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Speakers

CWOIL 2023 Conference Speakers

Nancy Andrews

A senior leader in communications and stakeholder relations, for more than 20 years Nancy has worked with organizations both in the public and private sectors in Eastern Canada to help tell their stories, build brands, and manage stakeholder relationships. Currently the Vice President of Government Relations and Communications at Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Nancy plays an instrumental role in helping tell Canada’s ocean story to the world and building momentum behind it. This past year Marketing News Canada named Nancy one of Canada’s Top 25 Marketers to Watch on LinkedIn, and she was previously the recipient of the Communicator of the Year Award from IABC-NL.

Nancy is a graduate from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and from Seneca at York University. She currently serves as Chair of the WRDC Board of Directors and lives in St. John’s with her husband Glenn and their sons.

Nancy Andrews

Chief Engagement and Communications Officer, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

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Hamutal (Hami) is a growth focused executive with over 15 years of experience enabling global expansion through strategic collaborations, private investments, and M&As. She’s an expert at market entry strategy and business model analysis. Hamutal has extensive experience in the water and energy markets where she raised capital for start-ups, mature companies, and international public bids. Hamutal holds a M.A. in Philosophy and an L.L.B. in Law. During her time practicing law, she led various public offerings (TASE, NASDAQ) and closed numerous International transactions.

Hamutal Ben Bassat

Chief Revenue Officer, MarineLabs

Dave Boland

David Boland was appointed as Vice-President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Region in December 2022. In this role, Dave oversees the Agency’s NL-based employees across seven regional offices and directs the development and delivery of the Communities, Inclusive Growth and Skills and the Enterprise Development programming in the province. With over 20 years’ experience at ACOA, Dave has held leadership roles on pan-Atlantic files and priorities focused on the ocean economy and tourism. Dave is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Bachelor of Commerce (2001) and Master of Business Administration (2007) programs. Dave and his wife Lindsay, have two daughters – Madeline and Julianna.

Dave Boland

Vice-President, Newfoundland and Labrador Region, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

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Janis is an experienced corporate director and recently retired as the Executive Vice President –Legal with Pennecon Limited, a leading provider of integrated solutions across a diverse portfolio in the heavy civil, industrial, services & maintenance, and marine sectors across Canada. Ms. Byrne also served as General Counsel to the Penney Group, working closely with Mr. Ches Penney when he built the Penney Group to one of Atlantic Canada’s largest and most successful private commercial enterprises, which included Newdock, Canship Ugland and Ocean Choice International. As an independent director, Janis currently sits as Director of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, and Canadian Manganese Company Inc. (NEO: CDMN). She is also a past Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade. Janis received the Institute of Corporate Directors Designation in 2017 and an ESG certification from Competent Boards Canada in 2022. Janis was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2020.

Janis Byrne

Lawyer and Corporate Director

Nicole Fahner

Nicole is an experienced leader in scientific research and development. As eDNAtec’s first employee in 2016, she helped establish the Centre for Environmental Genomics Applications (CEGA) in St. John’s, NL. Here, she mobilized an emerging technology from its roots in academia into a sustainable business, advancing DNA technologies for simple and scalable biodiversity monitoring. As Associate Director for CEGA at this exciting new technology company, she oversees environmental genomics projects and research programs, and mentors a growing team of professional young scientists. Nicole engages with Canadian and international public, private, and academic clients and collaborators, to grow the business in parallel with the technology. This includes managing the company’s Ocean Supercluster project “OceanDNA System”.  Passionate about scientific communication, Nicole frequently gives research talks and leads workshops, and outside the office she can be found refitting an old sailboat with her partner or teaching dance.

