Board of Directors

Mark Sutcliffe, Co-Chair
Mayor, City of Ottawa

Mark Sutcliffe was born at the Riverside Hospital to parents John and Florence, who were both immigrants to Canada. Mark has lived his whole life in Ottawa. He was elected Mayor of Ottawa on October 24, 2022.

Prior to entering municipal politics, Mark was an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, volunteer, and community activist.

For over 30 years, Mark covered politics and current events as a broadcaster for CFRA, CityNews, Rogers TV, and CPAC, and as executive editor and columnist for the Ottawa Citizen.

Mark started his first business when he was 19 years old. He co-founded the Ottawa Business Journal in 1995 and founded and led several other small and medium-sized businesses. He has been a coach, mentor, and adviser to more than one hundred CEOs, entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and not-for-profit leaders.

Mark has been a passionate volunteer and fundraiser. He served as chair of the board of United Way Ottawa, the Ottawa Board of Trade, OrKidstra, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Ottawa Community Housing Foundation, and Run Ottawa. He also served as board member for Algonquin College, Invest Ottawa, Kind Ottawa, the Ottawa International Writers Festival, and the Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation. His contribution to the city was recognized in 2016 when he was inducted into the Order of Ottawa and named the United Way’s Ambassador of the Year. In 2018, Mark delivered a highly regarded TEDx Talk about the role of luck in his life.

Mark is an avid marathon runner who has raised more than $250,000 for Ottawa charities with his fundraising runs. He is the author of four books, including Long Road to Boston, which chronicled his quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which he completed in 2015 and 2018. Mark and his wife Ginny have three children.

Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon
President and Vice-Chancellor Carleton University

Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon started his mandate as President and Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University on July 1, 2018, and he was recently renewed for a second five-year term. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Universities Canada and on the Executive Committee of the Council of Ontario Universities.

He joined Carleton from Queen’s University where he served as Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). He previously served as Provost and Vice-President (Academic Affairs) at Concordia University in his hometown of Montreal where he was recognized with an award as Concordia University’s Sustainability Champion.

His first academic appointment was at Bishop’s University, where he served in a number of leadership roles including Dean of Arts and Science, Associate Vice-Principal for Research, chair of the psychology department and chief negotiator for the association of professors of Bishop’s University. He is a three-time recipient of Bishop’s Merit Award for exceptional performance in teaching and research.

Dr. Bacon holds a PhD in neuropsychology from the University of Montreal, after which he undertook an NSERC-funded post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. His research in the field of cognitive neuroscience focuses on the links between brain activity and perception in the visual, auditory and vestibular systems, as well as on multisensory integration.

Sharing his own lived experience, he advocates for open conversations about mental health and substance use. These efforts have been recognized with a Transformational Leader Inspiration Award from the Royal Ottawa Hospital, and the Honorary Presidency of the Canadian Psychological Association.

Lise Bourgeois
President, La Cité collégiale

Since March of 2010, Lise Bourgeois, President, has led La Cité, the largest French-language college of applied arts and technology in Ontario. Ms. Bourgeois has worked in the field of education for over 30 years, from the classroom all the way to senior management positions. Ms. Bourgeois has a bachelor and a master’s degree in education, as well as a Supervisory Officer’s Qualification.

From 2003 to 2010, she headed the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE), the largest French-language school board outside of Quebec. Under Ms. Bourgeois’ leadership, the organization attained an exceptional level of performance, without parallel in the province, thus making a significant contribution to the development of French-language education: CECCE enrolment increased by over 2,000 students, five new schools were opened, and construction began on two more.

In her capacity as President of La Cité, Ms. Bourgeois pursues the development of French-language education, and makes the success of every student central to the College’s educational decisions. Under her leadership, La Cité’s enrolment has surpassed 5,500 students, and is consistently ranked among the best colleges in the province. A true visionary, she secured the necessary funding to develop a new infrastructure that will position the student experience at La Cité into a new experiential and multidisciplinary dimension: Place La Cité, to open in September 2018.

