Board Members

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Naseem Bashir, Board Chair

President and CEO of Williams Engineering Canada and Chairman of the Board for the Williams Group of Companies

LinkedIn Profile

Naseem Bashir is the President and CEO of Williams Engineering Canada and Chairman of the Board for the Williams Group of Companies. In his role as President, Naseem develops strategy and executes on a well-developed business plan. Naseem oversees the Senior Leadership team which is made up of the Vice President Finance as well as the Regional Directors from Alberta, and British Columbia, and Managers from Human Resources, Marketing, and IT. Naseem is an active member of WPO Alberta as well as a Director of the Edmonton International Airport and a Director of the Waste RE Solutions Edmonton.

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Ashlyn Bernier

COO at samdesk

LinkedIn Profile

Ashlyn is Chief Operating Officer at samdesk, where they harness the power of artificial intelligence to provide real time intelligence on emergency and disruptive events globally. Having worked for and with technology startup companies for the past decade, she loves the challenge and speed of working with high-growth companies. Ashlyn has an MBA in Technology Commercialization from University of Alberta as well as a PhD in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology also from University of Alberta. She can be found dedicating her spare time to causes and initiatives such as the Rapid Fire Theatre Board of Directors.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Innovation is a mindset, a way of looking at the world around you. It's not something that can be strategized into - it's a part of an organization's culture more than its business plan.”

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Joanne Fedeyko

Founder and CEO at Connection Silicon Valley

LinkedIn Profile

As a founder and a CEO, Joanne helps companies collaborate, connect, innovate and partner with Silicon Valley's world-renowned technology ecosystem. Connection Silicon Valley is centered around bringing better innovation to Canada by helping startups and large corporations leverage the best of innovation from Silicon Valley. Joanne was a pioneer in supporting women in tech, forming the Canadian Women’s Network in the Valley to advise female founders and help women in technology roles gain deeper connections into Silicon Valley. Joanne has served as the Executive Director of C100 Association, a non-profit dedicated to helping Canadian entrepreneurs connect into Silicon Valley. Joanne is a Certified Management Accountant.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Innovation for me starts with an open mindset. It means continually looking for new and improved ways to do things that makes people, processes and the planet better, more efficient, safe and more sustainable.”

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Aaryn Flynn

Studio Founder and General Manager, North America at Improbable

LinkedIn Profile

Aaryn Flynn is a games industry veteran associated with many of the most successful games and franchises produced by Bioware, which he joined after leaving university and where he worked of 17 years. While at Bioware, he oversaw Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Anthem, and more. Flynn then took his considerable talents to Improbable, leading the development of tools and showcasing demonstrative content for SpatialOS with some world-class developers. Aaryn has an MBA from Cornell University.

What does innovation mean to you?

“The solving of problems in a new way. It doesn't need to be costly, or long-term, or "big". Just a fitting solution to a vexing challenge! The best innovations just seem to make so much sense once they arrive, we think, "Well of course!"

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Farzad (Haider) Alvi

Assistant Professor of Innovation Finance at Athabasca University

LinkedIn Profile

Dr. Haider Alvi is a former corporate financier turned academic and company director. Having grown up in North America, he has worked in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. Dr. Alvi’s research investigates Innovation Finance, examining the individual agency and entrepreneurial orientations exhibited in high-growth firms, and the adaptation of strategy to volatile contexts.

At Athabasca University, Dr. Alvi has been involved in pilot projects with IBM Watson in applying artificial intelligence to teaching materials and testing that improves learning outcomes for students.  Additionally, he teaches Innovation Finance in Athabasca’s online MBA program – the online MBA is an innovation pioneered in Edmonton over 25 years ago.  Dr. Alvi holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (PhD), University of Toronto (MBA), Indiana University – Bloomington (JD), and University of Chicago (AB).

What does innovation mean to you?

"Processes of learning and discovery about new ways of doing things and organizing around them.  In other words, doing cool stuff in a cool way."

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Shaheel Hooda

Managing Partner at Sprout Fund

Executive in Residence, TEC Edmonton TELUS Accelerator

LinkedIn Profile

Shaheel is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. In addition to his current role as Executive in Residence and Program Director for TEC Edmonton’s TELUS Accelerator, Shaheel served as an early investor in and board member of Login Radius, a high-growth Software as a Service (SaaS) company. Shaheel has previously served as CEO of two high growth Canadian software startups, Director of Business Development at a U.S. enterprise software company, and former strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. He has been involved in starting or running more than 15 startup businesses to date, has actively advised hundreds of startups entrepreneurs and has been involved in raising over $100 million in capital. He holds an MBA (Entrepreneurial Finance) from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Commerce (Distinction) from the University of Alberta. In 2016 he was awarded the Entrepreneur Promotion award from the Startup Canada organization.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Looking at the world and seeing the future, then figuring out how to get there against all the odds.”

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Nicole Janssen

Co-Founder and Co-CEO at AltaML

LinkedIn Profile

Nicole Janssen is Co-Founder & Co-CEO at AltaML Inc. and Co-Founder & CEO of Janalta Interactive, both based out of Edmonton, Alberta. In two and a half years AltaML has grown rapidly from a handful of people to nearly 100 employees in three cities, prompting an expansion of its headquarters that reflects and support its evolution from startup to scaleup. Nicole considers herself to be a serial entrepreneur and is recognized for her plethora of ideas, seemingly at a moment’s notice. She is a valued mentor who also believes in giving back to the community, serving as the Chair on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Innovation is hard. Full stop. The biggest risk though comes from not innovating.”

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Sheetal Mehta Walsh

Chief Strategy Officer, Ministry Jobs, Economy and Innovation Alberta

LinkedIn Profile

Sheetal has 20 years of global experience in venture capital and technology. She currently serves as the first Chief Strategy Officer to the Government of Alberta to expand and diversify the innovation strategy with a mission to promote Alberta competitiveness nationally and globally. Sheetal is Founder of Soho VC the UK’s first all female led fund, focussed on investing in sustainable and socially responsible global solutions. For 14 years, Sheetal served (by appointment) as Deal Maker to the UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme where she facilitated fundraising of 1 billion GBP and attracted 900 companies into the UK. In 2000 Sheetal created and implemented under Bill Gates, the first VC relations strategy which evolved into one of the world’s first corporate innovation arms. She scaled this globally with a UK base in 2003-2006. In 2009 she founded Shanti Life, a microfinance organization that helps the poor in India build sustainable businesses and access sanitation through microfinance. She serves on various boards including MetaCert a cybersecurity startup and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School Ireland. In addition, Sheetal provides advisory services to socially conscious technology companies so that they can access smart venture capital, corporate partnering, global expansion and PR. She has a Master’s Degree in International Relations (Economics) at the London School of Economics and a BA (Honours) in International Politics at the University of Alberta, Canada.

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation presents solutions to problems but it also catapults users into the future to innovate further and think differently. Innovation is about impacting communities positively."

Innovate Edmonton Land Acknowledgement

Indigenous innovation has taken place on these lands, Amiskwaciwâskahikan/ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ, Edmonton since time immemorial. At Innovate Edmonton, we recognize, appreciate, and celebrate the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit innovators whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. We respectfully acknowledge that we are situated on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of the Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, and Metis. We also encourage, support, and promote the resurgence of Indigenous knowledge and practices and are committed to empowering Indigenous innovation in the spirit of Reconciliation.

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