Nicole Fahner

Associate Director, Centre for Environmental Genomics Applications (CEGA)

Stephanie Gruchy

Stephanie Gruchy’s focus at Pennecon is on strategic business development and acquisition. Stephanie brings a solid background in operations and client management, which enable her to effectively work across the Services and Maintenance organization in order to identify and target key customers and opportunities of interest. Stephanie holds a Professional Engineering Technologist designation (P.Tech.), Business certification and graduated from Edinburgh’s Business School – Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program with distinction status. Stephanie joined Energy NL in 2020 as a Director on their Board of Directors, she volunteers with Rotary St. John’s East serving as Foundation Treasurer and Chair of the Community group, is a volunteer with Women in Resource and Development (WRDC) and holds a position as an Ambassador with the St. John’s Board of Trade. Stephanie also holds the title as Mama to her two-year-old son Jack and enjoys spending time with her family, friends and traveling. 

Stephanie Gruchy

Strategic Opportunity Capture Manager, Pennecon Services and Maintenance & Marine

Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh

Shavonne is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) expert and consultant, community builder,
advocate for marginalized youth, disruptor of systems of oppression, and a seeker of good
trouble. She has spent her career working with leading brands to find the right ways to embed
DEI into their cultural fabric in order to create sustainable change and is currently the Director
of DEI at Wealthsimple, a leading financial services innovator whose mission is to help everyone achieve financial freedom no matter who they are or how much they have

Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Wealthsimple

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As a Project Management coach extraordinaire, Ogaga helps professionals kick start and advance their careers, even preparing them for certification exams such as the highly coveted PMP exam. With a perfect pass rate record, she is the go-to person for those seeking to ace their certification.  As a Project Management thought leader, she designed and delivered the Project Management training for the Blue Futures Pathways internship program and the internship program at the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE).   Also, she is the founder of OJC, a cutting-edge Project Management EDTech and Consulting firm that has trained thousands of individuals to get into and advance their Project Management careers and collaborated with numerous organizations to deliver special projects, from product development to workforce initiatives.   Ogaga's passion for diversity and inclusion has also led her to work with 10,000+ youths, recent graduates, and professionals in Canada, helping to build a diverse talent pipeline for various sectors, including the ocean and water sectors

Ogaga Johnson

Director, Workforce Development, econext. 

Founder, OJC Project Management Education and Consulting

Jennifer LaPlante

Jennifer LaPlante is the Chief Growth & Investment Officer for Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. Her career has focused on data, analytics and technology. As the Executive Director of DeepSense, she drove economic growth through increased comprehension and adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning in Canada’s ocean sector.. She holds an MBA and an MSc in Computing and Data Analytics. Jennifer is a member of the Public Awareness Working Group under the Government of Canada Advisory Council on AI and is a co-organizer of the Halifax Chapter of Women in Machine Learning and Data Science (WiMLDS).

Jennifer LaPlante

Chief Growth & Investment Officer, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.

Pat Loder

Pat grew up on the Labrador coast with the strait as her foreground. The food on the table was representative of the season and specifically the run of the fish species (i.e. the catch of the day). The ocean provided for her family for generations. Her parents established the first fresh fish plant on the Labrador coast and the first general store which had the goods actually priced. Pat has been an ITA for 23 years in the Atlantic and Nunavut region. She has operated out of Labrador until 2020 and has been responsible for Nunavut since not long after Nunavut became a territory. Pat is here today to speak to you about NRC IRAP’s programs with a special focus on the inclusivity program and its Indigenous Support Network initiatives.

Pat Loder

Industrial Technology Advisor, National Research Council of Canada Industrial
Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP)

Tanya Lush

Tanya Lush is a proud Acadia and Mount Saint Vincent University Alumni. With a true global perspective on talent development, Tanya has spent 14 of her 23 year career internationally (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Poland). Tanya’s career path has led her to leadership roles in Government, Non-Profit and higher education where she has built and led “people projects”, departments and services focusing on career/workforce development and talent engagement- supporting post-secondary level/early career youth to mid- career professionals. A champion of EDI in the ocean sector, Tanya believes a more diverse and inclusive workplace is a business imperative in 2023.

