Panelists & Partners

Lynda Franc - Panelist headshot

Lynda Franc - Panelist

Director of Development, Operation Come Home

Lynda Franc is the Director of Development at Operation Come Home (OCH). Starting as a placement student at OCH, she quickly became so passionate about the programs and services offered that she continued to volunteer even after she graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2011 with an Honours Bachelor of Criminology and a Minor in Political Science. It was not long before management recognized her skills and dedication and offered her a position with the organization. 

Her current role allows her to oversee Operation Come Home’s development. This includes developing new programs that will benefit the vulnerable youth of Ottawa, furthering the growth and success of OCH’s social enterprises, and assisting with funding and fundraising initiatives. Since joining Operation Come Home, she has been able to take on an active role in advocating for OCH in the community and at various events. She helps to foster a friendly and homey atmosphere for the youth and staff alike as she believes this is crucial to making positive changes in someone’s life – having a place where one feels comfortable enough to ask for help…or call home.

Remco Vomer - Panelist headshot

Remco Vomer - Panelist

Managing Director, Artengine

Remco is the managing director of Artengine, Ottawa's lab for creative technology. A graduate of Utrecht University of Art’s Creative Media program, he has focused his practice on technologically mediated interaction design. As a cultural producer, he has organized a variety of exhibitions and festivals, including the Electric Fields festival of electronic art and Maker Faire Ottawa. He has a strong interest in innovation in the arts, both on the individual level of the artist and on the combined level of the institution.

Jordan Bamforth - Panelist headshot

Jordan Bamforth - Panelist

Creative Director, Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.

Jordan Bamforth is a graduate of the School of Design at George Brown College in Toronto, where he specialized in corporate identity. While working as a freelancer he created the branding and corporate identity for a small, family-run brewery named Beau's All Natural Brewing Company. He has since been brought in-house at Beau's as the Creative Director, and leads the brewery's marketing and creative teams. The brewery's creative team has received awards for their package design from Applied Arts Magazine, How Magazine, and the mBeer design competition.

Aaron Cayer - Moderator headshot

Aaron Cayer - Moderator

Co-owner, Birling

Born and raised here in Ottawa, Aaron Cayer is a co-owner of Birling and Director of the Ottawa Skateboard Association. He has been skateboarding in the city for over 20 years and has an undeniable passion for the sport. Aaron is a recent recipient of United Way’s GenNext award, in recognition of his diverse and engaging work in Ottawa’s skateboard community and beyond. Whether as an entrepreneur, skateboarder, or community leader, Aaron advocates for greater resources and creative solutions to promote and encourage free play.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa headshot

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa

Fundraising Partner

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO) facilitates life-changing relationships that inspire and empower children and youth to reach their full potential. BBBSO has been serving the Ottawa community for 47 years, creating Big Brother friendships starting in 1970, and then Big Sister friendships in 1973. Their programs have grown from the traditional 1:1 matches to include a variety of different programs that serve youth in both the community and schools; including Mentoring In School, Meet You In School, Go Girls, Game On, and their Conversation Club for newcomer youth to Canada. In 2017, they launched the MPower program, which serves to connect youth ages 15-24 who are transitioning out of child intervention services with a supportive and dedicated adult mentor. This year they will be launching PRYME, a new Police Recreational Youth Mentoring Experience program. BBBSO proudly serves over 1,000 youth in both the Ottawa and Renfrew County communities on an annual basis.

Changing the course of young lives changes the future of communities. A 2013 study by Boston Consulting Group determined that of those mentored through BBBS programs: 63% completed post-secondary education, 47% hold senior leadership positions, and 50% are more likely to volunteer themselves.

Operation Come Home headshot

Operation Come Home

Fundraising Partner

Operation Come Home (OCH) is a local registered charity that supports at-risk, vulnerable, and homeless youth and helps address barriers in their lives that are preventing them from reaching their fullest potential. OCH’s mission is to prevent homeless youth from becoming homeless adults. The organization accomplishes this mission by providing a variety of programs and services such as: a built-in alternative high school; employment programs which assist youth with job searching, job preparation and job retention; a resource center that provides basic needs assistance and support; housing programs that assist with advocacy, housing searches, housing retention and financial education; an entrepreneurship program that coaches youth to start-up their own businesses; an addictions program; and four social enterprises. In 2016, Operation Come Home engaged over 530 unique clients who accessed at least one of OCH’s programs.

OCH has been operating social enterprises since 2008 and the focus has always been on creating sustainable businesses that contribute to the local economy, but more importantly, that provide meaningful job opportunities to youth. Youth are employed for 3-6 months depending on their needs and they are supported by a social support worker who teaches them basic job skills and assists them with other social skills. These other skills focus on professionalism, how to keep one’s personal life separate from their work life, anger management and other tools that, if missing, have caused them to lose jobs in the past. At the end of a social enterprise’s curriculum, youth are supported with resume development and assistance in finding a job in the community for which they are now far more prepared to be able to maintain longterm.

All of OCH’s employment programs and social enterprises have a mandatory financial literacy component so that youth can learn the skills to budget their money. The financial literacy is also provided as a free program to anyone who accesses OCH’s other services such as the resource center or school.

The Ottawa Skateboard Community Association headshot

The Ottawa Skateboard Community Association

Fundraising Partner

The Ottawa Skateboard Community Association (OSCA) provides recreational and mentorship opportunities by promoting the physical, social, creative and community-building benefits of skateboarding. OSA engages with kids and youth through skateboard programming to bring about empowerment and positive change, with an aim toward poverty reduction. Supported programs include Girls+ Skate 613, For Pivots Sake, and Skateparks for Skaters.

Birling headshot


Event Sponsor

Birling is a skateboard brand with a shop in downtown Ottawa, Canada. 

They create domestically-sourced, story-driven products and spearhead skatepark building initiatives with their community outreach programs. Whether walking into their meticulously handmade shop or using their Canadian-made products, you'll get a sense of the quality, pride, and passion that goes into everything they do. Through their branding and in-house creative approach, they use art to bridge the gap between urban geography and history to feature little-known stories from our seemingly sleepy city. Their goal is to continuously highlight the attitude-free, tight-knit skate culture present in Ottawa, while supporting the development of parks and spots. By sipping a coffee at their shop, filling your cart online, or skating with one of their boards, you're keeping independent art and culture alive in skateboarding.