Ambition 2035 Speakers

Day 1 Speakers

Elder Verna McGregor
Algonquin representative
Elder Verna McGregor is from the Algonquin Community of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, which is approximately 120 kilometres north of Ottawa. Ottawa is part of the Algonquin Nation’s traditional lands. Verna works at Minwaashin Lodge, the Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre located in Ottawa. Services and resources provided by Minwaashin Lodge assist in the empowerment of Aboriginal Women leaving violence. Verna has remained firmly grounded in her community and nation by also being part of the group of traditional Grandmothers (Kokomisag) and Elders. This includes promoting the retention of the Algonquin language and culture, which is so important when addressing issues and connection to the land.
Kendra MacDonald
CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Kendra MacDonald is the CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, responsible for the accelerated development and commercialization of innovation that will solve some of the world’s biggest challenges in ocean.  Kendra is leading the change in the culture of doing business in ocean from coast-to-coast-to-coast, increasing collaboration across ocean sectors and growing Canada’s ocean economy in a digital, sustainable, and inclusive way. In recognition of her leadership in building the Ocean Supercluster from the ground up, Kendra has named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine for the last two years and one of Canada’s Top Sustainability Leaders by Clean50 in 2022. Prior to leading Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Kendra was a Partner in Deloitte's Risk Advisory practice and the Chief Audit Executive of Deloitte Global.
Zita Cobb
Director, Shorefast
Zita Cobb is an eighth-generation Fogo Islander, Founder and CEO of the registered charity Shorefast, and Innkeeper of the award-winning Fogo Island Inn. Zita graduated high school on Fogo Island before studying business in Ottawa. Following a subsequent successful career in high-tech, Zita returned to Fogo Island and established Shorefast to put another leg on the Island’s struggling economy to complement its ever-important fishery. With an enduring commitment to Fogo Island, Shorefast is expanding its mission through its pan-Canadian Community Economies initiative to strengthen place-based economic development within the global economy. Zita has been a Member of the Order of Canada since 2016 and was a 2020 inductee to Canada’s Business Hall of Fame. She holds honorary doctorates from McGill University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University. She volunteers her full time and energy for Shorefast’s charitable initiatives and community businesses.
Niru Somayajula
President & CEO, Sensor Technology
President & CEO of Sensor Technology Ltd., Niru Somayajula is a passionate supporter of Blue Economy growth, while seeking to become a world leader in acoustic tools and systems. Her company ethos, “What you send out comes back”, demonstrates a desire to become better global citizens. Niru actively adopts this philosophy to both company and career. Niru joined the family business in 2007 after completing a bachelor’s degree in Geo Physics, at the University of Western Ontario, and a master’s in Mechanical Engineering, at U of T. In 2011 she assumed the role of CEO, assembled a new management team, took on the family legacy and remolded it. As a second-generation owner she has been ambitiously expanding the business, adding another location to the facilities in Atlantic Canada. Outside of work she likes to ride the waves as a paddleboarder, musician and photographer. She avidly supports others as a mentor, charitable board member and a mother of two. Her favourite atelier is a toss up between the kitchen, her gravel bike, or the locally owned café.
Ken Paul
Member, Wolastoqey Nation
Ken is a member of the Wolastoqey First Nation in the community of Neqotkuk whose traditional territory is located on the northern Atlantic coast spanning the Canada/US border between Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec including the Bay of Fundy and approaches to the Gulf of Maine. Over the past 11 years, has held the positions as Fisheries Director with the Assembly of First Nations and the previously with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs. Ken has advocated for First Nations regionally, nationally and internationally on all aspects relating to fisheries, aquaculture, ocean protection and aquatic resources as they relate to inherent aboriginal and treaty-protected rights, legislation, and policy. This includes Indigenous Knowledge Systems, economic prosperity, community engagement, shipping, renewable energy and resource management. Previous to this, he had worked for 10 years in field-based ocean mapping with the Canadian Hydrographic Service and another 10 years with Parks Canada as a Senior Policy Advisor in Atlantic Canada and the Field Unit Superintendent in the Northwest Territories. Ken has an MBA with St Mary’s University and a BSc from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has extensive training in leadership, policy development, mediation, labour relations, First Nations governance and traditional teachings. Among his other initiatives, Ken serves as the Lead Fisheries Negotiator and Research Coordinator for the Wolastoqey Nation of New Brunswick. Ken Is an independent Board member of the Ocean Supercluster.
Judyth Almasi
Director of Business Development, Saab Technologies
Judyth has over 20 years of experience helping clients in all industries, all continents, use technology to drive meaningful change and operational excellence. Her love of maritime brought her to Saab where she sees sales as aligning clients with Saab experts in order to leverage the community of customers and best practices from around the world. Saab Maritime has been an expert in Port, Pilotage and VTS systems since 1985 and will be launching a new brand in a couple of weeks, stay tuned!
