Keynote Speakers


Isabelle Fontaine

Isabelle is bringing her expertise in performance psychology and emotional intelligence to the Mid-Atlantic-Northeast regional conference. As a skilled speaker, Isabelle has given over 1500 presentations throughout Canada, and Europe. She has also taught at the University of Quebec and Polytechnique Montréal. Her session, Emotional Intelligence, will help you to build your skills by learning how to manage your emotional energy, recharge your inner battery, and inspire others in the process. Isabelle states "For the last 20 years, I have been following the latest research in mind technology. Neuroscience proves that we can be infinitely freer and more powerful than we believe ourselves to be. There are tricks and strategies that we can apply to make us psychologically stronger and to access peak psychological states. We can consciously produce the biochemical cocktail of top performance. We can intentionally fuel that on enthusiasm, courage, and personal drive." 


Joe Schwarcz

Dr. Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society.”  He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry, interpreting science for the public, and is the only non-American ever to win the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award for demystifying chemistry. He hosts "The Dr. Joe Show" on Montreal's CJAD and has appeared on TV Ontario and Global Television, as well as The Discovery Channel, CTV, CBC,. Dr. Schwarcz also writes a newspaper column entitled “The Right Chemistry” and has authored over 14 books. Dr. Schwarcz was awarded the 2010 “Montreal Medal” which is the Canadian Chemical Institute’s premier prize recognizing lifetime contributions to chemistry in Canada. In 2015 he was named winner of the Balles Prize for critical thinking by the US based Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. In 2018 he was the recipient of McGill University’s “Principal’s Prize for Public Engagement Through Media.”



Drum Cafe, a world leader in corporate team building activities designed to align with purpose, to connect, collaborate, and to engage the beat of our Food Services culture.

Much like a musical instrument, a company or team can fall out of harmony. The underlying vision that propelled it to its current heights has the potential to become muddied with office politics and lack of cohesion between members. Team building helps to get back on track and in tune with the original energy and underlying values. Discover a new way to get the motivational team juices flowing. Drumming acts as a calibration tool that reinforces the values that exist as the cornerstones your organization’s success.

Come feel the Drum Cafe’s interactive drumming: experience a powerful and unforgettable experience. Through this interactive entertainment event where everyone gets to play a drum, there will be no spectators – only performers –all involved at the same level, thereby encouraging a cooperative, non-competitive relationship. Collaboration and the freedom to communicate ideas are key to the modern business world. Learn how to tap into the values and ideals that make your organization unique to assist in fostering the perfect collaborative team building experience.

Organizational charts are vertical or hierarchical while drumming circles involve everyone at the same level. Rhythm is within all of us as a basic universal language that everyone understands, allowing dialogue among us at the most basic creative level in a language that is able to transcend barriers, traditional, generational or otherwise. By leveling the playing field with a participatory exercise that relaxes as well as excites and focuses, you cut through stress and reservation, allowing individuals to feel comfortable with themselves relative to their position within the structure. This creates a space for the comfortable exchange of ideas and overall better communication.

The process of creating music, like business, must be understood by everyone to succeed. Nothing brings to life the key elements of effective communication and teamwork, as does a group of people attempting to create music together. 

Super Sessions

Les Femmes Chefs: a panel discussion on women in today’s professional kitchens.


Les femmes Chefs: a panel discussion and dialogue about women in the Food Service Industry facing unique challenges, opportunity and competition. These successful women chefs will showcase their contributions to the industry and discuss the challenges of the "bro culture" surrounding food production. They will discuss their grievances about work-life balance and with sexism in the industry.  How do we level the playing field?  Come find out.... 

DavidsTea & Squish Candies; Don’t wait for everything to be perfect - Julie Laurin


Don’t wait for everything to be perfect; When you think you have a great idea for a brand or product, and you have 80% of it figured out you should go ahead and open the doors…….

This is easier said than done!

While sipping on some tea and sampling a few gummy bears, let’s explore what worked and what didn’t throughout Julie's journey in the early stages of helping to build two fun and stimulating national brands.