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Keynote Speaker – Day 1

Vinh Giang

Entrepreneur | Master Communicator | Magician

Vinh Giang

For more than 15 years, Vinh Giang has dedicated himself to mastering the art of performance-enhanced communication, helping thousands of professionals worldwide do the same through the power of magic. In his inspiring talks, Vinh seamlessly integrates storytelling and magic to motivate audiences to embrace change and see the “possible in the impossible.” Vinh delivers his key messages in a truly memorable and profound manner that always leaves his audiences with a sense of wonder and empowerment.

With only six months to graduate, Vinh left his degree in commerce and law to become an online magic teacher. This leap of faith became a hugely successful online business, 52kards, which now serves over 800,000 students globally and earned Vinh the award of Top Young Entrepreneur in Australia. Vinh is also the CEO of Luminary Productions which produces exceptional video for individuals and companies all around the globe.

Vinh’s magical journey began when he finally understood what Robert Houdin (an amazing magician) meant when he said: “A magician is an actor playing the part of the magician.” Vinh now uses this mesmerizing, mysterious art form to show audiences how to shift perspectives, suspend disbelief, entertain with wonder, and inspire people in extraordinary ways. An award-winning magician, Vinh performed his show at The Fringe from 2012-2015, winning Top Reviewed Show and Top Voted for Show.

Offering professional development with a magical twist, Vinh has presented his popular keynotes to organizations across the world, including Facebook, Microsoft, HSBC, Siemens, and many more.  

Believe in your best future
Vinh Giang’s greatest magic trick is helping others follow their dreams

Vinh Giang’s quest to become a magician stemmed from the simplest of reasons.

“I wanted to find a girlfriend. I wanted someone to love me,” Giang said with a laugh. “I started doing magic, got attention and I became addicted to it.”

Giang, keynote speaker at the 2019 Alberta Convention in Banff June 2-4, can pull an array of illusions from the magic box, but his ability to inspire those who see him speak is no work of deception. He’s a devout believer everyone can achieve their dreams.

“The part of me — overcoming adversity, believing anything is possible — it came from my own life, from the sense of necessity. What’s the alternative? What else would I do? If I didn’t believe anything was possible, then I’ve accepted where I am and wouldn’t go anywhere,” said Giang, whose family fled from Vietnam to Australia, where Giang was born and raised.

“My own experiences plus my dad’s experiences, he came to Australia with nothing and succeeded with multiple business, really planted the seeds. If my dad can do it, it means I can do anything.”

Amazingly, it’s not his father or any other family member who provided Giang the final push to become who he is today. It was one of his first bosses. While in his early 20s and working at an accounting firm, Giang would entertain his cohorts after work with magic tricks.

“One day, one of the partners came up to me and said, ‘In six months, one of two things is going to happen: I’m going to fire you or you’re going to quit. You’re in the wrong career,’ ” Giang recalled of one of the biggest watershed moments of his life.

“He was 70 and had arthritis and pulled his hand out of his pocket, which he never did, and said, ‘I love the piano and I gave up playing the piano in my early 30s to build this firm and I regret it.’ Bless his soul because he made me realize what I really wanted. In that moment, I saw myself — the 70-year-old me — and it made me realize we only get to play this game of life once, so it’s best to make the most of it.”

Now, the entrepreneur and world-renowned speaker uses his love of magic as a small but important vessel during his presentations. Giang’s abilities are meant to astonish but more importantly to help those on-hand realize all potential before them.

“I bring people on stage and can make them do the most incredible thing and they feel amazing and baffled. But it shows them they didn’t know they could do something, and there are so many other things they can do, too,” Giang said. “It opens the audience’s mind to the possibility and that’s very exciting.”

Giang’s message isn’t meant only for the young, either. In fact, he only recently received a reminder dreams are important no matter our age when he prodded his now-retired parents to tell them what they want to do with the rest of their days.

The answer was to build a meditation centre.

“They still had a dream. They were just afraid to voice it,” he said. “It’s all coming together, and it’s amazing to see my parents so happy. It brings so much joy to my heart.

“It’s such a reminder that I want people to remember to dream. When you dream, you give yourself permission to see the best future for you.”

Eric Francis

Sports columnist, broadcaster, author & philanthropist.

