September 8, 2022, Oshawa, Ontario —Spark Centre, a regional innovation centre in Durham Region that provides high-impact support and services for local and international startups and entrepreneurs, continues to experience aggressive growth year after year. With the growth in revenue and diversified funding, as well as the expansion of its team, agent network, partnerships, clientele and more, Spark Centre has become a driving force for innovation and economic advancement in Eastern Ontario. Spark Centre is pleased to announce the appointment of four highly influential Directors to its current Board of Directors, forming a robust collective of leadership and expertise to expand Spark Centre’s impact further in the Durham Region and Eastern Ontario Corridor.
“The growth and diversification needed to build a strong and sustainable Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) demand a broad spectrum of skills on our Board,” says Sherry Colbourne, President and CEO of Spark Centre. “The breadth and diversity of experience of these new board members add external insights and expertise that will further strengthen Spark Centre’s ability to fulfil our mandate of building a strong innovation ecosystem in Durham Region.”
“With the aggressive growth that we have experienced over the last two years and that we have planned for the foreseeable future, it was critically important to attract individuals with a wealth of broad business experience and a depth of expertise to help the Spark Centre navigate into the future.” says Chair of the Board, Gary Jarosz, “As Chair of the nomination committee, and with the support and guidance of our partner Wentworth Strategy Group in our recruiting process, I was able to see firsthand the phenomenal quality of available Board Directors that answered our call for nominations. After reviewing several high-quality candidates, we are pleased to announce that we have elected Marina Avisar, Saleema Khimji, Randolph Mank, and Lori Sterling to our distinguished Board of Directors. “
The new Directors on the Spark Centre Board include:
Randolph Mank has more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors and as a three-time former Canadian Ambassador. As the President of MankGlobal Inc., Randolph supports clients with business development, government relations and representation services and is a writer and speaker on foreign affairs. Before this, Randoply provided his expertise in several roles, including President Asia-Pacific for SICPA of Switzerland, Senior Advisor and Vice President for Blackberry of Asia, and Canada’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, where he successfully attracted the then single most significant foreign investment to Canada. He has also served as High Commissioner to Pakistan, Director-General for Asia and Oceania at Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Ambassador to Indonesia, where he led the Canadian response to the 2004 tsunami disaster, establishing Canada House in Aceh as a unique multi-stakeholder base of aid operations to restore services and begin reconstruction.
A seasoned board director and senior counsel at Bennet Jones LLP with experience in human resources with a particular focus on talent in the technology sector, Lori Sterling has more than 30 years of experience working at the senior level for both provincial and federal governments, including Associated Deputy Minister of Justice, Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development, Deputy Minister of Labour. She has also been responsible for Disability Inclusion with the federal government, the provincial Assistant Deputy Minister of Legal Services, and the Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
For more than 20 years, Marina Avisar has driven unprecedented financial growth and competitive dominance for numerous technology organizations, executing successful exit strategies, raising capital and acquiring new companies. Having held prominent roles like CEO at MoveSnap, Managing Director at Aspire Software, CEO at Interdev Technologies & Vocantas and currently as Managing Director, Canada & GM Facility Management Solutions, North America at MRI Software, Marina brings deep expertise within the Private Equity, MedTech and PropTech markets to the Spark Centre Board.
With a legal background and experience in IP, partnerships and nurturing technologies through the development life cycle, Saleema Khimji has had a global, multi-disciplinary career, including her roles as former Chief Innovation Officer for MCI Onehealth Technologies Inc. and co-inventor of AI-based sensor technology for counterfeit drug detection.
Communications Specialist, Spark Centre
Based in Oshawa, Ontario, Spark Centre is renowned for its dedication to economic growth and sustainability in Durham Region and Northumberland County, serving technology and innovation entrepreneurs — both local and those moving their operations to Canada — with knowledge and support to launch, grow and scale. Through collaboration with funders, stakeholders and industry partners, Spark Centre has built an unparalleled, globally recognized technology and innovation ecosystem that develops competitive, world-class businesses in a wide range of sectors, including EN3 (Energy, Environment and Engineering), ICT and Digital Media, Agritech, Medtech, Health Sciences and more.
In providing a wide range of services — from educational programming and advisory services to co-working space and access to funding — Spark Centre is dedicated to creating opportunity within Durham Region and beyond through its partners across eastern Ontario. https://sparkcentre.org/