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Leading the charge: Alison Nankivell named new CEO of MaRS

The corporate finance investment veteran will take the reins in March 2024.

MaRS’ innovative journey is entering a new era. Alison Nankivell, an accomplished executive in the investment industry with a strong background in international business, will be joining MaRS as its new chief executive officer in March 2024. “MaRS has a rich legacy of supporting innovation,” says Nankivell. “I look forward to actively contributing to its continued evolution in Canada and beyond.”

Nankivell, an investment industry veteran, has a wealth of global expertise and business acumen. She’s worked in senior investment roles at the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and Export Development Canada. For the past decade, she’s worked at BDC. Most recently, she was senior vice president of fund investments and global scaling at the crown corporation, managing investments in venture capital, growth funds, as well as leading its strategic ESG initiatives and global expansion efforts. Her experience and expertise (she also is fluent in French and Mandarin) are invaluable assets, but it’s her passion for sustainable growth and her commitment to nurturing emerging talent that truly aligns with MaRS’ mission of supporting startups and making a positive impact on society.

“Her leadership qualities align seamlessly with our goals,” says Annette Vershuren, chair of the MaRS Board of Directors. “We are confident that she and her team will usher in a new era of innovation and growth.”

The MaRS community is excited about what lies ahead under Nankivell’s leadership. And Nankivell is ready to get going. “I’m thrilled to assume the role of CEO at MaRS Discovery District, working closely with our exceptional team to champion innovation, foster economic growth and drive societal impact.”

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MaRS Discovery District
MaRS is the world's largest urban innovation hub in Toronto that supports startups in the health, cleantech, fintech, and enterprise sectors. When MaRS opened in 2005 this concept of urban innovation was an untested theory. Today, it’s reshaping cities around the world. MaRS has been at the forefront of a wave of change that extends from Melbourne to Amsterdam and runs through San Francisco, London, Medellín, Los Angeles, Paris and New York. These global cities are now striving to create what we have in Toronto: a dense innovation district that co-locates universities, startups, corporates and investors. In this increasingly competitive landscape, scale matters more than ever – the best talent is attracted to the brightest innovation hotspots.

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