Canadian Rural Innovation Summit

Keynote Speakers


Amber Mac

Amber Mac started her career in San Francisco and Boston during the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. As a strategist for Razorfish and Director of Marketing for an e-procurement software company, she spent four years in the technology start-up trenches. Amber left the start-up world to join Microsoft to build one of the first female-focused lifestyle portals. In 2007, she launch her own digital media agency. The company’s first client was world-renowned business coach Tony Robbins. Since then, their client list also includes Microsoft, Intel, Shopify, Ford, Nintendo, GE, Fast Company, PayPal, Scotiabank, and many more leading organizations.

In 2010, she wrote the national bestselling business book Power Friending (Portfolio: New York). In 2016, she co-wrote Amazon bestseller, Outsmarting Your Kids Online. Amber has keynoted more than 300 events around the world, including an event this spring where she interviewed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Shopify CEO Toby Lutke about the future of digital.

Her expertise includes business innovation, Internet of things, online safety, artificial intelligence, the distraction economy, and what it takes for companies to adapt and grow. Earlier in 2018, DMZ named Amber one of 30 inspirational women making a difference in tech. She is a regular business host and expert for Fast Company, Shopify, CNN, Bloomberg TV, CBS, BNN, The Marilyn Denis Show, and SiriusXM Radio and has more than two million social media followers online.

Jeremy Laurin

He joined OCE in June 2018 and leads an experienced 40-person team of Business Development Managers to all corners of the province to find out what’s needed by industry and explore the halls and labs of academia for the latest breakthroughs in research. Jeremy’s team helps commercialize innovations, transfer technologies and develop promising talent to grow the Ontario economy.

Prior to OCE, Jeremy was the founding President and CEO of ventureLAB, an innovation hub for Central Ontario and the northern GTA that reaches more than 1.8 million Ontarians.

An entrepreneur at heart, Jeremy founded his first of three technology firms in Kingston, Ont., in 1997. Under his guidance, all three were born global. Jeremy’s responsibilities included opening offices in China, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the United States.

In 2000, Jeremy was recognized by St. Lawrence College with its inaugural Alumni of Distinction Award. In 2001, JCI, an international non-profit that encourages young people to be active citizens for global development, named Jeremy Entrepreneur of the Year, and his company earned the Business of the Year Award from the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Jeremy is a featured TEDx Speaker on how his life as an entrepreneur has made an impact on people and communities, and an Adjunct Professor in York University’s Faculty of Health.

Kevin Towes

Kevin is the Global Head of Business Development for Digital Audio and Video at Adobe. He is responsible for the market expansion and strategic partnerships for Adobe’s flagship video tools such as Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. Kevin joined Adobe in San Francisco in 2007 as Product Manager where he helped position the company as an industry thought leader in the digital transformation of online video and entertainment through solutions like Adobe Flash Player. He transitioned to Business Development upon his arrival back to Canada in 2013 where he now lives with his wife and 2 sons in Kingston, Ontario.

Born in Port Hope, Ontario, Kevin studied Film and Photographic Arts at Ryerson University in Toronto graduating with a Fine Arts degree. Continuing his investigations in media arts, in 1996, Kevin continued on as Professor of digital technology while he founded his first company, Pangaea New Media. For 7 years, Pangaea developed software and services for the film, radio, TV and entertainment industry in Canada. As Kevin focused on his business, he also developed global communities of like-minded thinkers and artists running the largest user group in the world for Allaire ColdFusion, a next-generation programming language for digital experiences and programs like FITC Toronto. By 2000, he was an accomplished author, master trainer and speaker to audiences on the musings of video transformation.

Kevin’s portfolio includes partnering with global companies such as Viacom, Turner, BBC, ITV and the CBC and CTV networks here in Canada working alongside entertainment leaders such as the NBC & BBC Olympics, Juno, Gemini, Oscar and Emmy Awards, TSN, MTV, Nickelodeon, SpikeTV and CBC ZED.

Today, Kevin works closely with global thought leaders responsible for challenging the conventions of entertainment creation and consumption including brands like YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, Apple, GoPro, Turner, Comcast and many others. He holds a Certificate of Business Excellence from UC Berkeley and is an active Scouts Canada volunteer in Kingston, a recovering Ski Pro and enjoys spending as much time with his large family in Kingston and Belleville and Quinte regions.

Canadian Rural 
Innovation Summit


For more information and questions please contact Alyssa Engelsdorfer at or Rob Clute at