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Alberta Innovates is governed by a board of directors appointed by the provincial government. It steers the innovation system according to provincial priorities and its business goals.
Alberta Innovates steers the innovation system to bring benefits to Albertans, within our mandate set by the Government of Alberta and in alignment with priorities of the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy (ATIS) as well as the province’s Investment and Growth Strategy.
Our Board of Directors is accountable to the minister, and responsible for governance of the corporation and overseeing the management of the corporation’s business affairs.
This includes oversight of the CEO, the corporation’s strategies, budget, expenditure authority, and human resources policies.
Alison is a Tax Partner and the Managing Partner at EY LLP in Calgary. She regularly advises on international transactions, business transformation, risk management and governance. Alison works with companies in a range of sectors, with particular focus on agri-food, tech and energy.
Alison is a CA/CPA, has a Masters of Accounting from the University of Waterloo, and has completed leadership training programs at the London Business School, the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Board committee: Audit Committee, Governance & Human Resources Committee (Chair)
Dr. Brenda Kenny, Chair
Brenda brings significant governance experience with service on the boards of the Canada West Foundation, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Nature Canada. She also served on the Emissions Reduction Alberta board and is the past president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), as well as a past member of the University of Calgary Board of Governors.
Brenda has extensive experience in energy, sustainability, innovation and strategy development. Prior to joining CEPA, she spent several years with the National Energy Board where she provided executive leadership in policy, regulatory reviews and finance. She has been active on government expert panels, and on community ventures including Calgary on Purpose, WaterSMART, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and imagineCALGARY.
Brenda is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and holds a Doctorate in Resources and the Environment, a Masters of Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Applied Science. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Board committees: Executive Committee (Chairperson), ex officio on Audit Committee, Business Planning, Reporting & Engagement Committee, Governance & Human Resources Committee
Laura J. Kilcrease, CEO
Laura Kilcrease brings a track record and laser focus to innovation ecosystem performance and design. Since her appointment in 2017, she has steered Alberta Innovates restructuring, spearheaded assessment of programs with an eye to the future, and launched Inventures, the flagship gathering of innovators, investors, industry leaders and global researchers, which PwC estimated catalysed some $200M in potential deal flow in 2019.
Born in London, England, and recruited from Austin, Texas, Laura served as a member of the Alberta Research and Innovation Advisory Committee for seven years prior to joining Alberta Innovates.
She is widely recognized as a key figure in changing the economy of Austin, Texas, from oil dependency to high-tech prosperity to become the #1 city for entrepreneurs to live and work in the United States.
She has more than 25 years of experience in commercializing technology, including:
A dedicated community builder, Laura served on various for-profit and non-profit boards, including the Women’s Leadership Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the Beyster Institute, World Congress for Information Technology 2006, the IC² Institute at the University of Texas, and is currently on the board of the University Federal Credit Union, one of the top 100 credit unions in the U.S..
She has been often recognized for outstanding achievements, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power Award, and the University of Texas McCombs School of Business Trailblazer Award.
Laura is a Chartered Management Accountant and has an MBA from the University of Texas.
Find Laura on LinkedIn.
Ruth McHugh brings significant director and entrepreneurial experience to board governance. She is a professional accountant with deep knowledge of legal and regulatory environments and their impact on the innovation ecosystem. She is the first woman to serve as chairman of Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Alberta. Ruth has held C Suite roles in public, private, and not-for-profit organizations. She has also been involved in mergers and acquisitions as both board chair and as executive management.
Ruth is a Fellow of CMA Canada and CPA Alberta, achieved the ICD.D from Institute of Corporate Directors-Rotman, and received an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Board committee: Audit Committee
Chelsey Reschke is the President and CEO of Voran Group Ventures, based in Edmonton. Having spent over a decade developing solutions for the corrosion industry, Chelsey is now turning her attention to organic surface chemistries that provide protection against pathogens. Chelsey and her team aim to become a global leader in the commercialization of innovative surface technologies.
Chelsey’s unique ability to combine her experience in commercial development and operations management have contributed to her success in bringing to market products with unique intellectual property in tightly regulated markets. Drawing on her comprehensive experience across multiple industries, Chelsey excels in strategic planning, offering a powerful competencies-based approach to growth and expansion planning. Her ability to apply entrepreneurial thinking and create value for stakeholders has benefited a range of businesses from lean startups looking to develop specialized product and service offerings through to multinational corporations who have tasked her with transformational projects related to energy transition.
