Janelle Chalouhi

Janelle Chalouhi

CEO and Co-Founder, Venusverse

Partnership Engagement Advisor, Profound Impact Corporation

An entrepreneur and innovator on a mission to promote gender equity and digital literacy, Janelle Chalouhi is committed to empowering women to advance in the next-generation wealth economy. Chalouhi is the CEO and co-founder of Venusverse, Canada’s first female-founded, female-focused educational program, incubator and NFT collection, with the goal of closing the gender gap and removing barriers to entry for women in the Web3 domain. Through educational and networking sessions, a Web3b incubator platform, and their own collection of NFTs, Chalouhi believes that Venusverse will provide women with valuable insights and opportunities to participate in the emerging digital economy with confidence. 

“Only five per cent of women in Canada are in the crypto and NFT space…that’s a big Canadian problem,” said Chalouhi, who co-founded Venusverse with Natalie Dumond. “The whole digital economy is being created with very few women engaging in it. This is a fundamental equality issue that has to be solved.”

Prior to launching Venusverse in early 2022, Chalouhi worked in fundraising and business development for archdioceses, universities, hospitals and non-profit organizations. She was the Director of Community Counseling Service (CCS) Fundraising, working with the archdiocese of Washington and Boston on fundraising campaigns. She also worked in senior management positions at Hofstra University, the Westchester Medical Center, Saint George Hospital University Medical Center, University of Balamand and the University of Waterloo. In these roles, Chalouhi was responsible for fostering strong relationships and partnerships that contributed to infrastructure upgrades, new programming, and other operational improvements. 

Chalouhi also served as the Vice President of Business Development at Communitech, a Waterloo-based innovation center helping companies start, grow, and succeed. In her role with Communitech, Chalouhi helped co-create and lead Canada’s first ever $1-million Leaders Prize, a competition that explored the use of artificial intelligence to identify “fake news” and limit the spread of misinformation across the globe. She has also been a big advocate for shining a light on the people and technologies that are making the world a better place, which aligns with Communitech “Tech for Good” mandate that Chalouhi contributed to as a part of her role with the True North Conference. 

“It’s about helping companies figure out how they can make a difference and align to something meaningful to them in the process,” said Chalouhi. “I think every single company should build in an ESG (environmental social governance) component into the work that they are doing. At its core, it’s giving back — and that’s the only way we’re going to be able to help make a broader dent and impact.” 

The founders are leading by example by collaborating with Profound Impact™ Corporation and CivicAction Leadership Foundation, to build a community where women are empowered with the knowledge required to advance successfully in the next-generation wealth economy. Ten per cent of revenue from the Venusverse NFT collection will be donated to CivicAction in support of women in the organization’s leadership programs including the DiverseCity fellows and the Emerging Leaders Network. 

“I really hope we get to a point where this (gender) gap is closed significantly,” said Chalouhi, referring to the NFT and cryptocurrency space. “Building the confidence of women is really what we want to see happen. Ideally, we want women to be more aware of the digital world that’s being created in Web3. We also want them to be more confident and independent with their finances, making their own money and feeling good with not having to hustle day in and day out — running from dropping off the kids to their job, back and forth. Ultimately, we want more women to be in a place of peace.”

Chalouhi’s approach to cultivating an environment that embraces women’s involvement in the digital economy ties directly into this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BreakTheBias. This theme celebrates the potential for a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination that can hold women back in their personal and professional lives — an experience that Chalouhi is all too familiar with in her life. “I’ve seen a lot in my life…I have experienced quite a bit throughout my life and career — everything you can think of, name it, but at the end of the day, those experiences have helped shape me and have brought me to where I am right now, helped me grow as a person and allowed me to have very different perspectives than many others,” she said.  “Of course I’ve experiences discrimination anywhere I have lived in the world, however, due to my vast experiences and perspectives, the discrimination has never gotten in my way and for that I’m grateful”. 

