CEO Message

Welcome to the May edition of Profound Connections. 

In this issue’s Impact Story, you’ll meet Dr. Ronda Frueauff, a 2023 Impactful Action Award nominee whose 40-year career in education focussed on advancing the use of technology in schools, designing creative classroom environments to engage students in experiential learning, mentoring and coaching. Ronda’s love of learning continues in retirement as she conducts research on laughter and how it affects brain growth.

In our Researcher Spotlight, we profile Dr. Kelly Lyons from the University of Toronto. In addition to being recognized for her outstanding research, Kelly is known for her leadership as head of IBM’s Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) Toronto. At CAS Toronto, Kelly was responsible for applied collaborative research projects with universities across Canada as well as CASCON, Canada’s premier international general computer science conference.

Profound Impact is pleased to announce our strategic partnership with AI Partnerships (AIP) Corporation. Research Impact, our AI-driven platform, uses proprietary and patented AI-powered algorithms to match industry and academic researchers to grant funding in an automatic, targeted and timely manner. We’re excited to partner with AIP and look forward to providing opportunities for AIP’s affiliate network to engage with our platform and add their AI-based research projects to Research Impact’s database.

On May 1, Sherryl Petricevic, Profound Impact’s Director of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships, moderated the panel Unlock Innovation Dollars Through Academia, presented by Innovation Factory. Representatives from BDO Canada, McMaster University, Sheridan College and Mohawk College showcased real-world examples of successful projects and industry/academic partnerships and how companies can successfully access this source of innovation. Sherryl will also participate as a panelist in a discussion on Research Intelligence Solutions at the Canadian Conference on Research Administration, presented by CARA, in Calgary on May 12 – 15.  

The 2024 Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo Women of the Year event will take place on May 23 and we are honoured to sponsor the STEM award for outstanding advancement to the field of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math. Profound Impact team member, Martha Breithaupt is nominated in that category and will also be a keynote speaker at the event. And the innovative Mentoring Circles program offered by the Waterloo Region Chapter of Women in Communications and Technology, an organization I am proud to have co-founded with Sherryl Petricevic, is nominated in the Group Achievement category.

Check out the recently released Lead Like a Woman podcast to hear my views on the importance of being risk-aware rather than risk-averse and how culture, inclusivity, and diversity shape leadership and success in start-ups.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that my late husband, Dr. Scott Vanstone, renowned mathematician, researcher and co-founder of Certicom Corporation, and I will be recognized by the 2024 Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame laureates at a gala ceremony in Kitchen for co-founding TrustPoint Innovation. 

Thank you for your support and we hope that you enjoy this month’s edition of Profound Connections!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

March was a busy month for showcasing Profound Impact, our focus on AI, and how our Research Impact platform uses AI and machine learning to disrupt the research funding industry.

I am pleased to have joined the Advisory Board of AI Partnerships Corporation, whose mission is to make AI more accessible and affordable to businesses of all sizes in order to further the mass adoption of enterprise AI. I look forward to working as a member of the Advisory Board to leverage the technology and expertise of the organization’s Affiliate Network of more than 120 AI solutions providers.

On March 21, I joined the Ivey Alumni Network at the sold-out AI Open House themed Insights from the Leading Edge of AI Adoption in Canada. This successful event, hosted by Deloitte and curated by and for Ivey Alumni, provided insight into the world of AI while helping demystify it. It was an honour to participate as a panelist, alongside others shaping Canada’s AI landscape, to share my insights on how we need to adopt a spirit of inclusion and lifelong learning related to how people affect AI.

To hear my thoughts on the need for companies to consider AI’s potential in automating their processes and the significance of staying informed about AI developments, check out Business Challenges Female Entrepreneurs Face In The Modern Economy, the newest episode of The Business of Intuition podcast I recorded with host Dean Newlund last month. You’ll also learn about Profound Impact’s mission of using AI technology to connect great people to do great things by matching researchers and corporations with relevant grants and funding options.

Looking forward to April, a report on why I joined forces with Deborah Rosati, Profound Impact board chair and founder and CEO of Women Get On Board, and Lara Zink, VP of Client Service and Development at Delaney Capital Management to create Women Funding Women (WFW) is featured in the April issue of the I Am Unbreakable magazine. Click on the link to learn about my entrepreneurial journey and how the WFW network is working to address the persistent funding gap faced by women entrepreneurs in North America.

