The Innovation Growth Council is a new council dedicated to exploring and connecting the diverse range of innovators in Edmonton. Innovation Growth Council members will be ambassadors and champions for innovation in all its forms in Edmonton.

Advising the new CEO and Board of the recently established Innovate Edmonton, the job of the Innovation Growth Council will be to:

  • Explore, map and connect diverse innovators to Innovate Edmonton to establish a more holistic innovation inventory in Edmonton.
  • Advise at IGC meetings on how to engage and incorporate innovators of all stripes into IE programming, and identify supports to unlock and build on their potential.
  • Work with Innovate Edmonton to find creative ways to tell the stories of these innovative individuals and companies, their work and their sectors.

Council Members


Abby Aiyeleye, Co-founder, Clavis Studio

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation is the alignment of assets to create a solution that addresses a challenge. It is the driving force behind the growth and sustainability of an economy."

How is Abby contributing to innovation?

"Abby and her team are really thinking out of the box and have come up with a creative solution that is highly innovative and takes into account the future of shopping for the home. They are taking innovation to a whole new level." ~ Ashif Mawji, Venture Partner, Rising Tide VC


Carolyn Campbell July 2021

Carolyn Campbell, President & CEO, NorQuest College

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

“I use the metaphor of visual arts studio work to spark innovation, in examples such as how artists use critique, develop series of work, and pull information from unlikely sources. Further, I think that innovation thrives in an environment of trust and camaraderie.”

How is Carolyn contributing to innovation?

“Carolyn is an artist, a communicator, a builder of networks, and a post-secondary leader.  Creativity and innovation are in her DNA.” ~ Douglas R. Stollery, CM, QC, Chancellor Emeritus, University of Alberta


Claire Theaker-Brown (she/her), Founder, Unbelts

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"To me, innovation means seeing new possibilities for solving deep problems. Sometimes, we have to put conventional success metrics aside to conscientiously rebuild small-but-mighty forces for good in our local and global communities."

How is Claire contributing to innovation?

"Innovation is evident in everything Claire does, whether it’s the brilliant design of her belts; her business structure that supports high-quality jobs in both Canada and China; her ability to turn a deep understanding of supply chains into a way to quickly manufacture masks at scale; or her commitment to continually improve the environmental sustainability of her products. She is truly a leader in ethical fashion, in the B Corp movement, and in Edmonton’s business community." ~ Karen Unland, co-founder of Taproot Publishing


Connie Stacey (she/her), Founder & President, Growing Greener Innovations, Inc.

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation is so much more than simply creating something new, it is about discovering new and better ways to solve the many challenges facing people and the environment."

How is Connie contributing to innovation?

"When I first met Connie, she was in the late stages of product development and in the early stages of her personal evolution as an entrepreneur. She embodies the spirit of innovation by combining her fierce creativity with her deep passion and knowledge in eco-evolution and where the Grengine fits the market need for her clients and the world. Her willingness to learn, try things, experiment and pivot is what makes her contribution to innovation so profound. I can’t wait to see what she does next." ~ Terry Rachwalski, Executive Director, Accelerators, Alberta Innovates


Gail Powley, P.Eng, President, Technology Alberta

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation is about creating value - through novel approaches, passionate teams, and an interest in making a difference."

How is Gail contributing to innovation?

"Gail acts as a catalyst in Alberta's Innovation Community - by pulling the entrepreneurs on the stage, and rallying champions around them. Whether she is leading a team to work with industry, government, and academia to provide university students their FIRST Jobs in the tech sector, or creating advisories on how communities can support diversity and innovation - her volunteer efforts have inspired and empowered others to join in, and build this future for Alberta." ~ Debra Greig, CEO TransforMana; Board Member, Technology Alberta

Ghalia Aamer

Ghalia Aamer, CEO, TalkMaze and University of Alberta Student Representative

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation to me means thinking and acting outside of the box to positively impact the world. It's about how we choose to show up every single day with the courage to be different, do more, and stay true to our values.

How is Ghalia contributing to innovation?

"Ghalia's already significant accomplishments as a public speaker, student advocate, and entrepreneur at such an early stage in her career serve as a strong example to other students that innovation can come from anyone at any point in their lives. Her courage, ambition, and willingness to continue developing her entrepreneurial skills will undoubtedly inspire other young innovators who desire to make a difference in their communities." ~ Arden Tse, Investment Manager, Accelerate Fund II, III, Yaletown Partners


Jacquelyn Cardinal (she/her), Co-founder & Managing Director at Naheyawin

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"For many Indigenous peoples, innovation is just life; it’s an iterative and cyclical process in which we constantly change and grow. Understanding that my people have been doing this thing we now call innovation for thousands of years, I always return to what they have to say whenever I try to solve any problem."

How is Jacquelyn contributing to innovation?

"Jacquelyn facilitates what I believe to be the most crucial ingredient in fostering social innovation and impact: perspective shift. With the help of ancient Indigenous social technologies, she encourages clients and collaborators alike to approach and solve societal challenges by viewing them through an Indigenous lens. In short, by empowering others to see things from a unique perspective, she's opening the door for them to develop truly innovative solutions to affect change." ~ Aaron Lambie. President & CEO at Social Awareness Group.


Jason Suriano (he/him), Founder & CEO at TIQ Software

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Communication is the catalyst for innovation. Being open, honest, and realistic about the problem you're trying to solve kick-starts the discovery process, and the application of creative and technological solutions."