Chalouhi will be joining the Profound Impact team as an advisor in partnership engagement. You can view some of Chalouhi’s accomplishments in the images below:

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! 

CEO Message

Message from the CEO

Welcome to our February edition of Profound Connections! 

Our team at Profound Impact™ has been busy working on our upcoming webinar in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University. I’m pleased to let you know that on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, at 12:00 pm EST, we will be hosting our first Profound Insights webinar of 2022: ‘How to Effectively Communicate and Match Research Funding Opportunities’. 

Towards the end of 2021, our team partnered with Wilfrid Laurier University and their research department to better understand how Research Service Offices (RSO) across Canada communicate grant opportunities, partnerships and research policies. Searching for insight into how research across Canada is conducted effectively, we surveyed 23+ universities and research institutions and received 40 responses from across the country! 

Our upcoming webinar will be able to provide insights into how RSOs can more effectively communicate and match research funding opportunities. Moderated by our very own Sherryl Petricevic, Account Executive, we will be discussing the findings of our Research Matching Survey and highlighting key takeaways from the report with our panellists Dr. Jonathan Newman, Vice President of Research, Wilfrid Laurier University, Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Officer, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Rob Darling, Strategic Advisor, Profound Impact. 

Know someone who might be interested? Please invite them to attend and RSVP through our registration page here. Webinar attendees will be provided with a free copy of the final Research Matching Survey report.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and I look forward to seeing you all on February 22nd for our first Profound Insights webinar of the year. Additionally, our team, in partnership with WCT Waterloo Region, looks forward to hosting you for a series of virtual events held exclusively on our Profound Impact platform throughout the month of March to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022: #BreakTheBias and the women in our Waterloo Region community. For more information, read on and check out the IWD 2022 WR webpage hosted on WCT WR’s Women Empowering Women Digital Community to stay up to date with all of the latest information about panelists, conversation topics and entertainment.

Warmest regards, 

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Cindy Forbes

Cindy Forbes

Chair of the Board, University of Waterloo

A dedicated team builder with a passion for data and analytics, Cindy Forbes has cemented her legacy as an innovator and strategic thinker, challenging the status quo to facilitate growth in all facets of her professional life. Before retiring last year, Forbes was the first female Chief Actuary at Manulife Financial, tasked with leading a global actuarial team responsible for ensuring the financial stability of the company. She was also the company’s first female Chief Financial Officer for Manulife Asia, leading the finance, risk management and actuarial functions across 11 countries. 

“I always want to make a positive impact, meaning that I want to leave the department or the organization better than I found it,” she said.

From digitization to integration of data and analytics into Manulife’s operations, Forbes was an invaluable asset to the modernization of Canada’s largest insurance company. She initiated a project to move the company’s valuation into the cloud – a first among insurance companies in Canada. The same project rewrote Manulife’s liability valuation systems to reduce the amount of manual work required by actuaries, significantly improving quality control over the valuation of the companies liabilities, which at the time were close to $300-billion. Forbes also built the company’s global artificial intelligence and advanced analytics function from the ground up. Within four years, that “function” has become a global organization of over 200 people responsible for building and embedding advanced analytics models into the business, delivering insights and driving financial impact. 

Forbes’ motivation for her work stems from a number of factors, including her desire for continuous improvement, as well as her commitment to mentorship for young professionals. 

“I like to help young professionals achieve their potential, be a positive role model, coach them, remove obstacles, show them how to get things done,” she said. “Largely it’s about creating a high performance team – a team that pulls together, that’s based on trust, and can make the very difficult look quite easy.”

Many of the talented team members she has hired have been students from the University of Waterloo, where Forbes obtained her Math degree, specializing in actuarial science.  Forbes was in the co-op program, which allows students to gain paid work experience, completing six work terms during her five years at Waterloo. She credits the program for providing the necessary professional experience to help her find a job in the field post-graduation and to make more intelligent, informed career decisions.

