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.  

 

Board of Directors

Tony Williams, Chair

Tony Williams is an accomplished higher education leader with over 20 years of experience driving transformative change at universities across Canada.

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 committees: Executive Committee (Chairperson), ex officio on Audit Committee, Business Planning, Reporting & Engagement Committee, Governance & Human Resources Committee

Dr. Jodi Abbott, Vice Chair

Dr. Jodi L. Abbott is President and CEO of the University Hospital Foundation where she is bringing together people from industry, academia, government, healthcare, and philanthropy to tackle some of the world’s biggest health and healthcare challenges.

Prior to her current role, she led NorQuest College through significant transformation doubling its student population through expanded programs, and government, corporate and philanthropic partnerships. Earlier, Dr. Abbott was Senior Vice President, Quality Performance Improvement with Alberta Health Services creating a provincial portfolio encompassing patient safety, infection prevention and control, patient relations, and clinical data.

With extensive understanding of government relations and policy development, Dr. Abbott is deeply committed to community development. This was demonstrated in her role as former Chair of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board where she spearheaded progress on the Growth Plan alongside 13 Regional Mayors. And, as inaugural Chair of Edmonton’s Health City, she led creation of a 10-year economic strategy for the health ecosystem.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Dr. Abbott volunteers as a World and Olympic figure skating judge and is an Honorary Colonel Designate for the 41St Service Battalion for the Canadian Armed Forces. Dr. Abbott recently received the Order of Canada for leadership in Alberta’s healthcare and college systems, and for mentoring young figure skating athletes.

Robert Fernandez

Robert Fernandez has more than three decades of strategic leadership experience in the private and public sectors in Europe and Canada. As the President of Mansbach Advisory Group since 2014, he has guided business leaders, government officials and entrepreneurs in achieving growth and clarity in their strategic endeavors.

Robert recently served as Director of Economic Diversification for Parkland County, Alberta, where he spearheaded a major multi-decade investment plan and facilitated the establishment of Amazon’s first robotics fulfillment center in the province.

Previously, Robert served as Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for Stuart Olson Inc., where he defined national business structures and secured major joint venture projects. He began his career with Siemens AG in Europe prior to joining the Government of Alberta in senior roles with the Alberta Economic Development Authority (AEDA) and the Oil Sands Secretariat, with the Alberta Treasury Board.

Robert holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and executive education credentials from Duke University and the University of Alberta. He is fluent in English, German, and Spanish, and has extensive experience as a board member of various community and business organizations including Alberta Foundation of the Arts and Invest Alberta Corporation.

Dr. Michael Mahon 

Dr. Michael (Mike) Mahon, President Emeritus and Professor at the University of Lethbridge, has over 35 years of experience in Alberta and Manitoba’s post-secondary sectors. He has held academic roles at the Universities of Manitoba, Alberta, and Lethbridge, including Dean at the University of Alberta and Associate Dean at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Mahon also directed the Health, Leisure, and Human Performance Research Institute at the University of Manitoba.  

Dr. Mahon has served on public and non-profit boards for 40 years, including roles with Universities Canada, USports Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Coaching Association of Canada. In Alberta, he chaired the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic Board and was involved with the Steadward Centre, Alberta Economic Development Authority, and Alberta Special Olympics.  

During his 13-year tenure at the University of Lethbridge, Dr. Mahon spearheaded the University’s largest capital campaign for construction of the Science Commons, a major science and innovation facility. In 2012, the Kainai Nation honored him with a Blackfoot name, iipisowaahsiiyi, for his work with Indigenous communities. He received the Queen’s Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals. Dr. Mahon holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.Sc. from the University of Alberta, and a B.P.E. from the University of Manitoba. 

Ruth McHugh 

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 is also Chair of the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents, governing regulation of the Intellectual Property professions in Canada.

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 

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 

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

Brad Severin

Biography coming soon.

Dr. Anne Snowdon

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

Richard Wong

Biography coming soon.

Governance Documents