The ENTREPRISE panel of judges is composed of professionals from the fashion industry who share their wisdom and experience in evaluating the business concepts of our graduates.
Interim Chief Financial Officer, Manufacturing Operations
Peter Filato, Interim Chief Financial Officer, Manufacturing Operations, is a 12-year Gildan veteran who has worked with the leadership of the Company in all areas related to Finance, Sales, Manufacturing, and Business Development. Currently a senior leader in Gildan’s Manufacturing division, which entails more than 44,000 manufacturing employees in 8 countries, Mr. Filato’s career began in Finance and has evolved to Enterprise Risk Management, playing a critical role in evaluating business opportunities and plans.
Very innovative products/services.
Great presentations – a real testament that LaSalle is preparing the leaders of the future.”
Owner and CEO
From Denmark to Italy, Deniz has traveled the globe meeting retailers, designers, and manufacturers. For more than 15 years, he has successfully touched the many sides of the business of fashion, giving him an exceptionally all encompassing view of a multi layered industry. Whether in sales or marketing this overachiever has helped large, international companies like the Sixty Group and Bestseller come to prominence.. However this was not enough to quench his ever growing passion for brand building. Being idea driven, Deniz decided to risk it all and leave a peak career job to start his own business and bring his vision to fruition. After furthering his business knowledge and successfully securing financing, he launched a journey of his own. Inspired by his travels he recruited some talented Scandinavian designers and brought their cutting edge designs to the North American market where they are currently distributed to more than 100 stores across the continent. Going 5 years strong now, Stylepool has curated some of the best street and lifestyle brands from around the globe, exclusively representing Australian, Singaporean, German and Danish brands…and if you ask Deniz, he’s just getting started!
“Always an honour to be invited back to where it all began and be around such dynamic and passionate people who make up our local industry as well as the brilliant future graduates”
Country Sales Manager
Seasoned fashion executive, Lise Laperriere is a motivational team leader with a proven record of 30 plus years of experience in elevating brand recognition and reach within the highly competitive market of men’s and women’s fashion. With industry heavy-hitters like Parasuco, Guess?, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld under her belt, she now proudly heads up wholesale brands Vero Moda and Noisy may for Danish clothing company Bestseller.
“The wholesale + retail world are in a total change mode.
The time to seize the moment & be creative is now.
Be the ones to reinvent the apparel business for the future.
This was fun. Thank you.”
Manager, Merchandise Planning, Buying & Allocation
Frank + Oak
Alexandre Malo is manager of merchandise planning and buying for Frank And Oak. He holds a collegial diploma in fashion marketing and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Université du Québec à Montréal. The combination of his enthusiasm for fashion with his predilection for numbers makes him decidedly suited to excel in this career. Alexandre spent three years with the Dynamite Group in the department of merchandise planning. In 2014, Alexandre jumped from a large, established and recognized company to the innovative and pioneering start-up that is Frank And Oak today. This opportunity allowed him to develop his expertise in the field of omnichannel merchandising. Frank And Oak has benefited greatly from his knowledge and experience as it continues to grow and push the boundaries of current business on all fronts through its marketing campaigns, web experiences, and its product.
“The fashion industry is in constant movement, it’s time to surf the wave and never stop.”
Senior Vice President of Sales & Operations
Franco Rocchi is the Executive Vice-President at Le Château of Montreal, where he began his retail career 35 years ago. Franco is proud to be part of a global team that has elevated Le Château to one of Canada’s most respected, successful and fashion-focused brands. Mr. Rocchi is also the proud President of the Conseil Regional des Ages Italo-Canadiens, a board that governs the activities of 75 Italo-Canadian Golden Age Clubs, which maintains a membership of over 12,000 members.
“ENTREPRISE is an extraordinary Montréal event, where extraordinary talent is revealed.”
Christina Vongas is the visionary businesswoman with a keen sense of style behind the ever-evolving Dynamite brand. Christina graduated from Concordia University in 1996 in Accounting, earning her CA designation soon afterwards. She pursued a successful career at Deloitte for more than eight years in the Audit & Assurance services group.
Forever torn between her love of fashion and her practical love of numbers, Christina was finally able to satisfy both by taking on the role of Brand Merchandising Director for Groupe Dynamite in 2005.
In her 12 years with the company, she has played a vital role in the growth of the business and in re-branding Dynamite into a leading Canadian fashion retailer. In 2011, she was promoted to Vice President, Merchandising. With extensive business acumen and a flair for fashion, Christina will continue to drive excellence as Dynamite expands into international markets.