“It really sets you up for success in terms of learning about the workplace and putting into focus what you were learning at school,” she said. 

Forbes remains a fervent supporter of the University of Waterloo, having served as Chair of the Board since May 2017. In her role as board chair, Forbes successfully led the recruitment of a new President for the University, engaging a large group of external governors, faculty, staff and students. She is currently leading a review of the university’s governance framework, identifying opportunities for the board to be more effective and have greater impact and oversight of the university’s strategic planning. 

In addition to her role as board chair at the University of Waterloo, Forbes also serves on the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board. She additionally held the role of Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario from February to January 2022, providing advice and guidance on creating more digital, responsive and flexible public services. This includes the digitization of court proceedings and enabling on-line renewal of drivers licenses and health cards. 

A natural innovator and life-long learner, Forbes remains highly attuned to global, economic and technological trends that will impact businesses and corporations worldwide. The pandemic accelerated trends that were already in place in terms of digitization, use of data to customize experiences and growing concerns about the implications of the same.  Her prediction is that the acceleration of these trends will continue against a backdrop of growing geo-political tensions.

“It is going to be interesting to see how this all plays out and how global corporations navigate the changes ahead,” she said. 

You can view some of Forbes’ 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! 

Venusverse – New Startup Empowers Women in the Digital World

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FROM THE RELEASE: To make an even greater impact in gender equity, the founders of Venusverse are collaborating with Profound Impact™ Corporation and CivicAction, to build a community where women are empowered with the knowledge required to advance successfully in the next-generation wealth economy.
In true community-building fashion, Chalouhi will join Profound Impact Corporation as an advisor in partnership engagement. Profound Impact is a Toronto-Waterloo innovation corridor-based startup that helps education, research and social impact community organizations leverage data to measure program impact, tell their stories and inform strategies.

“Our collaboration with Venusverse aligns perfectly with our long-term stakeholder engagement strategy,” said Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, founder and CEO of Profound Impact Corporation. “Venusverse will use Profound Impact’s business intelligence and engagement tools to measure the increased involvement of women in NFT, Web3 and crypto. Our shared goal is to measure the global impact of connecting great people to do great work in these growing fields.”

Research Matching Challenges Webinar

How to Effectively Communicate and Match Research Funding Opportunities – February 22, 2022 12:00 noon

Missed the event? You can listen to the recording of this webinar as well as view previous Profound Insights events by visiting us at demo.profoundimpact.com/profound-insights.

Join special guests Jonathan Newman, Vice President of Research, and Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at Wilfrid Laurier University, along with Rob Darling, Strategic Advisor at Profound Impact for insights on research matching and communication challenges between universities, research organizations and funding bodies.

Profound Impact, in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University’s Office of Research Services unit, recently set out to better understand how Research Services Offices (RSO) across Canada communicate funding opportunities, partnership opportunities, and research policies to faculty members and other university/research institute stakeholders. Profound Impact and Laurier partnered on a national survey in the 4th quarter of 2021 to gain a deeper understanding of how research service units and staff communicate funding opportunities and received 40 responses from over 23 universities and research institutions across Canada.

Led by moderator Sherryl Petricevic from Profound Impact, this Profound Insights webinar will discuss the findings of the survey and how to effectively communicate and match research funding opportunities, highlighting:

  • How the survey was conducted, participation and methodology
  • A discussion of the problems facing RSO staff to match funding opportunities with researchers and communicate with internal and external stakeholders
  • Findings from the report and key takeaways

Webinar attendees will be provided with a copy of the final survey report.

Don’t forget to add this event to your calendar and visit https://demo.profoundimpact.com/#/profound-insights on the day of to access the webinar!

