Partner, Torys LLP
Aaron Emes is a Toronto-based partner at Torys LLP. He is a recognized leading lawyer in corporate law. His practice focuses on corporate and securities law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate governance, and infrastructure and energy projects.
Aaron received his LLB (With Honours) from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law in 1998 and was called to the Bar in both Ontario and New York in 2000.
Recent clients and transactions Aaron has been involved with include: advising the Province of Ontario in its sale of a 15% interest in Hydro One Limited, Ontario’s largest electrical transmission and distribution utility, by way of a $1.83 billion initial public offering of common shares, advising Canadian National Energy Alliance as the preferred bidder to manage and operate Canadian Nuclear Laboratories as part of the Government of Canada’s restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and advising TMX Group in its sale to the Maple Group and on its proposed merger with London Stock Exchange Group.
Aaron has also advised numerous boards of directors and board members about director duties and liabilities and risk mitigation.
Partner, National Industry Leader, Private Equity and Pension Plans
Benjie leads the Private Equity and Pension Plan Advisory practice and is located in Toronto. Benjie has more than 12 years experience assisting private equity funds and strategic buyers plan and execute on acquisitions, reorganizations and divestitures. Mr. Thomas is also a member of KPMG Canada’s board.
In his over 14 years of Transaction Services experience, Benjie has been involved with over 200 transactions in several industry sectors including private equity, telecommunications, manufacturing, distribution, retail, information and entertainment. His focus is to co-ordinate and provide advisory services in many aspects around mergers and acquisitions including financial due diligence, transaction management, dispositions and financings.
Private Equity clients include Teachers’ Private Capital, CPPIB, Tricor Pacific Capital Inc., ONEX, ONCAP, Birch Hill Equity Partners, TorQuest Capital Partners, Trivest Partners, Monitor Clipper, Callisto Capital, OMERS Private Equity, Ironbridge Equity Partners, Penfund, Kensington Capital, Nova Capital, Stern Partners and JH Investments.
Corporate clients include Parkland Fuel Distribution, Maple Leaf Foods, George Weston Limited, Blackberry, Tharco Packaging, CPI Card Company, Chartwell Housing REIT, and GolfTown Inc.
In 2011, Benjie was presented with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario’s Award of Distinction which honours those CAs who have made an early impact, bringing distinction to themselves and to their profession through leadership and achievement in their professional, community and/or personal lives. In addition to garnering an Award of Distinction, Benjie also was named as the recipient of the Christine E. Sinclair Community Leadership Award. The award was established in 2009 to recognize and profile a younger CA from across the province who has brought distinction to him/herself and to the profession through exceptional leadership in community volunteerism. The recipient is chosen from those candidates nominated in the same year for the ICAO Award of Distinction.
World-Renowned Opthamologist (Glaucoma, Cataract and Anterior Segment Surgeon)
Dr. Ike Ahmed has become world renowned for his skills and groundbreaking work in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of highly complex eye diseases including cataract, glaucoma and surgical complications. He is recognized as being one of the most experienced complex eye surgeons in the world and has trained numerous surgeons in advanced surgical techniques. Furthermore, he has been at the leading edge of innovative treatments for cataract surgery and the latest designs in intraocular lens implants.
Dr. Ahmed received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine and completed his Ophthalmology Residency at the University of Toronto Hospitals. Dr. Ahmed also completed a Glaucoma and Anterior Segment Fellowship at the John Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah.
He sits on the editorial boards of Ophthalmology, Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Clinical and Surgical Ophthalmology, Ocular Surgery News, Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today, Glaucoma Today and is a reviewer for numerous journals. He has given over 550 scientific presentations thus far in his career, including 19 visiting professor’s lectures around the world.
In 2010, Dr. Ahmed was selected as one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40” – a prestigious national award recognizing significant achievements at a young age.
He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Utah. He is the Research Fellowship Director, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Toronto and Director of the Glaucoma and Advanced Anterior Surgical fellowship at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Ahmed is board certified in ophthalmology in Canada and the US and is an active member of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Association for Vision and Research in Ophthalmology, International Society of Glaucoma Surgery, Canadian Glaucoma Society and the American Glaucoma Society.
Medical Director at Biogen
Dr. Nozhat Choudry is a senior executive with over fifteen years of extensive pharmaceutical company and medical device experience in all aspects of device and clinical drug development.
