Impactful Actions Award

Nominations are now open for Profound Impact’sTM Impactful Actions Award. The Impactful Actions Award is an annual awards program recognizing leaders from around the world who are making a profound impact on the global community by inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult problems. This program brings together two of Profound Impact’s core values: open collaboration and making a positive impact. 

The winner will be announced annually on September 14th, Profound Impact Day, which is a celebration of the world’s diverse leaders and changemakers who are leaving their mark on the global community through their initiatives, influence, and impact.

Award Criteria

To meet the judging criteria for the Impactful Actions Award, the Nominee must: 

  1. Significantly contribute to the area(s) of leadership, mentoring, gender equality and inclusiveness, academic excellence, or research;
  2. Be a living person over the age of 18 years old;
  3. Have achieved professional recognition in their field of study or expertise;
  4. Exemplify the core values of open collaboration and positive impact;
  5. Demonstrate innovative ideas or actions for solving challenging problems with the scalable potential for global impact.

Award Timeline

Key dates in this annual award cycle for 2022 include:

  • JUNE 1 – Award nominations open
  • JULY 20 – Award nominations close (nominations will be accepted until 11:59 PM ET)
  • AUGUST 15 – Three finalists selected and notified
  • SEPTEMBER 14 – Winner honoured on Profound Impact Day

The top 3 finalists will be profiled in early September in Profound Impact’s newsletter. The award winner will be recognized on Profound Impact Day and a donation to their charity of choice will be made by Profound Impact Corporation. 

Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur was the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2021. Dr. Hamdullahpur is the former President & Vice Chancellor and Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He was selected for the impact he has made on university education, research and scholarship in our broader society through constant reform and innovation in the higher education sector, in addition to his involvement in the United Nations’ HeForShe initiative to take action on gender inequality.

If you have questions about the Impactful Actions Award, please email rrusiniak@profoundimpact.com.

The Nominator must contact the Nominee(s) to inform them of their Nomination. Nominee(s) has the right to decline to be nominated, in which case, no nomination should be submitted. Self-nominations are accepted for this award. The nomination submission must be completed using the online nomination form.

CEO Message

Welcome to the June edition of our Profound Connections newsletter. 

 In this month’s Impact story, we feature Deborah MacLatchy, president of Wilfrid Laurier University, an academic leader committed to inspiring women in STEM and promoting diversity and inclusion. The full story can be read here.

We are excited to announce that nominations are now open for the Profound Impact™ Impactful Actions Award. This annual awards program honours individuals who are making a profound impact using collaborative approaches to solve difficult problems. We look forward to the nominations and welcome all to participate.  Please feel free to nominate someone or even nominate yourself!

Our progress continues at Profound Impact and we look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months.

Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement,

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone 

Deborah MacLatchy

Dr. Deborah MacLatchy

President and Vice-Chancellor, Wilfrid Laurier University 

An academic leader committed to inspiring women in STEM and promoting diversity and inclusion, Dr. Deborah MacLatchy has been at the helm of Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) since 2017.

MacLatchy made the journey to Waterloo Region in 2007 after spending the early years of her academic career at the University of Winnipeg and University of New Brunswick. MacLatchy, who grew up in Nova Scotia, is no stranger to Southwestern Ontario. Her father is from Preston, now part of Cambridge, and she did her postdoctoral research at the University of Guelph. “It’s motivating to have returned to my dad’s roots,” MacLatchy said. 

She was first hired at Laurier as Dean of the Faculty of Science. In 2009, MacLatchy was appointed to the role of Vice President, Academic and Provost. She also served as Acting Vice President of Research from December 2014 to November 2015. “I’ve just fallen in love with Laurier and being a part of what happens in Southwestern Ontario,” MacLatchy said. “We’ve seen changes in cities rethinking themselves, going from an industrial age to being leaders in a new tech economy.”

