education. He is currently serving as vice chair for the Canadian Mental Health Association and Enbridge ride to conquer cancer supporting Princess Margaret Hospital.  He is also actively involved with Ryerson University including mentoring the top 200 emerging leaders and MBA students. Ali is a certified global mentor with Everwise; coaching new emerging leaders in various companies across the world.

Ali loves to cycle any chance he gets & publishes articles on subjects he is passionate about, some of which have been featured on management sites and have become a teaching case for universities.

Ali holds an EMBA from the Ivey School of Business. He also holds a B.Sc. and Masters in Project Management from Schulich. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Lean Enterprise Practitioner.

Ayana Ife, born October 22nd 1989 in Brooklyn NY, is an American Modest Contemporary Woman’s Designer, Fashion Influencer, Actor, Orater and Entrepreneur. Ifes clothing brand provides trendy solutions for modest consumers using ingenuity in design approach. Ifes mission is to guide the fashion industry into paralleling the mainstream market, with its modest counterpart in ready to wear, performance, swim, bridal, special occasion, and more.

Today Ife and her brand Ayana Ife are committed to making an enduring impact for women who desire trendy modest clothing. Ife’s drive stems from the fashion industries deficit in easily accessible modest clothing options, widespread representation, as well as the desperate need for industry inclusion throughout the US.

Ife graduated Magna Cum Lude from Middle Tennessee State University earning her Bachelor of Science in Textiles Merchandising and Design. Also Staring as a finalist in the hit TV show in 2017, Project Runway Season Sixteen where she debuted her fully modest collection at New York Fashion Week. Ifes work, vision, and perspective have gained her recognition in publications such as Marie Claire Magazine, The New York Post, Racked and many others. Her Public speaking engagements and appearances shed light on the importance of modest fashion options in today’s mainstream market.

Ayana Ife believes modest fashion provides a very important wider variety for confident, self loving, unapologetic women who demand to look good and feel heard in what they wear. Ife encourages all her Sisters to be Empowered, Fearless and Influential, one outfit at a time.

~Stay current with Ayana Ife at and @ayanaife.



Tendisai is a filmmaker, writer, and journalist who founded New Narrative Films in 2014. She is also the Festival Coordinator for the award-winning documentary The Last Animals. She previously worked in the production department at the Canadian Film Centre and ran print traffic at NorthwestFest, a documentary film festival held every year in Edmonton. In 2014, Tendisai participated in the Doc Accelerator program offered by Hot Docs. Her foray into journalism began on the streets of Palestine as a reporter for a Ramallah-based publication. Tendisai has since written for various publications and produced radio segments at CBC’s The Current while also completing the Master of Journalism program at Ryerson University. She also writes fiction and her short stories have been published in This is World TownBrittle Paper, and in an anthology. One of her short stories was shortlisted for the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing and will be published in 2018. Above all, Tendisai is a stargazing, nature-loving, tea-drinking space enthusiast who divides her time between Edmonton and Toronto with her husband and daughter.


Nabeel and Maryam Shah are lifestyle influencers sharing their journey through their blog Thread & So, the reflections of a young couple living their life and sharing the moments they love. Throughout their lives together, they have inherited a passion for good food, healthy living, their dog, beautiful clothes, and a luscious head of hair (Maryam calls it Leo). Thread & So doesn’t have a traditional theme as most blogs do. It is a medium for them to share their passions with the world, which includes style inspirations, grooming routines, beauty tips, recipes, and everything else.


Ali is an investor and entrepreneur. He founded Crescent Crypto Asset Management to fill the demand for institutional quality passive investment vehicles in the cryptocurrency market.

Prior to Crescent Crypto Ali was an associate at a NY based family office, and was responsible for spearheading VC opportunities. Prior to that, Ali was a venture analyst at Fairview Capital Partners, and a member of the investment team. He focused on deal sourcing, due diligence, valuations, and investment monitoring for Fairview’s venture capital, and co-investment portfolios.

Mr. Hassan started his career as an investment analyst at Goldman Sachs where his responsibilities included executing syndicate sales for the investment bank’s IPO and follow on offerings, managing a portfolio of $4.5B in private assets, and trading highly illiquid publicly traded small cap securities. Prior to Goldman, Ali founded and sold Swim Academy, an online marketplace that connected former NCAA swimmers with potential students for private swimming instruction.

