Skip to content

[SOLD OUT] Annual Dinner 2024: Dare to Lead

Presenting Partner:

A table of attendees from 2023's Annual Dinner

Toronto’s premier networking event returns!

Join members of the vibrant Toronto Region business community, including industry leaders, elected officials, and influential movers-and-shakers as we celebrate the Torontonians who Dare to Lead.

This year's Annual Dinner will honour what has made this gathering a can’t-miss tradition for 134 years - delicious food and drink, our prestigious Toronto Region Builder Award and unparalleled networking. This is where leaders come to forge meaningful new connections and strengthen existing ones.

'Toronto Talks' – Bright, Bold, Brief!

The event will depart from the traditional keynote format, adopting a fast-paced forum featuring brief, insightful, engaging Toronto Talks from three exceptional speakers who Dare to Lead.

Read more about Christian, Claudette and Michael's accomplishments.

  • Michael McCain

    Michael McCain

    Executive Chairman, Maple Leaf Foods

  • Claudette McGowan

    Claudette McGowan

    CEO, Protexxa and co-founder, Firehood Ltd.

  • Christian Weedbrook

    Christian Weedbrook

    CEO of Xanadu

Special Address

  • The Hon. Doug Ford

    The Hon. Doug Ford

    Premier of Ontario

Toronto Region Builder Award Recipient

Janet Bannister - Founder & Managing Partner, Staircase Ventures and Founder,

Janet will be honoured with the Board’s Toronto Region Builder Award, presented by CPA Ontario at our 134th Annual Dinner on February 29th, 2024.

Prior to launching Staircase Ventures, Janet was Managing Partner at Real Ventures, one of Canada’s largest and most active early-stage investors. Janet is very active in the Canadian tech ecosystem including being Co-Chair of C100 and on the Boards of Communitech in Waterloo, Vector Institute in Toronto, and Ivey Business School. She is also a mentor at Creative Destruction Lab. In 2004, Janet launched and grew it to become one of the most visited websites in Canada.

Read more about Janet's legacy here.

Janet has won numerous awards and recognition including Venture Capital Journal’s 2021 “Women of Influence in Private Markets”, Pitchbooks’ 2021 “Female Founders & Investors to Know”, and American Bankers’ 2019 “Most Influential Women in Payments”.

Janet spent four years at eBay in Silicon Valley where she helped transform eBay from a Collectibles to a mainstream marketplace. She started her career as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble and then joined McKinsey & Co. where she was an Engagement Manager. She also founded and built a successful consulting business and was CEO at a venture-backed start-up prior to joining Real Ventures.

Janet was a varsity long-distance runner and Canada’s National Triathlon Champion. She loves to cycle, hike, golf, and spend time with her husband and 17-year old son.


5:00pm – 7:00pm: Registration & Networking Receptions

7:00pm – 9:15pm: Dinner & Remarks

  • Board Remarks: Giles Gherson, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade
  • Special Address: The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

"Toronto Talks"

  • Presenting Sponsor Remarks & Introduction of ‘Toronto Talks’: Carl Lovas, Chairman & CEO, & Brad Beveridge, President, Odgers Berndtson
  • Michael McCain, Executive Chairman, Maple Leaf Foods
  • Claudette McGowan, CEO, Protexxa & Co-founder, Firehood Ltd.
  • Christian Weedbrook, Founder, Xanadu

Toronto Region Builder Award Presentation 

  • Sponsor Remarks: Carol Wilding, President & CEO, CPA Ontario 
  • Award Recipient: Janet Bannister, Founder & Managing Partner, Staircase Ventures and Founder, 
  • Chair Remarks: Yung Wu, Chair of the Board, Toronto Region Board of Trade 

9:15pm – 10:15pm: Dessert Reception & Networking


Welcoming Reception Partner

VIP Reception Partners

Premier Partners