NEWS RELEASE – TORONTO, CANADA – NOVEMBER 21, 2017 - This year’s ELO Forum, the sixth in Toronto dating back to 2012, continued a tradition of being the most important gathering for Christian marketplace leaders all year in Toronto. This year’s event was held on Nov 15th at the Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel with a highly engaged audience and a wide range of sponsors and supporters. Fazal Karim, Publisher, The Christian Herald, Brampton noted that, “The ELO Forum has become the premier event in Southern Ontario [and beyond] for Christian entrepreneurs. Not to be missed!”
The overwhelming response from attendees was very positive—the objective for Christian marketplace leaders to connect, learn and celebrate was accomplished. Jordan Hammond, H & C Air Conditioning, Winnipeg, MB noted, “Fantastic event; quality of speakers was great. The connections and take-aways were very valuable.” Hank Vander Laan, Hava Holdings, London, ON said, “I would recommend this event. It was inspirational and practical.” Jeff Chapman, Partner / Advisor, Covenant Family Wealth Advisors, Vancouver, BC, commented that, “As a Christian and a professional, I attend many conferences, and this is one of the best.”
Bridget Saulnier, Owner, Mohawk Inn & Conference, Campbellville, ON said, “This was my first time attending the event [the evening session]—it was excellent! Thank you!” Tim Coles, Senior Director, Operations, Youth For Christ, Peterborough, ON was inspired to explain, “I will invite others [next year]. It is an excellent networking and educational event.” Matt Hutton, Royal Lepage Realty, Owen Sound, ON noted: “Excellent event. First time here. Look forward to attending again. Thank you!”
Mark Van Vliet, Book Depot, Thorold, ON commented that, “I would recommend this event. Great to see God’s work in the marketplace and opportunity to commune with other Christian leaders.” Simon Wildeboer, Royal LePage Realty, Guelph, ON summarized: “Good speakers – great subjects.” Mark Hofland, Mediocom, Toronto agreed that, “Lots of learning opportunities and a great way to connect with fellow Christians.”
The ELO Forum appeals not only to the business community, but other leaders, also. Paul Vanden Brink, Pastor, Grace Valley Church, Dundas, ON said, “Great conference; as a pastor it was invaluable.” Steve Ouslis, School Director, Northern Karate School, Woodbridge, ON noted, “I would recommend to friends and church leadership.”
The afternoon session consisted of speakers from Canada, the UK and the US. Senator Yonah Martin opened the proceedings. The first speaker was Sheila Wray Gregoire who has built her online business ten-fold over a five-year period. Her daughter, Katie, in her early 20s, joined her for part of the presentation and shared her own online successes.
The ELO Forum highlighted thought leaders in addition to practitioners. Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford, spoke about trustworthiness at the core of leadership. Wycliffe Hall is partnering with ELO on the “Entrepreneurial Leaders Programme” to be delivered this August 2018 (see www.ELIOxford.com).
Helena Cho, Founder, Good Works Bracelets, Los Angeles, told her story of highs and lows and how God pulled her through those challenges. Peter Hall, Chief Economist, Export Development Corp, addressed, “What Every Christian Marketplace Leader should know about the economy.” Peter’s masterful and lucid explanation of economic trends was riveting.
One aspect of this year’s Forum was to highlight entrepreneurial thinking in the non-profit sector. Mario Matos of the Dominican Republic, who works with EduDeo Ministries of Hamilton, shared about the impact he has had in the educational sector in his home country. Mario did a good job of demonstrating that entrepreneurial skill is critical to having impact—in addition to financial resources.
The evening keynote was Pat Williams, Co-founder, Orlando Magic. Pat Williams was the deserving recipient of this year’s Entrepreneurial Leaders Award, which is given to a person who has exemplified Christian leadership and can inspire others through his or her example of having impact in church, non-profits and in society. Pat follows in the footsteps of well-known previous recipients such as John C. Maxwell (#1 leadership expert) and Mark Burnett (top Hollywood TV and movie producer).
Pat delivered a classic keynote address: funny and insightful with great stories and practical application. Pat expounded upon the qualities of Christian leaders, integrating biblical principles. Tony del Vasto, VP & GM, Vast Auto Distribution, Toronto, ON said that “Pat Williams was awesome.”
A hallmark of ELO events is to get the “right people in the room” and to provide opportunities to connect with old and new friends. There were many opportunities to do so. Another aspect of the Forum is to have “live and in person” speakers who want to be at the event, who are available throughout the day. There is a Q & A after each presentation which facilitates a “forum” dialogue with the audience. Many audience members had their opportunity to engage with the presenters.
In short, the objectives of the ELO Forum were accomplished.