Ali graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Honors B.S. in International Trade and Economics from Saint Peter’s University, writing his senior thesis on the socio-economic and political impact of oil in Egypt. Ali was also captain of the university’s NCAA Division I swim team.


Usman Sheikh is a Litigation Partner in the Gowling WLG Toronto office. He is the National Head of the Blockchain & Smart Contract practice group as well as the firm’s National Litigation Lead – Securities, Compliance & Investigations . He has extensive experience in complex corporate / commercial, securities, administrative and crypto-currency litigation. In 2016, Usman was recognized by Benchmark Canada’s Definitive Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys as a “Future Star” in litigation.

Prior to joining Gowlings, Usman was a Prosecutor / Litigation Counsel in the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission. Prior to that, Usman served as an associate with a premier litigation boutique in Toronto.

Usman has authored over 25 publications. He is also a frequent lecturer at the University of Toronto (Faculty of Law), Osgoode Hall Law School, the DeGroote School of Business (McMaster University) as well as at various continuing legal education seminars and conferences on securities law, corporate law and administrative law. He is also authoring the upcoming book, The Law of Blockchain Technology.

He currently serves as co-Chair of the American Bar Association Securities Litigation Sub-Committee responsible for Canada as well as the National President of the Canadian Friends of the LSE, the national alumni association for the London School of Economics in Canada.


Qasim Rashid is a best-selling and critically acclaimed author, practicing attorney, former visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Prince AlWaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies program, a current Truman National Security Fellow, and national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.

Qasim’s latest book #TalkToMe: Changing the Narrative on Race, Religion, & Education launched in 2016. #TalkToMe is a non-fiction memoir on how the power of dialogue can overcome racism, xenophobia, intolerance, and violence. Previously, Qasim published EXTREMIST: A Response to Geert Wilders & Terrorists Everywhere (2014), which became an Amazon #1 Best Seller on Islam, and the critically acclaimed book, The Wrong Kind of Muslim: An Untold Story of Persecution & Perseverance (2013).


Luma is an accomplished executive with more than 22 years of global experience leading business transformation, delivering strategic changes in dynamic and complex environments for regulated businesses. She is a strategic thinker, with a successful track record formulating business strategy to identify opportunities for further business growth, efficiency, risk mitigation and optimization.

Luma is also an advisor for top tier clients in Financial Services on matters related to regulatory compliance, spending and complex delivery optimization, business transformation, technology modernization, target operating model design, change management, and developing a proactive risk culture.

She has an established track record of generating consulting profit margins, selling complex services and solutions, managing executive relationships, driving strategy, performance improvement, and enhancing market position.

Luma is an experienced leader who exhibits a high level of expertise, insight, energy, focus, and discipline in all her endeavors. Through authentic mentorship and coaching, she builds high-performance teams. She is a savvy stakeholder navigating and cultivating great relationships across all functions and disciplines, and at all levels of the organization.


Taleeb is a strategic executive focused on growing and building innovative technology companies. With a focus on international expansion, strategic growth, business and corporate development, Taleeb has delivered outstanding product transformation and business growth across North America, the Asia – Pacific and Europe. A highly skilled negotiator and a people – centric manager, Taleeb has built strong, dynamic teams – and delivered deals with industry leaders – that have consistently delivered value, innovation and substantial ROI. He has led M&A deals in several countries, and has established a reputation as a leader that can manage people and fast growing organizations around the world at the highest level.


Arif Virani is COO at DarwinAI, a software company that is changing the way that developers design, optimize and monitor AI applications.  At Darwin, he is responsible for shaping the company’s go-to-market strategy and product roadmap, as well as setting up business operations.   He started his career as a Software Developer, and then transitioned to McKinsey and Company where he was a leader in the Business Technology practice. He has helped Fortune 500 companies plan technology investments, enter new verticals, and implement large-scale initiatives.  He co-founded an advanced analytics solution for sales and CRM data within McKinsey’s New Ventures division.  Arif completed his Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and his Bachelor’s in Applied Science (Computer Engineering) at the University of Waterloo.


