Communitech’s board members are dedicated leaders from Waterloo Region’s business community and have experience in a variety of technology areas and at all levels of business. They provide valuable organizational direction and support for Communitech’s many services and activities.
John Baker, President & CEO Desire2Learn
Chairman of the Board, Communitech
Founded in 1999, Desire2Learn is headquartered in Waterloo Region, Ontario and with satellite offices in New Brunswick and British Columbia. John is a hands-on leader who creates the vision and plays an integral role in positioning the company as the premier provider of learning technology. Under John’s leadership Desire2Learn has become the enterprise market leader with more than 4 million learners worldwide and sustaining continued rapid growth. Desire2Learn has won a 2006 Deloitte Fast 50 Award as one of Canada´s fastest growing technology companies, with 2,117% growth during the years spanning 2001 to 2005.
John graduated with an Honors B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo in the year 2000. John is an active member of industry consortia, peer-to-peer groups, contributes to standards and specifications bodies, and regularly speaks at conferences around the world.
Ted Hastings, CEO, Rebellion Media
Vice-Chair of the Board, Communitech
Ted is the CEO of Rebellion Media, a leading digital media company with offices in Waterloo, Guelph and Toronto.
As past president of Cyberplex, Ted was responsible for development and execution of strategic vision for the Organization. Prior to joining Cyberplex, Ted was the acting President and CEO of Tsavo Media. Ted joined Tsavo in October 2007 from Geosign where he served as President. Prior to Geosign, Ted was CEO of GBG (Global Beverage Group). During his five years at GBG, Mr. Hastings led the acquisition of nine direct competitors, increasing revenue 10x during his tenure that ultimately led to the sale of the company to 3M. Prior to GBG, Mr. Hastings spent five years at Deloitte and Touche where he earned his CA and CPA designations.
Iain Klugman, President and CEO, Communitech
Iain Klugman is the CEO of Communitech in Waterloo Region — Canada’s hottest technology cluster. Under Iain’s leadership, Communitech has become one of North America’s leading tech enabling organizations, supporting the growth of more than 1,000 small, mid-sized and large technology companies. He is the architect of Communitech’s five-year, $107 million digital strategy, which delivered more than $900 million in economic impact in 2012. He believes passionately in the power of the entrepreneur-driven economy, and its ability to deliver big results for Canada.
Before joining Communitech in 2004, Iain’s career spanned leadership roles in both the private and public sectors, including Director of Global Branding and Advertising for Nortel, Executive Director of Communications with CBC, CEO of a provincial crown corporation, and numerous roles with the Privy Council Office and Industry Canada.
He is currently the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship for the Minister of Industry, and sits on several boards and advisory committees, including the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Waterloo Accelerator Centre, and Innovation Guelph.
Iain holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Master’s in Public Administration from Dalhousie, an HBA from Laurentian, and has completed the Advanced Program in Human Resources at the Rotman School of Management.
Leah Elliott, Lawyer, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Leah Elliott is an associate in the Waterloo office where she practices in corporate commercial contracts, commercial real estate transactions, leasing, secured mortgage financing and the purchase and sale of business franchises. Leah’s major clients currently include a national grocery chain, several Schedule 1 financial institutions and real estate developers.
Leah was admitted to the Bar in 2006 and graduated from the University of Windsor law school in 2005. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Law and Society from York University. Prior to attending law school Leah worked as a parliamentary assistant at Queen’s Park in Toronto and later interned at the Parliamentary Research Branch working for the Senate and House Committees studying such areas as anti-terrorism legislation. This led to a position in the Privy Council Office where Leah applied her legal research skills to the preparation of a report on new normative approaches for addressing poverty and exclusion. Leah commenced her work with BLG in the Ottawa office where she worked as a student in the summer of 2004, and completed her articles in 2005.
Howard M. Armitage, Special Advisor to the President – Entrepreneurship, University of Waterloo
Howard M. Armitage is the Special Advisor to the President – Entrepreneurship, the Founding Director of the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology and the Gordon H. Cowperthwaite Professor of Accounting at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He has a B.Sc. from McGill University, M.B.A. from the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.
