Ronald Cleveland Mullin

Ronald Cleveland Mullin

Dr. Ron Mullin

Distinguished Emeritus Professor, University of Waterloo 

Co-founder, Certicom 

A humble, dedicated professor and mathematician who is modest about his successes, Dr. Ron Mullin has made invaluable contributions to combinatorics, academia and cryptography. His career has spanned over 50 years with notable successes in both commercial and academic ventures. Along with Scott Vanstone and Gord Agnew, Ron Mullin co-founded Certicom, a leading cryptography company whose technology was licensed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), among many others, and later sold to Research In Motion (RIM), now known as  BlackBerry. Mullin was also Professor and Chair of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo and boasts one of the largest lineages in the Mathematics Genealogy project, with 20 PhD students and 180 descendants. 

“Teaching as a whole and getting good students and working with them, it’s a wonderful thing,” said Mullin. 

Even as a student, Mullin’s impact was profound. He was the first ever University of Waterloo graduate to receive an MA in mathematics in 1960. A bright and promising young mathematician and cryptology student, Mullin was recruited by the University of Waterloo to lecture while he completed his graduate studies. His skills were so impressive that the University’s head of mathematics used Mullin as bait to lure world class mathematician, who later was acknowledged as the World War II codebreaker and cryptography expert, William Tutte to the university with the intention of building out the department and recruiting top-tier talent. 

“It was quite an honour,” Mullin reflected, when asked about his role in attracting Tutte to the university. 

After completing his PhD under Tutte, Mullin went on to pursue a career as a professor at the University of Waterloo until 1996, rising the ranks from lecturer to distinguished professor emeritus and adjunct professor. Described by two of his former students as brilliant, encouraging and easy going, Mullin always left a lasting impression on those he taught, as well as his colleagues. 

“Ron taught my first computer science class,” said Alfred Menezes, one of Mullin’s academic grandchildren and professor in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo. “To him, the little details didn’t matter. He thinks about the big stuff – the important stuff…he realized the value of ideas.” 

One of those ideas became the foundation for Mullin’s commercial venture – Certicom, a leading supplier of wireless security solutions. Mullin was heavily involved in the company’s patent program. Certicom’s signature product was Elliptic Curve Cryptography, which speeds up the encryption process, utilizing shorter encryption keys without loss of security. This technology played a crucial role in the advancement of smartphone and other mobile devices and accelerated the growth of a number of companies including RIM. 

“One good thing about it – it’s fast and secure for certain kinds of encryption processes. And these turned out to be the ones that are very helpful in smartphones,” said Hugh Williams, retired computer science professor and Mullin’s academic son. “So in a sense, Scott, Gord and Ron realized this was a coming thing and they were quite skillful in introducing this company.”

After retiring from the University of Waterloo as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and stepping away from his commercial ventures, Mullin went on to enjoy a second career at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He established a Cryptography Group at the university, a position he held until his “second retirement”, at the age of 75. Mullin also became the first recipient of the Stanton Medal, which is awarded by the Institute for Combinatorics and its Applications to honour significant lifetime contributions promoting the discipline of combinatorics through advocacy, outreach, service, teaching and/or mentoring. In addition, Mullin was awarded a doctor rerum naturalium honoris causa (Honorary Doctorate Degree) from the University of Rostock in Germany. 

While Mullin’s professional accomplishments are impressive, his legacy cannot be fully understood without including his mathematics genealogy. A number of graduate students that studied under Mullin became very prominent in cryptography and computer science including: Hugh Williams, who was instrumental in establishing one of Canada’s leading research centres in cryptography and information security; Scott Vanstone, world-renowned cryptography and co-founder of Certicom; Douglas Wiedemann, who designed an algorithm for linear systems of equations before joining the NSA; Bimal Roy, head of R C Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security in India; and Evi Nemeth, engineer, author and teacher who played a prominent role in the development of the Unix computer operating system.  

“He has had many students and ultimately, for an academic, that’s your impact – your students. What they end up doing and how they add to what it was that you did,” said Williams.

You can view some of Dr. Mullins’ 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! 

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

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!

John Loeprich

John Loeprich

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director
3iQ Corp.

Passionate about democratizing the financial services sector through innovation and bold leadership, John Loeprich is making his mark on the global economy. As Executive Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer and Director of 3iQ Corp., Canada’s largest digital asset manager, John is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s finance and operations and leads the formulation of the company’s strategic planning. Part of his vision for 3iQ is to provide new financial opportunities for people around the world that are marginalized by traditional financial markets and limited in their business opportunities. Using blockchain technology, digital assets and distributed networks, John hopes to level the playing field and ensure everyone around the world has the opportunity to build wealth. 

John graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in mathematics, while also majoring in finance and business. He was enrolled in the university’s mathematics co-op program, which he credits as being integral to his professional development. Through various co-op placements, John was able to immerse himself in all elements of the business world, enabling him to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world situations. For a person who dreamed of one day becoming an entrepreneur, this type of exposure to specialized knowledge at such a young age would prove to be invaluable to his professional endeavours. 

After graduation, John worked in the traditional financial services sector with Smith, Nixon & Company Chartered Accountants, TD Bank Group and Fidelity Investments Canada Ltd. Holding various positions with these companies, John gained a deep understanding of a range of business sectors including finance, fund operations, internal audit, systems and operations, sales, project management, navigating regulatory processes and much more. He transitioned from traditional finance jobs in 1997, launching his own consulting firm, Magellan Consulting Group. From there, John became a partner at @rgentum Management & Research, where he helped introduce quantitative-driven mutual funds, as well as Canada’s first long-short mutual fund. This experience in the alternative investments field fed his desire to find other solutions to wealth management that would offer investors different options to traditional market-correlated investments.

As technology began to evolve in the financial services sector, so too did John’s desire to explore new opportunities offered by the digital assets sector of investment management. With the advent of cryptocurrency, John was given the opportunity to join 3iQ and to introduce a new asset class, using digital assets and blockchain technologies to ensure people around the world have affordable access to financial services and investment products that provided a hedge against inflation. By reducing the need for using financial institutions that charge large fees for money transfer services, blockchains and cryptocurrencies can help to reduce or eliminate fees as well as barriers to entry for those who don’t even have access to financial services.

Since its launch in 2012, 3iQ has become the first company in the world to have a regulator-approved, publicly listed bitcoin fund on a major exchange. Now the largest digital asset manager in Canada (and third largest in the world), 3iQ plans to continue to be innovative and break new ground in its pursuit of new financial opportunities in digital assets. 

Inspired by the transformative power of digital assets and cryptocurrency in global wealth distribution, John is optimistic about the opportunities that are beginning to emerge for so many people around the world that have been marginalized by the current financial systems in place. The hope is that investors will now have access to a new non-correlated asset in their investment portfolio and those who are currently financially disadvantaged will no longer have to pay exorbitant fees or resort to dangerous lending practices with high-interest rates. Entrepreneurs and business owners will also be able to receive payments in various currencies with less friction costs, helping fuel innovation and economic growth. 

While John’s legacy will undoubtedly be his role in the democratization of wealth across the world, his most rewarding work is being a mentor. By imparting knowledge to others, John has been able to hone his understanding of a multitude of business practices and distill it in a way that others can understand and apply in real-world situations. A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, John is passionate about teaching others the many aspects of the financial services industry, including its traditional roots and all aspects of the digital transformation currently underway. 

John’s contributions to advancing the use of blockchain technology, digital assets, cryptocurrency and distributed networks are “game-changing” and the impacts of his work will be felt for years to come. You can view some of his 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!

CEO Message

Message from the CEO

As summer continues, our team at Profound Impact™ is taking some time to reflect on the success of the recent months and highlight future projects we are looking forward to sharing with you. 
 
I’d like to thank all of you for your continued engagement with our webinar series — Profound Insights. As we are not hosting a webinar this month in preparation for our upcoming annual Profound Impact Day celebration in September, we have included recaps and links to each of our previous webinars in case you were not able to attend. We look forward to continuing our webinar series in the following months and facilitating new discussions with highly regarded panelists. 
 
This month’s Impact Story shines a light on James Wesley (Wes) Graham (1932-1999), professor, innovator, entrepreneur — otherwise known as the “Father of computing” at the University of Waterloo as the first director of the University’s computing centre. Throughout Wes’ esteemed career, he was accredited for providing the leadership in software development for education that has given Canada and the University of Waterloo an international reputation in this important field. Helping to cement Waterloo as a leader in computer science education and research and a dynamic software development hub, Wes’ contributions have resulted in significant positive economic and employment impact for the Region. His tenacity and ambition left a lasting impact on the countless students and colleagues he engaged with during his career. We hope you enjoy the unique academic ancestry and impact visualizations we have included in this newsletter showcasing the far reach of Wes’ impact. 
 
As we continue to transition into various re-opening stages, we encourage you to continue to learn more about how online virtual events and platforms like Profound Impact can elevate your organization’s engagement and the strong relationships it can build now and into the future.
 
Check out our free self-assessment tool to learn more about Profound Impact’s digital engagement communities and how the Profound Impact platform can ensure a safe and secure platform for your entire organization and attendees while aligning with your organization’s strategic objectives.
 