Before joining Voran Group, Chelsey was the Director of Business Development for globally ranked Top 10 engineering design firm, Stantec Consulting Ltd. In the early part of her career, Chelsey was Vice President of Keymay Industries, a privately held company specialized in the manufacture of proprietary construction geosynthetics and automated coating application equipment. Chelsey’s specialized knowledge in the corrosion market was instrumental in developing and commercializing proprietary cleantech solutions for the oil and gas pipeline construction industry.
Chelsey holds an MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Science (Biology) from the University of Alberta, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the Chinese Europe International Business School in Shanghai.
Board committees: Business Planning, Reporting & Engagement Committee
Rod Schatz is a seasoned technology executive with a strong background in driving business efficiency, process automation, and business model innovation. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, he has successfully founded and led three technology startups, showcasing his expertise in raising capital and providing visionary leadership.
One of Rod’s key strengths is his proficiency in applying advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data management, and automation to business processes, resulting in reduced operating costs and improved operational effectiveness. His ability to identify opportunities for digital transformation and implement innovative solutions sets him apart as a forward-thinking leader in the technology space.
Rod’s contributions to the field of technology and business transformation are further highlighted by his co-authorship of the book Phantom Ex Machina: Digital Disruption’s Role in Business Model Transformation. This publication demonstrates his thought leadership and expertise in understanding the impact of digital disruption on traditional business models and provides insights on how organizations can adapt and thrive in the rapidly evolving technological landscape.
Rod holds a master’s degree from the University of Alberta.
Board committees: Governance & Human Resources Committee
Dr. Anne Snowdon, Vice Chair
Anne’s experience is at the nexus of research, public policy development, health system innovation and commercialization. She has published more than 100 research articles, papers and cases, has received over $15 million in research funding, holds patents, and has commercialized a highly successful booster seat product for children traveling in vehicles.
Anne is Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and the Chair of the World Health Innovation Network at the University of Windsor, Odette School of Business. She leads the work of Canada’s first health innovation centre with formal ties to the U.S. and is dedicated to advancing health system innovation and entrepreneurship in both countries and world markets.
With expertise in most health care systems in Canada, Anne is leading over 15 innovation research initiatives across seven provinces, involving government, health professionals, private industry, foundations and families. She was a member of the Ontario Health Innovation Council and was appointed to the President’s Advisory committee on digital health innovation for the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).
She holds a PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan, is a Fulbright Scholar and was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship for her research.
Board committees: Business Planning, Reporting & Engagement Committee (Chair), Executive Committee, Governance & Human Resources Committee
Dr. H.J. (Tom) Thompson
Tom is President Emerita of Olds College. During his 16-year presidency the college was awarded the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Gold Award of Excellence in Governance. He is a published author who has presented his governance as stewardship model to great acclaim in more than 25 countries.
Tom is widely recognized for leadership in education, sports, marketing and community service for over 40 years. He served as president of the highly successful 1995 Canada Games and spearheaded a college fundraising drive that led to the largest personal donation in the history of Alberta colleges and technical institutions.
Since departing the college presidency in 2017, Tom has continued to serve community, provincial and national boards and committees in a variety of governance, advisory and consulting roles. He was named Fellow in the Royal Society of Arts in 2016, joining an international community of achievers and influencers from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds.
Tom obtained his doctorate in higher education administration, with a policy governance research focus, and has completed educational and leadership programs at Harvard, Oxford and the WestPoint Academy.
Board committees: Audit Committee (Chair), Executive Committee
Tony Williams is an accomplished higher education leader with over 20 years of experience driving transformative change at universities across Canada. In his current position as Senior Vice President at Studyportals, Tony leads business development in Canada, leveraging his expertise in strategic planning, marketing, and recruitment.
Previously, Tony served as Vice President of Marketing and Recruitment with Navitas North America, where he managed a global marketing and recruitment team. He also served as Vice Provost International at Lakehead University and held leadership positions in international student recruitment at the University of Alberta and University of Winnipeg.
Tony’s expertise in strategic planning extends to several institutions, in Canada and internationally, including the University of Regina, Kings University College, Nipissing University, Charles Sturt University (Australia), and Linkoping University (Sweden). Additionally, he founded Zept, an international education marketing app and data company, and was a Special Advisor to the CEO of the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (amii).
Tony earned a BA in Geography from the University of Alberta, and he studied Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations at Uppsala University in Sweden. While living in Sweden he was the Managing Director of the Canadian Swedish Business Association.
He continues to make an impact in higher education and beyond, leveraging his leadership and expertise to drive change and innovation.
Board committee: Business Planning, Reporting & Engagement Committee