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Sprout 2021 Information Drops

Info Drop #2
Info Drop #3
Info Drop #4


Equity in a Digital Space


WHO is mass culture?

Mass Culture is an arts research organization that seeks to support the dissemination of arts and cultural research across Canada. Through a network of stakeholders, mass culture will address cultural research issues at organizational, sectoral, and governmental levels. Founded in 2015, it has since acquired charitable status.

mass culture's role in sprout

  • work with sprout to create the case question that participants will solve during the competition

  • collaborate with the winners of sprout 2021 to potentially implement their solution into the real-world.

  • Be part of the judging & deliberation process in deciding the winning team.

  • Mass culture will showcase their organization to all participants at the beginning of the case competition.​​

Event Experts and Judges 

Eva Lau

Eva is a well respected entrepreneur-turned-investor and one of the few women leading a venture fund in Canada. She is the Founding Partner of Two Small Fish Ventures, a venture fund that invests globally in early-stage, transformative tech companies with strong network effects.

Before starting Two Small Fish Ventures, she was Wattpad’s Head of Community and Content. She helped nurture and scale Wattpad from its infancy to become one of the largest online communities with tens of millions of monthly users around the world. Wattpad is now the largest consumer internet company in Canada, with over 90M monthly users from across the world. 

With a sharp focus on investing companies with strong network effect as their defensibility, Eva has created the ASSET framework that many entrepreneurs and accelerators have adopted in their developing business strategies. Eva is regarded as an expert in this area.

Eva is also involved in many incubators and accelerators, such as Creative Destruction Lab at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery, Ryerson’s DMZ, University of Waterloo’s Velocity and Techstars. She also serves on the board of Branksome Hall and a number of startup companies.

Eva has a bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from University of Toronto and an MBA from Schulich School of Business. 

Jackie Csonka-Peeren

Jackie has over twenty years of experience leading advanced technology development and commercialization at BioAlliance Consulting, Millenium Biologix, IBM, Celestica and the Ontario Rehabilitation Technology Consortium (ORTC). She is past President and CEO of Segasist Technologies, moving this medical software start-up from technology licensing to installation at leading world healthcare centres, including the US National Cancer Institute and Canada’s Princess Margaret Hospital. For over a decade, Jackie has provided guidance to early-stage technology clients, including medical and high-technology ventures, institutions and government.


Jackie developed the FIDTM inventive design method and currently offers facilitation in advanced designing thinking for problems with a high level of unknown risk or opportunity. She is completing related PhD research in Management Sciences at the University of Waterloo.


Jackie is fluently bilingual in English and French, and has been in print and televised interviews for BNN and Canadian Business. She holds an M.B.A. for Science and Technology from Queen’s University and an M.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto. She is a member of the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and the Licensing Executive Society (LES), and has been an active member of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). She is a certified Risk Management
Professional (PMI-RMP).

Jackie Csonka-Peeren

Chris Randall

Currently, Chris is completing his Masters of Applied Science (MASC) for Applied Environmental Science and Management, at Ryerson University. His thesis will be focussing on urban water systems in the City of Toronto, and how these waterways and impacted by the built environment around them. Chris has worked on various projects with outdoor education, curriculum development, and well as community outreach and education.

Heather Willis

Heather Willis is a proud graduate of Ryerson's School of Disability Studies, and has a post-graduate diploma in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds. Born in Toronto, Heather has been an accessibility advocate since she was a teenager growing up in an institution for disabled children. In the decades since, she has served on numerous committees and boards dedicated to the equity and the full inclusion of persons with disabilities.


In 2010, Heather joined Ryerson University as the inaugural Accessibility Coordinator, now in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She leads Ryerson’s accessibility initiative, "ACCESS RYERSON", with the goal of identifying, removing and preventing accessibility barriers for all members of the Ryerson community. In 2014, Heather was awarded the Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award, which recognizes the achievements of an individual, team or organization in the Ryerson University community who advances equity, diversity and inclusion at Ryerson. 

Selena Jodha

Selena Jodha is a Literatures of Modernity M.A candidate at Ryerson University. Her academic interests are currently in children and Caribbean literature, rhetorical theory and structural linguistics, and intersectional feminist theory. Along with her research interests, Selena is an advocate for advancing educational opportunities for first generation, visible minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Selena has been part of many work and volunteer opportunities in relation to academic counselling, tutoring and education, and community interrelations.