Craig Latimer
CEO, Katal Energy
Craig wants to live in a world filled with innovative businesses, real difference makers and a force field around his ADHD induced brain to fend off shiny objects. As an entrepreneur with more than 15 years from the day he quit his last corporate job, he’s founded, invested and advised multiple technology driven companies in Western Canada. Most recently he’s involved in Fintech (ZayZoon), Alternative Fuels (Katal Energy), Construction (Macleod Builders) and Not-For-Profit (Missing Children’s Society of Canada). When he’s not entrepreneur-ing (not a word?) you can find him searching for fresh tracks in the mountains, aimlessly chasing a squash ball or answering the question “why” for the eleventy-billionth time with his toddlers. Craig is extremely vested in the Calgary business community and believes that this city is uniquely positioned to become a real player in the tech world going forward. “When it comes to technology, it’s time for Calgarians to be more confident on the global scale. We have some really smart folks walking these streets. Let’s not be afraid to tell the world.”
Andy Stone
Senior Director of Project Delivery, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Andy Stone is Sr.  Director of Project Delivery at OSC and has 25 years experience in technology commercialization including working with university start-up companies and developing collaborative R&D projects between industry, academia and government labs in multiple technology fields.
Moya Cahill
Executive Vice-President Products, Kraken Robotics
Moya joined the Kraken Robotics team as Executive Vice President of Services in July 2021 following the acquisition of PanGeo Subsea. As CEO and co-founder of PanGeo Subsea, she has over 35 years’ experience in the offshore energy sector working in Houston, Texas, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the Middle East. She is also founder of Pan Maritime Energy Services. Moya holds a B.Eng. in Naval Architecture Marine Engineering from Memorial University. Moya is on the Board of Directors of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club.
Lazaro Cosma
President, ExxonMobil Canada
Lazaro Cosma was appointed President of ExxonMobil Canada Ltd. in March 2021. Lazaro joined ExxonMobil in 2006 and held offshore and onshore drilling assignments in Angola and Piceance Creek. Following an assignment in drilling planning, in 2010 he became the engineering supervisor for Sakhalin drilling, where he was responsible for planning extended reach wells across three world-class drilling rigs. In 2011, Lazaro became an engineering supervisor, executing drilling and completion operations for U.S. offshore assets in California and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2014, he moved to Malaysia, becoming engineering manager for Malaysia drilling supporting the ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc. affiliate. In 2016, he became a planning advisor for ExxonMobil Development Company, providing advisory support to senior leadership. Two years later, he was named to the Upstream organization design team, where he was one of 40 leaders and experts involved in designing and implementing a new Upstream organization. In his most recent assignment he was operations manager – Midland/Central Basin Platform for XTO Energy’s Permian Basin Business Unit. Lazaro received a bachelor of engineering degree in mechanical engineering, and a master of engineering in systems engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. Lazaro and his wife Erin have three children.
Wendy Franks
Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Hydrogen, Northland Power
As Chief Strategy Officer, Wendy is responsible for leading Northland’s corporate strategy. As CSO, Wendy works closely with senior management and the Board of Directors to formulate the company’s corporate vision and strategy, as-well as overseeing strategic planning. As Head of Hydrogen, Wendy is building a new business vertical at Northland focused on converting renewable power into hydrogen, or ammonia, which can be shipped around the world to support low-carbon economic activity. She has a proven track record of successful business building having most recently built the battery storage business at Northland, including the Oneida 250MW battery storage project. Wendy has 20 years of leadership in business strategy, building businesses and principal investing across multiple technologies and jurisdictions within the renewable energy and infrastructure asset sectors. Prior to Northland, she was the Senior Principal, Relationship Investments at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. In that role, Wendy served on the boards of Renew Power, one of the largest renewable power companies in India and Essential Utilities, a NYSE-listed water and natural gas utility. Prior to CPPIB, she was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company. Wendy holds a PhD in Bioelectronics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich, Switzerland) as well as degrees in chemical and electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo.
David Courtemanche
CEO, Merinov
At the helm of Merinov, general manager David Courtemanche draws on his leadership, diverse skillset, and vast experience to help achieve the organization’s goals. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in marine and aquatic ecology, he has worked for a variety of ministries, institutes, and private organizations since 1993. His experience includes applied research in the lab and biological oceanography work on a variety of research platforms, species ans ecosystems. With 15 years of experience at Fisheries and Oceans Canada to his credit, David has shown tremendous versatility in a wide variety of positions and roles, including assessing major infrastructure projects, coordinating programs in the Arctic region, and managing commercial and Indigenous fisheries, aquaculture, and endangered species. This experience gives him an indepth understanding of Canada’s fishery resource management framework as well as the industry’s needs.
Sabrena MacKenzie
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, SeaChange Biochemistry
Sabrena MacKenzie spent 12 years with the National Research Council of Canada focused on biomass extraction and analysis. She holds a MSc in chemistry, with a special certificate in toxicology, and has spent years studying ocean biomass under the mentorship of a world-renowned expert. She is responsible for the scientific innovation and development of the biorefinery process. Sabrena is also the lead scientist and head of R&D and ensures that the entire company is committed to its scientific foundation.