He is the recipient of the University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the LS Rosen Award for Outstanding Canadian Accounting Educator and the 3M Teaching Fellowship for outstanding Canadian Educator.
He has published over 100 articles and monographs in the area of entrepreneurship and cost management systems.
Ali Asaria, CEO, Tulip Retail
Ali Asaria is the CEO of Tulip Retail, a technology startup focused on building the platform to drive the next generation of retail and shopping. Before Tuilp. Ali was the founder and CEO of Well.ca, Canada’s largest online health and beauty store. Ali grew up in Guelph and Toronto, Ontario. He studied Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo.
Ali has been interviewed in the Globe and Mail, National Post, and the Toronto Star. Projects he has worked on have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week, and GQ UK.
Dave Caputo, Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sandvine
Dave is responsible for leading an enthusiastic team of professionals who are committed to protecting and improving the quality of experience on the Internet.
Prior to co-founding Sandvine, Dave was the vice president of marketing for PixStream—which was later sold to Cisco Systems for more than $500 million. At Cisco, Dave was the managing director for the video networking business unit and was formerly the product marketing manager at Hewlett Packard.
As a leader in the technology community, Dave is a dedicated supporter of local entrepreneurs and speaks regularly at universities.
In 2007, Dave and his fellow co-founders were honoured with the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the technology category for their success and dedication to their work at Sandvine.
Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Dave holds an MBA from the University of Toronto, a computer science degree from York University and is a graduate of Wharton executive education programs. He currently resides in St. Agatha where he loves to hang out with his family.
Tim Ellis, CEO, Accelerator Centre
Tim Ellis is CEO of the Accelerator Centre (AC), world-renowned centre for the cultivation of technology entrepreneurship.
In his CEO role, Tim is responsible for the AC’s strategic agenda and for overseeing management and operations of the Accelerator Centre and its celebrated Accelerator Program, a unique offering of seamless support services provided to early-stage technology companies, including education, coaching and mentoring, commercialization expertise, networking, connections to capital and technology transfer assistance.
Tim also works closely with academic institutions, municipal, provincial and federal governments, commercial organizations and incubator counterparts the world over in the creation of a strong innovation ecosystem that supports and nurtures start-up success.
A seasoned entrepreneur, technology industry veteran, and expert in the cultivation of early-stage companies, Tim brings to the technology commercialization marketplace more than 18 years of experience, honed through participation in more than half a dozen start-up ventures. In addition to his Accelerator Centre CEO responsibilities, Tim Ellis serves on the Boards of Directors of the Waterloo Region Food Bank and Creative Enterprise Initiative.
Joseph Fung, Co-founder and CEO of TribeHR
Joseph Fung is co-founder and CEO of TribeHR, makers of the first Social HR Platform and home to an award-winning workplace and acclaimed culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Previously, Joseph was Director of Digital Media at The Centre for International Governance Innovation and President/CEO of Lewis Media. For his successes, Joseph was honored with the CIBC Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and recognized as one of Waterloo Region’s Top 40 Under 40.
In addition to his active involvement in the technology sector, Joseph is a passionate member of the cultural and not-for-profit communities. Joseph is an active volunteer, member of the Barnraisers Council, and co-founder of Ignite Waterloo.
Joseph is a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Computer Engineering program.
Stephen Lake, Co-Founder, Thalmic Labs
Stephen Lake was named one of Canada’s Top 20 under 20 in 2007 and one of the Next 36 entrepreneurial leaders of Canada in 2011. He has a degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo, a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the University of Toronto, and has studied as a visiting scholar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). He
was an entrepreneur from a young age, and considers MYO the latest addition to years and years of building things.
Carol Leaman, CEO, Axonify
Carol Leaman is the CEO of Axonify, a next generation eLearning platform that combines brain science with gamification to drive real knowledge retention in corporate enterprise.
