2010/2011 Fellows

Terry BeechBrenna DonoghueDerek DunfieldKulvir GillAdam GoldenbergKyle HillGeordie HungerfordTiara LétourneauAli OkhowatPhillippe OuelletteMark PodlaslyScott RobertsonSamir SinhaErin SpinkFrançois VincentSuzanne von der PortenShannon Wells

Terry BeechTerry Beech
Terry Beech is an entrepreneur and an educator from Vancouver, BC. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of HiretheWorld.com, a crowdsourcing design marketplace with customers in 142 countries. The company won the prestigious 2010 New Ventures BC competition and the Global Oxford business competition before being named as one of British Columbia’s most innovative companies by BC Business in 2012.

Terry teaches entrepreneurship and finance as an adjunct professor at the Beedie school of Business at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Terry holds an MBA from Oxford University and an economics and business degree from SFU. Terry completed the Private Equity and Venture Capital executive program at Harvard University and is the recipient of several awards including the Volunteer Vancouver Award. He holds the distinction of being Canada’s youngest ever elected official, and has been featured as one of Canada’s top entrepreneurs on the Business News Network. Maclean’s magazine previously named Terry as one of their top 10 “30 under 30” Canadian leaders.

Terry is a previous Action Canada Fellow, where his task force focussed on “A National Strategy for High Growth Entrepreneurship in Canada. He is a Director of Lift Philanthropy Partners, Canada’s largest Venture Philanthropy Fund, which invests capital and knowledge into scaling successful non-profit enterprises. Terry is a founder of Twinbro, a non-profit which has helped over 35,000 students attend university and win millions of dollars in scholarships. He is a sought after speaker on the subject of start-ups and entrepreneurship and invests in several companies through his company Beech Partners. Terry is married and enjoys travelling, politics and playing hockey when he is not engaging in his various entrepreneurial adventures.

Brenna DonoghueBrenna Donoghue
Brenna’s passion for community development, both in Canada and abroad, has shaped her career and positioned her in leadership roles in Canadian civil society.

In 2009, Brenna became the Director of Operations for Engineers Without Borders. Harnessing her passion for international development and her formal management education, Brenna is a key leader of the EWB management team. Prior to joining EWB as the Director of Communications (2005-2008), Brenna worked for the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Brenna is also engaged in her local community and is currently a member of the Nazareth House Board of Directors.

Brenna holds a Master of Business Administration (2009) and a Master of Arts in Political Studies (2004) from Queen’s University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economics (2003) from Bishop’s University. She has received a number of awards and scholarships including First Prize at the UCLA Global Leadership Business Competition (2009), the Tom Burns Prize in International Business (2009), and the QSB-MBA Class of 1981 Scholarship for academic excellence and social contribution (2008).

When she isn’t working, Brenna is an avid runner, tri-athlete, and painter.

Derek DunfieldDerek Dunfield
Derek Dunfield holds a Doctorate in neuroscience from the University of British Columbia and an M.Sc. in physics from Queen’s University. He is currently a Visiting Scholar in behavioural economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. A relatively new discipline, behavioural economics combines neuroscience and experimental psychology to understand economic decisions and how these decisions affect financial markets. This research can help us identify specific policies that Canada can champion to regulate the core issues behind unacceptable financial risk-taking, including identifying hard-wired systematic irrational or emotional behaviours that promote unacceptable risk-taking. Dr. Dunfield’s Ph.D. and Master’s work has resulted in publications in the some of the best academic journals and recognition via numerous awards and scholarships, such as the British Columbia Industrial Innovation Scholarship, the NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship, the CIHR Brain Star award, and the Michael Smith Foundation Senior Trainee award. Outside of academia, Dr. Dunfield is an active member of the Canadian International Council (CIC), a non-partisan organization promoting research and dialogue on international affairs. Dr. Dunfield’s background offers a unique perspective to this year’s Economic Transformations theme.

Kulvir GillKulvir Gill
Kulvir Singh Gill was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He graduated from the University of Calgary with undergraduate degrees in biology and commerce. Kulvir then relocated to Toronto and started off his career with Oliver Wyman (then known as Mercer Management Consulting) as a management consultant. From there, he moved on to Barrick Gold Corporation, spending seven years as part of their global Organizational Effectiveness team, working on strategic planning, organizational design, post-merger integrations and business performance management. Specifically, he played a key role in the establishment of Barrick’s global supply chain practice, developed a turnaround plan for the African business unit and managed the post-merger business integrations of Placer Dome and Cadence Energy. Late last year, he left Barrick and has launched his own independent management consulting and coaching firm.

