Centre for Business Digital Marketing Symposium

Predictive Analytics in Marketing: Embracing AI

The speed of solving problems has rapidly transformed from months and years to just hours, days, and weeks. For marketers, It’s a time of excitement and anxiety. The future holds new challenges involving the interactions between humans and machines.

Are you ready?

With so much data at our fingertips, marketers harness it effectively, ethically, and efficiently. Do we trust human intuition or machine learning for predictive analytics? How do we determine our state of readiness regarding technology and our team’s ability to use it? Lets find out together in the Atrium, where IBM will showcase the unparalleled capabilities of IBM WatsonX, a leader in AI innovation. Learn how advanced large language models (LLMs) are transforming the marketing landscape, offering predictive insights and personalized engagement strategies like never before.

Witness the power of IBM WatsonX through the demonstration of the Soul Machine — a testament to how AI can create lifelike, interactive avatars for diverse applications, from customer service to content creation. Powered by cutting-edge AI, these Digital People redefine interactive experiences, making every customer interaction more engaging and personalized.

Join us as we explore best practices for leveraging first-party data to personalize customer experiences, drive loyalty and maximize the return on investment.

Who should attend?

  • Brand Marketers
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Alums, Students & Faculty


8:00 a.m.Breakfast and Networking 
8:30 a.m.Welcome and Opening Remarks 
8:45 a.m.Opening Keynote

Leveraging Predictive Analytics for Personalization at Scale

Rohit Dua, Vice President of Portfolio Management, PC Optimum

Personalization thrives on a dynamic interplay between AI/Machine Learning, human expertise, and existing knowledge. AI/ML offers never-before-seen ability to crunch vast amounts of user data, identifying needs and behaviour that otherwise would have been nearly impossible to realize; however, where it really flourishes is when these capabilities are united with the nuisances of human experiences.  The human ability to discern context, ethical boundaries, and leverage empathy offers a powerful combination when coupled with the technological leaps in personalizing customer touchpoints.

9:15 a.m.Networking Break 
9:30 a.m.Panel Discussion

How ready are you? 

Moderator: Ash Andrews, Professor of Digital Marketing, George Brown College

Sonia Carreno, President, IAB Canada
Lia Grimberg, Principal, Radicle Loyalty
Alison Simpson, President, CMA
Isaac White, Principal Measurement Lead at Google

The panel discussion brings together leading academics and practitioners in the field of digital marketing. Key topics that will be discussed include understanding how data analytics are being used in practice today, the evolving role of data analysts in the AI era, and future trends in AI-driven analytics across the customer journey. Panellists will provide valuable insight for current marketers on how to improve their marketing initiatives by leveraging data. They will also provide guidance for aspiring marketers on how to break into this lucrative and growing field.

10:15 a.m.Q&A 
10:40 a.m.Closing Keynote

Driving Customer Engagement and Loyalty at Canadian Tire Corporation

Fartash Haghani, Associate Vice President, Applied AI and Data Products, Canadian Tire Corporation

In today's digital age, businesses harness the power of data to drive their loyalty programs and optimize marketing expenditures. By analyzing customer behaviour, preferences, and purchase history, companies gain valuable insights to tailor personalized rewards and incentives through their loyalty programs. Moreover, data analytics enables businesses to identify high-value customers, predict their future spending patterns, and allocate marketing resources more effectively. 

Through data-driven strategies, companies can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty and ultimately maximize their return on investment. We will delve into how Canadian Tire uses machine learning and data to create a better customer experience and engage more customers with different CTC banners.

  • What is the Canadian Tire Loyalty Program?
  • Program growth
  • Role of Micro ML architecture in our success
  • Dive into the ML model used
  • How to fail fast and why it is important
11:10 a.m.Networking  
11:45 a.m.Event Concludes 

Keynote Speakers

Rohit Dua
VP, Portfolio Management, PC Optimum

About Rohit Dua

As Vice President of Portfolio Management at PC Optimum, Rohit brings 17 years of progressive experience within Loblaws Companies Ltd. to unlock value through strategic analysis and data-driven insights. 

Rohit has a proven track record of success in harnessing the power of data to inform actionable strategies. He excels at translating complex information into clear, concise recommendations that directly benefit business stakeholders. Beyond their analytical prowess, Rohit is passionate about talent development. He fosters a collaborative environment where team members with diverse technical strengths can solve complex business problems with a combined pool of knowledge and skill.