Alex Gill

Alex Gill is a social entrepreneur who founded and leads Mendicant Group, a global consultancy that has worked on social, environmental and entrepreneurial issues in 17 different countries.

He is the co-founder and current Director of Canada’s leading social enterprise incubator, the Social Ventures Zone, located at Toronto’s Ryerson University. Alex is an alum of Stanford University and is a global advocate for entrepreneurship, having moderated the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance since 2010. In 2015 THIS Magazine named him as one of Canada’s “Social Justice All-Stars.”

Follow Alex on Twitter at @ alexgill for a mix of all things social and entrepreneurial.

Alex returns to SPROUT as an expert in 2021, and will be hosting a special workshop for our participants.

Rahma Hilowle.png

Rahma Hilowle

Rahma is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She received a Masters Degree in Education in Social Justice Education. Before that, she attended York University and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science.

Rahma’s area of expertise is education and community development in programs implementing social justice, equity and inclusion. She currently works at Ryerson University, as an Administrative Coordinator with experience in community outreach as a Youth Mentorship Coordinator, Social Justice Education Research Support Coordinator, as well as a wealth of volunteer experience. Rahma also worked extensively with youth, young adults, and families as they transitioned to post-secondary education.

She has extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of issues and theories pertaining to social justice, equity, and inclusion studies. Her research in the past has explored anti-oppression, multiculturalism, critical race theory, and de-colonization in an educational context.

Alex Kolodkin

Alex is the Founder and CEO of Set Scouter, the largest film locations marketplace in North America working with thousands of agencies and brands to simplify production. Before founding and growing Set Scouter, Alex was a broadcaster at Rogers Communications (CityTV, Bio, OLN, and G4) and a producer within established agencies. He produced internal and consumer-focused branded campaigns for RBC, Manulife, Mazda, and Cisco. Alex is also the President of Safe Sets International, the production industry's largest COVID-19 prevention advocacy group.

Alex holds a BA and MA from Ryerson University’s RTA School of Media and a certificate in International Production from UCLA. His graduate research was the first of its kind in Canada to examine how millennials consume TV content, and predicted the continued rise of digital piracy and online streaming services like Netflix.

Alex is an alumnus of 500 Startups in Mountain View, California, DMZ, and Communitech.

Laura Mackinnon

Laura MacKinnon is the Career Education Specialist supporting Faculty of Arts students and alumni with the Ryerson Career & Co-op Centre. An alumna of Ryerson herself, she's passionate about helping students discover the power of their Arts degree as they build their career for life.


An experienced educator, prior to Ryerson she worked for national youth-serving organizations, most recently Outside Looking In, empowering Indigenous young people to bring their vision for the future to life through innovative leadership development, mentorship and career education programming.


She has facilitated hundreds of arts-based workshops and forged cross-sector partnerships with organizations including the Royal Conservatory of Music, the National Ballet of Canada, the Toronto District School Board and the Canadian Opera Company. She is an experienced public speaker and trainer and has presented onstage at the Stratford Festival, OISE and the Economic Club of Canada.


A lifelong artist and advocate, she's an active member of Vox Choirs, a community music organization, and brings expert insight into governance, volunteer involvement and community partnerships for their board.

Annalise Huynh

Annalise is a qualitative researcher and designer for the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, focused on digital access and skills development. She has designed and executed numerous research projects to inform policy and program design for partners such as Economic and Social Development Canada, City of Guelph, City of Toronto, and several Ontario Government ministries. She is interested in how thoughtful design research approaches can reach people who would not otherwise be a part of decision-making processes. As an illustrator and UX enthusiast, she also explores design approaches to effective communication of complex information and data. She completed BrainsStation’s UX Design program where she explored approaches to user research. Annalise also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Governance from Ryerson University.

Adam Chaboryk

Adam Chaboryk is a digital accessibility consultant and front-end web developer with a passion for building inclusive experiences. He is currently employed as an IT Accessibility Specialist at Ryerson University. Adam enables the Ryerson community with the resources and guidance to create a more inclusive digital environment for all learners, faculty, staff and the general public. Adam also led the development of Sa11y, an open source accessibility checker designed for content authors. Sa11y is also featured on the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List.

