Joel Faflak (Emcee)
Joel is a Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University, where he was inaugural Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities (2012-17).
He is author of Romantic Psychoanalysis, co-author of Revelation and Knowledge, editor of De Quincey’s Confessions of An English Opium-Eater, co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism, and editor of 13 essay collections.
He is the recipient of a Faculty Scholar Award, the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature, and the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was twice Chair of the Literature panel for the Undergraduate Awards, where he was twice keynote speaker at the UA Global Summit in Dublin.
Sandra Datars Bere (Judge)
Sandra is the Managing Director, Housing, Social Services and Dearness Home, at the City of London. Sandra’s responsibilities include oversight of all homeless prevention and housing programs, social assistance, employment, immigration and poverty related programs and oversight of the City’s long term care facility.
Before joining the City in 2013, Sandra held senior leadership roles with the Province of Ontario as a Regional Director for the Ministries of Community and Social Services, Children and Youth and Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Sandra holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Honours Psychology and a Master in Public Administration from Western. She is active in her community, serving on Western University’s Senate and its Alumni Association as well as on the Foundation at Huron University College, Western’s founding college.
David Cole (Judge)
David is Vice Chairman of the Enterprise Strategic Client Group at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). He is responsible for delivering senior executive coverage to clients here and internationally to support their business and family interests.
David joined the Enterprise Strategic Client Group after a 33 year career with RBC Capital Markets where he served as Managing Director/Head - Corporate Banking - Europe and Australia, based in London. Throughout his career he has held various client coverage executive positions in New York, Toronto and Chicago.
David has a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management - Northwestern University in Chicago and a BA from Western. He has studied at Harvard, MIT and the London Business School. David is also director of Outward Bound Canada.
Patrick Searle (Judge)
Patrick Searle is the director of cyber initiatives at the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), a national 21st century business council of high-growth Canadian-based technology companies. Patrick works to advance sovereign approaches to cybersecurity in Canadian public policy and works with a committed group of Canadians to address challenges facing Canada’s future growth, national security and economic prosperity.
Prior to joining CCI, Patrick served as a senior advisor to several Cabinet Ministers at the Government of Ontario.
Patrick is an alumnus of King’s University College at Western University (BA’11 Religious Studies and Political Science) and is the President of Western’s University Students’ Council (USC) Alumni Chapter.