How was Collision Conference 2019 in Toronto?

As I looked forward to the much anticipated Collision Conference, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but judging from the process of registration and the speaker lineup, I was confident that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Weeks ahead, I created my schedule on the Collision app and began networking with potential contacts. The Collision experience truly began from the moment every attendee signed up. Being a technology conference, Collision didn’t hesitate to show, at every opportunity given, how technology could change and simplify the way we do EVERYTHING.

On conference DAY 1, I woke up with a bounce in my step and great expectations in my heart - This day will be different and oh, yes! it was!

The Enercare Centre was overflowing with eager techies and the registration line up was out of this world, but it didn’t look like anyone cared. We all seemed so excited to finally attend the long awaited Collision conference. There were 3 check points before finally making it into the exhibition/conference hall.

  1. The first checkpoint assisted us with locating our digital tickets

  2. The second checked us in and provided us with named lanyards and wristbands (“your wristband is waterproof. Please do not take it off until the conference is over - sleep with it! If you do, there will be a charge for replacements”)

  3. The third was security to verify access


Making it into the hall, felt like breaking into tech wonderland. Distracted by all creatively set-up booths, I was tempted to venture off my schedule till I remembered we had 3 days to explore all this goodness.

Kicking off my Collision experience with a talk by Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW International, my first key lesson was; “Galvanize your ultimate evangelists to buy into what you’re trying to achieve and rebranding should become easier”.

This stuck and ignited my interest to attend every other session. Determined, I raced from one session to another and couldn’t help but find inspiration at every booth along the way.

Interac Booth  Image Source:

Interac Booth

Image Source:

RBC Booth showcasing various tech initiatives, including RBC’s very own sub brand, Ventures  Image Source: Lavanya Suresh

RBC Booth showcasing various tech initiatives, including RBC’s very own sub brand, Ventures

Image Source: Lavanya Suresh

Indeed Booth offered guests free professional headshots  Image Source: Ihab El-Cherkahoui

Indeed Booth offered guests free professional headshots

Image Source: Ihab El-Cherkahoui

Dami Eluyera at Collision 2019

Did someone say FREE head shot?

This was definitely not something to walk by…snagged one for myself and got my colleague to as well.

There’s lots to be said about the Collision experience, but honestly you’ll need to experience it for yourself, at least once. You’ve probably heard that there were over 25,000 attendees, of which 45.7% of us were women. That’s huge!

Collision’s efforts in bringing more women in tech to the conference deserves much celebration. Since 2015, they’ve put in undeniable effort to improve the gender ratio across their events, which is evident in the turnout and engagement. If we truly want to see equality across various disciplines, actions similar to the effort taken by Collision ought to be implemented more often.

Judging from the diverse groups of people I met, I can say for certain that there seemed to be adequate gender balance, on stage, at the booths and in attendance - what a progressive world! There was also a lounge dedicated to just ‘Women in Tech’, powered by BMO. While I wasn’t able to attend, because there just wasn’t enough time to do it all, I heard great things about the activities and talks that went on in there. If you’re a woman in tech or thinking of joining what has been a seemingly male-dominated area, consider networking at Collision.

Women In Tech Lounge by BMO  Image Source: @CMMcgowan (Twitter)

Women In Tech Lounge by BMO

Image Source: @CMMcgowan (Twitter)

This feels like a rave, but the truth cannot be hidden. Collision is a must attend and every session displayed that. In fact, most sessions were full to the overflowing, where people would stand to attend and then leave 2-3 minutes before the end of the talk, just so they could make it on time to the next talk.

Personally, I found my favourite sessions were held in either PandaConf or CenterStage, which was a little helpful in creating a default schedule if I didn’t enjoy a session I attended and wanted to leave.

Thinking of attending Collision? I recommend you understand the themes offered in every room so that you can better create a schedule you’d enjoy and avoid skipping rooms. I say this because there are lots of interesting ideas and the timing is pretty much back to back for all three days. If you pick a session that doesn’t seem to resonate, there’s a high tendency that you’d want to utilize that time, but if you don’t know the themes or aren’t sure what room has provided you with the best experience, you’ll end up wasting those few minutes.

What’s a session like?

Sessions take various formats from panel discussions, to Q&A sessions and speeches. Here are two samples from my favourite rooms - Panda Conf and Centre Stage:

Linda Boff discusses marketing at GE, amid disruption at Collision Conference Toronto 2019.
Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, Founder of Watch Mojo shares his insights an experience on going viral with WatchMojo at Collision Conference Toronto 2019

Experience teaches better than education and mentors will always accelerate your pace. The lessons learnt over these few days left each attendee with a responsibility to take what was shared and implement towards creating a better world. A few other insights gained, include:

  1. Stay focused on your mission. Customers are drawn to mission-focused brands - Ev Williams, Founder of Medium

  2. When designing your brand to DISRUPT, think about kids as a potential target audience. Pamela Pavliscak

  3. Having a good idea is no longer enough to get into the crowded app economy. Focus on getting your app to the people and not on bringing people to your app - Kristen Dumont, CEO of MZ

  4. Build an app that you can pivot over and over, very quickly. Katie Jansen, CMO of AppLovin

  5. Traditional brands can be revolutionized. To do this;

  6. Great success in community building involves truly caring about your community, getting involved and actively engaging. Joel Flory, CEO of VSCO®

Never been? Collision tickets are now on sale for a steal, you should grab yours while you can.