In addition to his career, Kulvir has been actively involved in his local community. He has served in leadership roles with the Sikh Centennial Foundation, Spinning Wheel Film Festival, and Toronto Sikh Youth Retreats. Currently, he’s mobilizing a group of second-generation Sikh-Canadian youth to simultaneously launch several new non-profit organizations including the Sikh Arts Council and the Seva Food Bank. Kulvir also serves on the Board of Directors for the William Osler Health System Foundation and Habitat For Humanity – Brampton. Kulvir currently lives in Brampton, Ontario.

Adam GoldenbergAdam Goldenberg
Adam Goldenberg, a 2010 Action Canada Fellow, is a J.D. Candidate at Yale Law School, where he is a Kirby Simon Human Rights Fellow and a Senior Editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. He has published academic and popular articles on health care law, election law, privacy law, and international human rights law. He is also a member of Yale’s Criminal Justice Clinic, and has represented low-income defendants before the Connecticut courts.

Together with Kyle Hill, Adam is the Co-Founder of Teach For Canada, an organization that will fight educational inequality by turning young leaders into outstanding teachers.

Prior to attending law school, Adam served as chief speechwriter to the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Canada, and as a senior aide in the Government of Ontario. He writes frequently about politics and the law, and is a contributor to The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, The Ottawa Citizen, and CBC News: The National.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Adam holds a B.A. in Social Studies with high honours from Harvard University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an Adjunct Citation in French.

Kyle HillKyle Hill
Kyle Hill, a 2010 Action Canada Fellow, is a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. At BCG, he has completed projects in the health care, mining, retail, and consumer industries, and he is a core member of the health care practice area. Kyle is also the Toronto node for BCG’s global education practice area.

Outside of BCG, Kyle is Co-Founder of Teach For Canada, an organization that will fight educational inequality by turning exceptional young leaders into outstanding teachers. He is also on the Board of Directors of SEVEC, which funds 5,000 youth exchanges throughout Canada each year.

Prior to joining BCG, Kyle completed a Ph.D. in medical physics at the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His research enabled early-stage diagnosis of lung diseases such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis. He also completed work terms at NASA and Google, was a 2010 Sauvé Scholar in Montreal, and has done volunteer teaching in Jamaica and Ukraine.

In his free time, Kyle can be found traveling with wild abandon and cheering on the Blue Jays and the Habs.

Geordie HungerfordGeordie Hungerford
Geordie Hungerford is a lawyer with a broad background in finance, technology, Asian business, and Aboriginal issues. He acts as senior legal counsel for the British Columbia Securities Commission in corporate finance where he creates and advises on securities policy and legislation. He was formerly a lawyer at a national law firm where he practiced corporate/commercial and Aboriginal law, a technology investment banker in Silicon Valley, and a management consultant in Greater China, where he lived for 4 years.

Geordie holds an MBA and MA (East Asian Studies) from Stanford University, an LLB from the University of British Columbia, a BEng (Electrical and Computer Engineering) from Queen’s University, and a certificate in Mandarin Chinese from IUP at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He speaks and reads Chinese proficiently. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

A fifth generation Vancouverite, Geordie volunteers and serves on numerous educational and non-profit boards and committees. He is a Gwich’in (Northwest Territories/Yukon Dene/Métis) and is active in the Aboriginal legal community.

Tiara LétourneauTiara Létourneau
Tiara Letourneau is passionate about enterprise risk management and international policy in financial services. She is currently undertaking a Masters in Finance at Cambridge University in the UK. Tiara has a background in international development, microfinance, and commercial and retail banking. In 2005 Tiara traveled abroad to work in the field of international development, specializing in Micro-finance and Business Development Services for micro-entrepreneurs. In 2007 she was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship for a Masters in South Africa, and in 2008 a Paul Harris Fellowship. Tiara’s interest in economic development and sustainable financial services extends from her passion for proactive citizenship and global prosperity. She has always been an active member of civil society, and has held leadership positions in a variety of organizations including Canada25, 4-H Canada, and the Compassionate Eye Foundation for international development.

