Culture & Lifestyle / Getting Inspired: Our 5 Fave Speakers From Elevate Tech Fest 2019

Getting Inspired: Our 5 Fave Speakers From Elevate Tech Fest 2019

Culture & Lifestyle Nov 21, 2019

Toronto’s leading tech fest, Elevate 2019 brought the industry’s movers and shakers to the city in a packed three-day festival. We took it all in and came with our fave 5 moments! 

There was much to ponder and plenty of innovation and ideas on show at the Elevate annual technology festival in Toronto.

The event attracted more than 20,000 guests and over 300 expert speakers, including former first lady Michelle Obama, Space X investor and entrepreneur Steve Jurvetson, and the President of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri.

Programs included Toronto’s largest hackathon, Canada’s biggest tech job fair, Startup Open House, and no less than 16 educational programming stages all spanned across three packed days.

Elevate technology festival took over downtown Toronto. Photo Credit:

1. Chris Hadfield Talks About Migration & Space

This might sound strange for Chris Hadfield, Canada’s most well-known astronaut to talk about, but it’s an important talking point in an age of rapidly expanding populations. More specifically, it’s what Hadfield wanted to get across — how technology has always driven a person’s desire to reach beyond boundaries.


Canada’s favourite astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about migration and space at Elevate. Photo Credit: Kartikey Bhargava


Our very own Kartikey Bhargava with Chris Hatfield. Photo Credit: Kartikey Bhargava

The wheel was invented over 6,000 years ago and we couldn’t have spread out across the globe as fast without it. Neither would we have lasted in the coldest parts of the planet if we hadn’t discovered fire.

One of the biggest changes that took place in recent years was man setting foot on the moon for the first time. Which led to Hatfield to talk about the recent involvement of entrepreneurs in space travel and how the likes of Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are helping to drive the next big advances.

“If you’re willing to give yourself a goal, and then fail regularly along the way — you can accomplish incredible things.”

2. Michelle Obama Inspires The Room

Former First Lady Michelle Obama in conversation with CIO of BMO Claudette McGown, spreads her inspirational message at Elevate. Photo Credit:

What else would you expect from the former First Lady? Inspiration is her middle name.

Michelle Obama in conversation with CIO of BMO Claudette McGowan was one of the highlights of the festival. Obama shared her journey from her modest beginnings in Chicago to the White House and beyond.

She also touched on the challenges of technology, particularly on the responsibility developers and entrepreneurs have to live in the real world when they decide to create something new.

3. Guy Kawasaki Talks Secrets To Success

Kawasaki used to work for Steve Jobs and has written 14 books while also advising many startups and Fortune 50 companies. His new book, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life, is full of hints and tips for entrepreneurs and marketers and everyone else who wants to be successful.



Guy Kawasaki on the Elevate stage. Photo Credit:

Here’s what he had to say:

  • According to Kawasaki: “Don’t worry what motivates you. What’s important is that you are motivated.”
  • Don’t keep your other interests hidden. They enable you to build new relationships and deeper ones at that. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up and get personal.
  • Associate yourself with greatness. It makes life much easier. In other words, don’t settle for a crap product – who wants to see that?

4. Masai Ujiri Talks Building a Winning Culture

President of the current NBA Champions Toronto Raptors Masai Ujiri was talked about — among other things — what you need to do to create a winning mentality.

Masai Ujiri on the Elevate stage. Photo Credit:


President of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri stops by for a quick selfie. Photo Credit: Kartikey Bhargava

Ujiri covered a wide range of issues surrounding the success of the NBA champs including the challenge of getting the right people in place and how they have to set the tone if you want to be successful:

“You as a leader always have to figure that you’re not going to be there all the time. And so what is going on when you are not there without you micromanaging? That boils down to other people. You are going to need those people and they have to be strong.”

5. Steve Jurvetson Talks Lab Meat & AI

Steve Jurvetson founder of Future Ventures. Photo Credit:

Steve Jurvetson founder of Future Ventures is a venture capitalist or — as I like to call him — a future capitalist. He sits on the board for companies like of Space X, Memphis Meats and Tesla. His talk was probably one of the most interesting and enlightening at the conference. The first thing on the menu was the developing technology of manufacturing meat products in the lab and the questions surrounding the complexity that involves:

“How do you grow skeletal muscle without vasculature, without a heart, without a mind, without methane, without the GI tract, without a cow? Without mad cow disease, without any of the negatives? But just grow the muscle?”

Sounds crazy right ? Jurvetson has invested in a company that is making this happen

On the subject of the future of advanced AI, he on was upbeat on AI and it’s potential threat to the human race.

“It should be our greatest accomplishment. That would be something that transcends our own biology and brings intelligence to the next level. That makes it easier to populate distant solar systems and, you know, propagate out intelligence out in the universe. That’s likely to be non-biological form.”

There was a wide variety of personalities in attendance from attendees to speakers on the stage. There were entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, senior government officials, investors, the young and old, and people from all walks of life. The fact that they were all gathered to explore the tech innovation ecosystem was an inspiration in itself and the various speakers all brought something new to the table. We can’t wait for Elevate 2020!


Main Image Photo Credit:

Kartikey Bhargava

Kartikey Bhargava


Kartikey (@kartikey1) is a marketing professional with over 10 years’ experience spanning three continents. He specializes in digital marketing and emerging technology solutions. Kartikey currently works with a Canadian not for profit and is the digital marketing consultant for ANOKHI LIFE.


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