With experience in managing projects from both a national and international perspective, she has spearheaded global product development by progressively leading international teams, including the management of diverse global health authority requirements for submissions of new chemical entities and novel technologies. She initiated the foundation and establishment for the corporate infrastructure for the Medical and Scientific Affairs department which supported Drug Safety, Medical Information, Continuing Health Education, phase IIIb/IV trials, market development through key opinion leader at Boehringer Ingelheim.
She has also established and developed the Clinical and Regulatory department for a start up medical device company Occulogix in the field of ophthalmology. She was one of the founding members of Takeda Canada and grew the company from the I risk 5 to over 100 employees.
Prior to her present position she was the medical head of Intermune a biotech company that was the first company to launch a global product for a rare lung disease Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. She is experienced in strategic planning, clinical trial methodology, clinical auditing procedures, and drug safety data collection for both device and drugs.
She currently works as the Medical Director at Biogen Canada a leader in multiple sclerosis. At Biogen she is also part of the European and Canadian Medical Leadership Team.
Neurologist , Professor & Clinical Researcher
Dr. Rand Askalan is a Staff Neurologist at Sick Kids Children’s Hospital in Toronto. Askalan’s clinical research projects investigate the causes, presentations, management and outcomes of stroke in children. One of her projects is focused on dystonia resulting from childhood stroke. Dystonia is a movement disorder that may result from brain damage. Some of the children who suffered a stroke in a brain structure called the basal ganglia develop dystonia months-years after their stroke. Using a technology called transcranial magnetic stimulation, Askalan’s research is trying to understand the cause of dystonia in these children and subsequently design therapies that may improve their quality of life.
Dr. Rand has been recognized for her work. Her Awards include the Clinician-Scientist Award, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (2007-2010). In addition, she has received the Prichard Day Annual Award for Excellence in Resident’s Research, Division of Neurology, Sick Kids, (2003 & 2005). Dr. Rand also was awarded the PSI Resident Research Award (2004).
Reporter, 680 NEWS
Momin is an award winning reporter for 680 News, receiving awards for covering major events, including: The Rob Ford scandal, 2014 Ice Storm, and 2013 flood, among others. He has been working for 680 NEWS for the past 10 years, spending the last three with a focus covering City Hall. Along with news reporting, Momin also hosts a weekly show about video games. Away from work, he is passionate about comedy, and loves spending time with his massively large family.
Partner, Corporate Finance and Securities at Abrahams LLP
Mujir Muneeruddin is a partner at Abrahams LLP and heads the organization’s Business Law Group, which includes all transactional, commercial, regulatory, and governmental practices within the firm.
Mr. Muneeruddin’s practice specializes in securities law, as he routinely advises mid-market technology companies in the raising of funds and corporate transactions. His experience includes having acted in initial public offerings (including reverse takeovers and qualifying transactions), private equity & venture capital financings, exchange listings, and public company mergers & acquisitions. Mujir also frequently advises on corporate governance and other securities compliance matters such as continuous disclosure requirements. Given a personal interest in seeing businesses grow, Mujir chairs the advisory board of a technology venture fund and he is also a co-founder/director of various technology startups. He also serves as a director for a volunteer medical clinic operating in the Greater Toronto Area.
Mr. Muneeruddin is a graduate of Queen’s University, where he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and a Masters (LL.M.) in Corporate Law & Securities along with number of academic awards. He also holds a Diploma in Islamic Finance from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (London, UK), among the most widely-recognized such designations in the world. Furthermore, he is fluent in Arabic and Urdu (in addition to English).
Partner, Levitt LLP
Muneeza Sheikh is a lawyer, social activist, and mother of two. She is a Partner at Levitt LLP focusing primarily in Labour, Employment and Human Rights Law. She provides advice and representation in employment matters to corporations and executives. Muneeza is also a proud board member with the Muslim Welfare Centre, a homegrown and organic charity that has successfully helped people both inside and outside of the Muslim community.
Muneeza is also the Director of Communications/Spokesperson for the Canadian Muslim Vote, a grassroots non-partisan organization with the aim of increasing the participation of Canadian Muslims within the democratic process. Muneeza was also featured in CBC’s film titled “Muneeza in the Middle”, the film looked at Muneeza’s journey in finding her identity as both a Muslim and Canadian woman. Muneeza’s love for fashion has also developed into a small personal styling business – Style counsel- that she runs with her husband. Finally, on a personal level – Muneeza enjoys roaming the beautiful streets of downtown Toronto to find good eats and shopping with her husband, and two beautiful children.
