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Why Attend
BridgingTheGap to Her

To get ahead and respond to the changes in society, it’s crucial to evaluate how the internet of things and globalization are transforming the workplace.

The BridgingTheGap™ to Her Forum brings this next generation perspective to the global gender dialogues–exploring the challenges and opportunities–for emerging women leaders under the age of 35 to build successful careers and lead innovation. Our inaugural event was at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener-Waterloo, on Oct 10, 2018.
Apply to win a cash
investment to scale your venture

BridgingTheGap Forums are designed to connect emerging young talent with influential executive mentors and impact investors. All attendees are given an opportunity to apply for one-on-one business meetings and participate in our live pitch challenge. Finalists will be invited to pitch live for investment at the forum to an executive leadership panel.

Past Speakers: Influential Women in Leadership

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Official photo of Hon. Elizabeth DowdeswellThe Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell was invested as Ontario’s 29th Lieutenant Governor on September 23, 2014. Her eclectic public service career has spanned provincial, federal and international borders, and has transcended disciplinary and sectoral lines.

Prior to her appointment as Lieutenant Governor, she was the president and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies, and held other notable roles including the head of the Atmospheric Environment Service for Canada, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. She has also served on numerous boards of corporate and non-profit organizations. An Officer of the Order of Canada, Ms. Dowdeswell holds 11 honorary degrees.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger,
Government House Leader, Canada

headshot of Bardish Chagger smiling

The Honourable Bardish Chagger was elected as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo on October 19, 2015. She was named as Minister of Small Business and Tourism by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on November 4, 2015. In 2016, Bardish Chagger became the first woman and visible minority Canadian to be appointed Government House Leader in the Commons. 

A natural leader and organizer, Minister Chagger is devoted to inclusion and community building. Prior to becoming MP for Waterloo, she worked at the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, an organization that assists new Canadians as they transition to full participation into community life. She also worked with other agencies to offer an annual Global Skills Conference, introducing foreign-trained professionals to related professions and assisting them with finding meaningful employment.

Get Candid Advice to Build Your Career

Headshot of Kelly Lovell
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Kelly Lovell

Founder of BridgingTheGap Forums, 3x TEDx Speaker & Queen's Young Leader

headshot of Mille Marshell
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Millie Marshall

President of Toyota Manufacturing Indiana, Inc.

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Beverly Altberg

National President to the Board, Lean In Canada & CMO, Shyft Network

headshot of Brenda Halloran
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Brenda Halloran

Board Chair, Startup Canada & Former Mayor of Waterloo

Explore STEM Innovation and Frontier Technologies

Headshot of Feridun Hamdullahpur at the University of Waterloo

Feridun Hamdullahpur

President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo

Headshot of Julie Smithson
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Julie Smithson

COO, MetaVRse & Co-Chair VRARA Education Committee

Headshot of Carolyn Van
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Carolyn Van

Director, Program Design, Canada Learning Code

Headshot of Bonnie Schmidt
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Bonnie Schmidt

President & Founder, Let's Talk Science

headshot of Deborah Maclatchy
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Deborah MacLatchy

President & Vice-Chancellor, Wilfrid Laurier University

Learn Branding and Business Strategy

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Stephania Varalli

Co-CEO & Head of Media, Women of Influence Inc.

Headshot of Nancy Vonk looking straight into the camera with a power look
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Nancy Vonk

Marketing Hall of Legends winner & Co-Founder, SWIM

Alexandra Beth

YouTube lifestyle vlogger, Alexandra's Girly Talk

Headshot of Brandi Veil smiling

Brandi Veil

Founder & CEO, Being Investments Company

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Stephanie Pollard

Vice President of Administration, TMMC

Sample Agenda

Executive Forum

Morning Keynotes and Panels

Hear from accomplished women CEOs and young female founders on the challenges and opportunities they faced in building their career with candid advice from their experience on how attendees can get started. 


  • Innovation Masterminds - Exploring frontier technologies like AI, Blockchain, VR/AR–and how women can scale up their impact to become leaders in innovation.
  • Candid Career Conversations with Women in Leadership -Insights with live Q&A from women in decision–making roles on how to rise to the top and lead transformation.
  • Building a Successful Brand Without Burning Out - The challenges young women face establishing their careers in the age of social media and the “always on” economy.
  • The Passion Pitch - How to position your pitch as a female founder and overcome challenges to secure investment.

Scale Up

Afternoon Pitch Challenge

Celebrate the talent of young women entrepreneurs and see how they are turning their passion into purpose during our live pitch presentations. 

Unlike standard pitch challenges, BridgingTheGap pitches offer everyone a chance to win! While the top pitch will receive a cash prize, every female founder that participates still has opportunity to receive serious consideration for investment by Toyota Tsusho based on the merit of their venture.


  • Winning Pitch - $3,500 cash investment
  • Wildcard Audience Pick - $1,000 cash investment
  • One–on–one business meetings - everyone can apply!

Organizing Partners

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Lovell Corp Logo
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Nominate an
Emerging Leader

Do you know a passionate woman entrepreneur or young professional looking to build their career?

One hundred emerging leaders under the age of 35 will be selected to attend this exclusive event. Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and will close on December 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

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Become a Partner

Join the BridgingTheGapTM Alliance (BTG Alliance) to receive priority invites to attend forums, speaker opportunities to profile your leadership on panels and early nominations for your members to apply. The BTG Alliance provides a platform for partners to form new multi-sector collaborations and strengthen their network with the support of like-minded organizations that have an invested interest in supporting young talent, inclusive innovation and sustainable development.

Bring a Forum to Your Region!

BridgingTheGap™ Forums provide quality leadership interaction and branded content opportunities tailored to your needs. With specially curated programming development, hand picked speaker rosters and attendee recruitment, forums offer a cost-effective event activation with proven results. Contact us to learn more!