Dr. Thor Sigfusson
Founder and Chair, Iceland Ocean Cluster
Thor Sigfusson is an Icelandic entrepreneur, author and angel investor. He is the founder and chairman of Iceland Ocean Cluster and has expanded the sister cluster network to both the US and Europe. He is the founder of The Iceland Eco-Business Park, and several fish and food related startups. He is the co-founder of Codland, co-founder of Collagen, founder and owner of the first food halls in Iceland, Hlemmur Food Hall and Grandi Food Hall. He has written eight books on topics of international business, knowledge networks and salmon. Thor has a Phd degree in International Business.
Robert Orr
Managing Director, Cuna Del Mar
A resident of Nova Scotia, Robert is the Managing Director of Cuna del Mar LP; a USA based impact investment fund that is concerned with global food security, healthy oceans and investing in transformational technologies related to sustainably working in the ocean environment, with a particular emphasis on the development of open-ocean and land based sustainable aquaculture. As part of his CdM responsibilities he chairs the boards of several of the CdM portfolio companies and mentors their management teams. Robert’s diverse executive leadership career spans over 35 years, with experience in the private equity, ocean technology, marine biotechnology, nutritional ingredient, and food retailing industries, and includes extensive experience in the creation and management of fast-growing companies. That experience included the co-founding and leadership of Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., originally a Nova Scotia based company, which grew from an idea to a +500-person company with customers in over 40 countries, before being sold to Royal Dutch DSM in 2012. Robert is also the Chair of Natural Products Canada; Chair of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia; Founding Member of the Board of Directors, the Canadian Ocean Technology Supercluster; Fellow at the Creative Destruction Lab, Ocean Stream; serves on the Advisory Board of the Dalhousie University School of Management; and also serves on the boards of several early stage, high-growth companies.
Eric Siegel
Chief Innovation Officer, Ocean Frontier Institute
Eric Siegel has worked at the intersection of ocean science, technical innovation, and international business for twenty years. He has held director and founder positions in global ocean technology companies leading teams in sales, marketing, business development, product development, and advanced manufacturing.  Eric is a demonstrated growth leader with market depth, customer touch, and technical expertise, with extensive experience working in North America, Europe, the UK, and Asia. Eric serves as the Chief Innovation Officer at Canada’s Ocean Frontier Institute and the Executive in Residence at the Creative Destruction Lab, as well as Strategic Advisor for international ocean technology companies.  He was appointed to the UN Ocean Decade Technology & Innovation Informal Working Group and sits on the board of directors at Sustainable Oceans Applied Research and Sail Nova Scotia.  Eric is trained in physical oceanography, naval architecture and marine engineering, and earned an MBA with a focus on leadership, innovation, and global business.  When not helping ocean scientists and companies, Eric is an active sailor, having crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on his small boats, and is now racing Bluenose Class Sloops with his family in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Brady Bohrmann
Managing Partner, Bold Ocean Ventures
Brady is a seasoned venture capital investor who brings to Bold Ocean over 25 years’ experience in venture capital investing and a motivation to spur positive economic and climate impact in the Gulf of Maine region where he calls home. He’s an experienced investor having served as a General Partner with Avalon Ventures and Masthead Venture Partners. He currently serves on the Investment Committee of the non-profit JDRF T1D Fund. Brady previously served in early-stage company operating roles from startup to IPO in biotechnology and information technology companies. He holds a B.S. in Finance from Babson College.
Matt Stanley
Partner, Climate Tech Fund, BDC
Matt is on a mission to work with climate positive technology companies, entrepreneurs, and investors to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and climate-resilient future. Matt is a currently a Partner with BDC Capital’s ClimateTech Fund, where he invests in emerging Canadian climate technology companies that are focused on accelerating the transition to a net zero and climate-resilient world. He has two decades of international experience working at the intersection of climate and sustainability, venture capital, corporate innovation, and strategy with BDC Capital (Canada), IKEA (Sweden, Netherlands), EY (UK) and Deloitte (Canada), and also founded SOMEWORKS, a boutique climate and sustainability impact advisory firm. Matt is a changemaker, relentlessly curious and analytical, skilled at building deep and trusted relationships across all levels through humility, insight, and radical candor, always striving to connect people, communities, and ideas to create meaningful climate impact. He is a “deep generalist”, with strong leadership and communication skills, combined with a global network and well-informed perspectives on both the challenges humanity faces, as well as the opportunities to leverage emerging technologies, more resource-efficient business models, new production techniques and supply chains, and novel partnerships to create a more sustainable and affordable tomorrow. Matt holds a Masters in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a Bachelor’s in Economics from Mount Allison University (Canada).