Tanya Lush

Director of Workforce Development, COVE

Inja Ma

Inja Ma is the CEO and Co-founder of SEAMOR Marine Ltd., a manufacturer of underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and related components. Inja is committed to helping SEAMOR users get important jobs done safely and efficiently. As a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman, Inja understands the difficulties that women face working in a male-dominated industry. She uses her strengths to provide a healthy and positive work culture that support exciting, creative work. She and her team work hard to develop the most innovative and robust underwater technology that enhances underwater solutions for betterment, and to provide outstanding customer service. Throughout Inja’s career, she has committed to promoting mental health, as well as ocean pollution awareness through the ocean cleanup initiative. Her goal is to continue to innovate SEAMOR’s technology that contributes to our healthy life and planet. She believes that our collective small actions can add up to powerful change and is committed to working together to make a difference for a better world.

Inja Ma

CEO and Co-founder of SEAMOR Marine Ltd.

Sue Molloy

Dr. Sue Molloy holds a PhD in Naval Architectural and Ocean Engineering (Memorial University), and is the CEO of Glas Ocean Electric (GOE), a Nova Scotia-based company electrifying workboats and using our own AI-driven marine data system to reduce GHG emissions. Sue and her team won the Lieutenant Governor’s award for Excellence in Engineering. In 2022 Sue was elected as a fellow to the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Her understanding of the importance of leadership on boards and committees as a tool to advocate for action on the topics of sustainability and equity has led Sue to join several boards. She is a member of the Council of Canadian Academies, a former elected member of Engineers Nova Scotia and recent co-chair for Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant program. Her professional service work includes being an active reviewer for the US Department of Energy and national Canadian Government programs, serving as Canadian Chair of ISO TC 8, Ships and Marine Technology and as the international convener for the IEC committee focused on river turbine performance. Prior to GOE, Sue was president and general manger of Black Rock Tidal Power (a subsidiary of Schottel GmbH). Sue teaches about sustainable energy and related marine topics at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

 Dr. Sue Molloy

CEO, Glas Ocean Electric

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St. John's native Sheilagh O'Leary is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker and art educator. Sheilagh is experienced in the areas of visual media including film, video and stills production, radio broadcasting, education, and not-for-profit organizations specializing in areas of diversity and inclusion. She has run a successful small business for over 25 years. Her work has been exhibited and collected internationally, appearing in numerous art journals and publications. She has published two books including NL Book award winner “Island Maid: Voices of Outport Women”, which documents rural women's lives pre-fishing moratorium. In her many years of advocacy, she has been an energetic volunteer for over three decades, a nature enthusiast, intersectional feminist and a mother of three. As a person of mixed Irish-Indigenous ancestry, issues of cultural diversity, respect and environmental stewardship are paramount in Sheilagh's work. In 2013 and with a bucket list wish to swim a 5 km open water swim from Portugal Cove to Bell Island, Sheilagh founded and twice swam the ‘Tickle Swim for Mental Health', a fundraising/awareness campaign for The Canadian Mental Health Association NL.Sheilagh has been active on numerous boards including Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program, The Irish Newfoundland Association of NL, The Canadian Mental Health Association of NL, St. John's Clean & Beautiful (Clean St. John's), The St. John's Native Friendship Centre, and was former Co-Chair of Equal Voice NL and St. Michael's Printshop Board. She is presently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of NL. As a City of St. John's elected representative since 2009, Sheilagh has formerly been City lead for Housing; Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, the MNL Women's Caucus Chair, the Northeast Avalon Joint Council. Sheilagh is deeply honored to serve as Deputy Mayor for the City of St. John's since 2017.