In this month’s Impact Story, you’ll meet Jennifer Lee, Vice-Chair at Deloitte Canada. A bold, inspiring leader, Jennifer creates global transformation for her clients at Deloitte through her extensive expertise in a wide range of areas. You’ll also learn about her incredible passion for driving local and global impact through her international volunteerism and board work.

You’ll also meet Tomasz Bednarz, Director of Strategic Researcher Engagement at NVIDIA, and the subject of this month’s Researcher Spotlight. Tomasz’s rich background as a researcher, lab director and active volunteer in the computer graphics community provides him with the technical and managerial skills to lead a team that is discovering the new research superstars and helping those researchers to take their innovations to the next level by using NVIDIA-developed technology, tools and hardware.

Profound Impact’s mission is to revolutionize the way researchers work by simplifying grant applications and fostering industry collaborations. For a limited time, we are offering a free evaluation of Research Impact to individual researchers, colleges and universities. Sign up for an evaluation or join us for a Research Impact Demo Day, where we demonstrate the matchmaking features of Research Impact.

Finally, are you curious about this month’s solar eclipse on April 8? I have had the honour of being affiliated with Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics for many years and am pleased to share an article on the eclipse from their monthly newsletter.

Thank you for your support and we hope that you enjoy this month’s edition of Profound Connections!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration of the vital role and contributions of women to society. Profound Impact is proud to celebrate women through the stories you’ll read in this month’s issue of Profound Connections, as well as activities we’re sponsoring throughout the month.

This month’s Impact Story profiles Zainab Azim, a young woman whose passion for space, education, neuroscience and public policy has inspired her to found an organization that works towards providing access to quality education, serve as a mentor in the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs Space4Women program and present her research to audiences around the world – all before completing her undergraduate degree!  Read about Zainab and her plans for expanding her work in mentoring and in the policy space to empower young girls and women interested in pursuing space and STEM fields.

In this month’s Researcher Spotlight we feature Julita Vassileva, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan. You’ll learn about Julita’s passion for promoting the status of women in computer science and in all areas of science and engineering where women are underrepresented. You can also learn about her ground-breaking research on applying AI to solve educational and social problems.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 each year and the theme for IWD 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. Profound Impact is proud to be a sponsor of IWD 2024 events presented by WCT-WR, the Waterloo Region Chapter of Women in Communications and Technology. WCT-WR will host two live events on March 8 and March 27 that will include conversations featuring trailblazing professionals in the arts and culture sector, entertainment, and musical interludes.  Full information about those events and registration information is available here.

In last month’s newsletter, we announced the launch of Women Funding Women (WFW).  Founded by myself, Profound Impact board chair Deborah Rosati and Lara Zink, VP of Client Service and Development at Delaney Capital Management, WFW is a collective working to address the funding gap faced by women-led ventures.

We’re excited about the incredible energy generated by WFW’s two-day launch event on February 7 and 8. Our keynote speaker was Joanna Griffiths, founder and President at Knix, who shared her story with our collective.  

You can also tune into the From Fear to Fire podcast, where I speak with Heather Hansen O’Neill about how WFW is leading the charge to challenge established norms within the venture capital sphere, redefining the landscape for women founders and funders.

Are you a researcher looking for the perfect funding match? For a limited time, Profound Impact is offering a free evaluation of our AI-powered tool, Research Impact, to individual researchers, colleges and universities. You can view a video here or sign up for a live demonstration during one of our Demo Days.

Thank you for your support and we hope that you enjoy this month’s edition of Profound Connections!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

The first few weeks of 2024 have been busy as the Profound Impact team continues to work with universities and colleges and industry partners across Canada to deploy our AI-powered Research Impact tool, which matches researchers with the best research funding opportunities in their field and helps find industry partners to support successful grant applications. Through our innovative new partnership with CS-Can|Info-Can, the first of a series of collaborations with researchers across Canada, Profound Impact is providing CS-Can|Info-Can member Computer Science departments and researchers with free evaluations of Research Impact. Interested in learning more about Research Impact? You can view a video here or sign up for a live demonstration during one of the bi-weekly Demo Days that the Profound Impact team will be presenting throughout 2024.