Thank you for your continued engagement and support. 

CEO Message

Message from the CEO

Welcome to June, a month to celebrate a new season and warm weather. As we look forward to what this month has to offer, it is imperative to recognize June’s significance as National Indigenous History Month and the #215children. In light of recent events, the Profound Impact™ team wishes to emphasize its support for the Indigenous community and its efforts to continue to positively support and share resources through our various platforms. ⁣

Thank you to those who attended our most recent Profound Insights webinar titled, “The Future of Work: Lifelong Learning & Networking with Digital Communities.” The webinar, moderated by Rob Darling, was a great success and facilitated engaging conversations with our esteemed panelists from the Waterloo Region including Simon Chan, Vice President of Talent, Academy & Future of Work at Communitech, Dr. Judene Pretti, Director of the Work-Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo, and Caitlin MacGregor, CEO and Co-Founder of Plum to discuss lifelong learning, professional development and talent resilience. 

This month’s Impact Profile will shine light on Don Cowan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus from University of Waterloo. Don’s rich and expansive career history in mathematics is attributed to his emphasis on mentorship and connections in academic ancestry, especially his connection to Sir Isaac Newton. We hope you enjoy the unique academic ancestry and entrepreneurism visualizations we have included in this newsletter. In each of our newsletter, we look forward to highlighting exceptional impactful individuals and welcome your suggestions on who to feature.

As the province-wide lock-down comes to an end, we encourage you to continue to learn more about how online virtual events and platforms like Profound Impact can elevate your organization’s engagement and the strong relationships it can build now and continue when we are able once again to engage in person.

Learn more about Profound Impact’s digital engagement communities and how the Profound Impact platform can ensure a safe and secure platform for your entire organization and attendees and align with your organization’s  strategic objectives by completing our free self-assessment tool.

Thank you for your continuous engagement and support. 

Dr. Donald Cowan

Donald Douglas Cowan

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo 

With a rich and expansive career in mathematics and computer science, Dr. Don Cowan can be regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of computer science at the University of Waterloo. From experiencing the formative years of the University of Waterloo to participating in one of the earliest iterations of Silicon Valley, he has always had direct involvement in exciting advances in mathematics and computing. He was also an early entrepreneur and active participant in WATCOM and LivePage, two successful University of Waterloo spinoff companies that developed out of the exciting advances occurring in the field. 

After starting his career teaching in the 1960s, Don began working on computers in a significant way and saw both the University of Waterloo campus and his field grow. Appointed as Founding Chair of the computer science department at a relatively young age, he faced the challenge of finding the people to work in a field that was still in its own youth. At the time, so few people worked in computer science in industry and academia, it was difficult to attract them to the University of Waterloo campus. However, with his passion and expertise and much help from his colleagues, the department grew from 3 to 35 members in five years and soon ranked as one of the top in the world. 

As part of the team that developed and distributed software and hardware that supported computer science education, Don helped put the University of Waterloo on the map. These early projects contributed to many of the ideas behind the software systems that support  computer-based learning for the students of today. In the 1960s, he ran computer science days, an event that annually brought thousands of high school students to the University of Waterloo and exposed them to computers and programming with a view that these young minds might embrace this exciting technology of the future. Continuing his work at the University of Waterloo, Don was principal investigator on major research projects and supervisor of graduate students. He also presided as chair of the board of five different corporations, including startups and not-for-profit organizations. 

Mentorship played a major role in the trajectory of Don’s career, and Don is a vocal advocate for sharing knowledge and experience in these relationships. He recognizes his life has been significantly influenced by his many mentors, including his parents, his uncle Donald, Ralph Stanton and Wes Graham. Over his own tenure, Don has also supervised over 120 graduate students. Don feels privileged to have mentored these young people and see them continue to push boundaries and make the impossible possible.

Despite retiring 26 years ago, Don is still quite active in research and is excited to see what the future holds for the next generation. Programming may no longer be part of his day-to-day life, but he continues to work with several companies developing new and emerging  technologies that push the boundaries of what’s possible. Don collaborates with exceptional minds that work together to provide software that augments community efforts by using artificial intelligence and mobile devices to learn about and present data at the municipal level. He remains an active researcher in computer science — staying right in the middle of progress. 

Looking back at his career, there isn’t much that Don would change. Exciting things happened because people worked together, and Don will continue to look for these connections in his ongoing research and partnerships. 

Click on the image below to go to the Profound Impact academic ancestry graph connecting Don Cowan all the way back to Issac Newton!

Dr. Cowan has a long history of entrepreneurial success. You can see some of the companies he has founded or been associated with listed in the image below. A Profound Impact indeed!

Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!