Sheilagh O'Leary

Deputy Mayor

Gina Pecore

Gina Pecore is CEO of Genoa Design International. Gina began her work life with the Royal Canadian Navy and in the decades since, has built a career as an entrepreneur and business leader. Her strengths lie in strategic growth management, governance and team leadership. She received a communications degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in 1991, and has completed executive education at Harvard, Case Western and Simon Fraser universities. Gina serves as a Board Member on Newfoundland Power, Crosbie Industrial, and C-CORE. She is also an active community leader, currently supporting Home Again Furniture Bank, Business & Arts NL and the SPCA.

Gina Pecore

CEO of Genoa Design International

Karen Perry

Karen Perry has a Mechanical Engineering degree from MUN and is working towards her MBA in the Energy Transition. She works within the Energy Transition practice at Hatch ltd. Karen started her career in the oil and gas sector in Newfoundland and Labrador as a surveillance and optimization engineer. She has worked offshore, responsible for operational asset reliability and was an interface focal point between the offshore and onshore teams. Since joining Hatch she has been involved in decarbonization initiatives and energy transition projects for clients in mining, oil and gas and emerging industries such as hydrogen. Karen is passionate about the growing focus on energy transition and the potential Newfoundland and Labrador has with its natural resources including the ocean in this area! 

Karen Perry

Mechanical Engineer, Hatch Ltd.

Dr. Sherry Scully

Sherry has more than two decades of experience conducting primary research and contributing to
literature, resources, and strategy and program development related to workforces in evolving
industries and those in transformation. In her current role with The PIER, she is examining barriers to
entry to port careers, for under-represented workers. She will consider the growth and evolution of the
transportation industry and the implications that has for our regional and national workforce. Sherry
holds an interdisciplinary PhD in social psychology and management from Dalhousie University, as well
as an MBA and two degrees in Education. A strong advocate for learning, Sherry volunteers with
educational development efforts internationally.”

Dr. Sherry Scully

Director, Workforce Development, The PIER

Kennedy Sittler

Kennedy Sittler joined COVE in 2021 through her participation in their summer internship program. In the program, Kennedy was essential to building Stella Maris, COVE’s multi-sensor seabed platform. Upon completing her internship, she continued her career to become COVE’s Marine Technical Specialist. Kennedy moved from Kitchener, Ontario, to attend Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she graduated with a bachelor of Ocean Science and a minor in Political Science. Additionally, she attended NSCC and graduated with Honours from the Ocean Technology Advanced Diploma (OTAD) program

Kennedy Sittler

Victoria Belbin

Victoria is an experienced strategic planner, facilitator, and communicator, and has developed a strong reputation as an effective and charismatic leader. Throughout her career, Victoria has successfully transformed associations and organizations into key drivers of policy, advocating on behalf of memberships, business, industry and consumers. As the CEO for the Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association, Victoria Belbin is also a Director for two provincial crown corporations, and volunteers with provincial associations, social enterprises and charities demonstrating her care for the community. With a proven track record building robust governance processes with Boards of Directors/staff volunteer teams and bringing diverse stakeholders together, she fosters strong relationships that enable action-oriented planning to respond to industry and community needs. Victoria participated in the 2017 Governor General Leadership Conference (GGCLC) and became the Regional Chair for NL in 2019 and was elected to the Board in 2022. Victoria holds a Masters of Marine Studies from Memorial University of NL and stays on top of governance practices through her commitment to the Institute for Corporate Directors designation, ICD.D.

Victoria Belbin

CEO, Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association (ACADA)

Randy Billard

Dr. Randy Billard is President and CEO of Virtual Marine. He is an original founder of the company and has been with the Virtual Marine since it started in 2004. He is a P. Eng, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, with expertise in small vessel motion and wave modelling. He has a Ph.D. in Engineering at Memorial University with a research concentration in measuring human performance in simulation-based training programs. Randy is responsible for leading Virtual Marine’s team in the continuous development of small craft simulation technologies. He has expertise in oil and gas and military simulator development and project management. He is actively involved in ocean engineering and simulation R&D communities. He has experience in managing technical product development from early stage prototypes to commercially ready systems which includes validation and testing of simulators at various technology readiness levels. His work has included human factors studies to assess effectiveness of simulation-based training programs and measurement of learning and skill retention in marine training programs. He has published research papers on vessel and wave numerical modelling, human performance modelling, and simulator training transfer. He is currently leading the development of the company’s automated tracking and adaptive learning software.