Committed for many years to enhancing the vitality of the Franco-Ontarian community and extending its influence, Ms. Bourgeois is a member of various organizations, including the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale (Association of business people of the National Capital), the Consortium national de formation en santé (National healthcare training consortium) (CNFS), the Réseau des cégeps et collèges francophones du Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Invest Ottawa and has co-chaired the Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne (ACUFC) since April 1, 2015.

Over the years, Ms. Bourgeois has shown a great capacity for taking care of business and for obtaining the support required to implement initiatives associated with the development of the organizations she has headed. In recognition of her achievements in this area, the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale has given her its award Dirigeante de l’année dans le secteur parapublic (Leader of the year in the parapublic sector), and she has received first prize in the “Education” category at the Prescott-Russell gala honouring women. These marks of distinction are a testimony to her leadership and to her passion for making a difference in the social, economic and cultural development of the larger community.

Ms. Bourgeois is a woman of action with a gift for bringing people together. She has developed a vast network both within the structures of government and in the community to make a difference to the social, economic and cultural development of her community at large.

Claude Brulé
President, Algonquin College

“Claude Brulé was appointed as Algonquin College’s ninth President and Chief Executive Officer in August 2019. Prior to taking on this leadership role, Claude served the College at every level of its leadership team from Department Chair, to Faculty Dean, to Senior Vice President Academic where, for the past twenty years, he has been a champion for student success and an innovator in the higher education sector, providing leadership to the advancement of digital learning.

Prior to joining the College, Claude served 22 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, in the Air Force occupational branch of Communication and Electronics Engineering, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Among his many tours of duty, he was an instructor at the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics (CFSCE), and subsequently, its Senior Staff Officer for Strategic Planning and Chief of Staff. Between tours at CFSCE, he lectured in the Mathematics and Computer Science department as an assistant professor at the Royal Military College.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics and a Master’s of Science degree in Mathematics from the Royal Military College in Kingston. He is also a graduate of the Command and Staff College, and holds a certificate in Management and Leadership in Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Claude is an active member of the community and serves on several boards, including Invest Ottawa, the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) and the Ottawa Community Loan Fund (OCLF). He is also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was promoted to Senior Member in 2018 for his significant contributions to the profession.

Rob Cameron
Head of Integration, Illumifin
Aquilas K. Dapaah
Trial Lawyer, Economic Empowerment Advocate, Youth Advocate

Aquilas Kapend Dapaah is a trial lawyer and fierce advocate for justice. Prior to that, she worked as a Commercial litigator representing individuals and large corporations in business law. With a decade of experience under her belt, she employs zealous advocacy skills in the courtroom and through all stages of litigation. When she is not in a courtroom advocating, she is active in various community endeavors committed to the empowerment of women and our youth.She is cofounder of a Non for profit called The Rise Initiative, an organization that Helps impact community based initiatives to succeed
She is also the founder of Financially Savvy Girl, a platform that provides financial intelligence to help millennials improve their money management and one that is invested in women’s economic empowerment.
As a mentor in law and financial literacy, her philosophy in life is as follows: we have two hands, one is to help yourself, the other is to help others

Jason Flick
CEO, Serial Entrepreneur, Investor, and Advisor

Jason Flick is a CEO, serial entrepreneur, investor, and advisor with successful exits such as YOU.i TV (sold to HBO/AT&T), and N-able (sold to solarwinds). Jason brings 25 years of technical and business leadership to his mentoring, executive and director roles. His most recent company, You.i TV doubled in size each year of operation and called the biggest media and technology companies in the world as their customers. In addition to his role as Board of Director with Invest Ottawa, Jason also lends his expertise to the boards of a number of non-profit entrepreneur focused entities and private sector companies.

Jennifer Francis
High Tech Mentor, Advisor and Investor

Jennifer is a technology mentor, advisor and angel investor with over 25 years of experience in the high technology industry. She was a former executive in the information technology and services industry, with experience in Enterprise Software, SaaS, Go-to-market Strategy, and Strategic Partnerships. Jennifer is an advocate for girls and women in STEM.

