Pioneering Tech. Executive, Managing Partner at Real Ventures

Janet Bannister

Business. Change Management. Innovation. Leadership.

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Janet Bannister

Speaker Bio

In 2004, Janet launched and grew it to become one of the most visited websites in Canada. Subsequently, she led the Kijiji Global business, launching the site in new countries and accelerating growth in North America, Europe, and Asia.

In addition, Janet is very active in the Canadian tech ecosystem; she is the Co-Chair of C100 and on the Boards of Communitech in Waterloo and Vector Institute in Toronto. She is also an active advisor at OneEleven, Creative Destruction Lab, and the Research Board of the University Health Network.

Janet has won numerous awards and recognition including Venture Capital Journal’s 2021 “Women of Influence in Private Markets,” Pitchbooks’ 2021 “Female Founders & Investors to Know,” and American Bankers’ 2019 “Most Influential Women in Payments.”

Janet also spent four years at eBay in Silicon Valley where she helped transform eBay from a collectibles to a mainstream marketplace. She started her career as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble and then joined McKinsey & Co. where she was an Engagement Manager. She also founded and built a successful consulting business and was CEO at a venture-backed start-up prior to joining Real Ventures.

Janet was a varsity long-distance runner and competed internationally in triathlons. Today she balances her active lifestyle with being a wife and mother to her 16-year-old son.

Janet Bannister Topics

Enable or Disrupt? The New Innovation Economy

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We have entered a new phase of business. Transformative technologies are disrupting every single industry on the planet, and whether you know it or not, your business will not only have to adapt—it will have to fundamentally change.

In this eye-opening talk, venture capitalist and founder of Janet Bannister takes a look at three key things that are reshaping business right now: AI and transformative technologies, platform businesses, and the democratization of creative production. In the midst of all this change, two types of companies will emerge, says Janet: enablers (the ones building the transformative tech stack) and disruptors (companies that will use the transformative tech stack to redesign or create new markets, processes, models, products, and services). Where will your organization fall on this scale? What implications will it have on your line of business? And what are the new requirements, opportunities, and challenges you will face?

An authentic and down-to-earth speaker, Janet shares case studies and insights that illustrate the importance of the innovation economy. In a time when everything in business is changing, this direct keynote is absolutely essential. Janet reveals what your company needs to hear, right now.

There and Back Again: Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Change

Janet Bannister started her entrepreneurial journey quite early—at age 15 she founded her own healthy baking business. With significant grit and determination, her fascinating path led her to Silicon Valley and back, eventually resulting in the creation of one of Canada’s most successful websites ever: Now a partner at Real Ventures, Janet is a high-profile, successful venture capitalist—a powerful female leader in a still incredibly male-dominated field.

What strategies has she implemented for innovation, for problem-solving, for leadership? And how has she kept herself and her people inspired? Her extraordinary keynotes reveal a career spent in motion, always at the edge of the next big shift, and fuelled by balanced risk-taking, determination and perseverance. Yet Janet balances this relentless drive with a sense of humour, modesty, deep care for others, and a passion to give back. In this talk, Janet shares the most important leadership principles and entrepreneurial values that have led to her massive success.

Janet Bannister

Stories of my life

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Words for
Janet Bannister

Tech Manitoba

“Janet was absolutely excellent. She connected with the audience immediately and set a perfect tone for the event. Her presentation was so captivating that she could’ve kept speaking all day, and people would still want more.”


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