Meet our Speakers



Peter Norvig

Director of Research,Google   

Peter Norvig is a Director of Research at Google; previously, he directed Google's core search algorithms group. He is co-author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, the leading textbook in the field, and co-teacher of an Artificial Intelligence class that signed up 160,000 students, helping to kick off the current round of massive open online classes. He is a Fellow of AAAI, ACM, the California Academy of Science, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


Sabrina Geremia

VP & Country Manager, Google Canada

As VP & Country Manager for Google in Canada, Sabrina leads the strategic direction of Google’s cross functional business strategy in Canada and Google’s Advertising business.

As the world moves increasingly online, Sabrina believes that the intersection of technology and digital skills is an economic and growth engine for Canada. Her team’s focus is to help Canadian businesses thrive in the digital economy where Google’s ad business drives $23B in economic value for Canada and 200,000 jobs.


Steve Woods

Senior Engineering Director, Google Canada

Steven Woods is Senior Engineering Director for Google Canada located in Google’s Engineering Headquarters in Kitchener-Waterloo. Since 2008, Steven has applied his entrepreneurial talents to building Google’s engineering and team building efforts across a wide array of products - Google in Canada now leads a range of worldwide Googler efforts, spans 5 major product areas and has grown from 20 to 1000 technical staff in KW. A serial entrepreneur before Google in both the US and Canada, Steven built companies in software services and infrastructure, in-game advertising, and consumer services.


Stephen Lake

Senior Director of Product, Devices & Services, Google

Stephen Lake has recently joined Google as the Senior Director of Product, Devices & Services. Previously, he co-founded North (the Waterloo-based consumer technology company behind Focals smart glasses), growing the team from 3 to 450, and raising ~$200M in venture capital. Stephen studied mechatronics engineering at the University of Waterloo, and briefly worked in health technology, on HCI for surgical robotics (DLR) and image-guided intervention (at SickKids / Sentinelle Medical).


Hugo Larochelle

Research Scientist, Google Brain

Hugo Larochelle is a Research Scientist at Google Brain and lead of the Montreal Google Brain team. He is also a member of Yoshua Bengio's Mila and an Adjunct Professor at the Université de Montréal. Previously, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Sherbrooke. Larochelle also co-founded Whetlab, which was acquired in 2015 by Twitter, where he then worked as a Research Scientist in the Twitter Cortex group. From 2009 to 2011, he was also a member of the machine learning group at the University of Toronto, as a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Geoffrey Hinton. He obtained his Ph.D. at the Université de Montréal, under the supervision of Yoshua Bengio. Finally, he has a popular online course on deep learning and neural networks, freely accessible on YouTube.


Jason Scott

Head of Startup Developer Ecosystem, US, Google  

Jason came to Google in early 2018 as a Global Startup Programs Manager under Google Cloud. Today, he serves as Google's cross-functional US Startup Developer Ecosystem lead - managing Google's U.S.-based Accelerator programs and startup developer engagement strategy. In addition, he also remains an active seed investor, startup advisor, and the founder of FactionSF - a community for creatives, entrepreneurs, and early-stage investors. Prior to Google, he worked at a number of startups in the Bay Area, as well as on the investment team at Highland Capital Partners.


Jeremy Neuner

Head of Startup Content & Curriculum, Google

Jeremy is a fellow founder and startup CEO. He started and ran a company for seven years, and is now the lead of Google's startup content and curriculum program. 


Sam Legge

Product Manager, Google

Currently a Product Manager working on augmented reality interfaces & experiences. Creativity first, details second. Outside of work, Sam is planning his next outdoor adventure or pursuing his passion for puns.


Jenn Pretti

UX Lead, Entertainment at Nest, Nest Design at Google

Jennifer Pretti is an experienced UX designer and leader, with a career spanning over 20 years. She has worked with a range of organizations, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and across wearable, web, mobile, and desktop product design for both consumer and enterprise solutions. She is now the UX Lead, Entertainment at Nest at Google. This will be Jennifer's third time as a guest speaker for the Google for Startups Accelerator program.


Nicole Hardson-Hurley

Byteboard Co-Founder & CPO

Nicole is the Co-founder and Head of Product at Byteboard, an Area 120 startup making technical interviews more effective, efficient, and equitable. She is passionate about using technology and business to improve access to opportunity and motivate positive social change. She is a graduate of Stanford University where she studied Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction.


Jose Zea

CEO, ArkangelAI 

Self-taught programmer; startups since age 16; Top Canadian researcher by the Bombardier Fellowship 2018-2019; Colombia’s top 20 under 21 young innovators by the Disney Foundation and Ashoka; dropped out of school for a year to build a net-zero house for the future in Latam raising USD 80k from the U.S. Department of Energy to build it. Currently, Jose is the CEO & co-founder of ArkangelAI, where they build ai algorithms for early detection of disease. Their first goal is to impact 1 billion people in the next 10 years. 