Donna Hazard
General Partner, SeaAhead
Donna joined SeaAhead’s Board of Directors in 2019 and SeaAhead’s staff in 2020. She leads the company’s bluetech angel investor group, the Blue Angels, which includes 40 members representing diverse ocean-related industries and technologies, and provides capital, mentorship and network connections for bluetech start-ups. As a member of the executive team, she is also deeply engaged in raising SeaAhead’s first fund, SeaAhead Ventures; the company’s involvement in the growing micro- and macro- algae industries; the UpSwell program to attract additional investors and capital to the blue economy; and several strategic partnerships. Donna served as Interim President & CEO of the New England Aquarium while continuing as Chair of the Board and a member of the search committee recruiting a long-term CEO for this $47 M non-profit organization attracting 1.4 million visitors annually and employing 250+ full-time staff and more than 1500 volunteers. As Board Chair and Interim CEO, Donna led the institution to update and implement its strategic plan, begin a cultural shift, restructure its development department, exceed its fundraising goal (30% increase year to year), and generate an operating surplus. She received a Governor’s Citation, Resolution of Honor from the MA House of Representatives, Official Citation from the MA State Senate, and Certificates of Recognition from US Senators Warren and Markey, US Congresswoman Clark, and Mayor Walsh for her efforts. In the corporate sector Donna also co-founded and served as Vice President of Business Development for venture-backed biotech diagnostics company Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS), which reached a market cap of $26 B. Donna focused on strategic partnerships, intellectual property, physician awareness, value proposition, reimbursement, and commercialization. Prior to these roles, Donna served as Director of Marketing and Business Development at Genzyme Genetics, Manager at Company Assistance Limited in Warsaw, Poland, Consultant at Bain & Company, and Market Analyst at biotech company BioTechnica International. She received an AB in Biology from Princeton University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Masters in Sustainability through Harvard Extension. Donna lives with her husband and family dog, travels whenever possible (especially to catch up with her four children), and is a certified scuba diver.
Madeline Redferm
COO, CanArctic Inuit Networks
Madeleine Redfern from Iqaluit, Nunavut is an Indigenous woman involved in high-tech and innovation. Actively involved in transformative technologies in telecommunications, transportation and energy.   Madeleine is the COO of CanArctic Inuit Networks Inc. working to build 5000 km of subsea fibre optic cable into and through Canada’s north to serve communities, private sector and defence and support the development of an Arctic digital sector.  Portions of the network may be a SMART cable with sensors to assist in monitoring and protecting Canada’s Arctic marine environment and supporting the development of an Arctic Blue Economy.  Madeleine is a member of the Oceans Supercluster’s Indigenous Working Group and Two Eyed Seeing Steering Committee. Ms. Redfern also received the Oceans Supercluster Award for Indigenous Excellence for SednaLink Marine Systems.   Madeleine's advocacy, professional, and governance work shown her dedication and passion towards the development and delivery of programs assisting Indigenous, Inuit, northerners and Canadians that reflect their values, needs, and priorities.  Madeleine received the Indspire Award for Public Service to acknowledge and celebrate all her hard work, commitment and contributions.
Andrea Johnston
ADM for Innovation Canada, ISED
Andrea Johnston is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation Canada, an organization within Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED). Innovation Canada acts as a single-window for business innovation support so that Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs can best find and access government programs and services. In this role, Andrea leads the delivery of several flagship business innovation programs for the Government of Canada, including the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, the Strategic Innovation Fund, Innovative Solutions Canada, the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the IP Centre of Expertise, and the Accelerated Growth Service. From funding to expert advice to driving new collaborations, these programs and services are designed to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada's economy. Andrea is also the department’s Diversity and Inclusion champion, driving ISED’s inclusion activities internally but also ensuring the Department is taking a policy and program lens in this area. Andrea Johnston joined ISED in May 2017 to be the Director General (DG) of the Economic Strategy Tables and Skills Branch, where she provided senior leadership on the Department’s skills agenda and implementation of Canada’s six economic strategy tables. These industry-led tables developed concrete strategies and targets for Canada’s economic growth. Prior to joining ISED, Andrea had an extensive career at Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (AAFC) where she was the DG responsible for sectoral development and analysis covering livestock, grains, horticulture, dairy and food processing as well as leading the Department’s value chain roundtables. Andrea was also AAFC’s Corporate Secretary.
Dr. Anya Waite
CEO and Scientific Director, Ocean Frontier Institute
Anya M. Waite is CEO and Scientific Director of the Ocean Frontier Institute, and Associate Vice-President Research (Ocean), Dalhousie University. Prior to this she was Section Head of Polar Biological Oceanography at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven, and Professor of Oceanography in the Department of Biology at the University of Bremen. She chaired AWI´s Scientific Council, championing interdisciplinary scientific discussions, and gender equity. Prof. Waite’s research career spans thirty-five years of education, service and international scholarship, with scientific research publications in areas as diverse as aquaculture, rock lobster fisheries, conservation genetics, physical oceanography, and the impacts of climate change. Her most recent work includes innovations in oceanographic technologies and sensors. After completing a BSc Hons. in 1985 at Dalhousie University, she obtained her PhD in 1992 in oceanography at the University of British Columbia. She was appointed Postdoctoral Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA) in 1992. In 1997 she took a professorship at University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth, and was there for 17 years as an oceanography research group leader while teaching in the undergraduate and graduate Environmental Engineering programs at UWA. She won teaching excellence awards both in Australia and Germany. Prof. Waite’s international service includes membership on numerous Boards and committees including co-chair of the prestigious Global Ocean Observation System steering committee - the first woman at the head of this body since its creation in 2011. In 2022, she was nominated to sit as the Canadian expert on the World Meteorlogical Organization Joint Study Group on Greenhouse Gas Monitoring. She also serves on a wide range of technical, scientific and policy advisory panels, in the US, the UK, Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Canada.