Workforce of Tomorrow Webinar

Empowering the students and educators of today to create the relevant workforce of tomorrow – February 16, 2022 1:00 pm EST

Profound Impact’s Sherryl Petricevic will be a panelist in an upcoming GEDI Exchange webinar on the workforce of tomorrow. A workforce with relevant skills is the “air supply” on which Canada’s economy of the future will depend.  But how to ensure alignment between employee education and the job market?  Our guests this month use current student and alumni data to help colleges, universities, research institutes, and social profit organizations strategically optimize the type and content of the programs and services they deliver to the communities they serve. 

Profound Impact and 1Mentor use data-driven insights to find and understand the key indicators for workplace progression and opportunities to improve candidate success.  This information in turn is used to evaluate programming content and delivery, which is all the more important as it becomes increasingly critical to be “students for life”: many jobs today didn’t exist 10-20+ years ago, and the pace of change is accelerating, particularly in technical fields. It’s time to use the latest and greatest analytical tools and artificial intelligence techniques on the education system itself.

CEO Message

Message from the CEO

Happy New Year and welcome to the first 2022 edition of Profound Connections!

I hope that you all had a restful holiday season. With a new year underway, the team here at Profound Impact™ can’t wait to share with you what we have planned for 2022 but before we do that…let’s look back at 2021.

To close out 2021, our team launched a new initiative: 12 Days of Impact, designed to encourage people and organizations to contribute their time, resources and talents to help address local challenges. Our 12 Days of Impact calendar outlined daily challenges that focused on spreading the giving spirit during the holiday season. Not only did our team members at Profound Impact contribute to these daily challenges, but as an organization, we took it one step further. 

Through our efforts, we were able to give back to organizations doing vital work in our greater community. Additionally, based on the social media engagement and votes of our followers, Profound Impact was able to support Actua, Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization. Profound Impact’s contribution will support the delivery of impactful hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experience to youth across Canada. Many youth including Indigenous youth, girls, and at-risk youth face barriers that prevent access to education opportunities. Through Actua’s national inclusion and diversity programs, they are hard at work to remove these barriers.

Now on to 2022…coming in March is International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 with the theme #BreakTheBias. We are thrilled to once again be working with the Women in Communications and Technology Waterloo Region Chapter (WCT WR) and 18 other organizations representing this vibrant community to present during the month of March several  IWD 2022 events and amplify over 10 other events in celebration of women in the Waterloo Region. 

For more information on this event and additional exciting news from our team, read on and enjoy this edition of Profound Connections!

Warmest regards, 

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Ivan Yuen

Ivan Yuan

Co-Founder, Wattpad

An accomplished entrepreneur, respected mentor and ambassador for the University of Waterloo, Ivan Yuen has cemented his legacy in the software development industry. Yuen is the co-founder of Wattpad, an e-reading and storytelling platform that has amassed millions of users worldwide. Founded in 2006 with a friend and former co-worker Allen Lau, Wattpad has quickly become a global entertainment company, with over 90 million readers, writers and filmmakers connected through the power of story. While Wattpad’s success is in large part due to the commitment and perseverance of Yuen and Lau, Yuen credits the University of Waterloo’s co-op program for giving him the tools and resources needed to discover his niche in the tech sector. 

Yuen enrolled in the University’s computer engineering co-op program in order to gain real-world industry experience and make professional connections. He spent the first portion of his co-op working in hardware design at some of North America’s top firms including IBM and AMD. While these work placements helped Yuen to further develop his professional experience, it wasn’t until he switched to a role in software engineering at a startup company that Yuen found his true passion. The smaller teams, quick turnaround times and ability to see the impacts of his work instantly were the most gratifying elements of software engineering in a startup environment. “Hooked from that point on,” Yuen would take these valuable work experiences and chart his own path in software development, ensuring that training and mentorship were paramount in his endeavours. 