Zaynah is a 14-year-old student who is passionate about artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Zaynah has developed many AI algorithms as well as virtual reality experiences, and has been supported by companies like Google, CIBC, TD, and Microsoft. Zaynah is part of a program called The Knowledge Society (TKS), a human accelerator that exposes high school students to exponential technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, brain computer interfaces, and more. Her mentors and advisors represent some of the leading companies in the AI and VR/AR space.


Hamza Khan is a multi-award winning marketer & entrepreneur. He’s the Managing Director of Student Life Network, Canada’s most comprehensive resource hub dedicated to helping and empowering millions of students across the country. He co-founded both Splash Effect, a boutique marketing & creative agency, as well as SkillsCamp, a soft skills training company. He is the author of an Amazon bestselling book, “The Burnout Gamble.” From TEDx stages and national conferences to MBA classrooms and Fortune 500 boardrooms, Hamza is regularly invited to deliver keynotes and workshops around the world. He is a faculty member at Seneca College and Ryerson University, teaching courses on digital marketing and social media. Through his consulting, writing, teaching and speaking, Hamza empowers people and businesses to transform ideas into action. Learn more at


Safeeya’s empathy is the driving force behind her community involvement. She is committed to grassroots initiatives, understanding the importance of using community perspectives to drive social change that is inclusive of all. Her involvement with non-profits includes working towards civically engaging marginalized communities with The Canadian-Muslim Vote; and founding WeFem to create an inclusive space for people to discuss issues in the community through collaborative learning and dialogue series.

Being politically involved since 2014, Safeeya understands the importance of equal representation in a functional democracy. She has worked as a campaign lead for Member of Parliament Omar Alghabra and after the team had a successful campaign, moved to Ottawa to work on Parliament Hill as his executive assistant. Safeeya’s political involvement will allow her to represent city council with knowledge and experience.

As a social entrepreneur, she is always trying to develop new ways to connect people and ideas. She is the founder of PONTIO, a social networking platform that bridges students to volunteer work in their community. This initiative was constructed in partnership with the DMZ and with the financial support of Ryerson University. Her entrepreneurial mind will spark innovation in the City of Mississauga. She has also worked in the private sector as a business development director for a Montreal based company to help them expand to markets in the United States.


Ahmed Haque is the Chief Academic Officer of Trilogy Education Services, a New York-based workforce accelerator that partners with the world’s leading universities to help companies close the digital skills gap. Thousands of adult learners, from diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, have used Trilogy powered programs to propel themselves into fulfilling careers in the tech sector. Prior to Trilogy, Ahmed was a medical device researcher and community organizer in Houston — where he established volunteer initiatives focused on homelessness, youth education, and communal discourse. He is also the creator of Grassroot Islam a, Houston-based, safe-space forum for discussing critical (and “taboo”) topics affecting the Muslim American community.


Talha Zubair is a Director of Global Digital Strategy and Transformation at MetLife, where he is responsible for helping drive the company’s digital strategy and execution. Previously, he worked at Capital One’s Innovation Lab, and in management consulting at A.T. Kearney. Talha is a graduate of the HBA program at Ivey Business School (Western University). In his free time, he enjoys playing squash, watching documentaries and reading non-fiction.


Katherine Bullock received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto (1999). She is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto at Mississauga. Her teaching focus is political Islam from a global perspective, and her research focuses on Muslims in Canada, their history, contemporary lived experiences, political and civic engagement, debates on the veil, and media representations of Islam and Muslims. Her publications include: Muslim Women Activists in North America: Speaking for Ourselves, and Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil: Challenging Historical and Modern Stereotypes which has been translated into Arabic, French, Malayalam, and Turkish. Bullock is President of Compass Books, dedicated to publishing top-quality books about Islam and Muslims in English, and Director of Research at The Tessellate Institute, a non-profit research institute in Canada. She has been on the board of Islamic Society of North America- Canada since 2015, most recently acclaimed as Chair this January.  She served as editor of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (AJISS) from 2003 – 2008. She was Vice President of the North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies (NAAIMS) from 2013-2017. Originally from Australia, she lives in Oakville, Canada with her husband and children. She embraced Islam in 1994.


Councilor Zeeshan Hamid is an active community member and has served on a number of boards and committees spanning over two decades. As one of the fewer than 4% of visible minority Councillors in Ontario, he has held this position for 2 terms and is running for re-election in 2018. Outside of politics, Councillor Hamid is a fellow Muppy and works as a  Software Development Manager in Amazon in Toronto.