Dr. Randy Billard

President and CEO of Virtual Marine

Dr.Neil Bose

Dr. Neil Bose joined Memorial as Vice-President (Research) in November 2017, was appointed Interim Provost and Vice-President (Academic) in September 2022 and is currently President and Vice-Chancellor, pro tempore.   He was the principal of the Australian Maritime College (AMC), the national institute for maritime education, training, research and consultancy at the University of Tasmania, 2012-2017.    Dr. Bose first came to Memorial in May 1987 as an assistant professor in the naval architectural engineering program and was appointed a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Offshore and Underwater Vehicles Design in 2003.  Dr. Bose obtained his B.Sc. in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering from the University of Glasgow in 1978 and his PhD, also from Glasgow, in 1982.  Dr. Bose's research interests include underwater robotics, ocean environmental monitoring and marine propulsion.

Dr. Neil Bose

President and Vice-Chancellor pro tempore (Academic), Memorial University

Leann Collins

Leann Collins is a collaborative and detail-oriented professional with a passion for bringing people together to achieve common goals. With eight years of experience as Director of Projects and Stakeholder Relations at the Association of British Columbia Marine Industries (ABCMI), Leann has honed her skills in planning, relationship building, and project management. She enjoys working with others to develop solutions that benefit everyone involved, and she is skilled in facilitating productive relationships between individuals and organizations. In her role at ABCMI, Leann has been responsible for multiple projects to attract and recruit underrepresented groups into the marine and ocean sectors workforce. Leann earned her Bachelor of Science and Commerce degrees from the University of Alberta and her Masters of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia. She feels very fortunate to have lived and worked throughout the country and currently calls Victoria, BC home.

Leann Collins

Director of Projects and Stakeholder Relations, Association of British Columbia Marine
Industries (ABCMI)

Bradley Goodyear

Bradley Goodyear is Director General of the Innovative Solutions Canada program, a program that leverages government procurement to help businesses drive innovation, and provides businesses with real world opportunities to test their products before going to market. ISC is a part of Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada. Prior to joining ISED in 2022, Brad worked with the National Research Council’s IRAP program for 25 years in a number of roles. This included leading IRAP’s Atlantic & Nunavut region for seven years, where we worked with dedicated professionals helping hundreds of innovative firms annually. from 2016 to 2022 Brad lead NRC IRAP’s corporate functions, with responsibilities for finance, information management, and policy, with the overreaching objective of equipping colleagues across the nation in providing world class client service to innovative Canadian firms. Brad has an educational background in business administration and information technology. He has a passion for helping businesses and their innovate, grow and succeed.

Bradley Goodyear

Director General, Innovative Solutions Canada, Innovation Canada

Carolann Harding

Carolann Harding ICD.D is a dynamic leader and team player that thrives on creativity, problem-solving, collaboration and engagement. As CEO of SmartICE, Carolann is leading a diverse coast to coast to coast award-winning team, focusing on meeting SmartICE’s social enterprise mandate, strategic directions and social impacts. Carolann is currently the Chair of FoodFirst NL, director on the Pinnguaq Board and Vice Chair of the ICD NL Chapter Executive. Carolann is a graduate from both Memorial and Dalhousie Universities. In 2021, Atlantic Business Magazine named Carolann as one of Atlantic Canada’s 25 most Powerful Women in Business and was 1 of 3 national finalists in the RBC Women of Influence – Social Change Award – National Impact. 

Carolann Harding

CEO, SmartICE Sea Ice Monitoring & Information Inc.

