Our Team

The Venture Out Team

Jeanette Stock

Jeanette Stock, Co-Founder and 2018 Co-Chair

Jeanette is a New Venture Associate at Highline BETA and a Venture for Canada Fellow. She grew up in Toronto and St Catharines, and attended Queen’s University, where she studied English Language & Literature and Life Sciences. In her free time Jeanette can be found testing new recipes or frequenting Toronto storytelling events.

Ask me about: My favourite GIFs, marketing, deciding to join a startup, the best games for dinner parties, and Venture Out (of course!).

she/her/hers | @JeanetteStock | LinkedIn | jeanette.stock@ventureout.ca

Taylor Bond

Taylor Bond, 2018 Co-Chair

Taylor has been with the Venture Out team since the beginning and is thrilled to be leading up the second annual conference.  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

Stefan Palios

Stefan Palios, Co-Founder and Adviser

Stefan is an entrepreneur and writer who has spent his career as an advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the corporate and tech worlds. He’s the co-founder of Venture Out,  and helps companies with brand storytelling in their sales, marketing, and talent efforts through his organization, Pulse Blueprint. If you want to get a hold of him, he’ll probably be at one of the many LGBTQ+ or tech events in Toronto.

Ask me about: Advocating for Canadian tech, British/French castles and country houses, and country music

he/him/his | @stefanpalios | LinkedIn | stefan.palios@ventureout.ca

Content & Programming

Lisa Durnford, Content & Programming Lead

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, digital identities, and Esther the Wonder Pig.

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

Rachel Shi

Rachel Shi, Content Support

Rachel hails from Melbourne, Australia and currently lives in Toronto. She is interested in pursuing justice for those denied access to the means to live and thrive in the age of unrest. Currently she works as an Account Executive at Hootsuite. When not hustling, she can be found sketching and exhibiting her illustrations.

Ask me about: radicalism, finessing, anything written by Mark Fisher, dismantling white supremacist, neoliberal systems from within.

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


Simon Mills

Simon Mills, Sponsorship Lead

Simon is a Content and Social Media Specialist at Ratehub.ca. 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

Charis Zheng, Sponsorship Support

Community Engagement

Iradele Plante

Iradele Plante, Community Engagement Lead

Iradele Plante is a Research and Evaluation Officer for Hub Solutions, a social enterprise run out of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (York University). She is a white settler, a self-identified cis femme and holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of Toronto. Her interests include LGBTQ mental health, and how the internet influence community building, health literacy and wellbeing. You’ll usually find her by the free food.

Ask me about: LGBTQ inclusion training, Astrology memes, Bunz Dating Zone, and Casey Neistat’s career when he started daily vlogging.

she/her/hers | @i_plante | LinkedIn | iradele.plante@ventureout.ca

Daniel Favand

Daniel Favand, Community Engagement and 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

Samuel Naylor

Samuel Naylor, Community & Content Liaison

Samuel self-identifies as a Transgender Male (FtM) on the Gender-Queer / Non-Binary 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 peoples knowledge about the transgender spectrum and thereby de-stigmatize this community of people across Canada (ideally).

Ask Me About: BlockChain, Product Management, UI/UX Design, Hiking, Biking & Yoga

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


Ben Winn

Ben Winn, Marketing Lead

Ben Winn is a startup enthusiast from Toronto, with a passion for combining creativity and business. He is a Fellow at Venture for Canada, a Delegate for the Young Diplomats of Canada, and currently manages Customer Success at SeamlessMD; a HealthTech startup that launches, optimizes and expands digital surgery care pathways for hospitals in both Canada and the United States.

Ask me about: marketing, healthtech, or Simpsons trivia!

he/him/his | @mrbenwinn | LinkedIn | ben.winn@ventureout.ca

Will Fraser

Will Fraser, Student Outreach

Will is a communications major and marketing minor at Ryerson University. He is passionate about bridging the student experience and the professional world. Coming from a theatre background, Will realized he has a love for developing stories in all mediums. Will loves all things media, tech, and storytelling. After he graduates this year he is excited to keep working in the tech world, and provide as many chances for community development as possible.

he/him/his | LinkedIn | will.fraser@ventureout.ca


Ruben Tjhie

Ruben Tjhie, Logistics Associate

Ruben is a Computer Engineering student at the University of Toronto, currently completing his final year of study. He gets most excited about working with diverse and talented teams developing technologies that power the future of computing. If he’s not studying, he’s probably catching up with the latest Recode Decode episode.

Ask me about: Computer hardware/software, my favourite Instagram accounts, and my TV habits

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

Christine Hsu

Christine is a second generation immigrant settler who identifies as nonbinary, genderfluid and as a queer woman. She is the Volunteer Coordinator for Venture Out, and has a strong passion for and an extensive background in educating and advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly in sport, health and fitness. Their work includes doing in-person training, instructional design, and consultation on policy development with an anti-oppressive/anti-racist and intersectional lens. They hold a bachelor of physical and health education from University of Toronto, a bachelor of education from University of Toronto/OISE, and is currently pursuing an Adult Education certificate from St. Francis Xavier University. She is an OCT certified educator and certified personal trainer who is currently working as an LGBTQI2S training facilitator with Egale Canada Human Rights Trust. They continue to advocate for trans inclusion by sitting on various committees including the CCES working committee, working to provide a trans inclusive policy template for sport organizations across Canada. You’ll most likely find her, playing a sport, struggling to lock her bike with u-locks, dancing while waiting for public transit, being hungry for food, and/or combating fatphobia.

she/her/hers they/them/their

Special Projects

David Yang

David Yang, Hackathon 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