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

CEO Message

June has been an exciting and busy month for Profound Impact!

I am thrilled and grateful to welcome a group of female investors, including many who are first-time investors, into our network as part of our latest funding round. Women need opportunities to invest and grow their portfolios, and I’m proud that so many made the decision to make their first-time investment in Profound Impact, sending a clear message of confidence in the company’s vision and the team’s leadership!

We are also pleased to announce the launch of Profound Impact’s inaugural Board of Directors, composed of distinguished business leaders with a wealth of skills and diverse backgrounds. Joining me, as founder, president and CEO of Profound Impact, this experienced board, which will help guide the company toward its next phase of growth and success, includes:

Board Chair – Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D, GCB.D, CCB.D: An award-winning corporate director and entrepreneur and founder of Women Get On Board.

Board Director – Sharon Castelino, MBA, LLM, ICD.D: An award-winning financial services executive and corporate director with three decades of experience in multiple sectors and across global jurisdictions.

Corporate Secretary – Kasia Malz, CPA, CA, MAcc.:  In addition to her role as CFO, Kasia will serve as corporate secretary for the board of directors.

We were excited to present and demonstrate our Research Impact product at Collision in Toronto from June 26 to 29. As this conference brings together global technology leaders and companies, high-potential start-ups and top journalists to participate in more than 20 content tracks, Collision was the ideal venue for showcasing Research Impact’s capacity to serve as a matchmaker for collaborators and researchers to connect with industry partners and government granting agencies. In addition to demonstrations in our booth, I was pleased to present the benefits of Research Impact along with Deloitte partner Jigna Shah on the AWS StartUp Loft Theatre stage. You can learn more about Research Impact and our participation in Collision in this newsletter.

This month’s Impact Story profiles Shann McGrail, Chief Executive Officer of the Haltech Regional Innovation Centre. You’ll learn how Shann uses both her extensive experience in the technology sector and her improv skills to lead Haltech in its mission to serve as a strategic connector and educator for start-ups in Halton and across Ontario.

Finally, we have received impressive nominations for the Impactful Action Awards. Thanks to all who let us know about incredible people around the world making a great impact!

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

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

The application of technology in healthcare has increased significantly since the advent of COVID 19 in 2020. This month’s newsletter highlights the role of health informatics, which combines communication, information technology and health care to transform and greatly improve patient care through the sharing of information, accurate and timely diagnoses and treatments and personalized medicine.  You’ll learn about interdisciplinary research in areas including big data, environmental and global health, patient monitoring and acceptance and adoption of technologies for health management.  And you’ll meet Dr. Helen Chen of the Professional Practice Centre in Health Systems at the University of Waterloo who works with health care sector partners and professional staff and faculty from the University of Waterloo to tackle interesting and important real-world problems.

This month’s Impact Story highlights the work of Lily Pourzand, who came to Canada from Iran in 1999 in search of political safety and personal freedom.  A finalist for the 2023 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards, Lily is a passionate and outstanding advocate for girls and women, both in Canada and around the world, as she works to create community linkages and establish relationships with stakeholders, organizations, funders and policymakers to bring positive social changes.

The Profound Impact team is planning for a busy June and we hope to see you at one of the events we’ll be participating in this month. We’re proud to sponsor the CS-CAN 2023 conference at McGill University from June 5 to 9.  Our team will be in Montreal to meet with computer science researchers and students from across Canada.  We’ll also be taking part in the Collision 2023 conference at the Enercare Centre in Toronto, from June 26 to 29 as part of the Startup Alpha program.  And I’ll be presenting, in conjunction with Deloitte, on the AWS stage at the conference.

Nominations are open until June 14th for our Impactful Action Awards. We believe that one profound impact leads to another and that’s why the recipients of our awards will be able to select a charity of their choice for a donation made by Profound Impact.  To make a nomination, or learn more about the awards, please click here: https://news.profoundimpact.com/…/2023-impactful…/

Finally, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Kasia Malz to Profound Impact as Chief Financial Officer. Kasia joined the Profound Impact team in April and brings more than 15 years of experience working in diverse financial leadership roles in start-up and high-growth environments. She received both her Masters of Accounting and Honours Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of Illinois. Adding Kasia as our CFO signals a time of growth, expansion and investment here at Profound Impact and we know that she will be an invaluable member of our team as we grow.

We look forward to receiving your nominations for the Impactful Action Awards and to meeting you at the CS-CAN conference in Montreal and the Collision conference in Toronto.  Thank you for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

Two of Profound Impact’s core values are open collaboration and making a positive impact. This month, we’re proud to feature stories about how researchers and communities are working together to address issues like mental health, climate change, refugees and asylum and the intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools.

This month’s Research Spotlight on Social Innovation and Collaboration focuses on how researchers from a range of disciplines are working with social agencies, businesses and not-for-profits to develop programs to improve the health and well-being of communities across Canada and internationally. And we look at how the Government of Canada has broadened its understanding of innovation beyond traditional research funding to include resources for collaborations that engage charities and community groups who are addressing complex social challenges.

One of these researchers is Georgina Martin, an Indigenous scholar who is heeding the guidance provided by her grandfather as she was growing up by working with her community of origin to address the significant issues in physical and mental health and culture caused by residential schools and Indian hospitals. You’ll meet Georgina and learn how the team she leads will not only address these issues but will also inspire Indigenous youth to follow her path as a scholar and researcher.

This month’s Impact Story features technology entrepreneur, investor, CEO and philanthropist Jim Estill, who is also a longtime friend and one of my treasured mentors. Jim’s commitment to doing the right thing provides inspiring leadership to his employees at Danby Products and the community in Guelph and across Canada. His work in personally sponsoring refugees from Syria to come to the safety of Canada and of setting up networks, systems and resources for the community at large to sponsor people from around the world has been recognized through a range of awards and accolades.  But it’s the work that’s important to Jim as he describes himself as “a regular person doing a tiny bit and even doing that imperfectly.”

Do you also know someone who has or is continuing to make a great impact? Nominations are now open for Profound Impact’s Impactful Action Awards, the annual program that recognizes leaders from around the world who are making a profound impact on the global community by inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult problems. Learn more about the award criteria and how to nominate in either the Young Leader or Lifetime Achievement category.  Nominations are open until June 14 and the winner will be announced on September 14th, Profound Impact Day.

Finally, are you interested in learning how our Research Impact product can help your institution get more research funding?  You can sign up here for a Demo Day to see Research Impact live.

We can’t wait to review the nominations for the Impactful Action Awards and look forward to meeting you at one of our Demo Days.  As always, thanks for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone