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OCTOBER 8, 2020
Education Panel:  
Lydia Chen Shah, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, Scott Cowley, Western Michigan University,  Jason Dojc, Seneca College, Stacy Smollin-Schwartz, Rutgers Business School

The Future of LEARNING

The disruptions to the industry were unprecedented - even before our education system was turned on its head by COVID-19. 


Widespread broadband internet has paved the way for efficient and high quality digital learning opportunities while the traditional education hierarchy continues to raise tuition through the roof yet bring almost no added to the student for those costs.


At the same time, the corporate world is seeing the need to reskill employees reach unprecedented levels as technology drives transformation and the jobs of today have a shorter shelf-life than ever before. 


Organizations leading the way are now developing their own approach to re-train, re-certify and re-deploy their workforces which only further complicates their relationship with the historical mainstays of education.


Mix that in with the collision of a massive (baby) boom of retiring workers who are healthier than any generation before them and looking to continue learning into their golden years, and an incoming workforce of digital natives who are more predisposed to remote access, spending for experiences and flexible work/school/life balance than any generation before them - and you have a recipe for change.


While there’s currently no textbook for this discussion, at Ensemble we’ve been busy pulling together a virtual lineup of experts who will help us to look deeply into this change and examine many of the tough questions we’re seeing come to the head of the class in the rapidly evolving landscape:


  • Can virtual schools or even virtual terms command the same tuition dollars as a physical campus experience?

  • What happens when students opt out to seek alternative learning models?

  • How will education add value as employers race to bring learning and re-skilling programs in-house to help talent keep pace with business transformation?

  • Which sources are emerging for individuals looking to develop their skills in a growing landscape of educational opportunities?

  • And will any of these formats be able to compete with the ‘free’ learning opportunities presented by online powerhouses like Linkedin Learning and even YouTube?


Join us for our second Virtual Volume as we bring together voices from across the world of learning and education for a discussion about our collective evolution into a digitally-connected, ‘always learning’ society. 


There was a time when the symbol of education was an apple on a teachers desk, but we’re quickly becoming a world where it might be the Apple on your laptop. 


And now is the time to raise our hands and start asking questions.


Ensemble.  You’re part of something bigger



Event Details

October 8, 2020

Image by Dylan Ferreira
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Amber Mac.jpg




digital innovator, author, journalist, ambermac media

Amber Mac(Arthur) started her career in San Francisco and Boston during the dot-com boom. As a strategist for Razorfish and Director of Marketing for an e-procurement software company, she spent four years in the technology start-up trenches.

Amber left the start-up world to join Microsoft to build one of the first female-focused lifestyle portals. In 2006, she started her own digital agency. The company’s first client was world-renowned business coach, Tony Robbins, and now includes Microsoft, Google, GE, Paypal, Nintendo, Canada Goose, and Fast Company, and many more leading organizations. In 2010, she wrote the national bestselling business book Power Friending . In 2016, she co-wrote Amazon bestseller, Outsmarting Your Kids Online. Most recently, she started co-hosting a new podcast series, presented by Accenture, called Marketing Disrupted

She is a regular business host and expert for Fast Company, CNN, Bloomberg, CBS, BNN, CTV, The Marilyn Denis Show, and SiriusXM Radio. Plus, in 2018, she was named one of DMZ’s 30 inspirational women making a difference in tech. In 2019, her podcast The AI Effect won Best Technology Series.

As a child, Amber attended a two-room country schoolhouse and shared a party telephone line with neighboring houses. She is now recognized internationally as an innovation and technology leader.


Nina Bilimoria Angelo

Vice President of Product Marketing, Top HAT

Nina is responsible for the company's overall message and value proposition for the market and our customers.With over ten years of senior leadership experience in both the publishing and technology sectors, Nina joined Top Hat from Pearson, where she led product strategy teams that focused on personalized learning and analytics. Prior to that, she spearheaded the emerging-market education strategy at HP and worked as a management consultant to help companies - large and small - grow and optimize their businesses.


A seasoned “intrapreneur,” Nina specializes in strategy creation and execution, product conceptualization, messaging and positioning, and change management. Nina holds a BA in International Relations & Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Born and raised in the US, Nina has lived and worked all over the world, and is thrilled to consider Canada her forever home. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two amazing children. 


paloma bentes

marketing director, snacks, food & beverage, campbell'S CANADA

Paloma is a marketing executive leader with start up and fortune 500 experience. She has led beloved global brands and has a unique combination of consumer centric expertise and
progressive and strategic thinking. From innovation to brand strategy & management, Paloma has led marketing plans for iconic brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Orville Redenbacher and most recently Goldfish. A well-rounded marketer with an MBA from Queen's University she launched new brands and products in almost every aisle of the store and co-founded a start up in the cannabis space. She is driven by a passion for learning, intense curiosity and delivering meaningful purposeful work.




