Our Team

The Venture Out Team

Simon Mills

Simon Mills, 2019 Co-Chair

Simon is a Paid Acquisition Specialist at Opencare. A graduate of Ivey Business School, he is passionate about all things tech and startup. His interests include crypto currency, politics and LGBTQ issues. You can usually find him in the pool playing water polo or swimming.

Ask me about: crypto currency, Canadian politics, personal finance

he/him/his | @mills_simon | LinkedIn | simon.mills@ventureout.ca

Lisa Durnford, 2019 Co-Chair

Lisa is a lawyer from Sault Ste. Marie whose interests include: the ethical and regulatory considerations of emerging technologies, the daunting question of preventing biased AI algorithms, and the importance of diversity & inclusion with respect to both of those topics.

Ask me about: the future as it relates to above-noted interests, Harry Potter, anti-money laundering compliance, and Esther the Wonder Pig.

she/her/hers | @lisadurnford | LinkedIn | lisa.durnford@ventureout.ca 

Taylor Bond

Taylor Bond, VP and Special Projects Lead

Taylor has been with the Venture Out team since the beginning and is thrilled to be leading special projects.  Taylor is the VP of Client Experience at MindSea development where he oversees the client journey from marketing through to account management.  He loves everything diversity & inclusion related and never stops talking about the Canadian technology scene and the awesome work being done by local entrepreneurs.  You’ll usually find Taylor biking year-round on the hunt for Toronto’s best bagels & coffee (and any food with lots of sauce.)

Ask me about: Mobile Apps, LGBTQ entrepreneurs, Venture Capital, The Canadian Tech Scene, Poutine, Skiing, and Running

he/him/his | @rtaybond | LinkedIn | taylor.bond@ventureout.ca

Content & Programming

Sam Naylor, Content Associate & Finance Support

Sam self-identifies as a Transgender Male (FtM) on the Gender-Queer Spectrum. He has worked in a variety of industries including Commercial Lending, Tech Sales and now Innovative Product Management with Deloitte. He brings to the table a passion to expand people’s knowledge about the transgender spectrum and thereby normalize and increase awareness of the innate strengths that trans-folk bring to the table in professional environments.

Ask Me About: Product Management, UI/UX Design, Hiking, Biking & Base-Ball.

he/him/his | LinkedIn | samuel.naylor@ventureout.ca 

Rachel Shi

Rachel Shi, Content & Programming Associate

Rachel Shi is an Account Director at eSSENTIAL Accessibility, where she helps purpose-driven organizations create more inclusive digital experiences and better serve people with disabilities. With a dual background in design and technology, she is interested in tech ethics, materialist politics, and social advocacy. Outside of work you can find her drawing in her sketch-blog.

Ask me about: digital accessibility, data privacy, personal development, socialism.

she/her/hers | LinkedIn | rachel.shi@ventureout.ca 

Ruben Tjhie

Ruben Tjhie, Technical Content Associate

Ruben is an Engineer at AMD, a semiconductor company, where he works on computer chips that deliver more immersive and instinctive computing experiences. He grew up in Ottawa and Vancouver before moving to Toronto to study. He is passionate about building more inclusive and diverse spaces in tech to learn and grow.

Ask me about: Semiconductors, the future of computing, the latest TV series I binged.

he/him/his | @rubentjhie | LinkedIn | ruben.tjhie@ventureout.ca


Daniel Favand

Daniel Favand, Technical Content Associate & Website Support

Daniel is a consultant and developer, helping nonprofit organizations streamline processes and maximize their resources. He brings to Venture Out experience with nonprofit administration and event management.

Ask me about: Web API’s, homemade pizza, and a doggo named Kaunitz.

he/him/his | @DanielFavand | LinkedIn | daniel.favand@ventureout.ca



Saygin Yag, Sponsorship Associate

Saygin is a Product Manager at IBM Toronto Labs. He is overseeing IBM’s cloud database offerings and also friends’ dogs when they are out of town. He can easily be found discussing what the future will look like and feels passionate about LGBTQ+ causes ever since he witnessed hate and cruelty first hand. If he hadn’t become a techie, he would have been a chef.

Ask me about: Future, Travel advice, Documentaries, TED Talks and Food.

he/him/his | LinkedIn | saygin.yag@ventureout.ca

Erika Geremia, Sponsorship Associate

Erika Geremia is an excitable Torontonian who will happily take you to art museums, park hangs, and hidden bars. She believes that the PEOPLE in tech can solve the worlds issues as long as we set aside differences, think long-term, work across industries, and focus on human or enviro-centric problems. By day she works to empower ecommerce entrepreneurs and solve tough problems at eBay, at night you’ll find her playing volleyball, watching Netflix, chatting with friends about politics, or learning from smarter people via podcasts.

