​​Michael (Mike) Akpata C.D.

​​Michael (Mike) Akpata C.D.

Senior Enterprise Account Manager, AtHoc Product Suite


Mike joined BlackBerry in March 2019 as the Senior Enterprise Account Manager Athoc.

Mike worked for IBM Canada as the Team Lead Public Safety, Investigations, & Counter Fraud i2 National Sales and the SME for Canadian Law enforcement for 3 years.  Mike served 20+ years with the Windsor Police Service in Windsor Ontario. Then Senior Constable Akpata was assigned to the Financial Crimes and Arson Unit where he served as both an Arson and Fraud investigator.  Mike specialized in power of attorney fraud and financial crimes against seniors. Mike has had a diverse career with the Windsor Police Service which has seen him assigned to drugs and gangs, break and enter, training branch, and uniform patrol. For 4 years, he was the Ontario Police Memorial Sergeant Major, and had been the Windsor Police Honour Guard Sergeant Major since 1998.

As a Windsor Police Officer Mike has been recognized and has received several awards including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Neal Jessop award for excellence and the Senior Constable John Atkinson Memorial Award. In 2015, he was recognized by the Coordinated Community Response Coalition of Wayne and Oakland County (Michigan) and was named the  Advocate-of-the-Year for Older Adults.

Mike retired from the Canadian Armed Forces primary reserve with 26 years of service.  In 2007, he served in Afghanistan with 2nd battalion Royal Canadian Regiment where he received both the Taskforce Commander’s Commendation, and the Area Commander’s Commendation.  Mike stays active with veteran’s issues and is currently involved with the Operation Stress Injury support group, as well as the Royal Canadian Legion.

In 2014 Mike ran and was elected to the position of Councillor for the Town of LaSalle where he resides with his wife Sheri and his 2 children Reece and Regan. He was subsequently re-elected to council in October of 2018.

Dr. Noureddine Bénichou

Dr. Noureddine Bénichou

Principal Research Officer

National Research Council of Canada

Dr. Noureddine Bénichou is a Principal Research Officer at the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. He holds a Ph.D. from Carleton University in Civil and Environmental Engineering and has developed into an international fire expert through an extensive experience in the experimentation and modeling of fire phenomenon. His research areas include fire resistance modeling and experimentation of structures, fire safety in buildings, fire risk analysis and impact of wildfires on the wildland urban interface (WUI). He led and completed large R&D projects to advance understanding of fire conditions and its impact on the occupant population, and assessing this impact in terms of risk and cost, including a current $1.5M project on the development of a National WUI guide for Canada. He is the author of over 300 technical publications. Before joining the NRC, he worked as a consultant developing design guidelines for use in performance-based building codes, and conducting studies on the trade-offs of fire department response time versus sprinkler protection. Dr. Bénichou is a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Conseil International du Bâtiment, and the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers; represents Canada in ISO/TC92/SC4; and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carleton University.

Dr. Peter Berry

Dr. Peter Berry

Climate Change and Innovation Bureau

Health Canada

Since arriving at Health Canada, Dr. Peter Berry has conducted research in several areas related to climate change including health risks to Canadians, adaptive capacity, health system resilience, health vulnerability assessment and communicating climate change risks to the public. He is currently a Senior Policy Analyst and Science Advisor to the Director at the Climate Change and Innovation Bureau at Health Canada and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo.

Peter is currently an editor and author for the next National Climate Change and Health Assessment Report being led by Health Canada to be released in 2021. Among other scientific reports he contributed to the recently released Global Commission on Adaptation Background Paper “Health System Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change”.

Robin Bourke

Engineering Advisor, Flood Modelling

Natural Resources Canada

Anat Cohn

Anat Cohn

Manager, Corporate Communications

Ottawa Police Service

Anat Cohn has always been fascinated with communications – the messaging, its measurement and the psychology behind it. She completed her undergrad in Mass Communications from Carleton University and a Masters in Communication Management with the University of Southern California. Anat has more than a decade of experience working at all levels of government and in various fields from policing to health and social services. She has been with the Ottawa Police Service since 2008 and is currently their Manager of Corporate Communications.

Anat’s experience in Crisis Communications ranges from natural disasters to cyber attacks, mass casualties, and a terrorist-driven shooting in Ottawa in 2014. She’s curious about the ever-changing way communications are received by its audience and often applies a wide scope to her communications – taking into consideration various aspects of climate, audience needs and the organization’s ability/challenges to respond in a timely manner. Anat will walk you through methods that come from years of practical experience and the ability to analyze past events. While there are no perfect storms, Anat finds that her take on the day-to-day is the only way to prepare for what may come.