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Shelley Hessian is manager of Start-Up Yard at COVE (Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship). Run by Invest Nova Scotia, Start-Up Yard finds, funds and fosters early stage ocean technology companies that strive to change the world. Start-Up Yard helps those start-ups accelerate their development through facilities, programs, incubation, funding, shared equipment, expertise and mentoring. Shelley has more than 30 years of experience working with small and medium-sized businesses. Before becoming manager of Start-Up Yard, Shelley was manager of programs and business acceleration at Invest Nova Scotia (formerly Innovacorp). She worked one-on-one with the organization’s early stage technology client companies and led its many acceleration initiatives. Invest Nova Scotia provides the services, programs, advice and other resources companies need at every stage as they grow their business in the province. Shelley holds a bachelor of commerce and an MBA from Saint Mary’s University and she is also a certified project management professional

Shelley Hessian

Manager, Start-Up Yard at COVE, Invest Nova Scotia

Megan King

Megan is currently working towards her Bachelor of Engineering Technology and Applied Science specializing in Underwater Vehicles. She also has a variety of experience working in the marine industry, most notably as head pilot during the first ever autonomous robotics deployment to an offshore oil production platform (Hibernia) in Canada. Megan thoroughly enjoys sharing her experiences, learning from others in related fields of study, and challenging herself to try new things. By participating in the Canadian Women in Ocean Industries Leadership Conference, she hopes to encourage more women from a variety of backgrounds and fields to join her in ocean industries in the near future.

Megan King

Third year student, Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. 

Valerie Larkin

Technology Transfer Manager, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport Valerie is an experienced technology transfer professional, responsible for collaborations between a federal R&D laboratory and partners in business, academia, and non-profit organizations. She served on the board of the Federal Laboratory Consortium, the major organization of technology transfer professionals at U.S. government laboratories, and she leads the FLC’s professional development efforts. Valerie is a recognized subject matter expert on the Blue Economy, and has been extensively involved in the fostering of the ocean technology ecosystem in the New England region of the U.S. Prior to working for the federal government, Valerie was a principal scientist at an applied mathematics consulting firm. Her research has focused on applied probability and statistics, pattern recognition, and neural networks. Valerie is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and obtained graduate degrees in applied mathematics and engineering from Brown University. She resides in Newport, Rhode Island, and when not at work enjoys sailing, pickleball, and playing bass guitar in a rock
band.

Valerie Larkin

Technology Transfer Manager, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport

Nancy Lochhead

Nancy joined Irving Shipbuilding (Fleetway) in 2004 and developed her career from a junior Naval Architect to the Manager of Shipyard Contracts. In 2017, Nancy was asked to join Halifax Shipyard as the Design Manager for AOPS. Nancy has held positions in engineering, planning, business development/programs, and production. In February 2023, Nancy made history when she became the first woman Vice President of Production in the 134-year history of the Halifax Shipyard. Nancy is leading the teams responsible for sustaining Canada’s current fleet of Navy ships as well as building what will be the largest and most complex vessels in the Navy’s history. Nancy graduated from the Marine Institute of Memorial University in 2002 with a Diploma of Technology in Naval Architecture. She then accepted a position at Robert Allan Ltd in Vancouver, BC while working towards her degree part time. In 2008, Nancy completed a Bachelor of Technology degree in Engineering and Applied Science. Nancy is originally from Torbay, Newfoundland and currently resides in Halifax.

Nancy Lochhead

Vice President Production, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

Surita Maddox

Surita Maddox became Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) Atlantic Regional Director General in January 2018. Surita joined the public sector in 2000 as a commerce officer with Industry Canada, ISED’s predecessor department, and continued as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Industry Sector; District Director, Spectrum Management; Deputy Executive Director, Atlantic Region; and Senior Director, Industrial Technologies Office.  Surita has also worked at Infrastructure Canada and Dalhousie University. In 2020, Surita was appointed ISED’s Community Champion for Women. In this role, Surita has hosted discussions celebrating women’s leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic, women in tech, and diverse women in leadership positions. She holds a Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University and a Masters in Business Administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland. During her off time, Surita enjoys yoga and taking spin classes, as well as spending quality time with her family in Newfoundland.

