Keynote Speakers

Manu Chopra

headshot manuManu Chopra grew up in Juhu, Bombay the heart of Bollywood, dreaming of a movie career in North America. In the 1990’s he worked as Creative Director for one of the world’s top ten agencies, Grey Worldwide. He then moved on to become head writer for Channel [V], an iconic music channel that popularized “Hinglish” street-speak and was proclaimed by Time Magazine as the hottest media idea to come out of Asia in the decade.


Arriving in Vancouver in 2003, he found work at first at a radio station, and then writing ads at Cossette, Canada’s largest advertising agency. On the basis of a spec script that made its way to Ajay Virmani, producer of Deepa Mehta’s Oscar-nominated Water, he was hired to write Dr. Cabbie, based on an idea by actor Vinay Virmani (Breakaway). Dr. Cabbie – produced in Toronto by Ajay Virmani and Bollywood superstar Salman Khan. Dr. Cabbie was released in September 2014 and that week, became the second highest grossing film in Canada.


Currently, Manu is Associate Producer and Script Consultant for Little Italy, starring Hayden Christensen of Star Wars fame and directed by Donald Petrie, best known for movies like Miss Congeniality, How to lose a guy in 10 days and Grumpy Old Men.

Ria Chopra

IMG_0337Ria Chopra was formerly a model and dancer in India, with credits in some major Bollywood films. Fluently multi-lingual, Ria also worked with the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce before emigrating to Canada with her family.
Today, Ria considers herself blessed as a “Woman, mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, baker, and Momtrepreneur able to channel her inner Shakti …”


The owner and operator of a bakery catering to TV production crews, Ria is proud to be sponsoring community and arts events now by providing baked treats, but there was a time when they couldn’t even afford to spend a dollar on a pastry for themselves. In fact, she and her husband struggled in their first years in Canada and she found ways to feed her family on $2 a day.


Ria will share the Chopras’ story of the early struggles, and adapting to life in Canada, recounting the hard reality of the toll it took on their relationship and the challenges involved in continuing to support each other. She wanted to share their story as a way of “giving back” and listeners will be moved and inspired by hearing about the strength and resilience that has ultimately made their marriage stronger.