MacLatchy has a research lab at Laurier, where she studies the effects of industrial contaminants on fish health. “I look at how fish reproduce and how they grow,” she said. Her research examines how fish are affected by operations like sewage treatment plants or pulp and paper mills, along with working with industries and municipalities on water quality to find solutions for any concerns at the source.

As a female leader of a major post-secondary institution, MacLatchy says it’s important for women to have role models. “They can see themselves being able to see those opportunities are real and if they have an interest or a passion for particular areas, that there will be opportunities for them,” she said. MacLatchy said there were very few female role models when she started university back in the 1980s. “There weren’t many women university professors in the sciences, maybe one per department,” she said. “For women of that era, we made our own role models.”

MacLatchy says women, and white women in particular, have greatly benefited over the past few decades. Now, she says she wants to see more diversity across all disciplines. That’s one goal of Laurier’s strategic plan for the future, focusing on thriving communities and future readiness. “What do the scientists of the future need to have, or the business people or the social workers of the future, the educators of the future?” MacLatchy said. “There’s an understanding that it’s not just what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it.”

As women break into STEM, MacLatchy encourages them to find their passions and connect with others in their chosen field. “I hope that you find the support that you need,” she said. “But, if you aren’t finding the support, know that you’re probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time and that there are other supports out there, there are other people who are able to support you. Maybe reach out a little bit wider than the circle that you’re in.”

MacLatchy hopes to inspire the next generation of women in STEM, leaving behind a legacy of increased diversity and inclusion across all academics.

You can view some of MacLatchy’s accomplishments in the images below.

Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

Impactful Actions Award Press Release

Profound Impact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR 2022 IMPACTFUL ACTIONS AWARD

The Impactful Actions Award recognizes individuals making a profound impact on the global community

WATERLOO, ON | JUNE 1, 2022 — Applications are now open for the 2022 Impactful Actions Award.

The annual award is presented by Profound Impact™ Corporation, a Toronto-Waterloo Corridor tech company providing data analytic tools for organizations to measure their global impact. Profound Impact’s Impactful Actions Award recognizes individuals who are inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult global problems.

“The Impactful Actions Award combines two of our core values: collaboration and making a positive impact,” said Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, Profound Impact’s Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to get to know impactful individuals through the nomination process and especially, honouring and celebrating the winner for their valuable contributions.”

Nominations are open now until July 20. The top three finalists will be contacted on August 15, and the 2022 Impactful Actions Award winner will be announced during the Profound Impact Day virtual event on September 14, 2022. Please take this opportunity to review the award criteria and nominate someone you feel is making an extraordinary positive impact.

CEO Message

Welcome to May’s edition of our Profound Connections newsletter. Over the last month, our team at Profound Impact™ has been busy with the release of our first Social Impact Report, participating in our yearly Earth Day activities, and championing important discussions about supporting women in STEM careers. 

The release of our first annual Social Impact Report was an exciting feat for Profound Impact. As a startup, it can be a challenge to navigate commitment to corporate social responsibility while also acknowledging the financial constraints that come with being a smaller company. It was our goal to evade this limitation and find ways of making a social impact without having to invest immense amounts of money. Many of our activities required no cost whatsoever! The full report detailing the ways in which our team members contributed to social, economic and environmental causes throughout 2021 can be found below.

April 22, 2022 was Earth Day — and each member of the Profound Impact team used this as an opportunity to spend at least 30 minutes doing something to benefit the environment. From planting pollinator gardens to picking up litter at a local park, the highlights of our team’s pursuits are shared in this month’s newsletter.

Finally, I was honoured to be interviewed by the Accelerator Centre’s CEO Jay Krishnan on the inaugural Waterloo Grit podcast, where innovators are called upon to answer the question, “What does the global future of entrepreneurship look like?” Continue reading to learn more and listen to our conversation!

Stay connected with us on social media and through our upcoming Profound Connections newsletters for more information on upcoming events!

Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement,

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone 

William T. Tutte

Professor William “Bill” Tutte

English Canadian codebreaker and mathematician 

Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo

May 14, 1917 – May 2, 2002

A world-renowned codebreaker and mathematician, William “Bill” Tutte left an indelible mark on Waterloo’s mathematical community. Twenty years after his death, he still has a profound impact on students studying combinatorics at the University of Waterloo.

Born in 1917 in Newmarket, England, Tutte came from a modest background but would go on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was an active member of the Trinity Mathematical Society. “For him to make that rise is the stuff of storybooks,” said Dan Younger, Retired Professor Emeritus, Department of Combinatorics and Optimization, University of Waterloo, who was a Faculty colleague of Tutte.

Before Tutte made his way to Canada and helped shape the University of Waterloo into the institution it is today, he accepted an invitation to join a team of codebreakers working to decipher German codes in the Second World War. At Bletchley Park in 1941, Tutte was tasked with using samples of messages to uncover the structure of the machine generating German ciphers named “Fish”. Tutte successfully determined that structure without ever seeing the machine. Tutte then focused on developing an algorithm to decipher Fish codes, an algorithm that necessitated the creation of COLOSSUS, the world’s first programmable, electronic, digital computer, which was built in 1943. COLOSSUS played an essential role in the cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher. Tutte’s codebreaking work was used to decipher Fish codes until the end of the war. It is believed that breaking those codes meant the war ended two years earlier, saving countless lives.

Tutte moved to Canada in 1948 and spent 14 years at the University of Toronto. He joined the University of Waterloo in 1962, just five years after the institution first opened its doors. He was part of a group who went on to found the Faculty of Mathematics in 1967 and was a founding member of the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization. 

Tutte played an integral role in building the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics. He helped establish the reputation of the school and attracted combinatorialists from around the world.

“He came when it wasn’t a fully developed university and it became a primary place for scholars in mathematics to come,” Younger said.

Throughout his time at the University of Waterloo, Tutte stayed quiet on his role as a codebreaker during World War II, as he was bound under the Official Secrets Act of Britain. Younger, who first met Tutte at a conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1963, said Tutte didn’t share much of his experience at Bletchley Park.

“He never did talk about what he did in the war,” Younger said. 

Younger joined the Faculty of Mathematics in its inaugural year and was promoted to Professor in 1975. He became good friends with Tutte outside of work, often on weekends hiking on trails in and around Waterloo Region. “It was just a nice relationship in which we really didn’t have to talk unless we had something to say,” Younger said. 

Tutte retired in 1985, but stayed on with the Faculty as Professor Emeritus. He acted as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Combinatorial Theory until he retired. Tutte died on May 2, 2002 at the age of 84. 

The University of Waterloo awards the William Tutte Centenary Undergraduate Scholarship every year, the highest scholarship given to a student interested in combinatorics. The scholarship, which is worth $1,500, is funded by donations from people inspired by Tutte’s work. The scholarship isn’t just a financial gift, though. It also comes with an homage to Tutte’s childhood in England.

“If one gets the scholarship, one gets a bicycle,” Younger said. The bicycle represents Tutte’s journey as a youngster to a high school in the town of Cambridge. He bicycled 18 miles to and from school every day starting at the age of 11.

William Tutte Way was named in Tutte’s honour at the University of Waterloo in 2017. The road connects the three Faculty of Mathematics buildings at the university.

Tutte was one of the foremost scholars in combinatorics. In addition to numerous awards throughout his career and into his retirement, Tutte was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2001. The Canadian government founded the Tutte Institute for Mathematics and Computing (TIMC) in 2009.

“He certainly was the man,” Younger said.

Tutte’s academic legacy includes many students, including prominent scholars Dr. Ron Mullin, Dr. Scott Vanstone and Dr. Alfred Menezes.

Four generations of Mathematicians/Cryptographers. From left to right: Ron Mullin, Bill Tutte, Scott Vanstone, Alfred Menezes.