Carol is a serial entrepreneur with three successful exits, the last one – PostRank – to Google in June 2011. Carol advises many technology companies in her spare time and sits on a number of boards across Canada. She was the 2010 winner of the Sarah Kirke Award for Canada’s leading female entrepreneur, and the 2011 winner of the Waterloo Region Intrepid Award for entrepreneurship.
Michael Litt, Co-founder, Vidyard
Michael is the co-founder of Vidyard – a platform designed to solve the problem of implementing Video into your landing pages. This is done by leveraging video analytics, video SEO and call to action integration in order to enable and improve conversion. Vidyard emerged from the Summer 2011 class at Y Combinator and is now serving hundreds of businesses worldwide. Prior to building Vidyard, Michael co-founded Redwoods Media, a firm specializing in the creation of promotional video content designed to entice and engage potential customers.
Martyn Mallick,Vice President, Global Alliances & Business Development, BlackBerry
As Vice President of Global Alliances & Business Development at BlackBerry, Martyn engages with application partners and content providers to aid their efforts in providing top quality applications and services to BlackBerry devices. Martyn and his team manage BlackBerry’s partner relationships in the multimedia, gaming, social networking, print media and business markets and also play an active role in the management of App World, BlackBerry’s application storefront.
Prior to BlackBerry, Martyn worked at iAnywhere Solutions (a Sybase subsidiary) as Director of Mobile Solutions where he worked on various new technology offerings in areas such as RFID and intelligent sensor networks. He is also the author of “Mobile and Wireless Design Essentials.”
Wayne Martin, Senior VP and CIO, Canadian Division, Manulife
Wayne Martin is Senior Vice President and CIO, Canadian Division. This position has overall responsibility for Application Development, Support, IT Infrastructure and the Office Services functions within the Canadian Division. This role is responsible for integrating technology strategy across the business.
He rejoined Manulife in August, 2006. Prior to joining Manulife he spent 6 years at Symcor (joint venture owned by Royal Bank, TD Bank, and Bank of Montreal) as SVP Technology Services and 4 years at CIT / Newcourt Credit Group as SVP & CIO of the global I.S. function.
Since taking over the leadership of Canadian Division Information Systems, Wayne has been focused on identifying areas where the Division can capitalize on economies of scale and leverage IT.
Mr. Martin earned his BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1983 and a Masters of Business Administration degree in Finance from Queen’s University in 1985.
Kevin Newman, Digital News Evangelist, Bell Media
A journalist for almost 30 years, Kevin Newman is one of Canada’s legendary news anchors.
Kevin Newman was the executive editor and anchored Global National since it first aired in September 2001 up until 2010.
With ABC News and Global National, Kevin Newman has reported from the front lines of the war in Iraq, anchored live coverage of the September 11 tragedy, and interviewed the likes of Jimmy Carter. Having worked as a journalist on both sides of the border, Newman presents a clear picture of the cultural differences between Canadian and American viewers. He takes audiences behind-the-scenes of the news business, and addresses the influence of advertising and profitability on news reporting. In addition, he explores the idea of journalists as truth seekers.
Olga Pawluczyk, President, P&P Optica
Olga obtained an MBA degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in her home town of Waterloo. She also holds a Master’s degree in Medical Physics from the University of Toronto, where she specialized in medical imaging, with particular focus on mammography techniques to predict risk of breast cancer. She still continues this work by collaborating with Ontario Cancer Institute. Olga holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Olga joined P&P Optica, her family’s business, in 2001 as the Vice President of Product Development. In June 2004, she became the acting President of the company and shifted her focus to the strategic development of P&P Optica as a manufacturer of high performance optical spectrometers. P&P Optica develops the most sensitive non-scanning optical spectrometer available on the market today; Olga being the key innovator. With P&P Optica’s spectrometer, you no longer have to imagine a world where you can wave a portable device over someone’s skin and get all the information that blood tests provide.