Karen Foss

Director, Government Operations Centre

Public Safety Canada

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

Chief Executive Officer

Valens Global LLC, Washington

Described by The International Herald Tribune as “a rising star in the counterterrorism community,” Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a prominent scholar, practitioner, and entrepreneur. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Valens Global, a private firm in the national-security sphere that has for two years running been named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s E360 list of the top 360 small businesses in the United States that have mastered the art and science of growing a business. Dr. Gartenstein-Ross’s previous positions include senior advisor to the director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Community Partnerships, fellow with Google’s think tank Jigsaw, adjunct assistant professor in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program, and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. Dr. Gartenstein-Ross has testified on his areas of core competency before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives over a dozen times, as well as before the Canadian House of Commons. He is the author or volume editor of twenty-three books and monographs, with a new book on jihadist groups’ processes of organizational learning forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Martin Gierczak

Martin Gierczak

Manager, Business Continuity Planning

CAA Club Group

Martin Gierczak is the Manager of Business Continuity Planning at CAA Club Group (CCG) and sits on the Board of Directors for the Disaster Recovery Institute of Canada (DRIC). Martin has over 5 years of business continuity experience building and managing BCM programs for highly critical teams within the financial sector, which included capital market trading teams and payment operation teams. As a manager of Business Continuity at CCG, he is responsible for BCP program management for the enterprise.

Due to several incidents that disrupted business operations during his short tenure, he developed methodologies that provide unique data-driven planning, resiliency-based project management and tools that enhance organizational resiliency. He is a “Self-described” BCP continuous improvement champion and has a passion in sharing improvement practices with all practitioners of BCP.

Jack Guo (PEng, PhD)

Jack Guo (PEng, PhD)

Seismic Risk Lead

Kinetica Risk

Jack is the head of Kinetica Risk, the risk consulting branch of Kinetica, which is a Toronto-based consultant in building resilience technologies. Jack leads a team of professionals whose goal is to support owners and businesses in the development of effective plans to minimize operational and financial impacts in hazard-prone critical property portfolios. As a practicing earthquake engineer, Jack was involved in the seismic risk assessment and protection of a wide spectrum of buildings from heritage properties in the Parliament of Canada to international landmarks such as Chile’s Baha’i Temple of South America.

Cynthia (Cindy) Kearns-O’Hara

Manager, Emergency Management and Business Continuity, ADM(Policy) Group

Department of National Defence

Cindy retired in 2017 where she was Corporate Manager of Business Continuity for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.  After a southern US multistate roadtrip, she returned to Defence in May 2017 and has been there since! She is currently busier than ever advising and advancing the business continuity and emergency management programs for both the Policy Group and the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Group! Cindy is DRI certified (MBCP pending late 2019) and she has been actively and happily mentoring through the DRII Women in Business Continuity Management initiative since 2018. Cindy sits as Executive Support on the Disaster Recovery Information Exchange (Ottawa Chapter).  She is pleased to be part of the Infonex Faculty and share her experience.

Sandra Mancini

Sandra Mancini

Team Lead for Engineering

South Nation Conservation

Sandra is an accomplished and result-driven professional that has been working in her field since 1994. She started her career at SNC in 2004, after working in consulting. At SNC, she collaborates with a diverse group of stakeholders to create and share knowledge, address needs for information to inspire actions that will protect watershed residents from natural hazards.

Sandra’s responsibilities include managing the engineering department, dam operations, flood forecasting and warning and low water response programs, real-time data collection, and the management of the authorities engineering projects. Sandra and her team work closely with partner municipalities in floodplain mapping projects, assessing impacts of extreme weather to infrastructure and providing support for natural hazards reviews.

Sandra has also been involved with many committees and working groups including the City of Ottawa Hydrology Working Group; the Water Erosion Control Infrastructure Committee; the Eastern Ontario Flood Forecasting and Warning Committee, the City of Ottawa Stormwater Strategy, the Conservation Ontario Floodplain Mapping Technical Committee; and the City of Ottawa Flood Task Force.

Sandra is an advocate of the Engineering profession. She is a great mentor to young Engineers and ensures to provide training to at least one Engineering student every year.

As animal lover, she dedicates her time to promoting dog health and good habits to dog owners. Sandra and her husband David own three beautiful German Shepherds and live in Ingleside, Ontario.

Vito Mangialardi

Vito Mangialardi

Senior Manager, Enterprise Business Continuity Management


Vito Mangialardi (CBCP, AFBCI, PMP) is Senior Manager, Business Continuity Management for Metrolinx. Throughout his 25 year career he has enabled organizations to become more resilient to business interruptions, and to promote themselves as a ‘differentiators’ among their competitors with proactive planning.

Vito is a motivated and experienced Senior Business Continuity Management (BCM) professional with a strong record of leadership and achievement delivering Business Continuity Planning, Disaster Recovery Planning, Emergency Management, Risk Management and Incident Management planning. He is a seasoned hands-on crisis management response leader, addressing threatening risks or real events impacting people, process, information, technology and facilities.

Vito’s career experience includes public and private sector program and project management delivering technology, facilities and operational initiatives to support business protection and growth in the telecommunications, nuclear, transportation, environmental and engineering sectors.