You can view some of Tutte’s accomplishments in the images below:

Profound Impact academic ancestry graph for Bill Tutte.

William “Bill” Tutte had a long, impactful career as a professor, codebreaker and mathematician. A Profound Impact career trajectory visualization details some of his most significant accomplishments.

Do you have an impact story to share? Reach out to us at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to have your story featured in an upcoming newsletter!

Waterloo Grit Podcast

Profound Impact’s CEO, Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, was the guest speaker for an inaugural podcast hosted by Jay Krishnan of Canada’s Accelerator Centre for a great conversation. Sherry shares her personal story and discusses the challenges facing female entrepreneurs in technology, and offers some great advice for meeting those challenges. A mathematician, entrepreneur, innovator, and philanthropist, Sherry defied the odds when it comes to women pursuing STEM careers and has been an advocate for women in STEM, pushing for them to assume a greater role in Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery. Watch the podcast recording here or listen on Spotify here.

CEO Message

With the arrival of Spring, Profound Impact enters into the second half of our fiscal year with plenty of highlights to share from a productive March and a view into what’s planned for April. 

This month, in celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2022 — our team will once again take on the responsibility of spending at least one hour doing something to benefit the environment. We invite our Profound Impact network to follow suit and participate in making a difference by doing something to help the environment — such as going for a walk, clearing the trash in your community, or even planting a tree. Whatever you choose to do this Earth Day, our collective impacts will make a real difference.

Speaking of making a difference, Profound Impact is proud to release our first Social Impact Report! We set a goal for our organization to be an early adopter of social impact programs and you can read all about our first year of activities here.

Last month, Profound Impact powered the second annual International Women’s Day celebration events in collaboration with WCT Waterloo Region, which attracted over 450 participants from our community and around the world — all coming together to #BreakTheBias. We had a productive time celebrating the successes of women entrepreneurs, professionals, and community leaders from the Waterloo Region and beyond. A big thank you to our inspiring panelists for sharing their stories and advice — and of course, our valued sponsors and partners for their support in making this event possible. If you missed the event or want to re-watch the insightful panel discussions, you can access them on our Women Empowering Women Digital Community platform here.

As we head into the warmer months, Profound Impact is looking forward to continued collaboration as we strive to create a community that empowers positive change. Stay connected with us on social media and through our upcoming Profound Connections newsletters for more information on upcoming events!

Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement,

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone 

Ronald Cleveland Mullin

Ronald Cleveland Mullin

Dr. Ron Mullin

Distinguished Emeritus Professor, University of Waterloo 

Co-founder, Certicom 

A humble, dedicated professor and mathematician who is modest about his successes, Dr. Ron Mullin has made invaluable contributions to combinatorics, academia and cryptography. His career has spanned over 50 years with notable successes in both commercial and academic ventures. Along with Scott Vanstone and Gord Agnew, Ron Mullin co-founded Certicom, a leading cryptography company whose technology was licensed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), among many others, and later sold to Research In Motion (RIM), now known as  BlackBerry. Mullin was also Professor and Chair of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo and boasts one of the largest lineages in the Mathematics Genealogy project, with 20 PhD students and 180 descendants. 

“Teaching as a whole and getting good students and working with them, it’s a wonderful thing,” said Mullin. 

Even as a student, Mullin’s impact was profound. He was the first ever University of Waterloo graduate to receive an MA in mathematics in 1960. A bright and promising young mathematician and cryptology student, Mullin was recruited by the University of Waterloo to lecture while he completed his graduate studies. His skills were so impressive that the University’s head of mathematics used Mullin as bait to lure world class mathematician, who later was acknowledged as the World War II codebreaker and cryptography expert, William Tutte to the university with the intention of building out the department and recruiting top-tier talent. 

“It was quite an honour,” Mullin reflected, when asked about his role in attracting Tutte to the university. 

