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

Across Canada, many of us are astonished that summer (aka “construction season”) is quickly passing us by and the academic year will soon be in full swing! August is often a time to rest and recharge before jumping into the next exciting part of life’s journey. With travel becoming more accessible, we hope that you are enjoying a change of scenery within our own country and beyond. 

Speaking of travel and global mobility, we dove deep into  Kitchener-Waterloo’s tech hub for our Impact Story this month, featuring Accelerator Centre CEO, Jay Krishnan. From his global perspective, Krishan shared his goals to take the region and the Accelerator Centre global to generate demand and discoverability of tech developed in Waterloo. 

I also sat down with “Canada’s tech supercharger,” Communitech. As a female founder, I was thrilled to talk about my experiences, how I was inspired to keep going instead of retiring, and what drove me to leave Silicon Valley and start Profound Impact in Canada instead. Read on to check out my interview and learn more about why Profound Impact was created, what it is today, and where we plan to take it in the future. 

I’m excited to say we’ve received outstanding nominations for the Profound Impact™ Impactful Actions Award. We can’t wait to share the nominees with you! Save the dates – our finalists will be announced on August 15th, and we’ll share the winner on September 14th, our 3rd annual Profound Impact Day!

As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone 

Jay Krishnan

Jay Krishnan

CEO, Accelerator Centre

An innovative thinker with a global mindset, Jay Krishnan believes that the time to invest in Waterloo Region’s ambitious tech entrepreneurs is now. Krishnan, who has more than 20 years of global experience working with businesses in the startup space, took over the role of CEO at the Accelerator Centre in March of 2021 and he’s determined to uncover entrepreneurs who have what it takes to be successful on the world’s stage. Before coming to Waterloo, Krishnan was a General Partner at Mantra Capital and the first CEO at T-Hub, India’s largest startup incubator. He was drawn to Waterloo Region because of the high potential tech talent that is relatively undiscovered on a global scale. 

“Any ecosystem needs to have momentum, density, and diversity, and I think Waterloo has all these three,” Krishnan said. “It still remains untapped, as seen through the lens of the global perspective.”

Krishnan is at the centre of many moving pieces in Waterloo’s tech ecosystem. He believes the region has high-pedigree institutions, producing talented individuals who may not have the tools they need to commercialize their ideas. That’s where the Accelerator Centre comes in to help. “The Accelerator Centre, as an organization, is truly positioned to be in the centre of the track for these companies,” Krishnan said. The organization works closely with founders who may not have the business experience or support to find success on their own, offering support through various programs. 

“Our goal is to take the region and the Accelerator Centre global to generate demand and discoverability of tech developed in Waterloo to the world,” Krishnan said. “We don’t need to confine ourselves to Canada. If anything, I think COVID demonstrated that we can go global by hanging out on the internet.”

Businesses coming to the Accelerator Centre can access a variety of programs, including incubation, story acceleration, and the recently announced AC:Studio program, which focuses on the entrepreneur first before the tech to build-up strong founders and teams. The Accelerator Centre offers in-person and virtual events, funding opportunities, product launch support and mentorship. Companies looking to enter Canada can also do so with support from the team of experts at the Accelerator Centre and by accessing Canada’s Start-Up Visa program. “It really depends on where you are as a company in your lifecycle,” Krishnan said. “We have structured programming that helps you along your journey,” Krishnan said. This structured programming includes high-touch mentorship to help companies with their business ideas and commercialization. The Accelerator Centre also helps generate demand and discoverability for science and tech clients in Waterloo Region.

The Accelerator Centre is working on a key initiative that will make it the most inclusive startup ecosystem in the world. The centre’s EDI plan, a two-year initiative, is fully available to the public and includes internal teams, board members, mentorship models, and entrepreneur programs. “You have to make yourself accountable and transparent,” Krishnan said. 

Heading into the future, Krishnan believes Waterloo Region’s tech talent is poised to lead in the new post-pandemic reality. “If we have the capability, and we do, there should be no reason why we are not appealing to the world.” Jay’s unique entrepreneur-first approach and the raw talent within Waterloo Region make a perfect pairing for global impact.

The visualizations below show Krishnan’s career highlights, along with some of the businesses he’s worked with since joining the Accelerator Centre in 2021.

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!