Jacques Frémont
President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Ottawa

Jacques Frémont is Professor Emeritus at the University of Montreal and former President of the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. Prior to this appointment by the Quebec legislative assembly in 2013, he was Director of the International Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations in New York.

Within the University of Montreal, Mr. Frémont was Dean of the Law school, as well as Provost and Vice-Rector (Academic Affairs) until 2010. Mr. Frémont is author of numerous books, articles and chapters of books in constitutional law as well as in public law.

Throughout his career, Mr. Frémont has acted as expert in issues of Human rights, of good governance and democracy with Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) as well as consultant with World Bank financed projects. He has also acted as director of major international cooperation projects in the fields of Human rights and judicial training.

Mr. Frémont is a graduate of Laval University (Quebec City) and has pursued graduate studies at York University (Toronto). He has received prizes and honors, including that of member of the Order of Academic Palms of the French Republic in 2009 and received a Ph.D. Honoris Causa from the Université Paul Cézanne (Aix-en-Provence) in 2010. He has been made professor emeritus of the University of Montreal in 2012. Mr. Frémont has been a visiting professor at many Quebec, Canadian, European and Asian universities.

Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Wealthsimple
Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh is the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Wealthsimple. With a career in human resources spanning over fifteen years, Shavonne brings to the board expertise in workplace diversity and inclusion and understands what it takes to establish a sense of belonging within an organization.
Shavonne believes the importance of work comes from the ability to connect with and impact people. She is a developer who recognizes the potential in others and a relater who finds deep satisfaction in working collaboratively towards a collective goal. Over the past six months, Shavonne has been an invaluable member of the Female Founders and Women-Owned Business Sub-Committee of the board.
France Hébert
Vice-President and General Manager, CAE — Defence & Security Canada

France Hébert is Vice-President and General Manager, Defence & Security (D&S) Canada for CAE. France leads the D&S business in Canada, shaping the vision and the operational and commercial strategy for the division, which includes 16 sites across the country and a team of 700 employees, many of whom are embedded with military units. France is also the President of SkyAlyne and the President of CAE Military Aviation Training (CMAT). She currently sits on the boards of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) and True Patriot Love. France is CAE’s representative for D&S Canada with the federal Government and Canadians.
France has over 30 years of experience working in defence and aerospace. Over the course of her career, France has held senior positions in strategy, business development and operations. She brings extensive leadership experience with a proven track record on complex billion-dollar programs. She successfully won business in Canada and abroad.
Through her varied career, she was an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and worked for three companies playing major roles in Canada, namely: Bombardier, Nortel, and General Dynamics Mission Systems – Canada (GDMS-C).
France is a Professional Engineer who holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Physics) from the Royal Military College of Canada. She has also received a certificate in Business Administration from McGill University and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation.

Giovanna Mingarelli
Technology Entrepreneur, Public Speaker and Writer

As the Co-Founder of several international companies, including: M&C Consulting, MC2 and MC3 US, Giovanna Mingarelli plays the dual role of technology entrepreneur and thought leader. For over 20 years Ms. Mingarelli has worked in the field of political and digital communications and has served in the office of a former Prime Minister of Canada. Ms. Mingarelli is a member of the Government of Canada Treasury Board Secretariat External Advisory Board for Talent Cloud, developing the future of work for Canada’s Public Service. She has been a Parliamentary witness and a keynote speaker relating to the advancement of young women in politics through her work with Equal Voice: Electing Women in Canada. She is also an advisor to Women in Cloud, seeking to bring $1 billion in economic access to women-led STEM businesses by 2030. A prolific writer, Ms. Mingarelli has contributed to: The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, CBC-Radio Canada and the Hill Times, to name a few. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and is cited by Harvard Business Review and Forbes. Ms. Mingarelli is currently writing a book with Forbes about her entrepreneurial journey, which began with Invest Ottawa, called: “Operation Good Fortune: Demystifying Wealth and Building a Meaningful Life.”