After completing his PhD under Tutte, Mullin went on to pursue a career as a professor at the University of Waterloo until 1996, rising the ranks from lecturer to distinguished professor emeritus and adjunct professor. Described by two of his former students as brilliant, encouraging and easy going, Mullin always left a lasting impression on those he taught, as well as his colleagues. 

“Ron taught my first computer science class,” said Alfred Menezes, one of Mullin’s academic grandchildren and professor in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo. “To him, the little details didn’t matter. He thinks about the big stuff – the important stuff…he realized the value of ideas.” 

One of those ideas became the foundation for Mullin’s commercial venture – Certicom, a leading supplier of wireless security solutions. Mullin was heavily involved in the company’s patent program. Certicom’s signature product was Elliptic Curve Cryptography, which speeds up the encryption process, utilizing shorter encryption keys without loss of security. This technology played a crucial role in the advancement of smartphone and other mobile devices and accelerated the growth of a number of companies including RIM. 

“One good thing about it – it’s fast and secure for certain kinds of encryption processes. And these turned out to be the ones that are very helpful in smartphones,” said Hugh Williams, retired computer science professor and Mullin’s academic son. “So in a sense, Scott, Gord and Ron realized this was a coming thing and they were quite skillful in introducing this company.”

After retiring from the University of Waterloo as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and stepping away from his commercial ventures, Mullin went on to enjoy a second career at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He established a Cryptography Group at the university, a position he held until his “second retirement”, at the age of 75. Mullin also became the first recipient of the Stanton Medal, which is awarded by the Institute for Combinatorics and its Applications to honour significant lifetime contributions promoting the discipline of combinatorics through advocacy, outreach, service, teaching and/or mentoring. In addition, Mullin was awarded a doctor rerum naturalium honoris causa (Honorary Doctorate Degree) from the University of Rostock in Germany. 

While Mullin’s professional accomplishments are impressive, his legacy cannot be fully understood without including his mathematics genealogy. A number of graduate students that studied under Mullin became very prominent in cryptography and computer science including: Hugh Williams, who was instrumental in establishing one of Canada’s leading research centres in cryptography and information security; Scott Vanstone, world-renowned cryptography and co-founder of Certicom; Douglas Wiedemann, who designed an algorithm for linear systems of equations before joining the NSA; Bimal Roy, head of R C Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security in India; and Evi Nemeth, engineer, author and teacher who played a prominent role in the development of the Unix computer operating system.  

“He has had many students and ultimately, for an academic, that’s your impact – your students. What they end up doing and how they add to what it was that you did,” said Williams.

You can view some of Dr. Mullins’ accomplishments in the images below:

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Do you have an impact story to share? Reach out to us at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to have your story featured in an upcoming newsletter! 

International Women’s Day 2022

Hosted on the Profound Impact™ Platform, Three Days of Free Virtual Event Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

REGION OF WATERLOO CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2022 WITH THREE DAYS OF FREE VIRTUAL EVENT PROGRAMS

Women in Communications and Technology — Waterloo Region Chapter to host three online events celebrating, educating and empowering women

WATERLOO, ON | FEBRUARY 24, 2022 — In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Women in Communications and Technology — Waterloo Region Chapter (WCT-WR) is partnering with various community organizations to host three virtual events during the month of March featuring some of the Region’s most notable female leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Centered around the 2022 campaign theme #BreakTheBias, participants will share personal stories of overcoming stereotypes and discrimination in the workplace. There will also be live panel discussions on empowering women in healthcare and education, achieving financial independence and assessing overall perceptions of women in society, culture and the workplace.

“Women have made tremendous progress in advancing gender equality and challenging existing gender stereotypes, but there is more work to be done,” said Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, CEO of Profound Impact Corporation and Founder of WCT-WR. “With the pandemic posing serious risks to women’s progress in the workforce, empowering and educating women is more important than ever.”