Jennifer LaPlante
Chief Growth and Investment Officer, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Jennifer LaPlante is the Chief Growth & Investment Officer for Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. Her career has focused on data, analytics and technology. As the Executive Director of DeepSense, she drove economic growth through increased comprehension and adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning in Canada’s ocean sector. She holds an MBA and an MSc in Computing and Data Analytics. Jennifer is a member of the Public Awareness Working Group under the Government of Canada Advisory Council on AI and is a co-organizer of the Halifax Chapter of Women in Machine Learning and Data Science (WiMLDS).
Mark Jollymore
President, Innovasea Systems
Mark Jollymore is the President of Innovasea Systems, Inc., a company focused on technology solutions for responsible and sustainable use of our planet’s aquatic resources. Prior to Innovasea Mark was President and CEO of Amirix Systems, whose Vemco brand is the world leader in the acoustic fish tracking market space. During Mark’s 7 years as CEO of Amirix, the company grew rapidly, expanded into new markets and ultimately came to the attention of Innovasea Systems who acquired Amirix in 2017. Mark started his professional career in the aerospace sector working for Litton Industries and Lockheed Martin predominantly in the design and aircraft testing of electronic warfare systems. Mark holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of New Brunswick and an MBA from Saint Mary’s University. Mark lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Cara Salci
Vice President, Strategy & Government Relations, Thales Canada
As Vice President, Strategy & Government Relations for Thales Canada, Cara is a member of CEO Chris Pogue’s leadership team. Cara leads the strategic business planning, government relations and ESG activities in Canada. She supports Thales North America executives in assessing business and competitive environments, with a special focus on strategic priorities in Canada including offset policy and R&D funding. Motivated by Thales Canada’s growth, Cara steers opportunities to engage with industry partners, Canadian SMBs and government stakeholders to identify new opportunities. This, after having joined Thales in 2016 as its National Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Before Thales, Cara worked in healthcare administration and has more than a decade of experience working in government, both federally and provincially. Cara served in the Minister’s office at the Treasury Board Secretariat and as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Minister at Environment Canada and Transport & Infrastructure Canada. Cara has an Honours BSc in Bio-Medical Science from the University of Guelph and a MBA from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. In 2020, Cara was recognized by Women in Defence & Security (WiDS) as an Emerging Leader and serves a mentor to young women as part of WiDS’ mentoring program. She is a current Board Member of AIAC and member of its Finance Committee, chair of CADSI’s Policy Committee, and a member of Canada’s Defence Industry Advisory Group. She is also a Founding Member of the Queensway Carleton Hospital’s Women in Philanthropy committee.
Laurent Giugni
Program Officer, Canadian Space Agency
Laurent Giugni is a Geographer specialized in remote sensing, GIS and Earth Sciences. He has worked for more than 25 years closely with the industry, the academia, governments and NGOs to foster the use of satellite data addressing some of the key challenges on Earth, as well as enabling innovative solutions for the benefit of Canadians and humankind. Laurent is representative on water related issues and Program Officer for the smartEarth funding initiative as well as Vice Chair of the smartWhales steering committee at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Meagan Halverson
Vice President of Operations, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Meagan Halverson is the Vice President of Operations at Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. Meagan has 15 years experience leading organizations through major finance and operational transformation initiatives. Since joining the OSC in 2019, Meagan has led the formation of the organization’s financial operations, systems, processes, policies and infrastructure, and continues to lead the organization through major optimization initatives. Meagan is a graduate from Saint Mary’s University and has been a Chartered Professional Accountant for over 10 years. She serves on the Audit and Finance Committees for Hospice Halifax and the West Hants Regional Municipality, and lives just outside of Windsor, NS with her husband Blaine and daughter Leah.

Day 2 Speakers

Carl Gouldman
Director at NOAA's U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Office
Carl Gouldman took the helm as Director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) Program in February 2017. Prior to becoming the director, Carl served as the Deputy Director of the program since June 2014. NOAA is the lead federal agency for implementing the U.S IOOS as called for in the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009. U.S. IOOS is a coordinated network of people and technology that work together to generate and disseminate continuous data on our coastal waters, Great Lakes, and oceans. Carl joined NOAA as a program coordinator at the Coastal Services Center in 2000 and then spent a year at NOS headquarters staffing the NOAA Ocean Council during the 2003-2004 NOAA review of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Report. He joined the IOOS program full time in 2004 as the first IOOS permanent employee. He has been a member of the IOOS leadership team since then and served as a Steering Team member for the U.S. IOOS Summit in 2012 and as Acting Deputy Director for the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) for 4 months in 2013. Prior to NOAA, Carl worked in the coastal recreation sector teaching sailing, kayaking and windsurfing before spending 3 years working his way to become an education Senior Manager at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where he led field programs teaching students about bay ecology and conservation. He holds a B.S. in political science from Duke University and a Masters (MEM) in Coastal Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke. Carl lives in Bethesda with his wife, has two children, and enjoys spending as much free time outdoors as possible. He is a lifelong recreational boater, fisherman, surfer, hunter, and claims to have learned to read a "tide chart" by the age of 10 to plan fishing and crabbing trips in the outer banks of North Carolina. Carl grew up in Virginia and has called the following states as ‘home’ at some point during his journey to NOAA: Virginia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Colorado.