Ask me about: Growing an online business, sustainable eCommerce, tech literacy, the impact of technology and AI on democracies, cool hikes, & cute dogs I’ve seen.

she/her/hers | @Erpikaa | Linkedin | erika.geremia@ventureout.ca

Community Engagement

Zoe Ritchie, Student Outreach & Community Engagement

Zoe is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying in the Ethics, Society and Law program. She is passionate about the potential of the tech world to create solutions to complex problems and loves chatting about all the ethical implications such solutions can present. Her interests include healthcare equity, Ontario politics and LGBTQ+ issues. You can usually find her reading up a storm, trying desperately to get into yoga and chatting about her dog induced jealousy issues with TO greyhound owners.

Ask me about: tech ethics, how to land a cool internship, networking as a student

she/her/hers | @Zoe_YRitchie | LinkedIn | zoe.ritchie@ventureout.ca


Shadib Bin Newaz, Community Engagement & Finance Support

Shadib is a Chartered Accountant, having worked at Tulip Retail in building the FP&A function, and Deloitte within their Audit and Financial Advisory (Valuations) groups, where he focused on retail and technology clients.

He enjoys to travel, walk, read books and just learn about all things new and interesting in the technology space and personal development.

Ask me about: My solo trip to Japan/Bali, Rihanna, Pop Music, RuPaul’s Drag Race.

he/him/his | LinkedIn | shadib.newaz@ventureout.ca


David Yang

David Yang, Content Marketing Lead

David is currently an Analyst at Nielsen, helping companies determine how best to price and promote their products in-store. His previous journey in tech sales fostered a new-found respect for cold callers and also allowed him to tag along on some pretty cool initiatives with Venture Out.

Ask me about: what I’m reading, where to find the best chocolate chip cookie in Toronto, and what my favourite Taylor Swift song is.

he/him/his | david.yang@ventureout.ca

Julia Lo, Marketing Associate

Julia leads digital marketing and community engagement at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. She recently finished her MBA at HEC Montréal, where she worked with location intelligence and text analytics startups. She speaks French fluently and is now learning Spanish.

Ask me about: Digital skills development in the nonprofit sector, marketing analytics, cats, and potato museums.

she/her/hers or they/them | @kcjulia | LinkedIn | julia.lo@ventureout.ca 

Tiffany Regaudie, Marketing Associate

Tiffany leads Marketing & Communications at BlueDot, a health tech company that protects people around the world from infectious diseases with data-driven technologies. A storyteller + nerd at heart, she’s passionate about communicating all the ways tech can have a positive impact on society. Her interests include cycling, LGBTQ+ issues, and reading every damn book under the sun.

Ask me about: what I’m reading, SEO, content marketing, English grammar, ethics as they relate to tech.

she/her/hers | LinkedIn | tiffany.regaudie@ventureout.ca


Godfrey Ho, Logistics Associate

Godfrey is an Associate and Systems Administrator on the Events team at MaRS Discovery District, one of the largest urban innovation hubs in the world. He is very passionate about making connections and fostering collaboration within the tech and startup community. If he is not planning or executing an event, Godfrey can be found honing his singing and dancing skills.

Ask Me About: Events, Venue Management, Corporate Wellness & Health Promotion, Kelly Clarkson, my eclectic taste in network television and which Final Fantasy game is my favourite.

he/him/his | @godfrey_ho | Linkedin | godfrey.ho@ventureout.ca


Christine Hsu, Safety Ambassador

Christine is a second generation immigrant settler who identifies as nonbinary, genderfluid and as a queer woman of colour. She has a strong passion for and an extensive background in educating and advocating for diversity and specifically 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion, particularly in sport, health and fitness as well as in the workplace. They have 10+ years of facilitation experience within anti-oppression education setting from across all sectors from municipal public services to national and Olympic sport organizations. They are an Ontario certified educator with a Bachelor of Physical & Health Education from University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education from Ontario Institute of Studies In Education, and an Adult Education Certificate from St. Francis Xavier University.
Their current work is training in all aspects — as a holistic, healing-centred personal trainer, sports inclusion consultant, and a learning consultant that specializes in Diversity & Inclusion in all contexts. The latter involves facilitating D&I strategic planning, delivering in-person training/workshops, instructional design, and consultation on policy development with an anti-oppressive/anti-racist and intersectional lens across the province and nation. 

she/her/hers they/them/theirs | safetyambassador@ventureout.ca