Thank you to our 2012 Lions for their commitment and expertise!

Sophia Aggelonitis

Sophia Aggelonitis headshotEntrepreneur, former Hamilton Mountain MPP and Ontario Cabinet Minister, Sophia Aggelonitis is a Canadian politician and an entrepreneur. She was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the riding of Hamilton Mountain and served as the province’s Minister of Revenue, Minister Responsible for Seniors and Minister of Consumer Services in the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty. She is the daughter of Greek immigrants and was raised in Welland, Ontario before moving to Hamilton in 1994.Prior to her election to the legislature, Aggelonitis was an entrepreneur, manufacturing and distributing a “Sauces by Sophia” brand of tzatziki to supermarkets and specialty food stores in Southern Ontario. She is an active member of the Hamilton AM Rotary Club and has volunteered for a number of community organizations, including Theatre Aquarius, Canadian Club of Hamilton, Phoenix Place and the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice fundraising committee. After serving four years on the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, she was subsequently elected its president in March 2007. Following the 2007 election, Aggelonitis was appointed by Premier Dalton McGuinty to the Treasury Board Working Group. Aggelonitis served on numerous committees while in government including; Standing Committees on Finance and Economic Affairs; and Social Policy. She was a Member of three Cabinet Committees including; Justice, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs; Economic, Environmental and Resources Policy; and Legislation and Regulations. As a successful entrepreneur and former President of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Aggelonitis was also asked by Premier Dalton McGuinty to chair the Small Business Agency of Ontario to encourage better communication between government and small business.

Dr. Nick Bontis

Dr. Nick BontisNick Bontis headshot is a leading expert on intellectual capital and its impact on business performance. He is ranked among the top 30 management gurus and the top 5 management keynote speakers world-wide. He is currently an award-winning professor at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University where he advises budding entrepreneurs with their latest new ventures. He was recently recognized as a 3M National Teaching Fellow, an exclusive honour only bestowed upon the top university professors in the country. He has won over a dozen teaching awards and is the only faculty member to simultaneously hold outstanding teacher and researcher of the year honours. Maclean’s Magazine has rated him as one of McMaster University’s most popular professors for six years in a row. Nick received his PhD and HBA from the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. He is a widely-cited author of hundreds of articles and several books including the most recently published Information Bombardment: Rising above the digital onslaught. He currently owns a consulting firm in Ancaster, and a software company in Vancouver. He is also on the Executive Board of Harvest Portfolios, an investment fund company in Oakville. His advisory services have been sought after by leading organizations such as the United Nations, Microsoft, Health Canada, Royal Bank, Telus, Accenture, Enmax, Manulife, Mitsubishi, the US Navy and IBM.

PJ Mercanti

PJ Mercanti headshotP.J. Mercanti is the President of The Carmen’s Group, a name synonymous in Southern Ontario with celebrity events, weddings, catering and dinner theatre. PJ and his family also own and operate the Best Western Premier C Hotel, Baci Ristorante and The Lakeview at Confederation Park. A University of Notre Dame business graduate, PJ worked for ESPN before venturing back to Hamilton and he has kept himself busy ever since. He is the founder of GenNext United Way and is involved with many community organizations such as The Charity of Hope, The Good Shepherd, City Kidz, Hamilton Health Sciences and Hamilton Community Foundation. PJ is also a label executive of Rat Pack Records, a venture he co-founded with Canadian Idol Brian Melo. Over the past few years PJ has organized events featuring Academy Award Winners and Hollywood icons Al Pacino, Michael Douglas, and Sylvester Stallone, US Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin and Grammy Award Winning Band Chicago. PJ is also involved with other exciting development and hospitality ventures in the Hamilton area.

Mike Morreale

Mike Morreale logoHamilton native Mike Morreale played a total of 12 years in the CFL. Eight of those years were with his hometown Tiger Cats and 4 with the rival Toronto Argos, originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 1994 CFL draft by the BC Lions Mike signed with the Argos on June 17th 1995. An impressive career that spanned 231 regular and post season games, he amassed 549 receptions for 7,169 yards and 25 touchdowns. Mike participated in 3 Grey Cups, winning twice. His first time was in 1996 with the Argos and then once again in 1999 with the Tiger Cats, where he was selected as that year’s Grey Cup Most Outstanding Canadian. He was awarded as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 1998 and in 2000 was given the Tom Pate Memorial Award for outstanding sportsmanship and contributions to his team, community and Association. After serving as a CFLPA Player Rep and Executive for 9 years Mike retired in 2007 and became the Director of Marketing for the CFLPA until he was elected as President of the CFL Players’ Association in May 2012. Mike also worked as a broadcaster for The Score and TSN for Canadian University Football, and as Director of Business Development for First Canadian Title. He is still very active in the community and serves on several charitable boards.

Rami Reda

Rami Reda headshotAn award winning entrepreneur, Rami has been involved in the Hamilton community for many years. Rami graduated on Dean’s List with an Honour’s Bachelor of Commerce from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. His interest and dedication to retail, real estate and land development has been a strong facet for his business skills. As the Owner and Director of CanGlobal Traders Inc., Rami has proven his skills in the business world. Rami owns and operates well-known companies such as Big Bee Convenience, Deliverizer, and Subway Restaurants. Along with small business, he also owns a real estate portfolio that includes outlets in retail, residential and commercial development throughout Southern Ontario. Rami sits on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Convenience Store Association as well as the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. He is also involved with the Hamilton Business Improvement Area (BIA) and YEP Hamilton.

Learn about the 2012 finalists!