Kristin Walcott-Dass

Kristin Walcott-Dass is a proud Ryerson Arts alumni. During her time at Ryerson, she was heavily involved in on-campus departments and organizations, such as Ryerson Student Life, Faculty of Arts, and the Ryerson Liberal Arts Society. In addition, Kristin has worked for reputable non-profit and higher education institutions, including UNICEF, New York University, and Ryerson University. She is currently the Education Operations Coordinator at the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).

Kristin holds a BA in Sociology from Ryerson University and an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University, She focused her graduate research on media institutions, globalization, social and economic inequalities, and media activism. She worked to better understand how the media plays an active role in shaping public discourse, influencing social movements, and human relations.

Lisa Sousa

Lisa is a marketing professional with nearly seven years of experience working at top-tier advertising agencies. She has gained valuable experience working with a variety of brands, including Skittles, Juicy Fruit, Adidas and Canada Goose, and developing a wide range of integrated communication programs. Lisa has spent the last four years as an Account Director at Zulu Alpha Kilo, leading the diverse portfolio of Whirlpool Corporation brands including KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Maytag, and JennAir, and helping the brands Consonant Skin+Care and RATESDOTCA with rebranding efforts. Her career ambition is to help brands create a meaningful impact in society through strategic marketing initiatives.

Currently, Lisa is working on building her own online pet accessories brand with the aim of being able to leverage both profits and influence to help animals in need.

Lisa is a Ryerson University graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts from the ACS Program. She also has a post-graduate certificate from Humber College in Advertising Account Management.

Liza Arnason

Liza Arnason Ba, Ma is a successful and award winning business owner, senior administrator, educator, and the founder and Chair of the Board of Directors: ASE Community Foundation for Black Canadians with Disabilities.

Her career spans over 30 years of enriched and transformative education and life experiences; delineating recognition for her distinctive expertise: including education and equity (including anti-black racism, disability rights, and accommodations); governance and policy; strategic change management; and executive coaching.

Most importantly, Liz is a mother, grandmother. And an authentic story teller, unapologetic change agent, and mentor!

Robin Sokoloski

Robin Sokoloski has been working in the arts and culture sector for over fifteen years. Currently, as the Director of Organizational Development of Mass Culture, Robin is working with academics, funders and arts practitioners to support a thriving arts community by mobilizing the creation, amplification and community informed analysis of research.

For 10+ years, Robin was the Executive Director of Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC). During her time there she launched the Canadian Play Outlet (a book store dedicated entirely to Canadian Plays), fostered a growing national awards program for playwrights, the Tom Hendry Awards, and led major changes within the organization.

Robin remains committed to Canada’s arts and culture scene by volunteering for various arts organizations as a way of staying connected to the local arts community and ensuring public access to artistic experiences. She currently sits on Ryerson University's Centre For Free Expression Advisory Committee, Work in Culture's Research Advisory Committee, and sits on the Cultural Research Network's Steering Committee.

Kathryn Geertsema

Kathryn is an emerging arts manager who graduated from York University's Conservatory program. Since graduating, she has been the Administrative Coordinator at Playwrights Guild of Canada, and the Network Liaison/Office Manager at Mass Culture, while finding ways to pursue her love of theatre and the arts.

Max Irwin

Max is a recent Psychology graduate from Ryerson and is currently working as a Business Consulting Associate in Toronto. His experience working with various businesses, project management, and his Psychology background allow him to identify organizational barriers in high-growth organizations and work to implement strategies to set organizations on a sustainable growth trajectory. His interests in organizational behavior, behavioral science, as well as personal and corporate development lend themselves to a people-centric approach to organizational growth.

Former RLAS President, Max returns for his third year at SPROUT, creating this annual case competition in 2019. Former participants may remember Max from 2018-2020 as an avid student leader and recipient of the 2020 University-wide Dennis Mock Award. We are very lucky to have Max joining us for our 2021 event.