I was pleased to share my insights on building Profound Impact’s team and our successful and healthy small business culture in the Grow a Small Business podcast. Profound Impact and my work were also featured in an edition of Women’s Biz podcast, where I talked about my journey in information security, my role in commercializing Elliptic Curve Cryptography, and the inspiration behind founding Profound Impact.

In August of 2023, Profound Impact announced the successful close of a $3.125 million pre-seed funding round of nearly all female investors, including many first-time angel investors. Inspired by this achievement, I joined forces with Profound Impact board chair Deborah Rosati and Lara Zink, VP of Client Service and Development at Delaney Capital Management, to create Women Funding Women Inc. (WFW). This collective, which challenges the status quo in the venture capital world and with first-time female angel investors by breaking barriers and building bridges for a more inclusive investment community, will launch in Toronto on February 7. You can read more about how WFW plans to change the VC landscape in Disruption Magazine’s recent article.

In this month’s Impact Story, you’ll meet WFW co-founder Lara Zink and learn more about her journey from working as a political aide to a successful career in finance. In our Researcher Spotlight, we profile Dr. Luigi Benedicenti, Professional Engineer, researcher and Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick, whose career took him from Genoa, Italy to Regina, Saskatchewan to Atlantic Canada.

We hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Profound Connections!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

Happy 2024!

Profound Impact is excited to start the new year with the announcement of a new partnership with CS-Can|Info-Can, a professional organization representing more than 60 Computer Science departments and faculties across Canada.

CS-Can|Info-Can and Profound Impact worked together in 2023 to produce two webinars on researcher and industry collaboration. Recordings of those webinars are available for viewing here.

This new partnership provides an exciting benefit to the CS-Can|Info-Can members – a free evaluation of Research Impact, which uses advanced AI to match researchers with the best research funding opportunities in their field and helps find industry partners to support successful grant applications.

Would you like to see Research Impact in action? You can view a video here or sign up for a live demonstration during one of the bi-weekly Demo Days that the Profound Impact team will be presenting throughout 2024.

This month, we’re proud to present profiles of two 2023 Impactful Action Award finalists. These finalists exemplify what it means to make a profound impact in the world, and we are honoured to share their stories. You’ll meet Leigh Zachary Bursey, an activist, journalist, former three-term politician, singer-songwriter, recording artist, and author, and Lynn Smith, a proud member of the Peavine Métis Settlement who is leading her northern community through a significant change to take control over monitoring the impact of climate change on their land and waterways.

The Profound Impact team is excited about our plans for 2024 and looks forward to sharing those with you. Enjoy this month’s edition of Profound Connections and best wishes for a productive and happy new year!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

Message from the CEO

November was a busy month for the Profound Impact team as we released our annual Social Impact Report, participated in industry conferences and met with venture capitalists in the US in preparation for the company’s next funding round.

The Profound Impact Social Impact Report highlights strategies we’ve undertaken over the last twelve months to maintain and improve a positive environment for our employees. These initiatives have included monthly in-person team meetings, team-building activities, virtual social events (including group cooking sessions), group volunteering, professional skills and growth support education programs, a team-wide book club and the matching of charitable contributions to community organizations. I’m proud to report that Profound Impact has achieved an employee retention rate of 100% (with 0% attrition) while growing the team by 33%. This employee retention rate is in stark contrast with tech companies globally, where the average attrition rate sits at 13.2%. 

Conference attendance and presentations took Profound Impact employees across North America to learn more about key technologies and to meet current and potential customers.  

Our Technical Program Manager, Sohail Ramzan, attended AWS Reinvent in Las Vegas to meet with AWS experts and to learn about the latest cloud industry innovations and how generative AI is revolutionizing the workplace.

Sherryl Petricevic, Director of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships was joined by Mike Folinas, Director of Research Administration at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto to present a case study on the use of Profound Impact’s Research Impact tool at the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) East in London, Ontario.

