Join us at Ryerson University as creative thought leaders from Zone Learning and the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) discuss how collaboration between design, entrepreneurship, and storytelling is critical for building businesses and brands with lasting impact.

This event is essential for both designers and entrepreneurs to understand how to integrate design and operations for successful outcomes.


Mikey Richardson, RGD

Mikey is an award winning creative director and co-founder of Jacknife. Responsible for leading creative and strategic teams, he has worked across an enormous range of industries from action sports to pharma. Before co-founding Jacknife in 2013, Mikey was a founding partner in AmoebaCorp, a company he helped build into one of Canada’s most respected design agencies over 17 years.

Mikey’s clients have included recognized brands such as Red Bull, Second Cup Coffee Co., Nike, WIND Mobile, Sims Snowboards, Coca-Cola, Molson Breweries, The Pop Shoppe, ING Direct, The Hudson’s Bay Company, YTV, Mattel, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Tetley and Universal Music.

Michelle Caers

Michelle is the founder and CEO of DesignedUX. She has over 20 years experience working in education and technology, where she has led teams in 6 successful start-up companies at various stages of growth.

Michelle is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at the Ryerson DMZ, the leading business incubator for tech startups in Canada.

Michelle is a frequent speaker at technology and education conferences and advises a number of start-ups on strategy, design and customer acquisition. She has a BA(Hons) in Political Science from Western University and an MBA from Nottingham University Business School.

Derek Hopfner

Derek is the co-founder of Founded, a software platform that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to get their legal paperwork done confidently, without having to pay lawyers for time-consuming clerical work. Previously as a lawyer, Derek helped hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses launch and advised them through all stages of growth. Now through Founded, Derek’s passionate about making legal more approachable and rethinking how legal services can be delivered. Derek has previously held director positions in several non-profit organizations, including the role of Executive Director at a 250-person legal clinic. Derek received his law degree from the University of Alberta and has degrees in business and philosophy from the University of Calgary.

Diti Katona, RGD

Diti Katona is a founding partner of Concrete. As Chief Creative Officer, she is best known for producing elegant and evocative work for the firm’s clients in fashion, retail and luxury goods.

Diti was been awarded two lifetime achievement awards. In 2012, Diti received the prestigious Les Usherwood Award from the Advertising & Design Club of Canada (ADCC) for her contribution to the Canadian creative community. In 2016, Applied Arts magazine honoured Diti with its 30th anniversary Golden AACE Award, for consistently: receiving international accolades; achieving significant business success; being considered a change agent; and having been a mentor or cultivator of emerging talent.


Josh McInerney, RGD

Josh is Manager of Design and Creative at Ryerson University and fomer Creative Director and Partner at Modu Design.

Josh has worked with clients like BMW, Manulife Financial, The University of Toronto and Grand and Toy. An obsessive idea guy who ignores silly things like sleep, Josh translates big ideas into new ways for brand stories, design and technology to intersect for a deeply memorable experience.

Josh has spoken on branding, design and creative thinking at the Schulich School of Business, at the RGD Design Thinkers Conference and has been interviewed for the Telus Small Business web series. He is also on the brand advisory board of the Next 36 as well as the Association of Registered Graphic Designers.


Through the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD)RGD, Canadian designers exchange ideas, educate and inspire, set professional standards and build a strong, supportive community dedicated to advocating for the value of design.


6:00PM – Doors Open

6:30PM – Panel Discussion and Q&A

7:15PM – Networking and Light Refreshments