At a time when the greater Canadian community was preparing to welcome new Syrian families to our great country, Hamid raised over $150,000 in private donations to sponsor 7 families in Milton. His sold-out bowling fundraiser raises over $10,000 every year for youth mentoring in Milton. He is the former president of Milton Toastmasters as well as former chair of Milton Economic Development. Councillor Hamid’s expertise on sustainability and livable communities helped pave the way in improving Milton’s ranking in Canada’s Best Places to Live list from number 151 to number 6.

He is one of the only two Councillors who’ve served as Milton’s budget chair who is currently a director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton & Hamilton as well as the Milton Public Library.


Maaz Rana is a co-founder at Knockri, and a leader in HR transformation and A.I ethics. Being an advocate of diversity, inclusion and belonging, he’s currently changing the way people are selected for interviews by creating, Knockri; an A.I video assessment tool that helps diminish unconscious bias and has proved to equitably improve the gender and ethnic makeup in the workplace.

Maaz works with Fortune 500’s such as IBM, and is on the MaRS DIBS Council. He’s been recognized by Amnesty International as a thought leader in “The Future of Work” and “Disruption of Artificial Intelligence.” He’s also a co-contributor with LinkedIn on the Future of Work report “How the Canadian Economy will Survive the Future” – Authored by CivicAction and commissioned by the Government of Canada.

Maaz and his team have also been awarded Innovators of the Year by Ascend; North America’s largest Diversity & Inclusion Organization for business professionals. The fast growing venture has been featured on Dailymail, Bloomberg, CBC National, Forbes, The Globe, Huffington Post, MaRS, Tech Crunch, Venture Beat, Business Insider as well as other notable publications.

Maaz is invited to speak on topics covering diversity, inclusion and belonging, the future of work, HR transformation, as well as other various topics concerning artificial intelligence and disruption.


Maleeha Sheikh joined the CityNews team in July 2018. At a very young age she knew she wanted to be a reporter because she loved to ask questions and get to the bottom of things. Maleeha has an Honours degree in Professional Writing from York University and a diploma in Broadcasting Journalism from Seneca College.

Since graduationg in 2010, Maleeha has worked as a web journalist, morning show reporter, videographer for a number of local outlets in TV. Maleeha was born in Toronto and in her spare time she loves to read, work out, try new restaurants and most importantly spend time with her little boy and husband.


Saima is currently AVP Digital at TD and has over 18 years of experience in Digital and Transformation helping companies navigate strategy, customer experience and innovation through to delivery to create value for customers and shareholders.  In addition, Saima is a strong advocate for Women and Leadership, specifically in Digital and Tech, and leads this pillar for TD and also leads the TD partnership with #movethedial as a Global Ambassador. In addition she is actively involved in the community currently as a board member at IDRF, a global charity focused on humanitarian support,  and recently launched the MaxGala initiative MaxWomen focused on cultivating leadership for all Muslim Women.


Jahanzaib Ansari is a leader in Transformative HR Technology and is the Co-founder and CEO of Knockri, an Artificially Intelligent Video Soft Skill assessment tool that diminishes unconscious bias and has proved to hire a more racially and gender diverse workforce. He works with fortune 500’s such as IBM, and was recently named to Forbes Technology Council for his unique AI application in Talent Acquisition.

Knockri merges Computer Vision, A.I. and Industrial Organizational Psychology to short-list the best fit candidates objectively. It ensures a candidate’s name, gender, race or accent are never taken into consideration in determining desirability of a better hire. The fast-growing venture has been featured in numerous media outlets including: Forbes, Bloomberg, CBC’s National, Tech Crunch, Huffington Post, Venture Beat, Business Insider, The Globe, MaRs, and many other notable publications.

For his efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive work force, in March of 2018, he was awarded as “Innovator of the year” by Ascend, one of the largest Diversity and Inclusion organizations for business professionals in North America.

In addition, Jahanzaib is often invited to share his thoughts on A.I. Transformation, The Future of Work, Unconscious bias and Diversity, at major events in North America.


Danish Munir joined Genoa Healthcare in 2015. Danish is responsible for driving the strategy and execution for the Telepsychiatry Business Unit’s Product, Engineering & Marketing teams and positioning Telepsychiatry to become a larger player in the Behavioral health industry and within Genoa.