Chris Besse is Chief Commercial Officer and member of the board of Edsby®, an award-winning SaaS-based digital platform combining learning management features with advanced assessment, reporting and parent communication. He is deeply passionate about growing and transforming the education sector having spent over thirty years building businesses in education. He has also been an active contributor to numerous boards and committees exploring innovation and excellence in education. Prior to Edsby, Chris was CEO of EdgeMakers Inc, FreshGrade Inc and Managing Director, K-12, Nelson Education Ltd.


Lydia Chen Shah

marketing Professor

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Lydia Chen Shah is a strategy and marketing consultant with agency and in-house experience, marketing professor at Cal Poly Pomona, and leader in community engagement.



Assistant Professor of Marketing

Western Michigan University

Scott Cowley is a digital marketing professor at Western Michigan University and a respected innovator, researcher, and educator in the area of digital marketing and social media education


Jason Dojc

Professor of Marketing, SENECA COLLEGE



Jason Dojc is a former ad agency veteran turned professor in the Creative Advertising, Marketing Management, and Social Media programs at Seneca College.


Jake Hirsch-Allen

North America Workforce Development and Higher Ed System Lea, LINKED IN

Jake Hirsch-Allen connects people and ideas to create social and economic impact, by building public private partnerships to fight inequality.  He currently works with North America's governments, workforce development organizations, colleges and universities to leverage LinkedIn Learning Solutions to close skills gaps. Previously, he was a startup and IP lawyer, and founded Lighthouse Labs, an immersive software development company bootcamp.

He is passionate about supporting disadvantaged groups such as newcomers and refugees, indigenous populations, the formerly incarcerated and people with disabilities.

Jake holds degrees in civil and common law from McGill University and received my B.A. in International Relations and Archetypal Mythology from the University of Toronto.  He collaborates with his mother on mixed media art exhibitions and enjoys amateur photography.




Kevin is the CEO and founder of Brainsights, an award-winning neuroscience technology, data and insights company. Brainsights works with leading brands to understand customers' unconscious biases through brain measurement and data analysis, and has pioneered a philosophy of Data Respect that enables an open value exchange for individuals' data. Founded in 2013, the Toronto-based company has grown with operations now in the US, UK, Germany, Spain and India.






Erica Rivietz holds a Master of Early Childhood Education and is a licensed teacher by the Ontario College of Teachers. Her book, Outdoor Play is too Dangerous: And Other Early Childhood Myths Dispelled, advocates in favour of more outdoor play for children.


Most recently, Erica was the Head of Programming for three pre-schools in the GTA. She was responsible for creating, implementing and maintaining engaging play-based programming for children between the ages of 18 months to 4 years.


Erica now focusses on her advocacy of the benefits of outdoor play for children, presenting practical and strategy-based webinars to educators.




Bio coming soon



President and Vice-Chancellor



Ensemble alumna Ana Serano is the new President of OCAD University.  Fornerly Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC), Ana has a track record as a global leader and visionary in digital media. She has more than 20 years’ experience building award-winning digital products, securing public and private sector investment, creating strategic alliances and starting new ventures. 


Ana has received numerous awards from the digital media, film, and theatre industries in both Canada and the U.S., including receiving the insignia of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) from the Government of France in 2018, the Digital Media Trailblazer Award from the Academy of Canadian Film & Television in 2015, a Best Canadian Feature Film Award from the International Reel Asian Film Festival for her own transmedia production Prison Dancer: the Musical, and a Jim Blackaby Ingenuity Award for Body/Mind/Change from the American Museums Association.


Stacy Smollin-Schwartz

Program Director, MS Digital Marketing, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Marketing

Rutgers Business School

Stacy Smollin-Schwartz is a marketing professor and director of the Master of Science in digital marketing program at Rutgers Business School.



Chief Talker & Communication Coach

Talk About Talk

Communication coach Dr. Andrea Wojnicki earned her doctoral degree from Harvard, where her dissertation focused on consumer psychology and word-of-mouth. (She’s still obsessed with understanding why you said whatever you just said!)


Over her career, Andrea worked as a brand manager at Kraft Foods, authored several HBS cases, and served on the faculty at the University of Toronto (Rotman) where she taught MBA students. 


Andrea created Talk About Talk ( as a learning platform to help people catapult their careers by improving their communication skills -  through 1-on-1 coaching, online courses, a weekly newsletter, and a bi-weekly podcast with over 60 episodes to-date. 


You can connect with Andrea at or on linkedin:

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Thank you to all of our partners who help us create something bigger.

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