Have done it twice already – always fun to support la relève.
Great job team!”
General Manager and Co-founder
Atelier New Regime
Gildas Messan Awuye is a young entrepreneur and co-founder of Montreal based clothing brand Atelier New Regime. His business ventures started in his early teens serving as a director at Benjamin Bros, the creative agency founded by his two eldest brothers. In 2011, he chose to focus his efforts on Atelier New Regime transforming the company from a local t-shirt brand into a full fledged clothing and lifestyle brand. Over the years he’s acquired a variety of skills becoming Atelier New Regime’s business strategist, production manager, creative director, and a key player in the brand’s marketing efforts
“ENTREPRISE is a great way to showcase all the talent and drive in our millennials, that are too often criticized as a lazy generation. I’m proud to say that the future is bright.”
Senior Retail Buyer
Vito Cassotta has over ten years’ experience in the retail sector. He’s touched on various different departments such as operations, visuals before finding his true passion in buying and merchandising. A graduate from LaSalle College in 2004 he continued his education at McGill University in Public Relations Management while working for brands such as Levi Strauss & Bestseller Canada where he played a crucial role in the expansion of Jack & Jones retail stores. Vito currently holds the title Merchandise Manager for Michael Kors Canada. During his off time he enjoy volunteering for organizations such as Make-A-Wish.
Founder and President
Maria Varvarikos has more than 20 years of public relations and marketing experience. Prior to founding ZOÏ Agency in 2000, Maria studied at Concordia University where she received her bachelors in Marketing. She then went on to serve as the Director of Promotions for Ocean Drive Magazine. Inspired to establish her own enterprise in order to fully engage her passion for brands, Maria launched ZOÏ Agency to great Success.
With offices in New York and Montreal, and soon to open in Toronto, Maria and her team have been an integral part of the successful launches and branding initiatives behind top fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle brands such as, WANT Les Essentiels, Maison Kitsuné, H&M, Tiffany & Co., KORRES, and more.
Motivated by the brand story above all else, Maria takes pride in her unorthodox approach to public relations: Extracting the essence of the brand, highlighting their story, and communicating their uniqueness in innovative ways. Maria strongly believes that public relations efforts can only be as successful as the strategy and personal relationships they’re built on, and it’s this outlook that keeps her and her team at ZOÏ Agency deeply committed and enthusiastic in their work.
Maria is involved in key organizations including the Canadian Center of Architecture and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Maria is also the recipient of the 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Hellenic Board of Trade and has been featured in many publications as a recognized expert in her field in many publications as a recognized expert in her field.
Senior Director Digital Growth
In the last 17 years, he went from entrepreneur to intrapreneur and he has been working on digital transformations, omnichannel strategies and eCommerce growth of many prestigious brands including Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Maison Birks, m0851, Rudsak, SAIL, Sportium, Stokes, Structube, Mobilia, L’Oréal, Yves Rocher, Blush Lingerie, La Canadienne, Harricana, La Vie en Rose, Bikini Village, Empire Sports and more. Before joining Absolunet, Jean-Philippe worked for 3 years as the Director of Marketing and the PR Officer at Modasuite (now Frank & Oak). In addition, Jean-Philippe also teaches Integrated Marketing Communication, Public Relations, Fashion Marketing and Social Medias at the University of Montreal as well at UQAM School of Management (ESG UQAM) since 2012.
Senior Director of Marketing
Sophie Beauchamp is a creative retail executive with over ten years of marketing and visual merchandising experience. Over the course of her career, Sophie has directed countless original marketing projects, brand development initiatives, and visual merchandising concepts. In her current role as Ardene’s Senior Director, Marketing and Visual, Sophie oversees the strategic planning and implementation of the company’s promotional campaigns. Under her leadership, Sophie’s team has leveraged pop culture and every-day street style to tell compelling stories and connect with the customer in an authentic way. Sophie’s entrepreneurial vision is contagious, and her innovative leadership has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the Ardene brand.
Fashion School, LaSalle College Montréal
A fashion design graduate from LaSalle College, he worked as a designer in the industry and workshop leader for a Quebec creator before becoming a teacher. Director of the International School of fashion, arts and design at LaSalle College for over 17 years, he has been involved with the steering committee and the metropolitan cluster of fashion, to promote and develop the fashion industry, in Quebec and Canada.