Janelle Caballero
Director of Cluster Workforce Growth, Canada's Ocean Supercluster
Janelle is a highly skilled educator, coach, and DEI advocate with expertise in workforce development across various industries. Her background includes extensive experience in university career advising, careers in the construction industry, and talent development in the blue economy. As a strengths-based International Coaching Federation (ICF) PCC certified coach, Janelle believes in prioritizing relationship building and team cohesion as the foundation of all successful partnerships. She is passionate about utilizing strategy to align talent with company mission, values, and strategic planning initiatives, ensuring an exceptional experience for candidates. Janelle's expertise extends to change management consulting, as a PROSCI certified consultant who prioritizes a growth mindset when implementing and customizing new talent frameworks. Her Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Project Management Professional (PMP) designations enable her to expertly orchestrate individual and cross-functional facets of workplace project management from implementation to deliverables, with metrics at the core of planning and execution. Additionally, her PGCE (Oxford Brookes) and M. Ed (St. Petersburg) provide her with a solid foundation for creating engaging learning tools and platforms for learners of all ages. Janelle's passion for purpose-based career alignment stems from the career philosophy of "ikigai" (from the Japanese "reason for being"). Her curiosity surrounding what makes people feel fulfilled and engaged has led her to various positions, including a Research Chair position in Goalsetting and Motivation Theory at Crofton House school, where she studied the impacts of community support in achieving career aspirations for young females. As a Career Education Department Head and Work Placement Facilitator, Janelle successfully launched over 200 students into the broader community to foster experiential learning opportunities, offering students the opportunity to test drive a career.  During her time at Sauder School of Business at the Business Career Centre, Janelle designed strategic plans to align career coaching and advising practice across a team of 40+ career coaches, optimizing career pathways for University of British Columbia students to apply their skills from MBA, PMBA, Specialty Masters, B+MM, and BComm programming. At Broadway Subway Project with the Ministry of Transportation, Janelle was instrumental in the design and implementation of a Learning Hub to highlight key STEM principles and career opportunities in the construction industry, paving the way for K-12 talent in BC. Janelle's diverse experience positions her well as a voice in blue economy workplace development, ranging from youth through adult career placement. At Canada's Ocean Supercluster, Janelle is tasked with developing the Talent Pillar strategy and associated initiatives. She is excited to see the immense opportunity for cross-collaboration and building upon existing programming from a pan-Canadian perspective to create a robust, inclusive, and diverse talent pipeline.
Beverley Evans
Chief Executive Officer, Venor
Beverley brings with her a strong and proven record of leadership and experience. She has partnered with outstanding local, regional,national, and international organizations in a variety of industries throughout her career. Her unique background in strategy, finance, operations, business development, and human resources coupled with her warmth, authenticity and enthusiasm create great leadership opportunities for talented individuals and winning strategies for her clients. Her motto is “Let’s get it done but let’s have some fun while we are doing it!” Bev has a decade of experience in executive search and talent solutions and has held various executive and Board roles with public companies and private organizations while working in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador as well as Massachusetts, Germany and England. Her experience within these organizations allow her to bring a broader business lens to her clients and ensure the best talent solutions are brought forward to optimize their future strategy and operations. Beverley earned the prestigious FCPA designation, awarded to Chartered Professional Accountants who, through their outstanding achievements, including community leadership, bring distinction to the accounting profession and serve as a role model to others. Beverley has served on public, private and NFP Boards throughout her career and served as a Board Member and Audit & Finance Committee Chair, HR, Governance and Compensation Committee Director and Special Independent Committee Director with a TSX listed Mining Company and as Board Member and HR Committee Chair for the 2025 Canada Summer Games Board.  As well, Beverley is a Board Member and Audit Committee Director for the Ocean Supercluster Board and an appointed Audit Committee Member for the Government of NL House of Assembly. She has concluded a four-year Board term with the Janeway Children’s’ Health Foundation Board and also held the position of Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee during that time and was an elected Board Member and HR Committee Director for EnergyNL for a two year term.  Beverley has been invited to speak to numerous organizations on a variety of topics including  Women in Leadership, The Board’s Role In Risk Assessment Strategy and Performance Management, Building Confidence, The Trusted Business Advisor Role, and Building a Resilient Team.  Beverley is a member of the Women Presidents Organization and the International Women’s Federation. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors, Cooperative) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and holds her ICD.D designation through the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.
