New North Star III: Charting a Moonshot-Oriented Innovation Strategy
Bill Tam is recognized as one of the pre-eminent leaders of the B.C. tech sector. A lifelong entrepreneur, Bill has been actively involved with technology and start-ups as a founder, executive, investor, advisor and board member for the past 20 years.
In 2017, Bill co-founded the development of the Digital Technology Supercluster and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. The Digital Technology Supercluster is part of the Government of Canada’s $950-million, five-year Innovation Superclusters Initiative to drive large-scale collaboration among industry leaders, small and medium enterprises, and post-secondary institutions to develop and scale high-potential technologies in Canada.
A champion of entrepreneurship, Bill forges partnerships across private and public sectors to accelerate economic growth and foster inclusiveness. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Cascadia Innovation Corridor initiative – a cross-border partnership between B.C., Washington and Oregon to develop and promote a globally recognized hub of innovation and commerce.
Bill also serves on the Innovation Committee of the Rideau Hall Foundation and is as an industry advisor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
He earned his MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University and his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Summa Cum Laude) from McGill University. In 2018, UBC awarded Bill the Applied Science Dean’s Medal of Distinction for his contributions to the engineering and tech community.
For the past 12+ years, Ilse Treurnicht has served as CEO of MaRS Discovery District, a leading innovation hub located in the heart of Toronto’s Discovery District. She has overseen the development of the MaRS Centre, a 1.5-million-sq.-ft. facility providing specialized infrastructure to leading research groups, startups and young scaling firms, multinational businesses and investors – drawing 6,000 people from 150+ organizations to work there every day.
In addition, she has led the development of MaRS’ broad suite of innovation programs and partnerships. MaRS supports innovators and entrepreneurs building high-impact growth businesses, providing connections to critical talent, capital and customer networks. In addition, MaRS works with partners to accelerate the adoption and diffusion of innovation in regulated sectors, with a special focus on modernizing procurement and regulations, liberating data, and developing new funding models.
Ilse joined MaRS in 2005 from her role as CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund. She has been a research scientist and entrepreneur, with senior roles in a number of emerging technology companies. She was Chair of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance in 2010, served on the Government of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC), and is a member of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth. She chairs the board of Triphase Accelerator Corporation, a cancer drug development firm, and serves on the boards of Cogniciti, a brain health company, and Canada’s Public Policy Forum.
Ilse holds a DPhil in chemistry from Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar.
Robert is Senior Vice-President, Policy at the Business Council of Canada. Prior to joining the Council, Robert was Senior Global Director, Public Policy at BlackBerry. He served as Policy and Budget Director to Canada’s Finance Minister and as Policy Advisor to Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau.
Robert also spent nearly a decade in academia as Associate Director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and as Visiting Public Policy Scholar
at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He continues to serve as a Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and at the Public Policy Forum.
Sean Speer is currently Fellow in Residence and Prime Minister of Canada Fellow at the Public Policy Forum. He is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He previously served as a senior economic adviser to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Director of Partnerships, Public Policy Forum
Speakers: Ilse Treurnicht, Chair, Public Policy Forum
Bill Tam, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Digital Technology Supercluster
Panelists: Sean Speer, PPF Scotiabank Fellow
Robert Asselin, Senior Vice-President, Policy. Business Council of Canada
Masha Kennedy, Director of Partnerships, Public Policy Forum