How is Jason contributing to innovation?

"Through sharing his deep experience as an innovative entrepreneur, and his company's technology solutions where needed, Jason enables other startup entrepreneurs to grow and scale their own tech ventures. Jason's commitment to learning coupled with his willingness to give back and help others, provides him with a solid pulse on what's happening in our technology sector and is the kind of contribution that enables innovation to grow more broadly in our community." ~ Arden Tse, Investment Manager, Accelerate Fund II, III, Yaletown Partners

Kerra-lee 20210715_mosaic-8d1ab3429ec32ca5963ae9d4bcdaae56

Karra-Lee Gerrits (she/her), VP Strategy & Business Development, Protein Industries Canada

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation is about envisioning the realm of possible that exists just beyond our current reality and then, bringing together the people, things, ideas, and will to make it come to life."

How is Karra-Lee contributing to innovation?

“Karra-Lee is combining her extensive global experience and passion for food and agriculture to transform Canada’s value-added agriculture economy through innovative strategy. Karra-Lee’s innovation not only helps build out protein industries in Canada, but also solve a looming global food shortage.” ~ Lynette Tremblay, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Invest Alberta Corporation


Keenan Pascal, Founder & CEO, Token Naturals

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation is built from doing things differently, forever questioning status quo to see how different solutions can lead to better outcomes."

How is Keenan contributing to innovation?

“Keenan is a leader in the Edmonton business community through his innovative and groundbreaking businesses, his community endeavours, and his advocacy for a more diverse and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem.” ~ Lazina Mckenzie
Manager, ThresholdImpact Venture Mentoring Service


Lana Cuthbertson (she/her), Founder & CEO, Areto Labs

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"To me, innovation means focusing on a big vision for the betterment of humanity, and making strategic and tactical decisions based on that vision, first and foremost. Putting people and purpose before profit and shareholder value takes courage, and that courage is key to real innovation."

How is Lana contributing to innovation?

"To Lana, innovation is more than just a word. As the CEO of Areto Labs, she defines our company vision and leads our team toward it by modelling and inspiring innovative thinking and collaboration." ~ Kasey Machin, COO & Founder, Areto Labs

Headshot of Pilar Martinez

Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation is about making a difference in people’s lives, making things easier through meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations. Innovation relies on a culture of creativity and continuous learning that fosters collaboration, focus and a deep commitment to customer service excellence."

How is Pilar contributing to innovation?

"Pilar has an innate capability to create a culture of innovation across her organization. She has a clear vision for what it means to be a service provider in the future, fosters input from a variety of stakeholders, ensures her customers are at the forefront of her thought process, and most importantly cultivates leaders who empower agile teams to deliver great outcomes. Pilar has led EPL to the forefront of a digital transformation and has led this institution be so beloved to the citizens it serves." ~ Zainul Mawji, Executive Vice President, TELUS Home Solutions


Ron Mills, CEO, Northernmost

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovations are ideas that work. Ideas that survive from think to plan to do. Work that meets or creates a demand for something new."

How is Ron contributing to innovation?

"Ron is a global transplant industry leader who recognized Edmonton’s potential and risked a big move from Chicago. Now he’s committed to making the city a dominant force in medical devices and the life sciences." ~ Christy Pierce, Partner, New West Networks


Sandra Stabel (she/her), Founder & Principal, Grey Cube Innovations

LinkedIn Profile

What does innovation mean to you?

"Great ideas are only the start. Innovation is when new and novel ideas are actually put to use and result in some advantage economically, socially, or both!"

How is Sandra contributing to innovation?

"Sandra has the innovation experience, the willingness to break things, and the passion for our great city that we need to get stuff done!" ~ Raja Mita, Executive Director, Health Innovation


Perhaps more than at any other time in Edmonton’s modern history, our city needs to truly value and capitalize on the diversity of our people and our economy and leverage the strength of this diversity – in sectors, in representation, and in approach – to support a post-pandemic recovery and to meet global challenges. Edmonton needs to dig deep and discover productive companies, sectors and communities, including prominent players and those that have been overlooked. We’ve gone through too much to leave people behind.

The innovation ecosystem has evolved rapidly in the last decade and we have a lot to build on – we have a great innovation tech community in Edmonton, driven by the hard work of people who took risks to create the city they wanted to see. Edmonton traditionally celebrates specific innovation strengths – especially in our formal start up and scale up infrastructure. But we don't always hear from the innovative minds in all corners of our city. We can't always benefit from those who don't see support programs as the right fit nor find community networking events accessible. To not seek, engage and find ways to support these innovators is to leave growth on the table.


Over a two-year term, the members of the council will attend three meetings a year where they will brainstorm solutions and provide advice to the CEO and Board on growing Edmonton’s innovation ecosystem.

Between meetings, they will act as ambassadors for the growth of our innovation community and will do targeted outreach according to a work plan for each council member; as well as support other council members when the opportunity arises. Council members may also work with Innovate Edmonton staff to guide the narratives of companies discovered across the outreach network.

Principles of the Innovation Growth Council

The members of the Innovation Growth Council:

  • Practice innovation in their profession.
  • Foster community, collaboration, and healthy competition.
  • Always think imaginatively and critically about what innovation should mean in Edmonton’s context.
  • Seek and find the existing untapped innovation potential across Edmonton.
  • Want to learn and exchange new perspectives on innovation, business, and organizing with a diverse group of council members.