Mo AlGermozi,
Chief Executive Officer, Graphite Innovation & Technologies
Mo AlGermozi is the Chief Executive Officer of Graphite Innovation & Technologies. GIT is a leading Canadian materials engineering firm focused on developing green and sustainable solutions for the global shipping industry. Mo has successfully championed innovative operational concepts and solutions. In addition to being the co-founder and CEO of Graphite Innovation & Technologies, Mo has co-invented four different inventions in the coatings field, with patents filed worldwide. These innovations are mainly focused on reducing the fuel consumption of large ships and eliminating toxic materials used in marine coatings. Mo also sits on various boards such as the board of advisors for Dalhousie University's Emera Idea Hub, and other startup bboards to support young entrepreneurs.
Tara Mascarenhas
Director of Programs, Students on Ice Foundation
Tara joined the Quebec-based SOI (Students on Ice) Foundation in 2016 as the Program Team Lead for the Canada C3 expedition, a 150-day journey on an ice-breaker that travelled the length of Canada’s coastline from the Great Lakes to Victoria via the Northwest Passage exploring Canada's peoples and coastline. Inspired by the journey’s legacy, she spearheaded and now manages Blue Futures Pathways, a program to engage diverse youth and young people in Canada’s emerging Sustainable Blue Economy. As SOI's Director of Programs, she also oversees the Alumni Program. Tara has a background in education, capacity development and international humanitarian aid, and a BA Honours from the University of Leeds, UK.
Donald Grant
Executive Director, Ocean Startup Project
As a proud Atlantic Canadian and partner of LeeWay Marine, Donald Grant is no stranger to the Atlantic Ocean and ocean-related technology. In early 2020, he took the helm of the Ocean Startup Project to steer various activities designed to grow the quantity and quality of startups contributing to Canada’s ocean economy, beginning with Atlantic Canada. For the Ocean Startup Project, Donald has drawn on his in-depth expertise in business development and law, his collaborative approaches and interpersonal skills, and his experience co-founding a startup, working at a multinational company and managing complex government projects. After completing his articling at BoyneClarke LLP and upon being admitted to the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society and the Canadian Bar Association, he worked at Boyne Clarke. Donald went on to serve as a Solicitor for Nova Scotia Power, a Lawyer, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Executive Director for the Government of Nova Scotia, and Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs at LeeWay Marine. Outside of his work life, Donald keeps active by playing sports with his family and by serving as a board member and volunteer for not-for-profit organizations.
Emilie de Rosenroll
CEO, South Island Prosperity Partnership
Emilie de Rosenroll is Group CEO of South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP), Greater Victoria’s economic development agency. SIPP’s branches include the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST), the Indigenous Prosperity Centre (IPC) and the Rising Economy Colab. With 15+ years of experience in leadership positions, Emilie was the founding CEO of SIPP in 2016. She is tri-lingual and has worked in different sectors in cities in Canada, U.S., France and Mexico. Emilie is passionate about creating a resilient, innovative, sustainable and equitable — or RISE — economy. She is a director on the boards of InnovateBC (Crown Corp), the Victoria Hospital Foundation and COAST. Emilie has received many awards, including the Business in Vancouver Forty Under 40 Award (2020) and Victoria Community Leadership’s Award for Belonging & Engagement (2022). She was also a Woman of Influence Western finalist for the 2022 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards.
Amelie Desrochers
Director of Innovation, Novarium
Trained as an Economist, Amelie enjoys destroying old decaying structures (while respecting all things vintage) and she always finds opportunities to perform what she calls ‘creative contamination’. Amelie scaled an AI-related tech Startup, SOCAMI, for 8+ years. The startup was a subsidiary of Google and was sold to the Government of Quebec in 2012. Geeky and macro-minded, her fascination for building dynamic innovation ecosystems brought her to San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal and now Rimouski, a costal mid-size city which is renowned for its worldwide expertise in ocean-related science and technology. Amelie holds a BA in Applied Economics from HEC Montreal and a Masters in International Economics from University of Montreal. She worked as a diplomat for Canada’s Global Affairs and the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office where she led climate-related government relations and designed digital diplomacy campaigns around Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Climate. She is leading NOVARIUM, an innovation campus dedicated to the Blue Economy in Quebec and its marine accelerator, FLOTS. Amelie co-founded several social initiatives such as Hub de l’Est, Focus Hub and Petit Métis.
James Kesten
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship
James Kesten, P.Eng., is COVE's Director of Strategic Partnerships. James works directly with COVE tenants, partners, and stakeholders to create, adopt, and implement initiatives and programs that will remove barriers for the commercialization of new products and services. In his role, James enhances COVE’s business network and enables a robust blue economy. He has experience in marine technology innovation, offshore inspections, subsea deployment of technology, strategic planning for international markets, business development, and project management. James has worked around the world in nearly every offshore market and in an onshore capacity in international business development. James is a professional engineer with a degree from Dalhousie University and a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University with a focus on Data Analytics, Project Management and New Ventures.
