Bringing Communities together for social empowerment

Changing social and economic conditions, increasing globalization, advances in technology, aging demographics, skill shortages, and global worker mobility are creating wide scale transformation in how we view and navigate life. .

Now into it’s 11th year in addition to its annual film and arts festival COMMFFEST presents a conference series of talks with short films examining the role of government, business, not-for-prof­it organizations, educators and community leaders in creating integrated and sustainable real-life solutions on the following five burning platforms:

The conference series of talks will be led by world renowned scholars and social changers:

Moderated by legendary talk show host Dini Petty

Dini Dini Petty (born in Kingston upon Thames, Greater London, England) is a Canadian television and radio host. At 22, wearing a trademark pink jumpsuit and working for Toronto radio station CKEY, she became the first female traffic reporter to pilot her own helicopter. She clocked 5,000 hours as pilot-in-command of a Hughes 300. Later, at Citytv Toronto, she worked as a writer, reporter and co-anchor, with Gord Martineau, of evening newscast CityPluse at 6. There she hosted an afternoon program, Sweet City Woman. Petty also anchored CITY-TV's short-lived 5:30 p.m. news and current affairs program CityWide from May 1987 until 1989 when she left for CFTO-TV.



Tim Lang - President and CEO of Youth Unemployment Services,  

Timothy Lang is an accomplished leader in the private and not for profit sector with a
record of inspiring organizations to achieve results and growth. Tim assumed the post of
President & CEO of YES, Canada’s leading youth employment service provider, in July, 2015.
As President & CEO, Tim will lead a strong team who annually empower and inspire
thousands of youth through training and skills development to become contributing
members of society through employment.


Ann Marie Mac Dougall President CEO of LeadaerBoom Inc.

LeaderBoom founder, Ann Marie MacDougall has more than 20 years of proven leadership
In the Canadian Banking industry, where she successfully led diverse teams that were
multi-generational and multi-cultural in multi-channel environments to collaborate
with each other and execute projects that involved complex and challenging new initiatives.

Ann Marie has a passion for continuous learning and has studied at ten universities
and has travelled to twenty countries - learning from the cultural and demographic
diversities observed throughout. Ann Marie holds an MBA though the Rotman
School of Business in Toronto and an Executive Global MBA from
St. Gallen University in Switzerland.

 Jay Mandarino President  and CEO of C.J. Graphics,

Over the past 26 years, Jay Mandarino has raised more than $50 million dollars for
hundreds of charities worldwide by performing as a professional auctioneer through
his Not-For-Profit Corporation,JBM Auction Services.

At his day job, he is President & CEO of 20 companies (and growing!) including
one of the world’s largest Not-For-Profit indoor skateboard parks & schools.
The Sightings page on his company’s website shows
Jay with many of the celebrities that he has worked with, both professionally
and philanthropically.
From Los Angeles to Miami to New York to Toronto, Jay has performed at
events for David Foster, Sting, Gordon Ramsay, Ben Affleck, Michael “Pinball” Clemons,
Eva Longoria, Jude Law, Michael Bolton, and Sir Elton John.
Jay is an outstanding auctioneer and performer whose motto is,“Lend a hand, by raising yours.                                         

Ian McBride has been the Executive Director of AURA,

Ian McBride has been the Executive Director of AURA, the Anglican United Refugee Alliance for over 15 years. Born in Coburg, Ontario, Ian is one of those people who has seen it all. Who would have thought that one of Toronto’s busiest refugee advocates and facilitators used to be a corporate manager?For a long time Ian was a sales and marketing executive, working in the world of international trade. His long business career was replaced by Ministry Service with a focus on the elderly, children and youth. He has served the Church in many capacities, including as an assistant Chaplin. For a number of years he served on the Board of Directors of AURA, before becoming the Executive Director.


Elizabeth Nykorowytsch Macnab, BA, CHRP, CHRL, Executive Director
Ontario Society of Senior Citizen’s Organizations/ La Société des Organisations des Citoyens Aînés

Elizabeth Macnab is Executive Director, Ontario Senior Citizens’ Organizations (OSSCO). For
the past 14 years, Elizabeth has focused in meeting the needs and interests of seniors and
adults 55 plus whether working in seniors’ retirement homes or in various leadership roles in the
not-for-profit sector. She has raised awareness of older adults through initiatives such as the
2009 Ontario Seniors Secretariat's Age Friendly Forum in Southwestern Ontario which she
presented at and helped in its organization, leading the Human Resources Professional
Association’s (HRPA) Employment Networking for unemployed workers or helping develop the
211 Ontario system providing access to social services for all Ontarians.

Neil Hetherington Chief Executive Officer, Dixon Hall Neighbourhood services

Mr. Hetherington holds degrees or certificates from the
University of Western Ontario - Huron College, Seneca College,
Harvard Business School and the University of Virginia - Darden Business School.
He obtained his MBA from the University of Western Ontario's
Ivey Business School in 2013. He was named one of Canada's
Top 40 under 40 in 2005 and has received distinguished alumni
of the year awards from Huron University, Royal Saint George's College,
Western University and Seneca College. He was awarded
Queen Elizabeth's Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals in 2002 and 2012.

For the last 15 years, Mr. Hetherington has been the CEO of Habitat
for Humanity in Toronto and New York City where his enthusiasm to serve
has propelled the organization's growth, with the number of families
served each year increasing exponentially.

We invite you to take part in this empowering social event.
This unique blend of film, filmmakers,audiences and stakeholders will create a dynamic atmosphere to provoke thought and stimulate further understanding and exploration
of ideas, attitudes, and emotions that can foster change starting with the communities in which we live.

  •  Where: Imagine Cinemas (formerly Rainbow) 80 Front East Toronto  
  •  Time:   10:am to 12:30pm OCT 11-16 2016
  •  Cost :  $8.00 per person groups of 10 $70:00 tickets

To book a table at our event or to be a guest speaker please email

daily table rates are $50.00 or $250 per week 416 362 5570

We invite you to take part in this empowering social event.

This unique blend of film, filmmakers,audiences and stakeholders will create a dynamic atmosphere to provoke thought and stimulate further understanding and exploration of ideas, attitudes, and emotions that can foster change – starting with the communities in which we live.


  • Where: Rainbow Cinema complex  80 Front east Toronto 
  • Time:   10am to 12.30pm OCT 11-16
  • Cost     $8.00 per person groups of 10 $70:00