Fartash Haghani
Associate Vice President, Applied AI and Data Products
Canadian Tire Corporation

About Fartash Haghani

Fartash Haghani is an Associate Vice President of Applied AI & Data Products, known for his dynamic leadership and extensive expertise in cloud services, data management, data science and software engineering. With a proven track record at Canadian Tire, he has spearheaded ground-breaking projects, including the development of a Micro ML recommender system and innovative ML-based data products aimed at enhancing the user experience for Canadian Tire customers. Leveraging AI, his team improved the CTC loyalty program incrementally by 246% in the last three years. 

Before joining Canadian Tire, Fartash was the CTO and co-founder of the AI-based meditation app Mindbliss, where he led engineering and data teams to use biometric data to recommend relevant meditation content.




Moderator: Ash Andrews
Professor of Digital Marketing
George Brown College

About Ash Andrews

Ash Andrews is an expert in Digital Marketing with 20 years of experience. He has worked as a senior in-house marketer and a consultant in the UK, USA and Canada. His credentials include working with several blue-chip brands in a variety of industries while holding senior-level leadership positions. Ash is also the Founder and President of The Andrews Groupe, a marketing consultancy that provides digital marketing solutions to a range of companies in Canada and the United States

Ash has taught digital marketing for Columbia University (New York) and has guest lectured at several higher education institutions across North America. Ash has a Master's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied at the Wharton School, and is currently an Executive Doctoral Candidate at the University of Florida studying digital marketing and artificial intelligence.


Sonia Carreno
IAB Canada

About Sonia Carreno

Sonia Carreno is the President of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada – the only trade association dedicated to the responsible growth of the digital advertising industry in Canada. With a career spanning almost 25 years, Sonia is a true digital veteran who has deep industry experience covering virtually every angle of the digital marketing sector. 

From pioneering the digital media planning landscape in the early days at Modem Media (one of the first international consultancies to enter the digital marketing space) to founding DAC Group Digital (a worldwide leading agency that found its roots in search and content services), Sonia leverages her global citizenship to maintain a sharp leading edge pushing the envelope of digital capabilities to drive results. Since 1997, Sonia’s work at top international agencies has focused on building award-winning strategies for global Fortune 500 brands such as Coca-Cola, Gillette, Heineken and General Motors, just to name a few.

Lia Grimberg
Radicle Loyalty

About Lia Grimberg

Lia Grimberg is the Principal of Radicle Loyalty, a personalization and loyalty consulting firm.  Radicle Loyalty helps clients find the root of the issue, the radicle, by analyzing data, gathering insights, and using them to personalize communications with customers. Radicle Loyalty creates marketing strategies and designs loyalty programs to correct customer behaviour and drive emotional loyalty.

With 20+ years in loyalty both as a practitioner and a consultant, Lia honed her loyalty and marketing skills during her corporate career at companies such as The Bay, Loblaw, LoyaltyOne, The Home Depot, and American Express. 

Lia holds an MBA from The Schulich School of Business at York University.

Lia Grimberg's LinekdIn



Alison Simpson
President & CEO
Canadian Marketing Association

About Alison Simpson

Alison Simpson is the President and CEO of the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA). She has held executive marketing roles and served as president of several marketing agencies throughout her career. She has also held executive marketing roles and led brand, digital, loyalty, data, integrated marketing and customer experience teams for top tier brands, including Holt Renfrew, Rogers Communications, and TMX Group. 

Prior to joining the CMA, Alison was Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Consumer Business at Key – a Canadian start-up that developed the world’s first all-digital, on-demand homeownership platform. Alison also serves on several Boards, including DCM (a publicly traded company) and the Advisory Board for the Master of Management Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Program at the Smith School of Business. Alison has also held Board Director roles for both the ICA (Institute of Communications Agencies) and NABS (National Advertising Benevolence Society) and previously served on the Board for MEC.

In her “life beyond work,” Alison is an avid traveller and passionate runner. Alison has completed 63 marathons and ultras, including winning her age group in a 250km Race Across the Sahara Desert and helping to raise $100,000 for the National Advertising Benevolence Society. Alison also climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Alzheimer Society.  


Isaac White
Principal Measurement Lead

About Isaac White

Isaac White is a Principal Measurement Lead at Google, specializing in the strategic use of first-party data for marketers. He partners with clients to develop data-driven solutions that adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. Isaac has a proven track record at Google, Amazon, and Deloitte Consulting, where he's built data roadmaps and narratives, created analytics tools, led machine learning initiatives, and driven significant revenue growth. Isaac holds a Master of Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University.


Event Partners

IAB Canada logo
AMA Toronto logo
Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) logo