Partner, Miller Thomson LLP
Nafisah Chowdhury is a Partner in the litigation group of Miller Thomson LLP, where she provides clients with strategic advice on all manners of legal disputes, including disputes arising in the employment law context and in the context of shareholder rights. She appears regularly before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and before various administrative tribunals.
Nafisah obtained her J.D. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, in 2007 and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2008. In her spare time, Nafisah is actively involved in various community projects. She is Co-Chair of the firm’s United Way Committee and is an executive member of the Ontario Bar Association’s Labour and Employment Law section.
Partner, National IPO Practice Leader, Audit, KPMG
As the National IPO practice leader and Audit Partner for KPMG in Canada, Salma offers clients in-depth expertise on securities requirements, including initial public offerings, prospectus offerings, cross border transactions and other regulatory and continuous disclosure requirements. She has been with KPMG for more than 16 years and is an active public speaker and writer who focuses on the accounting and reporting matters that affect public companies.
Taufik Ali Valiante is a neurosurgeon at the Toronto Western Hospital specializing in epilepsy surgery. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery (Neurosurgery), and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is the Co-Director of Epilepsy Program at the Toronto Western Hospital, and is a Scientist in the Krembil Research Institute. His education was all at the University of Toronto, having completing a BSc in Physics & Biology, the MD/PhD program, and neurosurgical residency. He completed a fellowship in Epilepsy Surgery at the University of Washington, Seattle.
As a computational neuroscientist and cellular electrophysiologist, his lab focuses on cellular mechanisms of meso-, and macroscale brain computations. As a clinician he has been a strident advocate for improving the care of those with epilepsy. Through these efforts he has built the largest epilepsy program in Canada, and in concert with non-governmental organizations successfully standardized epilepsy care throughout the province of Ontario. He is a proud Canadian, drawing his surgical heritage back to Dr. Wilder Penfield.
He comes from a strong lineage of activists, and in tune with his predecessors fundamentally believes that the greatest manifestation of worship is to “redress the misery of those in distress”.
Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
Walied Soliman is co-chair of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Canadian special situations team, which encompasses Canada’s leading shareholder activist and defense mandates and complex reorganization transactions. Over the past several years, Mr. Soliman has been involved in almost every major proxy battle in Canada, acting for both issuers and activists. He is widely regarded as one of the leading special situations practitioners in Canada. In addition, his practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, financings, corporate governance and structured products.
Mr. Soliman was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer magazine in 2014; ranked by Best Lawyers in Canada since 2013; and was ranked as one of the Top 40 Lawyers under 40 in Canada by Lexpert magazine in 2009.
Among other philanthropic endeavours, Mr. Soliman is a board member of the Toronto SickKids Hospital Foundation. Mr. Soliman has also been actively involved in provincial and federal politics in Canada.
Film Commissioner & Director of Entertainment Industries at City of Toronto – City of Toronto
Zaib Shaikh is known for his work on Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007), Midnight’s Children (2012) and Hello Faye (2007). In 2014, he was named to the new post of Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries for the City of Toronto. It’s a job whose previous focus was limited to film and television production, but has now been expanded to include the fields of music and multimedia, with part of the mandate being to solicit and generate interest in the Toronto scene around the world.
Mr. Shaikh possesses a Bachelor of Arts (B.A), Theatre, Acting and English for the University of Toronto and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Directing for the University of British Columbia.
Zarqa Nawaz created the world’s first sitcom about a Muslim community living in the west. Little Mosque on the Prairie premiered to record ratings on the CBC in 2007. It finished airing for 6 seasons in 2012 and is now being broadcast to over 60 countries. Now, Zarqa has written her best selling comedic memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, about growing up as a Canadian of Muslim faith.
In 2005, Zarqa Nawaz made the ground-breaking documentary Me and the Mosque, for the National Film Board of Canada about Muslim women’s battle with patriarchy in the mosque which ultimately inspired the television series. Zarqa has a B.Sc from the University of Toronto and a B.A.A in journalism from Ryerson University.