Olga’s passion for research and development comes naturally. Her father, Romek, has devoted his career to spectroscopy and continues to work alongside his daughter. Volume Phase Holographic gratings are the core component of P&P Optica’s transmission-based optical spectrometer, and enabled sales in a wide variety of biomedical, industrial research applications. Their determination to push the envelope in this highly-specialized field led to the development of their breakthrough technology.
Olga has led the strategic, marketing and sales efforts, bringing the P&P Optica spectrometer to market. She is the co-author of the firm’s seminal patent on transmission based, multichannel optical spectrometers.
In 2011, Olga moved P&P Optica offices to Waterloo, Ontario and transferred grating production to the brand new, state of the art lab in the Waterloo facility. In the current year the company has tripled in size from six employees to a staff of eighteen and sales have more than doubled.
Mate Prgin, CEO, Avvasi
Mate is responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the company. Prior to Avvasi, Mate held several business management roles at LSI Corporation. LSI acquired VideoLocus, an H.264 fabless semiconductor company where Mate was the co-founder and CEO. Prior to VideoLocus Mate held several engineering roles at PixStream, a video networking systems company that was acquired by Cisco Systems. Mate has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business.
John Ruffolo, CEO, OMERS Ventures
Mr. Ruffolo is the Chief Executive Officer of OMERS Ventures, the venture arm of OMERS. OMERS Ventures invests in early to late stage companies in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications sectors. In addition, he is also the Senior Managing Director, Knowledge Investing with OMERS Strategic Investments.
Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Mr. Ruffolo was a Partner at Deloitte, as well as the Global Thought Leader, the Global Tax Leader and the Canadian Industry Leader for Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice. He was also a member of the firm’s Tax and TMT Global Leadership teams and a member of Deloitte’s Board of Directors.
Mr. Ruffolo has over two decades of experience advising public and private companies around the world. He has worked closely with a number of North America’s leading venture capital and private equity firms and has advised many of the companies in which they invest. He also has extensive experience providing strategic advisory services to Canadian and foreign-based TMT companies.
Mr. Ruffolo serves as Chair of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s Government Relations Committee and is a member of its Executive Committee. John also serves on the Board of Communitech. In addition, he is on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation and serves as Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation Friends of Ontario. Mr. Ruffolo is also Chair of the Corporate Advisory Committee for the Art Gallery of Ontario. He is a member of the Toronto chapter of the Young Presidents Organization.
A chartered accountant, Mr. Ruffolo was formerly a partner with Arthur Andersen LLP and has also spent time as an instructor for both the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and York University’s Schulich School of Business, from which he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Steven Woods, Site Director, Google Waterloo
Steven Woods joined Google in 2008 as the engineering site director of Google Canada in Waterloo Region, where he is responsible for building and fostering a creative culture of innovation, engineering, and product delivery.
Steven leads a team of engineering and product innovators in delivering projects relevant to Google’s worldwide mission. Locally led initiatives include advertising products that manage well in excess of $1B in annual advertising spending, strategic initiatives in commerce applications and services such as mobile product search, offers and shopping; in key person-to-person application areas such as Gmail and other related social and messaging areas; and a strategic initiative in Chrome and ChromeOS focused on creating a hardware and software platform specifically optimized for bringing touch-based experiences to the web.
Prior to returning to Canada with Google, Steven founded several companies in Silicon Valley including NeoEdge Networks – an in-game advertising company acquired by Double Fusion; Kinitos – a company dedicated to enabling creation of radically inexpensive and powerful consumer services; and Quack.com – an interactive voice portal service acquired by AOL/Time Warner. Steven has extensive experience in building and leading highly creative and successful teams – in consumer service invention and development, and in large-scale software engineering. Steven has received numerous engineering and academic awards and patents including the University of Waterloo’s prestigious J.W. Graham Medal for Computing and Innovation. He holds a PhD and a Masters degree in Mathematics (Computer Science) from the University of Waterloo – and an undergraduate degree from the University of Saskatchewan.