CEO Message

Welcome to the July edition of our Profound Connections newsletter. As we complete the first half of the calendar year, I hope everyone can take some time to enjoy the summer, rest, and recharge, bringing new energy to the second half of 2022. This month, as the focus of our July Impact story, we were honoured to speak with Dr. Charmaine Dean, Vice President of Research & International at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Dean is a leading researcher in disease mapping innovation and a fellow CANARIE board member with me. I am certain you will enjoy learning about Dr. Dean’s local and global impact.

We also continue to collect nominations 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 in areas such as education, innovation, research, entrepreneurism, EDI, social impact and environment. Award nominees exemplify what it means to impact the global community as leaders, mentors, researchers, inventors, activists and change agents in their own organizations and within their community as a whole.

This is a tremendous opportunity to nominate an unsung hero who is passionate about making a difference, working to make the world a better place, mentoring the next generation of leaders, inventing new ways to solve problems, or simply making a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. I invite you to nominate yourself or someone you know who should be recognized for their impact. Nominations are open until midnight on July 20th.

As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone 

Charmaine Dean

Dr. Charmaine Dean

Vice President, Research & International, University of Waterloo

A leading researcher in disease mapping innovation, Dr. Charmaine Dean uses spatial analysis to solve large, capacity-related problems. 

“My research has all been in big files, big questions – firefighting, fire science, forest ecology,” Dr. Dean said. “I led a national network related to understanding fire on the landscape and how we should deal with it, given that it was such an important question for Canada and it still is.” Prior to researching fire science, Dean worked with the Ministry of Health in British Columbia to analyze a flareup in suicides in one region. “I wondered, ‘how bad is it compared to the rest of the province? Can you do some analysis to understand where we should pull resources from in order to put more resources into child suicide?’” she said. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, Dean is using analytics to predict hospital capacity concerns and monitor COVID-19 case counts and wastewater signals.

Dean, who is Vice President, Research and International at the University of Waterloo,  is no stranger to the Waterloo Region. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 1980, she moved to the University of Waterloo for her graduate work, earning a masters degree in 1984 and a doctorate degree in 1988. “It was sort of a circle coming back here,” Dean said. She was drawn to the role at the University of Waterloo because the institution is working to develop an innovation ecosystem. “The whole region has grown tremendously in terms of entrepreneurship and innovation, especially the student ventures coming forward,” Dean said. “There’s a pulse of excitement related to that.”

Dean began her academic career at the University of Calgary before moving further west to join Simon Fraser University. In her time at Simon Fraser University, Dean had an integral role in establishing the Faculty of Health Sciences. “A lot of intentional and deliberate work was shaping this faculty,” she said. “We created three new programs that were completely oversubscribed.” Dean said the school expected to have 10 or 15 students in that first year, but ended up receiving 300 applications. “You can’t turn them away, because if you turn them away, you’re now telling them, don’t bother coming here.” Dean also helped dismantle a faculty at the school, which brought with it a different set of challenges. Dean said she focused on listening to peoples’ concerns throughout the dismantling process.

Dean returned to Ontario in 2011, serving as Dean of Science at Western University from 2011 to 2017. “That was such a privilege,” she said. “I was so honoured to be chosen for that role.” 

Now, at the University of Waterloo, Dean meets with faculty and interest groups, along with focusing on strategic alliances and partnerships with other academic institutions and collaborating with government, business and industry. Dean will also add a new portfolio in the fall – commercialization and entrepreneurship. “That’s one of the exciting things about being a leader, being able to see what an organization like the University of Waterloo needs and, through processes of discussion and consultation, making it happen.”

A female leader in an often male-dominated field, Dean said it’s important for organizations to have diversity at their leadership tables. “Diverse leadership brings diverse perspectives,” she said. “It’s really important to have women in leadership positions so that others can see that they have somebody to turn to for advice or for career support.” She encouraged people at the beginning of their careers to speak up and express themselves whenever possible. “Have the confidence to be bold and take small steps and recognize yourself as a leader,” she said. However, she also acknowledged that work spaces are not always inclusive and women often face barriers and biases that may prevent them from being authentic, voicing their opinions, and fully expressing themselves. “It is crucial that we continue to identify and eliminate these barriers for women and members of other historically excluded groups, ” she said.

Dean said she wants to impact the lives of her colleagues on an individual level, whether that’s helping them win an award, setting up a centre, or attracting new students to a school. She also wants to leave a legacy of improving things at an institutional level, making sure students feel safe and supported. Dean led an anti-racism taskforce at the University of Waterloo, working to create an anti-racism framework for the institution. She will continue to focus on sustainability, encouraging people to come together to solve big problems.

The visualizations below depict Dean’s accomplishments both in her career and in building research communities.

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!

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