Jacqueline Watty from our Business Development team represented Profound Impact at qConnect 2023 in Calgary to connect with researchers and industry representatives discussing Canada’s role as a leader in quantum research and development, and how and why quantum is going to affect, change and benefit businesses.

Karl Burger, Director of Sales, attended the VentureLAB HardTech Summit, Canada’s premiere technology and innovation-focused summit that brought together global industry leaders, Canadian founders, investors, and innovators to explore the necessary ingredients to build a strong, connected hardware and semiconductor ecosystem in Canada.

Dr. Deborah Rosati, the chair of Profound Impact’s board of directors, and I took part in Pathways to Silicon Valley, where 24 female founders from across Canada participated in a curated immersion program designed for women founders of start-ups on their path to global business growth. We joined this program to establish relationships with US venture capital firms to prepare for our next fundraising round and our launch into the US in 2024.  

December is the season of giving and the team at Profound Impact is demonstrating the power of small acts of kindness through our annual 12 Days of Impact, a program that encourages generosity. Our 12 Days of Impact campaign provides great examples of easy and inexpensive ways to be kind and generous and has also helped members of the Profound Impact team create a meaningful sense of contribution to their community while increasing bonds of collegiality on the job. We encourage you to download the 12 Days of Impact calendar and challenge your team to participate through small acts of kindness that have great big impacts.

I wish you all the best for 2024 and look forward to working with you in the new year.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

We’re excited to make innovation in medicine the focus of this month’s newsletter and to introduce you to two Canadian trailblazers who are making profound changes in the treatment of diabetes and gynecologic cancers.

Our November Impact Story features Dr. Harald Stöver, Professor in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University and founder and CEO of Allarta Life Science. You’ll learn how Harald has moved his research on polymer hydrogels, bio-relevant macromolecules and the delivery of biologics from the laboratory to market to fundamentally change the way that patients with Type 1 Diabetes receive treatment.  

You’ll also meet Dr. Laura Hopkins, a gynecological oncologist with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and Professor in the Division of Oncology and Provincial Lead for Gynecologic Oncology. A dedicated clinician, Laura’s devotion to providing excellent and timely care for patients through all stages of cancer treatment has led to the launch of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency’s first investigator-initiated trial to explore patients’ preferences for precision medicine in ovarian cancer.

In keeping with the focus on medical technology innovations, this month’s Research Spotlight explores technologies that are providing advanced tools that, thanks to innovative research partnerships between clinicians, scientists, patients and industry, are vastly improving patient care and clinical outcomes.

This month’s newsletter also features an article about CANARIE, Canada’s National Research and Education Network, in recognition of its 30th anniversary. Along with its provincial and territorial partners, CANARIE operates NREN, Canada’s National Research and Education Network. This nationwide, ultra-high-speed network connects Canada’s researchers, educators, and innovators to each other and to global data, technology, and colleagues.

In late October, I was appointed as Vice-Chair for the CANARIE Board. I am extremely honoured to take on this role and have the opportunity to work closely with the Board Chair, Larry Rosia, President and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Past Chair, Sylvie LaPerriere and the other Board members. As the CEO of a female-founded company, I’m proud to serve on the board of an organization committed to diversity as reflected in the appointment of Kathryn Anthonisen, CANARIE’s first female President and CEO, and, when women occupy just 23% of board seats in Canada, a board that is 60% female.

Thank you for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

September was a month of celebration and new partnerships at Profound Impact.

We were proud to name Hui Huang Hoe and Mike Farwell as winners of the 2023 Impactful Actions Awards on September 14, Profound Impact Day. 

Profound Impact Day is a time to recognize the world’s diverse leaders and changemakers who are leaving their mark on the global community through their initiatives, influence, and impact. This year the award expanded to include two categories: Young Leader and Lifetime Achievement. Hoe was awarded the Young Leader category, and Farwell accepted the Lifetime Achievement award. 

Hui Huang Hoe is a serial inventor of green electrochemistry and the founder of elerGreen, a cleantech startup recovering valuable polymers, metals and chemicals from chemical waste. 

Mike Farwell is a radio host at CityNews 570 in Kitchener and is play-by-play announcer for the Kitchener Rangers OHL hockey team. He is a relentless community builder who turned the grief from losing his two sisters to cystic fibrosis into Farwell4Hire, the largest annual fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Canada, through which he has raised more than $1.25 million. 

