Join EDAC members and delegates from coast to coast to coast – in-person or virtually for our 54th Annual Professional Development Conference! We are eager to see many of you again to share experiences, challenges, and strengths.
Iman Yahyaie received his bachelor’s and master's degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, in Tehran, Iran. In 2007, he moved to Canada to start a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Manitoba and later joined the Centre for Chemical Innovation in Solar Fuels (CCI Solar) at Caltech as a research collaborator. Iman also completed a postdoctoral fellowship studying CMOS-compatible dynamic memory structures based on conducting polymer systems.
Since 2013, Iman has been part of the Mitacs team in different regions including Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario, fostering collaborations between the private sector and academia
Beloved comedian Jessica Holmes has been a perennial favourite on Royal Canadian Air Farce for 15 years, and has brought the house down opening for giants such as Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Peters, Jerry Seinfeld, and Oprah Winfrey. Her hilarious take on life’s challenges as well as her unique knack for impersonating celebrities, including Shakira and Celine Dion, have audiences in stitches. Her customized emcee and entertainment presentations — which include motivation and wellness — are always a hit.
Behind the laughter though, Holmes, like millions of Canadians, has struggled both with post-partum depression and, as she puts it, “regular, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety depression”. Hoping to help end the stigma around mental health issues, she openly shares her personal stories with the humour she’s known for, bringing light — and laugh-out-loud laughter — to what can often be a dark topic. Holmes’ funny and inspiring book, Depression The Comedy: A Tale of Perseverance, takes readers deeper into her mental health journey with validation and warmth.
As a performer, Holmes’ productions have garnered her a Platinum Award at The Worldfest International Film Festival, and nominations for Gemini Awards and the prestigious Tim Sims Scholarship. She has starred in her own program, The Holmes Show, and also in the films Welcome to Mooseport, Citizen Duane, and Moonpoint. She also appeared in the pilot for The Communist’s Daughter, which won the JFL ComedyPro competition in 2018, and continues to perform comedy across the country.
Brock Dickinson has worked in economic development for more than 30 years. He is currently the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Waterloo, and a partner in the New York-based private equity firm Blue Cardinal Capital. He advises a range of governments and organizations on innovation, entrepreneurship and the economy, including the United Nations, the NAFTA/CUSMA-linked Commission for Environmental Cooperation, and the North American EcoInnovation Network.
Chris is an informative, entertaining, and insightful strategic humorist with a serious message: dare to be different and reach highest aspiration or join the burgeoning ranks of the unnoticed. Chris’ 30 years of award-winning community economic development experience in 90 communities has been dedicated to reconnecting people to the power of community-building. His dry sense of humour and no nonsense, cut-through-clutter style challenges conventions and leaves people with inspiration to “make community-building personal.”