Ali OkhowatAli Okhowat
Ali Okhowat is passionate about improving access to essential medicines, technologies, and quality healthcare in Canada and around the world. A medical resident and fellow of the Humanitarian Studies Initiative at McGill University and Master’s student in Bioethics at the Université de Montréal, Ali has had a long-standing interest in global health and health policy issues and is a linguaphile, speaking Farsi, Mandarin, Spanish, and French and currently studying Arabic and Russian. As a past Valedictorian at the University of Toronto Medical School and founder of numerous global health and social justice initiatives, Ali has always viewed his participation in student governance and civil society organizations as an integral part of his education. He is currently an intern at the Institute for Health and Social Policy in Montreal, where he is studying the association between healthcare expenditures by OECD countries and healthcare access, quality and outcomes, in order to discern best practices and ethical principles to guide healthcare spending.

Phillippe OuellettePhillippe Ouellette
Phillippe thinks it’s time for Canada to begin fulfilling its potential through the dedication and ambition of those who choose to contribute. He’s one of those people. Through his work as a director with the Government of New Brunswick’s Population Growth Secretariat, he’s making a much-needed contribution by helping develop the province’s plans to recruit and retain more people. Phillippe holds a Master of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s University, where he focused on the relationship between the Canadian Charter of Rights and minority language communities. Phillippe was also elected to the highest post of the Canadian student movement as the National Director for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. His leadership and advocacy qualities resulted in positive outcomes for the over 300,000 students he represented when the federal government reviewed and expanded existing financial aid programs.

Mr. Ouellette currently resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he continues to develop his community leadership abilities. On his spare time, Phillippe can be found practicing his drumming, rock climbing, volunteering for local organizations, or looking through his camera lens. Through the Action Canada experience, Phillippe hopes to gain insight from the other participants and to partake in a pan-Canadian discussion on pertinent public policy issues.

Mark PodlaslyMark Podlasly
Mark Podlasly is currently a co-founder and lead Principal at PPA-Limited.com, an Aboriginal co-venture environmental management consultancy based in Vancouver that specializes in the permitting of large-scale capital projects. He has extensive international experience in the planning, permitting and construction of multi-million dollar projects including pipeline, mining, power generation facilities and community infrastructure.

An active member of the N’laka’pamux First Nation in South Central BC, Mark is experienced in addressing Aboriginal interests in project development. He is particularly skilled in helping project proponents and local communities reach agreement around land use and development issues. His understanding of project development, Aboriginal consultation and government permitting processes allows him to offer unique and timely solutions to corporate and community challenges.

Mark returned to Canada in 2008 after 10 years in the USA where he ran a successful executive education consulting practice that developed and delivered finance, leadership and globalization programs to senior management at international multinational corporations working at the intersection of corporate strategy and public policy. His client base includes worldwide companies such as GE, Unilever, Clorox, Goldman Sachs and General Mills.

He is a board member at Ecotrust Canada, a non-profit organization that promotes innovative conservation and green community economic development among rural and First Nations communities in British Columbia and the western USA. Mark holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University.

Scott RobertsonScott Robertson
Born and raised in Yellowknife, Scott’s nursing career has taken him throughout the Northwest Territories and Nunavut working in the emergency department and remote community health centres, even on a Coast Guard icebreaker as a health researcher. As the Territorial Chief Nursing Officer, Scott currently provides strategic policy leadership to the nurses in the Northwest Territories and advises senior government policy on the design, delivery and implementation of sustainable quality healthcare. In 2010 he was a team recipient of the Premier’s Award of Excellence for the territorial pandemic action team and recently completed his Masters in Health Economics and Policy at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

Growing up Scott spent his summers on Great Slave Lake working as a fishing guide with his father. Not finding what he wanted in Yellowknife housing Scott turned to the lake and built a floating home on Yellowknife Bay where he resided completely off the grid for 5 years. Now living on dry land, Scott still spends a few weeks every summer showcasing his guiding expertise preparing traditional shore lunches and entertaining visitors to the North. He is an Action Canada Fellow and an instrument-rated private pilot.

Samir SinhaSamir Sinha
A passionate advocate for the needs of older persons, Dr. Samir K. Sinha is the new Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals in Toronto.

A Rhodes Scholar, after pursuing his undergraduate medical studies at the University of Western Ontario he obtained a Masters in Medical History and a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Ageing. After returning to pursue postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto, he went on to the US where he most recently served as the Erickson/Reynolds Fellow in Clinical Geriatrics, Education and Leadership at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Sinha’s breadth of training has contributed to his growing expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly. Dr. Sinha has consulted with hospitals and health authorities in Britain, Canada, the United States and China around the implementation and administration of unique, integrated and innovative models of geriatric care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity and ultimately promote health.