Now the Chief Strategy Officer of Wattpad, Yuen is passionate about providing leadership and guidance to those he recruits for various positions within the company. He “demystifies ideas about software startups” and offers honest, first-hand accounts of his successes, failures and opportunities for the future. While hiring and retaining the right talent is important to the success of his company, Yuen is incredibly inspired when Wattpad employees transition from their roles to start their own venture. He believes that giving emerging tech talent the training and confidence to pursue their own interests has a powerful multiplier effect and is essential for facilitating the growth of the tech ecosystem across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. 

In addition to employee mentorship and promoting expansion of the region’s tech industry, Yuen’s platform, Wattpad, has been tremendously important to the advancement of writers, storytellers, filmmakers and many more creative professionals whose voices may never have been discovered. Before Wattpad existed, traditional publishing companies were essentially gatekeepers, determining what authors or stories had enough merit to move through the system and onto store shelves. Only those with access and opportunity had any chance of finding success as an author or storyteller—often leaving racial, ethnic and other minority groups without a platform to share their unique experiences. Wattpad challenged and changed this established industry dynamic. The platform empowered those who were otherwise excluded from traditional publishing avenues, enabling those in marginalized communities and young aspiring writers to share their perspectives with a limitless audience. It enabled authors to mix different story genres with important themes of gender, sexuality and race without judgement. It has fundamentally changed the course of modern publishing and given prominence to a diversity of voices, stories and issues that have historically been ignored. 

Wattpad’s success has quickly expanded into the entertainment industry, with movie and TV producers constantly discovering new writers who have published their work on the platform. Recent examples of stories that have been made into movies or TV shows include After, a romantic drama written by Wattpad author Anna Todd and acquired by Paramount Pictures for film adaptation. The Netflix hit The Kissing Booth also started as a novel published on Wattpad by Beth Reekles, who was only 15 years old when she was discovered. Its commercial success has led to the production of a trilogy of films. With over 100 stories currently in different stages of film or TV show development, Yuen is hopeful that many Wattpad authors will have their works showcased at movie theatres or on major streaming platforms in the future.

Looking ahead, Yuen and the Wattpad team will continue to leverage the power of new technology including blockchain to give writers and content creators greater control over access to their work. Readers will also have the opportunity to contribute to their favourite authors, garnering rewards along the way. As the company further expands into new territory, Yuen will continue to mentor and inspire young tech talent to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the region. 

You can view some of Yuen’s accomplishments in the image below:

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!

CEO Message

Message from the CEO

Happy holidays and welcome to the December edition of Profound Connections!

I hope that you all have enjoyed being a part of the Profound Impact™ community this year and have benefitted from our regular Profound Connections newsletters. 

The season of giving has arrived — and with it, we are reminded of the importance of giving back to our local communities. This is an opportunity for all of us — whether it be through donating our time, in-kind items or funds — to give back to those in need. Our team believes deeply that encouraging small acts of generosity can have big impacts on those who experience undue hardship. Read on to learn more about how we have chosen to make an impact this giving season.

Building on the global #GivingTuesday movement, we launched Profound Impact’s 12 Days of Impact campaign on November 30, designed to encourage people and organizations to contribute their time, resources and talents to help address local challenges. For the last 12 week days, our team has committed to daily challenges that focus on spreading the giving spirit.

Further, our team has been running a special 12 Days of Impact giveaway on our social channels. For every entry (like, comment, share or follow) that our 12 Days of Impact Instagram giveaway receives from November 30, 2021 – December 15, 2021, Profound Impact will commit a $1 donation to Actua Canada — Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization preparing youth to be innovators and leaders. 

As our campaign wraps up later today, we will be announcing shortly the final amount that will be donated to Actua Canada as a result of our community’s engagement.  

Before we draw 2021 to a close, we challenge you to do something that will make a difference in your community. Download our 12 Days of Impact calendar here and participate in our daily challenges at any point using the hashtag #12DaysOfImpact! 