Rory Francis
CEO, PEI BioAlliance
Rory Francis is a native of Prince Edward Island. He earned a BSc in geology and chemistry from Mount Allison University and an MSc in hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo. Since 2004 he has been CEO of the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance, a not-for-profit partnership of bioscience businesses, academic and research organizations, and government agencies that includes 60 companies earning over $600 million in annual sales, making the bio sector the second largest industry in the Province. He is a founder of the Emergence Bioscience Business Incubator, Natural Products Canada, a national natural products ecosystem and business accelerator, and CASTL, the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences. From 1991 to 2003 Mr. Francis held Deputy Minister positions in several provincial government departments, including Environment; Agriculture and Forestry; Fisheries and Aquaculture; and Health and Social Services. Mr. Francis has served as a Board member with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, and is President of the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance. He is a Board Member with Canada’s Ocean SuperCluster, chairs the Advisory Board for the Culinary Institute of Canada’s Technology Access Centre and is a member of the National Research Council’s Advisory Board for their Aquatic and Crop Resource Development Program. He is Finance Warden of St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Charlottetown. He is married to Ann Francis and father of three grown children.
Jason Goldsworthy
Executive Director, COAST
Jason Goldsworthy, P.Eng. is the Executive Director for the Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST). With over 20 years of international experience in managing engineering businesses and projects, Jason brings leadership, technical and commercial aptitude to the team.  His experience spans multiple industries including renewable energy, urban development, environmental consulting, mining, and commercial and infrastructure construction. He has worked with large multinational corporations as well as being involved in several startups.  He has acted on several corporate boards in both Canada and Australia. Jason holds a PHD in Engineering from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and is a member of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia.
Shafiq Manji
Director of Intellectual Property and Data Management, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Shafiq Manji is the Director of Intellectual Property and Data Management with Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC). He has over 20 years of experience in the field of intellectual property (IP), specializing in patents. Shafiq spent the early part of his career training as a Patent Agent at some of Canada’s leading boutique IP firms where he focused on drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications for some of Canada’s leading technology firms. Prior to joining the OSC, Shafiq was responsible for overall execution of the corporate IP Strategy as well as managing the patent portfolio for Canada’s leading telecommunications company. Having spent some time as a management consultant at one of the world’s leading IP consulting firms, Shafiq has also gained experience supporting patent licensing campaigns for global technology companies. Today, Shafiq is leveraging his experience and applying his insights at the OSC to deliver upon the organization’s IP and Data Strategies. Shafiq is a registered Canadian Patent Agent in good standing with the College of Patent and Trademark Agents (CPATA).
Sanro Zlobrc
Principal, Smart & Biggar LP
Sanro Zlobec is a Principal in the Montreal Office of Smart & Biggar LP. He has over 25 years of experience in the field of intellectual property, specializing in technology-based intangibles such as patents and know-how. Sanro spent the early part of his career focused on obtaining patent rights for some of Canada’s most well-known tech companies. Today, he applies his insights into IP and the global IP system to helps clients in various industries achieve better results, such as improved deal outcomes, greater tax efficiency, new revenue opportunities and higher valuations. Sanro is both a registered Canadian and US patent agent and a certified licensing professional.
Nancy Andrews
Chief Engagement and Communications Officer, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
A senior leader in communications and stakeholder relations, for more than 20 years Nancy has worked with organizations both in the public and private sectors in Eastern Canada to help tell their stories, build brands, and manage stakeholder relationships. Currently the Chief Engagement and Communications Officer at Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Nancy plays an instrumental role in helping tell Canada’s ocean story to the world and building momentum behind it. This past year Marketing News Canada named Nancy one of Canada’s Top 25 Marketers to Watch on LinkedIn, and she was previously the recipient of the Communicator of the Year Award from IABC-NL. Nancy is a graduate from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and from Seneca at York University. She currently serves as Chair of the WRDC Board of Directors and lives in St. John’s with her husband Glenn and their sons.
Drew Leyburne
Assistant Deputy Minister for Energy Efficiency and Technology at Natural Resources Canada
Drew Leyburne is the Assistant Deputy Minister for Energy Efficiency and Technology, at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Prior to his current position, Mr. Leyburne served as Director General in various roles at NRCan, worked at the Privy Council Office, and was an Associate with McKinsey & Co. Drew holds degrees from Oxford University and Bishop’s University. NRCan’s Energy Efficiency and Technology Sector supports energy efficiency, through programs, regulation and policy, in the fields of housing, buildings, communities, and industry. It also supports the advancement of clean energy technologies through scientific research and program delivery in energy research, development, and demonstration (including CCUS). As part of this, Mr. Leyburne is responsible for a network of national CANMET energy laboratories.
Dr. Niall O’Dea
Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Dr. Niall O’Dea is Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Before assuming this role in April 2021, Dr. O’Dea had been Assistant Deputy Minister and, previously, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister for the Canadian Wildlife Service at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) since March 2018. Prior to his tenure at ECCC, he had served in various roles at Natural Resources Canada since 2011, including Director of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Minister and Director General of Electricity Resources. Niall joined the Government of Canada in 2006, working first at Environment Canada on policy, legislative and regulatory proposals for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions and subsequently at the Privy Council Office providing advice to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and the Clerk of the Privy Council on proposals and policy issues under the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of the Environment.. Dr. O’Dea completed undergraduate degrees in biology and philosophy at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a masters and doctorate at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.