Julia Rivard

CEO, Eyeread Inc. 

 Julia Rivard Dexter is an innovative tech entrepreneur, one of the top 50 Canadian women in STEM, Olympian, member of the board of Directors of Nova Scotia Power Inc. and mother of 4. Julia is CEO of Eyeread, a hyper-engaging game platform improving literacy worldwide. 


Vino Jeyapalan

CEO and Founder, Kabo 

Vino Jeyapalan is the CEO and Founder of Kabo, Canada's largest direct-to-consumer fresh dog food brand. Customers complete a simple survey about their dog to come up with personalized, nutritious selection of meals that are delivered directly to the doorstep. In less than 2 years, Kabo has been endorsed on multiple media outlets, successfully landed a deal on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, chosen as one of nine companies in the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator Canada cohort, and was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 in Retail and E-commerce and has served over half a million meals to dogs across Canada!  


Alan Ranciato

Customer Engineer, Google Cloud 

30 year resident of Tampa Bay. Over 20 years of experience in Enterprise application development, startup technologies, organizational transformation and architecture with a specialty in DevOps strategy and Cloud architecture. Holds Google Cloud certifications as a Cloud Architect, Data Engineer, Cloud Developer, and DevOps Engineer.


Sara Hooker

Research Associate, Google Brain

 Sara Hooker is a researcher at Google Brain working on training models that go beyond test-set accuracy to fulfill multiple desiderata. Her research interests gravitate towards interpretability, model compression and fairness. She is also a founding organizer of the cross-institutional Trustworthy ML Initiative, a forum and seminar series dedicated to trustworthy machine learning research. Her current work centers on building tools that help human-in-the-loop audits of model behavior.  


Almond Au

Customer Engineering Manager, Google

Almond leads a team of Cloud Customer Engineers to serve the national corporate segment in Canada focusing on technology, SaaS/ISV, and digital native organizations. He has worked with clients & partners to design and scale many types of applications in the cloud. With over 10 years of technical experience prior to Google, Almond held senior systems engineering roles at Commvault and Seagate, and held a number of technical roles at IBM where he worked in data center architecture, databases, and networking.


Erik Saarenvirta

Customer Engineer, Data & AI, Google 

Erik is a cloud customer engineer on the Google Cloud team based out of Toronto with a data & AI specialization. He covers primarily digital native companies in the Canadian region on GCP's suite of data and infrastructure related products which includes ML/AI.


Mathieu Benoit

Google Cloud Customer Engineer, App Modernization 

Mathieu is helping customers with their Cloud adoption journey with a focus on the App Modernization area. He is passionate about Cloud Native Computing technologies driven by Containers, Kubernetes, Automation and Security. He loves being involved with local and technical communities to share and learn through meetups, conferences, etc.


Rawleigh Smith 

Maps Specialist, Senior Field Sales Manager, Google 

 Rawleigh is a 20 year veteran of the mapping space, having worked at both start ups and major enterprise companies. He has helped many start-up companies with their location strategy. During his tenure at Google Rawleigh created a Google Maps office hours for Google Ventures start-up companies to help them better understand the Google Maps Platform.  


Kyle Paul

North America Regional Lead, Google

Kyle works for Google in Mountain View, California. His job on the Developer Relations team is to support awesome developer communities, like the Google Developer Experts and Developer Student Clubs. In his spare time he enjoys building and hacking on the web, playing with his two cats, and photographing the outdoors. Before Google, Kyle was a startup founder, organizer for GDG Kansas City, and a Google Developer Expert (GDE).


Priya Verma

Senior Account Manager, Google

Priya has spent the last 6 years at Google helping Canadian Retailers on their digital transformation journey and recently pivoted her skill sets to support Canadian startups, including Shopify. She also leads the external communities pillar for the Black Googler Network, supports nonprofits focused on racial justice, and creating opportunities to provide mentorship for BIPOC youth. Priya is deeply committed to supporting racial equity and weaving inclusion into everything she does.


Riley Nelko

Senior Account Executive, Google 

Riley has been with Google for 8-years, and has worked in a variety of business development, strategy, analytics and sales roles. He currently leads Google's digital acceleration program for large enterprise partners in Canada. In 2016, Riley worked on Google's product & engineering team for Android & Google Play in Europe, South Korea and Japan. Prior to joining Google, Riley was a consultant in Accenture's global strategy group. He focused on Corporate Strategy & M&A advisory across a number of industries. Riley graduated from Western's Richard Ivey School of Business.


