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Community Friends

Mark Reale

Over the past few years, Mark has been able to cultivate his enthusiasm for communication, arts, technology and community into his daily living. As Chief Culture Officer at BNOTIONS, a Technology Agency based in Toronto, and the Co-Founder of the Yorkville Media Centre, a Training facility which focuses on introducing participants to the world of Digital Media, Mark’s focus is to bring the latest and most efficient technologies to his clients, and then share the techniques with the community at large.

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Saul Colt


Saul Colt is the Head of Magic at FreshBooks.com and was recently named as one of the iMEDIA 25: Internet Marketing Leaders & Innovators He’s been called one of Canada’s best community builders/experiential marketers, even Chris Brogan once referred to Saul as “exactly who you want representing your company”. In a previous life Saul was the person who launched Zipcar into the Canadian marketplace, and even knows what it is like to work for a large corporation from his time in a leadership role at Rogers Communications.Saul loves all people, especially women and is tired of people asking him to remove his shirt

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Erin Bury


Erin is the Director of Content and Communications at recently-acquired startup Sprouter.com, and is passionate about web startups and new technologies. She is a journalism graduate who has written for publications including The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Mashable, Business Insider, and VentureBeat. She comments frequently in the press about entrepreneurship, and has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, and Canadian Business.  Erin is also a guest speaker who has led sessions about Community Management and small business at events across Canada. She can be found on Twitter at @erinbury, or on her blog at erinbury.com.

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Brendan Sera-Shriar

Brendan Sera-Shriar has been an interactive designer, developer, author and teacher for over 10 years. Brendan studied Graphics, Animation, and Web Development at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology (Toronto, Canada), Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada), and Pratt University (Brooklyn, NY).

Brendan is the founder of PressWork and Senior Community Manager for Mega Brands. He has taught web design at Long Island University Brooklyn campus, and has been a professor at Seneca College in the School of Communication Arts for over 7 years. Brendan currently owns and operates digibomb, a freelance web company specializing in WordPress Design and Development. He is also the founder of PHUG, an open source community for designers and developers with currently over 4000 members. Brendan has contributed to many open source projects including papervision3D, red5, Firefox, WordPress, and Drupal, just to name a few.

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Karim Kanji

Karim Kanji is a social innovator who connects people across various digital platforms.
In late 2010 Karim helped create thirdocean with Carolyn Van. thirdocean collaborates with companies helping them to utilize online, digital and social tools to strengthen specific business needs. He is also the co-founder of XConnect, a thirdocean project – a boutique media property. Since mid-2010 XConnect-branded events have attracted hundreds of people interested in discussing how technology and new media have impacted various industries such as sports, music, fashion and film.

As the host of The XConnect Show, Karim has interviewed people such as Canadian serial angel investor Dr. Boris Wertz, HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes, and Dan Martell of Flowtown.

Prior to helping launch thirdocean, Karim helped lead social media engagement campaigns for Henry’s Camera, was the Toronto Community Manager for Techvibes, and founder and host of Social Media Show on Perpetual Radio Networks. While with Techvibes and Social Media Show, Karim interviewed people such Mathew Ingram (now with GigaOm), Jordan Banks (now leading Facebook Canada), Dave Fleet from Edelman Toronto, Mitch Joel from Twist Image, and Brian Wong from Kiip.me.
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Carolyn Van

Carolyn Van is formally trained in managing businesses and marketing strategy and her past lives equips her with experience from both the start-up and corporate world – on the client and agency side. Currently, as a Co-Founder and Partner of thirdocean her role consists of leading strategy and operations, client service management, project and execution management and internal development.

Her marketing, project and account management experience ranges from idea generation and creative to post execution reporting and analysis, experiential and influencer driven programs, the youth and generation Y demographic and communication strategies.

Carolyn has lead up the successful development and execution of digital communications, social media marketing and experiential marketing programs for a handful of brands including Rogers Wireless and Drake International.

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