Thank you for your continued engagement and your ongoing support. From our team to yours, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Warmest regards, 

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Sohail Ramzan

Sohail Ramzan
Sohail Ramzan
Technical Product Manager, Profound Impact Corporation

A born innovator with exceptional leadership skills, Sohail Ramzan has made his mark on the international tech community. From working with multinational software companies, Oracle partners and global multilevel marketing companies in Pakistan and the Middle-East, Sohail is now a technical program manager with Profound Impact™, leading a team that is building the company’s solutions including Connection Impact, an engagement and interaction platform; Career Impact, a career trajectory tool to provide actionable insights by analysing alumni career data;  and soon to be released Research Impact, a data-driven tool that assists research universities and institutions to achieve their goals of increasing the effectiveness of their research staff. 

Born in Pakistan, Sohail completed his MBA at Hamdard University in 2003 before pursuing a career as a software engineer. As time passed, Sohail continued to climb the corporate ladder, becoming a software development manager and then a project manager for companies in South Asia and the Middle East. In 2016, Sohail and his family decided to immigrate to Canada, where he continued to explore opportunities to advance his tech career. Sohail joined the Profound Impact team in 2019 as Technical Program Manager, where he has been building the organization’s diverse and talented workforce while inspiring product innovation.

A true advocate of career growth and team culture, Sohail brings compassion, communication and flexibility to his role, embracing a diversity of perspectives that ultimately leads to successful team outcomes. He was recently named a Timmy Award finalist for Best Tech Manager for his role in leading geographically distributed teams through unexpected challenges while inspiring performance and growth. Sohail’s stewardship and expertise has contributed greatly to Profound Impact’s success.

Sohail credits his family for giving him the inspiration and drive to pursue his professional goals. Sohail’s son was born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect that affects the spine. Despite the physical disability, his son has thrived in Canada. He is an ambassador for WeCare Canada, an organization that provides life-changing programs and services for children and youth with physical disabilities. A true advocate for children with special needs, Sohail’s son also represented Easter Seals Ontario by participating in fundraisers, radio commercials, telethons and other events to generate awareness and raise money for special needs children. His son’s ability to demonstrate this type of leadership at 13 years of age inspires Sohail in his professional journey to leverage the power of technology to make a difference in the world.  Sohail is working on his first book about accessibility and inclusiveness, planned to be launched in 2022.

Through his work at Profound Impact, Sohail is using his skills and expertise to lead the development of the company’s products including the Connection Impact platform, which functions as a digital community helping people become aware of undiscovered relationships. Through those relationships, the platform helps to accelerate connectivity and inspire collaborative solutions to difficult global problems. 

One of the most important organizational changes implemented by Sohail since joining Profound Impact was his decision to change the development model from being outsourced to being built in-house. Sohail hired his own team and began building the platform internally, which optimized performance, improved efficiency and expedited timelines. Sohail is also leading the creation of Profound Impact’s visualization tools such as the academic ancestry tool, which combines private and public data using artificial intelligence to create linkages between alumni. This tool has the capability to trace back hundreds of years, demonstrating the global impact of one’s educational ancestry.

Key to Sohail’s success has been his ability to inspire creativity amongst his team while facilitating collaboration and communication. Sohail rallies his team to produce high quality results, while creating an environment that avoids burnout. He celebrates his team’s successes, encourages career advancement through the attainment of certificates and new credentials, and frequently supports causes that his team is passionate about.

What keeps Sohail motivated is leveraging the power of data to make a difference in the world. His impact, both tangible and intangible, is quite significant. Sohail is incredibly proud of the effect he has had on younger people he has trained in the industry. Over his 18 years in software development management, Sohail has taught many people who have gone on to successful careers with multinational companies. His passion for mentorship and commitment to product innovation have made Sohail a true innovator, committed to leveraging the power of data and technology to inspire global change.

Sohail holds many technical certifications including:  AWS Certified Solution Architect (CSA),  Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Project Management Professional(PMP) and PRINCE2 Practitioner.

You can view some of Sohail’s accomplishments in the image 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!