Eric Francis has been chronicling the Calgary sports scene for 25 years, currently as a columnist and analyst for Flames TV broadcasts on Sportsnet. For more than two decades he was the sports columnist for the Calgary Sun and Herald,

He spent 13 years on Jack FM's Matt & Eric morning show while also spending several years on Hockey Night in Canada as part of their Hotstove segments.

He's also the best-selling author of Broken Harts - the Life and Death of Owen Hart.

He's extremely active in the community, emceeing endless charity events including his Charity Hotstove and his beloved Pizza Pigout, which has raised more than $600,000 for KidSport Calgary, for whom he has been an ambassador for 20 years.

Eric is a husband and father of two children who he coaches when not chauffeuring them between activities. 

Eric Francis

Presented by Filogix

Filogix Expert is the leading solution for Canadian mortgage origination, enabling Mortgage Professionals to receive pricing, terms, conditions and funding approval from multiple lenders rapidly and efficiently.

Count on us as your strategic partner.


Ed Karthaus 

The Digital Evolution Revolution

A forward-looking overview of the evolution of digital technology and services that will impact mortgage borrowers, agents and brokers, and all mortgage supply chain participants. From this presentation, you will learn what exactly is digital technology and how it’s used and what you can do today to leverage data to drive business growth.

11:00 am – Monday, June 3
Guest Speaker 

Tim Rye 

Connectivity & Global Trends Evolution

Join Tim as he discusses how marketplace connectivity works: what happens to a mortgage submission and how Expert works alongside other technology tools and service providers. Leveraging Finastra’s global scale, learn about the latest global trends in data integrity, business intelligence and lending automation in other countries.

11:00 am – Tuesday, June 4
Eric Francis

Keynote Speaker – Day 2
Kelly Doody

The Social School

Prepare to learn about the marketing that matters in 2019 and beyond with Kelly Doody, founder of the Social School. Discover the tactics and tools that are winning, from organic posts to paid reach, identify standout opportunities for your business, learn what it takes to create killer content and captivating campaigns, and optimize your marketing efforts for maximum ROI in the year ahead.

Kelly is a journalist-turned-digital marketing junkie, and is committed to connecting the top marketing trends and tools with the entrepreneurs and innovators who need them most. She rarely stops talking about the knowledge share community that is marketing today, and tears up when she thinks about Social School’s role in it.

Learn About Digital Marketing with

The Social School


Todd Hirsch

Todd Hirsch

Todd Hirsch holds a BA Honours in Economics from the University of Alberta and an MA in Economics from the University of Calgary.

For more than 20 years he has worked as an economist at Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada. For almost a decade, Todd taught economics at the University of Calgary.

Todd wrote his first book, The Boiling Frog Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline in 2012, and his most recent, Spiders in Space: Successfully Adapting to Unwanted Change, was released in 2017.

Todd recently received the U of A’s Alumni Honour Award and an honorary degree from Mount Royal University.

Todd spends most of his time connecting with people across the country through his many presentations and his media commentary. He also writes an economic update that is sent daily to thousands of subscribers. It’s called The Owl and you can subscribe at 

Presented by Home Tust

We offer Canadians a wide range of financial product and service alternatives, including mortgages, Visa cards, deposits and retail credit services. We focus primarily on a unique segment of the Canadian marketplace: consumers who do not have traditional credit backgrounds and whose specific needs are not met by larger financial institutions. We cater to self-employed entrepreneurs, people with past credit issues and borrowers with little credit history.

Mentor Labs

Mentor Labs — Back by popular demand

*94% of participants in 2018 believe they gained new knowledge that they could apply in their work

What better way to help expand your business than by interacting with some of the best around? Mentor Labs is a rare opportunity to sit in an intimate setting with key members of the industry with a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
In small-group settings, you will rotate through experts from a variety of avenues in the mortgage industry and discuss a wide-range of subjects to help understand past and future trends and brainstorm ideas to help boost your career to new heights.
Don’t miss the chance to work with our mentors, who offer insight into underwriting, insurance, legal, multiple lending markets and regulation. 



Stay up to date and learn from the best in these informative sessions.

Julie Brenneman

1. Hiring an Assistant  
by Julie Brenneman

The Mortgage Centre – Hometown Financial

Most mortgage brokers wait until they are too busy to hire help because of the fear of being unable to pay an assistant. Join Julie as she helps ease this fear by explaining how assistants can pay for themselves and make you money! Julie will also cover how to keep your assistant busy when you are not, and how to find and hire the right person the first time. 

Julie Brenneman

From the beginning of her career as file runner at Scotiabank to a customer service representative at CitiFinancial, Julie educated herself in loans, high interest mortgages and collections. After four years at CitiFinancial, Julie was approached by a mortgage broker and decided to take a huge risk that would turn out to be a great decision. She left a stable job to become a mortgage agent and in her first year won Stratford’s favourite mortgage specialist.

A few years after becoming an agent, Julie opened a branch office of The Mortgage Centre in Woodstock, Ont., and it has been growing ever since. She hired her first assistant six months after opening her own office and a second assistant a year later, both of whom are now licenced agents and help her expand her business.

Last year, Julie was approved for her own Mortgage Centre Franchise as a Principal Broker and has started hiring her own agents. She has increased her business enormously by merging with another franchise and now manages more 30 agents with eight offices throughout Ontario. The change has prompted another assistant to be added to the team who handles operations. Last year, she was presented with the 2018 Women in Mortgage Industry Ontario Award.

2. Extreme Realtor Marketing   
by Joel Olson

Broker — Canadian Mortgage Experts

No matter how much we try to avoid it, the referral source who interacts with the most amount of clients looking for a mortgage is a Realtor. The problem is, mortgage brokers get stuck chasing Realtors who are low producers or high maintenance. The rest "have a broker" or "all their clients are already pre-approved." There is a way to attract more Realtors, quicker and without incurring problems. Learn how to target the Realtors that nobody is chasing and how to run events that will put you in front of 50 Realtors a month.

Joel Olson

Joel Olson

Joel Olson has been a Mortgage Broker for nine years, focusing almost exclusively on markets of populations of less than 20,000 people. In that time frame, he has become a consistent top performer for his ability to make deals happen and build unique strategies that cause his clients to continue to return to him time and time again.

He believes a huge key to success is the consistent prospecting and nurturing of your database.

One hundred per cent of Joel's commissions go towards feeding hungry children – his! He has four of them. He is married to Sarah, and on top of brokering Joel has also been a pastor in a variety of capacities for 10 years.

Gary Siegle

3. Know The Rules – Advertising 101
by Gary Siegle

Mortgage Broker Practice Advisor — The Real Estate Council of Alberta

For more than a decade, RECA has required a “clearly indicated” brokerage name in industry advertisements. Council recently made important clarifications to this requirement to ensure advertising does not mislead consumers.

The presentation will explain how teams and individuals must advertise to ensure consumers understand the role of the brokerage, the role of the brokerage representative or designated agent, and the role of the “team,” if any.

Attendees will see some visual examples of what is acceptable or not acceptable across different platforms so they can be well prepared to meet the October 1, 2019 deadline for implementation. 

Gary Siegle

Prior to joining RECA in March 2017, Gary worked for 15 years in management for a national mortgage brokerage. His career in the mortgage business has also included employment in the public and private sector mortgage default insurance business and commercial mortgage brokerage.

Gary has also been active as an educator, having taught mortgage courses for several industry associations including the Real Estate Institute of Canada, the Manitoba Real Estate Association and the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association.

During his career, Gary has served in the capacity of president of several industry associations and has held other board positions on many associations. He is a past president of AMBA, was on the CAAMP (now Mortgage Professionals Canada) board, and then was an active member of CAAMP’s Government Relations Committee. In addition, he was the appointee for the mortgage brokerage industry on the Real Estate Council of Alberta for seven years.

4. Game Changing Communication
by Sarah Zandbergen


Transform the way you relate to your clients. Research shows women are shying away from advisors such as mortgage brokers and financial advisors because they feel like they are not being communicated to effectively. In Sarah’s presentation, she will share tips that brokers can use to communicate not just to women but to any client to foster better relationships, referrals and repeat business.

Sarah Zandbergen

Sarah Zandbergen

Sarah Zandbergen has seven years of experience in the mortgage industry, having held a variety of positions. From compliance and broker relations to marketing and event planning, Sarah prides herself on her long-lasting connection to the broker industry.

As the Senior Program Specialist for stnce, Sarah is thrilled to participate in and grow a truly grassroots community of like-minded individuals. Her goal through stnce is to inspire Canadian women to confidently take ownership of their finances, through open and informative conversations.