Rudhra Persad

Rudhra Persad is a Mentoring Facilitator with the Tri-Mentoring Program at Ryerson University for the past 8 years overseeing portfolios that encompass scholarship administration, working with First Generation students, mature students, students that identify living with a disability and students within the Faculties of Arts, Engineering and Architectural Sciences and Community Services. Recently, Rudhra spearheaded a process that resulted in the creation of 5 scholarships for mature students entering Ryerson University. Rudhra is regularly consulted on best practices in mentoring by staff at other Universities and community organisations. He does so while navigating his ADHD and other learning differences. Rudhra is also a current student in the Arts and Contemporary Studies in the Faculty of Arts.

Sarah Brigel

Sarah Brigel is a 2016 Ryerson graduate from the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Urban Sustainability program. During her studies, she focused her research on food security, gender politics, and equity and inclusion. Sarah has worked in the urban agriculture space coordinating markets to increase food access, community gardens, and tending to gardens to increase local food access. Sarah is currently the Operations Coordinator at the Social Ventures Zone at Ryerson University, a campus based incubator that supports student and community led social enterprises. She loves working with people who want to make an impact and hopes to move into the social financing space one day.

Sarah Brigel is a 2016 Ryerson graduate from the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Urban Sustainability program. She is currently the Operations Coordinator at the Social Ventures Zone at Ryerson University, a campus based incubator that supports student and community led social enterprises.

Dr. Cheryl Teelucksingh

Dr. Cheryl Teelucksingh is a Professor in the Sociology Department. She teaches courses in the areas of environmental sociology, urban sociology, and race and racialization. Her numerous publications and funded research projects over the last twenty years have focused on examining the relationship between environmental justice in Canada and concerns for social inequality in the urban context.

Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow

I am Ojibwe and a Band member of Whitefish River First Nation located on Birch Island, Ontario in the District of Manitoulin Island and I am Founder of a First Nations owned innovative business called Birch Bark Coffee Company and I am on a mission to make a difference in my people’s lives and aiming to bring clean drinking water to approximately 1,673,785 Indigenous people in Canada and to educate the world with self-determination and perseverance we can make a difference.

In starting Birch Bark Coffee Company, I wanted the name to have a connection to my Indigenous heritage, but also about a passion to help others. Birch trees have been relied upon for many centuries by First Nations people, European Settlers, and Voyageurs. They remain an iconic resource today and throughout Canadian history and they have increased the quality of life in so many ways, for so many people, and ironically, I found there to be many similarities in the historical stories and legends of the quintessential coffee bean.

Dr. Bilal Farooq

Dr. Bilal Farooq is the Canada Research Chair in Disruptive Transportation Technologies and Services. He is currently an Associate Professor in Transportation Engineering at Ryerson University. Bilal received his Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering from the University of Toronto, Master of Computer Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences, and Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan. He did his Post-Doctoral research at EPFL in Switzerland. He has received Early Career Researcher Awards in the provinces of Québec (2014) and Ontario (2018). Bilal is interested in understanding the network and behavioural effects of smart mobility and in developing the associated algorithms, models, and solutions.

Nour Abu-Shaaban

In her role as a program worker at a non-profit settlement agency in Toronto, she has actively monitored, developed, planned, and facilitated multiple integration arts-based, recreational, and educational after-school programs for refugee and newcomer children and youth in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, as a program coordinator, she has been invited by the City of Toronto to discuss and consult on the Youth Equity Strategy and present training on how to mentor vulnerable refugee and newcomer youth in a multi agency settings. Nour currently holds a position at United Way Greater Toronto, as an Associate Manager to manage a city-wide contract between the Toronto Police and the City of Toronto, which offers immediate community support to vulnerable populations in Toronto. She provides summary reports from raw data collection on Acutely Elevated Risk (AER) individuals throughout the City of Toronto, for policy advocacy work. Nour is also finalizing her Master's in Immigration and Settlement in Toronto, with a focus on environmental justice and healthy food access to marginalized communities.

Robert Clapperton

Robert Clapperton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Communications at Ryerson University.  Robert earned his PhD in English Language and Literature with a Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science at the University of Waterloo.  He specializes in computational linguistics, rhetoric, social epistemology, and data analysis with an emphasis on the critical application of natural language understanding in a number of fields including education, politics, commercial, and social enterprise.  Robert’s teaching focuses on the digital enterprise and communication research methods. 

Robert has developed a natural language understanding experiential learning platform for experiential teaching and practicing communication, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.  The platform is currently used by universities, corporations, and professional associations across North America. 

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