An expert on the gamification of politics, social engagement and crowdsourcing, Ms. Mingarelli has been an active contributor to events at the White House in Washington, D.C., the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland and the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China. In 2011, she was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum for her efforts to improve the state of the world through entrepreneurialism and civic engagement. In 2015 Ms. Mingarelli was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the WXN, in 2021 she was named one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurs in Technology by Industry Era Magazine and in 2023 she was nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneurs Award and the DMZ Women of the Year Award. She’s involved in many youth empowerment initiatives, such as Global Dignity Canada, which she Chairs in Canada and for which she serves on the Board of Directors internationally. She holds an Honours degree in Political Science and International Relations from Carleton University.

Dobrila Rancic Moogk
VP, Marketing, Giatec Scientific

Dobrila Rancic Moogk is VP, Marketing at Giatec Scientific, an Ottawa IoT company revolutionizing the construction industry by bringing smart testing and AI technologies to every job site.  Through her work in and with startups and scale-ups on strategy and business models, customer development and strategic marketing, Dobrila’s passion for accelerating commercialization of innovation results in significant growth and scale-up.  This is combined with her drive to lead her undergraduate and graduate students to stellar career starts by passing on her cutting-edge marketing skills to the next generation of business leaders.

Over her career, Dobrila has contributed to over a dozen boards and committees.  She is a member of the Community Impact Cabinet at United Way Ottawa, past chair of Volunteer Ottawa, and past vice-chair of the Women in Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa.

Solmaz Shahalizadeh
Co-Founder, Backbone Angels

Solmaz Shahalizadeh is an operating advisor at Bessemer, an executive and advisor in data and product, and a founding partner of Backbone Angels, a collective focused on funding more diverse and women-founded companies.

Most recently, she was the Vice President and Head of Data at Shopify, helping it grow from 100k to over 1.75 million merchants from 2013 to 2022. In her role, Solmaz was the voice of data in the senior leadership team and evangelized a culture of being data informed across the company. She spent her early years building the company’s financial data warehouse and analytics, and played a critical role in their successful IPO. With a passion to create experiences powered by data, she started and scaled Shopify’s portfolio of data products such as Shopify’s order fraud detection that runs in real-time on every order placed across Shopify platform, and Shopify Capital that has funded over 3B$ in cash advances to merchants based on machine learning models. As the leader of the data team and discipline, she grew Shopify’s data team to over 500 data scientists, engineers and product managers, and additionally took on leading the suite of merchant-facing analytical products to give Shopify merchants best-in-class analytical experiences.

Prior to Shopify, Solmaz worked as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and data scientist at McGill University, in the latter role she contributed to cancer research, using methods to build predictors of outcomes for breast cancer.

Solmaz is the winner of the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Best Executive award in 2020, and a recipient of the Forty Under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal in 2021, both recognizing her leadership and work in the Technology field.

Outside of advising companies, she has invested in and her love for technology in general, Solmaz likes to travel any chance she gets.

Michael Tremblay
President and CEO, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

Michael Tremblay joined Invest Ottawa as President and Chief Executive Officer in March of 2017. Mike’s mandate was later expanded to include Bayview Yards. Prior to joining Invest Ottawa, he was the Vice President of Public Sector for Microsoft Canada from April 2007. Mike has 34 years of sales, marketing, operations and general management experience, with considerable experience serving public sector clients. Mike has also held senior executive positions with SAP, Fujitsu Consulting, JDS Uniphase, EDS Systemhouse and Digital Equipment Corporation – principally across Canadian, American and Latin American markets. He has an MBA from Concordia University in Montreal and is a graduate of Computer Technology from Algonquin College. Michael completed the Directors Education Program and is ICD.D certified with the Institute of Corporate Directors. Mike was appointed as a director with the Institute on Governance in 2017. From 2004-2017, Michael served as a member of Algonquin College’s Board of Governors and served as Chair of the College’s Foundation Board. Michael is an active member of the Audit and Corporate Services Committee and has previously served on the Advocacy Committee with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Michael Weider
StartUp Founder, CEO & Investor