 Jonny Silberman

Analytical Lead, Google   

 Jonny Silberman is an Analytical Lead at Google where he works supporting the Walmart business across measurement, analytics, and insights. Prior to Google Jonny was a digital marketer within the CPG world starting his career at Dannon Yogurt and then moving to lead Data Strategy and execution at Anheuser-Busch InBev. Jonny lives in the great city of Atlanta!  


Kirsten Thibault

International Growth Consultant, Google

Kirsten Thibault joined Google in 2014 and has worked in analytical, insights and sales roles across the automotive, retail, travel and tech industries. In her current role as an International Growth Lead, she helps Canadian businesses expand beyond the great white north. She holds a BS in Finance and Marketing from Georgetown University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson.


Jamie Gargatsougias

Head of Brand Strategy, Google

Jamie leads YouTube Brand Strategy for Canada, advising top brands how to get the most out of the platform by building great creative, media and measurement strategies (aka, ads you want to watch!). Before Google, Jamie spent almost a decade as a brand marketer at P&G, leading marketing for Pantene, Olay, CoverGirl and Duracell.


Kate Tayler

Tech Site Administrative Business Partner, Google 

Kate is the Tech Site Administrative Business Partner for Google Waterloo. She currently supports Google Waterloo Site Lead Steven Woods and had previously supported Directors and their teams in Firebase, Gmail and Cloud Healthcare. Prior to her role at Google, she was the Assistant Site Services Managers for the local facilities team based out of the Google Waterloo office, overseeing the maintenance, space planning and on-site work for the incredible Google Waterloo offices. 


Annika Stephan

Support Operations Lead, Google Maps 

Annika has created development offerings for leaders and managers at Google for more than nine years. She helped launch The Google School for Leaders in 2017, has onboarded over 10,000 new hires, and most recently has been designing the manager development curriculum for all of Google's managers. Annika has her own leadership coaching practice and loves helping leaders find and use their insights to grow their business and their impact.


Lucero Tagle

People Advisor & Strategist, Google

Lucero joined Google in 2004 in People Operations. Her career has covered recruitment for both sales and tech, career development, coaching, leadership development, and talent growth & retention both on an EMEA and global level. She has a passion for helping founders solve their most critical organisational challenges. She encourages founders to go to the "uncomfortable" and take action to increase the impact of their own individual leadership, and to improve the health and performance of their team and organisation. She is a frequent external speaker and facilitates numerous "people strategy" workshops/webinars.


Dinesh Chahlia

Engineering Manager & Trusted Advisor for Google for Startups

Dinesh is obsessed with supporting founders to solve fundamental problems with technology and make a positive impact on the world. He is a trusted startup advisor at Google for Startups and has held various engineering leadership roles at Microsoft and Netflix. He has worked with over 50 startup founders over the last year, advising them on vision, roadmap, product market fit, OKRs, pitching and fundraising.


Melisa Seah

Product Marketer, Ads Marketing, Google

Melisa Seah is a Google product marketer and entrepreneur with a background in building inclusive products. Prior to Google, Melisa founded and scaled a community-based non-profit in Shanghai, incubated a networking startup in the Harvard Innovation Labs, and worked at a handful of early-stage consumer startups in virtual reality and e-commerce. She currently resides in San Francisco and gives talks on diversity, equity, and inclusion in technology to students and founders across the nation.


Ilona Budapesti

Product Manager, Google

Ilona Budapesti is a Harvard, and Oxford educated product manager, serial entrepreneur and Buddhist ex-nun. Led platform, and B2B product teams in enterprise for 13 years at PayPal, Rakuten, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Lehman, and built and sold two profitable startups over 7 years. Advises/mentors on scaling.


Wendy Manton 

Communications Manager, Google

Wendy Manton started her communications career seven years ago, working on the agency side for some of Canada's largest brands like Google, YouTube and Starbucks. Now, Wendy leads economic impact and executive communications at Google Canada, where she tells the story of how Google is helping Canadian businesses grow and contributing to the local communities where we live and work.


Enjoy the Work Team

Enjoy The Work (formerly ETW Advisors) is a San Francisco-based startup advisory firm founded in 2014 by Jonathan Lowenhar. Our unique, hands-on approach to startup mentorship empowers founders to pick the right path. We provide informed counsel every step along the way, helping founders navigate the unknown in times of inevitable turbulence and uncertainty. We come from a variety of backgrounds — consumer Internet, enterprise SAAS, finance, sales, and more. But one fact remains consistent for all of our advisors: we have deep and successful startup experience both as founders and as early stage operators.


The Accelerator Performance Sales Consulting Team 

The Accelerate Performance Sales Consulting Team has supported Googlers and Google Partners/Founders since 2007. This group provides skills, practice, and best practices to equip you and your team to show up to win, as the best version of yourselves, in your biggest sales and partnership opportunities. Get ready for a fun, interactive, and valuable experience.