New speaker series features top York U alumni entrepreneurs

LaunchYU has partnered with York University’s Alumni Engagement team to create the LaunchYU Speaker Series; featuring top York University alumni who are entrepreneurs. Each part of the evening series aims to capture the real stories, challenges, successes and failures that these accomplished grads have encountered in their journeys.

The talks are meant to inspire, motivate and educate students, alumni and community members, on the realities of entrepreneurship in today’s world.

Sharon Vinderine

The series launches Oct 18 with a talk by York University alumna, Sharon Vinderine. It will take place in the Second Student Centre Convention Centre, located on the second floor. Vinderine’s talk will run from 6 to 8 p.m. To register, visit

Vinderine is the founder, president and CEO of Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA), the leading consumer awards program in North America. She has been acknowledged by the media as an “industry leader and innovator” and is the recipient of the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award and the Silver Stevie Awards for Female Entrepreneur of the Year. She has appeared on more than 150 television shows on networks that include ABC, NBC, Fox and MSNBC. Before venturing into the world of baby products, Vinderine was the founder of the first wireless Internet company in Canada, Net Online, which was ranked as one of “Canada’s Hottest Start Ups” by Profit magazine.

Other talks in the series are:

Sheetal Jaitly, co-founder & CEO of TribalScale
Thursday, Nov. 29

Sheetal Jaitly

Jaitly is the CEO and co-founder of TribalScale, a global innovation platform that strategizes, designs, and delivers digital products, transforms teams and co-creates disruptive startups. He is a seasoned veteran in the tech space, a leader in innovation, and an avid investor.  Jaitly knows technology’s potential to transform businesses like the back of his hand and isn’t afraid to roll-up-his-sleeves and transform companies so they can lead in their industry. His career began with Keating Technologies and the launch of the Palm Pilot. Then, at Xtreme Labs, acquired by Pivotal Software in 2013, he led the media vertical and made a name for himself for his mobile expertise. He has extensive experience in scaling for growth, digital product positioning, strategic development, and investment.

Jay Klein, founder & CEO of The PÜR Company
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019

Jay Klein

Klein’s vision was to develop a chewing gum free from chemical sweeteners that would be safe for individuals with any allergies or dietary sensitivities. Having made this vision a reality with PUR Gum, he is on a mission to motivate and educate people around the world while providing them with high-quality products. The PUR Company launched in 2010 with PUR Gum after leading a team of professionals at Drivertise International. It is the first company Klein started in 2001. PUR is now the number one selling aspartame-free brand worldwide. Having expanded its product line with mints and popcorn, The PUR Company is a global leader in the continuously growing health food and better-for-you industry. Klein  was recently named on 2018’s list of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. The PUR Company has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies as well as Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. PUR was also ranked top 10 on Profit 500’s list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies and first in Manufacturing. Klein was the recipient of the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year, Emerging Entrepreneur Award. He is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and sits on the Board of several charitable organizations that support the youth and Jewish community.

Drew Green, president & CEO of Indochino
Thursday, March 28, 2019

Drew Green

Green has built one of the world’s fastest growing apparel brands: INDOCHINO. As an award-winning entrepreneur and expert in managing high-growth companies, he has grown the company at a compound annual growth rate of 48 per cent and expanded its retail network across North America. Prior to INDOCHINO, Green founded and was CEO of SHOP.CA, Canada’s first multi-merchant marketplace. Throughout his career, he has played key leadership roles at companies that have created billions in shareholder value. A sought after technology, ecommerce and retail expert, Green has presented to hundreds of thousands of industry peers, leaders, students and entrepreneurs through events, conferences and educational forums. He has been acknowledged throughout his career as a Top 40 Under 40, Innovation in Retail award winner by the University of Alberta, and recognized as EY Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year category winner.

The format of the series will encourage conversation, allowing for ample time for questions from the audience and networking with fellow audience members. This unique opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs who have made it in the startup world is extremely valuable to those interested in launching their own startup, or already established entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurship has its ups and downs and it’s important for entrepreneurs at all stages to learn from one another” says Sarah Howe, director, Innovation York. “Giving our students, alumni and entrepreneurial community an opportunity to interact with and learn from these highly successful York alums is really an amazing opportunity.”

If you’re interested in entrepreneurship and want to hear about the trials and tribulations of how York alumni successfully launched and grew companies, then this series is for you, says Howe.

To learn more about the LaunchYU Speaker series or to register, visit