Previously, Danish was Co-Founder and CTO of 1DocWay, a New York City-based startup that used telepsychiatry to expand access to mental healthcare in underserved areas and to give behavioral health providers more control over their careers. Danish and his team built the technology-enabled-services company from scratch, treating 25,000 patients before being acquired by Genoa in November of 2015.

Prior to 1DocWay, Danish worked at Microsoft, on a transformational team that was charged with using data science and analytics to secure Microsoft’s customers and to improve Microsoft’s products by enhancing their resilience to digital threats. The team was one of the key investments by Microsoft that brought them out of the era of being dogged by security concerns. Danish led the anti-phishing and parental-control analytics areas of the business.

Prior to Genoa, Danish has over a period of 7 years consulted with a number of early stage startups in the healthcare, health-data and consumer space including Leo Health (pediatric full stack startup) among others to help them refine and develop and execute on product strategy. Danish also co-founded ComstarUSA, a software development house that enabled US startups to leverage off-shore engineers in an easy and affordable way.

Danish received dual-degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, including a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Engineering. Danish grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and is an avid hiker.


Farhan Manjiyani, based in Austin, TX,  is the youngest rep on the sales floor of high-growth, profitable startup TrendKite. By applying the power of big data analytics, TrendKite dramatically improves the real time detection of brand relevant news, quantifies how it impacts the brand, their competitors, and the industry, and enables beautiful reporting with a single click. In addition, Farhan is Chief Operating Officer at a rapidly growing startup called Seekr. Through an innovative marketplace, Seekr empowers you to get paid to do what you love. Like most startups, his role is mainly putting out fires across the organization. His prior experiences range from consulting, business development, and change management experiences spanning 4 countries and 3 continents at organizations such as PwC, Altamont Group, and CoverGo.

Farhan has a long history of serving the communities in which he resides as well as his own community — the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. A few examples include serving as “Magician” (Change Management Consultant) for Jubilee Monuments Corporation — a non-profit organization that focuses on spiritual, intellectual, emotional and social development of Ismaili Muslim youth, Head of Operations at The Ismaili Student — a civil society initiative which seeks to develop technologies to aid the progress of the Ismaili community, as well as building relationships as community manager for IPN Build — an invite-only online community for founders, startup employees, mentors, advisors, angel investors, and VC’s.

A fun fact about Farhan is that he is a points and miles aficionado, tracking earnings across 10 credit cards to redeem free flights, hotels, and exclusive access to entertainment across the world.


Shakeeb is the Co-Founder and President of East Bridge Capital, a public markets investment firm. Currently, East Bridge manages approximately $2 billion of capital. Prior to forming East Bridge in 2011, Shakeeb worked as an investor across both public and private markets. Shakeeb began his career as an investment banker and has over 20 years of experience in finance and investing.

In addition to his business activities, Shakeeb is involved with several non-profit organizations. Currently, Shakeeb serves on the Leadership Council at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and as a Trustee of the Hartford Seminary where he serves on its Investment Committee. Shakeeb earned a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


Huda Alvi is a mother, stepmother, entrepreneur and woman’s activist. Huda is the Co-founder of The Girls Trip, a travel tour company focused on activating women’s travel in bucket-list destinations around the world. She is also the Co-founder of HER Summit, an all-female summit launching in Toronto on May 24th. Huda’s entrepreneurial journey started when she was 18 when she founded her first direct marketing company and then moved onto forming another HR Consulting firm for 8 years. Through social media she has been able to share her journey as a Muslim woman who overcame stigmas of divorce, being a single mom and then getting remarried in 2012. Huda shares her online journey through raw and real story telling and encouraging other women to do the same. From building an authentic personal brand to running two  companies and being a mom, she hopes to inspire more women to live to their full potential.


Talha Atta is a 17-year-old from Toronto with a passion for disruptive technologies and a blockchain investor. He is focused on the protocol side of blockchain development. Talha is sponsored by Udacity to become one of their youngest Blockchain Developers and is an innovator at North America’s leading innovation program, The Knowledge Society. Talha is the Marketing Manager for The Blockchain Society, an events startup where he joined as employee number two while the company was based in Toronto. With his focus on scaling the brand globally, they have grown to over 5 cities around the world.