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Keynote Speakers

The world’s most influential movers and shakers headline the 2024 National Mortgage Conference, bringing with them the insight, the know-how, and the drive to help you excel both personally and professionally.

Stay tuned to learn more about this year's lineup. 

Ben Mulroney

Celebrated Television Anchor and Host

Ben Mulroney is regarded as one of Canada’s premier television hosts. He is best known as the former co-host of CTV’s Your Morning and Etalk as well as the host of Canadian Idol. For the entirety of it six-season run, it was the most watched English-language Canadian television show on record. As a preeminent host and emcee, Mulroney infuses galas, conferences, and every event he’s involved in with his signature humour, charisma, and warm personality.

Despite being the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and earning a law degree from Laval University and a history degree from Duke University, Mulroney found his calling in show business, not politics.

Mulroney got his start as the Quebec City Correspondent for talktv's The Chatroom before joining CTV’s Canada AM as their entertainment reporter. He then joined Etalk from its inception, where he interviewed thousands of stars and reported from hundreds of red carpets, including the Oscars, Golden Globes, the Emmys, and the Juno Awards. Mulroney has also appeared as a contributor on the weekend edition of ABC News’ Good Morning America and joined Kelly Ripa as guest co-host twice on the popular daytime talk show, Live! With Kelly.

Today, Mulroney is a regular contributor with 640 Toronto and works closely with Aurora Strategy Global, a fast-growing public affairs, government, and public relations firm. He’s also an experienced event host and works closely with several charitable organizations, including Cystic Fibrosis Canada and SickKids.


Sponsored by Desjardins


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Duncan Wardle

Disney’s Former Head of Innovation and Creativity

As Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, Duncan Wardle and his team helped Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney Parks innovate and create magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe. Today, he is on a mission to embed a culture of innovation into every company’s DNA.  

Wardle spent 25 years working at the world’s most innovative organization — The Walt Disney Company — and is renowned for his expertise in developing ground-breaking, magical brands, engaging stories, and creative experiences that drive results. He is now the founder of ID8 and teaches innovation master classes at both Harvard and Yale. He has also spoken at multiple TEDx events and is a contributor to Fast Company and Harvard Business Review.

Wardle is the recipient of the American Citizen of Choice Award presented at the White House, an honorary Doctorate from Edinburgh University, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award presented by Queen Elizabeth II. 




Presentation Timing:
Sunday, October 27 | 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM


Session sponsored by Equitable Bank


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Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser

Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist | Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame

Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser is considered one of the best female hockey players in the world. Seven world championships, six Olympic appearances, five Olympic medals — she is a titan of sport and a leader both on and off the ice. Today, Wickenheiser is the assistant general manager of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as a community leader, medical doctor, and businesswoman who inspires audiences to give their best in everything they do.

A first-ballot Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Wickenheiser’s hockey IQ is highly respected in both the male and female game. She made hockey history as the first female player to notch a point in a men’s professional game. She was also the first woman in history to have played in/coached at four NHL development camps with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Edmonton Oilers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wickenheiser joined the Leafs as assistant director of player development in 2018 before being promoted to assistant general manager in 2022.

Wickenheiser’s ascent to the top of her sport started in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan where at age 15 she became the youngest member chosen for the Canadian Women’s National Team. Her Olympic career spanned 23 years, five Olympic medals, and two sports as she also competed in softball at the 2000 Games. In 2014, Wickenheiser was Canada’s official flag bearer at the Sochi Olympics and served on the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission.

In 2017, Wickenheiser announced her retirement from the National Women’s Team. In addition to her work with the Leafs, she is now a resident medical doctor in family medicine — a pursuit she has dreamt of her whole life. She is also a bestselling author having released her first book Over the Board: Lessons from the Ice in 2021.

Wickenheiser has earned many accolades throughout her career, including being named on Sports Illustrated’s “Top 25 Toughest Athletes in the World” and twice named to their “Power 50 in Sports” list. She is also one of QMI Agency’s “Top 10 Greatest Female Athletes in the History of Sports”, a member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40”, and an inductee in both Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2014, Wickenheiser was awarded Canada’s highest honour when she was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of her athletic achievements and contributions to the growth of women’s hockey.