You’ll learn more about Hui Huang and Mike in the profiles in this month’s newsletter.

We were also pleased to announce a new partnership with Haltech Regional Innovation Centre in September.  Haltech is a non-profit organization launched in 2011 and is the go-to strategic connector and educator for start-ups in the Halton Region of Ontario and beyond. The partnership between Profound Impact and Haltech is designed to discover a range of funding and research opportunities for internal research and product development for Haltech’s clients through access to Research Impact, our AI-powered tool.

Profound Impact is proud to be a woman-founded and led company. Last month, I joined Sean Weisbrot, host of the We Live to Build podcast, to talk about my previous career in cryptography, my ongoing passion for encouraging women in business and the power of female investors.  You’ll find the podcast here.

Thank you for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

The Profound Impact team is looking forward to announcing the 2023 Impactful Action Award winners on September 14th during Profound Impact Day. This annual virtual event honours the late Professor Scott A. Vanstone and celebrates the impact and legacy of collaboration and innovation developed through the Profound Impact community.  


Profound Impact Day 2023 will commence at 12 noon EDT on Sept. 14th and feature a fireside chat with past Impactful Actions Awards winners Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, former president of the University of Waterloo, and Kehkashan Basu M.S.M., Founder of Green Hope Foundation

Learn more about the finalists in both the Young Leaders and Lifetime Achievement categories in this month’s newsletter and register for Profound Impact Day 2023 here.

The Profound Impact team had a productive time at the NCURA (National Council of University Research Administrators) annual meeting in Washington, DC last month. There was tremendous interest in Research Impact and everyone loved the Canadian maple syrup candy! We also conducted a survey of attendees about their areas of concern regarding research funding and industry partnership. We will analyze the responses and make the report available on our website soon.

As Profound Impact continues its growth in the Canadian market and expands into the United States and internationally, we are pleased to announce that the company surpassed our goal of raising $3 million in two tranches this summer, for a total of $3,125,000.  A group of female investors, including many who were first-time investors, led the way for Profound Impact’s pre-seed round of financing, which closed on May 5, 2023 and August 4, 2023 respectively. The participation of first-time female investors sends a clear message of confidence in Profound Impact’s vision and the team’s leadership. 

We’re excited about how we continue to connect great people to do great things and look forward to seeing you at our noon event – Profound Impact Day on September 14.

Thank you for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

The Profound Impact team is proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Impactful Actions Awards.  We were inspired by this year’s nominees and are excited to recognize two recipients for the first time this year (listed below in alphabetical order).

The finalists in the Young Leaders category are:

  • Leigh Zachary Bursey
  • Hui Huang Hoe
  • Tabatha Laverty

The three Lifetime Achievement finalists are:

  • Mike Farwell
  • Lynn Smith
  • Stephanie Thompson

Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations. The winner from each category will be announced on Profound Impact Day on September 14. 

Canada is renowned for having brought important innovations to the world, including Banting and Best’s discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto, the development of the IMAX camera projector, and the Canadarm robotic arm used in space shuttle orbiters. Less known is Canada’s fundamental role in the development and evolution of computer animation and visual effects.  This month’s Impact Story introduces you to Marceli Wein, who came to Canada in 1952 after surviving Nazi Germany as a hidden child, became an “accidental graduate student” at McGill University, and, with his colleague Nestor Burtnyk and director Peter Foldes, created the first fully computer-animated film in 1974.

Canada’s computer science departments and software companies are responsible for much of the technology behind the computer animation and special effects seen on today’s screens.  You’ll read about those contributions, including the pioneering researchers and software developers whose work is used in major studios around the world, in this issue’s Research Spotlight.  And in the Researcher Spotlight you’ll meet Mark Jones, the educator, producer, and writer who has spent more than two decades working to train many of those award-winning artists.

This issue also features results from the survey of polytechnics, colleges, and universities across Canada conducted by Profound Impact to gather feedback on information sharing between partners, understanding grant funding and partnership opportunities, and helping build grant partnerships.

Thank you for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone