Introducing the @startupfest Grandmother Judges!
Our grannies are back! After much success last year, we realized that our grandmother judges are an invaluable component to the festival—they provided startups with unique angles, criticism and priceless tips. According to feedback from last year, this was both the hardest and most valuable judging that the startups experienced! Plus, we’re always saying that your grandmother should understand what your business is all about—so here’s your chance to test your pitch. Keep in mind that older generations are a rising demographic in technology use so heed their words when developing your product!
So, who are the Grandmother Judges?
Born and raised in Montreal, Marilyn graduated from both Concordia University and Sir George Williams University. Since then she’s worked in sheet metal manufacturing as a buyer and in the customer service for many years. Marilyn is also passionate about life itself; she has developed an artistic side that involves painting and photography, has pursued the arts in the US and Mexico and enjoys travelling for pleasure. In her free time she loves to read, dabble on the computer or just sit on a beach listening to the waves rolling in. Marilyn is a proud grandmother of one!
Born in Cairo, Egypt, Sonia obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Concordia University and a Masters in Industrial Relations from l’Université de Montréal. For years she’s owned and operated a special events company in Montreal. In her spare time, Sonia enjoys playing bridge, completing crossword puzzles and swimming. Sonia is proud grandmother of 5!
Evelyn is another Montreal native! With a degree from McGill University, she’s been working as a document examiner specialized in the re-identification of handwriting and forgeries since 1985. This grandmother is also tech savy! Along with being involved with sales and purchases for Perfect Magic Reg’d, Evelyn blogs, writes newsletters, makes banners and edits the company’s site. She is a proud grandmother of 3!
Bea is a bit of a workaholic; she started working at the Royal Bank, then American Express, got a degree in psychology, then a real estate certificate, worked with Royal Lepage, decided to get a B.A. in education with a specialization in TESL and is now working as a CEGEP instructor at CEGEP Lionel Groulx. Wow! She’s passionate about teaching and training her students for case study competitions—and so far she’s been very successful. Bea is a proud grandmother of 2!
A Montreal native, Brenda obtained both a B.A. and a Masters (in Education) at McGill University. She was the president of Les Entreprises Randy Inc. until 2003 and is now a Real Estate owner and broker with Les Immeubles Brenda Flanz Inc. Like most of us, she can’t seem to leave her house without her iPhone, iPad or Kindle! In her spare time, Brenda enjoys playing golf, going to museums in Downtown Montreal and collecting art. As someone passionate about being involved in the Autism community, she was also the top fundraiser at the Autism Speaks walk in Montreal.
Julia has recently retired after many years in marketing for luxury seniors’ residences. She has recently moved from Edmonton to a small town in Ontario where she is enjoying being able to walk everywhere to explore her new community. Married for more than 50 years, Julia has had the opportunity to travel the world with her husband Mark who was in the military. Her interests include fashion and shopping in addition to gardening, golfing and spending time with her grandchildren of course! She uses technology everyday to stay in touch with friends and family. Julia is a proud grandmother of 6!
And introducing the Chair for the Grandmother Judges: FIONA GILLIGAN
Fiona is an entrepreneur, investor and speaker. As Founder and Chief Executive Officer (1995-2007) of www.trauma.ca, Canada’s largest private sector trauma services company, Fiona has extensive experience in StartUp innovation, business strategy as she initiated, managed and advanced all aspects of business sustainability/growth, through leadership of a high skilled team of senior advisors specialized in product development and service delivery, performance management and strategic planning for profitability and growth.
Fiona’s passion is entrepreneurship and encouraging others to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option. Fiona currently mentors, coaches and invests in StartUps that are making a difference. Through public speaking, she shares her story of how she became a successful entrepreneur. Via Arranmore Holdings, she specializes in business acquisitions and fun ventures. Follow Fiona on Twitter!