Keynotes announced for 2023 IDC Design Symposium

Keynote speakers IDC

Participants from the design and architecture community across Canada are invited to learn together, connect and network at IDC’s sixth Design Symposium, hosted at the Teknion showroom in downtown Toronto on Oct. 25 to 27, 2023. This year’s theme is Together, United.

Nicole Verkindt, Tech Entrepreneur | Founder, OMX

Nicole Verkindt was named "Canada's Woman Entrepreneur of the Year" by Startup Canada in 2017. She has a knack for finding industry gaps and building innovative platforms and technology to fill them. Speaking to the importance of entrepreneurial and disruptive thinking, diversity in leadership, technology and innovation, Verkindt empowers audiences to turn their ideas into success.

In 2012, Verkindt founded and launched OMX, an online supply chain data analytics business. The technology platform helps to increase and measure local spend/socio-economic impacts, including ESGs (environmental, social, governance) and other sustainability metrics. Today, Verkindt is the CEO of, Canada’s rapid grocery delivery business, and an active angel investor involved in dozens of Canada's early-stage tech businesses.

Verkindt is a frequent technology commentator on CBC and a technology columnist. She was also an investor on Gimlet Media’s The Pitch in the U.S. and a “Dragon” on CBC’s Next Gen Den, which focused on early-stage technology. Verkindt sits on the board of the Canadian Commercial Corp. and is a Next Gen member of the Business Council of Canada (BCC), where she is also the Co-Chair of the BCC’s Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future.

In 2018, Verkindt was awarded the Peter Brojde Award, and in 2019, was named Startup Canada’s Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship.

Russell Pollard, MBA

Pollard is an independent consultant, guest speaker and entrepreneur embedded in the design and architecture professions and in queer business communities. His work supports professional services firms in how they manage people, workplace culture and change, and shape marketing and business development.

Since 2017 he has chaired the Associates Leadership Series of the Museum of Architecture, bringing together architects and designers from across London, England for leadership learning and peer mentorship. He also served on the Board of the Society for Marketing Professional Services Ontario for four years, including as President, and since 2021 has chaired the Toronto Society of Architects’ “Inclusion in Construction” program.

Supporting equity, diversity and inclusion is integral to how he manages his business, develops training programs and supports clients. And, in how he contributes to industry change. Through his company, Framework Leadership, he has supported groups such as Society for South Asian Architects, Black Architects and Interior Designers Association, and Building Equality in Architecture Toronto. In 2022, Russell founded Pride Talks to support queer inclusion in the design professions and provide a platform for queer speakers to represent and support their communities.

Russell has a Master of Business Administration, Bachelor in interdisciplinary leadership, and certificates in leadership and inclusion. He is proud Maritimer (Nova Scotia), now residing in Toronto.

To view the full lineup of events and programming and to registers for the symposium, visit

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