Presentation Timing:
Monday, October 16 | 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM


Session sponsored by BMO BrokerEdge


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Benjamin Tal

Deputy Chief Economist

Benjamin Tal is responsible for analyzing economic developments and their implications for North American fixed income, equity, foreign exchange and commodities markets. He also acts in an advisory capacity to bank officers on issues related to wealth management, household and corporate credit and risk.

Well known for his ground-breaking published research on topics such as labour market dynamics, real estate, credit markets, international trade and business economic conditions, Benjamin not only contributes to the conversation, but frequently sets the agenda.

He has close to 20 years’ experience in the private sector advising clients, industry leaders, corporate boards, trade associations, and governments on economic and financial issues. National and global media regularly seek him out for his insight and analysis on economic issues that impact financial markets, consumers, corporations and public policy. He is also a frequent lecturer in the economic programs of various Canadian universities.

Benjamin is a member of the Economic Committee of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and The Economic Development Committee of the Toronto Board of Trade. He is also a member of the board of Governors of Junior Achievement of Central Ontario, and a board member of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance.


Presentation Timing:
Monday, October 16 | 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM


Session sponsored by Sagen


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Melissa Leong

Melissa Leong is one of Canada’s best-loved authorities on personal finance. A sought-after speaker, national media personality, bestselling author, and award-winning writer, she is currently the resident money expert on CTV’s The Social, Canada’s leading daytime talk show, and is a repeat guest on The Drew Barrymore Show on CBS. Leong is on a quest to help people better manage their money while maximizing their happiness. She delivers high-energy, informative, and practical talks about behavioural economics, positive psychology, and personal finance in her signature frank and funny style.

For almost two decades, Leong worked as a print journalist, reporting on a variety of beats including crime, politics, terrorism, arts, and business for The National Post, The Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail. She has interviewed thousands of subjects, including heads of state, royalty, and celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Carrie Fisher.

Now, she is a go-to money expert for radio and television programs, appearing on CTV’s The Social, BNN, CBC Radio, Breakfast Television, CP24, Global News, Canada AM, and Newstalk 1010 to name a few. She has also written articles on the subject, most recently as the personal finance writer for the Financial Post. Leong is also the bestselling author of the award-winning, feel-good finance guide Happy Go Money.

In her spare time, Leong mentors youth, and volunteers for organizations that promote the advancement and empowerment of women. She’s also self-published teen adventure novels that have sold almost 70,000 copies worldwide and soared to #1 on a number of Amazon’s bestseller lists. Leong graduated from the esteemed Bachelor of Journalism program at the Toronto Metropolitan University (former Ryerson University).


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Ryan Estis

Sales and Leadership Expert

Adapt & Thrive: Preparing to Win In A 2025 World

This keynote presentation will prepare entrepreneurs and business owners to thrive in today’s increasingly connected, competitive business environment. Ryan challenges conventional business growth practices and explores progressive techniques and technology that pace with the evolving needs of today’s entrepreneur.

We are navigating a landscape with unprecedented disruption, elevated customer expectations and constant change. Our proprietary research proves that traditional leadership practices are giving way to a more connected, collaborative and flexible approach to managing people and business performance.

This interactive keynote will deliver new ideas and actionable insights that attendees can leverage immediately to jumpstart innovation, elevate performance and improve profitable growth.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the “Futuremaker” mindset required to embrace and lead change.
  • Discover four actionable insights from our research for progressive small business owners.
  • Develop an understanding on the evolution and opportunity associated with elevated customer expectations.
  • Hear case studies on how progressive small businesses are proving disruptive and preparing to win in a 2025 world.
  • Walk away with an action plan to address the most critical next steps in your business performance and growth.


Presentation Timing:
Sunday, October 15 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM


Session sponsored by Equitable Bank


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