At Metrolinx, Vito helps the agency fulfill its mandate of been known as a ‘resilient’ and industry leader Transit Operator in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Tracey O’Sullivan

Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Ottawa

Dr. Tracey O’Sullivan is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Program Director for the PhD in Population Health Program at the University of Ottawa. Her research program focuses on community resilience and upstream strategies to support populations at high-risk during disasters, using an asset-based approach. She has led several asset mapping projects using Photovoice as a method for engagement and knowledge mobilization, and is renowned for her expertise in using the Structured Interview Matrix (SIM) facilitation technique for participatory research. For the past 8 years, Dr. O’Sullivan has chaired The EnRiCH International Collaboration, a multidisciplinary network of academic and community partners focused on community engagement, health promotion and disaster risk reduction, with particular emphasis on inclusive policy and promotion of resilience among high-risk populations. In 2017, Dr. O’Sullivan was an invited panelist at the United Nations International Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Platform Meeting for the Americas, for a plenary session on high-risk populations as agents of change in disaster risk reduction.

Matthew Pegg

Matthew Pegg

Fire Chief and General Manager

Toronto Fire Services

Matthew Pegg is the Fire Chief in the City of Toronto, Ontario.  Toronto Fire Services is the largest fire service in Canada with 3,200 full-time personnel.  Matt is also the General Manager of Emergency Management for the City of Toronto.

Prior to being appointed as Fire Chief in Toronto, Matt served as a Deputy Fire Chief in Toronto, Brampton, Ajax and Georgina.  Matt is a past member and former co-chair of the Ontario Fire Service (Section 21) Advisory Committee to the Ontario Minister of Labour and past NFPA 1971/1851 Technical Committee member.

Matt is a graduate of Dalhousie University in both Leadership and Administration, Queen’s University in Labour Relations and the Schulich School of Business’ Masters of Public Management. He is a recipient of the Heroism and Community Service Medal, Ontario Medal of Firefighter’s Bravery, the Fire Service Exemplary Service Medal and the Fire Services Long Service medal.

Matt has been awarded the Executive Chief Fire Officer Professional Designation and serves as Honourary Aide de Camp to Her Honour Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Rob Pitcher

Rob Pitcher

Manager, Critical Infrastructure

Public Safety Canada

Mr. Robert Pitcher is  currently the manager of Cyber Partnerships unit within the Critical Infrastructure Directorate of Public Safety Canada. Current responsibilities include Industrial Control Systems security and awareness programs, international engagement, the Insider Risk program, cyber security simulations and exercises, and general engagement on issues related to cyber security with Canada’s critical infrastructure. Working within the operational, policy, and strategic levels, he has over 19 years of combined IT, OT, and security experience that is divided between the private and public sector.

Ginette Soulieres

Ginette Soulieres

Specialist, Business Continuity

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Ginette Soulieres is a nationally recognized emergency management and business continuity senior leader whose trademark is as a “first time builder.” She is a dynamic, collaborative and compelling leader, a driven strategist with more than 20 years of demonstrated track record of outstanding achievements possessing a unique blend of academic, healthcare, financial, public and private sectors expertise and experience. Ginette is the proud creator of Centennial College’s Emergency Management and Public Safety Institute. In recent years, Ginette has worked with Privy Council Office (PCO), DSO Centre for Development as Senior Lead Advisor and Organizer for the 2015 Government of Canada Security Summit.  In December 2016, after 10 years of outstanding achievements as a consultant and proud founder of Governance and Emergency Management Canada, she joined Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as Specialist, Business Continuity.

Brian Stratton

Brian Stratton

Manager of Engineering

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

Brian Stratton M.Sc., P. Eng. has 25 years of experience working as a water resources engineer.  Brian studied Civil Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and completed Master’s degree from Queen’s University.  Since 2005, Brian has worked at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) as Co-Project Manager for the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Program and he is also now the Manager of Engineering Services. Brian is currently the lead staff member for the RVCA’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Program, and Low Water Response Program.

Adrienne Turnbull

Defence Scientist

Defence Research and Development Canada

Adrienne Turnbull is a scientist with Defence Research and Development Canada. This includes years of operational research with the Army, Air Force, and Navy. Essentially, their role is to support the defence and security communities with science and tech in order to help them make more informed decisions.

Lauren Walker

Lauren Walker

Program Coordinator

Public Safety Canada

Lauren Walker is a lead resilience measures officer for Public Safety Canada’s Regional Resilience Assessment Program (RRAP) at the headquarters in Ottawa. Lauren has been a member of the RRAP team since 2017. In her role, Lauren performs all-hazard assessments of critical infrastructure across Canada using the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Tool (CIRT) and Critical Infrastructure Multi-Media Tool (CIMT) to enhance the resilience and security posture of Canada’s 10 Critical Infrastructure sectors. Prior to her position at Public Safety, Lauren had previous experience from other federal departments including Employment & Social Development Canada and the Parole Board of Canada. Her educational background includes a bachelor of arts honours from Carleton University in Criminology and Criminal Justice Law with a focus in Law and Legal studies, as well as a graduate certificate in Victimology from Algonquin College.