Surita Maddox

Atlantic Regional Director General, Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada

Paula Mendonca

Dr. Paula Mendonça is the director of innovation and entrepreneurship at Memorial University. She leads Memorial’s Research Innovation Office and is responsible for facilitating and supporting the university’s strategic and long-term approach to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship activities across its campuses. Originally from Lisbon, Portugal, Paula has been in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2002 where she completed a Ph.D. in Biology from Memorial. Paula has been working in intellectual property and research commercialization for more than a decade. In 2022, Paula was one of the recipients of the Most Inspiring Immigrants of Atlantic Canada award by My East Coast Experience.

Dr. Paula Mendonça

Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Memorial University

Anna Naylor

Anna has over 10 years of experience working and connecting youth within the Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE) and brings this passion to her current position with the SOI Foundation. After graduating with her Masters in Marine Management, Anna co-founded OCEANS-NS, a registered not-for-profit organization that seeks to enhance and strengthen ocean education in Nova Scotia. From there, Anna continued to develop her skills and has experience in project management, program development, and youth engagement. As the Program Manager for Blue Futures Pathways. Anna’s work focuses on providing internships, mentorships, career opportunities/training and developing initiatives that support Canadian youth to chart their career within the SBE.

Anna Naylor

Program Manager, Blue Futures Pathways, SOI Foundation 

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Pam completed her degree in Political Science at Mount Saint Vincent University in 2003. From there, she went on to complete the Radio Television Arts Program at Kingstec, Nova Scotia Community College, where she graduated with a Major in Broadcast Journalism. Upon completion of her studies in Nova Scotia, Pam put her education and skills to work when she was hired at CBC’s Here and Now in St. John’s. Pam has reported for TV News and filed for CBC Radio. She was also employed as an on-air Journalist and Producer at Rogers TV, Out of the Fog. In 2009 Pam moved to Owen Sound, Ontario where she was a Reporter and the Producer for First Local News, Rogers TV. It was not long before she then accepted a position at NTV News in Newfoundland and Labrador, where she worked as a Video Journalist before making the transition to political life. In 2013 Pam was hired to work on the Liberal Leadership and multiple by-elections. She was elected to the House of Assembly in 2015 to represent the district of Harbour Grace
– Port de Grave, which she continues to represent to this day. Pam has served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Transportation and Works. She was the Deputy Chair of Committees. She was only the third woman in the history of Responsible Government in Newfoundland and Labrador to serve as Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly. Pam was elected by all female MHAs to serve as the Provincial Representative for the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Canada.On April 8, 2021, she was sworn in as Minister Responsible for Women and Gender Equality.

Honourable Pam Parsons

Minister Responsible for Women and Gender Equality

Mandy Penney

Mandy Penney (she/her) has held many roles with InclusionNL and is currently the Coordinator of Business Partnership Services, where she helps employers and business owners become more confident in working with and serving people with disabilities. She is a registered social worker and holds a
Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, a Bachelor of Social Work, and a MBA in Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is passionate about accessibility, the inclusion of people with disabilities, and entrepreneurship. She is currently exploring creating a network of support and mentorship for young entrepreneurs with disabilities. She has facilitated events for young entrepreneurs with disabilities including the first #RisingYouthPreneurNL conference. She volunteers with various organizations provincially and nationally.  Mandy is currently on the Executive of the Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN) of Canada, sits on the Newfoundland and Labrador Support Committee as well as a Board member with Raise Up Fundraising. Besides volunteering, she enjoys learning American Sign Language and how to code in her free time.

