2023 Impactful Actions Awards Finalists Announced



The Impactful Actions Awards recognize leaders making a profound impact in communities globally 

WATERLOO, ON | AUGUST 16, 2023 — Profound Impact is proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Impactful Actions Awards.

Presented annually, the Impactful Actions Awards recognize leaders who are making a profound impact on communities globally by inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult problems. The award launched in 2021 and has now grown to include two categories (Young Leader and Lifetime Achievement) to attract and honour a diverse range of nominees. 

“We were inspired by this year’s impressive nominees and are excited to recognize two recipients of the Impactful Actions Awards,” says Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, Founder and CEO of Profound Impact. “It’s never an easy decision to narrow down our finalists and winners, but our judges feel confident in our choices this year.”

The finalists in the Young Leaders category are as follows (in alphabetical order):

  • Leigh Zachary Bursey, an activist, journalist, former three-term politician, singer-songwriter, recording artist and author.
  • Hui Huang Hoe, the founder of elerGreen, a cleantech startup recovering polymers, metals and chemicals and medical waste.
  • Tabatha Laverty, the VP of Marketing and External Relations at the Accelerator Centre, and a non-profit leader with a passion for equity and inclusion.

These are the Lifetime Achievement finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • Mike Farwell, host of The Mike Farwell Show on CityNews 570 and leader of the Farwell4Hire campaign, which has raised over $1.25 million in funds to support Canadians living with cystic fibrosis. 
  • 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.
  • Stephanie Thompson, the founder of STEM by Steph and a passionate engineer and community leader who is always pursuing new and innovative ways to promote science, technology and learning in the Niagara area.

“These finalists showcase what it means to make a profound impact in the world, and we are honoured to share their stories of impact,” Shannon-Vanstone says. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate someone for the Impactful Actions Awards this year.”

The inaugural Impactful Actions Award was presented to Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, former President & Vice-Chancellor (2010-2021) and Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo, in 2021. In 2022, Profound Impact presented the Impactful Actions Award to Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M., who is the Founder and President of the Green Hope Foundation. 

The 2023 Impactful Actions Awards winners will be announced during the Profound Impact Day virtual event on September 14, 2023. 



Based in the Toronto-Waterloo technology corridor, Profound Impact’s AI-powered tool – Research Impact – helps academic and industry researchers find the perfect funding match. With over $300 Billion in research funding opportunities, 100,000s industry partners and 8.8 Million researchers globally, finding the optimal grant for academic and industry innovators is often overwhelming and unnecessarily time-consuming.  More than just a search engine, Research Impact offers automatic, targeted and timely matching.  Profound Impact’s customers include top North American research institutions, universities and industry partners.  CEO and Founder Sherry Shannon-Vanstone is a serial technology entrepreneur with an unparalleled track record.  She has had five successful start-ups and exits in Silicon Valley and Canada, including two IPOs and acquisitions.

Website: www.profoundimpact.com 

Facebook: @aprofoundimpact

Instagram: @aprofoundimpact 

LinkedIn: Profound Impact Corporation

Twitter: @aprofoundimpact

For media inquiries, please contact:

Durrell Communications


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

2023 Impactful Actions Award Nominations Open May 1st

Nominations for Profound Impact’sTM Impactful Actions Awards will open May 1st! 

The Impactful Actions Awards is an annual awards program recognizing leaders worldwide 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. 

New for 2023

Now in our third year, the 2023 Impactful Actions Awards will include two award categories:

  • Young Leader
  • Lifetime Achievement

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 2023 include:

  • MAY 1 – Award nominations open
  • JUNE 30 – Award nominations close (nominations will be accepted until 11:59 PM ET)
  • JULY 20 – Three finalists selected and notified
  • SEPTEMBER 14 – Winner honoured on Profound Impact Day

The top 3 finalists in each category will be profiled in early September in Profound Impact’s newsletter. The award winners will be recognized on Profound Impact Day and a donation to their charities 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.

Kehkashan Basu M.S.M. was the Impactful Actions Award winner in 2022. Basu, who was just 22 years old, started working towards improving the world around her at the age of seven. Basu planted her first tree at eight and founded her own humanitarian organization, Green Hope Foundation when she was 12. The foundation focuses on empowering vulnerable populations by providing education for sustainable development. The global social enterprise has worked with more than 300,000 people across 26 countries, focusing on water, sanitation, clean energy, and food security. 

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 and nominees who were previously nominated are eligible to be nominated for this awards cycle. The nomination submission must be completed using the online nomination form which will be available May 1, 2023.