Erin SpinkErin Spink
Over the past 15 years, Erin has been passionately involved as a volunteer, advocate and employee in the social profit sector spanning work with animals, Special Olympic athletes, seniors and more. Her current role is Senior Coordinator, Volunteer Engagement for the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. There she is involved with a team to lead a program of approximately 65,000 volunteers across the province. Spink completed an Honours Sociology Degree, participating in the Ontario-Rhône Alpes exchange to L’Université Pierre Mendes France, working towards a License de Sociologie, before receiving her Certificate with Distinction in Volunteer Program Management from Conestoga College. She later joined the faculty and has been Associate Faculty for the past 4 years. In 2008, Erin completed an M.A. (Leadership), submitting a major research project which was the first ever academic work to quantify the concept of ‘Volunteer Engagement’. Through this program she was one of two students awarded the Co-operators Insurance Scholarship. Erin’s research has been published in both Canadian and international journals. She is currently involved on the Board of Directors for her professional association as Director, Strategic Partnerships, which includes leading advocacy strategies across Ontario. Spink’s interest in volunteers began at the age of six, when she pronounced that while it was wrong to eat animals, hamburgers at McDonald’s came from “volunteer cows,” and therefore an exception could be made. Spink currently lives in Toronto, no longer believes in eating volunteers and hopes neither is held against her.

François VincentFrançois Vincent
François Vincent believes that our actions can have an influence on governments’ public policies, as well as a positive impact on our community. For this reason, he works as a policy analyst at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). He sees small and medium enterprises as a crucial element of Canada’s economic development and, therefore, an asset for all citizens.

His passion for public affairs led him to serve as Chair and Coordinator of the Youth Advisory Committee, Commission des partenaires du marché du travail from 2004 to 2009. He also worked for two university students associations, including as President of the Quebec Federation of University Students (QFUS), the largest youth group in Québec from 2005 to 2006. In this position, François was deeply involved in the Québec government’s work on its youth strategy, as the spokesman for Concertation jeunesse, a coalition of 13 Québec youth groups.

François Vincent also served as an Intern with the France-Québec political action committee, Aile parlementaire du Nouveau Centre, Assemblée nationale de la République française, and went to Israel on a study tour for young Québec leaders.

M. Vincent is a dedicated and involved person. He has sat on various boards of directors and is currently a member of the Comité national d’éthique sur le vieillissement de la population et sur les changements démographiques, in Québec. His passion for politics has led him to participate in numerous parliamentary simulations, including the Simulation of the European Parliament-Canada-Québec-Europe (SPECQUE) where his peers voted him best negotiator (2007) and best public speaker (2008).

François Vincent holds a Bachelor’s Degree in communications and politics and a Law Certificate from the University de Montréal. He is currently pursuing a specialized graduate diploma in management at HEC Montréal.

Suzanne von der PortenSuzanne von der Porten
Suzanne von der Porten is a PhD student in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies, and a researcher with the Water Policy and Governance Group at the University of Waterloo. Her area of scholarship is in the field of Water Governance as it relates to First Nations communities in Canada. Suzanne was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and has a B.Sc. and an MBA from the University of Victoria. Over the last four years she worked as a first and second year Economics Instructor at Selkirk College in rural British Columbia and taught courses ranging from Money & Banking to Environmental Economics. She regularly contributes publications in the forms of business cases and articles on subjects of water management issues in industrial development in Canada. She also spent three years working as a “helitack” forest fire fighter in northern British Columbia, and has since worked as a lead Fire Information Officer for the BC Ministry of Forests and Range during the peak season ‘fire storms’. This year, Suzanne will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of her all-women’s “Powershift” cycling trip across Canada to promote alternative transportation.

Shannon WellsShannon Wells
Shannon Wells is a Recruitment of Policy Leaders inductee in the federal public service and since 2009 has served in the Privy Council Office, Treasury Board Secretariat and Finance Canada, where she currently leads strategic policy and planning for the establishment of a national securities regulator and advises on global capital markets trends and international financial sector reforms. Prior to joining government, Shannon was strategic advisor to the President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, to the founders of Samara Canada and participated in the prestigious Parliamentary Internship Programme.

Shannon is a Banff Forum Member, 2010 Action Canada Fellow and Chairperson of the Action Canada Taskforce on High Growth Entrepreneurship whose work on innovation and economic policy has been published in the Globe and Mail, Policy Options and MacLean’s, and presented to senior leaders across Canada. She is founder of the Walter Gordon Massey Symposium on Public Policy, a fellow of Massey College and Green College, and holds graduate degrees from the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and a First Class Honours BA from Dalhousie University.