Mandy Penney

Coordinator of Business Partnership Services, InclusionNL

Nalani Perry

Nalani is a central figure at Net Zero Atlantic, a non-profit organization working to enable the transition of Atlantic Canada's energy system to a carbon-neutral future. Nalani is responsible for managing the member services, legal, human resources, governance, and operational requirements of Net Zero Atlantic.  With over 15 years of operational and administrative experience, Nalani’s organized, hands-on and positive approach ensures the operations of Net Zero Atlantic run smoothly.  Nalani holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), English Literature from Saint Mary's University as well as a Masters in Human Resource Management from the University of Leeds with a specialization in organizational behaviour.

Nalani Perry

Manager, Operations, Net Zero Atlantic

Sonya Shorey

Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Communications for Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards, and Area X.O, is a strategy executive and management consultant with more than 22 years of leadership experience with private and public organizations. With expertise in regional, national, and global technology, entrepreneurial, economic development, and innovation-based organizations, she specializes in corporate and communications strategy development and execution. This includes investment strategies that secure new cash and in-kind contributions from public and private sources. Since 2005, Sonya has led, strategized, authored and/or made a significant contribution to successful multi-year funding proposals and initiatives valued at more than $208 million from municipal, provincial, federal, and international governments.   Sonya is a Director of the Institute of Mental Health Research of the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Elevate International, and Mindtrust Leadership. She also serves as mentor and pitch coach with Women in Cloud, AI North America, and Technovation. She holds a Combined Honours in English and Political Science from Carleton University and has won 10+ international awards for communications, leadership, and women’s economic empowerment.

Sonya Shorey

Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications

Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O

Alyse Stuart

Alyse Stuart is a labour activist and Union Organizer with FFAW-Unifor. She has provided extensive media commentary, public presentations, and guest lectures on labour activism, decent work, and progressive policy initiatives. Alyse was the Chair of Common Front NL, a coalition of labour, social justice, students, and community organizations, which launched the 15 and Fairness movement in the province. Alyse has a Bachelor of Arts of St. Francis Xavier University, a Bachelor of Education from St. Thomas University, and a Master of Gender Studies from Memorial University, where she was named a Fellow for the School of Graduate Studies.

Alyse Stuart

Union Organizer, FFAW-Unifor

Marine Technical Specialist, COVE

Niru Somayajula

Niru Somayajula is a passionate supporter of Blue Economy growth, while seeking to become a world leader in acoustic tools and systems. Her company ethos, “What you
send out comes back”, demonstrates a desire to become better global citizens. Niru actively adopts this philosophy to both company and career. Niru has taken on the
family legacy and remolded it. As a second-generation owner she has been ambitiously expanding the business, recently adding a second location in Atlantic Canada. Outside of work she likes to ride the waves as a paddleboarder, musician and photographer. She avidly supports others as a mentor, charitable board member and a mother of two. Her favourite atelier is a toss up between the kitchen, her gravel bike, or the locally owned café

Niru Somayajula

President & amp; CEO, Sensor Technology Ltd

Myriam Ullah

Myriam’s work focuses on the intersections of social justice and ocean conservation. In her current role with Ocean Wise, she equips staff teams to support diverse cohorts of youth across Canada to take ocean positive actions through implementing their own community-based projects. Myriam has an MA in Environmental Education & Communication from Royals Roads University, is a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional, has been working in the non-profit sector as a social justice advocate for 20 years, and in 2022 was recognized by Charity Village as a finalist for the best contributor to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace award.

Myriam Ullah

Social Justice Manager, Ocean Wise Conservation Association

Kelly Zheng

Kelly Zheng is an MBA/PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo studying quantum machine learning for spatiotemporal modelling. She is the co-founder of Coastal Carbon, which provides real-time and historic remote underwater biomass measurements for blue carbon credits using AI-driven satellite imaging. The company is an Ocean Startup Challenge winner and won the Rising Tide award at IMPAC5.

Kelly Zheng

Co-founder, Coastal Carbon

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