We are pleased to present our judging panel for LiON’S LAIR 2020. As some of Hamilton’s top business experts, they bring diverse expertise that is truly reflective of Hamilton’s unique economy.
This year’s finalists will be judged in two stages by the Pillar of Business LiONS and the Investor LiONS.
The Pillar of Business LiONS represent three critical components of a successful business; legal, business readiness and marketing.  The Pillar of Business LiONS will interview the finalists, evaluating each on the merits of their domain.
The Investor LiONS will review these scores, judge the finalists’ pitch presentation and determine who will take home big prizes in the LiONS LAIR Madness Tournament from September 21-24, 2020.


Sacha Babic – The Legal LiON

Sacha Babic headshotSacha Babic is a partner in Gowling WLG’s Hamilton office. He acts for and advises private sector clients of all sizes – from startups to multinationals – in respect of all aspects of corporate and commercial law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, corporate organization & restructuring, private equity and financing.
Gowling WLG is an international law firm located in 19 cities around the world — including Hamilton. Harnessing the broad industry expertise of its 1,400 professionals, far-reaching global platform and forward-thinking partnerships with key local stakeholders, the firm connects Hamilton’s top innovators to a world of opportunity and provides the tools they need to accelerate their success.

Aaron Gillespie – The Financial LiON

Aaron Gillespie headshot
Aaron Gillespie is a Partner in KPMG’s Hamilton office, specializing in Canadian tax compliance and advisory services, with a focus on large Canadian controlled private corporations. Aaron has extensive experience with tax planning as it relates to acquisitions, divestitures, remuneration planning, estate planning, corporate reorganizations, and various tax-minimization strategies.
With over 160 professionals and support staff in their Hamilton, Oakville, and St Catharines offices, KPMG has the resources required to provide a full range of services. KPMG has the strength of their national and international member firms but with a local touch. KPMG is proud to work closely with their clients, helping them to manage risks and take advantage of opportunities.

Chantel Broten – The Growth LiON

Chantel Broten headshot
Chantel Broten the President & CEO of Jan Kelley and is an experienced strategist who knows how to find key insights that transform organizations and drive growth. A career marketer, she has spearheaded the development of brand and marketing programs for over 200 organizations.  She has MBA in Marketing and Innovation from McMaster University and is a graduate of Communitech’s Innovation Basecamp program.
Jan Kelley is an award-winning digital marketing agency and helps businesses grow by using their proprietary digital growth framework to develop and optimize and iterate strong digital-first marketing strategies and programs.  Jan Kelley’s philosophy brings together the power of technology and the brilliance of humanity to spark ideas, generate momentum and drive lasting results.


Check back often to meet this year’s Investor LiONS

Karen Grant

Karen Grant headshot
Karen Grant is the Interim CEO of Equation Angels, the second-largest angel investor network in Canada and serves as a director on several boards.  She has founded companies, launched investment funds, and has worked in the commercialization field for over 25 years.  Earlier in her career, she led the growth of the Toronto Venture Group and spent 12 years with IBM Canada in sales, marketing and communications roles.

Dominic Talalla

Dominic Talalla headshotDominic is a Managing Partner at Trellis Capital Corp, a venture capital firm, investing in technology companies; and is the CEO of Datec Coating Corporation, a materials technology company.  He is also a Director on the Boards of several portfolio companies and publicly funded organizations and institutions. Prior to Trellis, Dominic was Investment Director at BDC Venture Capital. General Manager of GE Industrial Systems Canada.

Stuart Wheldon

Stuart Wheldon headshotStuart, along with his wife, own and operate the Redchurch Cafe and Gallery in Hamilton off of Gore Park. He is the former Vice President of Eloqua and founder of Caribru Craft Beer, which he sold in May 2019.  Stuart is now the CEO of Junction Craft Brewing.

Learn about the 2020 finalists!