Maria Soklis – Keynote Speaker
Maria Soklis was named President of Cox Automotive Canada on June 8, 2015. Maria, who leads the development and execution of Cox Automotive’s Canadian business strategy and operations, is also responsible for the Manheim, NextGear Capital, Dealertrack Canada and Ready Logistics businesses, in addition to integrating other Cox Automotive businesses and brands into Canada.
Maria graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo where she specialized in Social Development. She also attained a Diploma of Social Work from Renison University College, University of Waterloo. In 2009, Renison bestowed an Outstanding Alumna award on her; and in April 2012, she accepted an Honorary Senior Fellowship Award.
Prior to this role Maria was named Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Kia Canada Inc., where she led a team of 169 corporate staff, including four regional offices, and a parts warehouse. Nationally, she overlooked 184 Kia dealerships. Maria was the highest ranking female executive at Kia Motors globally, and was the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Global Automakers of Canada. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for dedicated service to peers, community, and Canada. Since becoming President of Cox Automotive Canada, Maria has driven the organization to becoming the leading international market for the global team.
Denise Zaporzan, FCPA, FCMA, BSP
Denise is President of Denise Zaporzan and Associates, a strategy practice based in Manitoba. As a trusted advisor, Denise demonstrates her passion, energy, and knowledge of strategy and leadership through work with public and private clients.
Prior to founding her practice in 2002, Denise was Chief Financial Officer of a privately held and publicly traded environment, where she successfully enjoyed over 20 years of executive leadership; formulating, implementing and evaluating financial and strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and change management.
Denise is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA), and received the prestigious Fellowship (FCPA) designation in 2010, the profession’s highest recognition of significant career achievements and contributions to community. She received her Balanced Scorecard Professional (BSP) certification through George Washington University, and furthered her studies with Harvard authors Kaplan and Norton in spring 2014. She has been a moderator for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba (CPA Manitoba, formerly as a Certified Management Accountant; CMA) Strategic Leadership Program, as well as the I.H. Asper School of Business Executive Education program. Denise speaks regularly at conferences across North America on the subject of strategy and leadership.
In 2017, Denise developed and launched her newest initiative, D by denise, a Canadian lifestyle blog, brand, and e-commerce platform. D by denise publishes content celebrating the modern, professional middle-aged woman, and collaborates with local (Canadian) brands and media to celebrate the authentic voice of the modern, middle-aged female audience.
Denise currently serves as a Board member for The Associates at the University of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and a startup pharmaceutical company.
Addison is a 27 year old Realtor/entrepreneur who utilizes the power of video and social media to elevate his personal branding to the next level. Addison is born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and got started in real estate by purchasing his own rental properties. Now part of Your Social Savvy® Team at RE/MAX One Group, Addison and his business partner Jesse have created a fun, creative, and energetic brand that has delivered consistent results
Wallace has worked with Birchwood for 12 years. During that entire time, he’s been the Systems Administrator and has helped assured all your computer systems stay up and running. He is actively been a part of Toastmasters for the last 18 years, and has helped start 3 different clubs during that time. He is an avid sports fan and have season tickets to both Jets and Bombers.